Monday, 25 February 2008

DMT elves not fond of maths apparently

In further consideration of the Rodriguez paper on how to test the reality of DMT entities, it would be instructive to consider James Kent’s essay on The Case Against DMT Elves. Rodriguez suggests that we can ask the entities to give up some information that we don’t already know, in this case the answer to a maths problem, and the entity can then tell someone else on DMT later. Trouble is, according to Kent (who has tried something similar himself), the DMT entities are not so keen on helping out, which doesn't seem very sporting…

…the more I experimented with DMT the more I found that the "elves" were merely machinations of my own mind. While under the influence I found I could think them into existence, and then think them right out of existence simply by willing it so. Sometimes I could not produce elves, and my mind would wander through all sorts of magnificent and amazing creations, but the times that I did see elves I tried very hard to press them into giving up some non-transient feature that would confirm at least a rudimentary "autonomous existence" beyond my own imagination. Of course, I could not. Whenever I tried to pull any information out of the entities regarding themselves, the data that was given up was always relevant only to me. The elves could not give me any piece of data I did not already know, nor could their existence be sustained under any kind of prolonged scrutiny. Like a dream, once you realize you are dreaming you are actually slipping into wakefulness and the dream fades. So it is with the elves as well. When you try to shine a light of reason on them they dissolve like shadows.

More of… The Case Against DMT Elves

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Asking DMT entities to solve maths homework... not as weird as it sounds?

Following on from the trialogue on the ontology of Discarnate Entities by Sheldrake, McKenna and Abrams, I thought it topical to put up a link to a recent paper in the Journal of Scientific Exploration that proposes a methodology for studying the reality of DMT entity encounters. For those who don’t know, DMT is an extremely potent psychedelic substance that is found naturally in the human brain and which, if consumed, quite often gives rise to the meeting of extraordinary entities. Although these meetings generally take place in one’s “mind space” (whatever that is) they are of such an ineffable and numinous nature that many people tend to be convinced of the reality of the seemingly sentient beings that they meet, often causing considerable turbulence to one’s sense of what reality really is.

Grossly simplified, the admirable article by Marko Rodriguez proposes obtaining from the entities solutions to complex mathematics puzzles that the DMT experient does not know. Regrettably, this ingenious method for testing the independent existence of entities encountered on DMT is subject to a number of flaws, not least of which are the huge assumptions involved in expecting our supposed hyper-intelligent beings actually having the desire to cooperate and make themselves proven (let alone the DMT experient’s capability to ask them). The most crippling problem for his test, however, is what is known as the "super-psi hypothesis"; an issue long proved difficult to surmount in parapsychological attempts to validate the existence of discarnate entities considered spirits of the dead, e.g. those apparently communicating via trance mediums.

The problem is that, because clairvoyance, telepathy and precognition (collectively called psi) have no theoretical (or even apparent) limits, it always remains a possibility that any information provided by ostensibly discarnate entities may actually be due to the “super” psi of the person (e.g., the medium) receiving the information. One of the most cogent articles on the super-psi hypothesis in relation to survival after death comes from Prof. Stephen Braude and also appeared in the Journal of Scientific Exploration several years earlier in 1992. Anyway here’s the abstract of the Rodriguez paper and a link to the full pdf.

A Methodology for Studying Various Interpretations of the N,N-dimethyltryptamine-Induced Alternate Reality

N,N-dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, is an endogenous psychoactive chemical that has been shown through repeated human subject experimentation to provide the subject with a perception of an ‘alternate reality’. When administered a sufficient DMT dose, subjects have reported the presence of intelligent beings that do not appear to be the projections of their subconscious in the Freudian sense. Furthermore, and of particular interest to this article, many subjects believe that the percieved alternate reality is persistent in that it exists irrespective of their subjective momentary perception. Past research into the DMT-induced alternate reality comes solely from subject testimonies and to date, no analysis has been conducted to understand the objective aspects of these extraordinary subjective claims. This article provides a methodology for studying the nature of the DMT-induced alternate reality by means of various simple information theory experiments. These experiments can be used to test which of the presented interpretations of the DMT-induced alternate reality appears most plausible.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Trialogue on discarnate entities

Concordant with a talk I gave a couple of weeks ago about DMT and discarnate entities, Rupert Sheldrake (just for a change) has just announced the online release of the ninth in the series of trialogues between Terence McKenna, Ralph Abraham and, well, Rupert Sheldrake of course. The three heavy weight thinkers conduct one of their classic brain-offs and rap about entities in all their glorious (dis) incarnations, be they angelic or psychedelic. Mckenna's call for an embassy for the invisible has a certain appeal...

Are disincarnate and non-human entities mental projections or non-physical, autonomous entities? What can we learn from them? Their variety and persistence in human history. Early modern science and angelic communication. The shamanic model. The aversion to the irrational in Christianity and science. The need to analyze the entities’ messages. A mathematical model of body, soul and spirit. Entities as inhabitants of the spiritual domain of the logos. The evolution of their multifarious representations. The dogma of purgatory. Contacting these entities through dreams and psychedelics. The deepest layers of the faery tradition. Metaphors of light? Entities as artificers and their use of language. Is the world soul behind these entities?

Part one of two

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Urban psychedelic shamanism, the legal way - DXM

Following on from the earlier report about there being 3 million US users of dextromethorphan (DXM) – an over-the-counter drug, which at high doses can lead to ostensibly paranormal and spiritual experiences – an article published recently in the Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies investigates the spiritual aspects of DXM use. Based on reports from users about their use of DXM, the author of the article, Joseph Gelfer, argues that some DXM users specifically use the drug for spiritual and neo-shamanic purposes, qualifying the drug as a sacramental, or "entheogen". Whether or not this substance can induce genuine (i.e., scientifically-tested) paranormal phenomena such as telepathy, as claimed by some users, remains to be seen. What remains apparent, however, is that with the criminalisation of traditional shamanic inebriants, such as psilocybin-containing mushrooms, would-be urban shamans in developed nations are finding new ways to circumvent the law to maintain archaic traditions, proving that necessity breeds ingenuity.

Towards a sacramental understanding of dextromethorphan

Dextromethorphan (DXM) is an ingredient of some cough suppressants which, when consumed in large amounts, can have dissociative and psychedelic effects. Some people within the DXM-user community use DXM to facilitate what they perceive to be spiritual experiences. This paper argues that DXM can therefore be understood within the DXM-user community as a sacrament, and its use located within the neo-shamanic tradition.

Abstract taken from the full article - Gelfer, J. (2007). Towards a sacramental understanding of dextromethorphan. Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, 3, 80-96.