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Member Skype #16 Warmup – Psychedelic Drugs

Call now published and available here.

This is the warmup thread for Member Skype Call #16, which will be focused on the topic of ‘psychedelic drugs’.

We spent a little bit of time discussing the same topic, in impromptu fashion, on Member Skype Call #13.

During that chat, and in the Member Skype Call topic suggestion thread, I got the impression that this is a topic which is close to many peoples hearts…

So let’s get the conversation going.

What are your opinions on ‘psychedelic drugs’?

Do you promote or condone their use? Or do you caution others against their use? Or have you no opinion one way or another?

Have you read Jan Irvin’s ‘Entheogens: What’s in a Name‘ paper? If so, what did you make of it?

Do you believe the ‘Hoffman discovered LSD and went for a bicycle ride’ story? Do you want to believe?

Have you ever wondered why clowns like Joe Rogan are suddenly promoting ‘ayahuasca’? Do you believe these ‘ceremonies’ are thousands of years old?

If you were in charge, would these drugs be legal and easily accessible? What would you foresee as the outcome of your preferred legal/social approach to drugs?

I’ll elaborate on my own position on these questions and more, later in the week.

For now I look forward to reading what you guys have to say.

Remember that anybody who is willing to do some planning before the call is welcome to put their hand up to lead the discussion.

Posted Tuesday, 14-Apr-2018

18 thoughts on “Member Skype #16 Warmup – Psychedelic Drugs

  • i’ve done mushrooms a handful of times. always had an aversion to fungus but the experience was worthwhile.

    lots of mdma. best of times and the worst of times. unlike psilocybin, my body usually always rejected the consumption – whether raw or in capsule form – via dry heaving or nausea…but eventually acquiesced. the following day(s) were never fun. may not have properly replenished hydration / nutrients etc…but far more noticeable malaise / depression / foggy mind.

    never pursued lsd, dmt or mescalin…as i’ve never felt in the right mental / spiritual place to try the heavier stuff.

    some marijuana and edibles i’ve had were on par with mushroom experience,

    had one scary experience with e / mdma years ago.

    but i’ve yet to truly ‘trip’ where i felt disconnected or losing a grip on ‘reality’

  • Only a few days until the call. Given the apparent interest in the topic of psychedelic drugs during MCS #13, I expected that this thread would generate more interest.

    I’ll try to answer some of the questions posed in the original post.

    No, I do not encourage or promote psychedelic drug use. I also do not discourage or condemn it. People will do what they want to do regardless of what anybody else says about these substances. I am open to the idea that these drugs can be used in positive/therapeutic ways which improve ones life long-term, but I am also convinced that most regular users of psychedelic drugs are taking them for fun and escapism, rather than any serious attempt at understanding/improving their own psyche/spirit.

    Yes, I have read Jan Irvin’s paper on ‘entheogens’, and have heard him speak about his beliefs regarding the the connection between drugs/’counterculture’ and intelligence agencies on several different podcasts. In my opinion the paper is worth the time required to read it, even if I do not necessarily agree with the general thrust of the piece. In time I hope to produce a detailed review and analysis of the paper.

    Note that early in his paper, Irvin references a book co-authored by Timothy Leary entitled ‘The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead’. It was published in 1964, and plays on the idea that (certain) psychedelic drug use can be viewed as a practice akin to ego death. The ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’ is another story I have looked into as part of my investigation of the History Hoax, and in time I will produce material to explain why I see this supposed ancient text as yet another obvious hoax.

    The main point here is that there is a direct connection between Aldous Huxley, psychedelic drugs, and the History Hoax. Now it is common for drug-promoters to claim that ayuhuasca and other drugs have been used by humans for thousands of years, and some even seem to believe that humans and drugs evolved together symbiotically, that the drugs allowed humans to ‘expand their mind’ and become intelligent (or something like this). It makes for a nice story, but is complete nonsense — at least as far as actual evidence is concerned.

    No, I do not believe the Hoffman bicycle story. Maybe it happened that way, obviously I do not know, but I seriously doubt it.

    I’m not sure what the angle is with Joe Rogan and co promoting ayahuasca. I’m open to the possibility that this is just a case of somebody enjoying an experience (ceremony) and then benevolently encouraging others to try it. I’m also open to other possibilities, which we can discuss during the call.

    No, I do not believe these ceremonies are ‘thousands of years old’. I can see how tempting it would be to believe such stories, though.

    If I were in charge, I don’t know if I would want psychedelic drugs to be ‘legal’. It would depend on what I was trying to achieve as the leader of the group of people in question. If I wanted what was best for them, I might be inclined to keep them in the dark (except for those who climb out of the cave and illuminate themselves), but I am not sure if these drugs would help or hinder that. What I am trying to say is that it is difficult to answer this question, without a set foundation concerning the underlying premise i.e. how would I run the show if I were running the show?

    I’m looking forward to the call.

  • My experience is very limited, a couple of microdoses of dried mushrooms, I felt good. Would love to try a bigger dose but cannot find someone who has experience in these matters or that I trust, mainly, so they can make sure I don’t go somewhere where I don’t want to. I have heard too many horror stories. The other, weed, I’m familiar with but only in an edible form.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more good stories.

  • I have listened to many conversations in regards the expanded awareness attributed to mind-altering drugs i.e. psychedelics. To think that what essentially is a poison is seen as an experience held with a reverence and gateway to a possibility of understanding other realms or higher consciousness seems somewhat contradictory.

    Whereas sensory perception can be fooled and manipulated it is our only real reference to our world that we sit with, in each and every present moment. Existential and drug-induced sensory perceptions can be a slippery slope to base any articulate and long-standing relationships with the world which doesn’t care what you think you see, only how you show up on it.

    Whereas I have had experiences with psychedelics and other mind-altering substances I have never had awakening experiences such like I hear from other commentators in regards to mind expansion or an epic consciousness defining moment.

    The more that I anchor myself a reality that doesn’t need an external stimulant to appreciate life, breath, movement, the easier it is to be an observer and commentator as opposed to a reactionist and blamer.

    Psychedelics by the very nature of them being present and available in this world will always have an appeal to certain elements of human exploration into the unknown and uncharted realms of existentialists thinking.

    As always it will be interesting to hear what others think of the use of psychedelics and any benefits they attributed to their use and experience

  • watermanchris

    We’re still deep within our move right now so there’s probably no chance I’ll make the call but I want to float a couple of ideas for the discussion.

    This is something that was brought up on call #13 but I want to make sure it doesn’t get forgotten – when on psychedelic drugs, are we tapping into something that’s always there or is it just a hallucination? If it is something that’s always there, is there a way to access it without using mind-altering substances?

    I would say that it’s possible that it is always there but unlikely that people can access it especially as we march towards a state of permanent distraction. Most humans cannot go 5 minutes without engaging in one distraction or another. Whether it be their smartphones, telescreens, or gossip. Does this mean I believe that people in the past were more inclined to access the “world below the surface”? Absolutely not. I’m fairly certain that humans have always been predisposed to distraction and that it was most likely only different in the medium. The recent technological advancements have just been towards the perfection of the media of distraction. As they like to say, there’s nothing new under the sun.

    Why do some of these things exist in nature? If we look around and see all the intricacies of life, it is very hard to believe it all happened randomly by chance, especially when we remove the silly stories about 65 million year old monsters. In my opinion, that points towards a creator, and if there is a creator, why do things like ayahuasca, peyote, psilocybin, and mescaline exist in nature?

    The fact that some of these substances exist in nature, and they have this effect, leads me to believe that there are benefits to be gained by using them. On the other hand, some of these substances cause a violent reaction when ingested so that points towards the possibility that they are not meant to be taken lightly by just anybody. Is it possible that, just like the fact that only some people will ever see the reality of this place, only some people are “strong enough” to engage these substances? I have not taken hallucinogenic substances since I’ve come to understand this world better but I feel it would be a worthwhile exercise and I look forward to trying it. I will probably just stick to psilocybin as I do believe that LSD was probably designed to retard as opposed to enlighten the mind.

    I look forward to listening to your thoughts on the subject and I will definitely join the next call that these issues are discussed.

  • Hey Nate M

    I received an email notification that you asked me the question …….

    ” you said that you never personally had an “awakening moment” while on psychedelics, have you ever had one of those moments while not on psychedelics?”

    I don’t see that comment here in this thread at the time of writing this to address your question, so I not sure what happened to it.

    You could go deep in the weeds with a definition of an “awakening moment,” but I refer to it in the context of descriptions to the experiences had by the proponents of the shamanic experiences …. yes I have had many a touch of a sense of connection to something other than what our commonly used senses attribute to reality whilst not under the influence of psychedelics.

    I will add that I am a long time meditator and survivor of near-death experiences which have without a doubt shaped my ability to accept a version of my senses that do not appear in the accepted literature of the science of the human experience. Regards Russell

    • Russel, I was tired last night and I dont actually remember deleting that comment, I probably thought I was proselytizing, or about to.

      The people that are supposed to take psychedelics will take psychedelics, everyone else is fine as they are.

      Anyway, skimming over my other comments…Its difficult to say where my thoughts on psychedelics really originated. I like to think that I thought of them myself, but when I look back I remember reading quite a bit of Alan Watts and Walt Whitman, Im certain that their content altered my thinking, and so it is impossible for me to take full credit for any of the thoughts I claim to have thought of myself.

      Anyway, there were sooo many times while tripping where I wondered what psychedelics really were. What are they, really? Are they a chemical? Is that what they really are? Are chemicals a real thing?

      I like to think psychedelics are a message, like a “doc brown” letter.

      “Taking a piece of paper from his pocket Tim [Leary] said, ‘These are your marching orders, your instructions.'”

      Or have you ever read The Sirens of Titan? Where a whole bunch of stuff happens, but its all just to deliver a little message. I think i need to reread that book

  • I was confused the first couple times JLB said “entheogens” because I thought he was saying “infusions”. I never heard it pronounced that way.

    I pronounce “psilocybe” so that it sounds sort of like “philosophy”, sil-ah-suh-bee. I would like to think that is the right way.

    • I ought to have explained ‘entheogens’ in more detail when I presented that question during the call.

      It is easy for me to forget that most of the listeners to the call have probably not read Jan Irvin’s paper.

      There is so much background information floating around in my head from years of research that I have to remind myself to explain or contextualise certain elements of it.

      Three years ago if I heard the term ‘entheogens’ I would simply not have understood the term.

      In time I would like to analyse and critique Irvin’s work on the CIA -> Psychedelics connections.

      If things were more ideal, I would have found the time to do that prior to this call.

      According to the schedule, we are supposed to discuss Irvin’s work in detail in MSC #25, so I will be sure to release something along those lines soonish.

  • bmseattle

    I realize that the call has already occurred, but here’s my stab at answering JLB’s questions from above.

    My opinion of psychedelic drugs is that I respect them, based on my own usage of them from my younger days (only ‘natural’ substances, not ones made in a lab), and feel that they ‘benefitted’ me.
    I used to believe that it was an experience that everyone should have at some point in their lives…and I’m still open to that idea, though not convinced of it anymore.

    After having observed some negative effects that these substances can have on people, I would definitely caution anyone from using them, if asked. If I knew the person well, and felt confident that they weren’t using them in a frivolous way, I would, perhaps, be more encouraging about their potential usage. However, I would still suggest extreme caution.

    I have read Irvin’s paper, and found it quite interesting.
    It clearly doesn’t paint TPWRTS in a positive light in regards to the methods and reasons behind the propagation of these substances into our culture. Putting aside the actual motives, I tend to agree that it wasn’t ‘organic’, by any stretch of the imagination. As to the naming/marketing of them, clearly there was a purpose behind it. And, obviously, characters like Leary and McKenna were controlled by ‘someone’.

    I have no real opinion on the bicycle story. It has the feel of a ‘tall tale’, and it likely didn’t happen. If it did, it doesn’t really change anything for me, however.

    I’m embarrassed to say I don’t even know who Rogan is. I have read quite a bit about ayahuasca, and am aware of the blossoming market for the ‘shamanistic tourism’ trend. There was a time that I was interested in participating in such things… though I never did. Clearly there is an agenda behind all this, and the romanticizing of these ‘shamans’ and their rituals is a contrived thing.

    In general, I tend toward legalization of all substances. I don’t believe in ‘punishment’ for the usage of ‘drugs’, even if the purpose is to ostensibly ‘protect’ people.
    If I were ‘leading’ people, and trying to create a controlled, safe, society, I might feel differently, admittedly. I suspect I would have reservations about introducing these substances to the masses.

    Which leads to the interesting question, of why they were introduced to us.

  • Hey bmseattle

    As you say just because we [as an individual] have indulged in psychedelics and have it in our personal memory and experience to say that it is a beneficial thing for everyone to have tried in their life I believe as you do that you would have to exercise extreme caution in its use.

    It’s one of those life questions that appear from time to time as to what the act of going through an experience taught you, was it something you really needed to go through or if you had engaged in another way to gain the knowledge would you have arrived in the same place less distracted and less dependent on an external stimulant.

    As my years on this earth get larger in number, I personally see that when all things are said and done, you have the tendency to arrive back at the same place realising the knowledge was there in the first instance it’s just that you didn’t recognise it for what it was at the time.

    If we are asking why they were introduced to us, ….. I see all the time that it is the distractions that leads to losing a self-sovereignty and requiring an institution or central authority to determine what should be believed or disbelieved obeyed or disobeyed.

    I agree in principle with you that there is a hypocrisy in regards to the prohibition of some drugs under the guise of “protecting people when more people are maimed and killed with so-called illegal drug use with an overwhelming more statistical imbalance then “illegal” substances. regards Russell

  • Hey Nate M

    The Sirens of Titan I thought was more around the subject of free will, which “coincidentally” is something I have been thinking a lot about of late.

    In the context of, is there an actual presence, or is it an imaginary existence of the “controllers” of this world …. is free will any more than a fanciful belief and merely another distraction as we consume a reality that is set before us on the table of what our sense are bounded and restricted by, with the physical toys and meme concepts offered up to us in some great game or plan we cant see and will never be privy to, yet destined to play out. Regards Russell

    • Yes, it was about free will, and how it seems to be an illusion, if i remember correctly. But I also seem to remember that all the happenings in that book were simply to deliver a message. That was what ultimately guided all of their delusions of self sovereignty.

      I doubt myself a lot, especially around other people (“if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, yet make allowance for their doubting too”) and I wonder sometimes why I spent so much time on psychedelics, especially when so many of my epiphany experiences were early on in my career. Why did I “beat a dead horse” for so long, if that is in fact what I did. Im reminded of donnie darko and that old lady that kept going to the mailbox…maybe I kept up with psychedelics for so long just to ensure that I wouldnt forget what I saw, because ultimately I have a message to deliver, and I am a messenger?

      To be honest, I never felt like I had a choice. It was something I had to do, regardless of what I personally thought.

      Maybe someone is supposed to hear or read my words on this? Maybe just one person! Lol, that would be funny if I spent years taking those things just so one particular person would hear my words this ’18 spring on Who knows!

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