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"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse


3.17.2004

DMT, Moses, & the Quest for Transcendence 

Author and infonaut Clifford Pickover presents an analyisis of the DMT experience as more than hallucination, but as a valid dimension of Reality. Central to this are the perceived "alien" or Other presences encountered in the DMT experience.
The molecule DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) is a psychoactive chemical that causes intense visions and can induce its users to quickly enter a completely different "environment" that some have likened to an alien or parallel universe. The transition from our world to theirs occurs with no cessation of consciousness or quality of awareness. In this environment, beings often appear who interact with the person who is using DMT. The beings appear to inhabit this parallel realm. The DMT experience has the feel of reality in terms of detail and potential for exploration. The creatures encountered are often identified as being alienlike or elflike. Some of the creatures appear to be three-dimensional. Others appear to lack depth...Maybe this is why the ancients seemed so in touch with God and with miracles and visions. Maybe Moses and Jesus had a greater rate of pineal DMT production than most.
The theoretical ponderings are followed by a whole bunch of fascinating responses contributed by his readers, reflecting the diversity of interest and speculation about this captivating chemical. N-N-Dimethyltryptamine exists naturally within the nervous system of most higher mammals. It bears a strong structural identity to serotonin and malatonin, both of which are vital to perception, cognition, sleep, and dreaming. Little is known about it's biological function and it remains uncertain why such a profoundly mind-altering psychedelic is manufactured by the nervous system. As a pineal modifer it could be affecting what Descarte's referred to as the "reducing valve of the Soul", tearing away the biosurvival filters to allow the kaleidoscopic spectrum of the Absolute to enter into conscious apprehension. As Pickover suggests it seems very possible that many mystical visions depicting angelic visitations bearing earth-shaking proclamations could have been driven by the endogenous production of psychoactive indoles.

Of course Pickover wields McKenna and Rick Strassman as his allies, but it's refreshing to see him cite rogue neuroscientist Julian Jaynes whose intriguing work The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind suggests that concsiousness too evolved and that the emerging mind of early humans was a very different perceptual apparatus than it is now. The self-reference provided by the ego, the gallery of emotions and complexes, and the creative leaps of the enlarged cortex, might have intitially manifested as god-like whisperings or sudden possessions, hence the preponderance of mythologies populated by anthropomorphic dieties. DMT, or as Mckenna argues, it's cousin psilocybin, may have been the early catalyst to the emergence of the Self and the cataloging of our world by language leading to our technological evolution as tool makers and numerical wizards.

Paradoxically, it seems also to be the trail of bread crumbs back to the pre-linguistic interconnected web of nature within which humans were once intimately embedded; when the distinction between I and Thou was barely a murmur in the primal buzz of instinct and reaction. Did Homo sapiens long ago answer a distant call from hyperspace while perhaps scrubbing about the Savanah plain? But then just who are these entities, these "self-transforming machine elves"? Where do they come from, and what is their message? Telepathic Zeta Reticulans who monitor us through brain frequencies induced by tryptamine spin resonance? Our future selves popping in from the 5th dimension to harasas us for not yet figuring It out? Or more holy whisperings and angelic visitations manufactured by an over-excited pineal gland bent on religious fervor?

Whatever the source the visions always seem to deliver a profoundly real sense of contact with something very far away yet right next to us all of the time, seeming to say, "Look... we are all beings of light suspended in eternity dreaming this beautiful creation."

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