Those of you who have used psychedelic drugs before will likely not gain much from this page, though you may find the pages concerning how specific drugs have altered my thinking interesting. I expect, however, that the vast majority of my visitors have never used these substances, and it is for these people that I have written this page.
I will begin by saying I am aware of the danger of promoting the use of psychedelic substances, and that I do not want people to use them without careful thought, consideration, and maybe a sitter for a first time trip. I do, however, very much want people to have similar enriching and fulfilling experiences as I have, and I hope that in my desire to enrich the lives of others will not have the unintended consequence of negatively upsetting a person’s mental balance. It has been said time and again that a person’s experience with a psychedelic substance is dependent on set and setting. A positive frame of mind and a positive setting will elicit a “good trip,” while the opposite will elicit a bad trip. This is why it is important never to attempt to use these substances as an escape from reality, as people are prone to do with drugs. Psychedelics by nature will not take you away from reality, they enhance it.
While it is generally good to stay out of bad sets and settings in a trip and indeed in life, “bad trips” are the most valuable of experiences. These uncomfortable moments are when a person truly develops, just as mistakes are how we learn in life. Indeed, life is a psychedelic experience on the whole, and pretty much everything that I say about psychedelics can be said about life (a point which my father loves to emphasize when I discuss psychedelics with him). while you can learn all of the lessons that psychedelics have to offer by living life, a psychedelic experience is valuable because the significance of your experience is increased dramatically, and you can be sure that you will learn a lot in a relatively short time.
The nature of a psychedelic experience is impossible to communicate, just as the nature of one’s consciousness is. Nevertheless I will do my best to describe what generally occurs:
Psychedelic substances are often called hallucinogens. I prefer not to use that term because it is somewhat misleading. when people think of a hallucination they think of a person seeing things that aren’t there, maybe the figure of a man, or geometric patterns. This can occur, but in my experience hallucinations are grounded in reality. For example, it would be much more likely to see a person’s hair grow thicker than to see a hairy person walk by that doesn’t exist. Geometric patterns will appear when on certain substances, but these patterns also seem to rise out of nature, not out of nothing.
The visual qualities of a trip can be very fun and interesting, but a trip is so much more than that. a psychedelic experience brings about a shift in perspective, something which, again, cannot be communicated. These drugs change the way we think, sometimes to the point that we don’t recognize our “selves,” resulting in what is referred to as an “ego death.” psychedelics have a quality of decomposing our identity and individuality, allowing us to look at ourselves as a different person and see the relationship between everyone in a novel way. This experience of the loss of individuality is, to many, the pinnacle of religious experience.
It is the loss of individuality and change in perspective which makes Psychedelic substances significant in terms of the technological singularity. We are quickly creating technologies which will subvert our notions of separateness and personal identity: when we can change how we experience and what we know so directly we lose the person we once were and with that the sense that there is a real “self,” and this is exactly what a psychedelic experience is all about. Psychedelics are powerful substances which, if used carefully, could greatly help us mentally ease into this transition which will likely create much fear and confusion.
psychedelic substances are not addictive, and for the most part not toxic. I realize this is technically not true because LSD and psilocybin are classified as neurotoxins, but the lethal dose for these substances is far above what a person would want to or could possibly ingest.
I will wrap up these initial thoughts on psychedelics with some observations on the duration of a trip. It is often said that LSD will produce a roughly 6-8 hour trip, and mushrooms maybe 4-6. These figures are deceptive.
This graph on the left is a far more accurate representation of the intensity of a trip. A trip comes on hard, so hard that it is often uncomfortable almost like being born. As the body and mind slowly adapt to the change, the effect the drug has simultaneously lowers, but never really ends. A strong trip will noticeably affect the way a person thinks for days after, even weeks, months, and years (less so with each step).
I hope that I have intrigued you enough to move onto my experiences with specific substances. Each of these substances appears in the sub-menu under “psychedelics” in the chronological order of when I first tried them. If you are impatient, the LSD page relates most to the singularity.