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OnlineAsanteA
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Through the Magnifying Glass -- A theory of Psychedelic Action on Consciousness
    #3802668 - 02/19/05 08:25 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

THROUGH THE MAGNIFYING GLASS:
A THEORY OF PSYCHEDELIC ACTION ON CONSCIOUSNESS


(C) 2005 by wiccan_seeker


ABSTRACT: Psychedelics seem to exert their psychological effects through magnification and acceleration of psychodynamic processes and as such may have beneficial or detrimental effects on psychological development and functioning in the course of a series of psychedelic sessions.

DEFINITIONS: Psychedelics are considered to be members of three classes of 'hallucinatory agents', affecting mood, perception and thought similarly, these being:
--Lysergic acid amides (such as Lysergide = LSD)
--Tryptamines (such as DMT and Psilocin = 4-HO-DMT)
--Phenethylamines (such as Mescaline = 3,4,5-triMeO-PEA)
These three classes have got many structural derivatives but said compounds are to be regarded as the 'Major Psychedelics', being most specific in their Psychedelic action.

HYPOTHESIS: by decreasing of inhibiting neurotransmitter-systems in the brain Psychedelics cause less filtered and processed psychological content to flow into consciousness, rather then directly altering consciousness itself. This tends to lead to the consciousness being overwhelmed with sensation. It is not unlike a magnifying glass: directed perception tends to be intensified. Smells seen more profound, colors more vivid, depth perception more acute et cetera. The human optic system is dependent on pattern recognition, and under influence of Psychedelics visual patterning is enhanced beyond the ordinary into seeing distinct patterns into objects that ordinarily do not present this imagery. Similarly one is more acutely aware of inner processes one turns one's attention to, the psychological material is less censored and presents itself in more emotionally profound symbolisms. The Inner Eye, the visualization process, becomes enhanced to the point of initially sensing vivid closed-eye imagery, at higher doses it becomes prominently present in the open-eyed patterning and at the higher end of the dose-range this symbolic imagery can become superimposed upon ordinary visual perception or, as described by A. Shulgin in his book PiHKAL, (describing an extraordinary potentiation of a thio-mescaline analog) can completely replace ordinary sensory perception.

Because the psychological content flowing into the conscious mind is less processed and therefore evokes stronger emotional responses, an intensification of psychodynamic processes unfolds. The individual is confronted more profoundly with aspects of his functioning, his frame of reference regarding to reality and other features of his personality, a ?dream? dreamt whilst being wide awake which therefore holds great power over the individual's personality maintenance and the constant process of self-adjusting one's world view.

If one accepts the Self and holds trust in the unfolding psychedelic process, the experience will by default cause little discomfort, unless the individual has pre-existing conditions that are contra-indicated for psychedelics administration, such as severe epileptic disorder or severe pre-existing problems in coping with consensus reality, particularly psychotic disorders.

If the individual however rejects the Self and holds little trust in the safety of the experience the psychedelic state will become increasingly uncomfortable. The individual may focus on a bodily system and develop psychosomatic symptoms of spectacular rapidity and severity, or may flee into mental symptoms which can mimic psychosis so vividly during the course of psychedelic action that the Psychedelics were previously described as 'psychotomimetics' ie. Psychosis-mimicking agents.

The latter unpleasant effects are commonly referred to as ?bad trips?, but rather then a fault on the part of the purity or quantity of the drug it is almost always the individual's rejecting and refusal to come to terms with his Self-image or the experience that is causing this unpleasant condition.

The Psychedelic Experience psychologically is a microcosm of the ordinary Reality surrounding us and the Self we perceive ourselves to be. If one cannot accept the Psychedelic Experience as it comes and despite informed-ness loses trust in the experience, one in essence is acting out on a resistance to perceived reality or even an ingrained Self-rejection that has great bearing on the individual's day-to-day functioning. It is well-known that the degree of self-rejection and mistrust of perceived reality are proportional to the difficulty and lack of fulfillment one experiences with a given set of life experiences.

Psychedelics presents an alternative reality, and offers the individual the unique possibility to accept (or reject) this reality, and with it alter their acceptance, perception and trust in their day-to-day Reality beyond the Psychedelic Experience.

This is both the great promise and bane that Psychedelic drugs hold. Psychedelic experiences which lead to greater self-acceptance and a deeper trust in day-to-day Reality (Fusion) hold great psychological healing potential far beyond the hours of intoxication. At the same time experiences that decrease trust and acceptance of the Self and Reality (Fission) will be psychologically detrimental to the person's development.

Interestingly the occurrence and intensity of the acceptance difficulties tends to increase during the course of a psychedelic dosing regimen (which tends to be optimal at one session per 1-4 months) and it will become increasingly clear that one is coming to terms with their perceptions of the Self and day-to-day Reality, rather than a mere drug effect. This discomfort will arise and intensify until finally the person has found a genuine trust in the nature of the Cosmos, including nearly complete trust in the intrinsic ?safety? of Life and Death (whether or not this is justified) through a series of birth/death experiences and then these discomforts will rapidly disappear from the Sessions, giving way to journeys of the mind that no longer evolve around Trust and Acceptance, since these have been established before.

This establishment of a ?basic trust? will lift a great burden of the individual's mind, as nearly all psychological disturbances and difficulties in essence revolve around lack of trust or acceptance in the Self or Reality at large.

DISCUSSION: This ?magnifying glass? hypothesis of psychodynamic magnification also implies that engaging into a psychedelic session is of great significance (as it may have profound impact on day-to-day reality functioning) and that a series of psychedelic sessions entails a commitment to work at one's self-imposed limitations and is a fulltime commitment, as the drug may ?wear off? but the enhanced psychological work will persist every day of the series, with augmentation by psychedelic sessions or spontaneous eruptions of psychodynamics in day-to-day life, such as the so-called ?flashbacks? and prolonged reactions that are dramatic examples of this process after particularly poorly resolved sessions.

If the psychological effects of Major Psychedelics prove to be little more then magnification of psychodynamics then they hold great promise for many aspects of psychological, personal and spiritual growth, but it should also be clear that there is the intrinsic risk that use of psychedelics may give rise to situations that are detrimental to these same areas, being a step backward rather then forward.

The ?Magnifying glass hypothesis? in regard to Psychedelics however re-affirms the old axiom that ?there is nothing to fear but fear itself?.


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OnlineAsanteA
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Re: Through the Magnifying Glass -- A theory of Psychedelic Action on Consciousness [Re: Asante]
    #3802670 - 02/19/05 08:27 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

So.. this here's my lil theory. I'm wondering how you guys think of it, feel free to take it apart to see if it's well put together ^_^

Dropped a copy off @ Erowid, I hope they'll like it.
Anyone want to give their views?


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Invisibledblaney
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Re: Through the Magnifying Glass -- A theory of Psychedelic Action on Consciousness [Re: Asante]
    #3803273 - 02/19/05 02:56 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Well written and I do agree with most of it. There are just a few points where perhaps you might consider revising. First, in the beginning of the hypothesis, you ought to cite studies showing the "decreasing of inhibiting neurotransmitter-systems in the brain", and also cite sources for your claims of something being "well-known", as something may be well-known to one group of people, but unheard of to another.

Secondly, you say, "At the same time experiences that decrease trust and acceptance of the Self and Reality (Fission) will be psychologically detrimental to the person's development." However, you should be careful of making oversweeping statements. I find that a subjectively horrible experience that I had a little more than a half year ago did at first hinder me, over time I was able to overcome this, and in fact come out wiser, more sensible and with more trust in reality than before. So you should specify that this potential psychological impediment is only permanent in rare cases.

Lastly, you say, "This establishment of a ?basic trust? will lift a great burden of the individual's mind, as nearly all psychological disturbances and difficulties in essence revolve around lack of trust or acceptance in the Self or Reality at large." This statement could be true, but you would really need to support and elaborate on it.

So overall I think it's a well done, well thought out piece, but there are a few points that could use improvement.

:thumbup:


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But makes for the heaviest sword"
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InvisibleDark_Star
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Re: Through the Magnifying Glass -- A theory of Psychedelic Action on Consciousness [Re: Asante]
    #3803789 - 02/19/05 05:40 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Very well written and thought-out....this has been said many times, but you are a treasure chest of knowledge & wisdom.  :laugh: :thumbup:


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