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InvisibleKid
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Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience
    #434981 - 10/24/01 03:40 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Please bear with me as I'm tired, but I've been thinking about this a bit, so I wanted to type up a few of my early ideas.

First, I want each of you to do a little thought experiment, by thinking about the following questions:

What is it that you think of when you think of a "psychedelic experience"? Is it melting objects; colours; "enlightenment"; altered sensation of the passage of time; distorted body image; LSD; psylocybe mushrooms; tryptamines; alcohol? What makes a psychedelic experience? Do you have to ingest a substance? What about people who "trip" from taking something that you know doesn't contain a drug? Are they actually having a psychedelic experience? Why not? What if they're experiencing a "Level 4" even though they haven't taken anything? Does the chemical validate the experience as a true psychedelic experience? Or is the experiencing of certain phenomenon enough to qualify it as a psychedelic experience? What phenomenon make up a psychedelic experience? How many of these phenomenon have to occur?

If someone in North American culture were to take, for example, LSD, unknowingly, without having had any knowledge of descriptions of a psychedelic experience, would they experience the same type of phenomenon that consists of a typical psychedelic experience?

Reading about the mental effects of a drug affects the experience. The user enters the experience looking for a given set of phenomena. It is possible, that by expecting certain changes in consciousness and perception to occur, one misses out on other symptoms not previously described, or articulated in the discourse on psychedelic experiences.
For example, the Psychedelic Experience FAQ lists a given set of typical effects that one may expect to occur while under the influence of LSD or psilocin. The user's mind focuses on looking for these particular effects when a trip begins. By focusing on the prescribed effects, one is likely to miss out on other effects, even if they are subtleties.
After the experience, the user further validates the prescribed set of effects through discussion with other users, likely users, and non-users. Speaking about effects which nobody else has described makes the user's experience invalid as a "psychedelic experience." If a person is the only one to describe a particular set of effects, the reaction is considered atypical, and so not a valid psychedelic experience.
The model of a psychedelic experience is heavily constructed. Many new users look to veteran users for validation of which "level" (or "plateau") they reached. The new user does this by listing commonly known effects which breach the boundaries of the given "levels" or "plateaus", and asks for guidance in determining which level of effect was actually reached.
There is a conventional wisdom with some veteran users to deconstruct these levels of effect, by telling the new user not to worry about which particular one he or she reached. The new user is reassured that the levels are simply in place to communicate and compare the intensity of various experiences.
The standard discourse of what effects are typical is very stable. Not many users describe their LSD experiences in terms of Jungian archetypes seizing control of their minds. Users speak about "trails", "colour enhancement", and other known effects. Again, to re-emphasize, if one were to speak about the effects of a drug in a highly non-standardized way, anyone familiar with the discourse of psychedelic experiences would readily categorize such an experience as atypical, and possibly false ("you got bunk acid").

Surely there must be a superabundance of "changes in consciousness and perception" that occur with any given substance. By knowing, and more profoundly by expecting, the typical effects, one's experience of being under the effects of a drug, is altered. It is altered in a way as to be constructed by the normal discourse, and further reinforced by contributing to the discourse in order to validate one's experience.
But what is it about the effects of one drug that are psychedelic, and of another's that are not psychedelic? What if these drugs, one being psychedelic and the other not, share common effects? How does the classification system work? Where are the lines drawn?
Alcohol is not thought of as a psychedelic drug. Users don't speak of being "enlightened" while under the influence of alcohol. Nobody talks about changes in perception, or opening the doors of perception when it comes to alcohol use. The construction of an alcohol experience, is that the user is "drunk."
Consider some of the effects of alcohol. Surely it produces changes in thinking (cognition is altered). Perception is also changed (people speak of feeling more confident, of feeling relaxed, etc.) Why isn't alcohol a psychedelic drug if it produces changes in consciousness and perception? Perhaps it has to do with the majority considering the main effects of alcohol somatic. Alcohol is considered to primarily affect the way a person's body feels.
There are entirely different sets of experiences regarding alcohol. Some users describe feeling more poetic with alcohol in them. Is that psychedelic? Surely it has more to do with the mind?
Maybe alcohol isn't considered psychedelic because it seems to have a destructive effect on people's lives. Alcohol isn't thought of as causing "enlightenment." Alcohol doesn't make you more "open minded." Alcohol makes you "drunk" for one night, and then you have a "hangover" the next day.
Is that then the prerequisite for a psychedelic? Is it supposed to have some inspirational power over one's life? Some would say yes, but others disagree, and use psychedelic drugs purely for recreational value.
Certainly there is no chemical requirement for a drug to be considered psychedelic. What's important is effects upon ingestion.

The question is, do you really believe that when you take a psychedelic drug that you're experiencing what you would have experienced if you'd never known anything about psychedelic drugs (and their differences with "intoxicating" drugs)?

I highly doubt it. I think expectation, normal discourse, and the processes of validation and reinforcement play crucial roles in constructing a user's psychedelic experience.

The sad thing here is, that if psychedelics are supposed to "open" users' minds, then many users are allowing their experiences to be constructed and confined by the strict rules of "what makes a psychedelic experience."


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OfflineHBS
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: Kid]
    #434992 - 10/24/01 03:50 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

i'm way too tired to answer right now, but very good questions, I'm down to give it a shot tomorrow. great thread


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Offlinegnrm23
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: Kid]
    #435200 - 10/24/01 12:45 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

in addition to stan grof's fascinating books on his experiences as therapist overseeing many psychedelic experiences,
a couple books by robert masters & jean houston can shed a great deal of light on drug and non-drug ASCs : _the varieties of psychedelic experience_ & _mind games_
(& of course, books by folks such as:
lilly, leary, ram dass, ralph metzner, hoffman (try to find _insight, outlook), carles tart, karlfried graf von durkheim, ott, , huxley, watts, and plenty more, for sure...)
~~~
the thing about trips is... well, it open one to new possibilities... often quite unavaoidably, but also often rather uncontrollably... whereas non-drug methods (meditation, guided hypnoid states, fasting, ordeal, etc. ) may not be as "reliable" (or perhaps "overwhelming" might be a better term, hehheh...) but are usually more controllable... ("control" may not be the exact word, but is close enough for jazz...)
in an "ideal world", a student/seeker/jouneyer/whatever would have sanctioned sites to learn about methods of altering ones consciousness, with qualified teachers/guides/safetyfolk available to instruct, nurture, cherish, and tteach how to integrate the "wisdom" (insights/revelations/whatever) obtained from "within" (the other side/god(s)/helper spirits/whatever) by whatever means obtained with the seeker's "normal" (mundane/consensus reality/"real"(?)...) life
...mmmm, bring to mind the island of pala...
~~~yaddayadda///gnrmski


--------------------
old enough to know better
not old enough to care


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Offlinejustthiz
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: HB]
    #435201 - 10/24/01 12:48 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Uhm... i think a psychedelic ... like mushrooms
STAY with you... it leaves something behind...and this something will be there for the rest of your days, It's so stronly a part of YOU it's very personal.It changes you in a way that you won't ever look at reality like you did the way before. it's so familiar, i think this is caused by a feeling that you're quit normal (but you don't know for sure) BUT EVERYTHING ELSE isn't the same... you "loose your grip" and this starts the thinking about life... reality and also a lot of "nonsense" but it's all just interesting... everything seems possible...
Alcohol isn't what i would call a psychedelic in the same way, you still know you're the one's who's drunk (most of the time) you don't go wild thinking about seeing double ... you just see double... You don't ask lot's of questions... everything seems for granted a lot more... or you just don't really care anymore about it... it sure can be a strong experience but it doesn't leave something remarkable behind
at least not in me.This is a huge difference i think... and i think most people kind of agree
that's enough of my rambling for now i guess :wink:


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InvisibleKid
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: justthiz]
    #435504 - 10/24/01 05:30 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

grnm23, there is a role to play for a "teacher" if a "student" of psychedelics is entering into the realm with a goal in mind (eg// learning, personal growth, etc.) So, you're exactly right that the "teacher" does have to give guidelines about what to expect.
What I'm getting at though is how does what one experiences under the influence of psychedelic drugs actually come about? If a user is adopting one form or another of the "student/teacher" approach then they are going to be bound in by mainly the teacher's expectations.
Actually, you couldn't have given me much of a better example. Since the student is trying to learn, how to learn from a psychedelic experience, he'll be on the lookout for certain signposts during his experience that the teacher taught him about (such as the three Bardo's, in Leary's The Psychedelic Experience). By adopting the teacher's model, the student is opening his/her mind mostly to that model during the experience, but is especially modifying their outlook on the experience after it occurs, in an attempt to fit the teacher's model.

justthiz, you're idea of a psychedelic is far to broad. Anything can "STAY with you [and] leave something behind." The first time you have sex could then qualify as a psychedelic. Witnessing a car accident could also qualify. Anything that you experience is personal and can become an integral part of "you" (also note that this depends on your notion of selfhood). Taking a course in physics can change the way you look at reality (and of course, that course is an experience, so would that make it a psychedelic experience?).

> you "loose your grip" and this starts the thinking about life... reality and also a lot of "nonsense" but it's all just interesting... everything seems possible...

This falls under the realm of normal human thought. Sober, on alcohol, or mushrooms.

> Alcohol isn't what i would call a psychedelic in the same way, you still know you're the one's who's drunk (most of the time) you don't go wild thinking about seeing double ...

Some people don't go wild if their hands get "pins and needles" while on shrooms. So what?

> You don't ask lot's of questions... everything seems for granted a lot more... or you just don't really care anymore about it... it sure can be a strong experience but it doesn't leave something remarkable behind

I think this has more to do with the way an experience with alcohol is constructed, than with the inherent properties of alcohol itself.


To further elaborate. Brain structure is changeable and culture has a huge impact on the brain. Language is extremely important in thought and cognition. Language (the meaning of symbols) is culturally dictated. Language is a cultural meaning system. It dictates to us what things mean.
Taking a drug changes brain functioning, but it is changing the brain functioning that is already there: namely, the systems of cultural meanings by which you live. Though you may completely transcend these things on a dose of a drug, you wouldn't be able to bring it back completely. To bring it back, and moreso to express it, you have to step back inside language, culture and the normal discourse on these experiences. Trying to bring back the psychedelic experience, confines it to a box.
Now, the box isn't necessarily airtight, but it's still very restricting, and it's this "box" that propagates itself (and reinforces) the meanings behind what is called a "psychedelic experience."


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Offlinejustthiz
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: Kid]
    #435599 - 10/24/01 06:40 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

:) Sorry it was just me trying to explain my view but it didn't work out quite well ...
That is that i truely can't describe what a psychedelic experience is...
And yeh i sometimes have a feeling LIFE itself is just a trip... and it is ...it's all just how you look at things ...sometimes i can feel that a trip never really begins or ends... but it's always there... >>> MAAAAN i'm rambling again cya


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InvisibleKid
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: justthiz]
    #435606 - 10/24/01 06:43 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

>
That is that i truely can't describe what a psychedelic experience is...
And yeh i sometimes have a feeling LIFE itself is just a trip... and it is ...it's all just how you look at things ...sometimes i can feel that a trip never really begins or ends... but it's always there

That's the kind of thinking I was hoping to promote.

Which I can only do by questioning (and criticising, standard views)...


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Offlinejustthiz
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: Kid]
    #436747 - 10/25/01 07:46 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

I think this stuff a lot ... sometimes i even ask myself... is my trip over ?...can it ever be over ... maybe now i'm just so convinced it is cause i "conquered" the experience and i am in control now... "back to reality" but maybe this is just an illusion ...and i'm still tripping....this starts some kind of cycle ....after a while you'll stop thinking about it all but after a longer while you'll probably start thinking about these feelings again....etc...etc... it's all in circles...
You can begin thinking like: but if this is reality... AND i just conquered the trip then i'm still stripping but i just don't experience it as if i would be tripping... this kind of thinking is cool...and strange... but i don't really know if it's normal ...i hope you guys sometimes have these kind of thoughts too....
THIS is what you get from using psychedelics i think ... this kind of thinking (and a lot more) .... but all in all it's just circles and what matters is that you just need to try your best for yourself and everyone else... what comes around goes around i guess...... Who know's we all still are tripping from our last "trip" hehe... ya never never know :wink:

With this kind of thinking i once scared someone when talking to him :smile: hehe...he said : "man stop it you make me feel weird and freaky" and i SAW he understood what i meant... cause he had tripped too....people who never tripped can think about but (i guess) most (of course there are non trippers who know probably exact these same feelings)  can't "feel" these kind of philosophie.s yeah i sometimes get deep into these thoughts ..... a trip makes you realize your potential ...
The book "The wisdom of insecurity" by alan watts is a must read it deals a lot with this kind of thinking and the ways humans look at life and everything...  once i was reading this book and it suddenly made me think about what i was doing...'reading' this book.... and i was just doing what the book deals with ... thinking thinking etc... this made me experience some kind of strange feeling... This book is in my opinion very nice to read and it's cool to read about things you think about a lot... to see other people think in the same way you do too!

Thx for listening :smile: and sorry for the screwy writing


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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: Kid]
    #436994 - 10/25/01 11:19 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

OK here is what goes through my mind when I think of a psychedelic experience (excuse the "odd" way I portray how I think of a trip but this is exactly what I think of a trip):

The psychedelic experience is a giant jungle, with a large fence around it to keep out unwanted visitors. It is completely self-maintained, and has a mental warning sign in front of the entrance warning potential visitors of what may be inside. When I shroom, I think of just walking around the fence and looking in, or if I took a full eighth+ then it is like walking in the mild, not so dense part of the jungle, at times getting deeper into the jungle. If I took acid, then it is like venturing further into the jungle which progressively gets weirder and "denser" and possibly much more frightening. The more acid I took the farther I go into the jungle.

The "jungle" as I think about it always has a dark sky around it, and is extremely dark inside. It is very viny (usually pitch black living vines) and lots of red ants and red fireflies are abound. By the peak of the experience, I am around the middle of the jungle, where everything is just pure chaos. At this point it is usually impossible to tell whether it is light or dark around, and I see many "entities" or creatures (figuratively) walking around. Usually they are staring at me, and won't look away which can get quite unsettling. The most common entity I see on every acid trip is a giant grin accompanied by two staring eyes (usually blood red). The grins make me feel as if I am somewhere I shouldn't be, as if they know something I don't and are laughing about it to themselves. This can get quite scary, though I find it usually very interesting.

Sorry for the "interesting" way I told this, but this is how I think of it.


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Offlinejustthiz
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: HB]
    #572445 - 03/07/02 01:45 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

this thread rules !


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: HB]
    #572829 - 03/07/02 09:25 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

If someone in North American culture were to take, for example, LSD, unknowingly, without having had any knowledge of descriptions of a psychedelic experience, would they experience the same type of phenomenon that consists of a typical psychedelic experience?

No need to speculate on this. Just read about Albert Hoffman's first trip where he had no preconceived ideas.



--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleFloydian
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: Kid]
    #573055 - 03/08/02 01:10 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Kid, you ask a lot of good questions. To me the drugs themselfs don't constitute a psychedelic experience. They are just a tool for changing ones physiology for a period of time. These changes may tend to promote a certain state of mind but the reaction of the user ultimately defines the experience. This reaction is also greatly dependant of what the user expects to happen and how the user defines a psychedelic experience.

Some peoples' idea of a psychedelic experience is very narrow. For example I and a friend take a relatively low dose of mushrooms. I notice that my mind have been elevated and my thinking patterns have changed but I get no visual diistoritions or hallucinations. I define the experience as a mild trip, while the friend claims he didn't "trip" because he didn't get any visuals. To him it was not psychedelic.

Now I'm sure that the friend had to have had some changes take place but since he was only looking for certain effects he does not define the experience as psychedelic.

I also don't think that drugsa are necessary for one to have a psychedelic experience. As I said before the drugs themselves do not contain a "high" but rather chemicals that change ones physiology for a period of time. But it is very possible for one to change their physiology without the aid of drugs. Therefore it is just as possible for one to have a psychedelic experience without the aid of drugs. But again this is greatly dependant on the subjects definition of a psychedelic experience.

Music has huge potential to alter ones state of conciousness. I have often been overwhelmed by visions and been put into hypnotic states through the use of sound. I have often done this without the aid of drugs.

I am pleased that you bring up reinfoprcement as well. This plays a huge role in the users definition of the experience. Communication with someone before, during , and after the trip can alter ones perception of the experience.

It is sad that in my culture it is only considered "appropriate" for the mind to enter altered states in a very select set of circumstances. Letting ones' mind wander is often frowned upon in American culture. Which is very hurtful to mental health in my opinion.

I don't know thats all I got for now.....anyone else?


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OfflineCheshirePhat
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: Kid]
    #573160 - 03/08/02 03:26 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

1. You are giving expectations/guidelines that you follow....... is it not your choice to follow them? take away thed rugs its all an experience of change for ones self..... we want to get away from the mainstream thinking of the rest of society....... where do we turn to a smaller community that still has not so much "structured" but more flexible rules towards the life lead in its social demographic [fuck i hope i used tht right] We are trying to escape social slavery and instead jump into just a more unstable one, were anything is possible but we still allow our selves to be lead..... yes a new user does need some form of "guidepost/sign/guideline" so for self gratification he/she is able to turn at the end of such an experience and say "i was there...... i saw that.... i tripped..... i had a psycedellic experience"

I dont think its so much a point of leading the blind through what only the poineers minds lead in reaction to the introduction of the drug, but more so the new user isnt once again left with a feeling of unfulfillment that we feel near everyday in our generic grey suit blue tie white shirt lives and jobs.... thats why we turn to such a shunned upon commune of people and substances......

so the question should be how do we construct the psycedellic experience through everyday living.........

would yours be less or more or equal an experience to a person who leads a good life, enjoys everything about his existence and finds that when he gets up in the morning it isnt with a groan at the thought of more work for more bills....... its more work for more life........

Lead your life .... trip like a MOFO and see where the grey suit blue tie white shirt leads you.....


--------------------
[orange]"Lets fuck this kat"[/orange] -Elroy "tasmanian babes fiasco"


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OfflineGringoLoco
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Re: Conscructing the Psychedelic Experience [Re: justthiz]
    #573608 - 03/08/02 07:14 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Yeah it does man.


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