Mod+ 242. OLIVER HOCKENHULL, NEURONS TO NIRVANA

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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  2. Thanks for this Alex, very exciting stuff for the medical field. A friend on mine is involved with the psychiatric & psychology academic community in NYC and he told me that use of psychedelics in treatment is something they have a great interest in. There was even a gathering of people interested in some of the under the table use of ibogaine for heroin addiction.

    I actually do suspect that if we want to see a paradigm shift this is where it might happen - people actually dealing with human beings are more amenable to invoking spirituality if it helps rather than letting people suffer for the sake of materialistic abstraction.

    Of course the science seems to be clearly in favor of utilizing psychedelics no matter how one feels about the entities. But there's good reason to at least suspect there's more to it than brain chemicals - Strassman himself has proposed a theoneurological model in which the Numinous/Phenomenal communicates to the material via DMT.

    Hancock has put together some interesting research, though I wish he'd have concentrated more on the commonalities of experience rather than - IMO - jumping the gun and trying to come up with a definitive model for what's happening. That said, Supernatural is worth a look just for the side-by-side comparison of psychedelic visions, UFO abductions, and shamanic metaphysics.

    ps. For advice on use check out How to Use Psychedelics:

    http://howtousepsychedelics.org/

    and

    Neurosoup:

    http://www.neurosoup.com/
     
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  3. Alex

    Alex New

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    great stuff thx.

    I think Hancock is very interesting... maybe jumping the gun, but probably jumping in the right direction. Strassman seems to be carrying a lot of Biblical baggage with him.
     
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  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the podcast:

    What might be the connection between government/social influencing factors and public policy positions regarding consciousness-expanding substances?
     
  5. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    What might be the connection between government/social influencing factors and public policy positions regarding consciousness-expanding substances?

    I'm one of those who is circumspect about conspiracy theories. I don't say they don't exist, but whatever, I think people have instinctive reactions to the use of certain drugs; and sure, those are to some extent conditioned by the mores of the societies we live in, which in turn are influenced by such things as politics and religion. Some people might indeed hatch and attempt to apply conspiracies, but it's another matter whether those act as significant drivers of public opinion.

    My view is that using hallucinogenic substances for purposes of facilitating unusual mental states is probably misguided, maybe a form of laziness. Why embark on a long spiritual journey during which one might or might not have meaningful/useful experiences, when you can just drop a tab of acid or whatever? It's possibly true that hallucinogens/entheogens interfere with the filtering effect of the brain and that that leads to unusual experiences and perceptions--but so what?

    To give an analogy, maybe there's some drug that can enhance auditory acuity: maybe it'll enable me to hear a pin drop a hundred yards away, or to experience sounds that I've never heard before. I could imagine that being totally overwhelming. But it wouldn't help me appreciate Beethoven or Bach any the better: matter of fact, it might destroy the value of music to me. I think that genuine spiritual experiences add something to one's understanding of reality: like coming to be able to appreciate Handel's Messiah, whereas before, it had little effect.

    I'm not in favour of banning all drugs as a matter of course. If people use them responsibly and thereby cause no lasting ill-harm to themselves and especially others, it's of no concern to me. My own choice is not to use so-called mind-expanding substances. I'll also say that I have a bit of a soft spot for Cannabis, which I myself don't use, but does seem to have great potential therapeutically in the treatment of certain ailments: I might be tempted to use it for those purposes and don't see why it should be the business of governments to prevent my doing that.
     
  6. radicalpolitik

    radicalpolitik New

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    I will just say though in regards to psilocybin reducing activity, another study showed activation in all the areas that Nutt's study showed deactivation. So no conclusions, either filter or production can be drawn on this basis.
     
  7. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Beautiful interview. I wanna see that movie! Will check the streaming version during weekend.
     
  8. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Interesting. Links? :)
     
  9. @Alex:

    I do think Strassman is overly focused on trying to map the Judaic tradition onto the DMT experience. The visions of a carnival, which are somewhat common, don't seem to map to anything in the Old Testament.

    That said, I'm hoping this idea of a theoneurological explanation, which inverts the materialist claim that it's all just brain states connecting to nothing, brings some more interest from theologians. Jeff Kripral could probably do a lot with this.

    Well I've never used psychedelics myself, partly because I find it makes me a better advocate for the medical usage to refrain from partaking of this stuff for recreation.

    But I do think there's a way to use these plant medicines that doesn't entail laziness. Shamans and initiates into a variety of societies go through a good deal of preparation, possibly years if you count just living as they do as preparation. And this may be necessary to truly grasp the experience.

    At the same time, we know there is medicine in plants that can help the body. We cut out the ritual and trust in pharmacology, and this means more lives are saved. Most of us also don't use rituals before using a phone or sending an email. If the etheonogens are simply thought of as technology then I'm not sure there's a difference morally between using them or looking into a microscope.

    eta: Of course mentally and physically there could be a huge difference, and not everyone comes away with a positive experience.
     
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  10. radicalpolitik

    radicalpolitik New

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    http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/24/magic-mushrooms-expand-the-mind-by-dampening-brain-activity/

    "Interestingly, Nature‘s Mo Costandi reports that another study of the effects of psilocybin on the brain found the opposite effect of Carhart-Harris’ group:"

    “We have completed a number of similar studies and we always saw an activation of these same areas,” says Franz Vollenweider at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. “We gave the drug orally and waited an hour, but they administered it intravenously just before the scans, so one explanation is that [their] effects were not that strong.”
     
  11. LoneShaman

    LoneShaman Member

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    Seriously, if you have never experienced the extreme ecstatic states invoked through psychedelics you are missing out, and frankly have no basis for an opinion. Much like the allegory of Plato's cave. Whatever your beliefs are, it does not matter, you will experience the mystery first hand, although without some spiritual framework you are missing out IMO.

    They were once an integral part of human culture and at the basis of all mystery schools and religions. Even christianity. They were part of every indiginous culture for millennia, except the inuits for good reason. Soma, tsoma, amrita, ambrosia, the nectar of the gods, it is an ancient practise at the very foundation of humanity and culture.

    Laziness? Serious Shamanism takes a lifetime of knowledge and practise, actually several lifetimes. They are a tool, if using tools is considered lazy then so be it. I defy anyone that claims they can break through into DMT hyperspace by any other means, except death.

    Using these substances is not easy, it takes courage, they do not call em heroic doses for nothing. It actually becomes more difficult with extensive use. it also takes a great deal of mental discipline in order to navigate the turbulent sea of emotion until ego death and pure bliss beyond imagination.
     
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  12. LoneShaman

    LoneShaman Member

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    This I think is one of the best and most concise descriptions of what is going on in the brain under the psilocybin studies.
    There are two distinct sub centres in the brain that are effectively deactivated that lead to the mystical experience. One for the differentiation of the self and other which leads to the feeling of unity and oneness. The other one relates to self and time, leading to the perception of distorted time or timelessness. The findings are as well correlated with studies with advanced meditators.

    I find it very interesting that the brain itself is responsible for these things, what does that mean? The brain creates these illusions of self and time? We now have a good idea of the neural correlates for the mystical experience, with or without drugs.
     
  13. LoneShaman

    LoneShaman Member

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    Here is a very basic description of the psilocybin experience from Shroomery.org that is pretty accurate I think.

    • Level 1
      This level produces a mild "stoning" effect, with some visual enhancement (i.e. brighter colours, etcetera). Some short term memory anomalies. Left/right brain communication changes causing music to sound "wider".
    • Level 2
      Bright colors, and visuals (i.e. things start to move and breathe), some 2 dimensional patterns become apparent upon shutting eyes. Confused or reminiscent thoughts. Change of short term memory leads to continual distractive thought patterns. Vast increase in creativity becomes apparent as the natural brain filter is bypassed.
    • Level 3
      Very obvious visuals, everything looking curved and/or warped patterns and kaleidoscopes seen on walls, faces etc. Some mild hallucinations such as rivers flowing in wood grained or "mother of pearl" surfaces. Closed eye hallucinations become 3 dimensional. There is some confusion of the senses (i.e. seeing sounds as colors, etcetera). Time distortions and "moments of eternity".
    • Level 4
      Strong hallucinations, i.e. objects morphing into other objects. Destruction or multiple splitting of the ego. (Things start talking to you, or you find that you are feeling contradictory things simultaneously). Some loss of reality. Time becomes meaningless. Out of body experiences and e.s.p. type phenomena. Blending of the senses.
    • Level 5
      Total loss of visual connection with reality. The senses cease to function in the normal way. Total loss of ego. Merging with space, other objects, or the universe. The loss of reality becomes so severe that it defies explanation. The earlier levels are relatively easy to explain in terms of measureable changes in perception and thought patterns. This level is different in that the actual universe within which things are normally perceived, ceases to exist! Satori enlightenment (and other such labels).
     
  14. LoneShaman

    LoneShaman Member

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    What might be the connection between government/social influencing factors and public policy positions regarding consciousness-expanding substances?

    I think this goes back to the CIA project Artichoke which stemmed from project Bluebird and later became MKULTRA. I think the explosion of LSD in the 60's was a social experiment. One that had the complete opposite effect they were looking for.
    Conspiracies are human nature, if you think social engineers don't exist and have not influenced society then you are suffering from your own conspiracy theory I think.

    ARTICHOKE/MKULTRA were experiments in mind control of course with intelligence from army, navy, air force and FBI.

    To quote from a 1952 memo.

    "Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?"

    The answer is no you can't.

    In the project ARTICHOKE days large quantities of morning glory seeds were sent to CIA labs from Mexico for analysis. Then CIA scientist James Moore infiltrated one of Gordon Wasson's expeditions to Oaxaca Mexico to visit the shaman Doña María Sabina. Well he did not have a good time, the mushrooms revealed his true self to him. Of course the CIA's shenanigans amounted to zilch. These substances have a liberating effect and cause the questioning of authority, quite the opposite of what was hoped. The timing of the explosion of LSD can't be ignored.

    This is not a theory these are facts.

    Widespread use of psychedelics no doubt would unravel any plans for social engineering and make not for a submissive controllable society.

    Just for fun, and on the related subject, here is an experiment on some British soldiers on LSD. Hilarious!

     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
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  15. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel Member

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    I know you were making an analogy, Michael, but it's a problematic one, to say the least. Ian Stevenson, the well-known consciousness researcher:

    "My first wife was a gifted amateur artist and also a lover of natural beauty, especially that of forests and jungles. Her senses were extraordinarily acute, and I was often aware that she could perceive aspects of the world that I did not. Mescaline could not improve my vision, but it vastly bettered my appreciation of what I saw. The beauty of the colors that I inwardly saw under the influence of mescaline made me ever afterward far more sensitive to color both in nature and in art than I had been before."

    I have a similar story to tell. Many years ago, I took a walk around my neighborhood with a friend, while both of us were under the influence of mushrooms. Since then, he has told me repeatedly that what he experienced that day opened up an entirely new appreciation for nature and visual beauty, and that he's never seen the world the same way since.

    So, without having had such an experience yourself, I think it's silly to jump to conclusions about how it might effect you!
     
  16. brooke

    brooke New

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    Why do anything at all?

    How on earth do you know this?
     
  17. ghost

    ghost New

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    I like the idea that the brain doesn't create consciousness, but instead it traps it, modulates it. So any time there is a disruption in the body, such as a heart attack, the soul tries to escape. It's called a near death experience. So it makes sense that a molecule like DMZ can disrupt the "modulation" of consciousness and cause hallucinations.
     
  18. Alex

    Alex New

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    yea, these kind of contradictions (or what seem like contradictions) are endless... enough to make one a Materialist :) I mean, we don't know what the effect of the ritual is? and, we don't know if we could measure if we tried.
     
  19. Alex

    Alex New

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    agreed. I know I keep pounding this drum, but I think it's an important part of the paradigm shift away from status quo science.


    I don't know. I suspect they kept at it (because that's what we pay them to do) and had some success. Sirhan Sirhan was almost certainly a mind control, manchurian candidate victim.
     
  20. Robert Perry

    Robert Perry Member

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    Interesting interview! In regard to the government and public policy issues regarding psychedelics, it does seem to me that Timothy Leary played a pivotal role in provoking the thought in the government that these substances could to some degree unravel the social order. In this vein, I strongly recommend Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics by Roger Walsh and Charles Grob.
     

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