Re: Altered states of consciousness

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 21:54:09 +1100

2009/3/20 Johnathan Corgan <>:

> A review of the vast literature of the subjective effects of
> hallucinogens such as salvinorin A, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and LSD
> reveals 1-pov experiences that, while not corresponding to consensus
> "1st person plural" reality, are still structured and internally
> consistent.
> In many cases, their effects go beyond mere sensory distortion, and
> provide the experiencer with a direct, entirely novel "replacement" set
> of qualia, reported to be like "being transported to a new reality."
> And, by all accounts, the experienced qualia appear to "kick back" in
> the Deutsch/Johnson sense.
> In the terminology of the theories expounded on this discussion list,
> what sort of observer moments correspond to these 1-pov experiences?
> How are they distinguished from those that correspond to consensus
> reality?  Most people would dismiss the subjective experience of
> hallucinogens as merely the chaos induced by chemically disrupting the
> brain's operation, yet a large fraction of the reports in the literature
> are anything but chaotic.
> If one adheres to the consciousness-as-computation hypothesis, what sort
> of computations are involved in these cases?

I see the idea of the observer moment as extremely general, covering
every possible form of consciousness, from animals with simple nervous
systems to people with hebephrenic schizophrenia to godlike Jupiter
brains. Brains that correspond to "consensus reality" are simply a
special case, adapted to a particular environment. If the behaviour of
a flatworm's nervous system can be emulated on a computer then I see
no reason why the behaviour of a human brain, whether functioning
normally or hallucinating, can't also be so emulated.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Fri Mar 20 2009 - 06:54:20 PDT

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