Re: Altered states of consciousness

From: Bruno Marchal <marchal.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2009 21:14:07 +0100

Hi Johnathan, Kim, Stathis


I agree with you Johnathan. Scientists learn a lot from extreme cases,
and altered states of consciousness is worth to study, even to
understand better what is a "normal" (if that exists) states of
consciousness.

Now remember that our brain seems to generate already by itself a
numerous of different "naturally", or self-altered, consciousness
states.
The most amazing and well known is the state of the so called
paradoxical sleep, or REM period, or dream state, or reality
simulation state. It is a state unknown by the dinosaurs and the
reptiles. It appears with the birds and then all the homeothermic
animals. Michel Jouvet called it paradoxical, because it makes the
animal hallucinated and paralyzed which makes it an easy prey for the
predator, yet that states has survived 65 millions of years, nobody
really knows why, but we suspect its importance.

During sleep, with some training you can be "lucid" not just during
the REM paradoxical state, you can be somehow lucid during the slow
wave states, and that gives roughly speaking another collection of
four "natural altered states". Fever, some headache, some stroke could
lead to variants.

Why altered states? I can find plausible that in situation of stress,
like for a mouse in the mouth of a cat, your probabilities of
surviving are made higher if your brain has a system of self calm
down, if not self lying. It is known that mouse indeed generates
endogenous morphine like pain killer, and as you know the brain is
full of enhancers and inhibitors. Most drugs coming from plants are
molecules looking like our own inhibitors of enhancers, general or
specific. Which means (but don't repeat) that the first big drugs
constructor is the brain itself (don't repeat because make they will
make the brain and computer illegal).
Like anything alive a big part of the work consists in self-repairing
and all those endogenous drugs, well all, depending the amount, can
alter *a little bit more* the state of consciousness, than it does in
normal circumstances, so that, again, a normal state of consciousness
is a sum of altered states in a equilibrium, belonging to some
neighborhood of states.

And why does plant constructs altered states of consciousness
molecules? In my opinion it has all to do with the incredibly complex
relationships that plant have with animals, in general, and insects in
particular. Many plants have to detract predator insects. By killing
them, or by just smelling like, or imitating the smell of, of the
appearance of the worst predators of the insect (sort of lies!). But
they must also to attract insects, feed them, and manipulate them in
such a way that Mister plant can send its Message to Missis Plant
which leaves at five miles from Him. You bet that with millions of
years they knows about manipulating insects and animals, from predator
and pollinator to consumers.

And which explains perhaps why there are so much medicinal and
"psychedelic" plants (entheogen).

Now I agree with you Johnathan, that for discussing about
consciousness, we should distinguish between drugs which alter the
mood and the perception, like cannabis and alcohol from hallucinogen,
like some mushrooms and cactus, and dissociators like Ketamine. Salvia
Divinorum, strictly speaking, is a bit of both a dissociator and an
hallucinogen. The first alter your "actual" consciousness, the second
triggers an actual different in nature experience, like an out of body
experience, or a near death experience, or a dream, or a dream-like
scenario. Typically and without training you don't remain lucid: you
forget you are under the product. You can't take Salvia casually, you
take it to live a particular experience which requires your attention,
and preparation.

Now, I would not compare the effect of Salvia with anything produced
by any other entheogen. When smoked, it produces an effect which lasts
in general between 3 and 6 minutes. Unlike cannabis, alcohol, LSD, and
many others, the effect is disphoric, meaning not typically pleasant.
Animals does not push twice on the "button" with salvia, showing in
particular it is not addictive. Normal, "my thesis" in four minutes,
the poor animals!

The effect are quite different from people to people, and according to
the concentration of the salvinorin molecules. You find it from 1X
(the leaves), to 5X, 10X, ... 40X (beyond it seems to me only the
price grows up, not the effect).

Many meet typical archetypes (elves, carnival wheel, clown). Some will
relive childhood events, or complete life of someone else. Most will
talk about a strong pulling or pushing rotation, physically felt,
which can sometimes leads to being cut in billions parts and send to
as much parallel realities (some can panic here). All talk about
realities and perception of realities. many% (on about 1000 reports)
talk explicitly about feeling a "feminine presence", which "teach" you
something, the last point of it seeming unmemorable. Some lives the
experience very badly. In my own experiment, with 30 participants (one
by one), they made rewarding experiences, you just need to be patient
and to increase the amount of concentration incrementally, and to
encourage the respect of the plant. Most learns this by experience.

Is it safe? The effect are impressive, but apparently not dangerous.
If you look at the YouTube Video, you see that used in the worst
conditions it leads, in the worse case only to bruises and nightmares.
(With alpinism, a slight error can kill you and others). Like
cannabis, no overdose level exists. Given big amount of
"infinityX" (pure salvinorin) to rats makes then "sleep" for 4
minutes, and then they resume their activities. It is estimated that
on the last 2 millions of American who smoked salvia, there are zero
death related to it, nor even emergency calls. There are thousand of
death related to alcohol consumption, and many more injuries, just to
compare.

Salvia is above all a medicinal plant. Incredibly enough, I did cure a
severe migraine recently. The person told me she did try all possible
medications, without success, she has to just keep calm in the dark
for 12 hours. A little hit of leave made it disappear in three
minutes. It is one of the main use among the Mazatec. It helps for
nasal congestion too, it helps for sleep (always 1X here).
It is antidepressant, and it is antiaddictive. It is a medication
against drugs!

And yes Kim, it is easy (far more than cannabis which is already easy)
to grow your own plant and to multiply it. It is alas less easy to
find the plant, there are no seeds available, because Salvia Divinorum
has literally abandon sexual reproduction (I think she did have its
own predator as pollinator, explaining the subtleties of her message).
You don't need light, she hates light, she loves the dark, heat and
water a lot. She lives, or at least her ancestors were used to live
(because since 700 years she has been cultivated by the Mexican
Mazatec) in dark hot and humid forest, in the nightlight of the day
within the shadows of trees with many branches. Below 0 (celsius) she
dies.

I am glad I found my master. A plant! (grin). But I will continue to
explain UDA+AUDA for those who prefer the pure third person
communicable way. Don't worry, (or worry, perhaps :). It is a
question of taste. Reality is creative, beyond wonders and surprises.
People who does not like wonders, surprises should not study computer
science and logics, neither physics, and should avoid Lewis Carroll
and Salvia Divinorum. That plant likes joking. Here a video of someone
very sensible, and a bit unprepared, who seems to appreciate the joke:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1QavlZe2H8&feature=channel_page

About that plant, I would like to add that I am certainly in favor of
some regulation. But criminalization of it is no less than criminal.
The plant becomes really dangerous: it can send you to hell (jail),
even without smoking it!
We should have laws forbidding defamation about products related to
health. Against the abuse of systematic well known errors of logic,
the ignorance of what is a trance states, etc.

Best,

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/




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Received on Sun Mar 22 2009 - 16:15:45 PDT

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