Fluorescent lights. Plastic cups with pointed bottoms dangle from the water machine. A Top 40 hit blasts, the kind that could never be background music. It demands your full attention, consumes all senses, and shuffles all thought. There’s a flat-screen TV on the wall, but thankfully it’s off. Magazines stacked between me and other patients. Psychology Today. Frankie. LivingNow. Better Homes and Gardens. Tightly woven grey carpet. Neon flyers that read “On relationships,” “Let’s talk about drinking,” “Anger management,” and “Building emotional resilience.” A hand sanitizer pump next to the scented tissues. The soft sound of fingers on a keyboard underneath the still-blaring tune. All of it contributing to a heavy static in the air.
Switching gears along the Yarra River, I pedal faster and faster, heading nowhere in particular. My face just crashed into a party of flies and now I’m swallowing wings. Sinking into my surroundings — the wind, ripples in the water, parrots overhead — with no thoughts of all the elses and elsewheres I could be, I’m tripping.
This microdose feels like a half tab. Which isn’t necessarily bad, except I can’t focus. I can’t sit still. I can’t read the lines of a book without being bombarded by my own. I can’t write. All I can do is keep going and going. Moving through. This is not what I anticipated for a Wednesday morning.Continue reading “Why I quit microdosing”→
Is there a modern male dominion over plant medicine and healing? If so, at which moments across history can we acknowledge those shifts? Shifts in who holds the keys (the chance to accumulate knowledge and obtain/distribute medicine). Was it a violent snatch? A rape? Muhammad’s murders of Goddess worshipers and Acacia trees? The European witch trials and all the burnings? Or does it go back further than that? Is it more inherent within us—because we evolved from chimps, not bonobos? Is the current treatment of this knowledge in alignment with what plant intelligence might suggest or desire themselves? (Assuming plant ability to communicate and transmit information.) Is equality, or some middle way, in the practice/accessibility of these plants possible?
“If flying saucers were to land on the south lawn of the White House tomorrow, it wouldn’t change the fact that DMT is the weirdest thing in the universe… I will never forget my first DMT trip because I was such a case going into it. I mean, if you had known me when I was 19 years old… I was into Jean-Paul Sartre, Camus, Marxism, Freud… I was a jerk. And I came down from it and I was like: I can’t believe it. I was in shock. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. Jesus. I can’t believe it! And I said I’ve got to go back to square one. In a single experience, I was converted from naive rationalism/realism/reductionism to my present position, whatever it is. Really all I’ve done is worked out the personal implications of the DMT flash and tried to create linguistic models of it… It shows you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the world is made of magic. That’s what the world is made of. Not natural law. Not interlocking cause and effect. Not any of these things that are normally associated… The world is magic. Not a little bit. 100%. Every atom from one end of this cosmos to the other is magic magic magic. Certain concerns just die in the first 30 seconds of the DMT flash and can never be brought back to my mind… Some people are not good candidates for the psychedelic experience because they’ve been damaged by life in some way, and so for them, boundaries shouldn’t be dissolved because their whole challenge is to keep boundaries in place. And I remember one case particularly: a woman, who was a friend of mine, I really liked her, but I thought of her as ‘fragile’—not somebody you wanted to lean on in a crisis—she smoked DMT; thrashed, moaned, rolled her eyes back, gave all the exterior symptoms of really having grabbed on. After about ten minutes, she sat up and said: It didn’t work. Nothing happened. I said: Nothing happened? Well, you wanna try again? No way… never, ever, again. So it did work, but the personality was somehow able to seal itself off from the implication. Because the implications quite literally would have destroyed that person. It was a truth they weren’t ready for. And I suppose it’s wonderful that DMT saves you from that. I felt in danger of dying from astonishment when I did it. And I do every time I do it. I mean I don’t know how they keep the lid on this stuff. I think that this is the secret that wants to be told. I think that we are, in a sense, involved in a little cosmic drama here. Fate has chosen you to hear about this. If you’ve never heard about it before, you’re hearing about it now. Now, you don’t have to do anything with the fact that you’re hearing about it, but you have been told at this point. If you now go forward and live in your mundane-stock-portfolio-BMW existence, it’s because you’re making a choice.”
Can the unseen/abstract/spiritual (unknowable, immeasurable) be separated from the seen/material/physical (knowable, measurable)? If the mind cannot exist without the brain, nor consciousness without electric sensation/connection, then isn’t the unknown/spiritual intertwined with the known/physical? Can psychedelics help Western society overcome an extreme secular reaction to religion and return to the mystical/metaphysical through the physical?
Will off-label psychedelic prescription use be the new recreational or will it mostly be sought for self-directed therapy or therapy with the help of alternative facilitators? Will people—with or without diagnosable mental conditions—prefer off-label use so they can direct/choose the therapeutic style?*
How could clinical psychedelic practice accommodate the fact that some people experience the most insights/healing from the most uncomfortable trips? Is there a ‘right way’ to experience a psychedelic trip? How will new psychedelic therapists be trained to deal with patients who receive the message: You kinda suck. Your past behavior—awful. And it’s time to start over. Should legislation allow all people to seek psychedelic experiences in non-clinical settings for personal or ontological inquiry?