The subjective components of a Dissociative trip
Dissociatives are a class of hallucinogen which distort perceptions of sight and sound and produce feelings of detachment and dissociation from the environment and self. This is done through reducing or blocking signals to the conscious mind from other parts of the brain. Although many kinds of drugs are capable of such action, dissociatives are unique in that they do so in such a way that they produce hallucinogenic effects, which generally include sensory deprivation, dissociation, hallucinations, and dream-like states or trances. Some, which are nonselective in action and affect the dopamine and/or opioid systems, may also be capable of inducing euphoria.
All of the classical Dissociatives are pharmacologically categorized as NMDA receptor antagonists. NMDA receptors within the brain exist to allow for the transfer of electrical signals between neurons in the brain and in the spinal column. For electrical signals to pass, the NMDA receptor must be open. To remain open, the neurotransmitters known as glutamate and glycine must bind to the NMDA receptor. An NMDA receptor that has glycine and glutamate bound to it and has an open ion channel is called “activated.” Dissociatives are NMDA receptor antagonists which means they bind to the receptor but do not activate it and block other neurotransmitters from doing so. The result is a dosage dependent decrease in the passing of electrical signals across the brain and a disconnection of neurones. This leads to states of disconnection between conscious parts of the brain and its sensory organs as well as out of body experiences and accompanying hallucinations.
This guide is in reference to all of the classical Dissociatives including but not limited to,
Ketamine, MXE, MXP, DXM, PCP and 3-MeO-PCP.
This list excludes Nitrous Oxide which feels completely a-typical in comparison.
This guide will categorize the universal effects that occur between each of the classical dissociatives and break them down into their base components.
Disconnection from tactile input:
Disconnection from tactile input can be defined at lower to moderate doses as a disconnection from the physical senses which is only partial in its effects. This creates a number of changes in a person’s perception of the physical body which generally include:
- Feeling as if your body is not your own
- Feeling as if your body is performing its physical actions autonomously and on its own accord
- A partial loss of tactile input or general bodily numbness and anaesthesia
- A partial loss of fine and gross motor control
At higher dosages, this disconnection of the physical senses makes the transition from partial to entirely all-encompassing. This results in a complete disconnection from one’s own body and full-blown anaesthesia which is accompanied by a total loss of motor control. Once this happens the tripper will find themselves in a catatonic state with an inability to perform even the simplest of physical tasks.
Disconnection from visual input:
Disconnection from visual input can be described as the experience of becoming disconnected from one’s sense of sight in a level of intensity that is proportional to dosage. At lower to moderate dosages, this is only partial in its effects and creates a number of changes in a person’s perception of sight which generally includes:
- Feeling as if one is watching the world through a screen.
- Blurred vision and a general difficulty in perceiving fine details.
- Feeling as if the visually perceivable world is further away in distance.
- Feeling as if one is looking at the world through somebody else’s eyes.
- Double vision which at higher levels, forces the user to close one eye if they need to read or perceive fine visual details.
At higher dosages, the disconnection from visual input makes the transition from partial to entirely all-encompassing in its effects. This results in a complete perceptual disconnection from the sense of sight. It can be described as the experience of being completely blinded and unable to tell whether the eyes are open or closed due to the total lack of sensory input.
Holes, spaces and voids:
Holes, spaces and voids can be described as the place one finds themselves in once disconnection from visual input becomes all-encompassing and leaves the tripper incapable of receiving external sensory input. This replaces their visual awareness with a consistent and defined space which feels as if it is outside of normal reality. The visual appearance of this space can be described as a vast, empty and darkened void which feels and appears to be truly infinite in size. This space is usually obsidian black in its colour but occasionally displays itself with large patches of slow moving amorphous colour butts strewn out across its horizon. Alongside of this visual experience, there are changes in gravity and the physical sensation of an out of body experience in which one weightlessly floats over great distances in a variety of different speeds, directions and orientations.
Structures can be described as the only feature found within what would otherwise be completely empty and featureless spaces and holes. They manifest as the visual experience of monolithic 3-dimensional shapes or structures of infinite variety and size that float above, below or in front of the person as they gradually zoom, rotate or pan into focus and become unveiled before one’s eyes at a gradually pace.
These structures can take any shape possible but are commonly as experienced as vast and giant pillars, columns, blocks, tear drops, wheels and pyramids. They are often fractal in nature and capable of being manifested in any variety of colours but usually follow darker themes and tones with a style that is often described and interpreted as “alien” in nature. In terms of the materials that they appear to be comprised of and the complexity of detail in which they are perceived in, the structures can be broken into 4 basic levels. These are described and listed below:
- 2-Dimensional Structures - The most basic level of structural complexity confines its form to strictly 2-Dimensional shapes. These shapes are usually very flat and dark in their colour and often “felt” instead of seen. In terms of their size, these structures take up the entirety of a person’s visual field but do not appear to have any particular size attributed to them.
- Partially defined 3-Dimensional Structures - At this level the structures become better defined and 3-Dimensional in shape with basic detail in their lighting and shadow. They appear to be made of semi-transparent condensed colour or solidified shimmering geometry and are seen as ill-defined and out of focus around their edges. In terms of size, these structures appear to be extremely large, stretching out across hundreds and hundreds of metres.
- Fully defined 3-Dimensional Structures - Once hallucinatory structures reach their third level of complexity, they become fully defined in their shape, edges, lighting, shadow and detail. They often appear to be made of solid and dense realistic materials such as stone and metal, they are capable of being thousands of miles across themselves and extremely complex in form.
- Structural universes - As dosage increases, the detail continues to complexify proportionally until the highest level of structure is reached. This can be described as the sensation of seeing that which is perceived as the entire universe condensed into an infinitely vast and intricate self-transforming machine structure. In terms of its appearance, this state is extremely hard to describe. The structure can take any form but usually appear as consistently shaped machine-like structures or butts that convey huge amounts of innately readable information, are infinite in size and felt at every point of detail across themselves. This is innately interpreted as “the universe” or at least, “everything” by everybody who undergoes the experience.
Structures typically last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes before the person slips back into reality or into the presence of another structure. There are three different methods through which these hallucinatory structures are shifted between.
- Structural Transformations - Structures can switch between each other by transforming in a static, comprehensible way. This is something that usually unfolds in a rather slow, step by step morphing process.
- Structural Panning - Structures can switch between each other by remaining completely static in their shape but simply panning out of view until they are no longer within one’s field of vision. It’s from here that another structure usually comes into view from outside of one’s peripheral vision within a few seconds to a couple of minutes.
- Travelling over great distances - The third method of transitioning is experienced when the structures appear to be stationary whilst one is floating silently between them over what feels like vast physical distance. This is often done on an invisible rail through the vast and infinite dissociative hole, and is a feeling that is interpreted by many people as flying through space or the night sky.
Structures typically last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes before the person slips back into reality or into the presence of another structure. There are three different methods through which these hallucinatory structures are shifted between.
- Structural Transformations - Structures can switch between each other by morphing around you in a static, comprehensible way. This is something that usually unfolds in front of you in a rather slow, step by step morphing process.
- Structural Panning - Structures can switch between each other by remaining completely static in their shape but simply panning out of view until they are no longer within your field of vision. It’s from here that another structure usually comes into view from outside of your peripheral vision within a few seconds to a couple of minutes.
- Travelling over great distances - The third method of transitioning is experienced when the structures appear to be stationary whilst you are floating silently between them over what feels like vast physical distance. This is often done on an invisible rail through the vast and infinite dissociative hole, and is a feeling that is interpreted by many people as flying through space or the night sky.
Disconnection from consciousness:
Disconnection from consciousness can be defined at lower to moderate doses as only partial in its effects. This creates a number of changes in a person’s internal thought processes and perception of their own consciousness which generally includes:
- Feeling as though reality has become distant and vague
- Feeling as though reality is a film or a dream which plays out in front of you
- Feeling as though the world beyond your immediate external environment is simply non-existent
- A dosage proportional decrease in the overall speed, connectivity and analytical abilities of the conscious thought stream
- Feeling as though your conscious thought stream is not your own, allowing it to be analysed from an unbiased third person perspective
At higher dosages, the disconnection from consciousness eventually makes the transition from partial to all-encompassing. This results in the complete failure of a person’s conscious thought stream, sense of self and long term memory. It can be experientially described as a state that is functionally identical to psychedelic-induced ego death and the feeling that there is no longer an “I” experiencing the trip; there is just the experience, as it is and by itself.
The process of sensory and cognitive detachment can be broken down into 5 distinct levels of increasing intensity:
- Partial detachment - This can be described as feelings of surreality and general detachment from the external environment. It is often accompanied by a sense of mild to moderate energetic stimulation.
- Partial detachment from environment - As the detachment increases, the environment starts to become physically further away in distance and increasingly disconnected from a person’s sensory perception. Blurred vision sets in while anaesthetic-like effects and tactile numbness begin to take place. At this point, motor control, coordination and balance become suppressed in a way that is proportional to dosage. In terms of sound, hearing also seems to become muffled and distant.
- Total detachment from environment - This is complete disconnection from the body. It is here where the tripper finds themselves undergoing an out of body experience as they enter the dissociative hole.
- Detachment from self - The fourth level of dissociation and detachment occurs during the point at which the brain’s neurons have become so disconnected that a person’s sense of “I”, mind and self ceases to exist, resulting in ego death.
- Detachment from awareness - The highest level of detachment occurs when the neurons within a person’s brain have become so disconnected from each other that the tripper literally passes out into total unconsciousness. This consistently leaves extended gaps in a person’s memory and large periods of amnesia which are generally impossible to recall once the experience is over.
Perspective distortions can be described as subtle to drastic changes in the size and distance attributed either to a person’s body, to specific parts of the external environment or to the external environment as a whole.
When affecting distance, perspective distortions can make things seem as if they are physically closer or further away than they usually would be. For example this can range from a subtle experience such as the other side of the room feeling marginally further away than it usually would be or it can be an extreme experience such as feeling as if the horizon is right in front of you.
When affecting size, perspective distortions can make things seem as if they are physically smaller or larger in terms of the sense of size that one would usually attribute to them. For example, this can range from a subtle experience such as the the room feeling marginally smaller and more cramped than it usually would be or it can be an extreme experience such as feeling as if the room is hundreds of miles wide or even infinitely huge.
Feelings of suddenly having an impossibly giant or tiny body are also a very common manifestation of this effect. This feeling is already known by the scientific literature as “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome” and it is known as a temporary condition often associated with migraines, brain tumours and the use of psychoactive drugs. The effect can either be specifically attributed to the body as a whole or certain parts of it. For example, feelings of having a huge head or tiny limbs are entirely possible.
Environmental cubism is a distortion characterized by a visual segmenting or partitioning of the external environment into squares and cubes of varying amounts and sizes. Once established, these partitions begin to slowly drift away from their original location and often change in size leading to gaps that are formed in between them. The space within these gaps is either completely dark or composed of tightly bound visual geometry. This dark space can eventually grow, progressively decreasing the size of the cubes until one finds themselves surrounded by a dissociative hole. It is not uncommon to be able to innately feel and detect the details and layout of both the different sections of the distortion and the gaps between them.
This effect is remarkably similar in its appearance to cubist photography and artwork.
Environmental orbism is a visual distortion characterized by a partitioning of the environment a person is currently in. This is manifested in the form of spherical 3-dimensional “orbs” that retain most of the detail and identity of the space they’re distorting. These orbs vary in size which leads to gaps that are formed in between. The space within these gaps is either completely dark or composed of tightly bound visual geometry. This dark space can eventually grow, progressively decreasing the size of the orbs until one finds themselves surrounded by a dissociative hole.
Scenery slicing is an effect which only occurs spontaneously and makes the visual field appear as if it has been cut in a remarkably clean way into separate slices with some sort of razor blade. These separate slices then proceed to drift slowly away from their original position and can be as simple as three separate sections or as complex as multiple slices of a moving interlocking spiral that’s been cut into your field of vision.
Geometry can be described as the experience of a person’s field of vision being partially or completely encompassed by fast-moving, kaleidoscopic, and indescribably complex geometric patterns, form constants, shapes, fractals, structures and colour.
Geometry never stands still at any point and remains extremely fast-changing and self-transforming in terms of its shape and style. During this process, the geometry naturally drifts laterally or radially across the visual field to create overlapping webs of many arising and decaying geometric patterns, all of which are visible within a single perceptual frame.
There are eight different levels of visual geometry, each one increasingly complex and incomprehensible. These are defined and documented below:
- Visual Noise – This is the most basic level of geometry and can be experienced in a completely sober state. It can be described as visual noise or static combined with random light and dark red regions that can be seen under the eyelids.
- Motion and Colour – This level is also easily obtainable without hallucinogens and can be described as the appearance of unstructured regions of fleeting flashes and butts of colour.
- Partially Defined Geometry - At this level complex indescribable shapes and patterns begin to show themselves. However, the patterns can be described as strictly 2-dimensional. Geometry at this level is fine, small, and zoomed out in size with a dark colour palette that limits itself to only a few different shades such as blacks, reds and dark purples. They are displayed in front of both the open and closed-eye visual field across a flat veil of geometry, but are significantly more detailed with the eyes closed or within dark environments.
- Fully Defined Geometry – This is the level where the detail in which the geometry displays itself becomes profoundly complex but remains strictly 2-Dimensional. At this point the geometry becomes large in size and extremely intricate in detail with a colour palette that is limitless in its possibilities. They are displayed on both the open and closed-eye visual field across a flat veil of geometry that floats directly in front of the eyes, remaining significantly more detailed with the eyes closed or in dark environments.
In comparison to other classes of hallucinogen, this effect is significantly less complex and intricate with a limited range of effects. It does not extend into beyond level 4 and is variable within most of its variations but exclusively simplistic in complexity, unstructured in organization, dimly lit in lighting, slow in movement and immersive in depth.
External hallucinations experienced during a dissociative trip occur as solid hallucinations which display themselves seamlessly into the external environment as if they were actually happening. These only occur at extremely high dosages within dissociatives and are much rarer than the internal hallucinations. They can be either delirious or lucid in believability and can be broken down into 3 basic levels:
- Erratic hallucinations - The second lowest level of hallucination generally consists of visual snow and static, movement in the peripheral vision, and/or ill defined, fleeting hallucinations which disappear once a person double takes. These often consist of black splotches and pronounced floaters.
- Partially defined hallucinations - At this level the hallucinations are visible within one’s direct line of sight despite the fact that they are not fully defined in their appearance. This means that although visible, they do not look completely detailed and are often blurry or semi-translucent.
- Defined hallucinations - As the vividness and intensity increases, the trip eventually becomes comprised of completely realistic and static hallucinations. These are generally considered by those who have experienced them to be completely convincing in their appearance.
Although the hallucinations can be anything there are still common archetypes. These hallucinations are generally (but not by any means limited to):
- Family, friends, strangers and fictional characters, usually behaving completely normally
- Animals and pets
- Shadow people
- Smoking phantom cigarettes, spliffs and bowls
- Literally anything your imagination can come up with
Internal hallucinations begin at lower doses as imagery on the back of one’s eyelids. These can be described as spontaneous moving or still scenes, objects, people, animals, concepts, places or anything you could possibly imagine. They are displayed in varying levels of detail ranging from cartoon-like in nature to completely realistic (although rarely holding form for more than a few seconds before fading or shifting into another image). These sets of imagery commonly include:
everyday objects, living things, plants, animals, insects, architecture, structures, shapes, atoms, molecules, complex mathematical formulae/concepts, linguistic concepts, mechanisms, technology, machine creatures, self-replicating machines, people, faces, eyes, body parts, organs, food, cultural references, fictional characters, logos, religious symbolism, creatures, monsters, demons, mythology, furniture and more.
During certain experiences, imagery is often manifested as an exact visual representation of whatever you are currently thinking about within your mind’s eye, turning abstract ideas into a concrete images and remaining consistently limitless in its abilities.
As internal hallucinations become more defined, detailed and all-encompassing this creates the feeling that the tripper has broken through into another reality. The things which occur within this perceived alternate reality can be anything but generally fall under common archetypes such as contact with autonomous entities, imagined landscapes, spirit dimensions, and situations that seem so unlike anything previously experienced that they are, in all probability, untranslatable into English. The content of these experiences is often described to feel transcendental, mystical, spiritual and religious in nature, regardless of the tripper’s theistic beliefs. It is not uncommon for people to report that the hallucinations felt infinitely “more real” than anything the person has previously experienced throughout sober living. More often than not however they are simply randomized scenarios of no particular significance with a heavy emphasis on memory replays.
In comparison to psychedelic hallucinations they are significantly less likely to be immersive or interactive. Instead they consist of fixed plots that the tripper separately watches from afar as if they were a film on a screen. In terms of their general stylistic appearance they tend to be completely solid and realistic in how they look.
Overall, the degrees of intensity can be broken down into five simple levels:
- Enhancement of mental visualization - The lowest level of hallucination can be described as a powerful enhancement of a person’s ability to mentally visualize concepts. This internal visualization feels like one extremely vivid daydream after another and follows a person’s thought stream in a way that can be seen at a moderate level of detail within the mind’s eye.
- Partially defined hallucinations - This level of hallucination generally consists of movement in the peripheral vision and ill-defined, faded imagery on the back of one’s eyelids.
- Fully defined hallucinations - As the vividness and intensity increases, the imagery eventually becomes fully defined in its appearance and displays itself within the tripper’s direct line of sight.
- Partially defined breakthroughs - These begin with random flashes of spontaneous scenarios. These are capable of becoming fully grounded and long-lasting, but are not completely defined in their appearance. They often display themselves as partially to completely blurred and transparent with the tripper’s physical body still feeling at least partially connected to the real world.
- Fully defined breakthroughs - Once the hallucinations become sufficiently elaborate they eventually become all-encompassing, permanent, ever-shifting alternate realities which appear completely realistic, extremely detailed, and highly vivid in the way they look along with the sensation of a complete disconnection from the physical body.
Higher states state of internal hallucinations can be broken down into three distinct subcomponents.
Contact with autonomous entities are very common. These entities generally appear to be the inhabitants of a perceived independent reality and they are expectant of your appearance and enjoy interacting with you in various ways. The behaviour of a typical dissociative entity is one of an indifferent and uncaring personality which will only interact and speak with the tripper on the odd occasion. Entities can literally take any form but common subconscious Jungian archetypes are definitely present and include:
bodiless super intelligent humanoids, aliens, elves, giant spheres, insectoids, cat beings, beings of light, plants, robotic machines, gods, goddesses, demons, human beings and more.
Regardless of presentation, there are distinctly different types of entities which one may encounter, each of which represent a particular subsection of one’s own consciousness through both their visible form and their personality. These can be broken down into 3 separate categories and include:
- Representations of the self - The simplest form of entity can be described as simply a mirror of one’s own personality. It can take any visible form but clearly adopts an obviously identical vocabulary and set of mannerisms to one’s own personality when conversed with.
- Representations of the subconscious - This category of entity can take any visible form but adopts the personality of what seems to be a conscious controller behind the continuous generation of the details behind one’s own mind-scape and internally stored model of reality. When conversed with, it usually adopts an attitude which wants to teach or guide the tripper and assumes that it knows what is best for them.
- Representations of specific concepts - This category of entity is by far the most varied type in terms of its visual form and immediately perceivable personality. It can be identified as a simulated representation of any internally stored concept and adopts an appropriate personality to fit this to an amazing degree of accurate detail. For example, this specific concept could include people you have met throughout your life, fictional characters or symbolic representations of abstract concepts such as emotions or key parts of one’s own personality.
When communicated with through spoken word, the level of coherency in which these entities can reply with is highly variable but can be broken down into 4 distinct levels of communication:
- Silence - This level can be defined as a complete unresponsiveness from the side of the entity and an incapability of speech despite their obvious presence within the hallucination.
- Partially defined incoherent speech - This level can be defined as audible linguistic conversational responses and noises which sound like words but do not contain any real content or meaning beyond a vague sense of emotional intent.
- Fully defined incoherent speech - This level can be defined as audible linguistic conversational responses and noises which contain fully defined and understandable words but often lack grammatical structure or general coherency.
- Fully defined coherent speech - This level can be defined as audible linguistic conversational responses and noises which contain fully defined and understandable words as well as fully defined grammatical structure and general coherency, conveying its point on a level which is on par with the trippers own intellect.
These entities and creatures may also communicate with trippers via a combination of telepathy, visual linguistics, mathematics and morphing coloured structures of different textures.
Landscapes, sceneries and settings
At level 4 - 5, hallucinations consistently manifest themselves through the essential component of extremely detailed imagined landscapes, locations and sceneries of an infinite variety. These exist for the purpose of acting as the setting in which the plot of the hallucination occurs. The geography of these settings is capable of rendering itself as static and coherent in organization but will usually result in a non-linear, nonsensical and continuously ever-changing layout which does not obey the rules of everyday physics. In terms of the chosen locations, appearance and style of these settings, they seem to be selected at random and are often entirely new and previously unseen locations. They do however play a heavy emphasis on replicating and combining real life locations stored within the tripper’s memories, especially those which are prominent within one’s life and daily routine. Aside from this they commonly include:
planetary systems, galaxies, quasars, jungles, rain forests, deserts, ice-scapes, cities, natural environments, caves, space habitats, vast structures, civilizations, technological utopias, ruins, machinescapes, rooms and other indoor environments, neurons, DNA, atoms, molecules, mitochondria and more.
At other points they act as something which is flown over but are also often experienced through the act of autonomous entities, directly manipulating what you can see and view. These entities intentionally propel trippers in different directions at disorienting speeds, forcing them to view or pass directly through macroscopic and microscopic scale settings including both previously experienced landscapes and previously unexperienced landscapes.
Scenarios and plots
Each of the above components are randomly shuffled and spliced into any number of an infinite variety of potential plots and scenarios. These may be positive or negative to experience and are difficult to define in a comprehensive manner in much the same way that we cannot predict the plot of abstract literature and films. They can however be broken down into extremely basic occurrences which generally entail visiting some sort of setting or a number of them which contain within them interactive, multiple, or lone characters. Alongside of these, completely unpredictable plot devices and events force the tripper to become involved within the specific scenario of the particular dream.
These scenarios and plots can be linear and logical with events that occur in a rational sequence which lead onto each other through cause and effect. They are equally likely however to present themselves as completely nonsensical and incoherent. This means that the plot will occur with spontaneous events which are capable of ending, starting and changing between each other repeatedly in quick succession and as they please. The plots themselves can either be entirely new experiences that are unlike anything experienced within the real world, old experiences such as accurate memory replays or a combination of the two.
In terms of the amount of time in which they are experienced, hallucinatory plots and scenarios usually feel as if they are being experienced in real-time. This means that when 20 seconds have been felt to have passed within the hallucination, the exact same amount of time will have passed in the real world. At other points, however, distortions of time can make themselves present, resulting in plots and scenarios that can feel as if they literally last days, weeks, months, years, or even infinitely long periods of time.
In terms of the perspective in which the hallucinations are perceived through, just like literary plots, dreams can be experienced through four alternate vantage points which are described and listed below.
- 1st person - this is the most common form of hallucination and can be described as the perfectly normal experience of perceiving the scenario from the perspective of one’s everyday self and body.
- 2nd person - this can be described as the experience of perceiving the hallucination from the perspective of an external source of consciousness such as another person, an animal or an inanimate object.
- 3rd person - this is essentially an out-of-body experience and can be described as perceiving the hallucination from a perspective which is floating above, below, behind, or in front of the dreamer’s physical body. It is worth noting that for unknown reasons, many people consistently and exclusively dream in the third person perspective.
- 4th person - this is particularly rare but entirely possible and can be described as the experience of perceiving the hallucination from the perspective of multiple vantage points simultaneously.
Time distortion is an effect that makes the passage of time difficult to keep track of and wildly distorted. It can be felt in two different forms: time expansion and time compression.
The most common of these is time expansion. Time expansion can be described as the feeling that time has completely slowed down. This generally seems to stem from the fact that during an intense hallucinogenic experience, abnormally large amounts of experience are felt in very short periods of time. This creates the illusion that more time has passed than really has. At the highest level of time expansion, it can feel as if the passage of time has stopped completely, which is known as a moment of eternity.
The second form, time compression, is rarer but entirely possible. It can be described as the experience of time speeding up and passing much quicker than it generally should.
Introspection can be defined as the experience of a state of mind which consistently directs one’s thoughts into a deep contemplation and analysis regarding one’s own life, both as a whole and the as the things which comprise it. This gives the person a powerful ability to dissect and rationally analyse problems, allowing them to reach a state of logical resolution and/or personal acceptance regarding past events, the present situation, future possibilities and inner demons. The outcome of which consistently results in an abundance of insightful and often life changing ideas and conclusions pertaining to one’s own personal existence and the various loved ones which they hold close to them.
It is important to note, however, that not everybody is willing to face, resolve and move on from their personal problems as some prefer to ignore and repress them. It is a person’s willingness to face the truth of their own life that is a huge factor in determining whether or not a person is capable of enjoying the experiences which hallucinogens can offer. This is because introspective states bring our insecurities, past regrets and repressed traumas into the very forefront of our consciousness. Fighting these revelations through denial or repression is a very common trigger for negative experiences that could be otherwise avoided.
Deja-vu is a common phrase from the French language which translates literally into “already seen”. This is a well documented phenomenon that can commonly occur throughout both sober living and under the influence of hallucinogens. It can be described as having the strong sensation that the current event or situation has already been experienced at some point within the past when, in fact, it hasn’t.
Certain substances are commonly capable of inducing spontaneous and often prolonged states of mild to intense sensations of deja-vu. This provides trippers with an overwhelming sense that they have “been here before”.
The sensation is accompanied by a false feeling of familiarity with the effects of the substance itself, the current location or setting, the current physical actions being performed, and the situation as a whole.
Deja-Vu is triggered and felt by the tripper despite the fact that they are rationally aware that the circumstances of the “previous” experience (when, where, and how the earlier experience occurred) are uncertain or believed to be impossible.
Removal of cultural filter:
Removal of cultural filter can be described as the suppression of a geographically determined bias that human beings look through in their every day life. This bias affects our ability to evaluate the world around us in ways that are much more powerful than most people are willing to admit.
It seems that a human being’s perspective on the world is built up out of a complex set of filters which are based upon pre-existing beliefs, past experiences, fears, prejudices, stereotypes, and cultural symbols. This gives us a powerfully consistent and unconscious tendency to notice and assign significance to observations that confirm existing cultural beliefs while filtering out and rationalizing observations that do not confirm existing cultural beliefs. The cultural filter forces us to look at the world, not as a human being, but as a false version of our true selves— be it a conservative Christian mother, a Muslim housewife, an aboriginal tribesman, or a materialistic cynical white middle-class male with a European Christian heritage and atheistic beliefs.
It’s said that we don’t look at things as they are, but instead look at things as we are. The experience of this component, however, seems to completely obliterate this geographically determined bias and shows people that culture is merely a subjective and often delusional perspective— not an objective reality. This experience can create profound changes in perspective that can last a lifetime by making people become who they really are and not what they were raised to be.
Conceptual thinking can be described as a forced change in perspective which frees the conscious thought stream from remaining strictly limited to linguistic content such as words and labels. This allows the tripper to think not just in verbal descriptions, but directly in the internally stored concepts that lay behind them.
In terms of how this feels, it can be described as the concepts behind the words and labels of our thought stream undergoing the sensation of becoming cognitively felt at every point across themselves at the same time as the thought of the label or word which we attribute to it. Alongside of this, these concepts also become perceived simultaneously through a partially to fully animated internal visual manifestation.
This experience results in the perceived ability of being able to clearly feel the precise consequences, limitations, and position within this universe of any singular concept. These feelings are consistently interpreted as a “higher level of understanding” and seems to stem from the way in which this perspective reveals human language as intrinsically self-limited through the way in which it demonstrates that words can only act as mere shortcuts to the concepts which they exist to describe.
At lower levels, these states of conceptual thinking can be described as thought stream specific. This means that the concepts which are being felt, seen and “understood” are exclusively relevant to the words which you are currently thinking. These will feel identical in stylistic behaviour whether the concept is arrived at by a simple wandering of thoughts or triggered through the experience of a concept or object perceived within the external environment.
Perhaps the most common example of this which many could relate to would be the experience of looking at a plant of any sort and internally feeling (as well as visually perceiving) everything that you happen to know about plants, photosynthesis, and the evolution of vegetation (no matter how vague or abstract this knowledge might be).
At higher levels, these states of conceptual thinking stop being specific to the words contained within your current thought stream and start becoming all-encompassing towards every last internally stored piece of knowledge the tripper has ever known.
This leads onto feelings which are consistently interpreted as a new-found level of “total and complete understanding” as the consequences, limitations, and position within this universe of every single concept which the tripper previously only knew in terms of its description, becomes felt through a very real, emotionally intuitive, and undeniable perspective.
Perhaps the most common examples of this which those within the psychonaut community can relate to would be the experience of a total and profound understanding regarding (but not limited to) the themes and archetypes listed below:
- General scientific principles
- Taking care of your personal health
- Your position within nature and higher systems of order
- The consequences of your actions and your responsibility towards them
- Human civilization as the literal cutting edge of physical complexity
- Living in balance with nature to the best of your abilities
- The inevitability of death
- The sheer unlikeliness of personal existence
It’s through the direct experience of the concepts behind our linguistic knowledge that new life changing perspectives are suddenly felt in an obvious way. These new found viewpoints are rarely considered by the tripper to be the creation of a single new idea or creative insight. Instead, they are nothing more than the integration of previously held knowledge which was already understood intellectually into a system which directly feels them in a newly found physically felt, clearly understandable, and emotionally felt format.
Direct communication with the subconscious:
Direct communication with the subconscious can be generally defined as that of engaging in articulate and meaningful linguistic conversations with a disembodied and separate voice of unknown origin residing within one’s own head.
In a general level of detail, the overall conversational style of that which is discussed between both the voice and its host can be described as essentially identical in terms of its coherency and linguistic intelligibility as that of any other everyday interaction between the self and another human being with which one might engage in conversation with.
There are however some subtle but identifiable differences between this experience and that of normal every day conversations. Each of which stem from the important factor that one’s specific set of knowledge, memories and experiences are identical to that of the voice which is being communicated with. This key factor results in a conversation in which both participants share a noticeably identical personal vocabulary down to the very use of their colloquial slang and subtle mannerisms. Alongside of this it’s important to note that unlike every day conversation, no matter how in depth and detailed the discussion becomes, no entirely new information is ever exchanged between the two conversers. Instead, the discussion focuses primarily on building upon old ideas to an amazing extreme and exchanging profoundly insightful new opinions or perspectives regarding the previously established content of one’s life. These opinions consistently take an approach to any situation which remains devoid of the emotional attachments, biases and irrationality that plague the cognitive decision-making processes of our every day consciousness.
All of this results in a separate consciousness from one’s self which consistently takes on the role of what is perceived to be a spiritual teacher, healer or guide. To aid itself in this goal the voice is often capable of directly manipulating various aspects and intensities of the trip and will either clearly explain the logic behind its decisions or choose to keep it a mystery.
As a whole, the effect itself can be broken down into 4 distinct levels of progressive intensity, each of which are listed below.
- A sensed presence of the other - This level can be defined as the distinctive feeling that another form of consciousness is internally present alongside that of one’s usual sense of self.
- Mutually generated internal responses - This level can be defined as internal linguistic responses to one’s own thoughts and feelings which feel as if they are partially generated by one’s own thought stream and in equal measure by that of a separate thought stream.
- Separately generated internal responses - This level can be defined as internal linguistic responses to one’s own thoughts and feelings which feel as if they are generated by an entirely separate thought stream from one’s own.
- Separately generated audible internal responses - This level can be defined as internal linguistic responses to one’s own thoughts and feelings which are perceived as a clearly defined and audible voice within one’s head. These can take on a variety of voices, accents and dialects but usually sound identical to one’s own spoken voice.
The speaker behind this voice is innately interpreted by those who experience communication with it to be that of one’s subconscious, the substance itself or even supernatural concepts such as god, spirits, souls and ancestors.
Ego suppression, loss and death:
Ego suppression, loss and death is an extremely profound and all-encompassing component. The ego is defined as a human being’s concept or sense of identity, self or “I” as a separate agent from the external environment. It is essentially a person’s consciousness or capacity to be self-aware, as enabled by their ability to recall and maintain a general understanding of their internally stored concept of what is considered to be one’s own self.
With any hallucinogen, one’s ability to retain, recall, feel and understand concepts such as a personal sense of self and other fundamental notions pertaining to the basics of human existence are partially to completely diminished depending on dosage. This is the result of a progressively all-encompassing state of memory suppression. It is a process which is capable of being broken down into 3 basic levels:
- Ego suppression - This is a partial failure of a person’s short term memory. It can be described as a general increase in distractibility, loss of focus and a general sense of difficulty when it comes to processing anything outside of the present moment.
- Ego loss - This is the complete failure of a person’s short term memory. It can be described as a person becoming being completely incapable of remembering any specific details regarding the present situation for more than a second or two. This often results in disorientation, thought loops, loss of control and confusion for the inexperienced. Long term memory however remains almost entirely intact as people are still perfectly capable of recollecting their name, date of birth, childhood school, etc.
- Ego death - This is a complete failure of a person’s long term memory. Ego death can be described as a total loss of control in which the person becomes completely incapable of remembering even the most basic fundamental human concept stored within the long term memory. This includes your name, who you are, your home town, the fact that you are on drugs, what drugs even are, what human beings are, what life is, what existence is or what anything is. Ego death gives the profound experience that there is no longer an “I” experiencing the intensity of the trip anymore, there is just the trip as it is and by itself.
States of unity and interconnectedness:
States of unity and interconnectedness start with a change in perspective which is consistently interpreted as the removal of a deeply embedded and all-encompassing illusion. The destruction of this apparent illusion leads onto feelings that the tripper frequently interprets as some sort of profound “awakening” or “enlightenment”.
Once removed, the illusion feels as though it has always been in place, forcing a person’s perspective of the world into feeling as if their concept of “self”, “I” or “me” with which they identify themselves as is assumed to intrinsically follow two fundamental rules. The first of these rules is that the self is inherently separate from the external environment and could not possibly extend into it. The second is that the self is specifically limited to not even the physical body as a whole, but exclusively a person’s internal narrative and the image of their own personality as built up through social interactions with other people.
The absence of this apparent illusion leads people into feelings which are commonly described as a state of total unity, oneness or interconnectivity between their sense of self and external concepts or systems which were previously perceived as inherently separate from one’s being and identity.
Depending on the degree to which this illusion has been lifted, it can lead onto five possible levels of cognitive intensities of progressively more complex effects. Each of which are perfectly capable of spontaneously sustaining their perspective for weeks, months or even years after the experience itself. These levels can be defined as:
Unity between specific external systems
The lowest and least complex level can be referred to as a state of “unity between specific external systems”. This is the only level of intensity in which the subjective experience of unity does not involve a state of interconnectedness between the self and the external. Instead, it can be described as a perceived sense of unity between two or more systems within the external environment which in every day life, are usually perceived as separate from both the self and each other.
This effect can manifest itself in an endless number of forms but common examples of the experience often include:
- A sense of unity between specific living things such as animals or plants and their surrounding ecosystems
- A sense of unity between specific human beings and the objects they are currently interacting with
- A sense of unity between any number of currently perceivable inanimate objects
- A sense of unity between humanity and nature
- A sense of unity between literally any combination of perceivable external systems and concepts
Unity between the self and specific external systems
The second of these two levels can be referred to as a state of “unity between the self and specific external systems”. It can be defined as the experience of a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s sense of self and the specific physical systems or concepts within the perceivable external environment which are currently comprising the central point of cognitive focus.
This effect can manifest itself in an endless number of forms but common examples of the experience often include:
- Becoming one with a specific object which you are interacting with
- Becoming one with a specific person which you interacting with. (particularly common if engaging in sexual or romantic activities)
- Becoming one with the entirety of your physical body
- Becoming one with large crowds of people. (particularly common at raves and music festivals)
- Becoming one with the external environment but not the people within it
- This creates a sensation which is often described by people as the experience of becoming inextricably connected to, one with, the same as, or unified with whatever the perceived external system happens to be.
Unity between the self and all perceivable external systems
The third of these five differing levels of intensity can be referred to as “a state of unity between the self and all perceivable external systems”. It is defined as the experience of a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s sense of self and the entirety of the currently perceivable external environment. The experience as a whole is generally described by people as “becoming one with my surroundings”.
This is felt to be the result of a person’s central sense of self becoming attributed to not just the internal narrative of the ego, but in equal measure, to the body itself and everything around it with which it is physically connected to through the senses. Once this sensation is in place, it creates the undeniable perspective that you are the external environment experiencing itself through the specific point within it that this body’s physical sensory awareness and conscious thought happens to currently reside in.
It’s at this level that a key component of the unity experience becomes an extremely noticeable factor. Once a person’s sense of self has become attributed to the entirety of their surroundings, this new perspective completely changes how it feels to physically interact with what was previously felt to be an external environment. For example, when physically interacting with an object in everyday life it feels very simply that you are a central agent organizing the world around itself. However, whilst undergoing a state of unity with the currently perceivable environment, interacting with an external object consistently feel as if the system as a whole is autonomously organizing itself and that you are no longer a central agent operating the process of interaction. Instead the process suddenly feels completely decentralized and mutual across itself as the environment begins to autonomously, mechanically and harmoniously respond to itself to perform the predetermined function of the particular interaction.
Unity between the self and all external systems
The fourth of these five differing levels of intensity can be referred to as a “state of unity between the self and all external systems”. It is defined as the experience of a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s sense of self, the perceivable external environment, and all which they know to exist outside of this through their internally stored model of reality. This feels as if your sense of self has become attributed to not just the external environment but all of humanity, nature, and the universe as it presently stands in its complete entirety. The experience of this is generally described by people as “becoming one with the universe”.
When experienced, this perspective creates the sudden and undeniable sensation that you are quite literally the entire universe experiencing itself, exploring itself, and performing actions onto itself through the very specific point of space and time which your ego and conscious perception happens to currently reside in. When experienced, this feeling is immediately and universally understood to be an innate and undeniable truth by anybody who undergoes it.
Unity between the self and the creation of all external systems
The fifth and most profound of these five differing levels of intensity can be referred to as a “state of unity between the self and the creation of all external systems”. It is defined as the experience of a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s sense of self and all external systems of behaviour. This includes not just the systems as they currently stand within the present moment but at each known point of their existence throughout all time lines past, present, and future as dictated by the person’s internally stored model of reality.
When experienced, this feels as if your sense of self has become attributed to all of space and time including every single past and future event such as the initial creation and eventual destruction of existence. It is a perspective which consistently leads onto the innate revelation and sensation that the ‘you’ in terms of your true self (everything) are personally and consciously responsible for the deliberate design and creation of the universe itself.
It’s at this point where some consistently reported interlocking sub-perspectives and innately extrapolated conclusions of a religious and metaphysical nature begin to come into play. These generally include but are not limited to:
- The sudden and total acceptance of death as a fundamental component of one’s life. This is because death is no longer felt to be the destruction of the self but simply the end of this specific point of conscious awareness, The vast majority of which has always existed and will continue to exist and live on through everything else in which it resides.
- A perspective which feels personally responsible for the design, planning, and implementation of every single specific detail and plot element of one’s personal life, the history of humanity, and the universe as a whole. This naturally includes personal culpability for humanity’s sufferings and its flaws, but also includes acts of love and our achievements.
- The religious or spiritual realization that the person’s preconceived notions behind their concept of “god” or “god-hood” can now be felt through a forced change in perspective as identical to the nature of one’s true self. This realization is generally reached through the subconscious conclusion that the usually differing concepts of god-hood and self are both now identically defined as that which is the all-knowing, all-encompassing, all-powerful creator, and sustainer of this existence.
Auditory enhancements can be described as the feeling of being extremely aware of all of the sounds around you with an enhanced ability to pinpoint the exact direction from which multiple layers of noise are coming from as sound becomes vastly crisper and clearer than anything felt during normal sober living.
The most interesting manifestation of this component is a greatly enhanced appreciation of music, allowing people to hear songs they’ve listened to their entire life in a level of detail that is simply unparalleled in day to day life. This can be described as every single layer of the music being brought forward and heard with perfect comprehension, to the point where many people feel that you have not fully listened to music until you have heard it under the influence of this effect.
Auditory suppression can be described as feelings of general sound perception becoming distant and muffled. The experience of this effect severely decreases both the volume of the noise and the level of general sound quality which it is perceived in. This results in music and other sounds becoming extremely difficult to comprehend or even pay attention to.
Within dissociatives, both auditory suppression and auditory enhancements are capable of becoming present throughout the trip despite the fact that they are complete opposites. The deciding factor between these two conflicting components seems to be entirely random and completely unpredictable.
Auditory distortions can manifest themselves in many forms but often take the shape of echoes or murmurs rising in the wake of each sound, accompanied by distorted changes of pitch. These increase proportionally with dosage up until the point where music and sounds are consistently followed by a continuous reverb as sounds begin to bounce at great speeds across the walls of your brain continuously, often leaving the original sound as completely unrecognisable but always resetting to base level and starting over if the noise is stopped or changed.
This effect can be broken down into 3 differing levels of intensity:
- Mild - These are subtle and spontaneous reverb, echo effects, and changes in pitch attributed to noises within the external environment. They are fleeting in their manifestation, underwhelming in their intensity, and easy to ignore.
- Distinct - These are extremely obvious and spontaneous, but are occasionally consistent reverb, echo effects, and changes in pitch attributed to noises within the external environment. They can be very long and drawn out in their manifestation and loud enough to make them impossible to ignore.
- All-encompassing - At this point, the audio distortions become constant in their manifestation and impossible to ignore. The alterations become so complex that the original noise is quickly rendered unrecognisable.
Auditory hallucinations are essentially the heard equivalent of imagery and open-eye transformations. They can be described as spontaneous imaginary noises that are either triggered at complete random or manifested in the place of noises that are subconsciously expected to happen. The most common examples of these are usually experienced as clips of recorded sound, such as imagined music or voices, and an infinite variety of sounds that are stored within the brain.
The most common audio hallucination that people experience are ones of heard memory replays from the previous several hours, commonly manifesting themselves as spontaneous clips of the music that was played and indistinct voices of the people who were spoken too. These are usually heard repeatedly over the course of several hours after the consumption of certain substances.
This effect can be broken down into:
- Partially defined, embedded hallucinations - At this level, the sounds are partially defined in their clarity meaning that they sound indistinct, muffled, and difficult to make out. They are strictly heard only embedded within genuine sounds produced by the external environment. For example, hearing music in the sounds of the wind, cars, and rain.
- Partially defined, separate hallucinations - At this level, the sounds remain only partially defined but become heard on a separate layer of their own instead of only manifesting themselves within other noises.
- Fully defined, separate hallucinations - At this level, the sounds become fully defined in their clarity, meaning that the specific words being spoken or musical content of the hallucination can be recognized and understood perfectly.
- Interactive, fully defined and separate hallucinations - At this level, the sounds remain fully defined in their clarity but become partially to fully interactive, meaning that the voices can be conversed with and the spontaneous noises or musical symphonies controlled.
Physical autonomy is an effect which can be described as the experience of one’s own body performing simple and complex actions entirely on its own accord. Depending on the intensity, this results in any required task becoming partially to completely autonomous in nature without the requirement of decision-making skills or conscious input.
At lower levels, the effect is partially controllable by commanding the body with simple thoughts. For example, thoughts such as “go to the toilet" or "go drink a glass of water" can result in the body performing these actions flawlessly when the tripper would otherwise struggle endlessly due to a lack of focus and motor control.
This can often help the tripper perform necessary physical actions such as tending to bodily functions or avoiding danger when they would otherwise be too incapable, unconscious, or distractable to perform them. Although at its higher levels this technically results in a loss of control, the body only performs actions which the owner would have decided to perform were they capable of it anyway and it is because of this that the effect is therefore perfectly safe to experience.
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