Re: Psychedelics and memes

Chris Lofting (
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 23:09:09 +1000

From: "Chris Lofting" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Psychedelics and memes
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 23:09:09 +1000

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Gross <>
To: <>
Date: Thursday, 10 June 1999 4:10
Subject: Psychedelics and memes

>Well, I've given some thought to this area, so I'll throw out a few
>observations, although I'm worried that a discussion like this is liable
>to go flying off-topic in a hurry.
>First, a mention of Terence McKenna, who has done some intriguing
>theorizing about the role of psychedelics in the development of language
>in our species. His theory is that synesthesia, a common symptom of the
>psychedelic drugs wherein the senses overlap - sounds are seen, textures
>are heard, etc. - enabled hominids to share images and feelings during
>psychedelic-mushroom use through the use of sound in the form of chants or
>songs without syntax. Language later developed from these roots.

Synesthesia is NOT something unique to psychedelic drugs, it is in fact a
condition that all infants have prior to their differentiation of sensory
data. Fore more see For a
good review of the literature etc see

Stein, B.E., and Meredith, M.A., (1993) "The Merging of the Senses" MITP

This covers the area of senses sharing neural nets and my own work suggests
this has led to the emergence of an abstract methodology used by the
brain-mind to process data.

Hallucinogenic drugs (e.g. LSD)are more harmonics oriented in that they
exagerate/play-down sensory harmonics (colours etc) but the individual
retains some sense of 'self'; they do not experience the delusions caused by
psychotropic drugs (cocaine, speed etc):

Hall. = I have a relationship with God.
Psychotro = I am God.

Interestingly, in ADD dexamphetamine etc makes things 'normal' in that they
'pull you together'. In normal states this 'pulling together' is too strong.

This suggests that there are mental conditions that would benefit from LSD
etc to enable a sense of 'normality'.

There is no need to trace the source of language back to magic mushrooms,
since there is a common route that leads to the development of language
without getting stoned and that comes from the neurology's bias to
processing information in object/relationship patterns.

Magic mushrooms can augment things but not necessarily be the source :-)
(sauce? :-))

>Psychedelics have a reputation as "hallucinogens" but in my experience
>they tend to be just the opposite. They most strongly disrupt the
>linguistic and cognitive structures by which a person orders the world,
>while leaving the actual perception of the world more-or-less intact (with
>some fireworks and oddities thrown in).

Correct. They maintain a sense of 'self', a 'core' context that is stable.

>This is why, I think, you have this paradox in which people take a drug
>that so removes them from consensus-reality and yet they often report
>feeling a closer understanding of reality after having the experience.

As I pointed out, to some these drugs are of benefit and there is no 'trip'
but more of a sense of 'the moment' rather than the distractions usually



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