Altered States of Consciousness

A running theme throughout Psybertron is the reality of conscious mind and its consequences in the real world. That’s partly because explantory understanding of our understanding and of our decision-making is my main research focus and partly because – probably not coincidentally – it’s also a prime (but not the only) example where politicised scientific dogma denies reality and actually prejudices our understanding. Focussing too narrowly on “our” consciousness also risks excluding any panpsychic possibilities, monist or dualist, where our brains / minds – and those of sentient creatures generally – may be more like transducers of consciousness rather than exclusive sources.

Like any rational research, understanding a thing is often best achieved by altering selected parameters of our object of interest, and observing the consequences. And in order to maximise interpretability of any results, wherever possible, alteration of parameters should be done in the most controlled ways, minimising the numbers of variables in play at any one time.

There are two well established schools of investigation. One investigating natural and accidental mental (psychological and physical) “abnormalities” another investigating chemical induced changes of state. Evaluating the abnormal tells us a lot about the normal.

My main objective here – as someone avoiding and not condoning illegal drug use – is to evaluate secondary research, and to promote legalisation supporting valuable research and safe use. In preparation for a survey of the story so far, below are over 15 years of links within Psybertron (Hat tip to Andy Dean for asking the question):

[Altered Chemical StatesPeyote, Ayahuasca / Hoasca, DMT Tea, LSD, MescalinePsilocybin, psychedelics generally, Sue BlackmoreJames Austin.]

[Altered Psycho-Physical StatesMcGilchrist , Schwarz & Begley, Sacks, Ramchandran, DamasioZeman, and many more with Phineas Gage as the archetypal meme, the over-exposed pin-up of all researchers in this field.]

[Focus groupsStephen Reid’s Psychedelic Society, and the Agora Critical Thinking Consciousness group.]

[Psycho-Philosophical positions – Zen et al – also important, but not covered here.]

More recent:

Non-addictive drug use.


Jet Lag Melatonin

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