#46 Destiny and free will – Part 2 (psychedelic Others)
I decided to break up this stream for two reasons: (1) it became too long, and (2) I think it’s interesting to split up the conversation between human conceptions of destiny and free will compared to nonphysical human and nonhuman psychedelic Others, that is to say, beings or entities elicited by psychedelic substances. The question I had in mind before I began the previous stream was: If psychedelic Others appear to have agency, might they also have free will? Right, this is a bit of a can of worms, not quite sure how or where this will go, but let’s continue. (Note: I just finished the previous stream and am continuing to write.)
I’m not even sure where to begin. Ok, let’s begin with the apparent agency that these beings have. Those who have encountered beings during their psychedelic experiences would likely attest that these beings are able to act within that particular, psychedelic- and dosage-specific, intoxicated environment; in other words, in whatever state of consciousness or realm the experiencer finds him- or herself, the beings in those realms seem able to take action and do what they want – they exert a will of their own.
Would I have seen these specific beings going about their business, whether engaged with me or not, had I not taken certain actions or choices throughout my life? Does the fact that my so-called “human being” avatar looks and moves and thinks a specifically human way and therefore the visions I experience stem from such contexts? Perhaps it depends on whatever is usually on my mind in a long-term manner or what I had been thinking about recently just prior to the substance’s ingestion. As I argue in Part 1, conscious beings including humans are free willed agents and write whatever destiny will have happened by exerting choice and goal-oriented decision-making. I imagine that whether these beings are manifestations of my mind or objectively real, albeit nonphysically, then, these beings too could also have the same free will for their lives and state of being.
During previous experiences, I have made suggestions for these beings to perform or stop a particular action. I have asked them to go away, to exit my space, because they made me feel uncomfortable, and they oblige. On one occasion, my third iboga flood dose, there was a large cloth wall covering with a colorful/trippy design of the Buddha sitting comfortably, eyes closed, with one arm resting on his leg and another arm pointing upward at a 90-degree angle. As I looked at this Buddha from across the long living room, as my intentional focus admired the wall art, this Buddha attempted to pierce “the veil,” or a veil, between he and I. His arm moved and his face grimaced as he tried to poke his fingers through. It seemed like he was making progress, so I begged him to stop as I telepathically communicated with him. (I’ll write more on this Buddha experience in the future; there’s more to the story.)
The reason I bring up the above occasion is this: was it I who controlled these entities to perform a particular action, or was it they who obliged my wishes? That is to say, sometimes they don’t listen to me and continue doing what they want. I want to know whether these psychedelic beings have free will, or, are they the obvious algorithmic production of my cumulative lived experiences as a human being, as me, as every thought I ever had and everything my senses have ever consumed? What bothers me as I reflect on the visions I have experienced during my psychedelic experiences with eyes open and closed is that I have never seen nor could have imagined that which I have primarily seen, secondarily heard, and thirdly thought about. Whatever psychedelics do to the mind, consciousness, ego, whatever that process is, psychedelics seem to unlock something within us, allow users to see their taken-for-granted world in different ways, or open up completely new worlds.
Next question: how would a psychedelic being prove to the psychedelic user that it has free will and just as much agency as you do? Or do their free will and agency stem from the user’s free will and agency? This is when things start to melt down for me, since I cannot answer these questions, they are supra speculative and highly conditional arguments. How would you prove whether these beings are free willed agents or slaves to destiny, and is their predicament tied to my own?
I would love to know whether a “tabula rasa” person, a person uninfluenced or minimally influenced by human constructs, experiences psychedelics the same way a deeply humanly influenced person would. Such an experiment is impossible; we wouldn’t find such a person because most people are not isolated from the world for the better part of their lives and it is unethical to do such a thing in the name of science. As well, this person would need to at least speak a human language at a minimum in order to communicate that which he or she experienced, but this negates the experience because the aim is to have a completely “blanked” human being but still a conscious being. One could also argue that consciousness arises, at least higher levels of consciousness, through language, embeddedness in culture and society, and lived experiences.
What strikes me as the most interesting aspect of taking psychedelics is that the mind, whether sober or intoxicated, is infinite. I can imagine infinitely in my mind’s eye, but even more so while on psychedelics. Psychedelics allow us to push our human minds further into nonhuman dimensions and modes of being. This I think is what scares people most; they are stripped from their comfortable human world to consciously experience what nonhuman existence might be like. The infinite potential of what could be boggles me. It is unfathomably uncanny to think about and to live through.