#66 Inability to unknow and leaving marks on Other Worlds
Psychedelics seem to leave their mark on us. One cannot unknow that which one has experienced. Something that was once not known, not even conceivable, now remains forever within the mind of the psychedelic user. There is a permanence to visionary content. Is this potentially a subconscious reason why many psychedelic-naïve people fear ingesting these substances? Good trips are good, but just as one can revisit the visionary content and feelings of good experiences, so too, one can reexamine why bad or negative or scary content appeared on that particular excursion.
This permanence of visions by the ability to revisit previous visionary content unsettles me. The unknown and impossible suddenly becomes accessible by mere remembrance of it. I have never seen someone murdered nor have I ever been on the battlefield to see my friends or compatriots die in front of my eyes. But if I had, those images would be burned into my psyche. Isn’t it so that time slows for the experiencer during intense situations, perhaps pupils dilate to capture as many details of a rare and horrific, or joyous, event? The mind absorbs as much information as possible, at least the first time it experiences something. I can remember many firsts because they were novel, because the experience was like nothing I had ever experienced before even though I speculated what it would be like from firsthand accounts and my own imagination. But even if you take the same psychedelic multiple times, the first time needn’t be the only memorable event, since each journey into drug-induced realms is new; the visionary content is rarely duplicated. Each psychedelic experience is a first experience because the content changes. The content likely changes because one’s mindset, setting, and intentions change per experience. No matter how hard one tries to replicate the variables of an experience with the aim of replicating visionary content, at the very least you will be older and have had new lived experiences to add to your repository of accessible experiences by the intoxicated and unconstrained mind.
I can remember most visionary contents from most of my experiences. Somehow knowing the mind’s capability to produce these visions in addition to knowing of the produced content is a haunting thought. Why did the mind show me those things? I have a deeper respect for the capability of the mind and my own imagination. How could it have produced such things? These things can have a haunting effect, not necessarily in a real or scary way, however, one has literally seen beyond what they can imagine, and this is from where part of the fear comes regarding these substances. Further, I reckon previous trips impact future experiences, so, for example, if one’s first experience was good, then, one might experience more good trips. The initial experiences I believe set the tone for future ones. Part of the fear also stems from the idea that as one’s imagination and mind-capability expand evermore outward during intoxicated states of consciousness, what is left is a sober imagination that can imagine more. An imagination that can imagine more. For example, are our dreams limited by what we have experienced in our lives? Yes and no. Yes, because our dreams, at least my dreams, are always experienced from a zero point, a first-person vantage, as if I were experiencing the dream from my own sensorial ground zero or body. Contrarily, our dreams can exceed our human world. I sometimes dream of futuristic and alien landscapes, situations and people. I wonder whether this is due to my own default mind with which I was endowed, or, are extremely far-fetched dreams nowadays a result of my psychedelic use? I’ll never know the answer to this causality dilemma. What I do believe is that I could not have dreamed of being in a DMT state unless I had smoked DMT that first time. The DMT experience was added to my repertoire or databank of lived experiences, and thus, my subconsciousness had information of that experience from which it produced the dream of me being in that state. I remember waking from that dream feeling as though I had just had a DMT experience. Fascinating.
It seems that visionary content (the what of experience) and context (the how of experience) leave a permanent mark on the user’s psyche that is accessible during sober and subconscious states, but also can be repeated in subsequent psychedelic experiences. Psychedelics leave an irreversible mark on the individual. I wonder, then: can the psychedelic-intoxicated person leave their mark on the Other World?
I don’t know for certain what the Other World’s metaphysical status is. Whether it’s real or not doesn’t really matter because you really do experience something. An interesting thought is whether the marks I leave on that Other World has an effect on my future psychedelic experiences, but more importantly, do my marks have an effect on psychedelic-ingesting people I do not know? For example, have my experiences of iboga been shaped by all previous people who have ever taken iboga? Will my future experiences of iboga be shaped by my previous experiences and knowledge of iboga? The latter seems more likely. Whether psychedelics leave marks on me or I leave marks on them, I think the psychedelic experience is reciprocally deterministic, that is, each affects the other. With that said, I know for a fact that psychedelics affect me (and by proxy, my worldview), as in the way I think, imagine, and be; what is less certain is whether I can affect psychedelic worlds including those worlds’ inhabitants. For example, if I realized something about how a substance affects my consciousness and how visionary content are given or presented to my consciousness, would some higher intelligence or visionary being try to make things harder for me the next time around, that is, would they change something about the experience, do something I had never experienced before, confuse me or trip me up in ways I never encountered before, switch up the script as it were? If I started to unravel its mystery, would they change the script or program just for me or would they do it for all other people as well?
I’ll finish this stream with a final thought: the more you take a substance the more you understand what it’s capable of. Each time I take something, I’m surprised I didn’t notice the new “trick” or thing it can do to my perception and thought processes. It seems the more one knows about the experience, as unknowns become known, newly revealed aspects of the experience build upon that previously unknown thing, giving greater contextual understanding of what that substance’s Other World is and how it operates. Finally, if someone wrote a book about all the things they discovered about a substance after many trials and years of experience, and then a naïve user read that book, would the naïve user be able to spot all the things the experienced user communicated even though it’s the naïve user’s first time? Too many questions and not enough answers. I must mull some more on these musings.