Yes I realize all that but what I’m wondering is - physical harm aside- what is the altered reality experienced on a tropane alkaloid versus the reality experienced on a tryptamine? Is the chemical allowing us access to a free standing reality beyond our five sense perception as I believe tryptamines and other do or is it just an interior perturbation of our brains from interrupting its physical functioning?
I can’t seem to shake the problem of implicit tone when I explore topics like this. It’s unfortunate because the tone that usually comes across is one of varying degrees of condescension (which is almost never the intent behind anything I write, and when it is I try to make it obvious).
I don’t include all the details that I do because I’m assuming the reader isn’t aware of them but because they detail how I arrived at whatever conclusion I’ve come to about whatever it is I’m writing about. There’s often some point along the rhetorical trail where my experiences or data or interpretations diverge from those of whomever I’m discussing something with, but I don’t know where that point will be for a given discussion so I just include it all.
Questions about the nature of the reality (or realities, rather) that these drugs confront us with are probably unanswerable in the same sense that we'll never really be able to see our own eyes directly (not that we really see anything directly, so it's more like seeing our own eyes with a single reflection of light vs. two or more like is the case with a mirror).
I guess we can ask the "separate reality" vs. "just a brain fart" question about all mind-altering drugs. Salvia-space sure felt like a reality separate from myself, even though it was utterly empty except for my perception of it, aka "the Void." It's scary as hell. But DMT has also often been scary as hell for me, too. I'm just going to assume that a tropane experience would probably be reliably regrettable.
One thing I find interesting about the different "places" that various molecules seem to take us to is that they all correspond to "places" that exist in the conception of the spirit world that many if not most traditions that involve direct experience contain in their teachings.
In the one I was taught there's a band of darkness, where what we call "evil" comes from and whose nature corresponds nicely with datura trip reports (and meth or cocaine psychosis). Popular conceptions of "Hell" (Dante's Inferno, etc.) are infantile in comparison to the Dark. There's a band beyond darkness that if I could reach right now I can't imagine it feeling any more intensely sublime and beautiful than the best tryptamine experiences I've had (crumbs from Heaven, if you will). And there's the Void that exists beyond all the rest, including darkness OR light. All three felt as real as any place my physical body has ever been (sometimes more so).
A lot of this stuff seems to fit and work better if I assume that our physical brains are equivalent to antennas or radios tuned to the unique frequency of awareness that we call our Self. If you damage a radio it will start to sound funny, and if you break it it will stop making any sounds at all. A fascinating topic for another discussion is the often-overlooked fact that our "radio" can transmit as well as receive.
In this model, even if your radio is damaged beyond repair the source of the transmission it was receiving (your "awareness field") would not be affected, and your field would still permeate reality even if it lacked any means of being tuned in and focused (reincarnation would then involve building a new receiver for our respective awareness fields).
So I guess I'd say these chemicals do both; they allow access to alternate realities (or expand our awareness of it if there's only one; might just be semantics) and they also perturb the interior circuitry of our physical brains, causing the typical sensory distortions such drugs induce. Some also happen to cause damage to the radio in the process of perturbing, and those happen to correlate to the one "place" in the spirit world that no one should ever try to get to or explore on their own.
Pain and fear are important and useful tools that we evolved because we need them to help us navigate reality by warning us of things or places to avoid. So when a drug terrifies with no corresponding insight or benefit, causes damage to our mind, body, or spirit, (or kills us outright) then IMO the reality it reveals might be as real as any but it's one I do whatever it takes to avoid.
Edited by TVCasualty, 27 December 2020 - 11:54 AM.