contrarian, psychology, society

GOOD GUYS vs BAD GUYS IS COMPELLING GROUPTHINK, DESIGNED TO MISDIRECT PUBLIC ATTENTION, TO CONCEAL AMORAL PROFIT-FIRST EXPLOITATION BY ENTRENCHED POWER

Friend versus enemy, faithful versus corrupted, good versus evil: choose your favorite dichotomy because it doesn’t matter which you pick. They’re all versions of the same lowest common denominator melodrama, designed to misdirect our attention (and our faith, our emotions) in dead-end rhetorical battles. Governments, corporations, institutions, vested interests, city halls, interest groups, lobbyist organizations: all use the same methodology.

Take the election circus. Competing forces appear locked in fierce debate over the vital well-being of the electorate. Frontline politicians argue diametrically opposing positions based on cherry-picked versions of the facts, driven by conviction they’re essential to fulfilling their own predictions of future triumph; or else doom. Party supporters work hand in glove with media local affiliates, regulating info flow, amplifying “loyal” pro-active useful content. The band had never expected its fan base to last so long.

So much energy, so much coverage, by so many people.

It becomes impossible for individuals like you and me to ignore; yet the entire paradigm is a waste of time. Every moment spent locked in the polarized tribal dynamic is a moment surrendered to a designed misdirection, energy better placed elsewhere but consumed by ephemeral ‘storm-in-a-teacup’ rhetoric.

Democracy is a much-abused concept.

It’s used to justify specific actions that affect a population, but for which no direct popular mandate exists. “Extended coronavirus lockdown is the democratic will of Americans,” say governors and government. This is patently nonsense since no election involving the coronavirus has occurred.

It’s used to misdirect an absence of democracy in the decision-making power dynamics of government. “The British electorate chose Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in 2019, therefore, because Boris Johnson wants the UK to become a deregulated cash-cow for a cabal of big capital corporate raiders, the government will declare that the British public wants to cut up the National Health Service for sale, grifting trillions of dollars in tax revenues into the hands of private business.” No voter voted for that.

The reality of universal suffrage in most modern democracies, especially those with a winner-takes-all electoral system, is soft-face authoritarian government by corporate political party monoliths.

America, Britain and most of Europe use versions of this corrupted democratic model. They’re saved from the most egregious extremes of totalitarianism (e.g. China, Russia, North Korea) by a slender drop of real democracy: every two, four or five years (depending on the country) the citizens may vote. Election day is the only day America and Britain can claim to be democratic societies.

The correct definition of democracy isn’t the vote. It’s the accountability.

Entrenched power uses misdirection to amplify the democratic moment – the election day – into its frontline tactic to keep the public narrative busy. It coerces public discourse to fixate on the voting day, dredging up arguments about electoral college, party tribalism, constituency boundaries, etc, to frame the ballot in the tried-and-tested polarized, oppositional terms. Same old, same old.

The correct definition of democracy isn’t the vote. It’s the accountability.

Contrary to whatever superficial ephemera is occupying the front pages of public debate, it’s the evasion of accountability that’s the fundamental agenda of government and “opposition” – of all power dynamics. Nothing else matters unless this accountability is ring-fenced away from the electorate; especially on voting day.

Democracy without accountability has become a ‘lie in the title‘ paradigm, and democracy without accountability has created today’s world. Election day IS a moment of risk, for entrenched power, but never one to miss an opportunity, the ballot gets appropriated into fuel for the engine of propaganda misdirection, i.e. an absolute mandate for the 364/365 days wielding power without accountability. Democracy in name only, a ‘lie in the title‘ paradigm.

We elected Donald Trump, President of the United States, in November 2016. Trump rhetoric has dominated the public face of politics in America ever since and it’s easy to get lost in the nonsense excess of his hyperbole. Sometimes it translates into policy, but often not. Most of the legislation enacted during the Trump first term has been bipartisan, kept away from public scrutiny (and therefore accountability). Trump is a useful cat’s paw for evasion of accountability.

It may be helpful to see the national conversation as an organically developing pantomime, set in motion decades ago. It’s populated by a comic-strip cast of self-serving professional salesmen and saleswomen, heading up a vast propaganda machinery, working for big capital and entrenched lineage corporate wealth.

The drop of democracy (election day) becomes a stamp of legitimacy, the consent of millions of faithful suckers, used as a robust modern-day stability mechanism built to sweep Americans from one election to the next; without having to account to them in any genuine sense. Keep the public busy. Keep the public away from interfering with the plans of entrenched power. So long as this continues, the unelected corporate aristocracy can run the country, exploit the public and grow in wealth (and power) with no meaningful check on their ambition.

But let’s say a group of like-minded, enlightened citizens wanted to affect these established power dynamics. Perhaps they want to help a demographic of poor, disenfranchised Americans. The task would be challenging.

Organised, entrenched power and its monopoly of institutional machinery of authority, including politicians, law enforcement and the media, can resist push-back from the population. Resistance, if there’s a threat, is aggressive and ruthless.

The enlightened citizens will have to compete with extant power in the arena of public propaganda. Focus will resolve into a battle on election day, if the enlightened citizens don’t get bought out or stamped out beforehand. The electorate will face media-curated versions of the citizens as insurgents, rebels, immoral, scandalous, faithless, whatever dirt that sticks.

On the other side will be the establishment candidates, advocated as safe, devil-you-know choices, backed by grand public-facing facades of political institutions and playing on ingrained conventions. Mistakes by the enlightened citizens get highlighted, transgressions punished by police enforcers and court-imposed letter of the law.

The structures of control, under the command of an authoritarian class, enjoy the implicit threat of standing military force. Don’t make the mistake of being lulled into a false sense of security by the feeble politician-salesmen. The establishment is not a weak setup. It is well-manned, well-managed, and it knows the territory intimately.

Meanwhile, with or without a non-establishment candidate on a particular election day, the atomized public remains perpetually mesmerized by arguments between manufactured tribes. Individuals get inevitably drawn into a team identity, kept in line by the respective team enforcers. It’s a lowest common denominator groupthink.

Options are limited. Long-term infiltration of established authoritarian structures by honest public servants is highly unlikely. Grift and in-group out-group tests will exclude the honest candidate as a likely disruption. All-out rebellion is implausible. It would be ineffective. The only workable point of push-back is that rare election day, if it offers an honest choice at all. It’s the only window of accountability.

Needless to say, party political activity reaches fever pitch around the election day, converging its considerable resources (media, influencers, politicians, party machines, local foot-soldiers, canvassers, etc) to nail down the desired result – if possible – but, above all, work in conspiracy with the established political establishment to resist accountability.

Good versus Evil tribalism is the frontline of entrenched power’s misdirection of the voter public. It’s the go-to dynamic for pushing an electorate into dead-end polarizations. It’s an inertia guiding debate into harmless internecine, propagated by media-friendly channels. It’s organic, sympathetic to the need for clickbait personality headlines – gossip fodder, engaging without needing to know anything – and a perpetual catalyst for personal flashpoints of conflict that quickly subsume the original disagreement and, in so doing, emphasize the tribal battle-lines. What a dirty, cynical dynamic; and difficult to resist.

Until a significant proportion of the electorate sees through the false polarization bullshit, throws away groupthink tribalism, and, instead, somehow holds public discourse steady on interrogating facts, exposing demonstrable details and above all apolitically imposing ACCOUNTABILITY, the current authoritarian exploitation of cannon fodder voter-millions will continue. Without end.

Welcome to the House of Fun.

Standard
psychology, society

WHY WON’T PEOPLE TAKE SERIOUSLY THE EXISTENTIAL THREAT OF CLIMATE BREAKDOWN?

Imagine you’re trapped in a runaway car hurtling towards a cliff edge you can’t see but know is coming. Death threatens and your brain will instantly go into survival mode. Most likely you’ll try any way possible to stop the car or escape it or steer it away from the direction of the cliff.

You don’t need to be at the cliff-edge to “feel” the threat. Knowing – in your mind, not because your eyes see – that soon you’ll be at the edge is enough motivation.

Let’s take this a step one removed. You’re in the same car, hurtling towards a cliff edge you can’t see. This time you know it is coming but also that it’ll take the car an hour to reach it. It’s a threat to your life same as the first example and you’ll want to stop the car or escape it or steer it away. But the threat is an hour in the future so the urgency your brain will “feel” is less.

Objectively speaking, it shouldn’t be less. The cliff edge is death whether it’s in a minute or an hour. There’s no certainty you’ll be able to steer or stop the car, or exit it at speed. Logically speaking, your brain should “feel” the strongest possible motivation, so you act with urgency to not die. The cliff an hour away or the cliff a minute away, who knows but you might need every second to figure a way to escape.

In reality, it becomes necessary to use intelligent foresight on top of “feeling” the survival instinct, to focus your brain as intensely as possible on not dying, when the fatal point of no return is out of sight, out of the moment. The further away the point of no return, the more intelligent foresight is required; or else urgency goes down and eventually doesn’t “feel” like a threat of death at all.

I’ve been thinking recently about the almost universal failure of people – adults in particular, you and me included – to take possible breakdown of the environment seriously. This usually means climate change but also includes future pandemics, natural distasters, meteor strikes, and so on.

By seriously I mean important enough to “feel” urgency about the need for change. This is urgency that leads to in-person protest, to volunteering to help, to giving money to frontline organisations meeting the threat, or – most simply and pertinently – voting in elections with that need to change (e.g. making the future Earth habitable) as defining criteria for choosing who’s given power on our behalf.

If climate breakdown risks destroying the planet in 100 years, wouldn’t the only urgency choice be the candidate promising to tackle this threat, as priority? Logic says yes but reality proves no. If the climate breakdown threat was a year away, the “green” candidate would win by a landslide. 100 years away, the “green” candidate is marginal. Most of us don’t “feel” the urgency. The cliff-edge is out of sight, out of moment.

Let’s step back a moment. Bear with me while I think aloud.

We live in a vastly complex cross-pollinated economic system of entrenched power pushing the consumer capitalist model as the primary engine of progress. Money motivates and self-interest rules, whatever the long-term fallout. When it comes to the “green” message, consumer capitalism gets presented as the main obstacle to popular take-up of measures to tackle climate change. But is it?

What if the persistence of our species’s relentless drive to exploit resources persists by inertia alone?

Could the lack of engagement with climate change (or any long term foresight) be a manifestation of the same head-in-the-sand psychology we humans use throughout our lives, for self preservation, to deny airtime to tangible future reality – an inevitable cause-and-effect – beyond our capacity to reconcile let alone solve?

What if that denial is a symptom of deep-rooted denial of the intractable, universal terminal illness we’ve all inherited from birth?

The terminal illness is simple human mortality, of course. Symptoms may differ, but from childhood we’re trained in a comprehensive habit of necessary reality denial. The reality of ephemeral lifespan. We are all going to die and everything our brains hold dear will also expire. It’s a common feature of early life angst — remember that first realisation you were going to die? Children worry their heads about the brief allocation of years on this Earth but by adolescence the subject has been buried; unconsciously habituated simply not to think about it. Adults begin to see signs of aging wear and tear so the head-in-the-sand needs to become second nature. Unfortunately this habit extends to the dysfunctional, covering everything far future.

We sometimes rage against the organic machine but it’d be to futile to spend one’s life in foresight. We choose instead to cling to the moment, flying in the face of what we know: we’re dying and sooner or later, we know how the life story ends. Planning for it not ending in extinction would be pointless.

I’ll follow that line of thinking.

We – as in our identity, our sense of individuated ego – are the sparkling froth on the evolved neurological substrate of complex multicellular eukaryote carriers for homo sapiens genes. Natural selection has worked out a solution to the long game for getting those genes from generation to generation. We’ve yet to achieve the same for ourselves.

For a myriad reasons, starting millions of years ago in the fire-shadow of primate confusion, human intelligence has had to invent a pocket reality for itself, to ringfence against fear of the unknown. There are dark facts of existence to which we have no defence but since gene-survival requires each individual to ensure its day to day continuity, natural selection has made a fait accompli of this necessary pocket reality.

To protect genetic survival from what we know to be our ultimate fate – without breaking the truth-falsehood binary – our brains need a system that makes the far future matter less than the near future, regardless of scale. That’s the purpose of the pocket reality. It habituates a protective relativism in how we think, day to day, by inverting both the objective order, and the absolute weight, of time. In short, tomorrow’s minutes get to matter more than next century’s decades.


While this may be sensible for carrying a human through adulthood, doing their duty to the organism and best serving the conveyance of the genes across generations, it also creates a completely disassociated set of priorities to individual and therefore all human existence. Mortality is a bitter pill to swallow and the denial has a raft of significant side-effects.

The denial of future, as it plays out in a diminishing significance as one gets further forward in time, takes the sting out of any visceral feeling for tracts of unknowable consequences. No detail, scant interest. The pocket reality of inverted time warps thinking at all levels, on the one hand insisting on the importance of free will and on the other training a natural recoiling from challenging the construct by – for instance – knowing the detail of your own future. It’s a house of cards held together by key points of cognitive dissonance well camouflaged so day to day experience doesn’t throw up moments of contradiction.

And there are simple real-world consequences of this pocket reality denial of future, denial of mortality, not least in our behavior towards climate breakdown. For example: recycling is boring, climate change isn’t a scientist’s emergency (i.e. merely intellectual, not visceral, not really real), disruption to one’s day matters more than possible disintegration of one’s children’s safety, etc.

Campaigns trying to hammer home environmental have responded to the reality denial in various ways.

The environmentalist movement has targeted the young as particularly susceptible to the message and though this is mistakenly believed to be effective because the young are simply more likely to feel they’ve a stake in the future, in truth it’s because the young haven’t the same level of disconnection. The carapace shielding the pocket reality has yet to solidify so the right truths can penetrate, receive proper consideration and influence young people into action.

Unfortunately the young are just one of the many demographics at play in our pluralist society and the young can only go so far without support from a majority of adults. This support is absent, for reasons already stated, though publicly the explanations will be a familiar range of practicalities of everyday adult life, climate change denial, repeating talking points about different priorities, etc. These explanations don’t bear scrutiny and often leave commited environmentalists baffled by what seem like topsy-turvy thinking.

How can an adult say they have no time for climate breakdown because they have to work their job to provide for their children, when the destruction of humanity’s life support system ultimately risks the lives of those same children; and all their progeny?

Appeals get made to strong source of emotion that survive into the pocket reality of the average adult, like “think of the children” to play on the parental instinct and “billions will die” to try to amplify the adult’s atrophied imagination about the planet’s future. The working theory is to get these tropes through the denial, into the thinking space of the adult, in the hope it’ll spur them to get active.

But the extent of the pocket reality is quite separate to the trained denial and sadly, these tropes and the urgency of the call to action are butting up against powerful, insistent, persistent psychological forces that seldom give way to a moment’s appeal, even if it is based on truth and predicts an effect one’s logic understands may well become personally relevant. Time is too twisted in the denial-reality for the inertia of the everyday to be affected by occasional appeals; however true.

A word on corporate capitalism, profit and personal fulfilment.

Profit is agnostic to anything and everything not either helping or hindering profit. It goes further. Many work jobs servicing the hydra of consumerism and many of those jobs are directly part of the climate breakdown cause and effect. This may seem like hypocrisy, if the individual believes in climate change yet works a job that contributes to it, but in fact, it’s simply another denial – a pocket reality inside the larger pocket reality – separating by an inversion of scale and distance that allows work to stay at work.

It’s not a big stretch to build a second double life in a mindset already comfortable with the time inversion denial of terminal aging. The second inversion of scale and distance is straightforward and practiced by most of us unconsciously. If a cause and effect are close in distance and human in scale, it may resonate as a responsibility, a real event in the individual’s pocket reality. Emotions will flow.

But if the cause and effect are far apart in distance or the scale is so vast or so diffuse it has no simple corollary in everyday experience, the inversion plays out to separate the individual from the effect. In this way it’s possible to work for a multinational oil company and feel no guilt over violence done to the planet thousands of miles away.

Professional working lives are structured by profit-honing corporate market forces to create a selection process testing for the completeness of the scale and distance inversion reality. Power to direct parts of the consumer capital hydra is slowly entrusted to those with the most reliable separation. As the amount of power grows, the system tests the individual for consistency in both pocket realities so those at the top – the most powerful – are typically also the most absolute, least affected by human and future consequences (unless it is profitable).

Sidebar. Sociopaths as particularly well represented in this dynamic, characterized by their pocket reality separating scale and distance having consumed the mortality denial entirely. The sociopath brain has disconnected the emotional responses to time, scale and distance altogether.

Speaking of sociopaths, there’s a lot of public bewilderment at the popular success of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. This must be either feigned or else surprisingly naive. They’re repeatedly derided as being the “least suitable choice” for government by the people for the people, followed by a list of their sociopath crimes against society, but this is irrelevant. These public figures don’t have to play games by your rules. Both would be poor choices for benign social democracy government but that’s not the criteria for judging frontline government positions in the United States or the UK.

Entrenched power is the engine of governance and it is organized around the pursuit of profit, with a sideline in perpetuation of itself so long as there’s minimal risk to social (and business) cohesion. This defines the standards Trump and Johnson are judging themselves by and, while it remains the executive paradigm, are the only metrics at play when the vested interests assess the performance of their public faces. It shouldn’t take a genius to see why actors like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are ideal persona when it comes to representing and managing profit continuity on behalf of the dominant big capital profiteers.

To conclude: while there’s no doubt mileage in organizing attacks on the most polluting, most accessible tendrils of the consumer capitalist hydra, this won’t make significant progress. It isn’t going to engage or mobilize the masses.

Future climate breakdown runs contrary to the conditioned, constructed reality to which most of us are deeply committed. This unspoken shared reality begins with a denial of death — typically starting in childhood — and matures during early adulthood into a denial of time. Time is inverted, made local, to artificially recast it in service the needs of the average individual in society. In a comfortable capitalist paradigm this means dutiful day to day stability.

The psychology of the constructed reality applies doubly for individuals with jobs in the professional socioeconomic structure. Career progression comes to those best able to keep up concentric pocket realities: job on the one hand, home on the other, self interest in one reality, company interest in another. Layer on reality layer keeps the individual far from the coalface of active protest. No time is left spare to get busy tackling the far future predictions of climate scientists and the billions who’ll be affected are too impersonal. The future is somebody else’s problem.


Children don’t have these practices as well trained as adults but the motivation is common to all; and transcends the state of the planet, i.e. the facts of climate breakdown can’t address the root cause of the popular disinterest in environmental action.

We can and many will, work tirelessly to push back against the rapacious forces of blind profit-driven consumer capitalism. There will be overstated successes and a long list of hopeful protestors calling for change, with particular emphasis on the youth. The emphasis over time serves only to emphasize the ineffectual nature of atomized protest. But it’s for the good and won’t hurt and keeps the message out there, simmering.

Until this fundamentally outdated, inhuman genes-first paradigm is broken, however, any change to society’s priorities will be a marginal, intellectual protest for the privileged and an indulgence (within limits) for the young.

Until the pocket reality denial of time, scale and distance is exposed as a dead-end denial of lifespan and human limitation, protest in society will stay what it has been: a minority hobby, for those lucky enough to have the leisure time to devote to the most important cause on Earth.

Standard
psychology, pushback, society

FREE WILL = FREE CHOICE x TRUTH

“Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As human beings we know that FREE WILL matters. It is one of our most prized possessions.

It’s the basis of our concepts of freedom and individuality and self-identity.

But what is FREE WILL if we are conditioned to only make choices that suit conventional agenda?

It may look like we’re at liberty but in reality we are being denied FREE CHOICE, which by rights is the natural corollary of FREE WILL.

Whatever your goals in life and whichever is your preferred politics, real FREE CHOICE can only exist authentically when it comes from FREE WILL plus TRUTH. You can’t have one without the other.

“Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” – George Orwell, 1984

Here’s where the problems begin. TRUTH is not given freely to any of us.

TRUTH doesn’t suit the entrenched power structures governing our lives in society.

Benign government isn’t so different to totalitarian government when it comes to TRUTH because TRUTH is apolitical and it makes citizens unpredictable.

TRUTH (or its absence) becomes a vehicle of control; whether the society is an authoritarian monarchy or by benign, neoliberal representative democracy.

Here’s where the problems begin. TRUTH is not given freely to any of us.

TRUTH doesn’t suit the entrenched power structures governing our lives in society.

Benign government isn’t so different to totalitarian government when it comes to TRUTH because TRUTH is apolitical and it makes citizens unpredictable.

TRUTH (or its absence) becomes a vehicle of control; whether the society is an authoritarian monarchy or by benign, neoliberal representative democracy.

The dictator may be more likely to abuse TRUTH by propaganda falsehood. Authoritarian justification.

The democracy may be more likely to simply evade TRUTH by keeping it out of the way of the population; for its own good. Utilitarian justification.

Whether TRUTH is abused by lies or obscured by utility, it doesn’t matter. End result is we’re presented with manipulated information a thousand times a day and, for us as individuals, this false or incomplete reality conditions our FREE CHOICE.

FREE WILL doesn’t get to make a FREE CHOICE unless we’re fully aware of the objective reality. Objective reality can only be understood when we have access to the non-political, non-bias, deindividuated and uncompromised TRUTH.

“But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.” – Adolf Hitler

To have individual liberty in the world today, to exercise our FREE WILL by making FREE CHOICE based on the TRUTH, we need an arsenal of living, real-world techniques for seeing through the conditioning.

TRUTH must be exposed. TRUTH is objective reality and not the world as it happens to be spun by an external intermediary like government or media or information source; or our own ignorance.

Armed with TRUTH our FREE WILL is at liberty to make FREE CHOICE.

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell, 1984

This is all we need to be masters of our own thinking and it’s a genuine individual equality that transcends the bias of identity politics, group inertia, false flag propaganda and whatever external forces vie for control of the reality narratives.

It’s not always easy to acquire the arsenal of techniques needed to see through conditioning and expose the TRUTH of objective reality. They’re not taught in school. They’re not easy to pinpoint and acquire once working life begins. The world is a complex place and most of us don’t have time to work through the innumerable instances of possible conditioning or incomplete versions of reality, to distill the confusion of information into simple universal methods for perceiving TRUTH ready for the next wave of narrative news.

“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

What will each of us choose to do with FREE CHOICE once we’ve trained ourselves to see the TRUTH that’s above and beyond the conditioning?

What will our FREE WILL compel us to think and do, once it’s been liberated to look at TRUTH in the world and exercise FREE CHOICE mindful of the full spectrum of possibilities?

The answer is it’s up to you. And up to me. And, in an ideal world, up to the private, personal life-choices of each individual human being. It shouldn’t be a pipedream to believe this is the way the world should be.

Standard
psychology, scribble

IDENTITY – THE SELF – IT ISN’T A WHERE, IT’S A WHEN

They say the self is an illusion and as proof they ask: “Where is the actual you?

This is hard to answer. Is it in the skull, behind the eyes? We know that isn’t specific enough. They can identify no region of the brain as the physical you. No snip-snip of grey matter extracts the essential you nor is consciousness a necessary component of a functioning brain.

We presume ourselves to be an emergent phenomenon of neurons networked by synapses but brains are common to a plethora of species, many not sentient let alone conscious. We do not understand how or why the light of consciousness switches on. Identity is self-evident – it is the “something is happening” at the base of all conscious experience, yet it doesn’t emerge fully formed when we’re born. Potential only becomes “something” over time, but even meditation shows this is susceptible to dissolution and chemical-altering drugs show we can change it beyond recognition. And none of these phenomena pinpoint to a single locus in physical space.

But perhaps “Where is the actual you?” presumes too much. It may be the wrong question.

What if the conscious self that identifies as you isn’t a thing in any three dimensional spatial sense? What if “something is happening” is only objectively true in that moment, without reference to the past or the future? This would make consciousness and identity a product of cause and effect: an event, more or less predictable under prescribed conditions but not necessarily a physical thing that itself persists. It becomes the sum of disparate parts that needn’t exhibit coherent continuity to satisfy its own definition.

Consciousness need not be a where. It only needs must be a when.

Standard
psychology, scribble

Psilocybin and DMT and the Pineal Gland (Third Eye)

What is psilocybin?

  1. Psilocybin is produced naturally by hundreds of types of mushrooms across the world. These are the “magic” mushrooms.

  2. It is molecularly very similar to DMT (D-methyltryptamine) insofar as psilocybin metabolizes to become psilocin, a serotonergic psychedelic substance and neurotransmitter.
  3. Psilocin goes where serotonin – our brain’s workhorse neurotransmitter – can go. Serotonin is used throughout the brain, particularly tied into limbic and emotional systems.
  4. Psilocybin (as psilocin) increases concentration of dopamine without being an agonist: density goes up, frequency does not.

What is DMT?

  1. DMT is a tryptamine hallucinogenic that’s functionally and structurally analagous to key biomolecules (neurotransmitters) produced naturally in the human brain.
  2. Psychedelic tryptamines are only created to a small extent in the brain, e.g. during dream-sleep and, most notably, as a flood response to near-death panic.
  3. DMT is an entheogen i.e. creates or opens a channel to alternate nonordinary states of consciousness, typically religious, spiritual or otherwise exalted. Etheogens work by activating (intensifying) the pineal gland.

  4. The pineal gland has long been associated in many human cultures as the “third eye” or transcendent gateway to extra-sensory perception.

  5. Ayahuaska is a blend of DMT and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI for short). MAOI inhibitors are atypical anti-depressants. Including them reduces pre-frontal cortex chatter, works as anti-panic, anti-social disorders, reducing OCD, etc. Combined with the DMT the blend makes for a particularly liberated state (less superego anxiety, less neurophysical obsession) so the user benefits most from the period of DMT-supercharged pineal.

  6. DMT and Psilocybin become neural transports using the serotonin receptors. These are closely connected with the brain’s “emotion” and “intensity of feeling” as well as memory and limbic response to the perceived moment.

  7. Our brains use serotonin all the time but our regular DMT production is extremely low, almost undetectable.

  8. DMT is manufactured along with melatonin in the pineal gland. It’s a legacy biomolecule. Serotonin originates all over the brain. It’s better integrated, more resilient and seems to be the evolutionary choice of our primate brains. Serotonin is ringfenced against over-excitement and its mechanisms survive damage to one area of the brain. Serotonin is the more evolved mechanism in mammal brains.

  9. Hypothesis is that at some point in our distant past, serotonin was chosen over DMT. DMT usage devolves as the eons pass, what’s left of any active photoreceptors on the pineal gland become buried under new layers and substrates of the growing brain.

  10. R.E.M. (sleep) and DMT bring the pineal to life. DMT activation of the pineal happens when the prefrontal cortex is awake and alert. This is the source of the psychedelic experience.

  11. That there remains any affinity for DMT (or indeed natural low-dose R.E.M. production of analogues in the pineal) is a corollary of having evolved from lizard brains. We retain the fundamental integrated brain-structure and susceptibility of the lizard brain buried under millennia of cortical intelligence, ego, personality, complex feelings, memory, etc etc. Truly, human beings have a beast within.


Can you go into more detail about the pineal gland, since it’s the well-spring of DMT in the brain (of almost all vertebrate animals) and has given birth to so much third eye, transcendent mythology – across all human cultures?
  1. The pineal gland is an “atrophied photoreceptor” and producer of melatonin and small amounts of DMT in the human brain.

  2. It is probably the root-cause of the concept “third eye” in human folk lore. The pineal is still a light-sensitive parietal eye in some reptiles and amphibians. It’s an ancient, legacy part of the modern human brain.
  3. Modern human brains have reduced the pineal gland to a melotonin role (sleep regulation) though it’s speculated some of the recovery/refreshing clean out provided by sleep relies on using neurological circuitry shared with the pineal (giving other parts of the brain a shutdown for the cleanup). This may explain dream states as the pineal is activated, running imagination stories we experience as fragments of dreams. The pineal is, after all, still integrated into those parts of your brain normally under pre-frontal cortex executive regulation.
  4. The pineal gland calcifies as we get older. This calcification seems to correlate to the elderly needing less sleep, but also over-calcified pineal gland has high incidence in Alzheimer’s patients. Make of that what you will.

  5. The pineal gland predates the point in evolutionary history when brains were shielded by a blood-brain barrier. The pineal is directly integrated into both the brain (as it has evolved over millions of years) and the cardiovascular system. This is significant. It means we are singularly susceptible to drugs involving the pineal. This may be important in the bigger picture of biomolecular metabolism – the pineal gland may serve as a canary in the cage as well as its role in sleep and dream states.
  6. The pineal gland remains the brain’s factory for producing natural DMT (N-Dimethyltryptamine) though the production has atrophied, most likely in proportion to the decrease of its frontline role as an active photoreceptor.
  7. The pineal gland’s particular integration with visual brain-circuitry may explain why dreams can be so wildly vivid and how psychedelic drug experiences are intensely – transcendently – visual.

When DMT (or psilocybin) activates the pineal gland and rolls around the brain, how and why does this create psychedelic states of consciousness?
  1. 18th century philosopher-scientists toyed with the pineal gland as being the actual “soul” within the human brain, weighing them to answer the question “how heavy is a human soul?”.

  2. At brain-death, in the moments prior, the last task of the brain may be to make the transition to non-existence comfortable – to disconnect from the burden of everyday physical reality. At this point, in human beings, the pineal gland explodes its DMT throughout the brain.

  3. DMT release (at death) or, to a lesser extent, when taken as a supplement (e.g. psilocybin) creates an intense-to-overwhelming experience, crowded with brain–panic or brain-parser interpretations: hence a dying Christian nut job will see heaven and God and feel its bliss and beauty whereas an astronaut might feel ejected out into the centre of the universe, seeing the spin of the galaxies and the bliss and beauty of the cosmos.

  4. That there is any coherence whatsoever in dreams is due to the brain-parser trying to make sense of biochemical catalysts using memory/imagination content played through as best it can – since part of the brain’s job is to make reality coherent and consistent, however weird.

  5. Given death is the endgame of consciousness and the brain, the pineal gland’s last act of one of charity; to the brain of which it’s a part.

  6. On occasion the brain and the pineal gets the ‘death is coming’ wrong, and the brain doesn’t die. Thus these intense near-death experiences, religious mania coming from the unaccustomed intensity versus prosaic real-life. Daft sods.


Why is DMT called the “spirit molecule” and why does DMT/psilocybin – particularly in brews like ayahuaska – make a “trip” that’s often transcendent, visually intense, quasi-religious?
  1. The experience of tripping is all in the mind, the word trip having originated as an ironic wonderment i.e. one has been through a major psycho-experience with enough of a lasting impact on the brain – even if just a treasure trove of new images and sensations – it’s like having spent a month on a trip to a strange unfamiliar land. Yet one might not have even gotten out of bed!

  2. Now, though the trip is all in the mind, so in fact is everyday life. Yet some people play out a kitchen sink melodrama, totally sober, praying, seeing the omnipotent hand of God everywhere, manifesting aspects of their own brain’s identity spectrum into grand personages (God, Jesus, archangels, Satan). This pantomime is played entirely unconsciously, by the individual, yet it’s a clever sanity check, a cognitive dissonance to prevent egomania running too rampant; while the ego is fueled with enough self-love to progress in a competitive complicated world.

  3. Transcendent reports from people tripping, meeting aliens and spirits and elves on the edge and dialogues with divinity: this is a version of the same psychology, as played out in the altered chemical state of the trip: feelings more intense, visuals more brilliant and extraordinary, dopamine to spin everything positive and fill it with energy. Small wonder the trip feels expansive, powerful, illuminating, kinetic, profound. Hence hyperbole in description, e.g. the spirit molecule.


What’s the big deal about the “third eye” and the pineal gland?
  1. The pineal gland is what’s left of the ‘third eye’ in humans, tied into parts of the brain that are primarily working to render visual stimulation (what we see) and memories stored (what we have seen) in our imagination.

  2. The pineal gland can’t see any more but it can be stimulated to the point of overflowing stimulation into the imagination.

  3. Hence trips tend to be a diversely imaginative experience and more pineal excitation may reach heights of stimulation akin to real visual experience i.e. so the brain takes them as if ’seen’ in reality, i.e. hallucinations.

  4. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for parsing the analogue sensory data of what’s seen into useful accurate info describing what’s happening, and the shorthand data of what’s remembered is framed into coherent imagined stories based on the memories.

  5. But the third eye is blind, its connections retained mostly for dreaming, a little for death, and whatever’s leftover from long defunct sight function. Nonetheless when excited it flows down some of the same channels as sight and memory.

  6. The poor brain does its best – no matter where the data is coming from – to frame the experience in a coherent way. Sometimes it has to use imagination and memory, sometimes it has to fill in the gaps best it can.

  7. The more intense the chemistry, the more powerful and transcendent of everyday experience the “trip” experience is likely to be; and the more hyperbole the brain is going to need to parse the stimulation into coherence.


Why would DMT/psilocybin be useful as a long-term brain enema or refresh/reboot, what good is a transcendent experience when everyday life is going to return and the trip only lasts a few hours?
  1. By giving a supercharge to the pineal and reminding the brain of the benefits of high serotonin experience, it’s like an electric shock treatment to kick subsequent serotonin production up the arse; for a potentially long time after the actual DMT experience.

  2. Excitation of religious/transcendent perspective putting into context self-obsession (narcissism, panic, depression, superego, etc) and bringing the everyday mind (conscious, prefrontal experience) into direct contact with the imagination. Imagination is authentic because it’s personal, but its relevance to the brain recedes as one gets older e.g. kids play with anything, imagining as if real with very little stimulus to the ‘game’ but adults put away these ‘childish things’ because life experience shows them to be irrelevant to necessity / survival. Liberation from the everyday is by nature transcendent, religious/spiritual/naturalist flavour varies from person to person but the reconnection with potential – though only actively for the length of the trip – echoes for a long while after.
  3. Sober living and the relentless drip of daily necessity is an anaesthetic to the imagining, creative, blue sky energy of the mind. The brain is nothing if not practical. The DMT trip serves as a restoration of wonderment, eroding the walls of ennui that come inevitably from a feeling life is all about the little things – that the brain only needs to use its higher function to tend to the business of getting through the day, planning a future in lowest common denominator human society. Every day is much the same normality in “reality” and this trains the brain to form deep habits accordingly. Imagination and transcendent thinking is habituated away. DMT works intensively to counteract that habit and, because it is simpatico with in-brain capabilities, it can have a profound and lasting effect; creating a better modus operandi of the mind by sudden contrast of low-emotion normal thinking and high-emotion imagination thinking.

  4. The DMT trip is an intense and extraordinary experience since, especially with ayahuaska, the brain chemistry is realigned to be liberated from the ephemeral bullshit of everyday life concerns, anxieties, habituated problem-solving and repetitions of theme. The trip opens new, better or long-forgotten perspectives – in a visceral, can-feel-it way – in a context the executive functions of the brain can both understand and interact with; hence the benefits can be carried away long afterwards whereas a dream is soon forgotten.


Where do you get psilocybin from?

  1. Almost entirely from certain mushrooms, dried or fresh.

  2. Dried mushrooms are legal many places but not in the USA or UK. Many varieties, different levels of psilocybin and somewhat different digestion detail, so slightly different trip experiences.

  3. Fresh mushrooms can be grown or picked wild. Seeds can be ordered legally online. Growing them is easy enough; just a matter of time and a bit of TLC.

  4. The “wavy cap” mushroom is in the UK October to February.

  5. The “liberty cap” mushroom is in the UK all year round but usually found on cowpats and such.

  6. The large “laughing Jim” mushroom is in the UK but prefers to grow near maple trees. Spring through Autumn.

  7. The “Gymnopilus purpuratus” mushroom grows across the UK all year, usually on dead wood, pig shit and wood chip mulch.

  8. The “greenflush fibrecap” mushroom flourishes all over the UK but only extensively in autumn.

  9. The “banded mottlegill” grows spring to autumn in gardens, lawns, compost piles and sometimes dung.


Gathering or buying mushrooms?

  1. The best time is to go out after it has just rained – harder the rainstorm, more likely the mushroom bloom.

  2. Identify the mushroom varieties using https://www.trufflemagic.com/blog/what-magic-mushrooms-grow-in-the-uk/

  3. Mushrooms can be grown legally in the UK and it’s only the extraction of psilocybin/DMT that crosses the line between legal and illegal. Homegrown if the seed is good is much more reliable than foraging.

  4. Homegrown will be consistent yield whereas foraged will need some expertise to both extract and judge the psilocybin output.


How do I know what dosage I need?
  1. Psilocybin stays in the system for 2-6 hours with a half-life around 3 hours.

  2. Dosage, from microdose to major trip is 50-300 micrograms per KG body weight.

  3. The amount of psilocybin in a “magic mushroom” is consistent with a 1g = 1mg rate: 10 grams of fresh mushrooms equivalent to 10 milligrams of psilocybin.

  4. Fresh to dried mushrooms psilocybin decreases by a factor of 10 i.e. 50 grams of fresh mushrooms has the same psilocybin as 5 grams of dried mushrooms.

  5. USE THIS DOSAGE CALCULATOR TO WORK OUT WEIGHT OF MAGIC MUSHROOMS (cubensis) TO TAKE.

  6. Here is a WEIGHT CALCULATOR to convert cubensis mushrooms to LSD and psilocybin dosage weights.

  7. Mycologist Paul Stamets PSILOMETRIC SCALE for mushroom strains into psilocybin.

  8. SIMPLE USEFUL IDEAL WEIGHTS PER MUSHROOM STRAIN CALCULATOR WITH DOSAGE INFO, METHOD AND SAFEGUARDS.


Want to know more about DMT, Psilocybin, Pineal Consciousness, the Third Eye etc?
Standard
psychology, scribble

Meeting The Alt-Conscious Aliens In Your Brain

“Psychedelic excitation – as in a D.M.T. trip – brings us into contact with strange transcendent beings, sentient entities that seem independent, conscious and 100% real. But what are these machine elves? Are they real? Has DMT opened the ‘third eye’? Are we communicating with aliens, across the universe divide?”


Our conscious personality is the iceberg tip of a multidimensional internal universe. The tip can’t know much about what’s happening in the exponentially larger netherspace – except sometimes as vague intuitions and the rise and fall of emotion.
Psychedelic excitation – like a D.M.T. trip – brings tip and base into contact temporarily. It’s a profound connection and almost everyone has a similar experience. The trip brings us into contact with transcendent beings. We meet what seem to be intelligent aliens. According to our feeling of what’s right and what’s just an altered state, these beings are independent, conscious and 100% real.

But it’s all an illusion, isn’t it?

These aliens aren’t real creatures from the stars, are they?

It can’t be possible to psychedelic trip all the way to the multiverse Gaia, surely?

It’s not an illusion.

The trip-induced communion with alien intelligence is authentic, in a way. The familiarity most feel, when it happens, is not misplaced. Psilocybin, however it’s sourced, creates similar psychotropic conditions for anyone taking it and folk stories about the third eye – the psychic transcendent eye – strike at a biochemical truth.

The third eye is a remnant of our lizard brain, manifest in modern humans as the pineal gland. The pineal is the regulator of dreams and recent research links it to the production of natural dimethyltryptamine. Psilocybin is another.

Opening the third or pineal eye may not be creating a portal to another galaxy – or any phenomenon that defies the laws of physics – but it is opening portals into regions of the mind impossible to reach otherwise. It’s this revelation giving a route to the encounter with aliens.


The psychedelic communion with alien intelligence is authentic. Transcendent visuals are symbolic – usually metaphorical – but this isn’t the same as illusions. Fundamental truth is generally under many layers of easy to parse into limbic experience but the mind has imagination for its toolkit and a palette as diverse as all memory.

Nowadays this means the communion is presented as aliens in the universe. Religious minded meditators often see God and angels in heaven. Yoga practitioners perceive Atman and Buddhist mandala. African animists meet ancestral spirits. Amazonian ayahuaska shaman might speak to ghosts and dryads.

The sights and sounds vary but the meta of the encounter is common to all.

None of these concept embodiments are quite on point.

It would be more apt to call the strange entities. MACHINE ELVES.


In reality, the machine elves are autonomous shards of intelligence – fractals of sentient autonomy – whose existence is entirely inside your brain’s enclosed altconscious. Let’s be clear: inside your brain, nowhere else.

The machine elves are of your brain, by your brain. But they are not you. They are distinct networks of synopses and neurons and axioms, tangled into complex consciousness patterns. In essence the machine elves are made of the same cellstuff as you.

The machine elves are sentient though these neurological entities are variously developed, from personality abortions to living homunculi all the way to the scintillating machine elves themselves. In many cases the altconscious entities will inhabit your brain as long as you do, though without voice or agency. Indeed, their hold on existence is entirely dependant on you and how well you keep body and mind together.


The machine elves share your brain but their life (such as it is) is ringfenced inside a separated space, disarmed, shackled; exiled behind neurological walls. The absolute separation between “you” and the machine elves is the denouement of a ubiquitous Darwinian battle, a survival of the fittest we’ve all fought and won; though like all the other early life struggles, it doesn’t carry over into memory.

The conscious “you” – the person reading or listening to these words – was the sole survivor of a defining civil war for brain-domination, fought out in the crucible of natural selection before your earliest memory. The battle was winner takes all, contested entirely in your unfinished brain and the victorious alpha-identity (you) gained control of nascent executive function. This means command of mind and body, entrusted with the task of survival; going forth and multiplying.


The machine elves were not so lucky. All the proto-sentient fractals, from stone baby to autonomous rival, were ultimately casualties of neurological war. Some – early fatalities and less developed homunculi – were recycled early by your brain. Others, more evolved, more capable, were mulched into your rapidly expanding subconscious.

Many, however, didn’t succumb to termination. Their self-awareness had evolved to be ingrained with self-preservation and, though beaten, could only be subdued, separated from your dominant identity for life. No appeal. No hope of parole.

These fully-formed loci of sentient identity are the machine elves and though they have been silenced and (except in certain mental illness) locked out of interfering with your dominant autonomy, the homunculus tangle of neurons must “live” – a lifespan in decades – in a disconnected headspace. This might explain why the “aliens” are so universally welcoming and attentive, when psilocybin allows you to visit.


The persona fractals – and you – are born from the same zygote fertility. Homunculus to self-aware machine elves, whatever the endpoint of their particular development, these sentient prototypes are more than brothers and sisters. Though casualties on the Darwinian battlefield they are all iterations of personality that may, under different conditions, have become you.

Had a few variables of innumerable possible factors been slightly different it might have been you enclosed in the altconscious voidspace – alive but formless, adrift in an existence impossible to know.

For all we know the psilocybin not only lets the dominant personality travel into the void but brings the first limbic light and sound to the isolated machine elves. This would certainly be a catalyst for the flood of emotions the psychedelic encounter sets loose.


Welcome, then, to the prisoners of your mind. Not trapped in a physical body but in a timeless, non-spatial void created and buried by your brain.

Homunculus personae locked away in a deep altconscious lanaikea, sentient ouroborous playing out a concurrent existence, bound by the arrow of time but suspended non-physical, bizarre instances of fecund neurogenesis – like the living ocean-planet of Stanislav Lem’s Solaris – perpetually separated by your mind’s virtually infinite paraspace.

These heterogeneous altconscious homunculi are the losers in the Darwinian psyche, earlier attempts at intelligence, weaker personality experiments superseded by superior neurological offspring.

Standard
psychology, scribble

COGNITIVE ASSONANCE DEFINED

undefined definition of cognitive dissonance, cognitive consonance, cognitive assonance undefined

1a: COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is a psychological state, observed when a brain holds onto a belief (about reality) in the face of persistent contradictory evidence; by somehow ignoring it. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is stressful but not anywhere near as disturbing as having to explode a belief.

1b: The brain’s natural non-stress state, however, is COGNITIVE CONSONANCE. This is where belief is evidentially and consistently in alignment with reality and there are no contradictions.

2a: The opposite of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is COGNITIVE RESONANCE. COGNITIVE RESONANCE is an experience, in reality, that affirms COGNITIVE CONSONANCE i.e. belief and reality are in alignment.

2b: The less easily observed but nonetheless essential enabler of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is known as COGNITIVE ASSONANCE.

3: ASSONANCE recasts DISSONANCE with most of its stresses removed, to steer belief and reality into RESONANCE that’s experienced as CONSONANCE.


observed cognitive dissonance
(courtesy of a typical luddite)

We think of cognitive dissonance as holding two contradictory opinions in mind – believing both to be true – without ever having to choose one or throw one away because it’s contradictory, and that it requires an any-means-possible mental gymnastics to evade these contradictions; the bigger the contradiction, the greater the gymnastics needed.

But that may not always be true, especially when a lot of people are invested in the continuity of a contradiction in the face of efforts to expose it.

Religious faith and common denominator party political allegiance are two significant cognitive dissonances and, despite the former being a fantasy and the latter a submission of one’s individual moral character, both hold their own in the modern world.

How do these cognitive dissonances stay in tact, despite evidence (or absence of) or a personal hypocrisy at odds with the individual’s private moral code?

What if, rather than dissonance, it’s actually a cognitive assonance i.e. contradiction is maintained by as little dissonance as possible and this minor dissonance is honed by compatible better ideas so ends up being a cognitive assonance shared by a group who’re all, for instance, holding a bunch of bullshit opinions e.g. conservative + anti-abortion + hate-gays – gunrights-racism – anti-immigration – anti-minimumwage – anti-healthcare-for-all.



Standard
psychology, pushback, society

THE MAGIC OF THE STORYTELLING BRAIN COMES AT A PRICE

Sometimes it seems like we’re all at the mercy of currents of circumstances and fait accompli, so the best we can do is try to be a good commentator; or else surrender to the currents and – in both cases – it’s mostly a hope to be carried along somewhere good, where your life-collected talents can be used – maybe recognised – and hopefully you’ll be swept by love close enough to grab hold.

Too much commentating leaves too little time to be absorbed by the journey, too much time risked deconstructing the beauty of the scenery into just more rocks and leaves and sky.

Too much deconstruction trains it into an unconscious habit that turns the natural living in the impressions of the moment as life sweeps us along, into an observer experiencing things personal as if through a glass, feelings become constipated – and then almost alien, disdained by ingrained vanity as the animal reacting to the mere tone of events.

That said, while it might be desirable to submerge oneself in the vicissitudes of life’s daily revelation, and undoubtedly feeling the fierce emotion of engagement can be a wonderful thing, it’s also a risk. That’s bad in life, negative circumstances, tragedy, misery, a whole anti-spectrum of life that’ll swallow the submerged participant in a world of ungood.

We don’t get to choose. Submit to the flow of the currents and feel the interesting high-points, but also risk tumbling into bleak inescapable lows. And tumble you will; we all do, because that’s the coda of senility at the end of everyone’s traversal of their human lifespan.

Maybe there’s a happy equilibrium. It’s a challenge to find it, though, not least because it’s ever-changing. What most do, it seems to me, is another submission: this time to the regulations of the surroundings. That means moulding oneself to the expectations and conventions of society; whichever society that is. For most this is a lifelong cognitive-behavioral therapy and, depending on mental processing speed and personal habituation, it trains a divergence in an individual’s personality between the real self and the roleplay self.

Almost everyone will have memories of childhood where this divergence plays out, where the real had to struggle with the role in an uncertain situation. We get better at it by adulthood; the role having become second nature. By middle age so much time has been invested in the roleplay it’s entrenched as if fundamental – to be defended – even in the face of circumstances sympathetic to the real personality, where it would’ve been fine to be real, the mental muscles built for the roleplay have become the dominant paradigm. More’s the pity.

There’re advantages to having most human beings trained to conform to society’s expectations. It’d be possible to argue our civilised behaviour depends on it; that life would become a chaos if everyone were real (within the law). Maybe that’s so.

But the preeminence of common denominator roleplay comes at a price. We surrender our innate authenticity in favour of a role that’s constructed of observed social norms – moving closer to identity groups, most conducive to our own comfortable path of least resistance – which means a sense of belonging. This paints large numbers in broad identity strokes, turning individuals into mere ciphers. At worst, it codifies prejudice and in-group out-group thinking that’s the well-spring of hate leading to violence; at scale.

Identity, that’s born and nurtured in the cognitive behavioural training of this divergent role version of oneself, is rooted not in reality – though there may be resemblance – but a collage of stories.

The stories are the detail of the role’s knowledge of what it should be: how to feel, how to react, how to perceive the world. Reality, if contradictory (or too challenging) comes off second best. This is an enormous problem. It’s perhaps the biggest practical problem with the human condition. At the bottom of almost every error, personal, social, group, national, is a story gone wrong and the ends to which people have gone pursuing it.

Standard