If you notice, even just sitting still we are constantly moving our head just a little, constantly moving our eyes. Without these programs, our visual field would seem far more jumpy and unstable. In certain states of consciousness, these smoothing programs can become intermittent, less effective or even completely disabled.
Also, when mind rambling, chatter and perpetual loops stop, a greater amount detail can be seen and perceived through all senses. At higher and higher levels of perceptual resolution with our filters disabled and the smoothing programs down, you begin to notice that we don't perceive reality smoothly. We perceive it in tiny little frames. If you just watch the first picture, your mind isn't drawn to he frames. After looking for a bit at the second picture of the pair, suddenly you can start to see the frames of perception more clearly. It's simply a matter of learning to (or being tricked to) get past our habitual programs and filters to tune into a more fine grained perceptual reality happening.
These observations come from my own experience with psychedelics in my 20's and extensive meditation practice including a number of longer meditation retreats.
Meditation and Hallucinogens can quiet the mind (or more dramatically short circuit habitual mind loops) and allow you to see the gaps in the self-ing process. The self-ing process never really stops. You never really stop having a sense of self arise from time to time, but when you see the frames and gaps of self-ing you begin to question a lot of who you think you are. And you begin to see the amount of time and energy you spend protecting the self from paper tigers.
Spiritual circles generally call this awakening and tend to over-emphasize it's specialness and idealize those who have deeply conditioned themselves to reside in that state. But it is real and mostly desirable phenominon (with a few drawbacks). Putting aside questions of full enlightenment and mind blowing transcendent unitive states, simply freeing up the consciousness that gets locked up in perpetuating the continuous sense of self and all the efforts to defend as if you are defending your physical body from harm allows for a richer, higher resolution and more textured moment to moment experience of life.
From my subjective experience it is the same sorts of filters that smooth out reality, that also give you a continuous sense of a psychological self which basically manufactures the vast majority of our problems and suffering.
If I remember correctly, the main criticism against this is that if it were the case brain activity should be reduced, at least in some regions, when on psychedelics. However, observing people on psychedelics with fMRIs does not match with that.
This study would appear to disagree:
Decreased activity in the ACC/medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) was a consistent finding and the magnitude of this decrease predicted the intensity of the subjective effects. Based on these results, a seed-based pharmaco-physiological interaction/functional connectivity analysis was performed using a medial prefrontal seed. Psilocybin caused a significant decrease in the positive coupling between the mPFC and PCC. These results strongly imply that the subjective effects of psychedelic drugs are caused by decreased activity and connectivity in the brain's key connector hubs, enabling a state of unconstrained cognition.
generally brain on psychdelics is in "overdrive" mode (confirming on myself), but maybe not everything is on turbo in same way, and works seamlessly in normal state doesn't work well anymore
To quote Huxley "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern."
"Filter" in this case is just an analogy, and not necessarily a good one. We don't know the nature of consciousness and how it maps to brain activity, so it's not appropriate to assume that what is perceived as removing a "filter" is increasing stimuli, it's just processing it differently in some way.
After all, no specific brain activity can be detected on a person imagining Santa Claus to be real either.
The hypothesis is obvious on the other hand. However, individuals that would submit to a test on psychedelics is likely the type that gets easily exited just for the sake of it and doesn't. Or brain activity doesn't corralate with actually functioning correctly. I' expect a failing subsystem would respond with increased activity, simple feedback. Eventually some controle unit would shut it off or the subsystem would keep working but a bit unusual, despite increased blood flow.
> I believe ... there are little mind programs that run on
> our perception that smooth out reality for us
Our cortex’s main role is to provide inhibitory control on thalamic activity. The serotonergic activity of psychedelics blocks this control signal, and thus prevents the swift extinction of qualia once the triggering stimuli (whether internal or external) is removed.
It's a thought easy to marvel at when you're on acid, and a mechanism easy to appreciate when you take too much.
2009: 1 hr
2010: 30 min
2011-2014: 10 min
2015-present: 0-10 min
these are my daily averages. i have one rule: before I go to bed, I must assume the lotus position on the floor in front of my bed.
2015 was particularly a challenging year for me (startup problems), and it was all i could do to even assume the lotus position for a second. so for much of 2015 i really didn't meditate, which was ironically when i probably needed it the most. such is my life.
it takes around 4 minutes for me to reach what i call stage 1. this is when all the normal chatter in your mind ceases and your breathing is synced (i've also noticed that it takes around 40 breaths, which is roughly 4 min, so sometimes for shits and giggles i just count to 40). after much trial and error i've noticed i don't even need to do anything; it's the mere passage of 4 minutes that gets me to stage 1.
thereafter is when the real effort begins. it is a constant effort to reach what i call stage 2, or what i consider the beginning of true mindfulness, which means you are neither thinking of the past nor the future. i would say i only enter stage 2 at seconds at a time, only to fall out again into stage 1 (usually by an intruding thought, and that thought is usually "oh, i've got it!").
to be honest, i don't know what the effects have been for me. i seriously don't feel any different. anyway, how are we to separate the effects of meditation with the normal process of maturation or aging? am i getting calmer because of meditation or because i am getting older?
i take it on faith. faith in data and science. our personal experience with meditation cannot be the guide with which we measure it's effectiveness, because subjective experience is exactly that. i liken it to flossing. i floss my teeth every day but still have worse gum recession than those who do not. my periodontist and dentist chalk it up to genetics, because that is the best they can conjecture based on the current science. we can measure flossing easily; without a brain scanner in our basement we cannot so measure effects of meditation. so from the research i take it on faith that the effects must be beneficial on my brain.
I'm not so familiar with your stages model so I can't really comment. Based on your last paragraph, my engagement with meditation comes from a very different place than yours. It started in order to stabelize attention after an ADHD diagnosis; a way to get off meds. Quickly that was left behind and the real focus was enlightenment, spiritual awakening or whatever you want to call it. It was motivated by a deep spontaneous inner faith that there was something to it and it was important that I go 100% into it and discover for myself. It was not based on research or attempting to find the best approach to make my mind measurably more effective. I just felt a powerful internal yearning for awakening and I had to follow it.
I found this interesting at the end of the article, regarding the Control Interrupt model:
This inhibitory control mechanism occurs a discrete number of times per second. Therefore “control interruption” caused by psychedelics, in this model, is conceived as a periodical failure of inhibitory control that allows aspects of one’s experience to be sustained for longer than usual. The frequency of control interruption is specific to the psychedelic used. As the article conjures, salvia and nitrous oxide produce control interruption at a frequency of 8-11 and 12-15 Hz, respectively. On the other hand, DMT disrupts control at a much higher frequency (24-30+ Hz). This control interrupt creates “a standing hallucinogenic interference pattern in the consciousness of the subject”.
It's interesting that different substances might have measurably different effects on perception. Would be nice to see a bit more scientific study into this, maybe seeing if there is a link to fMRI data at all.
DMT is a legitimate mystery of science and is not a drug in the traditional sense.
But here is an article that makes sense to me.
Our brains are really not that good at letting us know what is going on in our lives. Our brains are however really good when it comes to making us believe that we know what is going on in or lives.
Just look at this list for some examples
Otherwise, I think that could be a plausible explanation. Though I've read about people actually talking to the elves, or hearing things from them, which would be weird if the elves were themselves.
On DMT the aliens come to you...
EDIT: Well, I thought it was interesting anyway... my ability to perceive flicker deteriorated markedly after the age of 30 but this way I can at least see how the camera sees it! (I will be keeping an eye out for this phenomenon now but I doubt I could spot it any more unless right out of the corner of my eye.)
Most people don't notice these new break lights (I think its on Chevy cars) but when the driver breaks there is a very fast and subtle blinking of the red tail lights (opposed to just the red tail lights being on for older cars).
I only noticed this blinking while under... but now I see it often but my wife does not. ie its similar to the pong bar "C" letter in the article.
I have no reason to think he had been taking hallucinogenics as a preteen.
Migraine treatments target different subparts of the serotonin system than psychedelics do (migraine: primarily 5HT1B/5HT1D vs psychedelics: 5HT2A). However, from what I see, a lot of the classic "popular psychedelics" don't tend to be very selective, and act on a lot of the serotonin system as well as other systems such as glutamate (5HT2A agonism by itself is not necessarily psychedelic).
Consequently, LSD for instance seems to have quite an affinity for 5HT1B (with a touch of 5HT1D), and psilocin for 5HT1D (and a touch of 5HT1B). So reports of LSD and psilocin being effective against migraines aren't surprising.
Do florescent lights bother you too at all?
Also from what I've heard sometimes people will only see visuals after a second time taking LSD or by taking a more substantial sized dose.
The screens of cellphones and certain OLED displays having visible screen refresh rates, especially if my eyes are panning across them from a distance.
Shitty LED display lighting with a visible flicker. It's especially bad on a place nearby that has window frames outlined in what are effectively Christmas lights--almost enough to give me a headache just looking at them.
Certain LEDs and phone backlights tend to leave trails in the dark (once my eyes are accustomed to it). This is probably normal, but is a little disconcerting.
Projected images can have minor chomratic aberration, which can be distracting during a presentation. If I twitch my eyes purposefully back and forth, it gets worse.
I love graphics, but that shit is annoying IRL.
(On that note, here's an old HN post I recall about how to cheaply and easily see light spectrums: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=971413 Of course you can't do that with car lights very easily, but you can still check incandescent vs. florescent vs. LED, etc. fairly easily, and perhaps learn to correlate which is which when you see the "rainbows".)
I thought it could be something to do with my eyes but never thought it could be corrected. Looks like I'm due an eye check! Last time was when I was 6 I think..
The effect that jumped out at me was focusing at a spot on the floor while standing up and turning. It creates the momentary impression of a spiral pattern in my perception. Especially with a dot-like pattern on the floor :)
Also, if you like rainbow halos, you might also like Shock Diamonds:
Cataracts generally affect the elderly, but young people may also have it due to genetic factors or medication (such as corticosteroids).
There is a lot of pain, anguish and regret expressed on the forums by people suffering with this condition.
Distinctly, I remember watching Mars Attacks in theaters (which should date the experience) on what was promised to be a "special" blend... how it was special, I have no idea, but the visualizations were very unique.
In lieu of the strobe effect this article discusses, everything instead morphed. When someone turned their head, for example, my eyes (brain?) saw their head briefly in both positions (with no gaps), and then they morphed from the first position into the second position, its path being trailed by a ghost of their heads.
It was unique, different, and I've never had another experience like it. Perhaps there was something in the mix that wasn't purely LSD, I honestly don't know, but from my (admittedly naive) understanding, not every trip produces the same effects as every other.
That said, LSD is (to my experience) rarely concocted at pharmaceutical grade. Different concentrations, different configurations, different additives lead to different outputs, each of which we might all refer to as LSD colloquially, but which are all effectively "water, with a hint of lemon", or whatever else, moreso than LSD-25 vs. something else.
With psychedelics dose and unknown environmental and psychological factors can lead to different effect, so there is no need to speculate about a different chemical composition.
I'd be careful when talking about 'different kinds of LSD' because while there are indeed various other Lysergamides that produce analogues effects, most of the time you are more likely to get something that is not LSD at all (e.g. NBOMe) when talking about 'different kinds' of LSD.
Furthermore, I think there's a lot to be said that the brain needs to be "trained" to make good uses of the drug, including microdoses—you might be able to recognize the effects better if you're already familiar with the doses at a strong level. However, this is completely spitballing. I'm eager to see proper medical/psychological testing with pharmacists maintaining dosage and administration.
It was stored fine. LSD will not self-destruct in days when stored in distilled water in a refrigerator. It will not even self-destruct after multiple decades in a jar. People store LSD in all sorts of forms for regular trips and it works fine, and somehow, people keep reporting positive microdose experiences regardless of how they sourced or stored their LSD...
I have no idea why you're attempting to preserve the authenticity of your experiment when it had vanishingly few verifiable materials, effects, and samples. Your post has great value without attempting to draw results.
That may be a result of the reality that all things really are connected when they are stored as concepts in a network of neurons.
Visuals contain meaning, but they are not meaning.
> Finally, we are currently experiencing a memetic explosion with regards to the use of micro-doses. .... A more noticeable enhancement would be observed on artists, writers and possibly mathematicians. It is genuinely exciting that there is a new wave of attention to this particular application of psychedelics: General, all-purpose life-enhancement.
As a synesthete myself, that was the first thought I had after reading this article. It would be interesting to see where this leads.
Or of course, try and code while high..
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Giraffe seems like a good candidate, though no for the reasons the author suggests. I usually suck on high speed videogames but I just kept endlessly running up a high score on Space Giraffe while my wife (who's way better than me at arcade games) sat there going 'but how are you playing? What's even going on?!'