Back to the beginning with DMT

My relationship with ayahuasca and the other sacred medicines really began several years ago when I watched a 2010 documentary called DMT The Spirit Molecule – or at least that’s when the seed was planted in my mind. I’d never heard of DMT before this documentary but I was intrigued by the title and the description of the subject matter.

DMT, or Dimethyltriptamine to give it its full name, is a compound that’s found all throughout nature and is naturally present in the human body. It’s also one of the most powerful psychedelics that we know of.

In 1990 a professor of psychiatry called Rick Strassman had finally managed to get the necessary authorisation to conduct research into the effects of DMT. Prior to that no scientific research on psychedelics had taken place for nearly twenty years.

Within the first five minutes of the film I was fascinated by the recounting of an experience of one of the study volunteers:

‘I saw this city, in the distance; it was dark green with lights flickering and before that tremendous geometric patterns that are incredibly rapid. I cannot describe it to anyone. They’re so fast. I was watching that and a ball of light went right past me. And you’re in this place. Why am I in this place?

Then I noticed there was this woman off to my right. She had green skin and she had a dial and I realised that she was turning the volume of the lights up and down on the city in the distance. And as soon as I looked at her she noticed I was watching her and she said “So what else do you want?”‘

Continue reading “Back to the beginning with DMT”

Is metaphor who we are?

Love thinkingMetaphor isn’t just a poetic way to make language more interesting. It’s also a vital mechanism for abstract thought and an efficient method for communicating abstract concepts.

It’s also claimed that it plays a major part in the way we understand ourselves and the world we live in.

But why do we think metaphorically? What’s the point of abstract thought?

What happened to create this symbolic way of thinking, and what purpose does it serve in evolutionary terms?

We’re not the only creatures who think, reason and understand. In many ways we use our brains in the same way as other species do. We still have the reptilian and earlier mammalian parts of our brain that function on an unconscious level and govern a large part of our existence and survival.

But at some point the human brain evolved further; it began to think of one thing in terms of another i.e. symbolically – and so developed the ability to think in terms of the abstract.   Continue reading “Is metaphor who we are?”