The Case Against DMT Elves
"Snippets of the Psyche" revealed in DMT space, by James Kent
The comments in this article are adapted from Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason, by James Kent.
The following is an edited version of an e-mail conversation written during a bout of insomnia, in response to DMT, Moses, and the Quest for Transcendence, by Clifford Pickvoer.
To: Clifford Pickover
Sent: Tue, 27 Apr 2004 02:51:05 -0700
Subject: DMT Elves
Hey Clifford, a friend recently pointed me to your article on DMT, Moses and Aliens. Since you asked people to voice their opinion I shall. I have studied this issue very closely for the past fifteen years, and though I have not published the results of all my research I would like to share with you some of the conclusions I've made about DMT and the dramatic phenomena it produces.
In short, I do not believe DMT is a gateway to an alternate dimension, nor does it induce contact with autonomous elves and alien entities. Yes, DMT produces a vivid other-worldly landscape when ingested, often including elves, aliens, insects, snakes, jaguars, etc. This is true for the majority of people who try it. Some people do not have such vivid responses, but many do. Although this may appear at first glance to be "shocking," it is actually no more shocking then the fact that most people dream at night, or that most people see geometric patterns (pressure phosphenes) when they close their eyes and press against their eyeballs. But the difference between pressure phosphenes and DMT is that DMT is illegal and very hard to come by, so most people never have the opportunity to experience it. If we could all hold our breath for a minute and produce vivid hallucinations of alien landscapes it would seem quite mundane, no more than a mere curiosity of the human condition. However, since this particular alien landscape is produced by a specific rare substance (DMT), people seem to think it is akin to unlocking the mysteries of the universe when they actually get their hands on it.
Now don't get me wrong, DMT is stunning in its effect, no doubt. But, like anything, when you do it many times the magic tends to wear off and reveal itself for what it is; an exotic aberration of the brain's perceptual mechanics. To illustrate this point I would like to offer the following observations:
1. DMT acts primarily at the 5-HT2A receptor, which is where the hallucinogenic tryptamines work their visual magic. Without going into all the details here, let's just assume for a moment that a molecule with the proper shape acting at 5-HT2A site can significantly disrupt and/or enhance visual sensory processing, depending on dosage. If this is the case, then dumping DMT into the perceptual wetworks is akin to messing with the logic that produces the display on the computer screen you are looking at right now. Any programmer can tell you that a single line of code consisting of only a few characters can drastically alter the way your screen presents the data coming from your video card. It can make the screen flicker, blink, warp, twist, or fall into infinitely recursive fractalline chaos. When this happens is your monitor now displaying an "alternate reality" or "parallel dimension"? No, it is not. It is simply taking the same old data and processing it with a new factor in the base algorithm (disruption/excitement at the 5HT2A receptor). Even a very small tweak could produce dramatic results. Since the sensory processing system is so delicate, any abrupt chemical perturbation can cause it to become excited, unstable, or fall into chaos. When the visual system is disrupted for any reason we get phosphene activity, which is the visual system's version of a "ringing in the ears." Phosphene activity is chaotic, but as we all know chaos does not produce random noise, it is familiar and predictable, and produces some damn trippy patterns.
2. The sensation of seeing aliens, elves, or being in the presence of God(s) is not unique to DMT users. Otherwise sane people who have never tried DMT report these sensations all the time, and it is generally treated as a sign of psychosis (see separate topic on Charles Bonnet Syndrome CBS). However, recent research has shown that by stimulating parts of the temporal lobe you can reliably reproduce the feeling of being in the presence of God (also known as "seeing the light," "feeling enlightened," or having a "religious epiphany"). It is an innate human sensation -- just like the feeling that "I'm being watched right now" is an innate human sensation -- we just don't catalog it as such because it is relatively rare, happening perhaps only once in a lifetime to those who do not artificially stimulate themselves, perhaps never in a lifetime. Some people have very dramatic religious epiphanies with angels and demons and all form of cherubim marching through with horns and such with no drugs whatsoever, and though it is a common event we generally treat it today as a psychological aberration; though back in the day it was the stuff prophets were made of. Since this kind of religious epiphany is something our brains can already do, the fact that a substance like DMT can reliably reproduce this single phenomena (in concert with other effects, of course) is not much of a stretch.
3. The archetypal DMT "entities" are pretty well categorized, with most people seeing elves or aliens or fairies or angels or some kind of loopy little spirits that dance about and tell riddles. Sometimes it is a spirit-animal like a jaguar or a snake, sometimes it is none of the above and goes totally off the map. But getting back to the elf thing (which is what many people find to be the most curious aspect), I initially found it very surprising to be confronted by elves in my DMT experiences, and on psilocybe mushrooms as well, and did indeed perceive them as externalized, morphing, disincarnate beings. I even managed to carry on rudimentary conversations of sorts. However, the more I experimented with DMT the more I found that the "elves" were merely machinations of my own mind. While under the influence I found I could think them into existence, and then think them right out of existence simply by willing it so. Sometimes I could not produce elves, and my mind would wander through all sorts of magnificent and amazing creations, but the times that I did see elves I tried very hard to press them into giving up some non-transient feature that would confirm at least a rudimentary "autonomous existence" beyond my own imagination. Of course, I could not. Whenever I tried to pull any information out of the entities regarding themselves, the data that was given up was always relevant only to me. The elves could not give me any piece of data I did not already know, nor could their existence be sustained under any kind of prolonged scrutiny. Like a dream, once you realize you are dreaming you are actually slipping into wakefulness and the dream fades. So it is with the elves as well. When you try to shine a light of reason on them they dissolve like shadows.
4. Which brings me to my last point. Psychedelics in general have an amazing capacity to activate the mind's eye, or what I call the imaginal workspace. In our day-to-day lives we have two active areas that are processing our perception of reality. The first is the primary workspace where all our sense data is compiled in our pre-frontal cortex to give us our waking picture of reality. The second is the imaginal workspace, where we can think about abstract thoughts or visualize the contents of our cupboards from memory (or whatever). The imaginal workspace is generally running in the background, helping us plan our actions by visualizing them in advance -- like driving to the grocery store for instance. We visualize the store, plan a route, and then go. All the while our primary workspace is taking up most of our attention. This balance flips, however, when we are caught in deep abstract thinking, like daydreaming or trying to solve a difficult problem. And when we sleep the primary workspace is actually taken-over by the imaginal workspace to process all the backlogged data that was set aside during the waking day. When this happens we dream, and our primary workspace is filled with imaginal data (memory compressed by the hippocampus), and suddenly we are immersed in an imaginal reality that looks and feels just as solid as waking reality. Since it is being processed in the primary workspace, the same high-end gear that we use to processes our waking reality, we can't tell the difference. The only difference between being awake and dreaming is the origin of the data that is being processed in the primary workspace. When you are awake you are processing external sense data in the primary workspace. When you are dreaming you are processing internal (imaginal/memory) data in the primary workspace.
I have done many experiments with lucid dreaming and self-induced visionary and hypnogogic states and I can tell you that the switch from external to internal data sources feeding into the primary workspace (and vice-versa) happens in a split second. It is too quick to notice unless you are waiting and watching very carefully for the neural hand-off. But it is there. It is a physical, mechanical thing. One second you are awake and listening to the faucet drip, the next second you are wandering through a dream parking lot listening to the sound of your keys jingling, searching for your car. If you catch yourself and wake back up again you are back to the drip-drip-drip of the faucet. Close your eyes and you are back in the parking lot (or wherever). So, knowing that there's this kind of murky area in between waking and dreaming where imagination feeds into working memory, it is not much of a stretch to assume that psychedelics can interact with the chemical signals which manage that hand-off between external sensory data and imaginal data flowing into our primary workspace. It may very well be that in the psychedelic state our selective sensory inputs are totally opened up so that everything is crashing in at once, making it impossible to parse the data and distinguish what is real from what is imaginal until the drug actually wears off. In short, concrete psychedelic visuals may be nothing more than chaotic visual patterns overlapped with images created from waking dreams.
So, within the framework of this equation one question remains: Why is the alien/elf archetype so common to the DMT experience? The only answer I have is that we humans must have innate evolutionary wetware that forces our senses to latch onto any piece of anthropomorphic data that pops into otherwise randomly uniform data -- like spotting the face of another human or a jaguar peering out from behind the bushes, or seeing another human moving through tall grass. The evolutionary advantage of such a trait is obvious, and in standard Rorschach tests even the most amorphous blobs are found to look like faces and/or people no matter what culture the observer is from. Now, given the amazing swirling kaleidoscopic imagery produced in the typical DMT trip, it is inevitable that anthropomorphic shapes will emerge and then express themselves in even greater detail as the mind latches onto them and "dreams" them into focus. With the imaginal workflow kicked into high gear, it is not surprising that these emergent anthropomorphic entities can then speak to us, revealing shocking details from our own subconscious in a conversational stream of visual theater. Given all of this, in a nutshell, the case for autonomous disincarnate DMT entities is closed. All that is needed to produce them is our own over-excited visual system and imagination, and thus Occam's razor wipes them right off the table and into the fairy-dust bin.
In conclusion I would just like to mention a couple more things. The visions produced by DMT are not solely elves and alien entities. A wide variety of archetypes and just plain-old whacked-out stoner shit creeps into the mix. It is highly individual and in many cases is heavily dependent on set and setting. This fact alone (more than anything else) leads me to believe that the DMT entities are mere figments. If, for example, everyone always saw talking penguins and only talking penguins while high on DMT, that would be much harder to explain and much more mysterious. The fact that DMT "consciousness" reveals itself in so many forms tells me that the "messenger" -- be it elf, alien, jaguar, or whatever -- is basically arbitrary within the context of the patterns and archetypes our minds tend to pick out of random noise. However (and this is the good part), the really interesting thing about DMT experiences is not the elves (messengers) themselves, but what it is they are saying (the message). And when you get to the heart of what the typical DMT message is, it is usually something about the environment or living systems or the vast plant consciousness that penetrates our world. The "Gaia consciousness" that infuses the experience is undeniable, and what to make of that I don't know, other than to entertain the possibility that this ancient plant consciousness actually exists and is attempting to make itself known through the DMT-enlightened mammal brain. If so, then this is the real discovery of the DMT experience, and this is the topic that should be looked at more closely. In the context of DMT being a two-way radio for plant-human communication, the "elves" themselves are nothing more than a cartoon interface for the exchange of information.
Clifford Pickover responds with some questions:
> Benny Shannon's excellent book has many pages telling us why DMT visions are NOT like dreams. What do you think of this argument?
This is a discreet point so I will try to make it again. I agree that DMT visions are not dreams, but suspect they utilize the same brain organs and neural circuitry that dreams do to produce the internal imagery. Psychedelic visuals are generally kinetic geometric matrices (2-D or 3-D depending on substance and level of trip, DMT being very good at producing 3-D matrices) with "embedded images" which emerge from the matrix, morph, and fade along with the user's own train of thought or subconscious inclinations. The geometric matrices are a result of the visual processing system falling into a chaotic state, thus causing sensory feedback, overlapping frames and trails, and frame-translation errors such as visual flanging, perspective distortion, etc. The eye receives light on the retina in a series of concentric circles with the highest concentration in the center. We only receive about 80%-90% of the actual picture of what's in front of us on the retina, and the rest (like the stuff left out on the periphery and in the blind spot) is "added in" by our brain's ability to fill in the missing pieces of reality. This "fill in the blank" aspect of the brain is not perfect, and sometimes causes us to mistakenly see something "out of the corner of our eye" which on closer inspection is not actually there. Along the pathway from the retina to the prefrontal cortex, the sense data must be translated from a series of concentric rings of dots to a concrete image of outlines, fills, and shading that we perceive as reality. This process is called "frame translation." Hard lines are etched out on our retina by a process called "lateral inhibition", which allows one retina to take priority over the retina next to it if it perceives a hard line or shift in shading that infers depth or outline. If lateral inhibition is inhibited, the edges of what we see tend to drift and blur, causing perspective distortion, creeping light and shadows, and patterns that seem to crawl. At more dramatic levels of this kind of activity, the "frame" of reality actually begins to rotate and twist, and if you have "trails" on the outlines of an image that is rotating in space, you create a complex 2-D geometric lattice. If this lattice twists forwards or backwards it produces depth of field, thus a swirling 3-D matrix appears.
Okay, so that is part one. These shifting lines and shadows and geometric lattice imagery I have described should be familiar to anyone who has taken a psychedelic tryptamine. Now when you add an over-active "dream engine" trying to impose patterns and order on these morphing kinetic matrices, (not to mention visual synethesia) an infinite number of patterns and visions can emerge. They are unlike dreams in that they do not appear as a alternate version of hard reality, but this is because dream data comes from the hippocampus (compressed memory), which stores data from everyday stuff. DMT data comes from the brain's own pattern-matching systems trying to impose order on a chaotic patterns, thus "filling in the blanks" and trying to piece together what is going on. This is probably why "visuals" become more elaborate on the periphery (i.e. in the corner of the eye where there is more capacity to extrapolate missing data) and become less-so when examined front and center. For example, "elves" tend to hang out and bounce around in the periphery, and tend to disappear or "drift" with the visual field when you try to focus directly on them.
Since the patterns and imagery we see in the psychedelic state are so "alien" to our normal sensory input, it is no wonder that the landscapes and visions that our brain imposes on them are likewise very alien. That said, I have seen all kinds of mundane stuff in DMT visions: toasters, faces of people I know (usually family), people copulating, scenes of human suffering and warfare, clowns and harlequins, trains, skulls, trees, oceans, sunsets, animals, dancing cartoon rats, silken sand-dunes, spider-webs, strands of DNA, rotating atomic and molecular structures, etc. This is all very terrestrial stuff. So DMT visuals can be pieced together from bits of memory and imagination. The basic difference between dreams and DMT visuals is that dreams are snippets of incongruous memories forced into a consistent narrative by the pre-frontal cortex; DMT visuals are chaotic geometric patterns forced into a consistent narrative by the prefrontal cortex. The source of the data is different (though sometimes overlapping), but the process of turning random data into "contextual meaning" happens in the same place in the brain, weather we are awake, dreaming, or tripping.
> DMT visions have nothing to do with the psychonaut's life and they are not as chaotic or illogical as the plots of our dreams. They do not contain simple household objects that you see in dreams.
I disagree with this. You can impose any imagery you want in the DMT state. I know a guy who always sees tricked-out cartoon hot-rods when he smokes DMT. I know a woman who only saw hideous zombie-like faces and corpses. I have seen vivid images from my own life (memories, family members, etc.) as well as mundane objects in the DMT state. If the user stays "unfocused" the imagery tends to dribble out of the subconscious and swirl into the realm of the fantastic (hence the archetypes), but if you are "looking" for something within the visions you can generally make it appear.
> The DMTVerse seems completely foreign to the user. No matter how hard I try, I can not imagine the vast, intricate, ornate palaces and temples common in the DMTverse.
True! But this is because you cannot consciously "will" your visual system to collapse into a chaotic state, or you cannot "will" your temporal lobe to become excited and produce the presence of God (though perhaps long-practicing mystics can). There is too much neurochemical redundancy to keep your brain from falling into these states at any old time (unless you are schizophrenic). The ornate palaces and temples are heavenly archetypes, this is obvious when you look at ancient architecture, especially in the Middle East and Asia. This does not mean they are "real" in the sense that they actually exist somewhere in hyperspace, merely that they are imaginal blueprints, pleasing patterns forged from the subconscious. I think people sell the human imagination short when they say things like, "No one could ever envision such things on their own." Maybe people raised on the limited flotsam of TV and pop culture can't, but brilliant creative types sure can. That said, I am not adverse to the notion that there is some kind of "ancient alien architecture" embedded in our DNA somewhere that produces these kinds of visions, or that the heavenly archetypes (such as vast temples, angels, etc.) are actually representative of some kind of hyperspatial kingdom where souls dwell after death (or something like that), but such things are impossible to prove in any empirical way, so flatly saying that this is the case is highly suspect to me, especially when the content of the experience varies so wildly. What I will concede is that humans across all cultures have alien and heavenly archetypes embedded in their subconscious, and psychedelic tryptamines can access the archetypes with a high level of success. Where these archetypes come from or what they mean is the subject of eternal debate. The best I can figure is that they are sub-phenomena of our own visual systems, a hidden feedback filter that crystallizes inward and outward vision, and necessarily reflects some of our own internal structure back at us. The answer to the mystery is you. You are the amazing thing producing all of this... All the time...
> Many psychonauts have the distinct feeling that the visions are not simply products of their own mind.
True, but most psychonauts are just beginning to explore their own mind and are usually very surprised at what pops out when they they start messing around with it. The first people who discovered fractals had the distinct feeling that these amazing other-worldly images and patterns could not simply be the products of a few lines of code, and yet that's all they are. Complexity breeds all kinds of weird shit, and the human brain is the most complex system on the planet.
> The goal for future researchers it to determine whether the psychonauts can return to our world with new "factual" information.
I have attempted this experiment in many ways and with many people. The answer seems to be "No." I have had many people argue with me about this but none could provide a concrete example that was convincing in any way. The information retrieved from the psychedelic states is usally generalized common wisdom applicable to the user's own life (or human life in general). The notion that a rainforest shaman can divine "information" about a plant just by ingesting it in an ayahuasca brew illustrates to me the mind's amazing ability to extrapolate holistic data on a specific system when given only little snippets of data to work with. This ability is amplified by the psychedelic state, but it does not produce "new" information, just more refined and detailed analysis of what we have already observed. This is the "fill in the blanks" property of the brain I discussed earlier in the context of the visual system, but logic systems use this technique as well.
> I discuss in the book I'm doing that we should search out these entities just like scientists search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
I'm all for trying to get a grip on the phenomena, but have little expectation that anyone will ever make "absolute contact" that proves an autonomous existence of hyperspatial entities. I am more inclined to believe that they are very strange and unexplored facets of the human psyche, but I also believe in samsara and the transmigration of souls, which makes the notion that these entities could be "disembodied souls" floating around in hyperspace very tempting to latch onto. And yet, even wanting to believe that I have not been able to convince myself that this is the case even after repeated experimentation and confrontation with these entities. All I can come up with is that they are figments, or that if they are disembodied souls, the disconnect between their intelligence and human intelligence is such that they are not able to reveal anything lasting, tangible, or definitive about their own nature. In short, they say all kinds of things, some of it profound, some if it gibberish. But none of it points definitively to any deeper truth about what they are or where they come from.
> What do you think of the ornate palaces that people see and seem to be able to traverse?
I could ask you the same thing about J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. He (and legions of fans) could certainly envision this world and traverse it with very adept skill. The product he produced is very vivid, ornate, and fantastical. Does that make it real? No. DMT visions certainly do have their own very unusual aesthetic, to be sure, as do mushrooms, LSD, 2-CB, Mescaline, etc. Each one produces a distinct set of visual imagery, each one a slightly different variation on a basic fractally recursive theme. But this is no more surprising to me than the fact that two different fractal algorithms produce different results, and yet they all share the same intrinsic qualities and are instantly recognizable as "fractals." As I said, the ornate places may be heavenly archetypes, they may be the product of the mind imposing order or chaotic patterns, but I have seen nothing that implies to me that they are "real" places somewhere. They are by definition fleeting and ephemeral. The fact that DMT produces a consistent "style" of visions in human brains across all cultures is no more surprising to me then the fact that pressure phosphenes produce the same kind of geometric visuals in human brains across all cultures, or that a specific fractal algorithm will produce the same imagery no matter which computer it is running on. It would be more surprising to me if DMT produced wildly different visions in each person who tried it (as LSD can, which I find infinitely more fascinating). As it is, DMT appears to produce amazingly consistent visual patterns in all users. That is a significant fact, and it points to the conclusion that DMT is very simple in it's action without a lot of room for variation.
> There is also a sense of enchantment, of sanctity, of beauty, a sense of gaining privileged access to knowledge and that their intelligence is increased.
Yes! I agree that all these aspects of the human mind are amplified under the influence of DMT. One does not have to take DMT to have epiphanies of beauty and sanctity. DMT does increase intelligence, which I define as the brain's ability to retain many specific pieces of data in working memory while simultaneously performing analysis on them. DMT (and other psychedelics) certainly amplify this capacity, and thus amplify the brain's capacity to apply contextual meaning or "profundity" to whatever it may be experiencing. If the psychedelically amplified brain happens to be focused on an imaginary alien landscape, then the profundity of that alien landscape suddenly goes through the roof!
> To the DMT psychonoaut, the world around them appears to be constructed, composed with care like a work of art or an intricate hand-spun fabric, and guided like actors in a play. They feel as if a veil has been lifted and so that they see something that has always been transpiring.
Yes, this aspect of the experience is more relevant to me than the elves or whatnot. The exposing of the deeper fabric of reality that we don't normally see is the big secret of the DMT (and other psychedelic) experience. This is a product of the amplified mind exploring the nature of hard reality. The quantum levels of flux become apparent and the "hardness" of reality disappears into a vibrating mass of infinitely deep energy, emerging and crystallizing from the bottom-up into ever-changing states, which of course it actually is. The profundity of this realization is very heavy, yet it is nothing that we do not already know. But the quantum nature of our world made manifest for our otherwise limited senses is always a shock.
> Shanon tells us that the DMTverse appears to be another world with an existence independent of the psychonaut.
Well, the "real" world exists independently of the observer, what we perceive as reality is an abstract representation assembled in our brain from sense data. We just don't dwell on this fact very often. Why does a deeper understanding or vision of this world have to be classified as another world or a parallel world? Why not just assume it is a hidden (or hard to see) aspect of this one? Sensing quantum reality is not the same as entering another world. It is experiencing another layer of the same old world we already live in (like the infrared goggles metaphor). Giving this hidden layer of reality some kind of vague "mystical" properties only mucks up the analysis of what is really going on when we experience it.
> Many psychonauts return with a certainty that consciousness continues after death. They return with the idea of a soul existing beyond the body, somehow woven into the fabric of the universe.
I agree. This may well be the case. Time is an illusion of our senses. The soul may be timeless. Again, this conjecture is metaphysically savory but impossible to prove. The mystery just gets deeper when you probe it. My conclusion is that the things we see in the psychedelic state are a confusing mixture of a "deeper hidden reality" that is there all the time (the product of amplified senses), plus detailed imaginal renderings of our own subconscious desires and fears (made manifest by a combination of synesthesia and an over-stimulated brain trying to impose order on chaotic patterns). Sorting out which is which (separating the "hard signal" from the "chaotic noise" and "imaginal rendering") is the hard part of the psychedelic journey. Flatly accepting the entirety of the experience as "real" or "truth" is a mistake that makes many "psychedelic philosophers" appear to be little more than new-age jokes enamored with their own visions. The issue demands much deeper analytical thinking than that. It drives me crazy.
> DMT psychonauts may see a new world superimposed on the "normal world."
So do people suffering from delusions. This is interesting, but far from absolute evidence of parallel realities.
> This new world is completely navigable...
I disagree. This DMT world is fleeting and ephemeral, constantly shifting and morphing. You can "navigate" somewhat by choosing which direction you would like to "morph into" next, but the "imaginal worlds" of the DMT experience do not have a solid and consistent structure. They are transient and elusive. If you want to talk about total waking immersion in a hard imaginal world, you need to get into the kind of experiences people have on Datura and other delirients. These substances can make you think you are standing in line at the grocery store when you have actually walked into your own coat closet. These are what I refer to as "concrete" hallucinations that are fully immersive. In contrast, the DMT visions appear as "perceptual distortions" which produce stylized renderings of the reality that is in front of us. Close your eyes and you get a swirling, highly detailed alien landscape. Open them and you see a very distorted view of the space in front of you overlapped with these same swirling geometrical lattices, with the occasional "hard" object such as an elf or something popping out of the mix.
I think in general people like to romanticize the DMT state and make it more than it is because they desperately want there to be a hidden hyperspatial world filled with mischievous sprites and god-like entities. However, when you closely study the experience over time you come to see that a lot of the romanticized notions are not actually going on in the state, and people tend to "editorialize" the content of their psychedelic experiences, or they create a narrative filled with concrete objects and entities in order to compress the experience into language, meaning, and memory.
I've done DMT a number of times, each time with the intent to find some deeper truth or insight about the experience. The only thing I can say for certain is that it is different every time. The aesthetic of the visual phenomena is consistent, unique, and wonderous, but the content that is generated within the experience conforms to no hard or simple rules like "entering a hyperspatial dimension" or "visitation from alien entities." Everybody experiences something slightly different, and yet they all want to apply it to some kind of "Alice in Wonderland" trip down the rabbit-hole and convince themselves that they've been exposed to a hidden world or something of vast spiritual significance. In doing so they revise the experience to fit into a narrative that makes sense, thus creating wishful non-truths, such as the statement that DMT worlds are concrete navigable spaces, or that elves appear for everyone every time. This is simply not the case. It is a mis-representation of the actual experience. It would be cool if it was true, but the truth is far more elusive and complex then the simple metaphysical fairy-tale notions we like to apply.
The comments in this article are adapted from Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason, by James Kent.