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[Orginally titled “Rendering Altered Reality”. This Article was originally published in HIGHBRAU magazine, Vol III – Issue IV – Autumn 2014. It is a rather different writing style that I embody these days, very tongue-in-cheek. Hopefully, you enjoy this rather psychedelic blast from my writing past.]

The current overarching cosmology of the dominant western mindset — a mindset that favours a paradigm of mechanized and dualistic materialism — conditions the mind of the common person to create a, to say the least, drab reality.

Advances at the largest (cosmic) and smallest (subatomic) scopes of physical sciences are coming to realizations that echo the great mystics about the paradoxically boundless nature of a perceivably finite universe. Similar existential realizations about the paradoxical wonders of life are emerging in the arts, such as within what is commonly called the ‘visionary arts’ movement. Yet, the reality of the everyman, society in general, is no longer moved by new advances in art and science. Thus, whether it be of the vested interests of clandestine organizations manipulating the mind of the public in a Bernaysian[1] fashion, or it be the unfortunate sum of mediocre, distracted minds, the reality fed as the truth of human existence, well, sucks.

It kind of looks something like this [read with tongue-in-cheek tone]:

Get birthed, short childhood, school, more school, job, work, work, work, work, make money, buy things, work, buy things on credit, work to pay off credit-bought things, obtain social recognitions for your things, work, work, rinse, repeat.

That description is definitely an obtuse generalization, but it isn’t inaccurate. It is part and partial to a common paradigm that is consequentially stunting the development of the planet by favoring a one-dimensional foundation for human potential. Essentially, placing the waking state consciousness, the state of mind wherein conditioned patterns of behaviour play out most readily, as being the only state of empirical value. Wherein all other states of human existence – i.e. excitement, sadness, awe, joy, arousal, creativity, religious wonder, etc. – are essentially seen as hiccups on the steady road of work, buy, work, buy, follow orders, work, buy, die; ‘a truly useful life’.

{Meta-Narration Block: Now at this point, you may think that this article is moving towards some sort of diatribe on recreating social paradigms that engender more vibrant, creative humans with potential towards a fuller, more beautiful existence. It isn’t. The short trip we have taken into social commentary will work simply as the conceptual point of reference for investigating the manner in which information is rendered as a perceivably meaningful human reality. }

Conventional society, with it’s foundation in the aforementioned paradigm, has engineered the informational substrate (subconscious mind) of the average person to render a reality that holds the normal waking state as the best, right, or proper state of consciousness in some way. Yet, this perception is inherently flawed as there, and pardon me for being a Kant[2], is really no way to determine that anyone’s waking state realty is the same as anyone else’s. The best we have is the capacity to observe and measure a person’s ability to externally communicate, verbally or otherwise, their reality. Which we can then examine in comparison to a dataset gathered from doing the same thing with other people to establish averages and comparative values.

Reality is mutable; the waking state is not the baseline but an average. An average that is not realized as merely an average until it is disturbed. For me, this is where the potential of research into chemical and technological interventions on the normal operation of the neurological system becomes so interesting. We are able to knock waking state out of the ballpark and gather new sets of data. We can feed the knowledge base for consciousness studies in the externalized academic sciences of neurology, biochemistry, psychopharmacology, as well as the sciences of the inner-world like psychology and philosophy. Furthermore, with things like Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), we can combine and compare the datasets between the physical and nonphysical to create an integral understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of reality. Which is, like, really cool.

*Insert mind-science geek squeal of excitement here*

But, beyond just the advance of the human knowledge base of scientific research, there is a personal element of potential here as well, and it has to do with self-awareness and the personal potentials of one’s reality.

Every experience, whether waking state or otherwise, is an experience of the Self — the culminated dataset of patterns of information in the individual manifesting as self/other awareness on various levels of interaction within the perceivably external/internal world. All of one’s reality, regardless of its overlapping commonality with other individual peoples, is an experience of raw sensory data being conceptually rendered into a perceivable meaningful experience. Wherein, on the surface level of conscious experience, we are interacting with the concepts we have unconsciously applied to various sensory stimuli. These concepts are rendered autonomically in accordance to the informational substrate encoded into an individual person’s unconscious mind, and the physical capacity of the psychosensory nervous systems to coherently render perceived data, wherein the brain works as the central processing unit (CPU) for this entire operation.

{As you may have noticed at this point, this article is pretty much just about geeking out on consciousness. I hope your enjoying it as much as I am.}

Essentially, that which we experience as reality is the epiphenomenon of a conditioned psyche, operated in congruence with the ‘physical’ organs of the body, rendering inherently meaningless sensory data into a meaningful experience, processed at the higher levels of the CPU of consciousness (the brain) and then projected back onto the perceived data as a set of experientially meaningful concepts.

All of one’s reality is like the creative rendering of information into conceptual structures precipitating from the depths of the unconscious mind.

The surface of our awareness is merely the most superficial expression of a vast profundity of unconscious structures modeling reality. The contextually normal operation of our brain maintains a perceivable commonality to this reality, wherein the context of a conventional life dominated by the western paradigm, outlined earlier, is the norm. This norm, as also previously outlined, kind of sucks, but due to the limitations within this paradigm, we are mostly stuck splashing around at the shallow end of individuated consciousness and prevented from exploring the grand coral reefs of the mind. “…kind of sucks”.

Yet, it is possible to change our surface reality, decondition the socially-embedded patterns, explore the structures of the subconscious mind, and learn to conceptually integrate new patterns of conditioning that enable an ongoing awareness of the larger processes of life in play at any moment. Thus, awakening a new set of potentials for the manifest reality we are unconsciously rendering; unlocking whole new spectrums of reality (read: self) to be explored; revealing a vibrancy of potential experience hitherto denied…

But how do we do this? Well, the answer is, like the nature of the universe itself, paradoxically simple and infinitely complex: alter the normal operation of the central processing unit; alter the neurochemical operation of the brain, endogenously or otherwise, in a manner which facilitates the emergence of unconscious material to the surface of conscious awareness. There are many ways to do this, some more reliable than others.

Personally, as I have written about extensively in my books, I believe the classical psychedelics — such as, but not limited to, psilocybin mushrooms or LSD — can offer just the deviation needed to break us from the invisible cattle guards of the socially conditioned western mind. But that’s a whole other topic….

“We don’t know who discovered water, but we know it wasn’t the fish […] A fish does not realize its medium until that water changes through the adding of ink or poisons”

– Marshall McLuhan

“Well, we are fish swimming in consciousness […] and the psychedelic is like a dye-marker being dropped into this aqueous system. And then you say, ‘Oh, I see – it works like this… and like this.’”

-Terence McKenna­

NOTES

[1] Bernaysian is a reference to Edward Bernays, a famous propagandist of the ‘twenties and ‘thirties. Nephew of Sigmund Freud, Bernays literally wrote the book on propaganda.

[2] In reference to Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher. In self-proclaimed spiritual or metaphysical-oriented communities, Kant’s philosophy of all experiences being constructs of the mind and thus potentially false representations of what actually is, is commonly used as a rhetorical technique (read: logical fallacy) to deviate from an intelligent discussion on a direct topic, which is a pain in the ass.

e.g

Person1: “It seems like a price hike on the transit systems would be a detrimental blow to the lower-middle class.”

Person2: “Yes, potentially, but your argument is assuming that the middle class is real and not just a figment of the human mind projected out onto a more essential reality to distract us from the truth of our divinity.”

Person1: “That has nothing to do with what we are talking about and gets this discussion nowhere.”

 


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