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***See below for a complete topic breakdown.***
Using Psychedelic Molecules to Explore Alternate Worlds
In this episode, we welcome back Dr. Andrew Gallimore to explore the content of his new book Reality Switch Technologies: Psychedelics as Tools for the Discovery and Exploration of New Worlds.
We discuss how the brain builds an experiential world model from patterns of information at the neural level; how all of those worlds are correlated with specific neural patterns; how we can disturb that neural pattern to encounter new worlds; essentially, using psychedelic molecules to explore alternate worlds.
We explore how different classes of psychedelics affects the brain differently and thus switch us to different potential worlds, focusing specifically on the neural and world-switching effects of classical psychedelics, tropane alkaloids, and ketamine.
We also explore why the brain doesn’t care if its models are true, only if their adaptive; how perception of reality flows from conceptual hypothesis down, not from sensory information upwards; the self-model and its disintegration (ego death); we talk about schizophrenia and hearing voices; and about how every experience is “real” but not all experience is accurately mapped to our environment.
Dr. Andrew Gallimore is a computational neurobiologist, pharmacologist, chemist, and writer who has been interested in the neural basis of psychedelic drug action for many years and is the author of a number of articles and research papers on the powerful psychedelic drug, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), as well as the book Alien Information Theory: Psychedelic Drug Technologies and the Cosmic Game (April 2019) as well as his most recent book Reality Switch Technologies: Psychedelics as Tools for the Discovery and Exploration of New Worlds.
He also collaborated with DMT pioneer Dr. Rick Strassman, author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule, to develop a pharmacokinetic model of DMT as the basis of a target-controlled intravenous infusion protocol for extended journeys in DMT space, aka DMTx. His current interests lie in the neuropharmacology and ontological implications of psychedelics, and how they might be developed as tools for communication with alien intelligences inaccessible to normal waking consciousness.
Dr. Gallimore was on the show previously, episode 101, titled DMT, Aliens, and The Meaning Of Life.
In that interview, we explored DMTx (aka extended-state DMT), the structure of reality, hyperdimensional alien intelligence, and the implications of dying while tripping DMT, much of which arose from his book Alien Information Theory: Psychedelic Drug Technologies and the Cosmic Game.
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Episode Breakdown (and timestamps)
- (0:00) Opening and introduction
- (3:10) Guest bio
- (4:38) Patreon Thanks | Support the Show
- (6:14) Interview Begins
- (7:38) All experience is “real”; all experiences are of models made by the brain
- (10:45) DMT worlds are made of the same stuff as our normal waking world
- (13:15) The brain builds a world model from patterns of information at the neural level
- (18:31) The Interface Theory of Perception; not every experience is an adaptive model of the environment
- (22:07) The brain doesn’t care if its models are true, only if it’s adaptive.
- (24:26) Perception of reality flows from conceptual hypothesis down, not from sensory information upwards; predictive coding
- (35:40) The world falls out of the brain; how the brain builds the rich complexity of an entire reality
- (40:50) The self-model and its disintegration (ego death)
- (45:08) Schizophrenia and hearing voices
- (52:21) How the brain builds the world space of consensus reality, and how we can explore new world spaces by changing our brains with psychedelics
- (59:59) The C-Switch: how classical psychedelics affect the structure and dynamics of our models for reality
- (1:07:32) How classical psychedelics offer us profound insights and increase creativity through their effect on our brain’s hypotheses about reality
- (1:11:39) Ego death is the result of classical psychedelics producing a loss of distinction between self and other
- (1:14:20) Increased wonder and insights resulting from classical psychedelics destabilizing the brain’s hypotheses
- (1:23:08) Considering the difference between 5-MeO-DMT and DMT in the context of classical psychedelic effect on “the world space”
- (1:27:34) The M-Switch: how tropane alkaloids (aka datura) affect the structure and dynamics of our models for reality through acetylcholine, the M1 receptor, and the management of error signals
- (1:36:38) Tropanes, attention, and coming in and out of reality and hallucinations
- (1:39:30) The N-Switch: how ketamine and PCP affect the structure and dynamics of our models for reality through the NDMA receptor, the push-pull dance between anesthesia and high-psychedelia
- (1:45:23) James musing on his high-dose ketamine experiences
- (1:46:45) Ketamine is an abstract state of consciousness
- (1:50:11) What about Cannabis, MDMA, and Amanita Muscaria?
- (1:54:51) Using psychedelic molecules (and designing new ones) to explore and map alternate worlds
- (2:02:47) Follow-up links and socials
- (2:05:21) Outro