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Perception altering plant

  1. Sep 13, 2004 #1
    Theres a plant out there called "Salvia Divinorum". It's legal, and is usually smoked in extracted form..

    It's a perception altering drug. I frown upon any kind of drug abuse or abuse to the human body, but this drug is truely amazing as to what it does to the mind, and i believe research on Salvia can unlock the deepest answers that we seek.

    If you have ever pondered your own consciousness, your own existence, your own self, this will completely blow your mind. I lost all identity with myself, as i became completely unaware that i had a body and a life. My consciousness was briefly seperated from my materialistic mind.

    Are any of you aware of this drug, and/or have tried it? It's not just a hallucinagen. It completely rips apart your perception, and I was absolutely blown away by the experience. I believe this is the perfect place to discuss it, because theres some kind of phenomenon going on when we introduce this drug to the brain that is unlike anything else we have ever discovered (even LSD).

    Scientists are still unaware of what it actually does, other than trigger Kappa brain receptors. It's research yet to be done.

    Perhaps a plant so powerful to the mind is actually unlocking a new perception to dimensions that are barely comprehendable? Other drugs will merely alter your senses, but Salvia Divinorum is the only one that truely alters perception and sense of existence... perhaps this plant is somehow key to a vast amount of knowledge we have yet to reveal?

    Could it help us with the understanding of the universe?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2004 #2


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    When we normally speak of perceptions imparting knowledge, it is in virtue of the fact that multiple observors agree upon distinct aspects of those perceptions. For example, A and B both see a rock in the corner, so they conclude that there really is a rock in the corner-- that it's an objective fact.

    Drug altered states typically don't produce these kinds of mutually observable perceptions; while the general states of consciousness produced are comparable, particular perceptions that can be agreed upon by multiple observors-- such as, there's a rock in the corner-- are not produced. So it's questionable to what extent we can say that these perceptions impart knowledge in the same sense that we normally take everyday perceptions to impart knowledge. That is, speaking of revelations of alternate dimensions and the like doesn't seem to fly, as that implies a discovery of some objective aspect of reality which is not born out by actual perceptions across observors.

    That said, altered states of consciousness certainly can offer us much in the way of knowledge and insight. From the subjective point of view, they can show us different ways in which consciousness can express itself-- different ways to experience. In this respect, altered states really do seem to open a vast resource of knowledge that most have not mapped out very well, insofar as everyday consciousness occupies only a (vanishingly?) small and relatively pedestrian portion of the space of possible conscious states. From the objective point of view, altered states can help shed light upon the relationship between brain activity and consciousness by exploring unusual or fringe cases. I have no doubt that exploring these 'limit' cases will wind up giving researchers crucial insights into the nature of the connection between brain activity and consciousness. In fact, given the taboo that surrounds the subject, I wouldn't be surprised if we some day build a thorough theory on the brain/mind relation, only to have it broken by incompatible data attained from a thorough but tardy research of altered states.
  4. Sep 16, 2004 #3
    I'm amazed by the amount of people who have experienced Salvia Divinorum who have talked of a "female presence" during their trip. Obviously most of the hallucinations are not the same between observers, but that's not what i was getting at. As 3 dimensional observers, we tend to assume that a fourth dimension, if seen, would have some kind of visual appearance.

    During an intense experience, its common to completely "shut off" everything that is in front of you. With the lights on, it can be quite confusing. With the lights off however, hiding your eyes from the 3 dimensions your used to, you slip into a trance. Your own thoughts dominate your sight, much like a dream does.

    Maybe this alternate dimension isn't one of visual appearances ("theres a rock in the corner"), but rather one that is abstract, with no solid physical appearance (which is why we can't see it now), but can only be experienced through our own thoughts. Is it possible for an alternate dimension to be subjective, changing with each observer?

    If it is, i guess we'd never know if it's real or not.

    On salvia, people have experienced travelling back in time to their childhood, or on rare occasions ive even heard of people reliving past lives. Strange object associations will occur (i've had some bizarre ones: razman.blog.com) People have felt themselves "merge" into an object and/or become one. Could it be that we're tuning into small parts out of a chaotic alternate reality? Like a radio: different frequency's would mean different stations -- different experiences.
  5. Sep 16, 2004 #4


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    The standard for assessing objective reality is that multiple observors can all agree upon certain aspects of their experience. That is more or less the definition of 'objective,' after all. When you have multiple observors agreeing about their perceptions, the most logical explanation is that there is a common source underpinning or causing these perceptions. For everyday objects, we take this source to be objective reality-- physical atoms and photons and the like. So we conclude, for example, that we both see a rock in the corner because there is a conglomeration of atoms in that location that collectively have the properties to induce in us the visual shape and color, tactile texture, and so on of what we call a rock.

    If we accept the well supported idea that consciousness is supervenient on (dependent upon) physical brain processes, this translates into saying that there is a common denominator between us that causes our brains to enter similar patterns of activity. In the case of the rock, the same conglomeration of atoms is producing roughly the same sensory inputs in both of us, leading to roughly similar patterns of brain activity.

    In the case of a psychoactive drug like salvia divinorum, positing the existence of another dimension to explain our new perceptions is explanitorily extravagant and unneccessary. All we need is a common denominator between us that is accounting for roughly similar brain activity, and hence roughly similar conscious experience. This common denominator is simply the drug itself, which causes similar brain activity in both us and hence similar conscious experiences.

    Occam's Razor tells us that we shouldn't consider ourselves to be tuning into a chaotic alternate reality-- the chaos is not outside (nothing in the environment is changing), but inside (your brain activity is changing radically). Hence, you shouldn't take such altered states to be unveiling some mysterious new aspect of external reality as much as you should take them to be unveiling new aspects of your own mind.

    If you mean to suggest that conscious experience is somehow distended (conceptually) from our ordinary ideas of what physical reality is, then I would agree with you. Altered states of consciousness can perhaps make this assertion more apparent in practice, but in principle they are not needed; a philosopher who has never experienced an altered state could come to much the same conclusion simply by reasoning about the nature of his rather pedestrian, everyday conscious experiences. One need not slip into an altered state to realize that there is a huge conceptual gap between, say, a certain pattern of brain activity and the subjective experience of the color red. Given how we understand their respective natures, the latter does not follow in even the remotest sense from the former.

    Some philosophers who recognize this conceptual divide come to be substance dualists, thinking that the mind is composed of some kind of 'stuff' distinct from physical stuff. Substance dualism, then, could be taken to be roughly a form of what you suggest when you speak of alternate dimensions. However, substance dualism has well documented philosophical problems; the most promising approaches seem to be forms of monism (or aspect dualism) where we reconceive the nature of objective reality, rather than piling another layer on top of it.

    edit for typo, and small clarification about dualism
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2004
  6. Sep 26, 2004 #5
    i think that drugs help you explore your inner self. perhaps the 3 dimensions we know on the outside are simply used as a tool so we can envisage our inner nature. if the drug is very strong and especially if it affects central nerve system it breaks your mind processes into...chaos. trust me.
  7. Sep 29, 2004 #6
    I smoked like 5 bowls of that S.D. and didn't even catch a buzz.

    I say when you're trippin' you are not more in touch with those cosmic forces, you just think you are because you're so phucked up. Like everyone said, it's all internal. I've written some deeply profound, enlightening stuff from my insight under the influence, but when I sober up, it's CRAP!!!! I just think it makes sense while the whole world is covered in colors and delusions.
  8. Oct 1, 2004 #7
    well my friend took an ecstasy pill and fell asleep after 20 minutes, so i guess that dont prove much
  9. Oct 3, 2004 #8
    i've done salvia divinorum. many years ago. it was ok, but i don't think that it is any better than any other hallucinogen. just different. salvia (the handful of times i did it, as i didn't enjoy it) would almost always take me back to childhood or memories.
    dmt or 5-meo-dmt, on the other hand, were the tools of choice. imagine being shot straight out into space, feeling the sheer accelerative force, getting there within a very small time, 1/10 of a perceptible second, perhaps. once there, time stops, becomes a non-entity. as do you. every particle your body is composed seperate from each other and immediately diffuse evenly eveywhere, throughout the universe and perhaps beyond. your conscioussness does something very similar, though, you are no longer aware of a self in any way. no past or present, as i mentioned. once at this point, you simply stay this way, forever.
    i don't know anything more now than i did before that experience, years ago. i have come to dislike the (as a friend of mine coined it) indiscriminate profundidity produced by these drugs. i'm not saying that hallucinogens are invaluable, but, if everyone were tripping and exploring their inner selves, thinking that were the true universe, we would be living in a society much different from the one we live in now, something more akin to, i'd imagine, a summer (hippie) festival.

    so, with that said, have fun, be safe, and don't take it all too seriously.
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