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Psychedelics and Time Distortion

  1. May 1, 2005 #1
    I occasionally have used natural psychedelic drugs for spiritual and scientific purposes (I do not abuse them and I treat them with the utmost respect), and have found that on several of these occasions my sense of time became severely distorted and disconnected. On the first of these occasions the effects of the drug lasted around 14 hours. However, during these 14 hours I experienced a passage of time that I believed to be roughly a two year period. On the second occasion I had asked a friend the time and he told me it was 6:15. I waited awhile and asked him again to the reply of 6:00.

    There has been much talk lately of the potential for elongating our lives through biological altercation. But after having had these experiences I am led to wonder if perhaps the key to living a "longer" life is in the way we perceive the passage of time itself. If there were a way to be "more conscious" within each passing second so as to sort of prolong it, we would essentially be living longer (even though biologically we would still die at the same age). This is very strange, and although I haven't fully wrapped my mind around it yet, I can honestly say that I did live two years within that 14 hour period. Which leads me to wonder if there is any potential for developing a substance from these drugs (without the severe sensory alteration) that could allow an individual to attain this state indefinitely? Also, is it possible to exercise your brain in such a way as to develop the ability to process more sensory input in a given amount of time than you do regularly? Any thoughts or similar experiences?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2005 #2
    Im aware that time can become distorted when for instance, a person has an enormous amount of fun, or a hellish time. In the first case time will seem to go faster, in the second it will seem to go slower.

    Can u tell me what u experienced during ur 14 hour/2 year period?

    Also, i have read something about LSD experiments being done in the 50's or 60's, and some subjects found their consciousness being encapsulated inside prehistoric reptiles.

    Here it is:

    I know of many other cases that seem to indicate that consciousness can travel through time(forward or backward), so perhaps this is actually possible.
  4. May 1, 2005 #3
    U might want to browse through this archive of 'psychedelic' experiences and see if any of theirs matches urs:

  5. May 1, 2005 #4
    Yes, Natural Substances do have the capacity to speed up and slow down time in conscious creatures. Distorted senses of time simply implies that we do experience things that are visually off balance on the regulatory scale of consciousness. This should not come as a surprise to us at all as the whole notion "NORMALITY" fundamentally rests on REGULATORY LAWS of nature.

    Even now, it is becoming very clear that CHAOS is decisively an ORDER. How consciousness translate chaos into order, weave the world into sensible forms, queue and reorder events in time, mask dimensions of events space to allow individuation of perceivable objects and quantities etc, has for thousands of years remained the delusive battle ground for philosophical puzzles. In fact, this is the main source of SCEPTICISM in philosophy. For example, this is the source of David Hume's Epistemology (for those of you are versed in his sceptical philosophical programmes).

    On the issue of SCALE OF REFERENCE, it is not clear how things are, or are perceivable, in each scale of reference. Given that all these experience altering substances take us on an ethereal trip from one scale of reference to the next, it is not clear how each scale of reference is experientially ordered (except perhaps a few of the indiviaul acccounts that we have heard people give). Equally, even if all these altered experiences are infinitely prolonged or shortened, it still does not affect the whole notion of a LIVING CREATURE POSSESSING THE PHYSICAL POWER TO SURVIVE PHYSICAL DESTRUCTION AND LIVE FOREVER! If this is true, it follows that experience alteration via application of natural substances are fundamentally delusive and has no relation to reality. It also means that the notion of a living creature surviving and living for all eternity or forever is completely detached from or is independent of the scale of reference in which each creature is experientially installed, and the length of any altered eperience therein (shortened or prolonged) is metaphysically and epistemologically irrelevant.

    NOTE: Being experientially installed in an extended or reduced time continuum is completely different from being physically installed in an extended or reduced time continuum. They are not metaphysically equivalent. In reality, the most revered and desirable would be the the latter and not the former. For me, and perhaps for many people too, a million years in a minute is metaphysically and epistemologically delusive!
    Last edited: May 1, 2005
  6. May 2, 2005 #5
    Here is another example of time distortion (or rather: time control) during a Near-Death-Experience:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  7. May 4, 2005 #6
    Thanks for the links, that made for some interesting reading. Might I suggest http://www.erowid.org/ if you are interested in a neutral and scientific approach to human-drug interaction.

    As for an explanation of living 2 years time within 14 hours, I honestly cannot explain what it was like, because these experiences truly defy explanation. It was just my "sense" of how long it lasted. There really isn't a point of reference when you're on drugs for gauging the amount of time that has passed, because the relationships time is based off of remain unchanged.

    Philocrat, I agree with most of what you said, except for the last part which is not entirely clear. In my trip the experiential and physical notions of time seemed interdependent, ex: I only got hungry every few months which was consistent with the feeling of 2 yrs in 14 hours. Hence if I were somehow placed on this real time to drug time ratio the rest of my life (and it may come to this if I get dumped again, women and reality don't mix :biggrin: ) then in reference to real time wouldn't I have elongated the time I was conscious?
  8. May 4, 2005 #7
    Einstein on time distortion and state of mind

    Einstein once remarked that while sitting next to your favorite girl time goes by fast, sitting on a hot stove time goes by slowly. No doubt time itself does have a psychic component to it.

    The link below is an online (partial) article in New Scientist Magazine on the possible medicinal uses of psychedelic drugs from treating anxiety in dying patients with extasy (MDMA), treating various forms of mental illness to spiritual uses as you suggest in your post.

  9. May 6, 2005 #8
    I just wanted to add a recent anecdotal item to this thread. A Buffalo, NY firefighter (Donald Herbert) recently made a sudden recovery after nearly 10 years of being mostly blind and all but mute due to a brain damaging injury from a 1995 fire. He shocked his family and friends when he abruptly asked for his wife. His initial recovery was striking and somewhat miraculous.

    Herbert at one point reportedly asked how long he had been "under." When told it had been almost 10 years, he replied, "I thought it was three months."
  10. May 7, 2005 #9


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    So is this a suggestion that time is all in the mind? :surprised
  11. May 7, 2005 #10


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    Our perception of time certainly is. There doesn't seem to be any sufficient reason to suppose that that's all there is to time.
  12. May 7, 2005 #11


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    There is nothing more "wrong" with the time-sense under the influence of these drug types than the "normal" time-sense, since both would agree to the number of ticks a particular clock has made as long as they do not move relative to each other.
  13. May 7, 2005 #12


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    I found the bit about the regression to lower evolutionary forms interesting.

    But certainly, I don't find it surprising. Humans are animals, like any other, and animals primarily run on instinct. I think the only thing which makes humans any different is that many humans are convinced that they somehow are different. We are not as far away from the primates and other forms as some like to think.

    I've had interesting experiences while shrooming, but the past two times have been disturbing ("bad trips", so to speak). Many claim that mushrooms bring one closer to nature, and I would have to agree, with the assertion that nature can sometimes be terrifying.

    Mushrooms make you want to go out and do things (that's probably why it's called "tripping"), but they also mess with your sense of direction. So I'll go out on an adventure and get lost. Then slight panic sets in, and I begin thinking about how animalistic everything is, how we are just these beings on this globe, and only a few have even a glimmer of understanding about it all.

    I can remember a particular instant when I was beset with the idea that we're all really just rotting, heading towards death. Our skin perpetually sheds, our hair falls out, our bodies grow frail and tired, and life itself is simply a struggle against the ever encroaching and increasing entropy all around us...

    The last time I tripped was about a year ago. Might be time to do it again soon.
  14. May 7, 2005 #13


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    Exactly. Just because our mental perception of time is distorted, that doesn't mean "real" time has been altered and to think so just means you need to get off the drugs...

    I was very ill with mononucleosis when I was 14. I was taken to the hospital when they could not get my fever under 106F. I was in the hospital for three days and have no memory of it. I remember being taken in then I remember my mom sitting on the foot of the bed telling me that I might be able to get out in a few days if I countinued to improve. She told me that I had already been there for 3 days. I thought that I had just gotten there. I have no memory of the three days even though I am told that I never lost consciousness.
    Last edited: May 8, 2005
  15. May 8, 2005 #14


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    I disagree. You can honestly say you "think you lived two years". Why am I not supprised . . .

    It's just not there. The drug is making you think that and I've heard similar things about what people think when they're high. Really not a good idea to be experimenting that way. Injestion of hallacinogens leads to schizophrenia. It's documented. Take care.
    Last edited: May 8, 2005
  16. May 8, 2005 #15


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    How can one disagree with another's experience? Experience and perspective are truly individual...
  17. May 8, 2005 #16


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    Hello Kerrie. You know, if you tell me you time traveled, I'll disagree with you simply because I don't believe in time travel and if you tell me that while you're on an acid trip, then . . . I'll feel I understand why you said that, feel symapthy for you, and then disagree with you. Also, I think you'll agree with me on the schizophrenia part.
  18. May 8, 2005 #17
    I appreciate your concern, but I've found that the mind-shattering perspective gained through these experiences outweighs the documented risks associated with occasional use. It's right up there with birth and death.

    One thing I am still curious about is the aspect of accelerating the amount of sensory information you assimilate and how this would relate to your conscious perception of time passage. For example, take two people A and B who live the exact same lifespan. Person A however has a brain that is capable of processing a larger quantity of sensory input than person B over a given period of time. Since consciousness is partially related to your sensory input, is it possible to say that person A is more conscious than person B? Additionally, can you then say that person A was "more alive" or "lived more" than person B? And would this then imply that person A, being more consciously present in each passing second than B, was able to experience more time?
  19. May 8, 2005 #18


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    I've done mushrooms, heck I've done all hallucinogens and they are a complete waste of time, IMHO.

    No, they just processed more information over the same period of time.

    If I went to a rap concert, I would be miserable and an hour could seem like a lifetime, every detail would grate on my nerves. A person that enjoyed rap may have that same hour seem like 15 minutes because he is enjoying every detail. So, how you react to an identical amount of information can alter how you "perceive" time.

    Also, you could say that a person that was calm, relaxed, and led an uneventful life but was happy was more "alive" and "lived more" than a person that was constantly cramming their mind with details, and was stressed and nervous and unhappy.
  20. May 8, 2005 #19


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    Oblivion, there is no way you remember your birth and I will go out on a limb and guess that you haven't died yet. How can you say this experience of yours is similar to birth and death? I've had some experiences with LSD in particular and didn't find it all that mind-blowing. It just made bands like the Allman Brothers and Primal Scream that much better. Then again, spatial distortion was far more pronounced than temporal distortion during these experiences for me. The biggest change, really, was that I seemingly had the ability to perceive input that is normally processed by one sense (such as sound waves) with all of my senses. It was like I could taste and smell and see the music. Great feeling, but still not all that profound.
  21. May 8, 2005 #20
    I would say that just because your own personal experiences with drugs were not particularly illuminating does not mean that someone else might not find deeper meaning in their use.

    At the very least, like loseyourname describes, some drugs can enhance your enjoyment and understanding of music, especially since a good deal of music has been created under the influence.

    I do think that psychedelic mushrooms ingested in the right place at the right time (typically somewhere isolated outdoors) can give one a deeper connection with nature. Not everyone, but someone in the right mindset to begin with.

    And there have been ancecdotal accounts of the emotional healing effects of using ecstasy. Which may not be convincing to some, being anecdotal and all.

    I do agree that the experience gained through occasional use can be well worth the health risk. Or even trying it once in your lifetime.

    There was an interesting article in the New Yorker last year (non-drug-related) about how perception of time can change. I can't remember who wrote it. Maybe Oliver Sacks?
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