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Fri Apr 12, 2013, 10:09 PM

The War on Consciousness

this is a link to a TED talk that was taken down because it was too controversial. I haven't watched all of it yet, but wanted to share with others if anyone wanted to discuss this - since the points I've heard thus far are things that have been discussed here.

...I'm talking about the use of plant-based medicine/substances for addiction - but the talk caught my attention, as well, because of the initial mention of the idea of the evolution of human consciousness with the use of consciousness-altering plants (and the ceremonies associated with them.)

Since some studies have indicated some of the plants shut down one part of the brain, while others may flood the brain, temporarily, with one or more neurochemicals, such as seratonin - it's an interesting idea to ponder if humans developed their abstract intelligence via their plant environment.

when people talk about evolution and environment, they focus, often, on big issues, like climate changes, that create difficult situations for humans (or other species, for that matter.) Are we so indoctrinated by an ideology of struggle and competition that we overlook the possibility that our evolution has also been influenced by the plants that existed in a complementary relationship with humans?

I know I will always come down on the empirical side of most any argument about the whys and hows of something - but I don't think, in this case, the empirical is lost in the points the speaker makes, while acknowledging the tensions between his thesis and some aspects of empirical evidence.


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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply The War on Consciousness (Original post)
RainDog Apr 2013 OP
CanSocDem Apr 2013 #1
Warren DeMontague Apr 2013 #2
CanSocDem Apr 2013 #4
Warren DeMontague Apr 2013 #5
RainDog Apr 2013 #3
CanSocDem Apr 2013 #6
RainDog Apr 2013 #7
CanSocDem Apr 2013 #8

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:39 AM

1. The 'drug' in question...


...the spelling I don't know but is pronounced "Hia-ca-wa" or close to, contains the well known consciousness-expanding substance DMT. There was a spirited discussion about this on GD a while back.

Some sources say DMT stimulates the 'pineal gland'..... that 'other sources say "...connect us to our non-physical higher selves. Purportedly, our higher selves want us to expand our consciousness and in your words, partake in the "...evolution of human consciousness...".

The 1% who control the current system know about drugs and how to use them to their advantage. Public access to a drug that connects the masses to their "higher selves" would be a disaster for the 1%. They would be finished.


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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #1)

Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 22, 2013, 06:10 PM

4. That's it....


...and indeed fascinating material. Don't know what you mean by "woo territory". I'm results oriented. What ever works!

And there seems to be solid science verifying the positive effects of Ayahuasca as in this story from "National Geographic":


Only in the past decade, and then only by a handful of researchers, has ayahuasca begun to be studied.

At the vanguard of this research is Charles Grob, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at UCLA's School of Medicine. In 1993 Dr. Grob launched the Hoasca Project, the first in-depth study of the physical and psychological effects of ayahuasca on humans. His team went to Brazil, where the plant mixture can be taken legally, to study members of a native church, the União do Vegetal (UDV), who use ayahuasca as a sacrament, and compared them to a control group that had never ingested the substance. The studies found that all the ayahuasca-using UDV members had experienced remission without recurrence of their addictions, depression, or anxiety disorders. In addition, blood samples revealed a startling discovery: Ayahuasca seems to give users a greater sensitivity to serotonin—one of the mood-regulating chemicals produced by the body—by increasing the number of serotonin receptors on nerve cells.


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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #4)

Response to CanSocDem (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 21, 2013, 04:31 PM

3. The way I look at it

Because of world view, I tend to look at this as, maybe, the way gods were created.

If the human mind has the capacity (and we know it does) to create "out of body" experiences when one part of the brain is stimulated (i.e. the feeling of looking down upon your body, etc.) and has the capacity to hallucinate images that are not present, then maybe those hallucinations were where people first saw the existence of gods.

Ayahuasca is called Mother Ayahuasca - that's the form of the god in traditional cultures - but other gods from other religions have also been present for people during ceremonies. A lot of people see snakes. Again, my brain is so literal that I think hallucinations create all sorts of fractal patterns and people try to find correlations that make sense to them in their known experiences. On the other hand, I recognize that there are senses that we don't have that other animals do - frequencies in sound that aren't available to us, radar, etc. and, while I don't think these are supernatural - they are beyond human observation without some device that decodes those things.

I don't have personal experience with ayahuasca, but the things I've read from those who have, and who have looked at the components of it, found it contains a huge amount of MAO inhibitor - which was one of the first line pharmaceutical treatments for depression in the west. The DMT in one plant only becomes active when combined with the MAOI containing plant b/c this allows absorption - otherwise the DMT would pass through the body. So, you have something that is allowing the brain to flood itself with "feel good" chemicals (seratonin, etc.) combined with something that also changes the visual field.

Some of the work that people have done concerning alzheimer's, depression and PTSD indicate that some drugs have the capacity to stimulate the growth of brain cells in the hippocampus that relate to learning and memory. THC, tho much milder, is one, and other plant psychotropics seem to do the same. All of them are illegal.

Synthetics - MDMA and LSD - have had the same effect in studies concerning PTSD and other anxiety-related disorders.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 22, 2013, 06:47 PM

6. What I learned...


...about the drug-induced 'religious experience' was that while terrifying or profound, it was still of short duration. Carlos Castaneda wrote about the connections between plants and the nature of reality in his study of the "shamanistic" Toltec folklore. He became one of the Buddhas of our time.

I think we have been lulled into submission by the economics of the free market. Ancient medicine can be synthesized, re-branded and commodified into a milliondollar moneymaker. Even if it is too diluted to be effective, there is a 'free-market' solution for that as well:


And, of course, our inherent need to believe we aren't worthy....


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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 22, 2013, 06:55 PM

7. I don't think that belief is inherent

I think we're taught to feel we're not worthy.

While humility is a good thing, and not being too big for your britches (as they used to say where I'm from) is a good thing in order to live with one another -

I think feelings of unworthiness are taught by our culture.

Maybe these religious experiences help people to think they're okay being mere humans after all - and I think that applies to a lot of religions, when someone is lucky enough to be able to bypass all the messages of being born unworthy that are part of many religious beliefs. I understand why they teach those things - to break the ego.

Some of us don't need any help with that, thankyouverymuch.

Life can provide enough troubles.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #7)

Mon Apr 22, 2013, 07:17 PM

8. You're right.


I was being sarcastic or more precisley ironic in that I see the culture of competition, as one that is forever putting forth, in one way or another, an example of our 'unworthiness'.

It makes us easy to sell things to...we only have to be told it will make us better.

And a couple of hours a week will provide spiritual enlightenment.


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