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7. Interpretations of the Experience

Although the amazing kaleidoscopic visual patterns experienced under the influence of DMT are sufficient in themselves to command attention among students of psychedelics, the really interesting part of the experience may well be the apparent contact with alien beings. Since some may feel reluctant to admit the possibility of the existence of alien beings getting in contact with DMT-modified humans, we should consider all hypotheses that might explain the observations, or at least, be consistent with them.

Several questions can be distinguished. At the least controversial level the matter can be approached from the point of view of orthodox physical science, in particular, neuropharmacology (which, like all other branches of natural science in the West is a part of physical science in the wider sense, since Western science acknowledges no reality other than the physical). When approached from this perspective we can ask: What exactly is going on when those DMT molecules get in there among the neurons of the brain, causing it to function in what appears subjectively to be a radically different manner?

Secondly, we can seek a phenomenology of the DMT experience. What do people experience, and how do their experiences differ? How often do they experience contact with entities, and when they do what are they seen as and seen to be doing? What is happening, for example, when some people report seeing thousands of these entities simultaneously? Even more interesting is the phenomenon of communication, or attempted communication, which many explorers report. Some also report seeing the entities communicating with each other, in some kind of mutual exchange - but of what?

Finally there is the question of the independent reality of the entities. Explorers report experiences of contact with communicating beings whose independent existence at the time seems self-evident. These experiences are not described as dream-like. If the entities have an existence independent of the DMT-influenced subject then a realm of existence has been discovered which is quite other than the consensus reality which most of us assume is the only real world.

Such a discovery of a separate reality would directly challenge the foundations of the modern Western view of the world. One might be tempted to say that it would be the most revolutionary change in our understanding of reality since the fish crawled out on land, but this would be to overlook the fact that the worldview of the modern West is a comparatively recent invention, stemming mainly from the rise of physical science and technology in recent centuries. Earlier cultures had, and non-Western cultures still have, more expansive views of the extent of reality.

Listed below are eight suggested interpretations of the DMT experience which imply answers (true or false) to some or all of the questions raised above. Some of these, like the experience itself, are bizarre, but at this stage any idea should be considered since probably in this matter (in the words of the 20th C. British biologist J. B. S. Haldane, himself an explorer) the truth "is not only stranger than we suppose but stranger than we can suppose."

  1. It's all merely subjective hallucination; there are no alien entities. The DMT state may be interesting, even extremely so, but really (come now) there are no independently-existing alien entities to be found there.

  2. DMT provides access to a parallel or higher dimension, a truly alternate reality which is, in fact, inhabited by independently-existing intelligent entities forming (in the words of Terence McKenna) "an ecology of souls".

  3. DMT allows awareness of processes at a cellular or even atomic level. DMT smokers are tapping into the network of cells in the brain or even into communication among molecules themselves. It might even be an awareness of quantum mechanical processes at the atomic or sub-atomic level.

  4. DMT is, perhaps, a neurotransmitter in reptilian brains and in the older, reptilian parts of mammalian brains. Flooding the human brain with DMT causes the older reptilian parts of the brain to dominate consciousness, resulting in a state of awareness which appears totally alien (and sometimes very frightening) to the everyday monkey mind.

  5. A non-human intelligent species created humans by genetic modification of existing primate stock then retreated (a la Sitchin and others). So that we would have a way to call them if we needed to they left behind biochemical methods for contacting them. The psychedelic tryptamines are chemical keys that activate certain programs in the human wetware that were placed there intentionally by these ETs as a way to contact them.

  6. The realm to which DMT provides access is the world of the dead. The entities experienced are the souls, or personalities, of the departed, which retain some kind of life and ability to communicate. The realm of dead souls, commonly believed in by cultures and societies other than that of the modern West, is now accessible to Westerners by using DMT.

  7. The entities experienced are beings from another time who have succeeded in mastering the art of time travel (or the art of moving from one time stream to another), not in a way which allows materialization but in a way which allows them to communicate with conscious beings such as ourselves when in an altered state.

  8. The entities are probes from an extraterrestrial or even an extradimensional species, sent out to make contact with organisms such as ourselves who are able to manipulate their nervous systems in a way which allows communication to take place.
These hypotheses can be expanded and are, of course, vulnerable to objections. No doubt other hypotheses are possible. These matters will not be resolved until we have more data with which to test these and other hypotheses.

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