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8. DMT and Hyperspace

In this section and in the following one I shall present a view which elaborates upon interpretations (ii), (vi) and (vii) in Section 7. This is speculation but nevertheless provides a preliminary framework for steps toward an understanding of what the use of DMT reveals to us.

The world of ordinary, common, experience (in which we normally experience ourselves interacting with other beings) has three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension, forming a place and time for the apparent persistence of solid objects and enduring persons. Since this is a world of experience its study belongs more to epistemology than to ontology. The being, or ontological nature, of this world (if it has any) may be quite different from what we experience it as.

Psychedelic experience strongly suggests that (as William James hypothesized) ordinary experience is an island in a sea of possible modes of consciousness. Under the influence of substances such as LSD and psilocybin we venture outside of the world as commonly viewed and enter spaces which may be very strange indeed. This happens as a result of changing our brain chemistry. Why then should we not regard ordinary experience too as a result of a particular mode of brain chemistry? Perhaps the world of ordinary experience is not a faithful representation of physical reality but rather is physical reality represented in the manner of ordinary brain functioning. By taking this idea seriously we may free our understanding of physical reality from the limitations imposed by the unthinking assumption that ordinary experience represents physical reality as it is. In fact physical reality may be totally bizarre and quite unlike anything we have thought it to be.

In his special theory of relativity, Albert Einstein demonstrated that the physical world (the world that can be measured by physical instruments, but is assumed to exist independently) is best understood as a four-dimensional space which may be separated into three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension in various ways (the particular separation depending on the motion of a hypothetical observer). It seems that DMT releases one's consciousness from the ordinary experience of space and time and catapults one into direct experience of a four-dimensional world which is perhaps identical to the four-dimensional world studied in special relativity theory.

This hyper-dimensionality to some extent explains the feeling of incredulity which many first-time users report. The DMT realm is described by some as "incredible", "bizarre", "unbelievable" and even "impossible", and for many who have experienced it these terms are not an exaggeration. These terms make sense if the world experienced under DMT is a four-dimensional world experienced by a mind which is trying to make sense of it in terms of its usual categories of three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time. In the DMT state these categories no longer apply to whatever it is that is being experienced.

Some persons report that it seems that in the DMT experience there is information transfer of some sort. If so, and if this information is quite unlike anything that we are used to dealing with (at least at a conscious level) then it may be that the bizarre quality of the experience results from attempting to impose categories of thought which are quite inapplicable.

The space that one breaks through to under the influence of a large dose of DMT has been called "hyperspace" by Terence McKenna and Ralph Abraham [74] and by Gracie & Zarkov [44]. It may be that hyperspace is an experience of physical reality which is "closer" to it (or less mediated) than is our ordinary experience, and that in hyperspace one has direct experience of the four-dimensionality of physical reality.

Parenthetically we may note a mildly interesting case of historical anticipation. In 1897 one H. C. Geppinger published a book entitled DMT: Dimensional Motion Times [31], an appropriate title for our current subject. However he was, of course, quite unaware of what the initials DMT would later come to mean (the compound was not even synthesized until 1931).

In The Doors of Perception [56a] (the book that introduced many people in the 1960s to the good news of psychedelics), Aldous Huxley, reflecting upon his mescaline experiences, suggested that there was something, which he called "Mind at Large", which was filtered by the ordinary functioning of the human brain to produce ordinary experience. One may view the human body and the human nervous system as an instrument for constructing a stable representation of a world of enduring objects which are able to interact in ways that we are familiar with from our ordinary experience. This is analogous to a computer's production of a stable video display — for even a simple blinking cursor requires complicated coordination of underlying physical processes to make it happen. In a sense we may be thought of as hyperspatial bushes whose typical shrubbery is the world of everyday reality (as we experience it). When our neuropharmacological processes are modified by unusual chemicals the hypermetabolic process functions abnormally, and we have the opportunity to view the reality underlying ordinary experience in what may be an entirely new way.

Einstein's four-dimensional space-time may thus turn out to be not merely a flux of energetic point-events but to be (or to be contained in a higher-dimensional space which is) at least as organized as our ordinary world and which contains intelligent, communicating beings capable of interacting with us. As Hamlet remarked cryptically to his Aristotelian tutor (following an encounter with the ghost of Hamlet's deceased father), "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Should we be surprised to find that there are more intelligent, communicating, beings in the higher-dimensional reality underlying our ordinary experience than we find within that experience?

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