I think I’ll try for Level 4 this weekend

April 30, 2009

(from our friends at the wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychedelic_experience)

The Erowid Psychoactive Vaults discuss Psychedelic Experience in an FAQ that partially overviews ideas expressed in Timothy Leary‘s book The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. They classified five levels of psychedelic experience.


Level 1

This level produces a mild ‘stoning’ effect, with some visual enhancement (ie. brighter colours etc) Some short term memory anomalies. Left and right brain communication changes causing music to sound ‘wider’.


Level 2

Bright colours, and visuals (ie. things start to move and breathe) some 2 dimensional patterns become apparent upon shutting eyes. Confused or reminiscent thoughts. Change of short term memory leads to continual distractive thought patterns. Vast increase in creativity becomes apparent as the natural brain filter is bypassed. (*)

* In order for the human entity to survive, it must learn from an early age how to shut out (or filter) the masses of information reaching the brain. This process of selective filtering allows us to become centred on a single thought. (Imagine being completely aware of all the signals coming into your body at the one moment, imagine being aware of every square inch of your skin and how it felt. Imagine being eternally aware of your tongue in your mouth, that itch on the end of your nose or the sound of the air conditioning hissing softly in the background. I believe that tripping brings back those awareness that have been shut out ever since we were three.

Have you ever noticed children walking into a shopping mall? If you notice next time, they appear to be tripping, staring wide eyed at all the amazing colours, walking along looking up at the ceiling and watching themselves in the mirrored surface. As children age, they gradually learn to shut out the onslaught of information, they no longer seem to notice the world as their younger siblings do! By the time adulthood is reached, these sensations are even lost to memory. Perhaps this explains why so many first time trippers, seem to feel a strange sense of familiarity, a feeling that the trip reality is somehow more real than their straight reality…..


Level 3

Very obvious visuals, everything looking curved and/or warped patterns and kaleidoscopes seen on walls, faces etc. Some mild hallucinations such as rivers flowing in wood grained or ‘mother of pearl’ surfaces. Closed eye hallucinations become 3 dimensional. There is some confusing of the senses (ie. seeing sounds as colours etc.) Time distortions and `moments of eternity`. Movement at times becomes extremely difficult (too much effort required)


Level 4

Strong hallucinations, ie objects morphing into other objects. Destruction or multiple splitting of the ego. (Things start talking to you, or you find that you are feeling contradictory things simultaneously) Some loss of reality. Time becomes meaningless. Out of body experiences and extra-sensory perception type phenomena. Blending of the senses.


Level 5

Total loss of visual connection with reality. The senses cease to function in the normal way. Total loss of ego. Merging with space, other objects or the universe. The loss of reality becomes so severe that it defies explanation. The earlier levels are relatively easy to explain in terms of measureable changes in perception and thought patterns. This level is different in that the actual universe within which things are normally perceived, ceases to exist! Satori enlightenment (and other such labels) (**).

** Satori enlightenment, instant Zen, Nirvana etc etc. You may find many of these Eastern terms used in conjunction with psychedelic drugs. In my (humble) opinion, true Zen enlightenment is reached only when the ego has been completely overcome, only when the ‘ox’ has been tracked, tamed and ridden back to town. This, unfortunately cannot be achieved in the altered reality of the tripping universe. The ‘flashes’ of Satori which may be experienced by the fortunate whilst tripping, are perceived as momentary periods of absolute peace and calm, periods where for a short time, the ego is so diffused, that the mind is no longer enslaved by many of the passions that normally arise.

The non-linearity of the scale is debatable, especially at the lower end of the scale (0-2) it’s rather fuzzy. Personally, I think that an additional distinguishing characteristic between lvl 2 and 3 is that at level 2 you can control OEVs, ie. they only appear if you look, while at level 3 they appear everywhere without any effort. Also, level 5 is in a class of its own, you will not reach nirvana just by taking a gigantic dose.


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