"This book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the mind, philosophy DMT: the spirit molecule: a doctor's revolutionary research into the biology. DMT: the spirit molecule: a doctor's revolutionary research into the biology of 1 For the writing of this book, John Barlow and the Rexx Foundation, as well as. Working specifically with 1 Rick Strassman, DMT: The Spirit Molecule (Rochester, The book DMT: The Spirit Molecule mostly focuses on the correlation and.
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PDF | With clinical psychiatrist Rick Strassman's DMT: The Spirit Strassman's top selling book documented groundbreaking clinical trials with. 𝗣𝗗𝗙 | On Jun 1, , James Fadiman and others published Book Review: DMT: The Spirit Molecule. A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into. Perspectives on DMT Research. From DMT: The Spirit Molecule, a book in progress. Rick Strassman, M.D.. Prelude: The First Sessions. In introducing MAPS.
This current within-subjects, placebo-controlled study aimed to directly measure the extent to which intravenous DMT given to healthy volunteers in a laboratory setting could induce a near-dear type experience as determined by a standard NDE rating scale Greyson, To our knowledge, this is the first time that the relationship between DMT experiences and non-drug-induced NDEs has ever been formally addressed. Based on aforementioned work on NDEs, we also hypothesized that age, personality and a propensity toward delusional thinking would correlate with DMT-induced near-death experiences.
Materials and Methods Experimental Design Thirteen healthy volunteers participants 6 female, 7 male, mean age: This study was carried out in accordance with the recommendations of Good Clinical Practice guidelines, Declaration of Helsinki ethical standards and the NHS Research Governance framework. All subjects gave written informed consent in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.
The research was conducted under a Home Office license for research with Schedule 1 drugs. Study procedures consisted of screening and 2 dosing sessions, separated by 1 week. Screening Participants were recruited via word-of-mouth and received an information sheet detailing all study procedures prior to the screening visits. Informed consent was obtained before screening, which consisted of routine physical tests routine blood tests, electrocardiogram, blood pressure, heart rate, neurological examination a psychiatric interview and examination.
The main exclusion criteria were: an absence of experience with a classic psychedelic drug e. Tests for drug abuse and pregnancy when applicable were performed on screening and study days and participants were required to abstain from using psychoactive drugs at least 7 days prior to study participation.
Following screening, participants were enrolled for 2 dosing sessions in which placebo and DMT were administered. Questionnaires were completed electronically prior to the dosing sessions — which served as baseline correlation measures.
Following each dosing sessions, participants completed questionnaires enquiring about subjective experiences during the DMT and placebo sessions.
Participants rested in reclined position in a dimly lit room, while low volume music was played in the background in order to promote calm during the session Johnson et al. Electroencephalogram EEG recordings took place before and following administration of DMT and placebo the relevant findings concerning EEG results will be reported elsewhere. Participants received one of four doses of DMT fumarate three volunteers received 7 mg, four received 14 mg, one received 18 mg and five received 20 mg via intravenous route in a 2 ml sterile solution over 30 s, followed by a 5 ml saline flush lasting 15 s.
Placebo consisted of a 2 ml sterile saline solution, which followed the same procedure Strassman and Qualls, During the first dosing session, all participants received placebo, and 1 week later, DMT.
Participants were unaware of the order in which placebo and DMT were administered but the research team was i. Participants reported feeling the subjective effects of DMT immediately after the 30 s injection or during the flush which came soon after it. Effects peaked at 2—3 min and gradually subsided, with only residual effects felt 20 min post administration.
Volunteers were discharged to go home by a study psychiatrist at least 1 h after administration and once all study procedures were completed.
Participants were asked to message a member of the research team in order to confirm their safe return and well-being.
To ensure safety, each volunteer was supervised by two researchers and the study physician throughout the dosing session. This is the most widely used scale for NDEs; it was first constructed from a questionnaire based on a sample of 67 participants who had undergone 73 NDEs in total Greyson, The NDE scale consists of 16 items, resulting in a total score representing the global intensity of the experience as well as scores for four subscales: 1 Cognitive, 2 Affective, 3 Transcendental, and 4 Paranormal.
A total score higher or equal to 7 is considered the threshold for a NDE Greyson, Searle suggests that token-identity theories are not meant to make an implicit correspondence between mental states and physical states.
As James Madden phrases it, the token of pain, for example, is associated with not just one physical brain process, but with a token of c-neural networking, d-neural networking, e-neural networking, and so on.
Oneworld, , here Feser points out the awkwardness of the identity theorist claim. See also, Madden, Mind, Matter, and Nature, Surely, the desire for you to eat is caused by a shrinking of your stomach after previous digestion, resulting in signals being sent to your brain indicating that it is time to receive more nutrients.
The experience of being hungry, of getting up from your chair to have a pastry, and the taste or flavor of that pastry are not all accounted for on the functionalist picture. All that has been said is that you exhibit such behaviors that you acquired through certain causes and effects. Nothing is directed towards the experience of being hungry, the what it is like to eat a pastry, etc. Undoubtedly, the nature of qualia [the raw-data of experience] will Searle, Mind: Philosophical Papers Vol.
In Search of a Fundamental Theory Oxford: For present purposes, it would suffice to demonstrate how even the functionalist analysis has troubles with the fundamental components of consciousness.
Functionalism fails to discuss the uniqueness of privilege access of our experiences. The first-person, phenomenal characteristics are indifferent to a functional analysis. For Strassman, there are only two routes to take: As noted, 1 is all together guilty of either being chauvinistic with identity statements, or merely not discussing consciousness at all with the functionalist analysis. The remaining option is to consider emergent concepts of consciousness.
Consciousness is more or less a physical thing; similar to how liquidity is a physical feature of H These byproducts of the natural, physical world give us clarity on the neurophysiological ability to have consciousness.
Emergentist theories are an enticing attempt to explore compatibility of physicalism and phenomenal concepts of consciousness without revolving into a dualist picture of minds that are floating up and beyond our physical bodies.
The New York Review of Books, However, the problem of complexity becomes an issue once more. Galen Strawson argues that items such as liquidity and solidity are physically emergent properties that we see everyday, but when we look towards experience, phenomenal concepts, and the mind, there appears to be no readily apparent analogy that one can make. In the end, a neuroscientist would be able to point out all the properties that are physical and lead to consciousness, conscious states, or other phenomenal qualities.
Liquidity is exemplified in the combination of Hydrogen and two Oxygen molecules. Structurally, these items can be located on a physical level. In what way does the mind differ from the identity theorist or functionalist accounts in light of this? In lieu of the emergentist response from Searle, there still exists the problem of describing these conscious elements as physical.
The purpose of this analysis is to demonstrate how difficult the brain-to-mind functioning, or emergence, really is.
Essentially, the current discussion in the philosophy of mind is plagued by an ontological prioritization of neurosciences over theoretical explanations. There is great degree of reasonableness to conclude that the mind is in some way explainable by Galen Strawson, Real Materialism and Other Essays New York: Strassman has to suffer these consequences as well.
The problem rests in the statement: How does this happen? As we have seen, phenomenal concepts are so radically different from physical or neurobiological processes. The physical explanations of identity theorists, functionalists, and physical emergentist fall short in giving the explanatory power necessary for the explanation of phenomenal properties such as sensations and thoughts.
Strassman recognizes the importance of consciousness in his exploration of a biological explanation for spiritual and mystical experiences. Consciousness is the only way to give a real and metaphysically rich profoundness to spiritual experiences. The explosion of sensations, deeper abstract thought, and even a transcendental element is only explicitly possible with some form of consciousness that is radically different in mode and operation from the physical brain.
Confusingly, however, Strassman makes the claim that a simple organic compound gives rise to very complex qualitative sensations and thoughts. Often times, this objection has proven to be fatal to the panpsychist theory of the mind. Panpsychism holds that proto-conscious elements are the most basic features of reality and thus the existence of consciousness is derived from these proto-conscious elements.
In essence, and I believe the objection stretches across any physicalist picture of consciousness, there is nothing to explain the actual acknowledgment of these sensations. Strassman must tackle with this issue as well, because nothing within biology, as of yet, will give us this unique ability to decipher the particulars of experience.
Therefore, the understanding of the spiritual experience is clearly distinct from any neurobiological processes that are occurring. From the different contemporary theories examined, there are but three options. Strassman is stating either: Proposition 2 would lead Strassman to lessen his biological explanation, concluding that other elements may have lesser or major roles in producing spiritual experiences. Also, 3 and 4 grants us consciousness but reducibly to the physical, which has proven itself a troubling path.
If this route is taken, then DMT really has no explanatory power with spiritual experiences because one could easily have an immaterial mind, conscious of immaterial, spiritual like substances, without any concern of a neurobiological process occurring.
The interaction problem seems to find a way to push Strassman to accept one of these contemporary theories of the mind. After an ad reductio analysis, there seems to be only one plausible option: As argued throughout this chapter, this comes at quite the cost.
Dualist and Naturalist Responses To conclude, there is need to demonstrate proper responses to the theoneurological model, which states that the brain is used to communicate spiritual, divinely revelations to persons.
However, there are a few points worth bringing out in regards to both those who hold to substance dualism for religious purposes and those who hold to naturalism for anti-religious or atheistic reasons. First, the dualist could respond favorably to a neurobiological process that has some connection to spiritual experience. Moreland argues that if any non-physical entity were to exist, then dualism is necessarily true.
Thus, if God existed, then dualism would automatically follow, because God is not a physical entity from the traditional understanding at least. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City: Baker Book House, Moreland argues that at the worldview level, physicalism would fail if a God were to exist. DMT production along with other psychomimetic production perhaps is but one physical process and God interacts causally with the brain using such processes.
There is no reason to throw out the baby with the bath water because of the fact that DMT is a physical substance. There is still, inevitably, a dualistic picture of nature.
Such interaction is expected from a dualist point of view, or at least the process that is occurring is of no concern to the dualist, if God is in fact communicating to persons through a biological means.
Naturalism, however, is mostly reliant on a neurotheological view: God is simply an idea that is a byproduct of our functional roles as psychological beings. For instance, Sigmund Freud has argued extensively that God is the product of our psychological lives due to the parent-child structure of life that nature has bestowed upon us. Society survives if the idea of God is always present to actually force one to do good deeds or to hold the evil ones accountable.
Brill London: Freud also speaks of the justification of certain religious conceptions that are deeply inherited in a sub-conscious element. Anchor Books, , See also, Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism, trans. Katherine Jones New York: In part, this is the correct analysis to hold. Naturalism wins the day here because there is no reason to hold that the brain is actually communicating with God. The experiences are hallucinatory, as psychedelic compounds typically cause hallucinatory patterns of thought.
The explanation of spiritual experiences through DMT merely extends the thesis that God ideas are hallucinatory, features of our brains caused by our natural environments. Conclusively, the inability of the brain to give explanations to phenomenal concepts that are of a different nature comes out in this analysis. Given that the brain has no way of explaining the existence of consciousness, phenomenal concepts, or the existence of an objective God only serves to collapse the theoneurological model back into a neurotheological model.
In the future, if neuroscientists acquire the ability to reproduce consciousness, or find consciousness to be physical, then the theoneurological model may be a relevant avenue to consider.
For theists who are materialists as well, a theoneurological model is a helpful model to explain certain experiential phenomena of the spiritual kind.
However, the causal interaction problem becomes an immensely troubling issue that must be considered in the metaphysics of spiritual experiences. This chapter aims to discuss the nature of qualia, mystical experiences, and the relationship between spiritual qualia and mystical experience. The perplexing question that revolves around the theoneurological model that uses a psychedelic compound such as DMT to explain mystical experiences is whether spiritual qualia is reducible to physical explanations.
For our everyday experiences, there are distinguishable properties that consciously we identify with. Let us consider the items in front of me as I type these words. There is a table, with a cup of coffee, and a laptop for writing. The table has a circular property. In addition, there is an orange tent adhered by the table somewhere between orange and red.
The table itself is about 3 feet tall. These are features of my personal experience that I am conscious of.
Qualia are those properties, or the raw-data of experience. The colors red, green, orange, etc. As one reads the beautifully written literature of J. Tolkien, there is a subjective quality for each individual. A bat is able to travel using echolocation, bats are nocturnal, they consume different kinds of foods, etc.
The experience of a bat is highly complex yet vastly different from our own. Nagel argues that if the experience is only experienced from the first person point of view, then it would be trivial to try and give a physical explanation for that experience.
Is the blue you see the same blue I see, or do we merely agree on the conventional use of the term blue? There appears to be no conventional theory to resolve these phenomenal concepts. For instance, Moses seeing a burning bush and hearing the voice of God constitute two different phenomenal qualities of that experience. First, there is a sensation and feeling of a burning bush in front of Moses. Second, there is a thunderous, or maybe a subtle and gentle, auditory sensation.
From the report, there are three phenomenal qualities: This would require an exploration into what constitutes a mystical experience. Mystical Experiences The necessary experiential data that comprises a mystical experience can be an epistemic dilemma if experience itself is solely a subjective matter.
However, from the detailed studies of William James and W. Stace, one could arrive at an objective conclusion over most of the qualitative and phenomenal properties of a mystical experience. Strassman takes a similar approach in his study. Having research patients under the influence of DMT, Strassman records the qualitative aspects of their experiences.
For example, Rex recollects the euphoric feeling of the presence of some sort of being s , though the feelings are not reciprocated back to those beings. All that Rex records is the sensuous feeling of those beings. God was in everything. Interestingly enough, the research patient Sean gives a much more rich and descriptive account.
First, there seems to be a sense of a light, typically of a lighter color such as white. Second, there is the presence of a being of some kind, with the sense that the being is of a divinely nature or a connection with the self. Third, there is an enlightenment that takes place where the former self gains knew knowledge, typically of the divinely being as is the case with Cleo or a development of deep moral apprehension.
Strassman stresses that his study utilizes the similarity of phenomenal qualities to make his case for his biological explanation. However, the argument becomes, as W. The psychologist William James took a keen interest in the observation of mystical experiences. James notes that one of the central characteristics of mystical experiences is the ineffableness of that experience. The experiences contain a specific noetic quality that is only present for the one who experiences the mystical state.
Strassman has an epistemic dilemma in his search for a spirit molecule. If the experiences are ineffable and, more detrimentally, unreliable, then the correlation between the recorded experiences are not conclusive enough to grant Strassman what he is looking for. Richard Gale may be able to shed some grace on the issue. Gale argues that the color yellow is as indescribable and ineffable in conventional language like that of a mystical experience.
Does this mean the color yellow existing is in contradiction with our inability to describe our experience of yellow? By no means is this contradictory. Gale argues further that the true reason a mystic W. Macmillan Press, If those qualities align with the universal core of mystical experiences, then those experiences are equally of a mystical nature. The only issue that remains is whether DMT production in the brain is equivalent with a mystical experience.
To demonstrate the issue further, consider the following scenarios: Each proposition is a logically conceivable scenario using Kripkean semantics to demonstrate how identity statements are only possibly true, apart from necessarily true. The actual problem of mystical consciousness is not within the ineffableness of these experiences, nor within the measurement of similar reports.
Contrary to these issues, mystical consciousness struggles to accurately capture the similarities amongst phenomenal qualities. Though the reports between research patients share similarities, such as sensuously perceiving white lights, divine being s , and a noetic quality of enlightenment, those similarities do not immediately entail that the qualia of that experience is truly mystical or spiritual.
Using a theoneurological model would be well served by a physicalist explanation of qualia. If qualia Ibid. Metaphysically, physicalism struggles with the very nature of phenomenal qualities.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule
On a more materialistic physicalism, where science is the pure arbiter of authentic knowledge of the true world, there is no means by which one could analyze and observe those qualities of consciousness that are innersubjective, incorrigible, and personal. To emphasize the problem, let us track with the vast amount of practicing philosophers who focus on colors. Colors offer forth the best illustration of the qualia problem. First of all, what are they? Are they in our brains? Do things in the world have color?
John Locke argued that the properties of colors, scents, and sounds were secondary qualities. Primary qualities consists of properties like shape, size, number, and motion. In the study thus far, this demonstrates a methodological problem Strassman has to resolve. Comparing imaging is perhaps a possibility with the recent advances in neuroscience, but actually experiencing the feel of the phenomenal qualities at the subjective John Locke, Essays Concerning Human Understanding, The discovery of the universal core of mystical consciousness remains impossibly viable to our empirical understandings.
From Dennett, we get the conclusions one would more than likely draw from the materialist understanding of qualia: To address the latter half first, Dennett recognizes that there are qualities such as colors, but they are not epiphenomenal qualia that philosophers of mind theorize. The qualia we claim to envision, however, is not this epiphenomenal Cartesian mythical stuff, according to Dennett. Both work for Maxwell Coffee, as coffee tasters, to ensure the quality of the product.
However, out of the blue or maybe red, yellow, or green , both come to work describing that they no longer appreciate or find all too great the taste of Maxwell Coffee.
Chase states that he has acquired finer tastes. Sanborn states the opposite, and argues that something physiological has changed in the past day. Chase thinks equivocally when he thinks of his prior tastes of Maxwell Coffee.
Bisiacha Oxford: First, theoneurological model seeks to explain the brain as the primary communicator a divine being uses to communicate revelatory information. Secondly, the disposition to discriminate amongst natural qualia and spiritual qualia becomes quite easy and natural with a functional brain, even though qualia itself is an epiphenomenal quagmire that is irrelevantly raised, and convolutely argued.
However, materialists would agree that there is not really a spiritual import into these experiences, apart from subjective meaningfulness.
Stace, Mysticism and Philosophy, Building off of a completed physics speculative as that may be , all natural causes and effects are accountable within this closed physical space. Conceive of Mary, the neuroscientist who has a perfectly functional brain with excellent cognitive processes, is in a room where she only sees black and white. She has all of the information of the physical processes that occur in the brain given by her profession.
Let us say that Mary leaves the room and then, once outside, experiences the color red. Jackson argues that because Mary ascertained all of the physical information, and learned something new once experiencing the color red, that there is something more to phenomenal qualities than just brain processes. David Chalmers expresses this argument as a logically conceivable scenario.
Conceive of a world with beings that are physically identical to us. These zombies have all of the features that our functional brains have. The neurons, synapses, and transmitters are present. Functionally the zombie twin is identical. Psychologically the zombie twin is identical. Yet, all is dark. These zombies have no conscious experience. Thus, the zombie twin conceived of in this scenario is phenomenologically inept. William Lycan, 2nd ed. Blackwell, If not, then the zombie argument is guilty of a wishful state of affairs where qualia are not physical.
Robert Kirk argues that the inert nature of qualia does not grant the power to come into epistemic contact with qualia. As Kirk argues, knowing qualia requires some causal connection between our cognitive processes and the qualia itself. All of us can refer to our experiences. However, the very moment one refers to those experiences one requires having epistemic contact with the referent.
Thus, the zombie argument hinges on the conceivability of an epiphenomenal world where unconscious structures must always cause each other to make epistemic contact. The distinction still is and must be maintained; that there is a subjective ontology that is not representable by the third-person, objective ontology. Using physiological counterexamples does not hamper the real existence of qualia, being a special feature of the world. The epiphenomenal world is still conceivable because one can easily ensue both subjective and objective ontologies to categorize the existence of qualia, while retaining the causal connectedness between the referent and the referrer.
These arguments seek to explain that there are certain real features of the world that are innersubjective and personal. The knowledge argument and zombie argument are two of the most successful qualia arguments that utilize the reasoning of Saul Kripke. At this point, there is no question that qualia is better served as a ontologically real feature of the physical world, whose property is unquestionably special and not physical.
As argued, phenomenal qualities are not irreducible to the physical world. Equally, any adjective added to phenomenal qualities will be questionable as well. The Hardest Problem of Mystical Consciousness Thus far, we have seen the immensely hard problem of consciousness.
Making sense of causal, non-conscious phenomenal properties is not an easy task. The harder problem of mystical consciousness becomes of vital interest then. From several arguments presented in favor of irreducible qualia, a couple of solid arguments are to be used against biological explanations of this sort.
Strassman claims that DMT, as a physical compound part of this physical world, contains strange causal properties that allow or minds to gravitate towards mystical consciousness. However, the argument rests on the idea that phenomenal qualities are physical. From the knowledge argument and the zombie argument these phenomenal qualities are not reducible to the physical. Kripkean semantics demonstrate that there is an ontological difference between the brain processes and the feel of experience itself.
Thus, an ontological difference is dispersed amongst all experiences, as the case has been made for irreducible or non-physical phenomenal qualities.
An ontological distinction is made between a mystical experience the feel of a spiritual experience and the brain processes that occur when one has the experience.
To make matters a bit more difficult for any physical explanation of spiritual experiences really there is confusion in how the spiritual import takes place. Questionably, spiritual attributes are of a different ontology. Let us say that experience X is the experience of white lights.
Spiritual import into the experience creates the problem of differentiating amongst qualities that are spiritual and qualities that are not spiritual. To demonstrate the confusion, consider the report of the divine white light that the patient experiences. The problem is I am safe to say that I know the white light is not some divinely communication. The brain process is just the causal, non-conscious event that occurs due to being in a world of closed physics.
Zombie twins conceptually describe the possibility that these brain processes occur with no mystical consciousness available to the zombie twin.
The final problem is the lack of evolutionary value in a material world that develops mystical consciousness. Alongside qualia, spiritual qualia would have no real evolutionary value.
Nature could be as such that qualia and spiritual qualia did not exist. Empirically and rationally, there is instrumental value for a nature that has mystical experiences. However, because that value alone is instrumental, the evolutionary use can seemingly change in the future when we finally discover the illusory nature of spiritual experiences by locating all the relevant brain processes. Second to this, biological explanations for spiritual experiences struggle to account for authentic spiritual experiences.
The experience, being solely the workings of the functional brain, as stated before, is unable to import that truly authentic spirituality to the experience. Without Spiritual Authenticity, any experience could be labeled a spiritual experience, so long as it meets the criteria of qualities shared by the volunteers white lights, divine voices, a journey, etc.
The theoneurological model collapses when the nature of qualia is irreducible to the physical. The knowledge and zombie arguments demonstrate the ontological difference between the subjective experience and the objective brain processes that accompany that experience.
Explaining experiences that are spiritual in nature is difficult and dumbfounding at times, as the ineffableness characteristic of these experiences causes these epistemic squabbling. Finding empirical, scientific explanations for these experiences is likewise a difficult task. The contemporary debate in the philosophy of mind seems to stretch the issue a bit further, demonstrating how physical brain processes are not capable of giving us the complete story of experience.
At that point, Strassman will not be able to preserve any meaningful spiritual import into those experiences. Trying to have your cake and eat it at the same time, leads eventually to not having a cake at all. I argue that the dualistic conception grants a more conceivable model for authentic spiritual experiences, apart from the type-materialist attitude toward qualia.
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Oxford University Press, A number of interesting scientific discoveries are hidden in the large volume of pages produced in academia. Yet, all is dark. Nature could be as such that qualia and spiritual qualia did not exist.
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