Doublethink and the Mental Construction of Reality

Jump to Section

Jump to Section


following is excerpted from the upcoming book
All These Serious Faces Will
Only Drive You Mad. This is the third
excerpt to appear on Reality Sandwich. Read excerpt 1
here, 2 here, 4 here. To learn more about the book, please click here.

The concept of
truth-seeking has long been a cornerstone of individualism. But in order to be
effective as individuals, we have to make sure that our perception of reality
actually contains a significant amount of what we call "truth." So how can we
ever be certain that we possess the actual truth? Is human objectivity even
possible in reality?

To determine
that, we must look at how the human mind arrives at a sense of understanding
the world. According to Alfred Korzybski, the founder of general semantics, the
system of thought expounded by Aristotle in the fourth century B.C. reversed
the original order of human mental processing. "In the evolution of the human
race and language there was a natural order of evaluation established; namely,
the life facts came first and labels (words) next in importance. Today, from
childhood up, we inculcate words and language first, and the facts they
represent come next in value…" (1)

In Korzybski's
terminology, human communication evolved through "extension," while aristotelian
orientations (i.e., those with roots in Aristotle's philosophy and logic) are
based on "intension." General semantics basically advises the use of non-aristotelian orientations, as
Korzybski lays out in Science and Sanity (1933):
"By non-aristotelian methods we train in the natural order; namely, that first
order empirical facts are more important than definitions or verbiage. It
should be noticed that the average child is born extensional, and then his
evaluations are distorted as the result of intensional training by parents,
teachers, etc., who are unaware of the heavy neurological consequences." (2)

In essence,
Aristotle's intensional system utilizes orientations that are static,
"objective," two-valued (either-or, dualistic, subject-predicate, etc.),
dogmatic, linear, unpredictable, paradoxical, and un-sane (neurotic, psychotic,
etc.). (3) The non-aristotelian (extensional) orientations taught by general
semantics are dynamic (process-based), infinite-valued, empirical (measurable),
non-linear, predictable, and sane (integrated "personality" and "neuro-logical"
functioning). To state it briefly, non-aristotelian orientations are better
suited to operate within and understand the universe as it actually is (i.e., as we can measure it scientifically).

Aristotle can't
be blamed entirely for this state of affairs; it's also due to the nature of
language itself. Since language is an abstract symbol system intended to pass
information from one mind to another, it
allows us to group and divide objects and phenomena that can't necessarily be
separated in reality
. For instance, "day" and "year" refer to naturally
occurring cycles in our physical universe, but a "week" arises only due to our
semantic constructions — that is, it
exists only in our minds
. Similarly, we assume that the genders "man" and
"woman" pertain to something objective about human beings, when in fact they
are merely cultural constructions that don't necessarily correspond to
biological sex. The fact that these kind of abstract divisions persist and are
used in cultural discourse shows the tendency for finite-valued thought orientations in modern civilization. Pay
attention and you'll quickly notice how anxious people feel to give everything
in the human experience a name or a category.

two-valued semantic construct is the opposition between "left-brain" (i.e.,
analytical, rational, logical) and "right-brain" (i.e., intuitional, artistic,
mystical) mental processing. (4) NYU neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux has argued
"that there is no overall function of a [brain] side. […] Functions are
products of systems. […] Systems span the brain vertically and
horizontally — they are not isolated in one hemisphere." (5) And both analytical
and intuitional expression are limited at the same point — which is to say, neither
one conveys "what really happened" or is capable of telling the "full truth."
(We're referring here to intuitional expression,
not the intuitional perception-such
as a gut feeling-that the expression attempts to communicate.) The key is to
realize that both analytical and intuitional communication
are semantic forms that can do no more than provide an approximate
understanding of the universe
which we live

To fully
comprehend this, it helps to go outside Western thought altogether. Alan Watts
describes the predicament in his popular 1957 book The Way of Zen. "The reason why Taoism and Zen [Buddhism] present,
at first sight, such a puzzle to the Western mind is that we have taken a
restricted view of human knowledge. For us, almost all knowledge is what a
Taoist would call conventional knowledge,
because we do not feel that we really know anything unless we can represent it
to ourselves in words, or in some other system of conventional signs such as
the notations of mathematics or music. Such knowledge is called conventional
because it is a matter of social agreement as to the codes of communication." (6)

Watts is
reiterating an idea from general semantics: we often mistake our semantic maps of reality for reality
itself. Or as Korzybski (and, picking up the same thread, Robert Anton Wilson)
used to say, the map is not equivalent to the territory it represents. Watts uses the example of central and
peripheral vision to explain our linear, "aristotelian" thought patterns.
Conventional knowledge — as understood through a symbol system such as
language — is like the central vision that we use to read or focus our sight on
physical objects (e.g., looking someone in the eyes when speaking). But the
Western mind tends to ignore unconventional knowledge that can't be expressed
and formed into mental semantic maps using language or other symbols. As Watts
writes, "For some reason we do not fully use the 'peripheral vision' of our
minds." (7)

far more of our world exists in the periphery than in central focus; in fact, it's all
in the "periphery
" until a human being creates
the focus. And we tend to ignore details that don't exist on the scale of
everyday human life. We see a "table" or "couch," but not the infinitesimal
detail of the wood or fabric that constitute those objects, or the equally
infinitesimal speck that those objects represent in the broader universe.
"Thus," says Watts, "communication by conventional signs of this type gives us
an abstract, one-at-a-time translation of a universe in which things are
happening altogether-at-once — a universe whose concrete reality always escapes
perfect description in these abstract terms." (8) But remember, this semantic
functioning is what separates human beings from other animals, and until we
devise some method of telepathy, we will have to use conventional abstractions
(i.e., symbols such as words or icons) to communicate.

formulation also plays a large role in the establishment of social norms. Watts
informs us that "the task of education is to make children fit to live in a
society by persuading them to learn and accept its codes — the rules and
conventions of communication whereby the society holds itself together." (9) In
Prometheus Rising (1983), Robert
Anton Wilson argues that most child rearing resembles the art of brainwashing.
Wilson writes, "The easiest way to get
brainwashed is to be born
. […It's] a process which sociologists
euphemistically call socialization."
(10) Thus, by the end of puberty — usually somewhere between the ages of 13 and
18 — an average individual's perception of reality is more or less cemented for
life. "Each of us is trapped in the reality-tunnel (assumption-consumption) his
or her brain has manufactured. We do not 'see' it or 'sense' it as a model our brain has created. We automatically,
unconsciously, mechanically 'see' and 'sense' it out there, apart from us, and we consider it 'objective.'" (11)
(However, in the interest of using non-aristotelian [empirical] orientations,
we should refer primarily to the mind's
semantic processing, since it's not totally clear what role the brain or nervous system plays there.)

As an alternative
to Wilson's tunnel vision metaphor we can discuss the concept of blind spots, as
Daniel Goleman explains in his book Vital
Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-Deception
(1985). "The blind
spot is an apt physiological metaphor for our failure to see things as they are
in actuality. In physiology, the blind spot is the gap in our field of vision
that results from the architecture of the eye." (12) Basically the mind can experience psychological "blind spots,"
either actively (because one's attention is focused narrowly, as in Watts's
"central vision") or passively (because sensory information contradicts one's
"morals," beliefs, etc.). This is the essence of Freud's term "super-ego,"
which equates generally to the idea of conscience.
"Perception is selection," as Goleman writes. "Filtering out information is, in
the main, for the good. But the very capacity of the brain to do so makes it
vulnerable to skewing what is admitted to awareness, what is rejected." (13)
Similarly, Wilson used to quote the philosopher Husserl, who said: "Every
perception is a gamble."

Goleman says the
human faculty of self-deception evolved as a trade-off between attention and
anxiety. "Attention is the gathering of information crucial to existence.
Anxiety is the response when that information registers as a threat. The
intriguing part of this relationship is straightforward: we can use our
attention to deny threat, and so cushion ourselves from anxiety." (14)
Korzybski even compares the mind's self-deception to the illusions performed by
a magician.

To fully
understand how our mind plays tricks on us, we can look at models for how
sensory information is edited, censored, and repressed on its way to the level
of conscious thought. Goleman says the model set forth by Freud in his book The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) is
still "our best understanding of the processes through which the mind takes in,
uses, and stores information, and how those processes are prone to bias by the
trade-off between anxiety and attention." (15) The basic flow of the model is
that a sensory stimulus occurs, then passes through memory sub-levels to the
"unconscious" (followed by a censor), the "preconscious" (followed by more
censoring), and finally conscious thought, which elicits a response. We say
information has been "repressed" if it doesn't make it to the conscious level.

Goleman says
Freud defied behaviorists like Pavlov for suggesting that the processes between
"stimulus" and "response" could actually be studied and comprehended. "Modern
research shows that, if anything, Freud was too cautious in proposing points
where biases could sidetrack the flow of information. What he did not realize
is that the flow of information is not linear, but is intertwined among
mutually interactive subsystems. The mind does not pass information along a
single track… Rather, information flows in and about circuits… The
possibilities for bias in such a system are even richer than Freud's model
suggests." (16) It's important to note the non-linear
flow of information, since that suggests a non-aristotelian nature of sensory
processing (whereas Freud's model was more aristotelian — i.e., linear). This
lends support to the eight-circuit model of consciousness developed first by
Timothy Leary and later modified by Robert Anton Wilson and others. We've
mostly been discussing their semantic circuit, the third in the model, based
primarily Korzybski's general semantics.

Goleman's updated
model has some major implications. One is that the very act of perceiving the
physical, "objective" world involves automatic
alterations by the mind. (17) Another is that people can't necessarily choose
what information to throw out. That's because the sensory stimuli have to
proceed through the unconscious to get to the conscious mind, so repression is
not normally something that results from an active decision. We commonly
discuss the phenomenon of selective memory with regard to the super-ego, since
that refers to whatever a person considers to be "good," "bad," "holy," "evil,"
etc. — and such "moral" conditioning is often the basis for what information gets
repressed. It seems that indoctrination trains our unconscious mind to filter
sensory information in certain ways, without the conscious mind's approval.

Another approach
to understanding selective memory has less connection to an individual's
conscience or "moral" inclinations. In his book, Goleman discusses a 1980 paper
by social psychologist Anthony Greenwald called "The Totalitarian Ego:
Fabrication and Revision of Personal History," which was partly inspired by
George Orwell's classic novel 1984.
The "ego" (another of Freud's terms) — or "self" — is the part of the mind that
generates the sensation of "me, myself, and I." As Greenwald writes, "The past
is remembered as if it were a drama in which self was the leading player. In
part, this observation refers to the autobiographical or episodic character of
much of memory…" (18) Goleman elaborates: "Facts are better remembered the more
they have to do with oneself. Or, most people in a group feel that they are the
center of activity." (19)

Greenwald takes 1984 (first published in 1949) as a
demonstration of the way the individual mind can emulate an entire totalitarian
government by twisting reality for its specific needs. Orwell devised the term
"doublethink" to illustrate how this would work: "…if it is necessary to
rearrange one's memories or to tamper with written records, then it is necessary
to forget that one has done so. […]

"Doublethink means the power of holding
two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of
them…. He therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the
exercise of doublethink he also
satisfies himself that reality is not violated. […] To tell deliberate lies
while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become
inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from
oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective
reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all
this is indispensably necessary." (20)

In Orwell's
story, doublethink involves tricking oneself into thinking a conscious choice
was actually an unconscious one. So it's a bit more complex than Freud's model
of repression, in which the censoring occurs prior to reaching the conscious
level. But it's very possible that Orwell was simply describing a real
phenomenon without full knowledge of how it operates in living human beings. By
his choice of words (this time describing "crimestop,"
another "Newspeak" word), Orwell seems to have been aiming at much the same
thing: "The mind should develop a blind spot whenever a dangerous thought
presented itself. The process should be automatic, instinctive." (21)

The human
capacity for self-deception probably developed while the conscious mind itself
was forming — a process that would have started about 100,000 years ago and
culminated about 30,000 years ago. (22) Goleman thinks self-deception could
have helped when individuals or groups had to contradict their own conscience
or "morals" in order to stay alive. As he says, "My assumption is that, to some
extent, the muting of awareness to avoid anxiety has been largely helpful, even
necessary, in the development of our species and of civilization." (23) Stated
differently, self-deception probably enabled higher social organization, at the
cost of individual and group delusion.

However, Goleman
is reluctant to propose an end to all self-deception, instead offering his
support for "truth-tellers" who fight delusion at any level of society. (24) Thus,
we've once again stumbled upon the problem of how to be sure that we've really
obtained the "truth." Goleman writes, "My aim is to ponder our collective
predicament: if we so easily lull ourselves into subtle sleep, how can we
awaken? The first step in that, it seems to me, is to notice how we're all
asleep." (25) One of the main reasons we're "asleep" is that the ego rejects
new information it perceives as a threat — like an editor keeping "damaging"
information out of a history book. As Greenwald puts it, "Ego, as an
organization of knowledge…serves the functions of observing (perceiving) and recording
(remembering) personal experience; it can be characterized, therefore, as a
personal historian." (26)

In cognitive
science the self is considered a "schema." "Schemas embody the rules and
categories that order raw experience into coherent meaning," writes Goleman.
"All knowledge and experience is packaged into schemas." (27) Any information
that could disrupt the order of this "self" schema is blocked or distorted by
the ego. It might sound strange to say that the ego acts egocentrically, but that's exactly what is happening. Wilson calls
the ego "a single brain circuit which mistakes itself for the whole Self, the
entire brain-mind apparatus." (28) Therefore, the self is acting in favor of the self — while
simultaneously hiding this fact from itself. Remember, self-deception implies
that we ignore the fact that we are
. That's what makes it so difficult to identify and change.

But going back to
the comparison with a totalitarian government helps illuminate the tricks
performed by the personal ego without breaching our conscious awareness. As
Goleman writes, "A society handles information in ways that often parallel the
workings of the mind. The mark of democracy is that information flows freely…

"A totalitarian
state, like the totalitarian self, finds its official version of reality too
fragile to withstand an unbridled flow of ideas. For a totalitarian authority
to assert control, it must choke off alternative views and facts. Censorship — an
essential tool of political control — is the social equivalent of a defense
mechanism." (29)

We've been slowly
approaching a workable understanding of Orwell's famous "Party slogan" from 1984: "Who controls the past controls
the future; who controls the present controls the past." (30) In the novel this
refers to the Ingsoc government, whose paradoxically named "Ministry of Truth"
constantly re-writes history according to the current needs of the totalitarian
leadership. In the book, as in real life, the
details of the past have a determining effect on what can happen in the future
But at no point in recorded history have most human beings perceived or
remembered information outside of what the self considered safe or acceptable.
That means the self, or ego, controls the past from within the ever-changing
present, and, therefore, the self
controls what can be predicted or planned for in future.

And 1984 demonstrates how, in an
authoritarian society (such as the U.S., despite the fact that it is referred
to as a "democracy" much more often), the leadership acts as a focusing
point — or the "central vision," to use Watts's metaphor — for the "conscious mind"
of the collective self. So the textbook version of history is actually the
version that doesn't contradict the group's established schemas (i.e., the
"status quo"), for that would cause anxiety for the "ego" of the metaphorical
social body. In other words, "peripheral" (subversive) information would
disrupt the way a society sees itself. Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is an excellent example of
what the collective ego (i.e., government, mainstream media, etc.) would
consider a subversive version of the
past, because it's an unheroic (but
more empirical) version.

Goleman claims he
was the first to connect this phenomenon in the personal ego with the same kind
of self-deception that can happen in any size human group: family, club,
company, religion, nation, species, etc. (31) As Goleman states in his book, an
individual cannot express much dissent without endangering one's own membership
in a group; and most defer to the group leader when a decision must be made. In
addition to drawing from the psychology of Sigmund Freud, he also employs the
group studies of Trotter and LeBon. As Goleman writes, "The hallmark of a
person as a group member, Freud saw, was the replacement of his self by a group
self. The psychology of the group, said Freud, involves ‘the dwindling of the
conscious individual personality, the focusing of thoughts and feelings into a
common direction.' That translates to the prepotency of shared schemas over
personal ones." (32)

The group leader,
an archetypal father figure, usually
directs these shared schemas — by which we mean, the acceptable ways of
perceiving the group's interests and behavior. "For Freud a primitive family
prototype is the model for all groups," explains Goleman. "In the vast
variations of what constitutes a group…Freud saw the same dynamic at work: to
the extent that there is a common understanding, the members of the group share
an outlook — the group's schemas." (33)

What I'm
proposing is that true individualism
could involve breaking away from all group schemas — first and foremost, from
those of the nuclear family — in order to emerge as a twice-born individual with
independent schemas based on outer and inner exploration.
Without crossing
those social boundaries, we risk the possibility of thinking that we've evolved, when actually very little about our
mental life and behavior might have changed. Every conscious ego or self — from
the singular to the collective — is like a fortress constructed in opposition to
nature. So unless our semantic processing puts us more in tune with the
empirical universe, we remain forever locked in a world of delusion.

orientations ensnare us in a cage of mental abstractions, unable to figure out
that our biggest existential problems will remain with us regardless of the
superficial changes we make in our lives. That's not only because reality will
differ from idealistic expectations, but because reality — as perceived by the individual — is
always filtered through the deceptive categories of the self schema. When
perceiving the physical universe, each mind selects a small fraction of the
available data (based on our "central vision") and uses that to construct a
present "reality," which can then become a memory of the past. This is how
Greenwald's "personal historian" functions in real-time.

As Wilson said
earlier, each reality-tunnel seems "objective" to the person experiencing it.
But it would be impossible for every person to experience the exact same reality. This is why Bucky
Fuller argues in his book Operating
Manual for Spaceship Earth
that the universe itself is "non-simultaneous"
and "nonidentical" — meaning that no one's perception (or memory) of the universe
(and events happening therein) is ever identical to any other's. (34) The vital
point here is that our knowledge of the
universe — including planet Earth, where we currently live — is all based on
individual human experience. 

In reality,
everyone's perception of life is unique — that is to say, nonidentical. So there are as many "true" versions of any single
event as there are people there to perceive and remember it! Most of what we
take to be "history" and "current events" are actually cultural constructions — that is, semantic
, which themselves derive from individual
mental constructions. But those
constructions are usually riddled with gaps wherever information has been left
out for the sake of avoiding anxiety. Furthermore, since we tend to think in
aristotelian orientations, we mistake
those faulty maps for the reality they're supposed to represent

What we really
require is not "truth" but the ability to control the self-deception of our own
"totalitarian ego" — our own unconscious acts of "doublethink" — so that our perceptions
and memories will more closely approximate the empirical (measurable) universe.
At first it's only really possible to correct faulty perceptions in retrospect,
using self-reflection to question our own view of reality. But in time we
should be able to permanently adjust the ways we've been conditioned to alter
or ignore information. After accomplishing that, the next step is to muster the
courage to stand up for one's own perceptions in the face of self-deceptive
groups — ranging from families, to nation-states, to all humanity — which will
fight to protect their comfortable collective ego-delusions. If enough of us
make such personal progress, we'll likely be surprised at how quickly absurdity
and "un-sanity" start to vanish from our world.

In Orwellian
terms, we must ensure the maximum efficiency of our present perceptions in order to build a more complete record of the
past, which will allow us to
effectively predict and plan for the future — thereby
increasing human liberation and perpetuating the survival of the human race. But
it all depends on the individual!


you enjoyed this essay, please consider supporting Nick’s project.
here to learn more.



1. Korzybski, Alfred. Science and Sanity. 1933. Fifth edition.
New York: Institute of General Semantics, 1994. p. xlvii.

2. Korzybski, A. Ibid. p. xlvii.

3. Korzybski, A. Ibid. pp. lii-liv.

4. Wilson, Robert Anton. Prometheus Rising. 1983. Tempe, AZ: New
Falcon Publications, 2007. pp. 98-99.

5. LeDoux, Joseph. "Why the ‘Right
Brain' Idea is Wrong-Headed." The
Huffington Post.
5/29/2009. Accessed on 10/18/2010.

6. Watts, Alan. The Way of Zen. 1957. New York: Vintage
Books, 1989. p. 4.

7. Watts, A. Ibid. p. 9.

8. Watts, A. Ibid. pp 8-9.

9. Watts, A. Ibid. p. 5.

10. Wilson, Robert Anton. Ibid. p. 169.

11. Wilson, R.A. Ibid. p. 210.

12. Goleman, Daniel. Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of
. 1985. London, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1998. p. 15.

13. Goleman, D. Ibid. p. 21.

14. Goleman, D. Ibid. p. 19.

15. Goleman, D. Ibid. p.

16. Goleman, D. Ibid. p.
59. Ellipses are mine.

17. Goleman, D. Ibid. p.

18. Greenwald, Anthony G.
"The Totalitarian Ego: Fabrication and Revision of Personal History." American Psychologist. July 1980. Vol.
35, No. 7. p. 604.

19. Goleman, D. Ibid. p.

20. Orwell, George. 1984. 1949. New York: Signet Classic,
1977. pp. 176-177. Italics are Orwell's, to denote a "Newspeak" word.

21. Orwell, G. Ibid. p. 229.

22. Wilson, R.A. Ibid. p. 126.

23. Goleman, D. Ibid. p. 245.

24. Goleman, D. Ibid. pp. 13, 24.

25. Goleman, D. Ibid. p. 25.

26. Greenwald, A.G. Ibid. p. 603.

27. Goleman, D. Ibid. p. 75.

28. Wilson, R.A. Ibid. p. 67.

29. Goleman, D. Ibid. pp. 231-232.

30. Orwell, G. Ibid. p. 204.

31. Goleman, D. Ibid. p. 23.

32. Goleman, D. Ibid. p. 162.

33. Goleman, D. Ibid. p. 162.

34. Fuller, R. Buckminster. Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. 1969.
Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1974. p. 56.

Image by Duncan, courtesy of Creative Commons license.

Psychedelic Resources

A Foraging Trip: Where Do Magic Mushrooms Grow?
Eager to learn more about the origin of psilocybin species? Read this article to find out where magic mushrooms grow and more!

How to Make Shroom Tea: Best Recipe and Dosage
A step by step guide on how to brew shroom tea, and why entheogenic psilocybin tea is a preferred method for psychedelic connoisseurs.

R. Gordon Wasson: Author and Mushroom Expert
Learn about R. Gordon Wasson, the “legendary mushroom expert” and popular figure within the psychonaut community.

Shrooms vs Acid: Differences and Similarities Explained
Ever wondered what the differences are between shrooms vs acid, or if you can take both together? This guide explains what you need to know.

Quantum Mechanics, Reality, and Magic Mushrooms
Scientist and author Dr. Chris Becker takes an in-depth approach in understanding how we perceive reality through magic mushrooms and quantum mechanics.

Psilocybin Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Psilocybin has everything you want to know about this psychedelic fungi from its uses to its legal status.

The Psilocybin Experience: What’s the Deal With Magic Mushrooms?
From microdoses to macrodoses, the psilocybin experience has been sought after both medicinally and recreationally for millennia.

Psilocybin and Magic Mushroom Resources
Curious to learn more about psilocybin? This guide is a comprehensive psilocybin resource containing books, therapeutic studies, and more.

Paul Stamets Profile: Mushroom Guru, Filmmaker, Nutritionist, Scientist
Learn about Paul Stamets, read his thoughts on psilocybin mircodosing, the future of psilocybin, and his recent film “Fantastic Fungi”.

Microdosing Psilocybin & Common Dosage Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivably, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing psilocybin.

Psilocybin Nasal Spray: Relief for Anxiety, PTSD, and Depression
Microdosing nasal spray with psilocybin, is that possible?! Oregan a start-up Silo Wellness believes so and has created this new option for PTSD treatment.

Mazatec Mushroom Usage: Notes on Approach, Setting and Species for Curious Psilonauts
A look at traditional Mazatec psilocybin mushroom usage, and a comparison to the cliniical therapeutic approach, with an examination of the Mazatec setting and species used in veladas.

María Sabina: The Mazatec Magic Mushroom Woman
Magic mushrooms are incredibly popular today. How they became introduced to into American culture isn’t usually a topic discussed while tripping on psilocybin fungi. We all may have María Sabina to thank for exposing the Western world to the healing properties of the psilocybin mushroom.

Guide to Magic Mushroom Strains
Are there different types of psilocybin? Read our guide to learn about the different magic mushroom strains and their individual effects.

Kilindi Iyi: Mycologist, Traveler, Teacher
Learn about traveler and mycologist Kilindi Iyi known in the psychedelic community for his research and exploration of psilocybin.

How to Store Shrooms: Best Practices
How do you store shrooms for optimal shelf life? Learn how and why the proper storage method is so important.

Shroom Chocolate Recipes: How to Make Magic Mushroom Chocolates
This recipe provides step by step directions on how you can make mushroom chocolates with the necessary ingredients. Read to learn more!

Why Do People Use Psilocybin? New Johns Hopkins Study
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicines has just published a new study on psychoactive effects of psilocybin. Read here to learn more.

How-To Lemon Tek: Ultimate Guide and Recipe
This master guide will teach you how to lemon tek, preventing the onset of negative effects after consuming psilocybin. Read to learn more!

How to Intensify a Mushroom Trip
Learn about techniques like Lemon tekking, or discover the right time to consume cannabis if you are looking to intensify a mushroom trip.

How to Grow Magic Mushrooms: Step-by-Step
This step-by-step guide will show you how to grow magic mushrooms at home. Read this guide before trying it on your own.

How to Dry Magic Mushrooms: Best Practices
Read to learn more about specifics for the best practices on how to dry magic mushrooms after harvesting season.

How to Buy Psilocybin Spores
Interested in psilocybin mushrooms? We’ll walk you through all you need to know to obtain mushroom spores. Nosh on this delish How To guide.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

Having Sex on Shrooms: Good or Bad Idea?
Is having sex on shrooms a good idea or an accident waiting to happen? Find out in our guide to sex on magic mushrooms.

Gold Cap Shrooms Guide: Spores, Effects, Identification
Read this guide to learn more about the different characteristics of gold cap mushrooms, and how they differ from other psilocybin species.

Guide to Cooking with Magic Mushrooms
From cookies to smoothies and sandwiches, we cover various methods of cooking with magic mushrooms for the ultimate snack.

2020 Election: The Decriminalize Psilocybin Movement
Are you curious if mushrooms will follow in marijuana’s footsteps? Read to learn about how the U.S. is moving to decriminalize psilocybin.

Oregon’s Initiative to Legalize Mushrooms | Initiative Petition 34
Oregon continues to push ahead with their initiative to legalize Psilocybin in 2020. The measure received its official title and now needs signatures.

Canada Approves Psilocybin Treatment for Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients
Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu approved the use of psilocybin to help ease anxiety and depression of four terminal cancer patients.

Mapping the DMT Experience
With only firsthand experiences to share, how can we fully map the DMT experience? Let’s explore what we know about this powerful psychedelic.

Guide to Machine Elves and Other DMT Entities
This guide discusses machine elves, clockwork elves, and other common DMT entities that people experience during a DMT trip.

Is the DMT Experience a Hallucination? 
What if the DMT realm was the real world, and our everyday lives were merely a game we had chosen to play?

How to Store DMT
Not sure how to store DMT? Read this piece to learn the best practices and elements of advice to keep your stuff fresh.

What Does 5-MeO-DMT Show Us About Consciousness?
How does our brain differentiate between what’s real and what’s not? Read to learn what can 5-MeO-DMT show us about consciousness.

How to Smoke DMT: Processes Explained
There are many ways to smoke DMT and we’ve outlined some of the best processes to consider before embarking on your journey.

How to Ground After DMT
Knowing what to expect from a DMT comedown can help you integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible from your journey.

How To Get DMT
What kind of plants contain DMT? Are there other ways to access this psychedelic? Read on to learn more about how to get DMT.

How DMT is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make DMT? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how DMT is made.

Having Sex on DMT: What You Need to Know
Have you ever wondered about sex on DMT? Learn how the God Molecule can influence your intimate experiences.

Does the Human Brain Make DMT? 
With scientific evidence showing us DMT in the brain, what can we conclude it is there for? Read on to learn more.

How to Use DMT Vape Pens
Read to learn all about DMT vape pens including: what to know when vaping, what to expect when purchasing a DMT cartridge, and vaping safely.

DMT Resources
This article is a comprehensive DMT resource providing extensive information from studies, books, documentaries, and more. Check it out!

Differentiating DMT and Near-Death Experiences
Some say there are similarities between a DMT trip and death. Read our guide on differentiating DMT and near-death experiences to find out.

DMT Research from 1956 to the Edge of Time
From a representative sample of a suitably psychedelic crowd, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who couldn’t tell you all about Albert Hofmann’s enchanted bicycle ride after swallowing what turned out to be a massive dose of LSD. Far fewer, however, could tell you much about the world’s first DMT trip.

The Ultimate Guide to DMT Pricing
Check out our ultimate guide on DMT pricing to learn what to expect when purchasing DMT for your first time.

DMT Milking | Reality Sandwich
Indigenous cultures have used 5-MeO-DMT for centuries. With the surge in demand for psychedelic toad milk, is DMT Milking harming the frogs?

Why Does DMT Pervade Nature?
With the presence of DMT in nature everywhere – including human brains – why does it continue to baffle science?

DMT Substance Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to DMT has everything you want to know about this powerful psychedelic referred to as “the spirit molecule”.

DMT for Depression: Paving the Way for New Medicine
We’ve been waiting for an effective depression treatment. Studies show DMT for depression works even for treatment resistant patients.

Beating Addiction with DMT
Psychedelics have been studied for their help overcoming addiction. Read how DMT is helping addicts beat their substance abuse issues.

DMT Extraction: Behind the Scientific Process
Take a look at DMT extraction and the scientific process involved. Learn all you need to know including procedures and safety.

Microdosing DMT & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing DMT.

DMT Art: A Look Behind Visionary Creations
An entire genre of artwork is inspired by psychedelic trips with DMT. Read to learn about the entities and visions behind DMT art.

Changa vs. DMT: What You Need to Know
While similar (changa contains DMT), each drug has its own unique effect and feeling. Let’s compare and contrast changa vs DMT.

5-MeO-DMT Guide: Effects, Benefits, Safety, and Legality
5-Meo-DMT comes from the Sonora Desert toad. Here is everything you want to know about 5-Meo-DMT and how it compares to 4-AcO-DMT.

4-AcO-DMT Guide: Benefits, Effects, Safety, and Legality
This guide tells you everything about 4 AcO DMT & 5 MeO DMT, that belong to the tryptamine class, and are similar but slightly different to DMT.

How Much Does LSD Cost? When shopping around for that magical psychedelic substance, there can be many uncertainties when new to buying LSD. You may be wondering how much does LSD cost? In this article, we will discuss what to expect when purchasing LSD on the black market, what forms LSD is sold in, and the standard breakdown of buying LSD in quantity.   Navy Use of LSD on the Dark Web The dark web is increasingly popular for purchasing illegal substances. The US Navy has now noticed this trend with their staff. Read to learn more.   Having Sex on LSD: What You Need to Know Can you have sex on LSD? Read our guide to learn everything about sex on acid, from lowered inhibitions to LSD users quotes on sex while tripping.   A Drug That Switches off an LSD Trip A pharmaceutical company is developing an “off-switch” drug for an LSD trip, in the case that a bad trip can happen. Some would say there is no such thing.   Queen of Hearts: An Interview with Liz Elliot on Tim Leary and LSD The history of psychedelia, particularly the British experience, has been almost totally written by men. Of the women involved, especially those who were in the thick of it, little has been written either by or about them. A notable exception is Liz Elliot.   LSD Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide, or just acid is one of the most important psychedelics ever discovered. What did history teach us?   Microdosing LSD & Common Dosage Explained Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing LSD.   LSD Resources Curious to learn more about LSD? This guide includes comprehensive LSD resources containing books, studies and more.   LSD as a Spiritual Aid There is common consent that the evolution of mankind is paralleled by the increase and expansion of consciousness. From the described process of how consciousness originates and develops, it becomes evident that its growth depends on its faculty of perception. Therefore every means of improving this faculty should be used.   Legendary LSD Blotter Art: A Hidden Craftsmanship Have you ever heard of LSD blotter art? Explore the trippy world of LSD art and some of the top artists of LSD blotter art.   LSD and Exercise: Does it Work? LSD and exercise? Learn why high-performing athletes are taking hits of LSD to improve their overall potential.   Jan Bastiaans Treated Holocaust Survivors with LSD Dutch psychiatrist, Jan Bastiaans administered LSD-assisted therapy to survivors of the Holocaust. A true war hero and pioneer of psychedelic-therapy.   LSD and Spiritual Awakening I give thanks for LSD, which provided the opening that led me to India in 1971 and brought me to Neem Karoli Baba, known as Maharajji. Maharajji is described by the Indians as a “knower of hearts.”   How LSD is Made: Everything You Need to Know Ever wonder how to make LSD? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how LSD is made.   How to Store LSD: Best Practices Learn the best way to store LSD, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long LSD lasts when stored.   Bicycle Day: The Discovery of LSD Every year on April 19th, psychonauts join forces to celebrate Bicycle Day. Learn about the famous day when Albert Hoffman first discovered the effects of LSD.   Cary Grant: A Hollywood Legend On LSD Cary Grant was a famous actor during the 1930’s-60’s But did you know Grant experimented with LSD? Read our guide to learn more.   Albert Hofmann: LSD — My Problem Child Learn about Albert Hofmann and his discovery of LSD, along with the story of Bicycle Day and why it marks a historic milestone.   Babies are High: What Does LSD Do To Your Brain What do LSD and babies have in common? Researchers at the Imperial College in London discover that an adult’s brain on LSD looks like a baby’s brain.   1P LSD: Effects, Benefits, Safety Explained 1P LSD is an analogue of LSD and homologue of ALD-25. Here is everything you want to know about 1P LSD and how it compares to LSD.   Francis Crick, DNA & LSD Type ‘Francis Crick LSD’ into Google, and the result will be 30,000 links. Many sites claim that Crick (one of the two men responsible for discovering the structure of DNA), was either under the influence of LSD at the time of his revelation or used the drug to help with his thought processes during his research. Is this true?   What Happens If You Overdose on LSD? A recent article presented three individuals who overdosed on LSD. Though the experience was unpleasant, the outcomes were remarkably positive.

The Ayahuasca Experience
Ayahuasca is both a medicine and a visionary aid. You can employ ayahuasca for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repair, and you can engage with the power of ayahuasca for deeper insight and realization. If you consider attainment of knowledge in the broadest perspective, you can say that at all times, ayahuasca heals.


Trippy Talk: Meet Ayahuasca with Sitaramaya Sita and PlantTeachers
Sitaramaya Sita is a spiritual herbalist, pusangera, and plant wisdom practitioner formally trained in the Shipibo ayahuasca tradition.


The Therapeutic Value of Ayahuasca
My best description of the impact of ayahuasca is that it’s a rocket boost to psychospiritual growth and unfolding, my professional specialty during my thirty-five years of private practice.


Microdosing Ayahuasca: Common Dosage Explained
What is ayahuasca made of and what is considered a microdose? Explore insights with an experienced Peruvian brewmaster and learn more about this practice.


Ayahuasca Makes Neuron Babies in Your Brain
Researchers from Beckley/Sant Pau Research Program have shared the latest findings in their study on the effects of ayahuasca on neurogenesis.


The Fatimiya Sufi Order and Ayahuasca
In this interview, the founder of the Fatimiya Sufi Order,  N. Wahid Azal, discusses the history and uses of plant medicines in Islamic and pre-Islamic mystery schools.


Consideration Ayahuasca for Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Research indicates that ayahuasca mimics mechanisms of currently accepted treatments for PTSD. In order to understand the implications of ayahuasca treatment, we need to understand how PTSD develops.


Brainwaves on Ayahuasca: A Waking Dream State
In a study researchers shared discoveries showing ingredients found in Ayahuasca impact the brainwaves causing a “waking dream” state.


Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a pro cannabis Peruvian Shaman.


Ayahuasca Retreat 101: Everything You Need to Know to Brave the Brew
Ayahuasca has been known to be a powerful medicinal substance for millennia. However, until recently, it was only found in the jungle. Word of its deeply healing and cleansing properties has begun to spread across the world as many modern, Western individuals are seeking spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. More ayahuasca retreat centers are emerging in the Amazon and worldwide to meet the demand.


Ayahuasca Helps with Grief
A new study published in psychopharmacology found that ayahuasca helped those suffering from the loss of a loved one up to a year after treatment.


Ayahuasca Benefits: Clinical Improvements for Six Months
Ayahuasca benefits can last six months according to studies. Read here to learn about the clinical improvements from drinking the brew.


Ayahuasca Culture: Indigenous, Western, And The Future
Ayahuasca has been use for generations in the Amazon. With the rise of retreats and the brew leaving the rainforest how is ayahuasca culture changing?


Ayahuasca Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
The Amazonian brew, Ayahuasca has a long history and wide use. Read our guide to learn all about the tea from its beginnings up to modern-day interest.


Ayahuasca and the Godhead: An Interview with Wahid Azal of the Fatimiya Sufi Order
Wahid Azal, a Sufi mystic of The Fatimiya Sufi Order and an Islamic scholar, talks about entheogens, Sufism, mythology, and metaphysics.


Ayahuasca and the Feminine: Women’s Roles, Healing, Retreats, and More
Ayahuasca is lovingly called “grandmother” or “mother” by many. Just how feminine is the brew? Read to learn all about women and ayahuasca.

What Is the Standard of Care for Ketamine Treatments?
Ketamine therapy is on the rise in light of its powerful results for treatment-resistant depression. But, what is the current standard of care for ketamine? Read to find out.

What Is Dissociation and How Does Ketamine Create It?
Dissociation can take on multiple forms. So, what is dissociation like and how does ketamine create it? Read to find out.

Having Sex on Ketamine: Getting Physical on a Dissociative
Curious about what it could feel like to have sex on a dissociate? Find out all the answers in our guide to sex on ketamine.

Special K: The Party Drug
Special K refers to Ketamine when used recreationally. Learn the trends as well as safety information around this substance.

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

Ketamine vs. Esketamine: 3 Important Differences Explained
Ketamine and esketamine are used to treat depression. But what’s the difference between them? Read to learn which one is right for you: ketamine vs. esketamine.

Guide to Ketamine Treatments: Understanding the New Approach
Ketamine is becoming more popular as more people are seeing its benefits. Is ketamine a fit? Read our guide for all you need to know about ketamine treatments.

Ketamine Treatment for Eating Disorders
Ketamine is becoming a promising treatment for various mental health conditions. Read to learn how individuals can use ketamine treatment for eating disorders.

Ketamine Resources, Studies, and Trusted Information
Curious to learn more about ketamine? This guide includes comprehensive ketamine resources containing books, studies and more.

Ketamine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to ketamine has everything you need to know about this “dissociative anesthetic” and how it is being studied for depression treatment.

Ketamine for Depression: A Mental Health Breakthrough
While antidepressants work for some, many others find no relief. Read to learn about the therapeutic uses of ketamine for depression.

Ketamine for Addiction: Treatments Offering Hope
New treatments are offering hope to individuals suffering from addiction diseases. Read to learn how ketamine for addiction is providing breakthrough results.

Microdosing Ketamine & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing ketamine.

How to Ease a Ketamine Comedown
Knowing what to expect when you come down from ketamine can help integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible.

How to Store Ketamine: Best Practices
Learn the best ways how to store ketamine, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long ketamine lasts when stored.

How To Buy Ketamine: Is There Legal Ketamine Online?
Learn exactly where it’s legal to buy ketamine, and if it’s possible to purchase legal ketamine on the internet.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?
How long does ketamine stay in your system? Are there lasting effects on your body? Read to discover the answers!

How Ketamine is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make Ketamine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how Ketamine is made.

Colorado on Ketamine: First Responders Waiver Programs
Fallout continues after Elijah McClain. Despite opposing recommendations from some city council, Colorado State Health panel recommends the continued use of ketamine by medics for those demonstrating “excited delirium” or “extreme agitation”.

Types of Ketamine: Learn the Differences & Uses for Each
Learn about the different types of ketamine and what they are used for—and what type might be right for you. Read now to find out!

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

MDMA & Ecstasy Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to MDMA has everything you want to know about Ecstasy from how it was developed in 1912 to why it’s being studied today.

How To Get the Most out of Taking MDMA as a Couple
Taking MDMA as a couple can lead to exciting experiences. Read here to learn how to get the most of of this love drug in your relationship.

Common MDMA Dosage & Microdosing Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing MDMA.

Having Sex on MDMA: What You Need to Know
MDMA is known as the love drug… Read our guide to learn all about sex on MDMA and why it is beginning to makes its way into couple’s therapy.

How MDMA is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make MDMA? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how MDMA is made.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

How Cocaine is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make cocaine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how cocaine is made.

A Christmas Sweater with Santa and Cocaine
This week, Walmart came under fire for a “Let it Snow” Christmas sweater depicting Santa with lines of cocaine. Columbia is not merry about it.

Ultimate Cocaine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
This guide covers what you need to know about Cocaine, including common effects and uses, legality, safety precautions and top trends today.

NEWS: An FDA-Approved Cocaine Nasal Spray
The FDA approved a cocaine nasal spray called Numbrino, which has raised suspicions that the pharmaceutical company, Lannett Company Inc., paid off the FDA..

The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Bioavailability
What is bioavailability and how can it affect the overall efficacy of a psychedelic substance? Read to learn more.

Cannabis Research Explains Sociability Behaviors
New research by Dr. Giovanni Marsicano shows social behavioral changes occur as a result of less energy available to the neurons. Read here to learn more.

The Cannabis Shaman
If recreational and medical use of marijuana is becoming accepted, can the spiritual use as well? Experiential journalist Rak Razam interviews Hamilton Souther, founder of the 420 Cannabis Shamanism movement…

Cannabis Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Cannabis has everything you want to know about this popular substances that has psychedelic properties.

Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a procannabis Peruvian Shaman.

CBD-Rich Cannabis Versus Single-Molecule CBD
A ground-breaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant Cannabis extract as compared to synthetic cannabidiol (CBD), challenging the medical-industrial complex’s notion that “crude” botanical preparations are less effective than single-molecule compounds.

Cannabis Has Always Been a Medicine
Modern science has already confirmed the efficacy of cannabis for most uses described in the ancient medical texts, but prohibitionists still claim that medical cannabis is “just a ruse.”

Related Posts

Ready to explore the frontiers of consciousness?

Sign up for the Reality Bites newsletter and embark on a journey into the world of psychedelics, mindfulness, and transformation. It’s where the curious minds gather.

Become a conscious agent with us.

Featured Partner

Cosmic Melts

Cosmic Melts are the latest mushroom gummies we’ve been munching on. Choose from five fruity flavors, each gummy containing 350mg of Amanita muscaria.
Amanita muscaria offers a unique (and totally legal!) mushroom experience, and Cosmic Melts is an ideal entry point for the curious consumer.

Our Partners

We’re now streaming consciousness and medicine music all day, every day. Turn on, tune in, drop out.

Hear from the RS community in our new video series, spotlighting shared experiences and stories with plant medicines, psychedelics, consciousness, dreams, meditation, etc.

Welcome to Reality Sandwich. Please verify that you are over 18 years of age below.

Reality Sandwich uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By entering Reality Sandwich, you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.