Keeping The Portal Open: Erik Davis on TechGnosis and the Blurring “Real” & “Virtual”

Jump to Section

Jump to Section

Erik Davis is the author of TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, & Mysticism in the Age of Information (recently reissued by North Atlantic Books with a new afterword).  An investigation into how our transcendental urges play out in the realm of high technology, it is a rare treat – both an exemplary work of scholarship and also a delightful read – a florid, fun, and virtuosic play of language.  Even more impressive is that in our metamorphic times, this book has aged considerably well.  TechGnosis is in ways more relevant today than it was in the rosy dawn of 1998, before The Matrix and the iPhone, Facebook, and Edward Snowden.  We’re living in the future.  Read this book and learn the territory.

Over a glitchy Google Hangout (you can watch both parts on YouTube), Erik and I discussed our culture’s highest hopes and darkest dreams for our collective future, and how they’ve both become more complicated since the turn of the Millennium.

If you imagine browser windows as a kind of portal in between dimensions – if you wonder when the apes and whales will open social media accounts – if you believe that we can find a way to surf the turbulence of our connected century with grace and humor – then read on…

(Thanks to Terra Celeste and Ivan Marko for transcribing this!  This is about one-third of the full conversation.  You can also read the transcript in its raw entirety here.)

Erik: I apologize for our developing-world level of internet connectivity. Here in San Francisco! That’s right, folks, you heard it right: I live in the city of San Francisco, the absolute white hot center of the technological creative mutation, and yet my internet’s kind of crappy.

Michael: Well, you know, San Francisco was where Skynet was headquartered in the last Terminator film, so it may just be that your home is becoming ever-more inimical to human existence.

Erik: And the Federation, too! In a way those were the two models, right? On the one hand, you have the Federation from Star Trek, where it’s a liberal, UN, kind of globalist model – we’re no longer fighting nation states, we’re still human beings, we have desires, we get to drink tea and explore the universe. That sounds pretty cool from a humanist point of view, and yet on the other side we have Skynet, which is of course a whole other ball of wax. In a way, isn’t that it? It’s the struggle between the Federation and Skynet.

Michael:  It’s funny, ‘cause most of what I wanted to talk to you about today was about how your book -– which is a brilliant piece of writing – has aged since 1998. The new volume includes a new afterword from the 2004 edition, as well as a new afterword from the 2015 edition. One of the things that you discuss is the way that the expectation that we had of boundary dissolution and transcendence at the turn of the millennium has become more complex. Now, it’s more of just a general shifting and metamorphosis of the construction of new boundaries. And so, like in the most recent Star Trek films and Terminator films, we now have good Terminators that believe they are people and are willing to donate their heart to the dying members of the human resistance. You know, the actual human heart that these Terminators possess, in order spoof human security systems. And then, in the latest Star Trek film, the threat comes from within the Federation, from a black box military program. Our culture seems to be getting more and more comfortable with these liminal zones and these ethical complexities. Less naïve with respect to that kind of simple dyadic distinction.

Erik: Techgnosis first came out in ’98. I talk a lot about gnosticism in the book and about these ancient Christian heresies about the spark in us that can escape from this prison that’s run by evil demons who are fabricating reality. That ancient model of mysticism and theology just fits like a hand and glove in our digital era. And then the Matrix films come along and I was like, “Oh my God, so beautiful.” It was just a perfect expression, and I wrote about that in the afterword for the 2004 edition. Nowadays a lot of the topics that I wrote about are even more available and perceivable through popular culture because popular culture has gotten weirder, more full of occultism, more intense, even as, in some ways, it’s become more ordinary. A lot of these sort of topics were very fringe in the ’80s or even the ’90s, in the sense that you had to kinda dig for occultism, for Satanism, for people who believed that they were channeling deities. All this stuff was part of a subculture, an outsider culture. Whether we believed it or not doesn’t matter. In a way, it’s not that there are necessarily more people who believe in these things. It’s just that they’re more available, because of the way that popular culture introduces these ideas. We become fans of shows. Fantasy and science fiction have become the norm.

Michael:  I’m sure you remember when James Cameron’s Avatar came out, and the Avatar world immediately took off within the LARPing community. And so you started to see this foreshadowing of a new dysphrenia, a psychological disorder of the possible fragmentation of worldspaces that we seem kind of doomed to experience with the advent of the true landing of virtual reality. These people were so just morose and desperate because they became so immersed in the Pandora world that they couldn’t readjust to their life as human beings. It’s sort of akin to my generation’s wave of acid burnouts, maybe. As we invest more and more of ourselves into this increasingly popular and available and sexy because it’s not just animated by our religious impulses, but it’s actively being advertised, and commercialized and sold to us. We’re really being encouraged to throw ourselves into these alternative worldspaces. And then there isn’t a landing pad for when we get back. So I feel like one of the lasting lessons of your book, one of the reasons that I feel its resonance remains, is because it allows a person to integrate those experiences. In a way, it functions as a manual for understanding our drives and the larger emotional matrix in which we play with new freedoms to explore occult realities.

Erik: That’s very well said, actually, because in conventional society, even very recently, these things have largely been shuttered out. My generation grew up in the shadow of the hippies, and those things were around, but they were very much part of the counterculture. They were either mocked or ignored in the New York Times reality, which is still kind of a good symbol for consensus reality. I’m not even sure if we have a consensus reality anymore, or if it’s not some crazy topological knot, but in the old days, it had a little bit more stability to it, and you would never see these things acknowledged. Or if they were, they were pathologized – it was crazy, it was absurd, it was narcissistic and navel-gazing. This was true for a whole range of things – meditation, esotericism, UFOs, psychedelics, the whole range of extraordinary experience that people wanted to seek and experience.

As someone who basically keeps my feet on the ground, I’m largely skeptical in temperament. I’m very anthropological in my approach, which means I like to go into environments and participate as I observe, that classic stance of participant-observation. And what’s come from that is a realization that you can plunge very deeply into very interesting, rich otherworlds that are full of magic and enchantment and bizarre synchronicities and wonderful downloads, but at the same time you can also trust the ability to return to the body, to the ordinary, to the conditions of human experience in an everyday way, and that those don’t have to be in conflict so much.

I think that these experiences are not only really valuable, but they’re absolutely necessary to understand what’s actually happening. Whether people acknowledge it or not, a lot of the time we are driven by desires to be in dreamworlds, to achieve unusual-states-of-consciousness, to find them inside ourselves and see the way that they’re driving us. There’s a strong kind of rationalist technologized way of thinking about experience that’s very pervasive now, that’s actually carried like a philosophical virus through the widespread notions of tweaking and controlling your experience, of making yourself more efficient or powerful. So for me it’s really important to keep portals open to the unknown, to the mystery, to the bizarre, because it’s precisely in those encounters that we see beyond the rationalistic frame, which often is, in my opinion, benighted. Instead, we can adopt a more open-ended, but not necessarily mystical, attitude to the whole range of otherworldly experiences.

Michael: There’s a through-line here in one of the last chapters of Coming into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness by William Irwin Thompson, someone whom I know that has inspired us both immensely. That books last chapter a chapter is about how the Ramayana tells how humans and animals allied to expel the demons from what we now take as take as mundane, everyday reality. Bill Thompson’s view was that the Electrical Imaginary descending back into our networked global civilization is opening a portal, and that the screen is literally a shamanic window through which these spirits are granted fresh access to our world. And then in your latest afterword you talk about how the irony of these ultra-hyper-realist-skeptic-atheist-revenge-of-the-enlightenment types is that you can’t actually create a complete model of the mundane world. You can’t perfectly map the enlightened cosmos without getting into all of the weird stuff, the out-of-body experiences, the UFO abductions. These things have to be explained in order to cast out all of the shadows, but the naïve attempt to cast them out is really just an invocation. It’s like the topological knot you mentioned earlier, where merely addressing them makes them a more vivid part of our reality.

Erik: Absolutely. I think that that’s part of the deeper logic behind the renaissance of psychedelics. In many ways, “psychedelics” as a topic is a key site in understanding how modern technological scientific people recover, rediscover, and repackage, if you will, these kinds of liminal states and otherworldly encounters, with their potential sources of meaning and spiritual experiences. I also think that one of the reasons we have seen such an incredible renaissance emerge so quickly is because it was an inevitable part of scientific logic. Science has to take the brain seriously, it has to take the experiences in the brain seriously. Psychedelics are clearly physical, material agents that produce somewhat regular phenomenological effects. We have to understand that if we’re going to understand the brain. Any reasonable scientist is going to say that. And, whoa, lo and behold, it actually seems to do some good. So the genie is out of the bottle, and the genie doesn’t mean that we’re going to return to some kind of mystical worldview. I don’t believe we are. I think we’re in a state of tremendous mixing, of a multidimensional view where we have to learn how to move between different kinds of frameworks, including occult and animist frameworks, including mystical or religious frameworks, but also including secular, critical, analytic frameworks – scientific in that classic sense as well. How to do that I don’t know. But I do know that it’s a multidimensional field and I think that that’s why we see this turn towards the very multidimensional psychedelics.

Michael: Yeah, definitely. That is, in the sense of the original articulation of TechGnosis. You’ve got that chapter, “The Path is a Network”. There is something about the way the network allows for this manifold, multifaceted appraisal of reality, that really breeds and encourages and nourishes multiperspectivism. And so, in a way, I think the inherently psychedelic nature of our age, and what’s become really just like much more imminently and vividly obvious and easy to spot about the mainstream culture in general, is that we don’t all agree. It’s a much deeper revelation of the same kind of cultural relativism that we started to experience through the global interchange and commerce a couple hundred years ago, but now it’s to the point where culture has splintered to such an extraordinary degree due to the fact that everyone at the dinner table is occupying their own iPhone reality portal, that the main yoga of at least the first half of the twentieth century seems to be the psychedelic yoga, of being able to take our ontological conclusions lightly, and to be able to juggle them and to adopt them when they’re appropriate but to treat them with the kind of middle-way balance of skepticism and sympathy that you have modeled for your readers.

Erik: Yeah, that’s a really important thing for me. Also, itIt also plays an important role in a lot of the stuff that we haven’t been talking about, which is the dark side of the tale. Probably my proudest thing about TechGnosis is that it first came out in 1998, so the book was written during the first internet bubble. This was the time when a truly millennialist set of ideas were held by many people working in technology, the new rules of the economy of abundance. That kind of utopian thinking.was partly legitimately believed. I knew a lot of these people, I was kinda part of that world, of people who were imagining the potential of virtual reality, of new kinds of political formations, people drawn together in new forms of community, etc. At the same time those ideas were also ruthlessly exploited by capitalist forces, which created essentially a kind of ponzi scheme of IPOs. And so, the sense that something new and different was actually happening was simultaneously exploited.

When I was writing TechGnosis, it would have been easy for someone to write a much more happy, fluffy vision of the connections between spirituality and technology. “Here we are, just around the corner, just about to break through!” But for me, that sense of transformation was always accompanied by a shadow. If you open the portal and you accept the existence of these half-fantastic beings, there are demons there as well. In our future visions now we feel the presence apocalyptic energies. There’s the sense of mass breakdown, of ecological collapse, or the rise of a fascist surveillance state. On some intimate level we know that every time we’re using a device we’re moving through a shadow realm where we don’t know what sorts of agents – entities, algorithms, human beings – are perceiving and making meaning out of our operations. That is an unnerving, uncanny situation, and it’s one that we have to live with.

We have to acknowledge that we do have these fears and terrors, and apocalyptic presumptions inside of us, inside our imaginations, inside our hearts, inside our stories, inside our cultural traditions. And so we have to be very careful about where and how we mix the apocalyptic templates that we carry in our imaginations with the actual real conditions that we find ourselves in. It’s very tricky, but I suspect it takes that same sort of balance of skepticism and sympathy into the shadow realm as well as the utopian, or at least poetic possibility. And in a lot of ways I feel that’s where we’re at. That’s part of why I do what I do, is to try to kind of map that ginger, open, but questioning space, because it seems like one of the places to try to navigate these very difficult issues.

Michael: So many people worship the idea of the return to nature, or Terence McKenna’s idea of an archaic revival, this sort of forward-escape atavism where we go all the way around and end up back where we started, transformed. But we’re also naïve to the lived reality of not being on the top of the food chain, and that’s absolutely part of this that comes back, it can’t be divorced from the rest of it. We long for the community of the tribal life that we left behind, for the openness, the permeability of the self that we experience. The last experiment of civilization was profoundly dissociative, isolated, and lonely, and as consequence, we have a totally pathological relationship to the natural world. But in restoring that, in the humility of science recognizing its ultimate ignorance, we move back into an age where we’re no longer able to kid ourselves quite so successfully about the dragons that we have swept under the map. They’re still there, and they’re in a way even more alive for us now.

In your interview with Vice, you said a god is just a fiction that everyone believes in. So in a way – and this is kind of Information Warfare 101 – even if the NSA did not have supercomputers inside that Utah data complex, the fact that they built it, and that it can be observed on Google Maps, holds this profound power over the human imagination, and so we’re all having to catch up really quickly to these magical concepts. Even if they’re not clothed in the language and trappings of magical traditions, we’re being reacquainted with the power of the symbol and the power of ritual, and the sway that an idea has over the population when it becomes harder and harder to verify things beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Erik: You could call it conspiracy thinking, although that gets defined in all sorts of ways, some of which I think are themselves forms of mind-gaming. Either way, we’re in a realm of mind-games, where perception is reality, and where the crafting of perception takes place on multiple levels through multiple agendas. Multiple agents are crafting reality in a more and more overt way, even as we’re technically learning to craft subjective experience more and more. Here we’re getting into the edge of Virtual Reality 2.0.  I think that, again, familiarity with these occult or even animist liminal zones will help us navigate through the jungle that we’re in. I mean, I can totally understand why people want to drop out of this thing. Like, fully drop out – whether into criminal underworlds, into darknet trafficking, or whether they go off the grid, or try to monkey-wrench the show. Those desires makes a lot of sense to me. It’s not who I am, it’s not where I am, but I can resonate with that. So, as long as I’m still participating in this network world that we’re sharing, that we’re fabricating, that the machines are fabricating, that we’re sharing with the machines, we have to develop that kind of light step.

You also mentioned a sense of the larger ecological framework that we’re in. As we look at what’s happening with technology, as we try to understand what’s happening with communication and human civilization, it’s impossible to extricate it from this larger ecological condition of crisis and no-going-back. It really feels like what we’re being asked to do, ethically and imaginatively, is to extend our ability to sympathize, to engage with, and even just to leave a space open for that which is outside of us, outside of the human frame, outside of the human story. That Outside may be technology, in the sense of the algorithmic intelligences that are already beginning to swamp our world, as well as the complex institutions and networks that are distributing these things. But that Outside also supports a more ecological and even cosmic view. We’re on a planet, the planet’s changing rapidly, spinning in space. All of those larger views, I think, are what we’re called upon to connect with.

I think one of my greater fears or concerns – I mean, I have so many, but just talking specifically about technology, and how people use it – is that it’s very easy to stay within a kind of human narcissistic world through media, especially social media, and the internet. I see people putting their energy into virtual or technological information circuitry, getting absorbed into a mass-cybernetic web of media, with its transmission of human stories and human perceptions and human egos and identification and projection. The whole game is so absorbing, so seductive, so fascinating, so enervating, that it can drown out our ability to wrestle with the non-human – whether it’s technology, geology, animals, capital flows. We need to become better post-humans, not narcissistic post-humans seeking our pleasure buttons, figuring out the best way to design some kind of crazy experience. That’s great, it’s part of the whole picture, but we have to also really think about what does it mean to live in a profoundly interwoven cosmos that necessarily draws us out of our narrow human egoic frame.

Michael: I totally agree. So, in light of that, I’m really fascinated by what you might have to say on recent developments on the interspecies internet – have you heard much about this? There was a TED talk about it a year or two ago.

Erik: I think I know what you mean. Why don’t you set it up?

Michael: A couple of years ago, Vint Cerf, Peter Gabriel, and a couple other people – dolphin researchers, bonobo researchers, and technologists – came forward at a TED conference to launch the idea that we can get into the sensorium of other animals and understand the way they experience things well enough to create computer interfaces for them that perform something like “Babel Fish” or Google Translate, so that we can communicate – whether it’s through music, symbols, or something else – with some of these other animals that we know have high intelligence and a sense of self.

I was really excited about being a part of this in some way, just throwing my bid into this process, and then I started thinking about how it got more complex. Because, what’s really going on here is that we can scarcely recognize a world beyond ourselves without immediately attempting to colonize it with our technological bid for control. To reference George Dvorsky of io9, there’s something really beautiful in his fascination with animal uplift, and his vision of our ethical responsibility to involve non-human species in the fate of the planet – which is currently being decided by human parliamentary action. The dolphins should get a vote. The gorillas should get a vote. And the only way that they can get a vote is to involve them in the technological infrastructure that we’re creating that is allows us the hope and the opportunity for that Star Trek world government. At the same time, it enfolds them into our own personal and transpersonal nightmare that we just discussed, and ultimately they may not want to participate in our uniquely human breed of insanity.

Erik: Yeah, that’s very well put. You know, we keep stumbling onto this Faustian bargain. It increasingly seems to describe these kinds of situations. There are people who believe that we can design a good enough system where, even despite its flaws, we’re drawing in others to decisions about the best and most ethical thing to do. And at the same time you’re going to have people who are just, like, gagging in their throats.  It’s like, after all of the violence we have exerted on the animal world, to do this is the final, most nihilistic violence – to draw them into this madness! And you could have the same discussion about the desire to colonize planets. How could we not get excited about the idea of human beings on Mars or even robots landing on asteroids? It’s just totally fascinating and wonderful, and yet it’s pretty easy to see what that would look like as an industry, and the kinds of problems that would arise in the way that seems stitched into the nature of human beings. Sometime you can almost be Christian about it. It’s a kind of original sin, a way of, like, always fighting and competing and outmaneuvering and exploiting and trying to create elites. All these things that civilization has been doing since the get-go, since we stepped outside of the Paleolithic life and made a pact with writing and social organization, with pyramidical structures. It’s an old, old, old pact, and it’s deeply religious. Our religion is fundamentally bound up with the mythology of the state.

And so, where I stumble now is…where is the state? Is it everywhere? Is it nowhere? Are we at a point where that whole relationship is shifting? Is it worth extending hope into these things, or is it reasonable to say, “Look, we just keep doing the same horrible thing over and over again, so let’s just tear it down.”

Getting back to the specific question about animals, though. I really buy that radical democratic notion in a lot of ways. Turning to the Outside, whether it’s animals or elements of technology or geological forces, is part of what democracy means. Part of the constitution in Ecuador recognizes the rights of nature. Not just nature, but “Pachamama” – and, as people who are interested in medicine work and indigenous worldviews know, Pachamama is a goddess. It’s a way of understanding and relating to the fecund, beneficent giving quality of the earth, in a spiritual light, or a personhood light, or an animist light, whatever you want to call it. And that’s part of the constitution, part of a legal document. The thinking behind that document is, “Look, it’s just extending the idea of rights, which is a modern construct. The notion of inalienable rights emerges at a certain point in Western history, it gets installed into governmental and legal forms. Initially it’s just for white men with property, then it’s just for men, then women get it, then people of color, whatever – you have this spreading of the notion of rights, so that now we are called upon to spread it into the environment as well.” Very tricky, very complicated, very confusing. What does it mean, to give nature a voice? Is “nature”, or Pachamama, even the right word? And at the same time, that seems like a very vital and significant mutation in the operating system of the state. You’ve got to factor in these others, even though exactly how that happens is so difficult to understand. So again, here we go! Plunging into the Faustian bargain!

Michael: It’s very much related to a book that I feel stands in a fun balance with yours. It came out this last year by Christian Schwägerl. It’s called The Anthropocene, and if you haven’t read it I highly recommend the read (editor’s note: Shwägerl has a number of excerpts published on Reality Sandwich). It ignores the mystical dimensions of things. Schwägerl lives in Berlin, and he’s very much operating from a secular, European Union, modern global ecological sensibility.  But the whole idea of his book is that the last remaining wild places are, in a sense, artifacts, because they only exist due to the determination of the human hand to preserve them. That there is no real wilderness anymore on our planet, at least in the natural world. Everything is indoors, and we have to find a way to first recognize that the so-called “Human Age” is actually tilting us into this much more profound, complex, and difficult relationship with the non-human world.

But we do have to find a way to express that world in our own language and our own systems – for example, by honoring what he calls “ecosystem services” in our economy, not factoring out that the water cycle, the carbon cycle, and all of these supporting systems that have an order of magnitude greater economic value than anything we’re trading on the stock market. They must be preserved at literally all costs. But he is ethically divided by the question, “Do we have to talk about the rainforest in terms of its monetary value in order to save it?”

Erik: That’s the crux. I’m glad you brought up this topic of wilderness, because I think it’s a good way to reflect on one of the problems we face. On the one hand, we have the wild – what the wild represents, what it means to be wild, what it means to stumble across the wild in your life, We are talking the unknown, the mystery, the chaos, a kind of Dionysian encounter, an intensity that takes you beyond reason, whether it’s experienced in a natural environment or in your head, or in the city. There’s something about wildness that’s profound to human beings. It has a lot to do with what people seek when they’re spiritual seekers, when they’re religious, when they are plumbing the depths. When people question the autonomy or imperial demands of reason, it’s often in the name of some kind of wild – whether it’s the sacred or the archaic or the nonhuman.

At the same time, you can sit down and go, “But this whole idea of wilderness, of natural wilderness, well, it’s a construct, it’s part of the European imagination, and that imagination is over. It’s not doing anyone any good anymore.” Some very serious environmentalists will argue that ideas of wilderness or even “nature” are actually in the way. The argument is that the religious and spiritual ideas about nature that were such an important part of twentieth century environmentalism actually get in the way of the process of introducing these non-human factors into the system in a way that would actually force the system to recognize and negotiate with them, rather than pretending in this abstract, insidious way that they don’t exist. And I don’t know what to do with that tension between these two “wildernesses”. All I know is that it’s incredibly vital in whatever way that we keep a portal open to the wild.

In that sense I’m very different than rationalist people who think we just need to introduce everything into the system – that it has to be drawn into the logic of capital, it has to be commodified, it has to be seen.  That the way to deal with pollution is to create carbon debt and to introduce it into the financial system. But that solution is a house of cards. I have a slightly, perhaps darker view that whatever tumult lies ahead, whatever sorts of forms of chaos we confront, whether they’re through a highly developed technological society that manages to keep things going, or whether society is forced to reorganize in the face of a major hiccups and breakdowns, whatever the thing is, the more that we are actually able to handle the wild, the chaos, the unknown, the mystery, the others, the whispers on the edge of our vision, the better we’ll be able to actually navigate that situation on an individual and a cultural level. There is a problem with the rational, reasonable, incorporate-everything logic, with its call to squeeze everything for its monetary value, to quantify everything, to quantify the self. All of that may be fine and well, but only as long as it keeps a space open for those kinds of encounters, for that kind of imagination, for that kind of risk and vulnerability.

But that’s often what doesn’t happen. So, in a way, my work, not just in TechGnosis, but in all the writing and conversations that I’ve done and continue to do is about riding these edges. I just want to keep those portals open, to keep the spaces open, so that people don’t feel like they have to be fools in order to engage these broader ways of seeing the world. That’s why it’s really important to keep those portals, those edges open.

Read more by Erik Davis here.

Read more by Michael Garfield here.

51+iFmZCnbL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

 

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.