Refresh Rate of Perception & Entity Encounter Hallucinations - Andrés Emilsson, QRI, DS Pod #225

21st Mar 2024 Gemini 1.5 Pro

The Fabric of Consciousness and the Role of DMT

This podcast features a conversation with Andrés Gómez-Emilsson, a researcher at the Qualia Research Institute in San Francisco. They delve into the nature of human consciousness through the lens of altered states of consciousness, particularly those induced by DMT. The conversation revolves around the compelling nature of these experiences, exploring whether they are mere hallucinations or indicative of something more profound.

Gómez-Emilsson highlights the prevalence of entity encounters during DMT trips, noting that a significant percentage of users report such interactions. This consistency, he argues, suggests there might be more to these experiences than simply hallucinations.

"The more that they do it, the more they're convinced that this isn't a hallucination and that there's something substantive to it."

The conversation then delves into the potential for scientific understanding of these seemingly mystical experiences, attempting to reconcile the subjective nature of consciousness with more objective scientific frameworks.

DMT and the Control Interrupt Model

Gómez-Emilsson employs the concept of "algorithmic reduction" to understand the complexities of the DMT experience. He emphasizes the "control interrupt model" proposed by James L. Kent, which suggests that the cortex normally inhibits predictable sensory information, leaving us aware of only the deviations from our predictions.

DMT, in this model, disrupts this inhibitory process, leading to an overflow of sensory information characterized by "tracer effects" – a persistence of sensations beyond their usual duration. This disruption, particularly the specific frequency of these tracers (20-40 Hz), plays a crucial role in the emergence of geometric hallucinations.

"DMT is not just that it gets painted over with colors and textures, but they're also vibrating in a very characteristic way, typically between 20 and 40 hertz."

The conversation then explores how this basic mechanism can lead to the intricate, high-dimensional geometry often reported in DMT experiences.

The Jhanas and Attention as a Tool

Gómez-Emilsson draws parallels between DMT experiences and the Jhanas, states of profound concentration cultivated through meditation. He describes the Jhanas as attractor states for the nervous, cardiovascular, and electromagnetic systems. He posits that achieving these states requires a high degree of attentional control.

"One of the key limiting factors in good psychonautics is not having a good model of attention for yourself."

He emphasizes the importance of understanding how attention functions during these experiences, moving beyond simplistic metaphors like "arrows" or "flowing water" to a more nuanced understanding of harmonics, resonance, and the interplay of different attentional "centers." The ability to consciously manipulate these attentional dynamics becomes crucial in navigating the DMT landscape and shaping the experience itself.

DMT Entities and the Nature of Reality

The conversation delves into the nature of the entities encountered during DMT trips. Gómez-Emilsson acknowledges the tendency to dismiss these as mere hallucinations but presents compelling arguments against this simplistic view. He describes these entities as possessing an unexpected awareness, often interacting with the user in a way that suggests an understanding of their perceived reality.

"They kind of like tease you and they kind of like make fun of the fact that you think that they're hallucinations."

He highlights instances where these entities exhibit behaviors exceeding the user's expectations, behaving in ways not readily explained by pre-existing mental models. This, he argues, raises intriguing possibilities about the nature of these entities and their potential relationship to a larger reality beyond our typical perception.

Consciousness, Replicators, and Galactic Politics

The conversation expands to consider the larger implications of these experiences, touching upon the nature of consciousness itself. Gómez-Emilsson introduces the idea of a battle between "consciousness" and "replicators." He posits that consciousness, characterized by its preference for well-being and love over suffering, constantly contends with replicators, entities focused solely on their own reproduction and expansion, regardless of their impact on consciousness.

"The line between consciousness and replicators runs through every one of our hearts."

This dynamic, he argues, plays out at every level of existence, from individual cells to entire civilizations. DMT entities, in this context, could be emissaries of a larger galactic federation governed by principles of diversity and cooperation, a potential model for overcoming the self-serving tendencies of replicators and fostering a more harmonious existence for consciousness in all its forms.