The Psychedelic Reading Group discussion

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Currently reading > DMT: the Spirit Molecule

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message 1: by Oldak (last edited Jul 04, 2011 05:44AM) (new)

Oldak | 1 comments Mod
This is a thread to discuss the book currently being read (06-28 to 07-12) "DMT: the Spirit Molecule", by Rick Strassman.

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I'm currently half-way through, and I like Strassman's plain writing style. He gives a good overview of psychedelics, and their use in psychotherapy and research. Although he spends significant time going into the research history of DMT and of the pineal gland, I find that he is prone to speculation. The book gives one many ideas, but many of these are speculative. At times, he is not as clear as he could be about which of his interpretations are parsimonious (the kind of interpretations you might find in a scientific journal), and which are more fanciful (akin to new age spiritualism).


message 2: by Nanci (new)

Nanci Svensson | 1 comments As a scientist, I am horrified and depressed that when finally the "embargo" on research on psychedelics is becoming a little less restricted, a hippie idiot like strassman is allowed to pioneer what could have been a renaissance for a rational, explorative and most importantly scientific discourse on mind altering drugs and neurotransmitters. I read the book AND saw the movie and how any ethics committee approved this junk pseudo study beats me. He is every JUST SAY NO-advocates dream; I'd rather gnaw off one of my limbs than risking that hippie lingo and paradigm.


message 3: by Brandy (new)

Brandy Andresen | 3 comments I loved the book and the concept.


message 4: by Brandy (new)

Brandy Andresen | 3 comments What made him such a "hippie idiot"? Just wondering.


message 5: by Raf (new)

Raf Black | 1 comments I'd have to agree with Nanci to a certain extent. Strassman did a poor job at handling the topic, which could have had a bigger impact on public opinion and the scientific community. Instead, he got lost in his stories on the "Alien machine entities". This could have easily been an interesting topic for another book.
However, I did enjoy the book, but was really utterly embarassed at the film "adaptation" - especially the interlude(s) with that character Joe Rogan. That really washed any credibility off the topic. Unfortunately, when it comes to recent documentaries on Psychedelics in general, clumsiness seems to be a perpetual theme...


message 6: by Chris (new)

Chris | 3 comments Even if this book were just fodder for psychonauts, I'd find it still extremely valuable. Great accounts of IV DMT experiences. William James said something along the lines of paying attention to all states of consciousness and not just our default mode. If nothing else, this book gave me courage for my own psychedelic adventures. I disagree though, Strassman is not doing anyone a disservice. He made a good enough first step into this realm. He should be held in high esteem for his courage on putting his career on the line. His follow up book to this I'd be more critical of, but to call Strassman a hippy is laughable. The door to psychedelic research has been opened responsibly by Strassman (as opposed to Leary) after decades of a moratorium of psychedelic research--the moratorium being the real disservice to humanity.


message 7: by Carlton (new)

Carlton Brown (grandsolarminimumiceagere-entry) | 5 comments is this worth the read...?


message 8: by Chris (new)

Chris | 3 comments Yes certainly, if it seems your cup of tea. DMT is very fascinating I think. His second book on this was mehhh the first time I read it.


message 9: by Carlton (new)

Carlton Brown (grandsolarminimumiceagere-entry) | 5 comments Thanks Chris! Its on my book shelf. I see his discovery spirit and like that! We need that, and its education. I like the gentle and sacred approach of meditation, magic mushrooms, solstices/equinoxes, magnetic alignment - and using these experiences to heal, awaken, and self-realize. This is healing the ancient Sun god religion priesthood way, with a bit of Mooji/Self-Inquiry thrown in. Does Rick explore how to use these experiences to heal, awaken, and self-realize? Or is this more descriptive of the experiences? Does he explore consciousness? Thanks :).


message 10: by Chris (new)

Chris | 3 comments It's mostly descriptive of the experiences. I like a lot of that stuff too haha. He talks a bit about the struggle to get the study started, talks about the pineal gland a bit as well. As is said, he speculates quite a bit, but its clear what is speculative and what isn't. Some may not like the approach he takes of acting that these experiences are real when talking to the test subjects, but I thought it was a great idea, makes the subjects more willing to describe their entire experience, rather than describe a "hallucinatory state caused by chemicals."


message 11: by Carlton (new)

Carlton Brown (grandsolarminimumiceagere-entry) | 5 comments yes getting away from an attribution of things to the chemicals is important. we in reality are the epiphenomena of consciousness. I'm a little cautious on speculating without data, and much is said for DMT, and its role in NDE/death experiences. There are other pathways into accessing ourselves as consciousness and being in that awareness. Other research exploring deep/experienced meditation and self-realized/presence highlights the importance of increased alpha brainwave voltages and coherence, and important other chemicals like dopamine, serotonin 5HT2A & glutamate pathways. Rituals simply supplement these things. I get the importance of DMT and replicating death. I've had a NDE. Simply two different doorways to an expanded consciousness! I've marked it to read! So thanks for that :) Cheers Chris.


message 12: by Carlton (new)

Carlton Brown (grandsolarminimumiceagere-entry) | 5 comments Nanci wrote: "As a scientist, I am horrified and depressed that when finally the "embargo" on research on psychedelics is becoming a little less restricted, a hippie idiot like strassman is allowed to pioneer wh..."

Sadly i don't think scientists understand consciousness (i.e., from ego to presence to consciousness beyond objective reality (Soul, Unity)), and neither do they reflect the correlates of deep meditation / transcendental states, in their clinical study designs.


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