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Has anyone here tried psychedelics before (other than Cannabis)? Is the experience all an illusion in ones head or are there other real things going on like communication with different dimensions or non-local reality? Aldous Huxley made a remarkable statement which I think has merit to it, in essence he said that the brain acts as a kind of filter for our consienceness otherwise we would all be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of sensory data and input all around us both on a micro and macro level. Which brings me to think that the workings of the brain qua the mind on the chemical and atomic levels are very fascinating.

These two books were fascinating reads, edgy stuff;

I believe in Ojective reality, but the more I read into "fringe" science the more I realize the sheer mystery and unknown there is. Psychedelics seem to expose inidividuals to amazing spaces unaccessable in "normal" states of mind.

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Based entirely on the reports of others as I have no direct experience of my own, it seems that the mind-expanding qualities of psychedelics are entirely subjective and fleeting, at best. Moreover, the absolute lack of special creativity, insight, awareness, and enlightenment from those among us today who admit to having tried these substances 40 or 50 years ago is stark testimony to their lack of affect. White willow bark is the basis for aspirin. Valerian root is the basis for valium. Coffee, tea, and chocolate all contain caffeine, interestingly enough. Sassafras is another herbal stimulant. Zymurgy gave us beer and wine. So, maybe... maybe... some substances could exist or could be formulated that actually would engage creativity, the corpus collosum, spatio-lateral thinking, or whatever, but basically, it seems - sad but true - that if you want your mind to work, you have to work your mind.

Maybe in the future...

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Dr. Vetrano had a young woman for a patient who smoked marijuana and she said marijuana made her more creative. She was a painter who painted pictures. So in terms of painting, more creative would mean what? More and/or better paintings, what else? Dr. Vetrano pointed out to her that during the time she was on marijuana she didn't paint any pictures. Her creativity on marijuana was zero. She had a subjective impression that she was more creative but the objective evidence was lacking. If anyone claims that a drug (a poison) improves the mind, I want to see objective evidence, emphasis on objective.

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I agree jts. The Paul Simon song, "

" has the lyrics:"... I stepped outside to smoke myself a jay... and it was late in the evening and I blew that room away..." But, in truth, objective recordings prove that musicians play absolutely no better (arguably worse) when stoned. They think that they are playing better while they are high, but the perception is subjective and tainted by the drugs. Reality is harsh...

Speaking of harsh realities, jts: is this Dr. Anthony T. Vetrano, the Cheektowaga, New York, pediatrician, or Dr. Joseph S. Vetrano, the Shrewsbury, New Jersey psychiatrist, or "Dr. Dr. Dr [count 'em: 3!]" Vivian Virginia Vetrano the natural hygiene consultant (City College of Los Angeles!) who says to avoid sunflower, pea, buckwheat sprouts because they have natural poisons in them? I could agree... it is a great case for only eating processed foods! See Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling, a science fiction story in which the heroine's adorable but unheroic husband holds this opinion.

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Michael, your main point is good, in that many drugs are derived from or synthesized to exhibit specific qualities of compounds from nature. So, the essential component of Aspirin is the chemically manufactured acetylsalicylic acid also found in bark. Your point about the abundance of analogues or 'discoverable' properties in the natural world can also be illustrated by noting the hardcore big pharm money hunt in remote biomes of the world, looking for the unusual plants, organisms and animals for pharmacologically-active signs. Penicillin, belladonna, morphia, curare, botulism toxin ... nano-robots to deliver bee-venom to cancer tumours. A bounty of already existing ingredients we have chewed or sucked or smoked or boiled and drank at some time in prehistory.

White willow bark is the basis for aspirin. Valerian root is the basis for valium.

There is no 'common chemical' derived from valerian that turns up in valium, however. Valium is the trade name for one type of psychoactive agent called the benzodiazepines. Their introductiion was the relative end of more dangerous chemical methods to induce happy-time than the extant chloral hydrate, opiates, and the more gruesomely efficient stupefiants (barbiturates) on the market in 1950.

The inventor of the Valium first invented Librium, and more, but he did not start with valerian either conceptually or accidentally. None of the benzodiazepines are thus chemically-related to the active agents supposed to drive valerian's similar effects.

It is probably better to stress the common action in your illustration, the measurement-omitted effect, one drug an ancient sleep and relaxation aid, one a Jetson-age downer.

Zymurgy gave us beer and wine.

I had to look it up. Is that what you live for now, Marotta?

For those like me who had to look it up, Zymurgy comes from Zymase, the enzyme mix (Zyme zyme zime) that catalyzes fermentation of sugar and leads to drunkenness and the downfall of society. It is the applied science of brewing/meading/winering.

Elegant word for the exhalations of the mighty yeast, which has brought so much pleasure and madness by its secretions.

What libations are your favourites, Mr Marotta? May I briefly hijack? In my day I was partial to sour, even bitter drinks, and now my favourite is the Italian bitter water from San Pellegrino.

As for the psychedelics, one day, near the end, we can have a peak-experience round-robin memoir of OLers' most fabulous drug experiences. I think too many drugs witlessly taken longterm fry the brain and cripple functioning (and if the drug is Krokodil, Russia's cheapest opiate, leads to bone-deep lesions and gangrene), too much is too much.

I gave up hallucinogens many years ago, figuring I had only so many brain cells. The after-effects, the after-euphoria, were far too mentally cleansing (think of bleach in your brain) to continue. The only things to take away from it into the present day were perceptions, sometimes useful creatively, but more often not world-changing.

I find the most interesting thing about drugs is how mad we humans have been for them, to try them, to make them, how exuberantly primate-like it is to wallow in intoxication or well-lit false euphorics. Despite the grotesque knock-ons, something in the human endures self-destruction for the brief artificial sense of well-being.

Edited by william.scherk
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