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From Ecodelic: Plants, Rhetoric and the Evolution of the Noosphere, Doyle, 2008


A Messy Cut and Paste from the Word Horde, Yo!


From a chapter entitled "From Zero to One: Metaprogamming Plant Intelligence with Noise"

Wherein mobius attempts same while partialing re-enacting the Ibogaine Gnostics

It is, of course, a work of wikidelic fiction



The Ibogaine Story is a veritable hologram of the War Against Plants; cut into it anywhere and you will find a browseable and engaging cross section of the Counter Culture-Control Culture continuum, that strange Interzone where LSD, the CIA and unmitigated internal freedom is mixed with the Internet, heroin, widespread ( and massively raced) incarceration and epidemics. The Ibogaine Story is the gnostic gospels for the post modern control society, an archive for an open source mystery cult devoted to plants on a fallen planet, one where, to quote Philip K. Dick, “The Empire Never Ended.” And like many of his Gnostic bretheren, Dana, Horselover Fat, embodies a “vague sense of loss” on the part of a counter culture and religious movement that emerged in response to the impressive effects of psychedelics as they entered mass culture in the mid 1960's.1


Yet if “The Empire Never Ended”, “The Mycelium Thrived Through It”, and The Ibogaine Story reminds us also of the verve and wit of a nearly invisible and underground opposition to The Drug Wars. While both major political parties in the US have amplified and naturalized the The Drug Wars and extended their range to Afghanistan, Columbia, Panama, Mexico, Canada and through the globalizing informatic mesh, activists, psychonauts and scientists have worked to expand the range of knowledge and information about ecodelics, often at the risk of their own freedom and livelihood. And texts like The Ibogaine Story help make the strategies, tactics and experiences of this War available to the rest of us, trying to find our way toward less suffering, a Slightly Less Insane Psychedelics Policy. If psychedelic programming includes the rhetorical setting in which they are used, The Ibogaine Story provides a medium for an ecodelic programming that first and foremost respects the sheer strangeness of actuality. This “cosmic realism” is of a piece with Vernadky's, and attempts to articulate a model of human consciousness that is thoroughly entangled with its ecological others: a plant intelligence, a strange science fiction book, and Bwiti are all apsects of actual human consciousness and experience. To the well nigh cannibalistic rhetoric of the drug war, the Ibogaine Story responds with puzzled fascination and a holographic model of mind. This is brain, this is your brain on wiki.


!On Beyond Valis: This is Your Brain on Bwiti


Wrong. When it comes to producing a violent person, the brain and the social environment interact in such intricate ways that the old nature-versus-nuture debate seems rather like those hair-splitting early Christian councils about the precise proport ion of humanity/divinity in Christ. The story of the cerebellum is a case in point. (ibogaine story, “ A child playing at draughts”)


I will admit that I am beginning to be enthralled by the persistence of the hologram as a trope of psychedelic discourse. In its graphomania, its very modus oeprandi involves continual searches for some detail or story that would somehow substitute for the whole of an ecodelic experience. It is in this sense that ecodelic compositions are holographic: they aysmptotically seek to (re)-compose the Whole. The Ibogaine Story thinks the hologram is the mother lode, or at least the grandmother node:



Every fragment of a hologram contains the entire image. Your Grandmother does not reside in a "Grandmother neuron," but everywhere throughout your memory whenever you think of her. And just as many different holograms can be superimposed, so can infinite images be stacked in our brains. We have the spatial representation that maps the retinal image onto the cortex; then, in the membranes of the cells the image is transformed back into the frequency mode--the "scatter" we'd see if we saw without a lens . The brain's code for storing information resembles the interference of wave-phase relationships of a holographic plate--with the equivalent of a "reconconstruction beam" zooming in on a particular coded memory when we recall something. Scattered, holographic information storage explains why stroke victims don't lose discrete parts of their memory: all memory is contained within any portion thereof.


The hologram becomes an archetype, a way of modeling the action of ibogaine for the participants of The Ibogaine Story. I recall along with the reader that the McKenna brothers also had recourse to the hologram when they sought a model for the action of ayahuasca and psilocybin when Dennis tuned into the totality of all living systems:



If we imagine the harmine-DNA complex as a radio-cybernetic matrix, then we can suppose that this matrix stores information in a regressing hierarchy of interiorized reflections of itself, in a form similar to the familiar ivory balls carved one inside the other, each level free to rate independently. In response to the vibration of tryptamine-RNA charge -transfer exchanges, modulated by mind into a usable signal, information searches of any sort might be conducted through a process that we suggest might be much like the principle of retrieval of information from volume holograms. Such a process of information retrieval and image projection would never lag behind human thought. Indeed, conscious thought may be precisely this process, but occurring on a more limited scale. ( Invisible Landscape, 106)


Another way of describing holographic compression techniques is: substitute a Fourier transform of a signal for the signal itself. This means that from an informational perspective, holograms are radically distributed: a tiny sliver of the holographic plane replicates the whole of the plane. As an archetype for the distributed drug action of ayahuasca and my now ecodelic path, the hologram had become rhetorical mind software for focusing attention on thinking the increasingly hilarious interconnection that had begun to become almost commonplace in my everyday life. In particular it allowed me to imagine a unity in which truth and fiction were aspects of a whole, not opposing ontological states.

This was how, for example, I made sense of the fact that while doing some research on the Erowid.org database, I found that someone else had written up my trip report. Trolling for the language and images of sexual selection on the online database as evidence for my ecodelic hypothesis that psychedelics entered human evolution as sexual selection adjuncts, I came across a description of a peacock feather mainfestation under the influence of psychedelics that was well nigh indistinguishable from my own. I will admit that for a moment I wondered if I had written the report and forgotten it. I will admit that if the report had been written up by Horselover Fat, mobius wouldn't have been the least bit surprised. But the experience report was written by a different character in a different book: Gandolf. And When I re-read it I realized this poster had had the same experience I had on a different but very closely related substance, while thinking about the substance:



I was shown very interesting and complex imagery: Hindu gods and eyes of Horus patterns like peacock feathers swirling ad infinitum. My forehead felt like it was opening. When realized that I was thinking about the nature of this substance, 2c-t-2, a name suddenly popped into my head with insistence: Shiva. Flames and eyes everywhere. Wow! ( Gandolf, http://www.erowid.org/experiences/exp.php?ID=6023)


Granted, my peacock feather – Shiva – flame sequence had been induced by a different (and, at the time and place of its ingestion, legal) Shulgin compound, 2CI. 2 But the sequence, including the act of becoming aware that I was reflecting on the nature of the substance and the sudden, surprising emergence of Shiva and flames, was identical. I reflected on the work of physicist Stephen Wolfram, whose cellular automata browse different attractor states even as they are composed out of otherwise randow sequences of code. Over millions of iterations, unexpected and unpredictible patterns emerge.


The question of whether or not my ongoing “downloads” were “true” took up less and less of my focus, as I instead attended to the remarkable interactions between the clearly phantastic teachings of these plant practices and my everyday life that was growing in response to them. This interconnection opened what I can only characterize as an ecstatically visionary space as well as an unprecedented sense of the sacred that was thoroughly surprising and yet strangely welcome to my formerly secular self. The figure of the hologram provided me, as it did Physicist David Bohm, with a map for navigating the experience of being a part that contains the whole. In the Shiva Sutras, I found immediate resonance with the idea that human subjectivity recapitulates the entirety of the cosmos in the Sutra's enormously compressed first axiom: “1.1 Consciousness is the self.”


This fundamental unity of an aspect of human experience with all that is itself repeats an equation written by Erwin Schrodinger, one perhaps less famous but equally profound as his equations modeling the “collapse” of the wave function. Here Schrodinger seeks to make logical sense of two aspects of living systems: (1) that they are deterministic, clearly manifesting only within the constraints of the physical laws of the Universe and (2) that from the perspective of our consciousness we dwell in absolute freedom. Schrodinger notes that both of these apprehensions of an aspect of living systems occur only through “immediate experience”, an act of observation either of the “interior” landscape of consciousness regarding itself or the “exterior” landscape of the physical world revealed by our senses. Schrodinger notes rightly that no logical framework allows for immediate experiences that would contradict each other. Instead, to avoid contradiction, we must imagine these experiences as different aspects of a Whole:



But immediate experiences in themselves, however various and disparate they be, are logically incapable of contradicting each other. So let us see whether we cannot draw the correct, non-contradictory conclusion from the following two premises: (i) My body functions as a pure mechanism according to the Laws of Nature. (ii) Yet I know, by incontrovertible direct experience, that I am directing its motions, of which I foresee the effects, that may be fateful and all-important, in which case I feel and take full responsibility for them. The only possible inference from these two facts is, I think, that I –I in the widest meaning of the word, that is to say, every conscious mind that has ever said or felt 'I' -am the person, if any, who controls the 'motion of the atoms' according to the Laws of Nature... From the early great Upanishads the recognition ATHMAN = BRAHMAN upheld in (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was, after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really to assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts.


This “grandest of all thoughts”, I was beginning to think, offered a way of processing the information of my plant gnosis in a way that repeats Roland Fischer's findings: human subjects process more visual information after ingesting psychedelics. It also replicates the findings of researchers studying the effects of psychedelics on engineers. These psychonautical engineers scored very well indeed on the Witkin embedded figure test, a putative measure of a human subject's ability to “distinguish a simple geometrical figure embedded in a complex colored figure (Witkin, 1950).” 3 Was the perception of Atman=Brahman, and its corrolary observation, “Tat Tvam Asi”, precisely this simple geometric figure embedded in a complex colored figure”, the phenomenal world? In the preface to his translation of the Shiva Sutras, Kak writes that the very idea of the wavefunction itself emerges out of this Vedic insight where the part recapitulates the Whole.



As is well known, the idea of brahman in the Vedas being a representation of all possibilities, as in thestatement praj˜¯nam brahman, was the inspiration in the conception of the wavefunction of quantum theory defined as a sum of all possibilities (Moore, 1989; Kak, 1995b).


In my first book in this trilogy, On Beyond Living, I noticed that Schrodinger carried out precisely this recapitulation of part and whole, only in the opposite direction, where the part ( the “code-script” is made to stand for the whole ( the development of a living system and the ecologies with which it is enmeshed). Now I was seeing the work Schrodinger was doing to continue the movement of this recapitulation, as if “ATMAN=BRAHMAN” was the other “code-script” left by Schrodinger, one to remind us of this remarkable capacity of consciousness to integrate the totality of all that is with the suchness of a particular moment. Here Atman, human subjectivity, becomes a fractal attribute of Brahman, the cosmos. I now understood why I had chosen mobius@psu.edu as my email handle: Perceiving the Inside as an attribute of the Outside and vice versa, I could see the way a holographic recapitulation of part and whole, pace Bohm and the McKenna brothers enables the algorithmic unfolding of the “Consciousness is Self” algorithm – if we will still our minds, we can perceive the way in which our minds replicate the cosmos on another hierarchical level, just as a sliver of the hologram can render the whole.


Was this gradient perception in action? Or was it, perhaps “somewhat like” gradient perception, the evolution of a concept with which to process the larger scale dissipative structure that seemed to become legible in ego-death? To the researchers studying the effects of psychedelics on creative problem solving, this increased capacity to perceive geometric structure in the midst of a complex was most definitively an enhancement:

this shift is in the direction of enhanced ability to recognize patterns, to isolate and minimize visual distraction, and to maintain visual memory in spite of confusing color and spatial forms. Viewed as personality change, these Ss showed a shift from "field dependence" to "field independence," as defined by Witkin, et al. (1962).Research has related this dimension to numerous performance variables, including autonomic stability, concept formation, resistance to suggestion in reporting illusions, and resourcefulness in ambiguous situations (e.g., Elkind, et al., 1963; Elliott, 1961). As measured by the embedded figures test, field-dependence-independence has been reported to be resistant to a variety of experimental interventions including stress, training, sensory isolation, hypnosis, and the influence of a variety of drugs (Witkin, et al., 1962).









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