Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Dumb Idea?


Well, this may be a dumb idea, but I just stumbled on this account of an experience from a quarter century ago. Being the blabbermouth that I am, I will share it. I cannot recommend that anybody repeat the experiments recounted, but… well, we're all on our own when given the keys to a vehicle called Your Mind.

It's Just a Box of Eyeballs:  I Don't Know Who Put it There  September 1985.

There are a couple of things that quickly come to mind when the name  DMT is uttered. First: that bad smell. Well, it's really worse than bad; it's hellish. Naw, it's worse than that. It smells so foul that it can peel the paint from the walls and kill the dog. It's like burning the dog's corpse to tinder a pile of dioxin; like a calamity of acetylene and sulfur and everything rotten and unwholesome come to have at your nasal passages with rusty hatchet. 
Of course, when you're smoking DMT, you don't notice the smell. When Helen walked in on Me and Bernie, we were halfway through the joint. She says: "Jezuz, what the fuck is burning in my house?" Bernie looks up at her, he's smilin', says nice as can be, "Say'a, He-hellllen, how-w many l-legs do y-ou ha-have?".

This brings up that second big thing about the drug. As my respected and incinerated colleague, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson once commented: "DMT is the most powerful psychedelic ever invented!".  Yes, this is so.   
According to the intrepid traveler and poet, C. Zuck, “It’s like having everything in your brain all firing at maximum intensity, all at the same time, and all of the signals are tripping into the next like a match in a fireworks factory.  It just consumes everything and takes you away. It brought me to this, this, this... I don't know. And, it only lasts about five minutes, but, wow, jeez-Louis!". Yeah. Quite a ride. Your proverbial eternity in a moment.
It was Z., naturally, that introduced us to this most philosophical of all fumes. One day, a letter and a small  package there-in arrived. Here is what the letter said:

Dear Friend in the Mysteries,
Over the long journey through life, in the midst of myriad dangers and risk, an intrepid traveler can sometimes stumble across the  mystical. Such was my last journey through the Beyond. So, by  way of thanking  you for the great times had, and the times yet to be had, we have arranged a small loan of magic.
Included here is a bit of Di-Mystical Triptimus (actually, Dimethyl Tryptamine, really!). Method of application: grab your favorite co-pilot and arrange your affairs in preparation. Take the ingredients, and keeping in mind the sacred nature of the psychedelic, roll a joint with the substance centrally distributed. Then do your religious duty! 
Be sure to consume the entire amount between two individuals. The effect is prompt and powerful, lasting only a few minutes, kind of like being shuffled through God's back door on some  sort of shady deal. Enjoy this dip into the cosmic puddle and let me know what you think.
Love, from the Beyond... Z.
Well, we thought it was just wonderful. A bit scary, but really wonderful in the true and original sense of the word, as in awesome. As soon as Bernie and I had recollected our wits and reeled in our synapses, we were on the line to Z., hopeful that more DMT could be sent our way. In the background,  could be heard Helen yelling: "Not in my house! No more. You're gonna go outside with that shit!".
By the time that the next shipment had arrived,  Helen had become intrigued with our truly glowing but utterly incomprehensible reports of this drug's power. She consented to forgo what common sense, and her sense of smell, told her and was game to join us for a furthur experiment. She would not, however, personally partake of anything so powerfully evil smelling.   Thus, we journeyed to the City in the South, to voyage Beyond in the company of our good friends, Cathy and C. For years now, they had been our most adventurous and fearless psychenautical counterparts. 
Indeed, as C. and I were cousins of the Mad Poet persuasion, so  Helen and Cathy seemed Cosmic Sisters. It was well that we were in so comfortable a setting, with such fine companions, for that night's brief expedition would swiftly carry each one of us to strange waters in the Sea of Consciousness. You see, par for the course and true to form, Z. had upped the dose, perhaps conveniently forgetting to so advise his trusting researchers. Yes, one forgot at one's peril that, at heart, Z. was a true Prankster and could be relied upon to extract the maximum quanta of chaos from any given situation.
Quicksilver Messenger Service, Happy Trailswas spinning on the ol' Victorola. In the category of music to get really, psychedelically high on, few recordings can touch it. This is jammin', spaced out at warp-speed improvisation from back in the days when getting high really meant getting high: serious "if only I could remember my name" kind'a shit. I was taking my second or third toke as the band careened into the heart of the jam. It only takes one toke to start to feel the effects. By the second, you're having a hard time finding the joint. By the third, it's a goddamn miracle that you can still find, never mind manipulate your fingers. Somehow, I still could and slowly brought the roach to my lips. I located my face only with some great concentration, heedless of an all-enveloping blizzard of neural fireworks. I remember letting my head fall back to a pillow on the floor. The stereo speaker was right next to my ear. "Fantastic!" 
Somebody took the roach from my hand and I closed my eyes and began an experience that, to this day, confounds and fascinates me. I believe that I tripped in time. That is to say, I experienced the same moment thrice that was observed from the outside as but a single event.  Helen was straight; she saw it. Here is what happened from my point of view.
As my eyes closed, I was quite conscious of the music but began immediately to experience a profound and completely "real" type of visual hallucination. It involved my awareness with all of the convinction that normal "reality" would deserve. I had no awareness of this as being an internal event. Indeed, it was as mundane, and fully articulated as the world I now experience. This world, you see, was the stock-room of some department store. I don't know where. But, it was totally normal: gray, metal shelves with boxes, concrete floor, cinder-block walls, fluorescent lighting. And, there was this guy in there, dressed in a navy-blue jumpsuit, like a stock-worker, carrying a big, flat box under his right arm. My view was from just behind a laminated fire door that, I would guess, led to the sales-floor.  

Like I said, mundane or what? Not the stuff that metaphysical revelations are normally made of. Well, there was something a bit strange. I couldn't change my point of view. My eyes wouldn't move and I couldn't see the guy's face. It remained just out of the top periphery of my vision as he walked toward me and then turned and went out of the door. Frustrating.
I remember that, at this point, the music reached a particularly pleasing peak. I breathed deep and sighed and shook my head and opened my eyes. I sat up, just a bit, and looked to Cathy. She smiled. I smiled. She nodded in her knowing, sphinx-like way. I nodded and then my head hit the pillow again, eyes closed. I was back in my stock-room world. The guy was back where he started, but this time, as he came toward me, he began to open the box. He was holding it now in both hands as he pulled the lid open, but he turned and went through the door before it was clear what was inside.
At this point, the music reached a particularly pleasing peak. I breathed deep and sighed and shook my head and opened my eyes. I sat up, just a bit, and looked to Cathy. She smiled. I smiled. She nodded in her knowing, sphinx-like way. I nodded and then my head hit the pillow again, eyes closed. Back in the stock-room, the guy was coming toward me again. This time, he had already begun to open the box. It was full open as he reached the turn to the door. I looked inside and then my point of view began to change as a camera would zoom in for a close-up... zzzz-ooooom... and I see... can it be.... oh, my, yes... it's a box full of eyeballs! Freeze-frame...  Eyeballs! They're all arranged like candy easter-eggs in a protecting pile of white tissue paper, each one sitting in its own little paper cup. They're just like candies, but they're all staring back at me! Perfect, shiny, blue and white and finely veined with big black pupils: eyeballs in a box. "Oh, my God; this is weird. Why do I feel so good?"    
At this point, the music reached a particularly pleasing peak. I breathed deep and sighed and shook my head and opened my eyes. I sat up, just a bit, and looked to Cathy. She smiled. I smiled. She nodded in her knowing, sphinx-like way. I nodded and then my head hit the pillow again, eyes closed. The music ended, fading to the city sounds, filtering in through the window. The DMT seemed to be wearing off as swiftly as it began. C. was still floating out "there", just starting to come down. He was evidently the last to take a toke. Cathy seemed quite normal, still smiling that smile.  Helen looked on in quiet amusement as I began to tell my little story. As I recounted the third part, the revelation of the eyeballs, she interrupted: "How long do you think you were out?".
"I dunno. A few minutes."
"You were on the floor maybe two-minutes, max.", she said, matter of factly. "And, you only looked up once, just after that last toke." I was bewildered. "Cathy, you saw me, didn't you? How many times did I look up at you?"
She laughed. "Jezuz! I only remember once, but who's to say. All I could see was a whole lot'a burning confetti with you in the middle of it."  Helen was resolute. "You only did it once."
I subsequently timed that piece of music. She was right about at least one thing; it only lasted one-minute and forty-nine seconds between when my head hit the pillow for the first time, and when I sat up again. Yet, at the minimum, I had experienced three separate "trips", "dreams", whatever you want to call them, that each had the subjective space of a couple of minutes. I'm totally baffled at this triplicate reality business. No, I'm not talking Deja Deja Deja Vu. Rather, that I had experienced three different versions of the same general event in apparent sequence, while being observed to have experienced them all at once, and only once.
I've discussed this episode with members of the mental health community. My initial theory, that I had experienced multiple neural pathways for the same high level, preconscious event, does not quite hold up to logic. Nor was this some kind of simple echo. After all, the event was so different each "time". 

My professional colleagues have no answers, nor even useful conjecture. A couple have been concerned as to why I should spend much time thinking about such matters and have strongly discouraged me from using DMT ever again. For my part, I do continue to be puzzled and fascinated. Perhaps I had caught a glimpse of something not easily seen regarding our human consciousness and the nature of time. How wonderful then, that the fabric of my mind would cloak such insight in a box of candied eyeballs.  How very nice.
I would invite any of my readers who might have similar anecdotes, or any light to shed on this type of experience, to contact me through my publisher. Please be prompt, however, as Time is of The Essence.

Hic Finis Est


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