The fact that Ayahuasca consistently produces the experience of accurately replaying people’s memories from multiple perspectives is something that should be seen as an aspect of human consciousness with limitless potential, but we all just sort of shrug it off rather than let it challenge our cosmology. I mean, we’ve known hypnosis can do the same thing for years but we just ignore that for the most part as well. Clearly our imaginations can just do these weird exotic things on command for no real reason.
What I find interesting about this article though (and like a lot of articles about Ayahuasca in general) is how a lot of the lessons imparted are harsh as shit. Lord, this has often been my experience with my daily sorcery practice. It’s sometimes like getting yelled at by a goddamn football coach and when people have asked me about this I’ve had to concede: but would I have actually changed anything otherwise? I’m not sure this is necessary for everyone, but I’m an idiot. I’ve sort of turned into a completely different person over the years which ain’t an easy thing to do. In reading this article, I’m not entirely sure this guy has that in him entirely, but his heart’s in the right place. Anyway, shit is brutal (From Vox):
“Mitra hands me my first cup, and I fall back to my mattress. I think it’s maybe half an hour before I slip into what I can only describe as the most vivid lucid dream.
I watch my entire life unfold as though it were projected on a movie screen. But it wasn’t my whole life; it was every lie, every counterfeit pose, every missed opportunity to say or do something true, every false act and ingratiating gesture, every pathetic attempt to be seen in a certain light.
The highlight reel is way longer than I imagined.
I see myself as a child groveling for attention from the “popular kids.” I see my 12-year-old self throwing a tantrum in the mall because my dad wouldn’t buy me the Nautica shirt that all those popular kids were wearing. I see myself in high school pretending to be something I was not, and I see all the doubts piling up inside me. I see all the times I self-censored purely out of fear of judgment.
I see myself building my identity based on what I thought would impress other people. On it went — one trivial act after another building up an edifice of falsehood.
I should note how unpleasant it is to see yourself from outside yourself. Most of us aren’t honest with ourselves about who we are and why we do what we do. To see it so clearly for the first time is painful.
The movie rages on into college and adult life, with my self-consciousness expanding. I see myself not looking into the eyes of the person I’m talking to because I’m playing out all the ways they might be judging me. I see myself pretending like my hair wasn’t thinning years ago and all the times I tried to hide it. And every time, the reason for posing was the same: I cared too much about what other people thought.
The experience made me aware of how often we all do this. We do it at home, at work, at the grocery store, at the gym. Most interactions are either transactional or performative. No one wants to make eye contact, and most of the time people freak out if you really try. We’re too self-conscious to listen. We’re thinking about what we’ll say next or how we’re being perceived.
All the posturing destroys any chance for a genuine connection.
The movie ends, and I’m exhausted.”