Third bleakpost in a row, I know, I’m sorry. I want to document my experience, so that others hopefully benefit. I expect that this will be my last post about psychedelics for a while, because I feel as if I have found what I am looking for. Here are three previous posts I have made about Changa, that I think will benefit people:
BOOM! I was sure I had gone too far this time. Some blood vessel in my brain must have burst and this would now be the end. I have finally accomplished what all succesful people have accomplished, the true epitome of getting your shit together: Dying from a big hit of Changa bought with Monero on the darkweb. I would be just another statistic, a lockdown fatality, pushed over the edge to save grandma. The future belongs to docile and boring men, while those with any sort of openness to experience are given a rope to hang themselves with.
This is the end. My younger brother would inherit my stock portfolio (obviously the first thing I contemplate when I think I’m dying), liquidate everything, buy a house in Rotterdam, finally pull off a convincing impression of not growing up in poverty and never acknowledge to anyone how he pulled any of it off. Even gratitude or sympathy would be denied to me, he would blame me for being “dumb enough” to take “drugs”.
I couldn’t recognize my room anymore. The colours around me had inverted, my white laptop was now black or greyish. My normally messy living room seemed sterile and clean. The interior became more modern, as if I had been teleported to the house of Greta Thunberg’s parents. Everything felt sterile, expensive, overly clean and highbrow, as if I was now living in the luxury apartment of an upper class urban left-wing intellectual. It felt as if the Matrix itself had started to bug, as if my consciousness was cycling through living rooms similar to mine in layout, but different in appearance.
As the seconds passed, I began to consider the possibility that I might just survive this ordeal as a schizophrenic, rather than experiencing the last seconds of my life. Scared as I was that this would be the end, that these were the last moments of my life, I wandered to my laptop. I had put up a video of a guy driving around at night in Korea by himself earlier, to soothe me. How could this possibly soothe me? I had to hear music, something to put my mind at ease, but everything I could find was like a farewell tune to this world. Youtube recommended me videos that I had watched myself. Chelsea Wolfe in a dark room, singing a cover of Sibylle Baier’s the end. If you were convinced that you might be dying, as I was, this would simply reinforce the idea.
And in that realization, this conviction that I might be dead, I felt a burst of new energy. You don’t know how to value what you have until you think it’s over. All the pain, all the insults, all the trauma, all the humiliations, even the abandonment and betrayal, are reduced to trivia. You know they exist, but they have no meaning or significance to you, they are as relevant as reading about someone else’s pain. You don’t even feel like thinking about the memories anymore. Why constantly ruminate on yourself, on what happens on the inside, on what you have experienced? Now the outside world matters again.
It felt as if I had applied electroshock therapy to my own brain. Neurons that were dormant and patiently waiting for death, were suddenly rejuvenated, actively participating in communication with the rest of my brain again. That’s how it felt. It was frightening, but it was the only thing I thought that could benefit me. That’s what made me force myself through this experience. I had become unable to look forward, to have hopes or ambitions for the future. But as I came back to reality, as I realized I hadn’t accidentally broken my brain, I felt a new lust for life.
Then I woke up the next day and I was miserable again. No, just kidding. I slept like an angel and as I woke up, I felt very comfortable in my body. The world had colours again and the sun shone brightly. It doesn’t intimidate me, I wish to invite it into my life. Pure rays of light, beaming into my retina. I took my bicycle to visit the forest near my home. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon, the sun revealed itself through the branches, unimpeded by any clouds. I felt energy, activities that would normally tire me were now straightforward. Everything took me less mental energy, even as I now had more of it.
I’m feeling good. I feel as if I now experience something similar to what average people experience on a day to day basis. I can carry out my responsibilities. I have the energy I need to do the things I need to do. I can gain joy from normal activities, things I used to enjoy are enjoyable again. Eating good food feels more rewarding, the effort to make it feels less daunting. Eating tomato with basil on bread is a barometer for how well your brain is functioning. If you take bread, slice it open and throw it on there, you’re not doing well. If you take it and spend a few minutes baking it in sunflower oil before pouring the tomato onto the bread, you’re doing better. If you chop a piece of garlic, fry it for a bit and bake the bread in the garlic oil, producing bruschetta, you’re healthy.
DMT works. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: DMT can heal your brain. We have plenty of scientific evidence for this, now I am experiencing it myself. I don’t explain this process because I’m proud of it, or out of some perverted sense of masochism. I want others to have this chance too. For how long am I back to normal? No clue. Will I get stuck in the swamp again? Maybe.
If so, I will know what to do. A medium dose shows me a beautiful landscape within my own head, as I receive positive reinforcement from benign entities that represent aspects of my own brain. A high dose reboots my whole brain, making me feel energy and lust for life again. If for whatever reason I find that it can not help me, I will take 5-Meo-DMT. Allow me to offer you some advice: Psilocybe mushrooms if you see no point to it all. DMT if Psilocybe mushrooms can’t help you. 5-Meo-DMT if DMT can’t help you.
There’s a warning I feel like giving to people who regularly take psychedelics. For whatever reason, people start expecting you to be optimistic about the human predicament. They tend to get really frustrated when they notice you’re not. The main reason for that is probably because the human brain becomes more malleable during psychedelic experiences, so people who have a dark view of the world take psychedelics, get rid of their dark worldview and then expect others to go through the same thing when they take psychedelics.
When they notice you didn’t arrive at the same conclusions, they tend to get offended, because they would like to think of their outcome as some sort of objective truth that other people are simply missing. However, even after psychedelics, I’m still inclined to think we’re a species that is about to be completely overwhelmed by the problems we created for ourselves in the years ahead. I regularly think of scenarios where we’re not, but I struggle to think of those scenarios as very plausible when I think them through carefully.
The story that people like to hear is as following:
I used to be a corporate lawyer for Shell and I was really depressed and my life felt empty. Then I went to the Brazilian rainforest and met an indigenous tribe where I took part in an ayahuasca ceremony and experienced ego death. After returning home, I quit my job and began working at a local vegan coop. I now believe that although we face some difficult challenges in the years ahead, there’s a collective spiritual awakening happening that will reconnect us to nature and solve the ecological crisis we face as we move towards a sustainable post-growth economy.
The story that people don’t particularly like hearing is as following: Psychedelics don’t really change statistics or the objective state of the world you live in, they serve as growth signals in your brain that allow you to overcome trauma and destructive thinking patterns if you’re lucky. We already know what’s necessary to tackle climate change: You need to sell your car, become vegan, avoid reproducing and never see the inside of an airplane again. Can you do that? It’s difficult, so I don’t blame you if you can’t do it, but don’t tell me to have hope when you can’t do the bare minimum required.
Most psychedelic enthusiasts are perfectly happy not having children, but that’s mainly because the kind of people who take drugs don’t like having responsibilities that they don’t get paid for. Other than that they are the same as everyone else. I should know, because I’m one of them. I can spend two weeks as a vegan before I succumb to the temptation of some blue cheese once again. I eat it, not because it’s morally justifiable. I eat it, because I’m morally imperfect: I’m lazy, selfish and decadent. Perhaps one day, I will be able to live without it.
The main barrier to such moral purity isn’t even the temptation itself, it’s the fact that it makes other people dislike you, as they experience your perceived attempt at moral purity as a threat to their own self-esteem. Whenever I talk to new vegetarians, I don’t hear them complain about how they miss meat. I hear them complain about the passive aggressive comments they have to endure from other people. Being almost entirely asocial somewhat protects me from that problem. In general, people like to externalize problems. They like to scream and rage at abstract middle-aged white billionaires at a shareholders conference somewhere, they don’t want to ask themselves how those guys could ever become so rich: It’s thanks to you honey!
In general people don’t tend to like it when you take away the mysticism and pseudo-science around psychedelics. Does it help when you build all sorts of complex rituals around taking psychedelics? Of course it helps, if you’re the type of person who enjoys that stuff. If you enjoy seeing a hippie who calls himself a shaman banging on a drum and making loud guttural noises, because some part of you believes that this is how a psychedelic experience must be, then that’s what’s going to benefit you. I’ve also seen plenty of anecdotal cases of people who insisted on taking mushrooms in a complex ceremonial setting like this, who had the worst experience in their lives.
If you don’t really feel the need for that sort of stuff, then it isn’t going to magically benefit you simply by being exposed to it. People should build the rituals around psychedelics that they personally enjoy, but there isn’t some sort of objective universal truth in regards to what kind of rituals are going to benefit you. I personally enjoy hanging out with friends and smoking Salvia from a bong while a dear friend dresses up like a creepy jester and starts trolling me. Is that how the Mazatec do it? Of course not, but it works well for me.
People want to believe there is some sort of absolute truth hidden deep inside the psychedelics, that they are communicating with some mysterious external reality. You can get insights from psychedelics, but mostly it’s a matter of reawakening knowledge that already lies dormant in yourself. By temporarily changing your neurochemistry, you temporarily change how you experience your own brain, thereby enabling you to better understand how it functions and exploring ideas that are normally suppressed. When I have N-N-DMT rushing through my bloodstream, I don’t think: “What is this wonderful magical alien world I visited?” I think: “My visual cortex can generate some beautiful imagery.”
I’ve seen plenty of attempts at demonstrating that there’s something more to psychedelics, that you become capable of telepathy, or remote viewing, or predicting the future, or anything like that. I’ve tried this stuff myself as well. It always works out the same way: Nothing genuinely magical that would violate the laws of physics happens. You can’t figure out what number someone is thinking of, you can’t see what card someone is holding behind his back, cats continue to look and behave exactly like cats and your dog just acts like it feels a little worried about your strange behavior.
You may feel more empathic on psychedelics like mescaline, but even that’s mostly because your own interpretation of what someone else is feeling or thinking becomes more convincing to you, regardless of whether that assessment is correct or not. More dopaminergic signaling in your brain means your brain has more confidence in its own assessment of a situation. One of the ways this expresses itself is in how you feel as if you understand other people’s emotions.
Am I suggesting that psychedelics have no meaningful beneficial properties of their own? No. I’m saying that those properties exist independent of any kind of cultural context human beings built around them. In addition, I’m saying that psychedelics don’t grant you indisputable answers to higher metaphysical questions. Rather, because your brain is temporarily more flexible, you can allow yourself to become completely convinced of an idea that would otherwise not feel convincing to you.
Different people arrive at different answers. Aldous Huxley took large doses of acid and mescaline and became a Hindu. Ernst Junger took mescaline and became a traditionalist Catholic. Some people take acid and remain atheists, but now they’re just convinced they live in a simulation created by Artificial Intelligence. So who is right? “Well they were taking psychedelics the wrong way, if you take enough Ayahuasca you’re inevitably going to meet Ganesha.” No, that’s not how it works.
Psychedelics don’t offer indisputable answers to metaphysical questions. They just make attempts at offering answers to metaphysical questions feel less disputable. LSD in particular has a very strange trait. Stanislav Grof has noted that subjects who have a lot of experience with psychedelics tend to find themselves reliving various myths from the great world religions upon taking LSD. For me, taking LSD around other people is a very peculiar experience, because I find myself interpreting them as personifications of religious archetypes or entire schools of philosophical thought.
If anything, the mysticism and superstitions just prevent psychedelics from being used for beneficial purposes. “DMT needs to find you!” Is a common one I see. Who came up with this rule exactly? Why DMT? Why not Psilocybe mushrooms? Am I allowed to seek out 5-Meo-DMT on my own, or does it need to find me too? Why didn’t DMT bother finding those people I knew who committed suicide?
The real purpose should be obvious behind most of this psychedelic mythology: Obscurantism allows people to make special claims for themselves and invent petty positions of status. You trained under a shaman and so now you’re uniquely qualified to help people trip balls. The people who spent vast sums of money and time to go through some ceremony also want to believe that the ceremony added value. “It was impossible for me to have the real ayahuasca experience at a farmhouse in the Netherlands, I had to go to the jungle in central America for it!”
I kind of hope that the academic types in their ivory towers hurry up with figuring out that psychedelics are useful, because in contrast to all the shamans and gurus they at least tend to wait with making claims until they have some sort of experimental evidence. The shamans and gurus on the other hand resort to whatever they think is true, which tends to be whatever benefits the shamans and gurus.
The academic types also tend to be less willing to end their careers by raping you while you’re tripping balls, because it takes a few more years to get that Phd than to get your shaman certificate. Is it mean-spirited for me to say this? I don’t think so, because the anecdotes are widespread: An Ayahuasca ceremony is as likely for a hip young woman in her early twenties to end in trauma as helping Father John prepare for mass is for a twelve year old boy. What sort of person is attracted to being perceived as a religious leader? Power attracts bad people and brings out the worst in us.
Advice for depressed people tends to consist of: “Do the things non-depressed people do!” This is bad advice and it tends to go nowhere. After all, it tries to cure the problem, by encouraging you to stop the symptoms from manifesting themselves. This doesn’t work. If it did work, we would have already solved the epidemic that ruins so many lives decades ago.
You won’t find a lot of depressed people who say: “As part of my overall countercultural lifestyle choices, I decided to stop washing my clothes, fall asleep at 2 AM on the couch every night, stop brushing my teeth, stop exercising, leave random bits of food and trash all over my living room and drink like a fish. Fortunately, I read a self-help guide, that recommended me that no longer doing those things is a great idea to move forward in my life! This was really useful, because I had wrongly assumed that this is a normal way to live! Somehow I still think of Father John from Sunday school whenever I shit blood, but I’m no longer depressed!” Advising depressed people to do this sort of stuff is effectively useless. If they have the willpower to do it, they don’t really need you or me to hear it from.
Rather, we should look at depression as a symptom that occurs when something has damaged the nervous system. If the depression is worse, the damage is probably worse. Nutrient deficiencies, the aging process, negative experiences and all sorts of other stuff in your life can damage the nervous system. Neurons make you experience misery when they undergo damage. When they’re healing themselves, you’re experiencing pleasure. Trauma is a kind of damage that tends to linger and fester in the brain, causing damage throughout your life.
I think psychoanalysis is popular, not because it solves the problem, but because it offers depressed people exactly what depressed people like to do: You have an intelligent and socially competent person in the room (ideally of the gender you’re attracted to), who spends time listening to your stories about your childhood and all of your miserable memories. I would feel dirty having to pay for such a thing, it feels reminiscent of prostitution. Worse, I can’t imagine not being completely psychologically dependent on someone who knows so much about you. It’s the same reason I’m not promiscuous. I don’t see it as morally wrong to sleep around, I just see it as something that would be psychologically injuring for me personally.
Of course this can be a two-way street: If you’re an interesting person, the therapist might very much enjoy listening to all of your deepest darkest secrets. A lot of evidence suggests that some forms of mental illness persist in the gene pool because the same genes that cause these mental illnesses make us better relationship material. The stereotypes of the psychopath who leaves litters of children he doesn’t care for and the psychiatrist who falls in love with his borderline patient are universally known. If you have mild borderline symptoms, chances are they just express themselves in an uncanny ability to make a desirable partner stick around. The same thing that has made my parents stick together for forty years or so, is probably the thing that made me want to end it all when I lost my girlfriend.
Ask yourself: What sort of person becomes a therapist? Generally someone who gains psychological fulfillment out of truly understanding another person. Go to a psychology classroom and you will find droves of young women there. The lucky ones who get good grades will one day have a harem of young damaged men, who fawn over them and confess all of their deepest darkest secrets to them. Always remember women’s main redeeming virtue: They have good taste in men. They don’t always listen to their heart, because society teaches them not to, but when they do they get it right.
Personally, I would argue that you can identify depression as actual physical damage to the brain itself that you should seek to heal. Through modern science you can look at regions of the brain and you can see that the neurons there are simply not making the connections they would be making in healthy people.
People who take psychedelics tend to report overcoming trauma, or looking at things from a more constructive angle. I would argue that at its core that’s a matter of damaged regions of the brain making new connections. Why do you see weird things on psychedelics, or experience your senses merging? Parts of the brain are communicating that normally don’t communicate.
Of course that’s not an entirely risk free thing. In good artists, parts of the brain communicate that normally don’t communicate. They can make a song that feels “wine red”. In schizophrenics a similar thing goes on, but there it manifests itself in the form of: “I think the universe is sending me secret messages through the TV and now I need to kill people to prevent earthquakes from happening”.
I’ve had stupid ideas on psychedelics. There are few free lunches in this world, something powerful enough to heal people will inevitably also have destructive potential. As an example, I took psychedelics with a friend who is clearly extremely uncomfortable around other people on psychedelics, because he is naturally distrusting towards people in general. For me, that made mescaline a bad experience, because I was expecting an empathic experience. As a consequence, I found myself temporarily under the conviction that I was the devil himself.
I’ve had it twice now, but I don’t really think I’ll ever take LSD again in this life except perhaps for a microdose, because I also temporarily get strange ideas. Individual human beings become representations of entire schools of thought for me, regardless of whether they themselves have any real sympathy for or knowledge of said schools of thought. On LSD this is far more present than on the other psychedelics for me.
I’m sure that some people may have this risk of delusional ideas on DMT as well, although for me DMT is consistently the most lucid of all the psychedelics I have experienced. As I’ve mentioned a few times, DMT is like a Swiss knife for the brain, you want to guide this molecule along through use of other plants. To prevent delusional ideas, I can recommend a form of Changa that contains blue lotus. In general, I recommend taking magnesium and cannabidiol after intense trips.
The metaphor of a Swiss knife is really useful, because more than anything else, as I’ve learned to smoke Changa, the experience has started to feel like reprogramming my own brain. Near the end of a session, during which you have inhaled multiple small doses, the experience becomes somewhat less of a visual spectacle and more a form of self-reflection. I can have a thought, I allow it to enter my brain and then I choose to affirm it and it integrates into my psyche. As an example, I can think to myself “other people would be happy to have me in their lives”, I can affirm that thought and the idea will maintain a presence in my overall personality and interaction with the world around me.
I have to be careful however. As I’ve said before, traumatic memories that haven’t been processed properly because the brain was too busy surviving can linger in our minds and begin to stink and fester. However, when you uncover them, you have to be aware that the stench can be overwhelming. You need to go into that battle well prepared.
The past few days, I was thinking to myself: “What have I done?” It felt like I had climbed into a cave and challenged a dragon to a duel I can’t possible win. The solution however, is to be consistent in how you approach the disease. Take a few successive small doses of Changa that don’t overwhelm your brain, on a few successive days in a row. The experience doesn’t have to consume more than one hour of your day, although I would recommend giving yourself two hours.
Something I notice on Changa is that because the emotional impact of my own memories is reduced, empathy becomes easier. As an example, I generally can’t possibly believe that a relatively normal young woman could ever feel inadequate as a person or as a partner. I can comprehend it at an abstract theoretical level, but at a basic empathic level, it’s almost impossible for me to imagine, because it completely clashes with how I experience the world. During one of my Changa experiences, it became more self-evident.
Trauma can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Whether she did it consciously or not is another topic, but by placing immense expectations on me, my mother ended up making me feel inadequate. When you feel inadequate for your own mother as a developing boy, that inevitably ends up affecting how you present yourself and relate towards girls in general. To compound the problem, my father always passively adjusts to any of my mother’s decisions. This is unfortunately surprisingly common among working class Dutch boomers, the short red haircuts of the ladies kind of serve as a visual display of this power dynamic.
With Changa, I really tend to notice this problem being addressed. You suddenly don’t feel as if you’re white trash bungling at the bottom of a global dominance hierarchy, a genetic dead-end that is about to be obliterated through the mercy of
Twitter blue checks nature. In other words, it’s racist and we should #cancelchanga. Or, non-sarcastically, I feel as if I’m not someone other people automatically look down on. I’ve noticed quite a few times now, people don’t automatically think of me as the most worthless person in the room. At a theoretical level, I understand this. With Changa, I feel it.
When you’re back on Earth, the things you need to be doing feel as if they take less mental effort. You also feel a sense of inner peace. During the afterglow, I tend to notice other subtle differences. Social interaction with strangers feels less like some kind of rehearsal stored in my brain somewhere and more like something I feel comfortable in, something that isn’t intrinsically threatening. When I had new neighbors move in a year or two ago, I pretended not to be home when they wanted to introduce themselves. The idea of having to engage in social interaction with strangers in my one place of serenity on this Earth seemed profoundly threatening to me. By now, it’s all far simpler.
One of the things you’ll notice when you get it right, is that you start to feel far less of a need for it. Psychedelics are not addictive in the traditional sense of the word: When they manage to do their work, you don’t feel the need to take more. This is in contrast to almost all other things human beings do that make us feel better.
The world doesn’t exist for psychedelics: Psychedelics exist to help us enjoy the world. I don’t want people to believe I would encourage them to spend their days in a drug-induced haze, but I do ultimately believe the world exists to be enjoyed. This is where I disagree with Buddhism. I’ve always felt very attracted to Buddhist art, but the fundamental tenets of Buddhism are impossible for me to accept. I can’t accept the idea that life is intrinsically an unfilling state of being that we should aim to detach from.
Psychedelics tend to make people attracted to the Perennial Philosophy, the most famous example being Aldous Huxley. Essentially, the core of perennialism is that every great religious school leads to actual wisdom if it is pursued in its purest form. But how does one reconcile Hinduism, which teaches Kama as one of the great four goals to be pursued in this life, with Buddhism, which teaches that life is Dukkha and that the Gautama Buddha explicitly rejected Kama in the route to his awakening?
Personally, psychedelics have led me to believe there is not an objective philosophical reality. Rather, I think all the world’s major religions represent a subjective interpretation of reality, but all of them represent a perspective driven towards its natural conclusion. There exists no objective measure by which one can say that life is Dukkha. We have no way through which to express pain and pleasure in numbers, only to compare all of said numbers and determine whether existence is a net positive, neutral or negative. This conclusion is inevitably going to remain one perspective among many.
When Hernán Cortés and his people encountered the Aztecs, they did not seem to hate the Aztecs, they admired Montezuma. They seem to have had a strange form of respect for the Aztecs, but they also saw Aztec mythology as a kind of Satanic religion. To you that might seem irrational, but look at it from their perspective: If you witnessed people pulling hearts out of other people’s bodies, or temples with rows of skulls, how could you conclude otherwise? If your own God heals the poor, sick and weak, if your God teaches mercy and pacifism, but then you see this, wouldn’t you think that this must be the antithesis to your own God?
To me, the Aztec philosophy towards life represents a perfect inversion of Christian theology. Christianity teaches that God has made a grand sacrifice for us, that no human act could ever come close to. God underwent the complete and fullest extent of suffering and humiliation possible, in a state of complete innocence. He made this sacrifice for us humans, so that we might be spared the need to make sacrifices ourselves. In this sense, Christianity is the most humanist of all religious philosophies.
The Aztecs perfected the concept of a society that chooses to live in independence from God. They feared the end of the world and they perfected a permanent machine of death, that served to keep the human population of the American continent at the bare minimum possible, given the ecological conditions they lived under. Their Gods were representations of the animals that surrounded them, their trade networks and economy were built around the desire to deliver a steady supply of a wide variety of psychedelic plants to the empire’s elite.
If the Christian God is omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent, then his angel Lucifer can not be truly evil, he can merely be an instrument that ultimately serves the cause of good. The traditional Christian perspective as formulated by Augustine is that evil is not a principle of its own, it’s simply the absence of God. Whereas the Christian God promises to take away suffering, Lucifer promises us the strength to bear it. Lucifer effectively says towards God: “We will carry the consequences of our own failures, instead of burdening you with them.” It’s an expression of love, tainted by pride.
What did the Aztecs build? They built a society that celebrated a lack of fear of death or suffering. What they created is a perfection of antihumanist philosophy: Total devotion of man towards the ecological totality. They would pull out people’s hearts, they would kill their own children, they would mutilate their own faces. Why did they do this? Because of their love for nature, a love tainted by the most noble of sins: Pride.
Essentially, Christian theology teaches that God performed the ultimate sacrifice for humanity out of love. Rather than leaving us to carry the consequences of our own moral failures, God chose to carry them on our behalf, provided we accept the offer. Rather than submitting before this grand display of love, Lucifer and his disciples try to respond to this gesture of love with a gesture of love of their own: Rather than burdening God with the consequences of our own failures, they aim to carry our collective failures themselves.
The mistake we make in our culture is that we look at the devil as a kind of creature that simply enjoys causing suffering out of some sort of sadistic impulse. This mistake is a product of the mistake of treating evil as an independent principle of its own. Rather, we should look at Lucifer as a kind of entity whose love for God carries an element of pride that prohibits him from accepting that God would carry pain on his behalf.
I think we need to understand pre-Christian heathen cultures that performed human sacrifices in the same manner. In Aztec mythology, the Gods are portrayed as entities that sacrificed themselves, to create the world that we inhabit. They had to suffer greatly, to enable the beauty that we get to experience. In one of the Aztec creation myths, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca joined forces to create the world. Before they created the world, there was only the sea and a crocodilian earthmonster called Cipactli. To attract her, Tezcatlipoca used his foot as bait, and Cipactli ate it. They then captured her, and distorted her to make the land from her body. After that, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca created humanity, and the people had to offer sacrifices to comfort Cipactli for her sufferings. Because of this, Tezcatlipoca is depicted with a missing foot.
The Aztecs had a technologically highly complex society. Their food production system was ingenious and enabled highly populated cities that were no less impressive than ours. They were unlucky enough to have no access to metals or horses to ride on, this limited their power and made it difficult for them to defend themselves against the Spaniards.
Did they carry out such great acts of sacrifice because they were our philosophical inferiors, their worldview and beliefs merely the product of delusion? I don’t believe so. I think their approach to the world and their devotion towards nature were so complete, that they ended up creating a culture that represented the antithesis to Christian Europe.
When you take psychedelics often enough, I find that you become eager to explore the dark side. You start seeking out negative impulses, instead of seeking out a soothing benevolent experience. Most of the psychedelics we have today were discovered by Indigenous Americans. But what was the plant that they were seemingly most eager to preserve? Brugmansia, a close relative to Datura. Brugmansia is a mystery. Its effects are extremely dark and cruel, apparently even darker than its close relative Datura. People are known to have mutilated themselves under its influence.
You find yourself wondering why anyone would want to take this plant, why anyone would even care for it altogether. However, Indigenous Americans cultivated this plant for generations. It is a genus of plants that is extinct in the wild, it must have taken great effort to preserve it.
Indigenous Americans have also given the world a special form of Datura, Datura Metel. We used to believe that Datura Metel originated from Pakistan or Afghanistan, because it’s widespread in India. We now know that it has spread from America to Africa and the Indian subcontinent, long before the Columbian contact. The Hindus associate this plant with Shiva, the God of destruction.
Why were Indigenous American cultures so eager to embrace these plants that cause such suffering for humans when we take them? My belief is that they were eager to partake in carrying the suffering that they believed their deities were forced to carry to sustain the world. They wanted to partake themselves, in carrying responsibilities that we in our Christian culture readily bestow upon our God. They wanted to truly empathize with their Gods.
Once the Aztecs were exposed to the idea that God is willing to carry all responsibilities on our behalf and forgiving of our failures, provided we are willing to swallow our pride, the Aztec empire imploded. We offered them an alternative for Aztec pride, in the form of Christian humility before the divine.
I wish to explain this, not because I identify with this position myself. Rather, I see the Aztec empire as the culmination of one blind man looking at an elephant, experiencing one particular angle of reality. I think the position that truly attracts me is Taoism. There are a lot of things that appeal to me about Taoism. It’s constant wariness towards institutions and organized religion appeals to me. Most importantly however, the Taoist position that life is in its essence good is one I deeply empathize with. I am currently reading a book called the Tao of Zen. Its central idea is that traditional Taoist philosophy has been preserved within a Mahayana Buddhist framework, in the form of Zen Buddhism.
I don’t just take psychedelics for recreational purposes. I take them, as strange as this might sound, to increase my own productivity, to allow me to spend my days on Earth doing something meaningful and dignified, rather than merely being a passive consumer of entertainment who justifies his existence through a mediocre office job. What I gain true fulfillment from in life, are two things. First of all I like making art. Second, I enjoy studying history and religion. I expect that this will be my last post about psychedelics for a while, because I feel as if I have found what I am looking for.