This was dimethyltryptamine, DMT, and I smoked it and I saw, I had a feeling of slight anaesthesia in my body, I saw a swirling, floral mandorla form behind my closed eyelids, and as I moved toward this mandorla, I realised I was going to penetrate beyond it, and I burst through into a kind of other-dimensional superspace, and I had expected a kind of instant psychoanalysis or perhaps swirling colours or moving geometric plains of light, perhaps a dancing canary or little candies doing two steps in a row - this is what's called hypnogogia in the medical literature, and it is essentially trivial hallucination. Instead, what happened was there was an encounter with what can only be described as an elf hive, a colony of self-transforming, hyperdimensional machine creatures that came bounding forward with joyful squeaks to dribble themselves like self-transforming jewelled basketballs on the floor in front of me, and I was dumbstruck with amazement. Occasionally people ask me "Is DMT dangerous?", and I think the honest answer is "only if you fear death by astonishment." Well, I was astonished, I mean, I was an intellectual of the Hegel/Camus crowd when I went through that violet scintillating doorway, and I came out a true believer, because these creatures in this place are filled with a kind of zany, affectionate, reckless humour and a desire to communicate with human beings, or at least with me in that moment, and what they were doing and how they were communicating was by generating, through their songs, objects, so that what I was surrounded by was a crowd of diminutive, self-transforming blobs of intentionalised ectoplasmic material, and they were producing out of their bodies objects which looked like Faberge eggs or exquisitely tooled machines made of ivory glass and gemstone that were themselves undergoing some kind of transformation, emitting musical sounds, condensing liquid metal out of the air and causing it to rain down on us.

Hyperspatial Entelechy Well, my reaction to this was to go into a kind of shock of amazement and, you know, it raises fairly profound questions, like number one, "Surely I must be dead, surely no-one can have this experience and return intact." I mean, because, you see, it exceeds imagining, it is beyond your imagining - even when you're looking at it, you attempt to pour the salutory waters of description over these transdimensional objects and it runs, language runs off them like water off a duck's back. And the emotional content of this kind of encounter is tremendously intense. These things are attempting to communicate a new dispensation of the logos. They are holding out the possibility that language need not be processed by the ears, that language can become, under certain radical situations of neurological perturbation, visible, that literally the word condenses into visible space, and they were urging me to do this. They were urging me to experiment with my voice and I discovered years later, taking Ayahuasca in the Amazon jungles, tribes of Indians that have actually mastered this art, and that saturate their bodies with DMT and harmaline, and then sing. But for them this singing is not a musical exercise, it's a pictorial exercise. They see what they intend. This is a kind of telepathy. Well, it's humbling, it's transformative, it's astonishing to realise that Shamans all over the world for time uncountable have been accessing this appalling, complex, ontologically challenging, scientifically impossible, reality. This means that culturally we are living out some kind of schizophrenic delusion, because we live our lives totally ignorant of these possibilities, or perhaps only glimpsing them at the edge of anaesthesia, or something like that, unless, of course, we have the courage to be counter-cultural heads, but even then many people confine themselves in the private world of their own reflection because social pressure and, indeed, social legislation make it very touchy to talk about these things. But I say to you, this is part of the human birthright. This is as much a part of the game as birth, sex and dying.

From the Camden Center Talk

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