Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Early Video of "Magic Mushroom" Trip

Today I learned of an on-line video from the 1961 TV show One Step Beyond:
... director and presenter John Newland ingests psilocybin under laboratory conditions, to investigate whether or not the hallucinogenic mushroom can enhance his abilities of extra-sensory perception.

View the video at this link.

Personally, I don't find the ESP question very interesting. Our ordinary everyday experience of life brings up fundamental questions: What am I? Why am I alive? Magic mushrooms etc may be one tool to examine the Big Questions. This requires no reference to special powers of any sort.

Still, this old video could be an interesting peek at early attitudes towards mind-altering substances, from a time before the modern "drug culture" had emerged. In '61, the spiritual, medical, psychological, and philosophical possibilities of 'shrooms etc hadn't yet gotten entangled with social/political issues.

5 comments:

Doug said...

How wonderfully dramatic! :) I would probably watch more television if they still did it like that.

Somewhere in the "Three Pillars of Zen" (I think), Phillip Kapleau wrote that the zen tradition does not pay much attention to the paranormal or occult. Ultimately such things are just distractions from the big question. It's the practice of sitting (zazen) that leads to understanding. The quest for psychic powers, etc. wont relieve the fundamental anxiety, and can even be harmful. I'm not sure what exactly he was referring to by the "harmful" statement, but I'm sure he had some example in mind.

Thanks for the link. :)

Stuart said...

Doug wrote...
Somewhere in the "Three Pillars of Zen" (I think), Phillip Kapleau wrote that the zen tradition does not pay much attention to the paranormal or occult.

I've never personally felt any magical powers from my 30 years of meditation practice. The most amazing "events" I've had from practice involve perceiving all things (including "I") as dream-like appearances; a state in which even the possibility of suffering disappeared for a while.

But even that -- special, blissful experiences -- is a temporary appearance in the dream. It's not that blissful experience (or psychic powers) are "bad," but wanting them or clinging to them is a cause of suffering. Mr Buddha agrees with this view.

It seems perhaps that there's a critical difference between meditating with an "I want something" mind, vs a clear & questioning mind. I'll try to blog in the coming days about this, and see if I can express anything more coherent.

bORED gURU said...

I was 18 years old when I first encountered the 'mushies' experience. After about some 4 hours trek, we ended up in a lake bed with little water and lots and lots of mushies, just about everywhere on the wet ground. It was a land of mushies. There was a old lady spotted plucking them away into her big sack like bag. When I enquired if she eats mushies herself, she said not just herself but all those cows and bisons that grazed them everyday. There was definitely something about the eyes of a regular mushy eater.

My own 'trip' was a overdoze to start with(I popped two dozens at one go)and an very very unpleasant one. Without guidance, without prior info, without even the need, those were the most challenging hours of my life for survival and sanity.

Abandoned in a jungle with wild animals, with the sun setting very fast, far away from civilization and at the very edge of sanity, it was a night mare in the middle of nowhere.

But personally speaking, my actual 'trip' started just when the mushy effect was over completely after those seemingly endless hours filled with psychedelic visions of colors and sounds which triggered ecstacy, pain, fear and madness.

It was for the first time I felt a very strange sense love and compassion overwhelming me without anyone in sight. The clarity arose at the end of the ordeal was simply remarkable. It was like getting your mind back from the laundery after a thorough clean up.

I did the mushies three times later, perhaps a lot more experienced and well protected and within the dosage.

Stuart said...

bORED gURU said...
But personally speaking, my actual 'trip' started just when the mushy effect was over

Thanks for the trip report, bORED gURU.

For me also, the most interesting (enjoyable?) part of psychedelic trips has been after the peak effects are over... and I'm trying to integrate something of the experience into ordinary life.

When the flashing lights and chaotic sensations and perceptions have died down, there's sometimes a period where consciousness is nearly normal, but the sense of self, of being an individual in a body, hasn't quite re-solidified. It can be a great opportunity to touch the natural compassion for all beings, that's always available when the grip of I/my/me is loosened.

bORED gURU said...

When the flashing lights and chaotic sensations and perceptions have died down, there's sometimes a period where consciousness is nearly normal,

Which is getting pretty close to Being oneself, if not just Being. Perhaps 'normal' is the simplest way to describe 'just Being'.



but the sense of self, of being an individual in a body, hasn't quite re-solidified.

Gradation of Self has not happened fully to the grossest but still there is a gradation, a beginning, infact thats the piece of mind still left surviving after its 'suicidal' attempt. Soon the solidifying consciousness was urging itself to feel more than just being 'normal'. It wanted to have a smoke and eat well. It visualized girlfriends and fancy cars but again it went back to 'normal' or 'liquefied' state. Kept shuttling back and forth. The slightly liquefied Consciousness is full of compassion with or without anyone and at the same time it made conscious effort to get solidified again. Perhaps it was its struggle of survival to get back in action as mind and body, with the I-ness and My-ness.



It can be a great opportunity to touch the natural compassion for all beings, that's always available when the grip of I/my/me is loosened.

It was also a realization that compassion is just one more expression of Consciousness which just began to solidify(most refined mind). The compassion is not 'Being' but just an expression of the Being. And I could watch its every move as it got solidified further and how the compassion was graded down to love, lust, attachment, obssession and perversion as I climbed the slopes back to civilization.

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Interestingly, the trips that folowed had sustained the compassion stage for a much longer period, for days infact. The slightly solidified consciousness(compassionate mind) was not in a hurry to get to that full solid state(of comparison and conquest etc). It was quite content tripping on the compassion thing. The next trip was when I'decided' to cross the compassion and see what was in store. It was an unbelievable experience as the time appeared to have come to a stand still, as I was looking in to the clock for a 'very very long time' while the needles did not move even a bit or just a weebit. Those few timeless moments, not just the clock but the whole creation stood still. That stillness was totally devoid of any compassion. It was just awareness, stood like a unflickering flame.

But I stopped the M trips forever as I understood later it was only a play of consciousness that even the 'stillness' was 'experienced' and it was not the totally liquefied or vaporized consciousness. No M trip can actually get one self cross that last timeless and mindless bit, but surely can get pretty close to that. The Being shines just by itself and nothing can 'transport' oneself to it. It is somewhat sad to know that mushrooms are treated with disdain these days. My thinking is that whoever advocates ban on M, would not have even seen it properly, leave alone tasting or tripping on it.