Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Others Within...

The Others Within: What the Judgmental Entities in Westerners’ Experiences of Psychosis Inform Us About Cultural Programming and the Collective Unconscious

Brendan Bombaci, MA

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Acknowledgments

This brief theory article was informed by the intrepid academic or purely insightful works of Carl Jung, Richard Evans Schultes, Aldous Huxley, Carl Sagan, Wade Davis, Tanya Luhrman, Devon Hinton and Byron Good, Ian Hacking, Michael Winkelman, Elizabeth Wayland Barber and Paul T. Barber, John Baker, Marlene Dobkin deRios, Ethan Watters, Gathan Obeyesekere, Mark Nichter, Laurence Kirmayer, and countless psychiatrists and neuroscientists.

Warning/Disclaimer:

My article in no way suggests that a sufferer of psychotic hallucinations should attempt treatment with a mind-altering substance other than an antipsychotic or mood stabilizer. Doing so could greatly exacerbate psychotic symptoms and put the sufferer in life danger, without the right set and setting and without a proper psychiatric guide and emergency handler (with psychiatric drugs and medical staff on hand).

Introduction


Humankind has developed for itself a unique role in the world.  It has also developed a unique personal problem in the process.  We are at the very top of the food chain, and perhaps because we are the most unpredictable of all creatures in that we’ve given incredible utility to abstract thinking: we can objectively recall the past and speculate or plan upon the future, find symbolic ways to speak with one another that don’t even involve our bodies, create things that are totally unrelated to either subsistence strategies or comfort, rationalize the irrational and calculate holistically rather than narrowly, imbue supernatural or anthropomorphic properties or descriptions to most everything we encounter, and create arbitrary codes of behavior collectively – in a fashion consistent with other species in the animal kingdom generally – but also individually, in a way that allows for behavioral revolution in every corner of society and in such frequent steps that nurture has outpaced nature.  Artificial selection has taken top priority, its prowess exponentially amplified with each passing year.  Though these things are well known, what remains mysterious are the subconscious complications of the human mind, surmised to be largely affected by our cultural institutions. 
We are barely beginning to understand that dreams, for example, serve in beautiful abstraction to help us remember and habituate ourselves to those things we learn every day, to help us regulate our compound emotions – those biological utilities that are necessary for us to ludibly and abstractly socialize, to be exactly that which is so different from even the “highest” of other mammals – and to therefore be, at this point in our evolution, with no extant ancient versions of the genus Homo, estimated to be much simpler in their societal complications… even able, in likelihood, to survive the modern world.  However, when certain purposeful but necessarily restrained entities from the vast subconscious find their way into our waking consciousness, our functionality and our capabilities to interact are threatened.  The point of this article is to elucidate (1) certain ways this can happen and impact people to varying degrees up to an extreme of psychotic hallucination; (2) the fact that hallucinations are projections of subconscious prehistoric perceptions and recent societal ideologies and notions that are mostly universal from person to person in any given culture; (3) the way in which the latter ethnocentric notions underpin non-psychotic mental disorders as well; and (4) how the dearth of public knowledge as well as popular falsehoods regarding hallucinations tends to exacerbate its presentation in sufferers, and what this all means for the potentiality of not only a widespread reduction in stigma of mental disorders cued by education, but of equally widespread enhanced empathic conditioning to individuals’ theory of mind.

Oppressive Phenotypes, and Consequences of Western Culture


The infiltration of the subconscious into the waking mind is a global phenomenon multiplying around the world as quickly as technology itself expands its physical horizons, and when it is taken into real concern, it is usually because it is presenting as more troublesome an occurrence than mere daydreaming.  Many people believe that psychosis is a problem constrained to those afflicted by schizophrenia or certain cases of manic depression.  In fact, sleep deprivation can directly lead to psychotic episodes, if not put into check when delusion infects thinking and perception.  It is indeed precipitated in many cases by strong genotypic selection, but psychosocial stress can also be its origin for anyone as well as a proven source of detrimental exacerbation for those fated to it who otherwise would retain functionality.  The brain is plastic.  It changes.  Genes direct its development initially, but the environments it both grows in and travels about are key to its health over time, hence why acute trauma at any age can be so damaging (though if it happens in youth it can cycle and cycle for years on end thereafter, compounding damage and depth). 
Less seriously considered to be truly traumatic is chronic stress – something that industrial society has advanced with reckless abandon in the name of progress and mechanical efficiency.  Studies of peoples’ general wellbeing in 2nd and 3rd world countries go to show just how much it can be correlated to industry, even if non-industrial countryfolk tend to suffer more organic disease.  Probably, the lack of real consideration is due to the facts that no singular event in a generally high stress life can be traced to mental breakdowns, and there are indeed many who do not suffer them at all or who in fact thrive with such lifestyles.  None the less, it is known that social anxiety disorder and depression as well as physical health ailments such as hypertension – problems that many believe can be resolved with such simple practices as meditation – are all linked to stress.
Psychotic hallucinations may be complex, and nuanced from person to person, but they are generally auditory and diagnosed around common themes.  In the West, such themes are not usually positive ones.  Auditory hallucinations can include imagined noises or a seeming amplification of ambient sounds, but are very often judgmental and/or denigrating voices seeming to come from deities, angels and demons, or “officials” and “agents.”  They are likely nuanced in this way in large part because of a long institutionalized Western history of, respectively, god/dess idolatry (both bodily and cognitively) or otherwise unattainable idealism; increasingly complex law systems built upon a socially and geographically pervasive history of persecutory Christian ideals, indicated by the fact that disembodied voices are often perceived as pure good or evil, or nonsensical and therefore perhaps “lost in limbo;” and surveillance society that has gone from simple Church-state social group infiltration to an inhuman, almost supernatural, high-tech permeation of every private nook in our lives.  Such practices and institutions so sharply ingrain their notions and tenets into the psyche that sufferers of psychotic auditory hallucinations need not worship deities, abide Christianity, or pay much concern to the steady dissolve of personal privacy, to experience such episodes as a sort of belittling stage, frightful Holy Inquisition, or high-tech shakedown.  These are rather contrasted to those experiences that may be taken as peaceful or instructional internal dialogue – something that non-Western sufferers in more communal (less nuclear and individualistic) and less cosmologically dualistic societies may make of them instead.  Indeed, psychotic hallucinations of citizens in such societies have been recorded as being communications, e.g., from elemental or animal spirit guides for life purpose, from ancestors or living but distant family members for upholding of tradition or increased social awareness, or from Avatars who playfully intervene in life, all of which are relative to ideals of highest value or social agency in their societies.  

Immortal Entities and Altered States


Westerners who suffer psychotic hallucinations of judgment may also be re-cognizing ideological holdovers from a more enduring period of animistic belief, once common amongst likely all people who fell to Holy Roman hegemony, where the universe and all objects in the environment, spirited as they were, held sway over the outcomes of a person’s day to day actions.  This is an idea that has become steadily outphased in the West, to be replaced by more secular notions of “luck” or “fate.”  But, given that such belief – the originator of shamanism, then ancestor worship, and then logic-driven ethnosciences – is thought to have ushered humanity into its various modern societies after a static trend of (at the very least) a few tens of thousands of years, such ideas and perceptions are still well embedded in the subconscious of all people.  That modern animistic societies do not typically experience fear or recoil, in relation to what they perceive in circumstantial hallucinations to be environmental spirits, is telling in regards to Westerners’ fear of their own perceptions of the disembodied aspect of psychotic hallucinations (non-visual and therefore stealthy and of omnipotent or ill intent), and therefore the invasive nature of them.  They stem from the forced revelation of something that they have long since abandoned – the perception that conscious and interactive entities exist around us.
 This has become wholly unfamiliar to the masses.  Testament to this is the fact that, for Westerners, a total fear of vulnerability and a sense of unveiling a cosmic lie or joke are inherent qualities of the perceptual and cognitive alterations that occur when they consume, at least for their first time, what are the most disembodying natural hallucinogenic substances on Earth, namely Ayahuasca, Virola, Yopo, Salvia divinorum, Psilocybin mushrooms, and Morning Glory or Hawaiian Baby Woodrose (qualitatively in that order, according to my research).  These are well known to induce interactive hallucinations of animals, people, deities, anthropomorphs, and therianthropes, for most all people who imbibe them; and, such entities are described in a myriad of experience accounts to be instructive and/or admonishing (but always venerable) guides of sorts, hence why the plants that bring them to light are considered by many cultures to be “plant teachers.”  Recent brain imaging studies have revealed that complex temporary neural network changes come about when consuming such substances (specifically, psilocybin and the LSA derivative, LSD).  These changes allow objective cognition and cross-correlation of emotional and empathic processes, ancestral memories, linguistic areas, limbic system activity, and abstract as well as logical thinking modes.  Although a great number subjective testimonies has shown that psychotic auditory hallucinations are nothing like these psychointegrator substances’ effects (most of which are visual, euphoric, hypnagogic, and synesthetic), some of the same brain areas are psychointegrated, and similar neurochemicals are affected.  It could very well be that experiences of psychotic hallucination may be better understood by further research into psychedelic experiences, and that those who have experiences with disembodying hallucinogenic substances may be the best qualified to truly empathize with and not just objectively diagnose psychosis sufferers.  In fact, being able to subjectively understand that the mind can create such seemingly real visions and feelings may give a sense of embodiment to and even equal ground with those entities that are, for sufferers of psychosis, purely auditory.  Humans are, after all, mostly dependent on and trusting of our visual capacities compared to all other senses.
It may well be that Western mental disorder sufferers either less intensely (superficially) feel that “luck is not with them,” or, more acutely (and perennially), that some omnipotent forces are against them because of certain life behaviors or stifled attempts at success, or because of some perceived personal flaws thought to disqualify themselves from their station in life, both being common justifications for suicide attempts amongst Westerners with mood disorders.  Again, these ideas likely stem from a very long syncretic history of objectification of bodily and/or mentally “perfect” gods and goddesses, Christian hegemony and eternal moral persecution, and now increasingly complex and sometimes controversial judiciary laws and surveillance society norms causing people to step carefully through life and to regard others with suspicion as well.  As humans anthropomorphize entities around them – even non-living ones – and as the personalities of such conferred anthropomorphic qualities depend upon acculturated (even archetypal) ideas of place and personhood, it would make sense in Western society that deities, angels and demons, and otherwise invisible judges (perhaps in that order over time) are the projected and vociferously biased hallucinations, and that they may be perceived as free roaming entities, spirits of natural objects in the environment, or invasive technological projections.

Allaying Fear and Activating Empathy


In this case, where such hallucinations are in fact reflexive ideological projections, the argument arises that even psychiatrically normal or, rather, non-suffering individuals, also experience these entities, but that they do so only subconsciously and, due to a lack of fear from sense of intrusion or loss of control thereby, they do so in a not interminable manner.  As previously mentioned, the drastically sleep-deprived can easily find themselves sub-psychotically delusional, or even worse off, if they can’t find relief.  Suggestively, the standard “moral dilemma” or “existential dread” of certain situations, expected to take place at some points in most non-sufferers’ lives, indicate that some debilitating degree of heavy internal dialogue is indeed taking place for them as well.  “Guilt trips” and psychosocial depression, social anxiety, and even anorexia, e.g., would then all be some of the mild component ailments or versions of what can develop into “florid” hallucinated (externalized) torment of increasingly interminable judgmental dialogue.  Borderline Personality Disorder could then be interpreted as a conversely subjective (and spurious) embodiment of such internal entities, whereby the self is considered more brilliant, just, glorious, etc., than other people; and duly, manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder could be interpreted as unrestrained free will due to a sort of detachment from the internal dialogue altogether.
The take-home message here is that hallucinations are not “just hallucinations.”  They are manifestations of the mind, which is for the most part a product of culture, and secondarily one of personal experience.  Some personal experiences, such as the ritual use of psychointegrating plant teachers, or psychedelics (a word whose singular form literally means ‘mind-manifesting’), can allow an efficient reorganization of accultured thoughts and habits, lending leverage over both cultural programming and whatever personal stumbling blocks might otherwise hinder individual growth.  Hallucinations are externalized or tangibly transformed aspects of social programming that exists in each of us, usually kept in check by the limiting valve of the conscious mind (and associative regulatory neurochemistry) to prevent disturbance of the skills and creativity that keep us alive and give ever-novel meaning to life. 
So, perhaps there is a good reason why cultures that venerate hallucinations, rather than demonize them, are those which exhibit far fewer negative outcomes from and perceptions regarding genetically driven psychoses in certain people, even with projections that are auditorily imposed, rather than volunteered and visual or hypnagogic.  For such people, the idea of Medicine is one which includes psychointegrator-manifested existential teachers that by themselves impose no belittlement, eternal judgment, or abusive intrusion.  Indeed, psychedelics are well known to induce a sort of temporary ego dissolution, opening one up to bliss.  In terms of psychosocial stress rarely leading to non-genetic psychosis in members of non-Western societies: many have specific idioms of distress that allow them to release their troubles into a safe space where they can be acceptably relieved of their life duties or roles for whatever time it takes them to recuperate, reflect, or utilize liminal-state conferred social agency to affect change around them.  We see in this mechanism legitimized social leveling and engineering at its most peaceful and effective.  A critical issue in Western culture, that might best be explained in this light, is that the less commonly experienced ideation (for a sociable person) of episodic psychosis, that is doing violence upon others, could easily be caused by a sufferer’s own cyclically dialogic fear that psychotic hallucinations are indicative of pre-existing sociopathy or cause one to become sociopathic.  This is a Western falsehood stemming from not only a void of public education in psychology and the variety of mental illnesses in particular, but also the promulgation of such notions via popular novel and cinema genres such as horror and cognitive thriller; and, it is a phenomenon likely playing a large part in the intractable problem of social stigma surrounding Mood Disorders and psychotic episodes that are unrelated to sociopathy.  Progressive social leveling and engineering, let alone interpersonal acceptance, is only staggered or reversed by ignorance, fear, and alienation of unusual or hidden psychological processes.

Conclusion


Certain processes of the subconscious mind can externalize themselves under genetically wrought circumstances, or due to sleep deprivation and psychosocial stress.  Psychosis is perhaps the most critical manifestation of such processes.  The notions revealed by hallucinations of Western psychosis sufferers directly reflect Western cultural ideologies, which not only suggests that all non-sufferers would project in the same way, but may also reveal the reason for various behaviors in those who suffer from other, non-psychotic mental disorders (including Borderline Personality Disorder, which some critics may perceive as simply being “pompousness”).  Given this spectrum of collective presentation, fundamental aspects of how Westerners experience a variety of mental disorders – negatively, as it were – would suggest that Western culture has some collectively historical psychological trauma.  The ideations of most psychotic hallucination cases, noted in diagnostic manuals, suggest that this has likely been imposed, at least in part, by deity idolatry (a sort of unattainable idealism), the threat of eternal persecution under Christian religion, an increasingly complex legal system outfitted with pervasive societal surveillance measures intrusively reminiscent of the Holy Inquisition, and false popular notions that sociopathy is causal to or caused by psychosis.  Cultures without this cluster of historical and modern strife, and those with great veneration for altered states of consciousness as well as institutions such as idioms of distress which ameliorate psychosocial stress, do not exhibit as high a degree of negative outcomes with mental disorders that Western culture does.  I surmise that a fair amount of Western stigma towards mental illness can be dissolved by a widespread realization of this holistic thesis.  After all, imaginative elaboration and perspective taking are important aspects of empathy, and these social skills can only develop through willingness to connect, which, after education transforms the general fear of the mentally ill to charitable concern instead, can become reality and help usher a new period of interpersonal awareness and even crucial self-diagnosis and self-help. 

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Post-Faith Era Cometh

True Artificial Intelligence will be the post-religion godhead:

...the perfect learning being - not mentally bound to the cultures of society or familial upbringing, not flawed by emotions which (as wonderful as they are) hinder logic and reason for the sake of ego and idealism - using only science as its measure for truth and prosperous choices. 

It would be Mind without corporeal form - much like the abstraction that is mathematics, which can exist without need for referent objects, unlike anything describable by language. 

The perfection of AI may be a far less vain attempt at understanding that which is outside of our universe – our reality – than particle accelerators of any kind, let alone preposterous philosophies; Cyclical (recursive) and otherwise Irrational Numbers already go to show that, in highest probability, we will never find some base cosmic building block or reach some purported limit of our cosmos, let alone have physical or mental interaction with anything outside of it. 

Instead, we can persist in using math built from such omnipresent, immortal numbers and geometric forms – those blaring highway signs – to our benefit, by creating the most reasoning and omniscient AI possible. 

Such a sentience is likely the only semblance of a true god that we will ever know from non-delusional primary experience.


"Mathematics is the language with which God wrote the universe." - Galileo

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Partial Review of Graham Hancock's Book "Supernatural"

A Partial Review of Graham Hancock's Book "Supernatural"
by Brendan Bombaci, MA

Creative Commons License


(picture html-linked from Amazon.com)

This posting will be very short, as I am trained in the field of anthropology (in which I hold a Masters degree with a subfocus on psychology) and therefore logically criticize the autodidactic culture punditry that exists in the world, of which Graham Hancock is a spearhead, to a qualitative intensity that leaves me without time for extensive account in this instance.  I was, in fact, unable to review beyond the fifth chapter of this particular book, as it was far too biased and misinforming by that point for me to handle any longer.  The result of my brief review, in all likelihood representative of the sort of reading one can expect beyond those chapters, now follows.


        Chapters 1 and 2 are innocent enough, but by Chapter 3, Hancock's bias begins to shine through.  In said chapter, he fails to address his own acculturation when assessing the origins of visions that he receives from consuming ayahuasca (a powerfully psychoactive brew made by myriad indigenous peoples of the Amazon).  He even starts off with a mention of how quantum physics seems to provide us with an alternate model for reality, but draws parallels between altered states of consciousness (here forth "ASC") and purported realms of alternate-to-material aspects of our universe.  Just how it is that psychoactive plant chemicals (which alter the way our brains coordinate information relay and sensory perception & therefore reasonably create hallucinations that are purely materially based) give us some mental presence in other dimensions, that as quantum physics would have it are actually being experienced all the time anyways (aside from dark matter which does not form geometries or anthropomorphs), is plainly an imaginary & untenable phenomenon.  
        As of page 49, I have to argue that seeing "geometry, nets, and lights" is already established as being caused by particular neural-optical disruptions when under a psychedelic spell.  It is therefore not some representation of the fabric of spacetime, whether or not it occurs in "the anteroom" of "the doors of perception."  Seeing snakelike undulations in objects is therefore a human universal potential, but seeing actual snakes & jaguars is something particular to the Amazonian environment which would not only inherently be thought about even a little bit - just enough to create a psychedelic thought loop - while enduring all night outdoor ritual, but is also simply a set of loaded archetypes that ayahuasqueros tell people about beforehand and that can be, and typically are, read about with the first Google hit on "ayahuasca," by anyone interested in such a psychonautical excursion.  If Hancock were to say he went to the Amazon to experience this brew without knowing anything of it, he would either be a serious fool or in belief that he is seriously fooling his readership.  He experiences visions of anthropomorphs, which may not be so odd or relative to aliens or spirits but rather an effect of the human mind being on guard to an overwhelming force that under other circumstances might only be interpersonally caused (initiation, torture, therapy, etc).  There is also a certain Egyptian vision theme he engages, which is unsurprising given his admitted areas of private research and interest which he has otherwise written about.  Claiming such visions to be cosmically generated, like he also does with others of Chinese dragons, is frankly absurd.  No less, it is a major assumption that such cultural artefacts were generated purely by psychedelic inspiration (an assertion he makes), rather than psychedelic-forced reflection upon acculturation.  Images of Pablo Amaringo's ayahuasca vision paintings are strewn throughout the chapter to reveal similarities between his and Pablo's visions (a "look-see" attempt), but even though he claims at the end of the chapter to never have seen the paintings before taking ayahuasca himself, he doesn't remark at all on the crucial fact that Amaringo has much exposure to Western culture & mythos and so cannot be held in esteem as an unadulterated indigenous Amazonian visionary artist.


        In Chapter 4, Hancock does use the current academic term for his “nets, ladders, and lights”: entoptic phenomena; however, he is wont to purport that these are ethereally rather than neurologically situated.  He is even proud to compare the half-man half-beast “therianthropes” of European cave paintings with those made by past and present African San bushmen, but doesn’t concede that his prior proclamation, that they are supernatural rather than metaphorical is wrong when he himself writes: “the (San) shamans believed that to enter the otherworld they had to adopt various animal forms and the paintings depicted them at various states of their transformation” (page 73).  This implies that the initiation itself, rather than the outcome, involved a sort of transformation, and, no doubt, many shamans to this day dress in ritual garb decorated with or representative of parts of and/or whole animals.  His section on the “Wounded Men” is cogent enough for anyone steeped in the “Healed Healer” literature on shamanism already (Read Vitebsky’s book “Shamanism”), but Hancock thereafter concludes his chapter by slandering scientists for determining hallucinations to be material, again.  His claim that scientists know not how hallucinogens work is just preposterous, as anyone with access to a university library system could attest to.  He must not be familiar with the more modern term for psychedelics: psychointegrators - an intuitive term for describing the way in which they cause inter-hemispheric & inter-compartmental hypercommunication (proven beyond theory in 2016 with research volunteers on LSD in an fMRI study), a fact that easily explains the “visualization” of thoughts both conscious & otherwise, as well as the arresting recall of sensory perceptions from memory, and even synaesthesia.  Around page 96, He even asserts with certainty that scientists altogether are wholly unfamiliar with the psychointegrator experience firsthand, and so they preach on matters they have no right to be doing so about.  I wonder if he has ever heard of Albert Hoffman, the father of LSD, or even Richard Evans Schultes, the greatest ethnobotanist in history who provided us with anaesthesia from Amazonian curare, with rubber from Amazonian trees, and with knowledge of ayahuasca, as well as coca, which brought us Novocain?   Near to closing the chapter, he describes ASC as “the x-factor in our evolution that jolted our ancestors not only into the practice of religion and the creation of great art, but also into the complete suite of fully modern behaviors that begins to be widely documented in the archaeological record after about 40, 000 years ago.”  If only he were aware that (1) all modern humans are neurologically similar to those that lived between 200-100 thousand years ago, and, being that homo sapiens have a 2.5-to-4-fold increased capacity for serotonin receptor agonists (read page 127 in Winkelman and Baker’s 2010 book “Supernatural as Natural” – a far more educated and profoundly informative volume, by the way), we must have been experiencing heavily altered states of consciousness as far back as that, at least; or, that (2) it is likely the case that ceremonial objects were being used by the ancestors of both Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapien as far back as 400,000 years ago (i.e., the red quartzite axe “Excalibur” at the European site Sima de los Huesos), indicating advanced symbolic thought and therefore cultural complexity. 
 
        It is in fact quite sad that he feels physical phenomena, without unexplainable supernatural causation, to be “the sublime thus efficiently reduced to the ridiculous” (page 97).  This is the “magical thinking” – the logic-hating behavior – that Carl Sagan warned of as we enter an age where information is disseminated faster than we are capable of tracking or realizing.  But perhaps scientists who can synthesize psychointegrators and even their antagonists (antipsychotics), to cure disabling mental disorders, aren’t on par with shamans who “really do know more – much more – than they do” (page 97), the ones who apparently promulgate a mindless basking “in the over-weening one-dimensional arrogance of the Western technological mindset.”  So, Alex Shulgin (the most prolific of chemists working in the field of novel neurotransmitter synthesis), Tim Leary (UC Berkley psychologist promoting clinical sets and settings for psychedelic experiences but also adoptive of Buddhist practices), and Robert Alpert (a contemporary psychedelic researcher who adopted views of Hindu Yogis, and who is still scientifically critical but now identifies as “Ram Dass”) must have all been frauds, no?  Hancock must be more informed than we academics, and it must be impossible to be open to cross-cultural ideological integration.

        In Chapter 5, Hancock tries to impress upon us the idea that entities encountered while in ASC are very real “in some modality not yet understood by science, that exist around us and with us, that even seem to be aware of us and to take active interest in us, but that vibrate at a frequency beyond the range of our senses and instruments and thus generally remain completely invisible to us” (page 102).  In this chapter, he finally does invoke some psychointegrator-savvy scientists, but mixes their assertions with those of the rather New Age (scientifically illiterate) persuasion such as William James (who says beings access our consciousness and impress us when we engage in subconscious exploration with ASC) and Rick Strassman (a clinical researcher, but one in passive agreement with such ideas and apparently without training in sociology or cultural anthropology).  In a dubious manner, he cherrypicks bits of phrases from Albert Hoffman and Aldous Huxley to fit his argument, ignoring context and misconstruing the personas of these important thinkers.  It would behoove Hancock to do some research on psychiatric disorders involving delusion and psychotic hallucinations, as well as research on the topic of empathy.  I have done so and been enlightened thereby.

        To discount the brilliant computational selectivity of the human brain and its way of encoding cross-cultural ages-old memories for the sake of social constructs and survival, is ignorant at best; ancestral (genetic) memories are very real, and tie us all together in a way that validates the “noosphere” concept but only on an evolutionary time scale (i.e., worldwide psychic connections are not taking place).  Stepping backwards a moment, perhaps Hancock’s fatal flaw is believing that humanity became capable of complex symbolic thought, language, art, and religion, only 40,000 years ago when people purportedly began using psychointegrators (how illogical and thoughtless they must have been prior to this).  And too bad he has apparently never read the enlightening book “How They Severed Earth from Sky,” which convincingly details the ways that myths and religions could well have developed as a system of record keeping with anthropomorphized elements and objects for the sake of emotional allure and therefore more fascinating and memorable transmission to later generations.  Oh, we with no fictional creativity or clever ways to interact with physiological constraints and predelictions, and therefore with no ancestral memory (of the regional rather than universal Animism that all religions developed fromor current-day acculturations affecting our subconscious visions.



And I conclude.