What is a DMT trip like and who are the entities you meet? | Matthew Johnson and Lex Fridman

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can you uh dig in a little deeper like what is uh dmt how long is the trip usually like how much do we understand about it is there's something interesting to say about just the the nature of the experience and what we understand about it one of the common methods for people to use is to is to smoke it or vaporize it and it usually takes and this is a pretty good kind of description of what it might feel like on the ground um and the caveat is it's it's it's it's a completely insufficient

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description and someone's going to be listening to it it's like nothing you could say is going to come close but it'll take about three big hits inhalations in order to have what people call a breakthrough dose um and there's no great definition of that but basically meaning moving away from you know not just having the typical psilocybin or lsd experience where like things are radically different but you're still basically a person in this reality to go in somewhere else and so that'll typically take like three hits and this stuff comes on like a

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freight train so one takes a hit and around the time of the first exhalation so we're talking about a few seconds in or maybe just you know sometime between the first and the second hit like it'll start to come on and they're already up to say um you know what they might get from a 30 milligram or or 300 microgram lsd trip a big trip they're already there when at the second hit but it's they're going their consciousness is gear this is like acceleration not speed to speak of physics okay it's like

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you just those receptors are getting filled like that and they're going from zero to 60 in like you know tesla time yeah and at the second hit again they're at this maybe the strongest psychedelic experience they've ever had and then if they can take that third hit even some people can't they're i mean they're they're propelled into this other reality and the nature of that other reality it will will differ depending on who you ask but you know folks we'll talk often talk about and and and we've done some survey

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research on this entities of different types elves tend to pop up yeah all the caveat is i strongly presume all of this is culturally influenced you know but thinking more about the psychology and the neuroscience there is probably something fundamental you know like for someone that might be colored as elves others it might be colored as um terence mckenna called them self-dribbling basketballs for someone else it might be little animals or someone else it might be aliens i think that probably is dependent on who they are and what they've been

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exposed to but just the fact that one has a sense that they're surrounded by autonomous entities right intelligent autonomous entities right and people come back with stories that are just astonishing like there's communication between these entities and often they're telling them things that that that the person says are self-validating but it seems like it's impossible like it really seems like and again this is what people say oftentimes that it's

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it really is like downloading some intelligence from a higher dimension or some whatever metaphor you want to use sometimes these things come up in dreams where it's like someone is exposed to something that i've had this in a dream you know where it seems like what they are being exposed to is physically impossible but yet at the same time self-validating it seems true like that they really are figuring something out of course the challenge is to say something in in concrete terms after the experience that

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where you could um you know verify that in any way and i i'm not familiar of any examples of that well there's a there's a sense in which i suppose the experience is like um you uh you're you're a limited cognitive creature that knows very little about the world and here's a chance to communicate with much wiser entities that in a way that you can't possibly understand are trying to give you hints of deeper truths right and so there's that kind of sense that you you can take something back but you can't where uh our cognition is not capable to fully grasp the truth

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we'll just get a kind of sense of it and somehow that process is mind expanding that there's a greater truth out there right that seems like what from the people i've heard talk about that's that seems to be what uh it is and that's so fascinating that there's um there's fundamentally to this whole thing is a communication between an entity that is other than yourself entities so it's not just like a visual experience like uh like you're like floating through the world is there's other beings there

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which is kind of i don't know i don't know what to sort of uh from a person who likes freud and carl jung i don't know what to think about that that being of course from one perspective it's just you looking in the mirror but it could also be from another perspective like actually talking to other beings yeah you mentioned young and i think that's he's particularly interesting and it kind of points to something i was you know thinking about saying is that that i think what might be going on natural

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from a naturalistic perspective um so regardless you know whether or not there are you know it doesn't depend on autonomous entities out there what might be happening is that just the associative net the the the level of learning the the comprehension might be so beyond what someone is is used to that the only way for the nervous system for for the for the aware sense of self to orient towards it is all by metaphor and so i do think you know when we get into these realms as as a strong empiricist that i think

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we always got to be careful and be as grounded as possible but i'm also willing to speculate and and sort of cast the nets wide with caveat but you know i think of things like archetypes and you know you know it's plausible that there are certain stories there are certain you know we've gone through millions of years of evolution it may be that we have certain um characters and stories that are sort of that our central nervous system are sort of wired to tend to yeah those stories that we

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carry those stories in us right and this unlocks them in a certain kind of way and we think about stories like our sense of self is basically narrative self is a story and we think about the world of stories this is why metaphors are always more powerful than um you know sort of laying out all the details all the time you know speaking in parables it's like if you really get so you know this is why as much as i hate it you know if you're presenting to congress or something and you have all the the best data in the world it's not as powerful as that one anecdote as

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as as the mom dying of cancer that had the psilocybin session and it transformed her life you know that's a story that's meaningful and so when this kind of unimaginable kind of change and and and experience happens with dmt um ingestion it these stories of entities they might they might be that you know stories that are constructed that is the the closest which is not to say the stories aren't real i mean i think we're getting into layers where it doesn't really right yeah yeah but

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it's the closest we can come to making sense out of it because i do what we do know about these psychedelics one of the levels beyond the receptor is that the brain is communicating it with itself in a massively different way there's massive communication with areas that don't normally communicate and so it i think that comes with both it's casting the nets wide i think it that comes with the insights and and helpful novel ways of thinking i do think it comes with false positives you know that could be some of the delusion um and so

Key Themes, Chapters & Summary

Key Themes

  • Nature of DMT and Psychedelic Experience

  • The Concept of Breakthrough Doses

  • Encounter with Autonomous Entities

  • Cultural Influence on Psychedelic Experiences

  • Communication with Entities and Knowledge Transfer

  • Psychological and Neuroscientific Perspectives

  • Archetypes and Evolutionary Psychology

  • Metaphorical Interpretation of Psychedelic Experiences

  • The Role of Stories and Narratives

  • The Complexity of Brain Communication Under DMT


Chapters

  • Introduction to DMT and Psychedelics

  • Understanding Breakthrough Doses in DMT Trips

  • Experiencing Autonomous Entities

  • Cultural Impact on Psychedelic Perceptions

  • Interactions and Communications in DMT States

  • Psychedelics Through a Psychological Lens

  • Archetypes in Psychedelic Experiences

  • Metaphors and Narratives in Understanding Psychedelics

  • Storytelling as a Tool for Comprehension

  • Brain Dynamics and Connectivity on DMT

  • Conclusion: Unraveling the Psychedelic Mystery


Summary

The podcast conversation with Matthew Johnson and Lex Fridman provides a richly detailed exploration of the experience and implications of DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) trips. DMT, a potent psychedelic substance, induces profound alterations in perception and consciousness. When smoked or vaporized, it typically requires three substantial inhalations for what is termed a "breakthrough dose." This dose catapults the user from ordinary reality into a strikingly different realm within seconds, accelerating consciousness to intense psychedelic experiences.


The nature of the DMT experience often involves encounters with various entities, such as elves, animals, or aliens, which vary widely among individuals. This variation is thought to be influenced by cultural and personal backgrounds. These entities are perceived as intelligent and autonomous, often engaging in meaningful communication with the user. People who undergo these experiences frequently report a sense of receiving wisdom or knowledge from these entities, akin to downloading intelligence from a higher dimension.


From a psychological and neuroscientific perspective, these experiences are thought to reflect the brain's functioning in a dramatically altered state. The brain communicates within itself in novel ways, leading to profound insights and, occasionally, delusions. These experiences might be the brain's attempt to make sense of the overwhelming sensory and cognitive information it receives during a DMT trip. Stories and metaphors often become the tools for interpreting these profound and ineffable experiences.


The conversation delves into the idea that these psychedelic experiences might unlock archetypal stories and characters ingrained in the human psyche through millions of years of evolution. The use of metaphors and narratives is seen as a potent way to make sense of these experiences, drawing parallels to how stories and anecdotes often have more profound impacts than mere data or facts.


In summary, DMT trips represent a complex interplay of neurochemistry, psychology, and individual interpretation, leading to experiences that are as enigmatic as they are profound. These experiences push the boundaries of our understanding of consciousness, perception, and the very nature of reality.