The Spirit Molecule: Dimethyltryptamine (DMT)
Is humanity content with its consciousness? Are we happy with what we perceive, or is there an insatiable desire to want to be able to recognize the full spectrum of universal nature?
“There is a wealth of information built into us, tucked away in the genetic material in every one of our cells. Without some means of access, there is no way even to begin to guess at the extent and quality of what is there.” -Alexander Shulgin
Human spirituality has always been focused on consciously observing a reality beyond what we currently are able to perceive on earth. Objectively, religion, spirituality, and even meditation all have an insatiable appetite for the beyond. What exists after we die? How does our intangible soul fit into the complex machinery of our natural world? People have been trying to answer these questions for centuries on end. They have been idolizing deity; they have adhered to the orations of prophets, gone to war, and built and crumpled empires in the name of their spiritual connection to the beyond. However, the simple fact remains; we simply do not know.
“Since the beginning of time, cosmic alchemy has evolved into the human consciousness that we know today. Our cognitive state is a way for the universe to understand itself.” That is the brilliant observation of Carl Sagan, and taking it into consideration, how often do we underestimate the juxtaposed complexities and shortcomings of our conscious existence?
Our entire understanding of the world and the universe is merely the aggregate ability of the human mind to perceive its environment. Another great, this time fictional, orator comes to mind here; Morpheus asks Neo, “What is real? If real is what you can touch, smell, taste and see, then real is nothing but electrical signals interpreted in your brain.” So then, assuming what we perceive is real, how much of the universe’s reality are we missing? What lays out there that we can’t perceive, what signals exist that our brains can’t detect or discern, patterns our minds can’t process, angles of our universe’s nature that we simply cannot comprehend? It is uncontroversial to assume that there are a vast number of “things” in our universe that are beyond the perceptive abilities of the human mind. If you think that sounds like hyperbole, consider your natural ability to perceive radio waves as a jumping off point for all that you cannot comprehend.
Trying to understand the human subconscious is a humbling endeavor. Psychology studies our subconscious manifesting itself in our lives, neuroscience seeks to identify its physiological mechanisms, and spiritual discourse aims to predict and explain what it all means. The difference between our awake and dreaming selves is vast, and even though our dream world might seem like a distant and uncharted place, as usual, there is always more than what meets the eye.
There is a certain chemical which exists in nature that is propagated in our brains during our sleep, and excreted during our death. There is a chemical which, when synthesized and ingested, creates an experience so profound, that it has been dubbed “The Sprit Molecule”.
Dimethyltryptamine or (DMT) is this chemical. DMT is associated with dreaming and out of body experiences. The US Army Research Group has known about DMT and its tremendous neuro-psychedelic characteristics since the 1960’s. This compound exists in nature in plants, and it occurs naturally in mammals. The brain releases this substance when we die. Users of synthesized DMT report a complete “ego death”. An experience that puts them in front of beings they’ve never seen before, geometric patterns and colors that they can’t explain. DMT allows communication with something above the marginalized reality that we have come to know. There are many guesses as to exactly what it is DMT allows the human mind to see. Is it our subconscious at hyper drive? Is it an opening of an inter-dimensional pathway? Is it the full perception of the universe’s nature?
One of the more interesting aspects of our shared human experience is death; the end of the current state of our conscious perception. We fit so nicely into the universe as part of the natural machinery of earth, yet our conscious mind softly calls to the night sky and yearns to understand what exists out there. The infinite universe, in all of its glory, can’t answer our questions, but maybe, just maybe, our own deaths can. We do, however, hope to be able to address this question without having to die first, and many scientists, forward-thinking intellectuals, and even the occasional burn-out have sought to answer these questions with DMT.
There are many people who have “out of body” experiences during near death trauma. They report various instances of floating over their own bodies, having an overwhelming sense of calm and peace, and experiencing a subjective version of death. This seems to be congruent to what DMT users have reported. This feeling of calm and peace comes from the complete termination of the ego, and a heightened cognitive perception that we simply aren’t used to in our natural state.
The power potential of the human mind has yet to be optimized. Humans, as we exist today, aren’t the apex of human evolutionary progression. We are, many might argue, the infancy. This is why we allow things like hate to perpetuate a global society that is, objectively, extremely polarized, with many people left to suffer, and so much potential neglected and squandered.
For all of the inequalities that persist in the human race today, there are biological aspects of our existence which bind us together beyond any realm of societal construct or race. Human beings are all the same animal, we share the same DNA, and our minds all hold within them, the same potential. We are, as Sagan so elegantly put it, “made of starry stuff”.
We are the conscious manifestation of this universe, but we remain, unfortunately, so ignorant regarding the nature of the universe itself. DMT, in all of its psychedelic glory, might just be a way to take the first step into the vast sea that is the cosmic intellect.