Psychological effects

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Catharsis

Main article: Catharsis

Catharsis can be described as the experience of a sudden healing or releasing of strong or repressed negative emotions. This process of healing negative emotions and traumas (no matter the substance) is often described as feeling very natural and cleansing. The process typically starts off being difficult to fully face and is sometimes accompanied by very physically intense sensations which typically lead into pronounced emotion enhancement, deep introspection and an analysis of one's character and past events. During this experience, many people describe reliving traumatic events, witnessing painful memories, having enhanced mental imagery, reliving of past experiences, a release of previously repressed emotions, painful feelings in general, and even experiences of encountering deceased relatives during hallucinatory states.

In the context of psychoactive substances, this effect is commonly referred to as "purgative" in nature. It can be very effective for helping the individual overcome conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other personal afflictions relating to suffered past traumas. After this experience is over most users report feelings of contentment, rejuvenation and personal bias suppression which may last days, weeks or even years after the event is over.

Catharsis is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of entactogens, dissociatives, and meditation.

Delusions

Main article: Delusions

Delusions are spontaneously occurring false beliefs held with strong conviction regardless of evidence to the contrary, rational argument, or how much the belief seemingly contradicts the individual's prior understanding of the world.

In most cases, delusions can be broken out of when overwhelming evidence is provided to the contrary or when the person has sobered up enough to logically analyse the situation. It is exceedingly rare for hallucinogen induced delusions to persist into sobriety. They are most likely to occur during states of memory suppression and share common themes and elements with clinical schizophrenia.

Delusions are most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, deliriants, and dissociatives. However, they can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of cannabinoids, stimulant psychosis, and sleep deprivation.

Types

All delusions can be categorized by whether or not they are bizarre and whether or not they are mood-congruent.

  • Bizarre delusion: A delusion that is characteristically absurd and completely implausible. An example of a bizarre delusion could be the belief that aliens have removed the delusional person's brain.[1]
  • Non-bizarre delusion: A delusion that, though false, is at least theoretically plausible. An example of this could be the belief that the delusional person is currently under police surveillance.[2]
  • Mood-congruent delusion: A delusion with content consistent with either a depressive or manic state. For example, a depressed person may believe that a news anchors on television highly disapproves of them as a person or that the world is ending. However, a manic person might believe that they are a powerful deity, that they have special talents, a special higher purpose, or are a famous person.[3]
  • Mood-neutral delusion: A delusion that does not relate to the sufferer's emotional state. For example, a belief that an extra limb is growing out of the back of one's head would likely be neutral to a persons depression or mania.[4]

Themes

In addition to these categories, delusions can be classified by their thematic content. Although delusions can have any theme, certain underlying themes are commonly found amongst different people. Some of the more common delusional themes which are induced by psychoactive substances are described and documented below:

Delusion of reference

Delusions of reference are perhaps the most common type of delusion. This delusion typically entails the falsely held belief that an insignificant remark, event, coincidence, or object in one's environment is either a reaction to the individual or has significant personal meaning relating directly back to the person's life. In psychiatry, delusions of reference form part of the diagnostic criteria for illnesses such as schizophrenia, delusional disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder. To a lesser extent, they can also be a symptom of paranoid personality disorder. They can also be caused by intoxication, especially with hallucinogens or during stimulant psychosis.

A list of common examples of this type of delusion and described and documented below:

  • Believing that everyone on a passing bus is talking about them
  • Believing that people on television or radio are talking about or talking directly to them
  • Believing that headlines or stories in newspapers are written especially for them
  • Believing that events (even world events) have been deliberately contrived for them, or have special personal significance for them
  • Believing that the lyrics of a song are specifically about them
  • Believing that the normal function of cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices are sending secret and significant messages that only they can understand or believe.
  • Believing that objects or events are being set up deliberately to convey a special or particular meaning to themselves
  • Believing that the slightest careless movement on the part of another person has a significant and deliberate meaning
  • Believing that posts on social network websites or Internet blogs have hidden meanings pertaining to them.

Delusion of sobriety

A delusion of sobriety typically entails the falsely held belief that one is perfectly sober despite obvious evidence to the contrary such as severe cognitive impairment, significant motor control loss and an inability to fully communicate with others.

Delusions of sobriety are the most common type of delusion experienced under the influence of GABAergic compounds such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Delusion of transcendence

Delusions of transcendence are commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages psychedelic compounds, particularly during states of high level geometry, memory suppression, and internal hallucinations. They typically entail a falsely held belief that one has "transcended into a higher plane of existence" or has discovered the secret to "transcending" and will be able to implement it just as soon as one sobers up. Once this occurs, however, the supposed secret is found to be nonsensical, incorrect, or forgotten.

Delusion of enlightenment

Delusions of enlightenment typically entail the sudden realization the one has suddenly become "enlightened" and has figured out or been shown the answer or meaning to life, the universe and everything. This delusion may be accompanied with euphoria from the belief that one has learned the fundamental truth about life. During the experience, this answer is felt to be incredibly simplistic and self-evident but is immediately forgotten or realized to be nonsensical once the person has sufficiently sobered up.

Delusions of enlightenment are the most common type of delusion under the influence of short acting ego death inducing hallucinogenic compounds such as DMT, nitrous oxide and salvia.

Delusion of death

Delusions of death are the falsely held belief that one is about to die, is currently dying, no longer exists or has already died. This delusion seems to be a result of anxiety caused by misinterpreting the experience of losing one's sense of self during states of high level ego death. As can be predicted, a delusion of being dead or dying is usually very distressing for the person experiencing it.

Delusions of death are commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages psychedelic and dissociative compounds.

Delusion of guilt

Delusions of guilt are caused by ungrounded and intense feelings of remorse or guilt that lead one to conclude that one must have committed some sort of unethical act. The supposed unethical act can range from something relatively mild such as the belief that one has cheated on their partner or it can be something much more serious such as the belief that one has murdered their friends and family.

Delusions of guilt are commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages psychedelic and dissociative compounds.

Delusion of reality

Delusions of reality are the unfounded belief that something fictional such as the plot of a tv-show, film, videogame, or book is a real life event. This delusion may manifest as the perception that the fictional events are genuinely occurring in one's immediate vicinity, or simply that the media being portrayed is real. For example, one may have the sensation that fictional media is occuring around them, or may believe they are watching on a screen events occuring in real life, but elsewhere. This delusion seems to be a result of high level immersion enhancement combining with memory suppression to create a state of mind in which somebody is highly engrossed in media while no longer having a functional long term memory that can recall the difference between reality and fiction.

Delusions of reality are commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages of dissociative and occassionally psychedelic compounds.

Delusion of unreality

Delusions of unreality are the unfounded belief that one is currently inside of a videogame, dream, or movie and therefore that one's current actions will not have any real life consequences. Depending on the person, this delusion can sometimes result in committing crimes or violent acts. It seems to be a result of intense derealization combined with disinhibition and memory suppression to create an altered state of mind in which somebody mistakes reality for a fictional hallucination.

Delusions of unreality are commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages hallucinogens and occassionally during stimulant psychosis.

Delusion of grandiosity

Delusions of grandiosity are the unfounded belief that oneself or another person is or has become god-like, immortal, a visionary genius, or celebrity. They are rarely experienced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds and occasionally during stimulant psychosis.

The delusion of having become godlike is seemingly a result of high level ego inflation and mania. The opposite experience of when a person thinks that a person or the people around them have become godlike while they have not is commonly the result of those people being more sober than the delusional person. This causes the delusional person to misinterpret that the other person/people are somehow more capable than a normal human being, when in fact it is just the delusional person who has become less capable due to cognitive suppressions such as memory suppression.

Delusional Parasitosis

Delusional parasitosis, also known as Ekbom's syndrome,[5][6] is a form of psychosis in which victims acquire a strong delusional belief that they are infested with parasites, whereas in reality no such parasites are present.[7] In the context of psychoactive substances, it is particularly common during stimulant psychosis after prolonged chronic usage of cocaine.[8]

Sufferers may injure themselves in attempts to rid themselves of the "parasites." Some are able to induce the condition in others through suggestion, in which case the term folie à deux may be applicable.[9][10] Nearly any marking upon the skin, or small object or particle found on the person or his clothing can be interpreted as evidence for the parasitic infestation, and sufferers commonly compulsively gather such "evidence" and then present it to medical professionals when seeking help.[11]

Depersonalization

Main article: Depersonalization

Depersonalization or depersonalisation (sometimes abbreviated as DP) can be described as an anomaly of self-awareness that consists of a feeling of watching oneself act as one normally would, while having no control over a situation. It can occur under the influence of hallucinogenic substances, particularly dissociatives, and may persist for some time after sobriety.[12] During this state, the affected person may feel that he or she is "on autopilot" and that the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real, or lacking in significance. Individuals who experience depersonalization often feel divorced from their own personal physicality by no longer sensing their body sensations, feelings, emotions and behaviors as belonging to a person or identity.[13] It is often claimed by people who have depersonalization that reality seems unreal, distant or hazy. Depersonalization can sometimes be distressing to the user, who may become disoriented by the loss of a sense that their self is the origin of their thoughts and actions. However, it does not have to be an inherently negative altered state of awareness, as it does not directly affect one's emotions or thought patterns.

It is perfectly normal for many people to slip into this state temporarily, often without even realizing it. For example, many people often note that they enter a detached state of autopilot during stressful situations or when performing monotonous routine tasks such as driving. This state of mind is also commonly associated with and occurs along side of a very similar psychological disorder known as derealization. While depersonalization is a subjective experience of unreality in one's sense of self, derealization is a perception of the unreality of the outside world.

In psychology, chronic depersonalization that persists during sobriety for prolonged periods of time is identified as "depersonalization disorder" and is classified by the DSM-IV as a dissociative disorder. While degrees of depersonalization are common and can happen temporarily to anyone who is subject to an anxiety or stress provoking situation, chronic depersonalization is more common within individuals who have experienced a severe trauma or prolonged stress and anxiety. The symptoms of both chronic derealization and depersonalization are common within the general population, with a lifetime prevalence of up to 26-74% and 31–66% at the time of a traumatic event.[14] It has also been demonstrated that derealization may be caused by a dysfunction within the brains visual processing center (occipital lobe) or the temporal lobe, which is used for processing the meaning of sensory input, language comprehension, and emotion association.[15]

Within the context of identity altering effects, depersonalization can be considered as being at the opposite end of the identity spectrum relative to states of unity and interconnectedness. This is because during depersonalisation, a person senses and attributes their identity to nothing, giving a sense of having no self. However, during a state of unity and interconnectedness, one senses and attributes their identity to everything, giving a sense that the entirety of existence is their self.

Depersonalization is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety and derealization. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of dissociative compounds, such as ketamine, PCP and DXM. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent during the withdrawal symptoms of stimulants and depressants.

Depression

Main article: Depression

Depression can be described as a state of low mood and aversion to activity, which can affect a person's general sense of well-being in a negative manner. Depressed people often feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt, or restless. They may have problems concentrating, remembering details, feeling emotions, connecting with other people or making decisions. The negative effects of depression may cause the person to contemplate or attempt to commit suicide.

Within the context of psychoactive substance usage, depression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety and irritability and can be considered as the polar opposite of cognitive euphoria. It is most commonly induced when a stimulant or depressant is used repeatedly for prolonged periods of time, during the withdrawal symptoms of almost any substance, or during the comedown/crash of a stimulant. However, it is worth noting that substance-induced depression is often much shorter lasting than clinical depression, subsiding once the effects or withdrawal symptoms of a drug have ended.

When not caused by drug use, in the context of formal psychology, these feelings can be classified as clinical depression or major depressive disorder by the DSM's diagnostic criteria when five (or more) specific symptoms from the list below have been present during the same 2-week period and the feelings represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms must also be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.[16]

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.)
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation.)
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
  5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
  8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others).
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

For a diagnosis of clinical depression to be accurate, the symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. They cannot be attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition. The occurrence of the major depressive episode must also not be better explained by another disorder on the schizophrenic or psychotic spectrum.

If you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it is highly recommended that you seek out therapy, medical attention, or a support group.

Déjà vu

Main article: Déjà vu

Déjà vu or Deja vu can be described as the sudden sensation that a current event or situation has already been experienced at some point within the past when, in actuality, it hasn't. This a common phrase from the French language which translates literally into “already seen”. It is a well documented phenomenon that can commonly occur throughout both sober living and under the influence of hallucinogens.

Within the context of psychoactive substance usage, many compounds are commonly capable of inducing spontaneous and often prolonged states of mild to intense sensations of déjà vu. This can provide one with an overwhelming sense that they have “been here before”. The sensation is also often accompanied by a false feeling of familiarity with the current location or setting, the current physical actions being performed, the situation as a whole or the effects of the substance itself.

This effect is often triggered despite the fact that during the experience of it one can be rationally aware that the circumstances of the “previous” experience (when, where, and how the earlier experience occurred) are uncertain or believed to be impossible.

Déjà vu is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as short term memory suppression and thought loops. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and cannabinoids.

Ego replacement

Main article: Ego inflation

Ego replacement can be described as the sudden perception that one's sense of self and personality has been replaced with that of another persons, fictional characters, animals or inanimate objects perspective. This can manifest in a number of ways which include but are not limited to feeling is one has literally become another human, animal, or alien consciousness. During this state, the person will be unlikely to realize that their personality has been temporarily swapped with anothers and will usually not remember their previous life.

Ego replacement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as delusions, psychosis, and memory suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants.

Mindfulness

Main article: Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be described as a psychological concept which is well established within the scientific literature and commonly discussed in association with meditation. It is often broken down into two separate subcomponents which comprise this effect.

The first of these components involves the self-regulation of attention so that its focus is completely directed towards immediate experience, thereby quietening one's internal narrative and allowing for increased recognition of external and mental events within the present moment.

The second of these components involves adopting a particular orientation toward one’s experiences in the present moment that is characterized by a lack of judgement, curiosity, openness, and acceptance.

Within meditation, this state of mind is deliberately practiced and maintained via the conscious and manual redirection of one's awareness towards a singular point of focus for extended periods of time. However, within the context of psychoactive substance usage, this state is often spontaneously induced without any conscious effort or the need of any prior knowledge regarding meditative techniques.

Mindfulness is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety suppression and focus enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and cannabinoids. However, it can also occur on entactogens, certain nootropics such as l-theanine, and during simultaneous doses of benzodiazepines and stimulants.

Personality regression

Personality regression can be described as a mental state in which one suddenly adopts an identical personality, set of mannerisms and behaviors to that of their past self from a younger age. This is often capable of making one believe that they are a child again and begin acting appropriately to this belief. There are also anecdotal reports of people speaking in languages which they have not used for many years under the influence of this effect.

Personality regression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as memory suppression and ego death. It a very rare effect that is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics and dissociatives.

Psychosis

Main article: Psychosis

Psychosis can be described as an abnormal condition of the mind and a generic psychiatric term for a mental state in which one experiences a "loss of contact with reality." People with psychosis are described as psychotic. People experiencing psychosis may exhibit some personality changes and thought disorder. Depending on its severity, this may also be accompanied by unusual or bizarre behavior as well as difficulty with social interaction and a general impairment in carrying out daily life activities.

Within the context of clinical psychology, psychosis is a very broad term that can mean anything from relatively mild delusions to the complex and catatonic expressions of schizophrenia and bipolar type 1 disorder.[17][18][19] Generally speaking however, psychosis involves noticeable deficits in cognitive functioning and diverse types of hallucinations or delusional beliefs, particularly those that are in regard to the relation between self and others such as delusions of grandiosity, paranoia, or conspiracy. The most common of these signs and symptoms of psychosis are listed as separate subcomponents below:

Psychosis is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as deliriants psychedelics, dissociatives, and cannabinoids. However, it can also occur under the influence of stimulants, particularly during the comedown or as a result of prolonged binges. It may also manifest from abrupt discontinuation of long term or heavy usage of certain drugs such as benzodiazepines or alcohol; this is known as the delirium tremens (DTs). Aside from substance abuse it may also occur as a result of sleep deprivation, emotional trauma, psychiatric disorder, urinary tract infections, and various other medical condition.

Rejuvenation

Main article: Rejuvenation

Rejuvenation can be described as feelings of mild to extreme cognitive refreshment which are felt during the afterglow of certain compounds. The symptoms of rejuvenation often include a sustained sense of heightened mental clarity, increased emotional stability, increased calmness alongside of mindfulness, increased motivation, personal bias suppression, increased focus and decreased depression. At its highest level, feelings of rejuvenation can become so intense that they manifest as the profound and overwhelming sensation of being "reborn" anew. This mindstate can potentially last anywhere from several hours to several months after the substance has worn off.

Rejuvination is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics and dissociatives. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of entactogens, cannnabinoids, and meditation.

Suicidal ideation

Main article: Suicidal ideation

Suicidal ideation can be described as the experience of compulsive suicidal thoughts and a general desire to end one's own life. These thoughts patterns and desires range in intensity from fleeting thoughts to an intense fixation. This effect can also create a predisposition to other self-destructive behaviors such as self-harm or drug abuse and, if left unresolved, can eventually lead to attempts of suicide.

Suicidal ideation is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as depression and motivation enhancement in a manner which maintains the person's negative view on life but also increases their will to take immediate action. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of various antidepressants of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class. However, outside of psychoactive substance usage, it can also occur as a manifestation of a number of things including mental illness, traumatic life events, and interpersonal problems.

Transpersonal effects

Existential self-realization

Existential self-realization can be described as a sudden realization, revelation or reaffirmation of one's existence within this universe. This feels like a sudden and profound "waking up" or "rebirth" that results in an intense sense of motivation, an added sense of purpose to one’s life, a sudden comprehension of one's situation, an appreciation for life, and a sense of urgency to make the most out of it while it lasts. During this state, no new knowledge is learned but the previously known information regarding one's existence is reintegrated in a sudden and profound manner that results in a deep sense of appreciation for the unlikely circumstances of one's existence. The residual impacts of this effect often carry over into sobriety, potentially resulting in lasting positive benefits for the person.

Existential self-realization is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic and dissociative compounds such as ketamine, LSD, 4-AcO-DMT and DCK. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent after near death experiences and under the influence of entacogens such as MDMA.

Feelings of eternalism

The image above represents how a person under the influence of this component would view themselves as an organism. This is often described as being a singular structure which stretches through the physical dimension of time alongside of all other identically behaving structures which the universe as a whole is entirely comprised of.

Perception of eternalism can be described as a major alteration of one's perspective of the fundamental mechanics and nature behind the linear continuity of time moving from past to present to the future. During this state of mind, one feels as if all points across the timeline of existence are equally "real" and are occurring simultaneously alongside each other. Every point in time is felt to exist regardless of one’s current point in time, much as all points in physical space persist regardless of the observer's location.

While all moments are felt to be equally real, the directional flow of time is felt to be maintained, with the present always being the moment which is currently experienced. All moments in time are still felt to be linked together by causality, the past necessitating the present, which necessitates the future, and so forth.

A common conclusion that is reached during the experience of this state is that although one's life inevitably will end, it will persist forever within its own timeframe and is therefore perpetual despite not being infinite in its length. Birth and death are therefore merely the start and end points of the range of time that a person exists in eternally, if not experiences eternally.

This sudden change in perspective starkly contrasts with the standard perception of time in which only the present is felt to exist, while the past no longer is and the future is yet to be.

Perception of eternalism is often accompanied by other coinciding transpersonal effects such as unity and interconnectedness and feelings of interdependent opposites. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Feelings of interdependent opposites

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang, are concepts used to describe how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected and interdependent in the natural world.

Perception of interdependent opposites can be described as a powerful subjective feeling that reality is based upon a binary system in which the existence of fundamentally important concepts or situations logically arise from and depend upon the co-existence of their opposite. This perception is not just understood at a cognitive level, but manifests as intuitive sensations which are felt rather than thought by the person.

This experience is usually interpreted as providing a deep insight into the fundamental nature of reality. For example, concepts such as existence and nonexistence, life and death, up and down, self and other, light and dark, good and bad, big and small, pleasure and suffering, yes and no, internal and external, hot and cold, young and old, etc are felt to exist as harmonious forces which necessarily contrast their opposite force in a state of equilibrium.

Perception of interdependent opposites is often accompanied by other coinciding transpersonal effects such as ego death, unity and interconnectedness, and perception of eternalism. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Feelings of predeterminism

Perception of predeterminism can be described as the sensation that all physical and mental processes are the result of prior causes, that every event and choice is an inevitable outcome that could not have happened differently, that all of reality is a complex causal chain that can be traced back to the beginning of time. This is accompanied by the absence of the feeling that a person's decision-making processes and general cognitive faculties inherently possess "free will”. This sudden change in perspective causes one to feel as if their personal choices, physical actions, and individual personality traits have always been completely predetermined by prior causes and are, therefore, outside of their conscious control.

During this state a person begins to feel as if their decisions arise from a complex set of internally stored, pre-programmed, and completely autonomous, instant electrochemical responses to perceived sensory input. These sensations are often interpreted as disproving the concept of free will, as the experience of this effect seems fundamentally incompatible with the notion of being self-determined. This state can also lead a person to the perception that their very identity and selfhood are the cumulative results of their biology and past experiences.

Once the effect begins to wear off, a person will often return to their everyday feelings of freedom and independence. Despite this, however, they will usually retain the cognitive realizations regarding what is often interpreted as a profound insight into the apparent illusory nature of free will.

Perception of predeterminism is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as ego death and physical autonomy. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Feelings of self-design

Perception of self-design can be described the experience of feeling that one is personally responsible for the creation, design, manifestation of a concept, process or event which is normally seen as the result of unrelated external causes.

This effect typically onsets suddenly and spontaneously. However, it is most commonly felt during emotionally significant situations which are so enjoyable and fulfilling that they are exactly how one would have designed it had they have somehow been given the conscious choice to do so in advance. This is especially true of situations that seem improbable or are completely unexpected.

It can be broken down into two separate sub-components which include:

  • Feeling as if one designed, planned out and created certain (or even all) aspects of one's life such as current or past events, loved ones, and key events.
  • Feeling as if one designed, planned out and created certain (or even all) aspects of the external world such as current or historical events, nature, life, the universe as a whole and the physical laws which it abides by.

Perception of self-design is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as ego death and high level unity and interconnectedness. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Spirituality enhancement

Spirituality enhancement can be described as the experience of a shift in a person’s personal beliefs regarding their existence and place within the universe, their relationship to others, and what they value as meaningful in life. It results in a person rethinking the significance they place on certain key concepts, holding some in higher regard than they did previously, and dismissing others as less important.[20] These concepts and notions are not limited to but generally include:

  • An increased sense of personal purpose.[21]
  • An increased interest in the pursuit of developing personal religious and spiritual ideologies.[22][23]
    • The formation of complex personal religious beliefs.
  • An increased sense of compassion towards nature and other people.[22][23][24]
  • An increased sense of unity and interconnectedness between oneself, nature, god and the universe as a whole.[20][22][24][25][26][27][28]
  • A decreased sense of value placed upon money and material objects.[24]
  • A decreased fear and greater acceptance of death and the finite nature of existence.[20][29][30][31]

Although difficult to fully specify due to the personal aspect of spirituality enhancement, these changes in one's personality and belief system can often result in profound changes in one's personality[24][26][32] which can become distinctively noticeable to others around those who undergo it. This shift can occur suddenly but will usually increase gradually over time as a person repeatedly uses the psychoactive substance which is inducing it.

Sprituality enhancement is unlikely to be an isolated component but rather the result of a combination of a proper setting[22] in conjunction with other coinciding effects such as analysis enhancement, autonomous voice communication, novelty enhancement, perception of interdependent opposites, perception of predeterminism, perception of self-design, personal bias suppression, and unity and interconnectedness. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of dissociatives, such as ketamine, PCP, and DXM.

Unity and interconnectedness

This symbol depicts the universe as a "self-excited" circuit. It was originally created by the late theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler in his 1983 paper Law Without Law. The eye represents the self and the line directly opposite represents that which it is perceiving within the "external" environment. The two sections are connected into each other via arrows to demonstrate that it is a singular and unified system.

Unity and interconnectedness can be described as the experience of one's sense of self becoming temporarily changed to feel as if constituted by a wider array of concepts than that which it previously did. For example, while a person may usually feel that they are exclusively their “ego” or a combination of their “ego” and physical body, during this state their sense of identity can change to include the external environment or an object they are interacting with. This results in intense and inextricable feelings of unity or interconnectedness between oneself and varying arrays of previously "external" systems.

It is worth noting that many people who undergo this experience consistently interpret it as the removal of a deeply embedded illusion, the destruction of which is often described as some sort of profound “awakening” or “enlightenment.”

Unity and interconnectedness most commonly occurs under the influence of psychedelic and dissociative compounds such as LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, mescaline, and ketamine. However it can also occur during well-practiced meditation, deep states of contemplation, and intense focus.

There are a total of 5 distinct levels of identity which a person can experience during this state. These various altered states of unity have been arranged into a leveling system that orders its different states from least to most number of concepts one's identity is currently attributed to. These levels are described and documented below:

1. Unity between specific "external" systems

The lowest level of unity can be described as a perceived sense of unity between two or more systems within the external environment which in everyday life are usually perceived as separate from each other and from one's identity. It is the least complex level of this unity, as it is the only level of interconnectedness in which the subjective experience of unity does not involve a state of interconnectedness between the self and the external.

There are an endless number of ways in which this level manifests, but common examples of the experience often include:

  • A sense of unity between specific living things such as animals or plants and their surrounding ecosystems
  • A sense of unity between other human beings and the objects they are currently interacting with
  • A sense of unity between any number of currently perceivable inanimate objects.
  • A sense of unity between humanity and nature
  • A sense of unity between literally any combination of perceivable external systems and concepts

2. Unity between the self and specific "external" systems

This level can be described as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to (in addition to the body and/or brain) specific external systems or concepts within the immediate environment, particularly those that would usually be considered as intrinsically separate from one's own being.

The experience itself is often described as a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s identity and the specific physical systems or concepts within the perceivable external environment which are currently the subjects of their thoughts or focus. This creates a sensation of becoming inextricably "connected to", "one with", "the same as", or "unified" with whatever the perceived external system happens to be.

There are an endless number of ways in which this level manifests itself, but common examples of the experience often include:

  • Becoming unified with and identifying with a specific object one is interacting with
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with another person or multiple people (particularly common if engaging in sexual or romantic activities)
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with the entirety of one's own physical body
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with large crowds of people (particularly common at raves and music festivals)
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with the external environment, but not the people within it

3. Unity between the self and all perceivable "external" systems

This level can be described as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to the entirety of their immediately perceivable external environment.

The experience itself is often described as a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s identity and the entirety of their sensory input or the currently perceivable external environment. It creates a sensation in the person that they have “become one with their surroundings.” This is felt to be the result of a person’s sense of self becoming attributed to not just primarily the internal narrative of the ego, but in equal measure to the body itself and everything around it which it is physically perceiving through the senses. This sensation creates the compelling perspective that one is the external environment experiencing itself through a specific point within it, namely the physical sensory perceptions of the body one's consciousness currently resides in.

It is at this point that a key component of the high-level identity alteration experience becomes an extremely noticeable factor. Once a person's sense of self has become attributed to the entirety of their surroundings, this new perspective completely changes how it feels to physically interact with what was previously felt to be an external environment. For example, when one is not in this state and is interacting with a physical object, it typically feels as though one is a central agent acting on the separate world around them.

However, while undergoing a state of unity with the currently perceivable environment, interacting with an external object consistently feels as if the whole unified system is autonomously acting on itself with no central, separate agent operating the process of interaction. Instead, the process suddenly feels as if it has become completely decentralized and holistic, as the environment begins to autonomously and harmoniously respond to itself in a predetermined manner to perform the interaction carried out by the individual.

4. Unity between the self and all known "external" systems

The highest level of this effect can be described as feeling as if one's identity is simultaneously attributed to the entirety of the immediately perceivable external environment and all known concepts that exist outside of it. These known concepts typically include all of humanity, nature, and the universe as it presently stands in its complete entirety. This feeling is commonly interpreted by people as becoming one with the universe.

When experienced, the effect creates the sudden perspective that one is not a separate agent approaching an external reality, but is instead the entire universe as a whole experiencing itself, exploring itself, and performing actions upon itself through the specific point in space and time which this particular body and conscious perception happens to currently reside within. People who undergo this experience consistently interpret it as the removal of a deeply embedded illusion, with the revelation often described as some sort of profound “awakening” or “enlightenment.”

Although they are not necessarily literal truths about reality, at this point, many commonly reported conclusions of a religious and metaphysical nature often begin to manifest themselves as profound realizations. These are described and listed below:

  • The sudden and total acceptance of death as a fundamental complement of life. Death is no longer felt to be the destruction of oneself, but simply the end of this specific point of a greater whole, which has always existed and will continue to exist and live on through everything else in which it resides. Therefore, the death of a small part of the whole is seen as an inevitable, and not worthy of grief or any emotional attachment, but simply a fact of reality.
  • The subjective perspective that one's preconceived notions of "god" or deities can be felt as identical to the nature of existence and the totality of its contents, including oneself. This typically entails the intuition that if the universe contains all possible power (omnipotence), all possible knowledge (omniscience), is self-creating, and self-sustaining then on either a semantic or literal level the universe and its contents could also be viewed as a god.
  • The subjective perspective that one, by nature of being the universe, is personally responsible for the design, planning, and implementation of every single specific detail and plot element of one's personal life, the history of humanity, and the entirety of the universe. This naturally includes personal responsibility for all humanity's sufferings and flaws, but also includes its acts of love and achievements.

See also

References

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