Rick Strassman, Slawek Wojtowicz, Luis Eduardo Luna and Ede Frecska, Authors of the Month for July 2008
Inner Paths to Outer Space
Rick Strassman, MD, is clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and the author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule.
Slawek Wojtowicz, MD, is a medical oncologist working in the pharmaceutical industry in Edison, New Jersey, a science fiction illustrator, and the author of Daydreaming.
Luis Eduardo Luna, Ph.D, is coauthor (with Pablo Amaringo) of Ayahuasca Visions, and director of Wasiwaska, Research Centre for the Study of Psychointegrator Plants, Visionary Arts and Consciousness in Florianopolis, Brazil.
Ede Frecska, MD, is chief of psychiatry at the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Budapest, Hungary, and a contributing author to Psychedelic Medicine.
It appears that humans have been in contact with "alien" life-forms and intelligences for millennia. Anyone who is open-minded enough to investigate honestly the available cultural, physical and historical evidence will quickly come to the conclusion that it is unlikely we are the only intelligent beings in the Universe. Ancient rock paintings in North America, North Africa and Australia; olden tales of elves, fairies, and pixies; and stories of thousands of people who claim that they have been contacted or abducted by alien beings, all attest to our long-standing and ongoing relationship to non-human intelligences.
Even our religious texts are full of compelling descriptions of non-human, "spiritual" beings with which we have had contact and relationships. Check out the Genesis story in the Bible - it talks about "sons of the gods" who walked on Earth, whose giant offspring resulted from their union with human women. In addition, angels of all sorts continually appear in the Hebrew Bible. And Ezekiel, the Old Testament prophet, describes in great detail a chariot flying in mid-air, upon which non-human beings appear. In his book "Genesis Revisited," Zecharia Sitchin interprets the Hebrew texts in light of their similarity to Sumerian counterparts, and proposes that humans were created by a technologically advanced alien race, called Annunaki.
Along more contemporary lines, astronomers are still trying to locate dark matter and dark energy. More than 80 percent of the mass in the universe is unaccounted for and is effectively invisible to our most sophisticated instruments. Some of the new theories posit that dark matter and energy are hidden in the ten (or more) additional spatial dimensions predicted by string theory. Physicists such as Michio Kaku tell us that parallel universes may be hiding in the higher dimensions, and experiments are in progress to prove their existence. Is it possible to access parallel universes by other, perhaps non-technological means? Is it possible to perceive extra dimensions with our own minds?
Physical laws as we know them are restrictive in this regard. Electromagnetic waves-as far as we know-cannot carry information between dimensions. In Psychedelic Shamanism Jim DeKorne postulates: "For human beings, spatial dimensions of three and less are external, and dimensions higher than three are internal. Hence, for us, all spatial dimensions higher than three are mental or psychic. It follows from this that a four-dimensional being would be experienced subjectively by a three-dimensional being as an inner voice or hallucination, as an interior phenomenon."
Some claim that people have been venturing into alien worlds for thousands of years. Most of these people have not been NASA astronauts, scientists working for SETI project, or even science-fiction fans. Many of these explorers have not been prepared for what they have experienced, and most of them have never heard about the First Contact manuals. Instead, they have been spiritual seekers, shamans, religious ascetics, medical research subjects, psychiatric patients, drug abusers, and ordinary people who, accidentally and sometimes against their will, have assumed the role of human ambassadors to alien worlds. It turns out that methods do exist that allow us to visit other realms, and have been used by humans for millennia. These are spiritual technologies: tools that allow one to leave his or her body and travel into and through these invisible worlds. Buddhist monks and Hindu sages who are able to enter deep levels of meditation tell us that it is possible to travel this way. So do Native American shamans who utilize sacred plants such as peyote, magic mushrooms and ayahuasca for similar purposes.
The original inspiration for this book came from the results of research conducted on human volunteers who were administered intravenous DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, at the University of New Mexico in the 1990s. DMT is a hallucinogenic compound found normally in the human and other mammalian bodies, as well as in a huge number of plants, including one used to make the Amazon brew ayahuasca. DMT produces extraordinary changes in consciousness, similar to those described in dreams, religious exaltation, psychosis, and near-death experiences.
According to shamanic practitioners, use of sacred plants such as peyote, sacred mushrooms, or ayahuasca frees the soul from corporeal confinement, facilitates access to alternate realities, and allows communication with the spiritual world. These plants are also used to diagnose and treat a wide variety of illnesses, psychological, spiritual and physical.
We argue in our book that some of these experiences can also be described as travel into realms known from certain genres of science fiction such as horror, fantasy, or ghost stories. Participants in these rituals frequently report encounters with 'alien" and non-corporeal, spiritual beings-some of them benevolent, some of them dangerous. Others experience time travel, telepathy, or merging with divinity.
Almost half of the subjects participating in a clinical study of DMT conducted by Rick Strassman reporting contact with absolutely alien realms while remaining lucid. Some of them described seeing vast, orbital structures around unknown planets, or meeting and interacting with peculiar alien beings. These contacts ranged from various attempts at communication to bizarre surgical procedures and even sexual intercourse with aliens! Many of these reports parallel those of the "alien abduction" literature, leading us to speculate about a relationship between endogenous DMT and such encounters. In a similar vein, it is interesting to note that subjects who have been hypnotized for a variety of purposes report similar experiences, which it is conceivable, may be related to hypnosis-induced release of endogenous DMT.
But are such experiences real? Can hallucinations be true? Did these people actually meet aliens and visit distant planets? Our book not only aims to show you the inner paths to the outer space, but it also attempts to explain to the rationally minded why these paths exist, and how they may work. This we do partly based on new models of brain function that rely upon quantum computing and quantum physics
Our universe is beautiful, complex, and full of delightful surprises. The most astounding secrets are often hidden in plain sight. It may be that in our search for alien intelligence we have been looking in the wrong direction-rather than building ever more powerful rocket ships and telescopes, perhaps we ought to be looking inward into our own consciousness with the aid of psychoactive plants and spiritual techniques that appear to provide the "contact" experience our species has for so many millenia yearned.
Some science-fiction literature, art, and film indeed may have been inspired by mind-expanding experiences. Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Philip K. Dick's brilliant novels Valis, Ubik, and The Divine Invasion allude to other realities. Movies such as Total Recall, Dark City, The Matrix, Renegade, eXistenZ, Vanilla Sky, The Fountain, The Waking Life, The Truman Show, The X-Files, The Lord of the Rings, and even Star Wars have similar altered-states themes.
One wonders: can information bypass the five senses to enter our minds? The power of intuition and mind-expanding experiences may explain why almost every important idea introduced by science-fiction writers has eventually entered mainstream science. Academic articles on hyperspace, time travel, faster than light speed, teleportation, and parallel universes once belonged solely to the realm of science fiction, but are published nowadays in journals of theoretical physics. Some of these ideas have even reached an experimental stage. This may be shocking to skeptics, even though skeptics are rather difficult to surprise.
Perhaps Eric von Däniken (author of "Chariots of the Gods") has a point: Humankind has had visitors-and they may have come to visit us through either inner space or outer space. It is possible that the people whom we consider instrumental in the sudden upspring of civilization experienced some sort of naturally occurring, or plant-stimulated, psychedelic visions as a source of their inspiration and ingenious inventions. Perhaps the culture we are so proud of was shaped many thousand of years ago by the influence of endogenous or plant-based hallucinogens. Perhaps mystical traditions are correct in teaching that there is an infinite world inside of us and that this infinite world is the same as the world outside…
Please see the authors' websites for more information:
Rick Strassman: http://www.rickstrassman.com/
Luis Eduardo Luna: http://www.wasiwaska.org/wo_luiseduardo.htm
Ede Frecska: http://www.wasiwaska.org/wo_edefrecska.htm
Slawek Wojtowicz: http://www.slawcio.com
You may also visit Slawek Wojtowicz’s online gallery if you wish to see some of the images used in the book.
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