DMT: The Spirit Molecule (Anglais) Broché – 1 décembre 2000
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"The account of the project is an excellent inside view of human drug studies, especially those with psychedelics." (Paul Von Ward, The AHP Perspective, June/July 2002)
"This book is a highly readable, intriguing, provocative description of Rick Strassman's theories and research concerning the effects of DMT." (Alissa Hirshfeld-Flores, M.A., LMFT, The American Journal of Psychiatry, August 2002)
"Rick Strassman's experimentation with the psychoactive substance DMT is taking up where Leary's 1950/60's LSD experiments stopped." (Rev. Dr. S. D'Montford, New Dawn, Jan-Feb 2006)
"[Strassman's] account, written more for the layman than the specialist, is ground-breaking, and raises the interesting question as to what is truly a psychedelic experience." (Peter Fenwick, The Scientific and Medical Network, Summer 2007)
"Near-death experiences. Alien abductions. Lucid dreams. Even gods and goddesses. Try DMT for an explanation and it all holds together. It's brain chemistry. It's neuropharmacology. It's quite possibly other realms. Whatever it is, it's the new frontier, a closer examination of consciousness, and it's very, very exciting!" (betaphilings.com, Dec 2008)
"[Strassman] is a gifted writer and makes scientific jargon easy to read. The book gives very interesting examples of what the volunteers envisioned and how they felt throughout the experiences. . . . It is important for us as a society to look at legal, controlled, and supervised experimentation with psychoactive drugs with open minds, and with eventual scientific benefit in mind." (Levi Cox, FLC Law and Society Science & Metaphysics Blog, Feb 2009)
"Fascinating stuff! If this kind of thing interests you then pick up this book today." (Loretta Nall, blog by former Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate, June 2009)
"In the end, I felt the most important element of the book was the contextualization of the questions most important in psychedelic research. Strassman keenly recognizes and extrapolates the areas that appear to be most vital in the further study and theory of psychedelics." (The Psychedelic Press UK, Sept 2009)
"Strassman's important research contributes to a growing awareness that we inhabit a multi-dimensional universe." (John Mack, MD Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, author of Abduction and Passport to t)
“Highly readable, intriguing, provocative. . . . [An] intellectually courageous book. . . . Will be of great use both to researchers and clinicians, as well as to laypeople.” (American Journal of Psychiatry, 2002)
“A dazzling journey through psychedelic drug experimentation and a tantalizing peek into a new model of how the brain and mind work. Strassman’s research points toward a physiological basis for spirit and its interaction with the human body; his data suggests that our brain chemistry allows us access to other realms of existence just when we need it most, and his story recounts both the dangers and promises of entering this brave new world.” (Bruce Greyson, Editor, Journal of Near-Death Studies)
"Fascinating and provocative. A remarkable exploration of the boundaries of science and consciousness itself." (Rupert Sheldrake, author of The Presence of the Past)
"Rick Strassman's pioneering research work with DMT, a natural psychedelic drug used by Amazonian Indians, raises fascinating questions about the neurochemical basis of experience and the feasibility of conducting human research with mind-altering drugs in a university medical center. Truly adventurous reading!" (Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Spontaneous Healing)
"This book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the mind, philosophy, the nature of reality, and spirituality." (Karl Jansen, M.D., Ph.D.)
"DMT: The Spirit Molecule points the way beyond the present impasse of the reigning 'drug abuse' paradigm." (Jonathan Ott, author of The Age of Entheogens and Hallucinogenic Plants of North America)
"The most extensive scientific study of the mental and perceptual effects of a psychedelic drug since the 1960s." (Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., author of Ayahuasca: Consciousness and the Spirits of Nature)
"Strassman raises vital questions about the origin of spiritual experiences and the nature of consciousness." (Larry Dossey MD, author of Reinventing Medicine, and Healing Words; Executive Editor, Alternative Th)
"DMT: The Spirit Molecule is a fascinating journey into the research of psychedelics. . . . The questions and possible explanations about the endogenous presence of DMT that he raises not only enlarge the discussion about psychedelics but also expand our understanding of the nature of consciousness." (Jule Klotter, Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients - July, 2001)
"This book will be of profound interest to . . . anyone with a deep interest in the study of consciousness, visionary states and/or psycho-pharmacology." (J. P. Harpignies, Lapis)
"Strassman's psychonauts regularly found themselves hurtled into alien laboratories, high-tech nurseries, and Day-Glo hieroglyphic hypercubes." (Erik Davis, The Village Voice)
"DMT: the Spirit Molecule is an enriching journey into one scientist's courageous attempt to solve a bit more of the brain/mind/spirit mystery at the center of human existence." (Vicki Ecker, UFO Magazine, December-January 2002)
"What you will find is a thoughtful, well-written report about another of life's mysteries." (James Dekorne, Fortean Times, November 2001)
"Strassman's research was an important step, one that will potentially illuminate the path for future researchers and volunteers alike, and this book is a great contribution to the ongoing dialogue surrounding psychedelics." (Scotto, Trip, Fall 2001)
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While reading this extraordinary book I could sense a feeling of mounting exasperation and disappointment. I am not sure if this originated in me or was being transferred by the author. It might actually be a combination of both. For it seems we both had the same expectations in terms of what DMT could do for spiritual development. This was actually the main reason why I purchased this book in the first place. I wanted to read about the spiritual experiences that various subjects might have had under the influence of DMT. If you share this interest you might ultimately be disappointed like I was, and apparently like Strassman was himself after discovering that the intense experiences of DMT had often only short term effects.
I believe the difficulty might have something to do with the variety of subjects that were selected for this project. My impression, and this is only an impression for I have no direct experience with DMT, is that in order to achieve accelerated spiritual development with DMT one might need to be highly spiritual to begin with. When I write this I have in mind Alex Grey for example who has experienced DMT extensively and has put it to good use in his highly spiritual paintings.Lire la suite ›
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And the case studies are intriguing indeed. Through various permutations of set, setting, and dosage, Strassman's volunteers experience DMT trips ranging from explorations of personal emotions and thoughts to full-blown sojourns into Cosmic Consciousness. And somewhere between these polarities of personal ego and impersonal Absolute there reside experiences of an altogether different order. It is these experiences that perhaps set the DMT molecule drastically apart from the other major psychedelic drugs. They're perhaps best explained with an example, and generally go something like this: A person is injected with DMT; within fifteen seconds the person feels a rush and suddenly finds him- or herself perceiving a completely different environment, with no major alteration in the quality of awareness, and usually there appear one or more "beings" in this environment who interact with the person and are felt, with certainty, to be entirely "real" entities, independent of, but not exactly separate from, the DMT tripper's mind. Here is how one of Strassman's subjects describes his experience:
"I felt like I was in an alien laboratory, in a hospital bed like this. . . . A sort of landing bay, or recovery area. There were beings. . . .
"They had a space ready for me. They weren't as surprised as I was. It was incredibly un-psychedelic. I was able to pay attention to detail. There was one main creature, and he seemed to be behind it all, overseeing everything. The others were orderlies, or dis-orderlies.
"They activated a sexual circuit, and I was flushed with an amazing orgasmic energy. A goofy chart popped up like an X-ray in a cartoon, and a yellow illumination indicated that the corresponding system, or series of systems, were fine. They were checking my instruments, testing things. When I was coming out, I couldn't help but think `aliens.' "
As Strassman explains, it was these consistently similar experiences with what could only be identified as "aliens" or "elves" that he found most baffling in the course of his DMT research, and these reports eventually persuaded him to alter his whole relational approach to his volunteers. Rather than interpret and explain away, as psychiatrists are wont to do with just about everything, he decided to proceed with an open mind, to listen and encourage, and then later try to fit the pieces into some coherent theoretical framework, perhaps even invent one if current preconceptions of the nature of reality couldn't accommodate the data (such a novel approach!, sadly enough). It is this open, inquisitive attitude that makes this book eminently satisfying, despite any narrative sluggishness, because rarely does one find this caliber of fastidious, empirical-phenomenological research coupled with investigations into alien encounters, near-death experiences, and ecstatic glimpses of God. Usually, a researcher with this degree of scientific experience has already been too thoroughly digested by the modern religion of scientism to be able to see the very real duality between mind and matter, let alone to entertain such ideas as these: (1) that DMT is produced naturally in the human body by the pineal gland, and the appearance of the pineal gland in the developing human fetus at 49 days post-conception corresponds to the arrival of the soul in the body (with the DMT chemical serving as a kind of doorway between material and astral worlds); (2) that certain meditative practices, such as chanting, cause a vibratory effect in the brain that stimulates the pineal gland to release DMT, thus inciting certain spiritual experiences; and (3) that the phenomenon of alien abduction is so similar to certain DMT trips that they're likely the same thing, which in no way diminishes the "reality" of alien encounters, because, as Strassman theorizes, "Returning to the TV analogy . . . DMT provides regular, repeated, and reliable access to `other' channels. The other planes of existence are always there. . . . But we cannot perceive them because we are not designed to do so; our hard-wiring keeps us tuned in to Channel Normal. It takes only a second or two--the few heartbeats the spirit molecule requires to make its way to the brain--to change the channel, to open our mind to these other planes of existence" (pp. 315-316). A typical alien abduction, then, might either be caused by an unusually high, but naturally occurring, release of DMT by the pineal gland in the brain, or by a similar release of DMT effected by an external, alien source: in both cases the same effect is achieved, and one is able to perceive that "other plane" whence the little gray men spring forth. (And while not as far out as those ideas, Strassman's proposal that an aberrant, consistently high-enough emission of DMT in the brain forms the basis of schizophrenia is also very persuasive, and anyone with some experience with psychedelics should appreciate how someone who had this problem could go completely crazy rather quickly.)
In conclusion, if you're at all interested in psychedelics, brain/mind relations, or parapsychology in general, this is definitely required reading. And if I could recommend only five books from the voluminous library of ufology that are actually well worth reading by any sensitive, intelligent human being, they'd be (in this order): "Angels and Aliens" by Keith Thompson, "Dimensions" by Jacques Vallée, "Communion" by Whitley Strieber, "Abduction" by John Mack--and "DMT" by Rick Strassman.
DMT or di-methyl-trptamine is produced by many organisms and is found abundantly in plants and animal tissue. In humans it is believed that it is produced in the tiny pineal gland, which is situated deep within the brain. Its location in the brain corresponds with Eastern Ayurvedic traditions of the highest "chakra". In reptiles, the pineal is a light sensitive organ, and though this function has been lost in humans, it has been referred to as the "third eye". Descartes called it the "seat of the soul", and in modern times it has been a focal point of consciousness research.
Though the academic purpose for the research at the University of New Mexico from 1990 to 1995 was to find the purpose and function of "endogenous" (produced in the body) DMT, as well as its relationship to psychosis, it was Strassman's emersion in the teaching of Buddhism that was his inspiration throughout. Ironically, the findings of his research undermined many of his beliefs and left him alienated from the Buddhist community.
Many of his research subjects were experienced psychedelic users, but they were unprepared for the intensity of DMT. One volunteer described his acute ten minute voyage into another dimension as being hit by a "nuclear cannon." While LSD allows the user a self-guided trip, the DMT experience has its own agenda, stripping the subject of any goals, expectations, and ego. As Stassman said, "DMT as the true spirit molecule, gave the volunteers the trip they needed, rather than the trip they wanted."
But it wasn't only the volunteers of the experiments that were shocked. Strassman was completely unprepared for his subjects' reports of contact with alien beings, reptiles, and other strange entities. In other cases, they described out-of-body experiences, going through tunnels of light, and meeting relatives, spirits, and angels. Strassman soon realized that these reports were very similar to the modern cultural phenomena of alien abductions and near death experiences (NDE)--neither of which were familiar to him prior to his research project.
He theorized that these two phenomena might be caused by excess releases of endogenous DMT from the pineal gland under conditons of stess, such as child birth or severe trauma, causing an NDE. Similarly, a close cousin of DMT, namely melatonin and perhaps DMT itself, is released during the nighttime hours. This, Strassman thought, could give rise to the alien abduction experience, which most often happens in the early morning hours.
Near death experiences have often been used to support religious teachings. Perhaps the reverse should be considered. Religion was invented to explain the strange phenomena experienced due to an excess release of DMT in the body.
Because of the intense reality of the DMT experience, and the volunteers' rejection of psychological, or biological explanations for their journey, Strassman was forced to consider an even more intriguing explanation. Perhaps, DMT does not cause hallucinogenic experiences, but rather, allows our brain to sense different forms of existing reality. The information we receive from the world is limited by our five senses. It is possible that DMT allows us to sense other dimensions and other realities.
In the end the rigors and stresses of the study took a huge toll on Strassman costing him his job and alienation from the Buddhist communtiy. Even though many of the monks, had entered the monistary as a result of the influence of LSD use, their rise to elected power left them unable to support Strassman's research. AS Strassman stated, "Holiness won out over truth."
Rich Strassman's writing style makes this book extremely readable, and the DMT subjects' reports and anecdotal stories make the book difficult to put down. This book warrants a "5 star" rating. I highly recommend DMT the Spirit Molecule.
This review by David Kreiter, Author of "Quantum Reality: A New Philosophical Perspective."
Strassman's research connects DMT with the pineal gland; this corresponds to the esoteric belief that the pineal, connected with the Crown, Keter or Sahasrara chakra, eases the spirit's movement into different levels of consciousness or various dimensions of existence. Graham Hancock's Supernatural similarly explores the use of psychedelics to induce altered states or allow the soul to explore other dimensions.
Psychedelic substances in science and society, the chemical qualities and molecular structure of DMT, the pineal gland and its role in the psychedelic experience are all discussed in the first part. Part Two relates the history of the author's research, from the actual research proposal through the process of obtaining permission; this section may be skipped by the average reader.
Next Strassman describes the process of selecting volunteers, obtaining DMT and the first experiments, whilst in Part Four he examines the case reports: what the volunteers said and did, their behavior, etc. This makes for strange and fascinating reading. Some experiences were positive and illuminating, resembling uplifting meditative states, whilst others were eerie or deeply unpleasant.
Part Five takes stock of these reports and considers the question of whether the experience was worth the effort for each individual that took part. Strassman attempts to assess the ultimate benefit that each person derived. Definitions come into play and determining something so subjective is difficult but it would appear that the experiments did reward each individual in some way or other.
Then follows a discussion of the soul/psyche and states of consciousness. It seems that spontaneously occurring psychedelic experiences are mediated by elevated levels of endogenous DMT. This `spiritual' molecule thus unlocks unknown territory. If the brain is a receiver, DMT fine-tunes this organ so that the individual consciousness moves beyond familiar awareness into other realms, most of which are inhabited. Many volunteers mentioned a `ripping' sound as they made the transition.
There's a difference between this awareness and normal dreaming. Current psychological theory does not satisfactorily explain the phenomenon or the peculiar experiences, especially as regards the entities encountered. This leads to a speculative discussion on cosmology, the possibility of parallel universes, a multiverse and dark matter with reference to David Deutsch's book The Fabric of Reality.
The author concludes his extraordinary work by looking at the practical use of psychedelics in therapy, as promoters of creativity or as entheogens (substances that trigger spiritual/religious experiences). In this regard I recommend Huston Smith's Cleansing the Doors of Perception: The Religious Significance of Entheogenic Plants and Chemicals.
A varied body of literature is available, from the old classic Phantastica by Louis Lewin through Aldous Huxley's collection of 1960s essays Moksha, to the more recent contributions by Abraham, McKenna and Sheldrake and Giorgio Samorini's Animals and Psychedelics. Plants of the Gods by Schultes et al is a valuable encyclopedic reference work on ethnobotany that is occasionally revised and updated.
Strassman seemed to undergo a change of heart during the studies. He started with a scientific outlook, which is not surprising. He is a psychiatrist. Toward the end, he began to see that he was in a realm he could not really understand. That is because entheogens have the capacity to alter our reality in momentous ways. They are beyond our science, and they can do things we cannot fathom. Strassman was in over his head.
As my old daddy used to say: It is like trying to explain the workings of the internal combustion engine to a dog.
The book has one huge problem: It is in sore need of an editor's red pencil. Almost the first half is devoted in excruciating detail to the intricacies of obtaining official permission to do this type of research. This book, literally, should be about half its length.
Start reading about halfway through. It gets interesting.
I was relieved to read that this Doctor of Psychiatry didn't reduce these extraordinary experiences of the volunteers down to creative imaginations, and I was impressed with his mature methods of studying a psychedelic drug. This isn't Timothy Leary tuning us in so that we can drop out. This is a scientist who is sincerely searching for something that can enhance our lives in areas such as creativity, therapy, and spirituality.
Dr. Strassman has a good grasp of our culture's perceptions about drugs and he not only discards the militaristic attitude against drug use, but also the naive acceptance that they are always beneficial. His clear insights allow this book to have a wide appeal to a mature audience. Hopefully, as he states, this research will at least be the start of more open discussions of practical applications of psychedelics.
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