I agree that drugs are not recommended to achieve the quantum state, for reasons which will become clear. But we cannot rule out that Neanderthal man didn’t take them, or psychotropic herbs as they are more properly known. We know that the Vedics took a herb called soma to achieve this state, and to this day South American shamans take ayahuasca stemming from a tradition going back tens of thousands of years.
From Upper Palaeo and Neolithic cave art, shamans today recognise a quantum state of consciousness, although this is controversial among Rock Art scientists. Bednarik contends that the psychedelic patterns on the cave walls are nothing to do with any kind of ritualised entry into the quantum. But I find his thinking flawed, because it is based on the innate ability of man to see these patterns that are produced by the brain.
However, this is the whole point ... and one most scientists miss. If someone is taking a drug to achieve this state, the drug is not bringing in from the outside anything new. By injesting a drug, they are not injesting psychedelia. The drug (or other means to achieve the quantum state) is merely a catalyst, a way of awakening a dormant, innate function in man’s brain, and more particularly the pineal gland.
In this book Inside the Neolithic Mind
Rock Art professor, David Lewis Williams disagrees with Bednarik. He studied the experiences of various people describing how they entered the quantum state by a variety of means (drumming, darkness, hynpagogic, dance, drugs etc). They all came up with the following ordered progression that seemed common to all of them apart from those who took drugs, who reported going straight to Stage Three.
Here is a diagram showing, according to their reports, the progression into the quantum by various means.
: This mainly consists of seeing basic geometric pattern such as grids, parallel lines, bright dots, short flecks, zig-zag lines, filagrees, spirals, trellises. It normally lasts a couple of minutes.
: At this stage, the Newtonian-trained mind is beginning to try to make sense of the visual phenomena it perceived at Stage One. It tries to translate them into everyday objects. For example, a zig-zag can become a snake, parallel lines can become a road, dots can become apples or oranges. According to psychiatrist Mardi Horowitz:
Thus the same ambiguous round shape on initial representation can be illusioned into an orange (if the subject is hungry), a breast (if he is in a state of heightened sexual drive), a cup of water (if he is thirsty) or an anarchist’s bomb if he is feeling hostile.
Lord knows what this guy was thinking:
Anyway, at the end of Stage Two is where the real fun begins. This is the Vortex
, or the famous tunnel known to all those who’ve read or heard about NDEs (near death experiences). As we are swept along the tunnel, we see that our hallucinations have also been 'swept up' to ‘decorate' the walls. Everything is sucked into the vortex and the sensation can feel like falling.
It is also in the tunnel that the shaman often meets his spirit helpers who have come to guide him through - these are self same spirits that I often get teased about. The main accusation I get is that the spirits aren't real. Well, according to the four per cent of reality that can be viewed through the Newtonian-trained mind, my critics are right, of course!
There is a light at the end of this tunnel, and it is not a train coming the other way. It is the light flooding through from the opening of the Doors of Perception.
is where we reach the light at the end of the tunnel. The light turns out to be the light of a new world, another world - the quantum. Goodness knows why David Lewis Williams has decided to signify it by a fox in a business suit and tie. Personally, I have never seen a fox in a business suit and tie there! I think he put it there to symbolise that ‘normal’ rules no longer apply. But if this journey is entered into by a trained shaman in an orderly and controlled way, he doesn’t enter a land with no rules — just different ones that he already knows about.
That’s why it’s important to be trained properly in how to reach this state, and how to benefit from it. Quite probably the shamans of old knew what they were doing when they administered soma. But as we don't have that expertise readily available to us today, being shot straight to Stage Three on the Jefferson Starship without at least hooking up with your spirit guide helpers on the way can be seriously bad for your mental health.
Eventually the trauma from too much of this sudden and undisciplined "breaking on through to the other side" can destroy you, as we know from Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin who, almost like a message in a bottle from the ‘other side’, all died in the same year.
So let us honour our pioneer brothers and sisters who went before us on the Starship, and made all the mistakes so that we don’t have to.
RIP guys, and respect.
Ten gun salute from the quarter deck.