Psychedelics, Entropic Brain and Consciousness

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” –Carl Jung

I’d have never thought I will be interested in entropy ever again after my thermodynamics classes during high school. Well who knew!

I am reading up a bit of literature around entropic brain, psychedelics and experiments. Johns Hopkins, UC Davis and others schools are pursuing psychedelic experiments in treating diseases of the mind, addiction and cancer, it’s super fascinating. I came to know of this paper on Entropic Brain from one of Tim Ferris’s podcasts and I’ve read it, it’s hard to understand but it is a good starting point to get an overarching idea of the topic.

“It does not seem to be an exaggeration to say that psychedelics, used responsibly and with proper caution, would be for psychiatry what the microscope is for biology and medicine or the telescope is for astronomy. These tools make it possible to study important processes that under normal circumstances are not available for direct observation.”

(Grof, 1980)

Psychedelics have been observed to help humans relinquish ego’s primary hold on reality, bringing us to our “primary state of consciousness”. The idea that psychedelics cause more entropy (disorder or uncertainty) in our brain and when there is entropy in the brain, it seems to make us not have boundaries and delineation of “me” and “not me” and yet be able to observe the unity of “me” and “not me”. Yes, it sounds crazy and it might be. It might even be that people hallucinate and have this self-fulfilling outcome they were told would be experienced. I don’t know, I have not done LSD or psychedelics but I am intrigued by the prospect of feeling one with this cosmos around us and not feel like I’m living a small, “me me me”, self-centered life.

Enough of feeling one with the super consciousness. What might be the coolest thing is if psilocybin (a psychedelic) could help here and now in treating cancer, depression, addiction or OCD.

“Specifically, it is proposed that psychedelics work by dismantling reinforced patterns of negative thought and behavior by breaking down the stable spatiotemporal patterns of brain activity upon which they rest.”

Robin L. Carhart-Harris et al https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00020/full

Above all else, treating diseases, unifying with super consciousness and everything in between, the most interesting thing I am learning as I read about psychedelics is that meditation can bring about these exact experiences in us if we are open to experimenting with it and are patient enough to sit quietly amidst all the wonderfully magnetic distractions of this physical and not-so-physical worlds.

Other sources:

MAPS.org