Your Brain on LSD, Rome and the Matrix

Richard Stanley

Administrator
The following excerpt gets to the issue of how our brains and minds form how we perceive the world around us and thus respond to it. Different individuals respond differently to identical situations partially based upon these acquired perceptual lessons, based upon different respective life experiences. Because these various lessons, singularly or in the aggregate, guide the formation of neural connections. I suspect this is how ducklings can become 'imprinted' into thinking that a human is its mother.

...
When psychological research into LSD ground to a halt in the mid-1970s, after the Nixon administration placed the drug in the most tightly controlled substance category, the ability to take pictures of brain activity in real time was still decades off. Now, with LSD research back on the rise and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans a standard tool of brain research, a group of neuroscientists decided to pick up where their predecessors left off. What they found explains why, for centuries, people who have taken psychedelics have reported feeling they’re “one with nature” and that the self “dissolved” while on a trip.

When study participants on LSD reported experiencing their sense of self dissolve (what researchers called “ego dissolution”), a remarkable thing happened to their fMRI scans: The regions of the brain responsible for higher cognition lit up, suddenly becoming heavily “over-connected” with other networks in the brain that do not normally communicate with one another. The degree of connectivity correlated with the degree to which the person on LSD told the researchers they were feeling the borders between themselves and the rest of the world blur or fall away completely.
...
It’s important to remember, said Tagliazucchi, that when you’ve taken LSD and experience your “self” or your ego disappearing, it’s an illusion; it’s what happens when the brain temporarily reorganizes itself to change our perception. In fact, the brain is doing this all the time—mostly to help make our world comprehensible. For example, the brain filters out the veins that cross in front of the retina of our eyes so we see a clear picture not distorted by the veins. “So when we take psychedelics, we are, it could be said, replacing one illusion [with] another illusion. This might be difficult to grasp, but our study shows that the sense of self or ‘ego’ could also be part of this illusion,” he said.

That may sound like stoner philosophy, but it could be key to new insights about how the brain constructs reality—and, perhaps, why reality appears differently to people with certain mental disorders. Tagliazucchi hopes to extend this research to explore what goes on in the brain while it is constructing alternate realities during a dream state, to see how it compares with the brain on psychedelics. ...

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/04/22/lsd-brain-scan-nature-self-psychedelics-446513.html?piano_d=1

In regard to such perception based worldviews, scaled up into the masses via religion, state, and media vehicles, it seems likely to me that what is described above is exactly why the state experiments with LSD became viewed, not only as a failure, but as dangerous to the underlying Matrix. What is described is essentially having one's brain reset, if at least temporarily, to the state of a baby's. Jesus (Caesar) cynically, but truthfully, stated that the (contextual) Truth would set you (contextually) Free; and that to comprehend certain things correctly an adult one must become as a child. ... to somehow get past preconceptions of false certainty arrived at by various perceptual errors.

This is why the state was forced to make such as LSD illegal, having been hoisted upon its own petard.

The timing of this was good as I have been watching the excellent HBO historical fiction series Rome, where, if one allows their self to perceive, one can view the identical attitudes of the various classes of Roman citizens to those in the West today, especially in America somewhere in the midst of its collapsing republic. The only substantial difference between the USA and then is that their slaves were not race based, but rather those captured as war spoils or other life exigencies.

Julius Caesar, during the Civil War, had to issue orders that certain economic activities could no longer be performed by slaves, because the plebes and freedmen were not able to earn a living ("Idle hands are the devil's playground"). This did not make the patricians happy. How dare this tyrant impinge upon free trade.

Sound familiar?

The producers of Rome seemed to me to have quite a good perception of these parallel issues, as they frequently draw out various such aspects as obvious examples, sometimes quite humorously. Maybe they have taken a trip?
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
As an alternative explanation, maybe the USG put LSD (along with many other substances including marijuana, heroin, cocaine etc.) onto the controlled substance list in order to increase the profitability of drug dealing, as well as limiting consumption. And perhaps there was a realization that for regular use, the related prescription drugs are more beneficial overall, for propaganda and other purposes.

I'm not sure I understand why LSD research is said to be making a come-back right now. Do these researchers get an official waiver from the ordinary prohibitions, or are they openly defying the DEA?

The Newsweek article carefully dances around the idea that perhaps LSD creates new insights that would lead to better social integration and enhanced artistic creativity. In general, I would argue that the sense of a distinction between one's own ego vs. the rest of the world seems accurate and evolutionarily adaptive. Being 'at one with nature' is fine as long as it doesn't include being at one with an attacking bear's stomach acid. But with suitable precautions and limits, I can imagine that it might be true that LSD helps with creativity and leads to a reduction of "authoritative" aspects of personality.

Having said all that: if the discovery of the Postflavian paradigm came out of an LSD trip, maybe we'd better keep quiet about it?
 

ousia

Member
Having said all that: if the discovery of the Postflavian paradigm came out of an LSD trip, maybe we'd better keep quiet about it?
Am I missing something?

The above article makes a very common mistake of conflating the form of perception with the object of perception. Likewise, it fails to countenance that for "illusion" to be meaningful it must be differentiated from normal states of perception.

Besides, if these hippies said "I feel my self bla, bla, bla" then only a fool would take that description professing "I" and "self" as an indication of a lack of ego. Clearly the describer is reaffirming their ego while denying it. What this proves however, is that LSD is not capable of providing people with a philosophy of concepts and language sufficient enough to prevent them from speaking nonsense.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
As an alternative explanation, maybe the USG put LSD (along with many other substances including marijuana, heroin, cocaine etc.) onto the controlled substance list in order to increase the profitability of drug dealing, as well as limiting consumption. And perhaps there was a realization that for regular use, the related prescription drugs are more beneficial overall, for propaganda and other purposes.
I strongly suspect that, in terms of profit potential for the black budget programs, related para-militaries, street gangs (part of the 'plausible deniability' control paradigm), LSD trade delivers(ed) anything close to heroin, cocaine, marijuana, or meth.

Again, and we went through this before, what prescription hallucinogenics are you talking about being equivalent to LSD? Yes, there are pharmaceutical analogs for the others, e.g. oxycontin, etc..

I'm not sure I understand why LSD research is said to be making a come-back right now. Do these researchers get an official waiver from the ordinary prohibitions, or are they openly defying the DEA?
Yes, I believe they get a research waiver, just as was long done for marijuana.

The Newsweek article carefully dances around the idea that perhaps LSD creates new insights that would lead to better social integration and enhanced artistic creativity. In general, I would argue that the sense of a distinction between one's own ego vs. the rest of the world seems accurate and evolutionarily adaptive. Being 'at one with nature' is fine as long as it doesn't include being at one with an attacking bear's stomach acid. But with suitable precautions and limits, I can imagine that it might be true that LSD helps with creativity and leads to a reduction of "authoritative" aspects of personality.
No, you're making an error here. The article doesn't even go there, nor should it have to. It simply reported the findings of the paper. I think you're projecting acquired perceptional fears onto this topic.

Having said all that: if the discovery of the Postflavian paradigm came out of an LSD trip, maybe we'd better keep quiet about it?
As far as I know it did not. That is to say, it may likely have been indirectly influenced collectively by others that had such trips. But, for the most part I can't speak for them.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Am I missing something?

The above article makes a very common mistake of conflating the form of perception with the object of perception. Likewise, it fails to countenance that for "illusion" to be meaningful it must be differentiated from normal states of perception.

Besides, if these hippies said "I feel my self bla, bla, bla" then only a fool would take that description professing "I" and "self" as an indication of a lack of ego. Clearly the describer is reaffirming their ego while denying it. What this proves however, is that LSD is not capable of providing people with a philosophy of concepts and language sufficient enough to prevent them from speaking nonsense.
Yes, you are missing something.

we are, it could be said, replacing one illusion [with] another illusion.
For reference, the above is what the article quoted. It is speaking to something else. Here you are asserting the hubris that 'normative' perception is capable of observing and interpreting objective reality beyond the simpler isolated 'objects' around you. The evidence is all around us that it is not capable. Many magic tricks depend upon the ability of the performer to fool the human senses, and in the wider sense this is what elite controlled religion, governance, politicized programmatic education, and media successfully engage in. That is, based upon empirical (animal shepherding) and possibly other avenues, human elites learned how to control those below them, using such as Fear, Guilt, Love, Safety (salvation), etc..

Furthermore, (not the article) I will go out on an extrapolated limb, and guess that the neural ability to make different neural connections, even temporarily, may be more profound on the abstract intellectual level than merely what can be seen by the 5 senses.

In this sense, I grew up with a framework of understanding the world that was seriously flawed, and it well conformed to the social schema that was Roman. With only a few tweaks and updates, it still is. And I had it relatively good, as comparatively one observes various groups express their neuroses and act out in various fashions. That said, I spent the better part of my life learning the hard way what was of real value to me and what is either arbitrary or political konformism.

Of course, there are some people, including here on this forum, that are as yet happier with the current Roman model than I am. They claim that there has been a fortuitous perfect storm of circumstances that led to the apex of American glorious (Roman) hypocrisy. These people must have: 1) experienced life differently than I did; 2) grown up in another country than I did; 3, are better adapted for sweeping metaphorical dirt under the carpet; 4, and/or had their brain washing sink deeper into their neural network than mine did. I have yet had a response to my questions about this illusionary or fictive claimed period, and the silence is deafening. It is so because they know that I have looked under all the carpet, sans acid, and they don't want to hear my rebuttal. Of course, if initial special pleadings don't work or apply, then we can trot out that some 'Jews' did 'it'.

The more usual approach to this perception of reality, is the pragmatic acceptance of the way the world has been handed down to us, and then just "go along to get along" and "shut the FU". This is why whistleblowers are generally treated so by such as our politicized judicial system, except when they need to put on a show.

Just before I left home for school, at a party my parents had, one of their friends was talking to me about different 'realities'. While he was talking about the fact that different people interpret essentially the same inputs according to their own personal and collective experiences, I remember being quite disturbed - from the manner that I took it (I was something of a literalist at the time). I was obsessed with the notion, that like you, if everyone would just perceive everything the way I correctly (obviously) did then everything would be just wonderful.

While I would agree with you that there is an objective reality, there is not one single human being that has ever existed that has been capable of accurately observing it. You and I are limited by our five senses, which do not combine to provide that ability - for several different reasons. And from there we then have to interpret the incomplete data. Most of us are conditioned to think that we navigate through our personal physical space each day, conscious of the majority of what is happening within our 'sense space'. But, in fact, the reverse is true, and therefore we and the other animals have evolved what the evolutionary psychologists term 'inference engines' that essentially puts much of our lives on auto-pilot. Those 'un-conscious' inference engines, like the autonomous nervous system that causes us to breath and such, are genetically hard wired, so to speak, from birth.

Unlike not too long ago, scientists now understand that the brain is much more plastic in its ability to form new neural connections, and apparently to erase obsolete ones. Now, this imaging shows more of that capability, that allows for a different manner to perceive and interpret what is around us.

It’s important to remember, said Tagliazucchi, that when you’ve taken LSD and experience your “self” or your ego disappearing, it’s an illusion; it’s what happens when the brain temporarily reorganizes itself to change our perception.
Besides, if these hippies said "I feel my self bla, bla, bla" then only a fool would take that description professing "I" and "self" as an indication of a lack of ego. Clearly the describer is reaffirming their ego while denying it.
The fact that you chose to project the unwarranted term 'hippy' on the participants reveals that you are indeed still existing in a konformist mental state of illusion of your own and other's construction. It is clear, from what you stated regarding this aspect, that you are projecting your own manifold illusionary biases from your closed and perfect mind, when the researcher clearly states that the experience is an "illusion".

What this proves however, is that LSD is not capable of providing people with a philosophy of concepts and language sufficient enough to prevent them from speaking nonsense.
Who ever asserted that LSD provides a philosophy of concepts and language?

What I was getting to was that, as is claimed for the role of psychoanalysis (whether one buys into it or not), such is a means to strip down the learned adult bad lessons and biases to allow one the ability to start with a fresh slate, as a child. I am talking about matters that have been deeply embedded into brain/psyche by lessons from parents, friends, authority figures, institutions, etc.. Sometimes just getting back to the 'child' state is a lot better than what was there before.

This is part of the problem of running sincere sites like this (as opposed to the paranoiac fear porn sites), is that it takes a long time to realize just how many concepts that were shoved down one's throat in one's youth are no more than illusory perceptions that ultimately serve to profit the extreme few. The illusion that one is benefiting in the moment is what allows the system to work. One doesn't figure out everything all at once, and thus everyone is operating with different degrees of illusion and 'ego attachments', as the Buddhists would say.

The sad irony is that while the foundational basis of Postflaviana is focused generally on the elite manipulation of society via the Flavian's implementation of the wider imperial long term initiative, so many 'seekers' still want to take the various illusory 'romantic' bait set out for them. Such is life, but someone is usually profiting more from the illusions.

Hail Citizen.

P.S. Still waiting for your comments regarding Aristotle and his God.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
I strongly suspect that, in terms of profit potential for the black budget programs, related para-militaries, street gangs (part of the 'plausible deniability' control paradigm), LSD trade delivers(ed) anything close to heroin, cocaine, marijuana, or meth.

Again, and we went through this before, what prescription hallucinogenics are you talking about being equivalent to LSD? Yes, there are pharmaceutical analogs for the others, e.g. oxycontin, etc..
Yes, there's a sense of deja vu about the conversation. My understanding is that some of the prescription psychoactive drugs are chemically related to psychedelics, but they aren't hallucinogenic. It's been suggested that LSD increases suggestibility (that is, it induces a quasi-hypnotic state) and I suspect that prescription drugs may do the same, but this is pure speculation on my part.

As to profit potential, National Survey on Drug Use would have to agree -- they estimate the following numbers of adults who use drugs on a regular basis: 20 million marijuana users; 1.4 million cocaine users; 400,000 heroin users; 570,000 ecstacy users; and only 230,000 LSD users. Of course, a much larger number have tried LSD at one time or another -- around 10% of the US adult population.

http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf

The site http://www.lsdaddiction.us speculates that LSD's comparatively limited popularity is as a result of its reputation for causing dangerous "bad trips". I'm relaying that opinion without taking any position on whether LSD fully deserves this bad reputation.

Yes, I believe they get a research waiver, just as was long done for marijuana.
Here's an article clarifying that the study required an "expensive" government permit and received no government assistance, but rather was supported largely through crowd-funding.

http://qz.com/661019/the-scientific-study-that-captured-amazing-images-of-your-brain-on-lsd-had-to-be-crowdfunded/

The article doesn't even go there, nor should it have to.
You mean, it doesn't mention effects on creativity? Here's the crowdfunding site, which explains that another study is on the way:

https://walacea.com/campaigns/lsd/

Quote:

NEW STRETCH GOAL
£50k FOR LSD AND CREATIVITY STUDY

One question that has been on our minds for sometime, is how does LSD influence creativity? With further funding, we will extend the current study to include a further module which will combine brain imaging with the investigation of the effects of LSD on creativity and problem solving. To fund this study completely we need to raise a further £50k. We would really love to run this study so we’re just going to go for it!​
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator

Richard Stanley

Administrator
I forgot to add in my longer piece above, that there are some other institutional programs that generally attempt to do what such as psychoanalysis and such as hallucinogens are claimed for, and that is military boot camp, and say .. the Extreme Exercises of the Jesuits. That is, to break down your mental persona from all that had previously been shoved down your throat, so that they can replace it with some more appropriate concepts leading to behaviors better suited for the task at hand. As such, I say that these programs are just another form of rewiring the brain. One can probably come up with more, like EST, Sciento.... (not gonna go there :eek:).
 

ousia

Member
Richard said:

"For reference, the above is what the article quoted. It is speaking to something else. Here you are asserting the hubris that 'normative' perception is capable of observing and interpreting objective reality beyond the simpler isolated 'objects' around you. The evidence is all around us that it is not capable."

I dont think your quite familiar with the subject of the philosophy of perception. "Normativity" is an epistemological/ethical concept and to apply it to perception is a category error. Your claim of "evidence" again reaffirms that which it seeks to deny. You are saying that scientist, using their perception, have determined that perception is unobjective. Like filming a documentary set to prove that all documentary films are invalid.....

For a detailed refutation of representationalism and defense of presentationalism, see:

https://estore.aynrand.org/p/150/perception-mp3-download

And John Searle's, Seeing Things as They Are
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0199385157/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1460807488&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=seeing+things+as+they+are&dpPl=1&dpID=519KjjQD+jL&ref=plSrch

Richard said:

"Many magic tricks depend upon the ability of the performer to fool the human senses,"

The senses are causally determined by material causation. What magicians fool is the person making judgements about what they perceive. What one sees in a so called "optical illusion" is precisely the full context of the relation between the object of perception and the sense organs in the form they present to the conscious observer. The "bent" stick in water is the senses objectively relating to the fact that light travels differently through water. A claim that the pencil actually bends is a mistaken perceptual judgement.

Richard said:

"The fact that you chose to project the unwarranted term 'hippy' on the participants reveals that you are indeed still existing in a konformist mental state of illusion of your own and other's construction. It is clear,from what you stated regarding thisaspect, that you are projecting your own manifold illusionary biases fromyour closed and perfect mind, whenthe researcher clearly states that theexperience is an "illusion"."

I was referring to hippies who report the same nonsense as the participants, not the report of the researcher. I just happened to have a debate with a friend about this very nonsense about a youtube video full of gibberish, self refuting claims. It is a very common claim of "stoner philosopher" types.

Richard said:
"Who ever asserted that LSD provides a philosophy of concepts and language? "

That was a rhetorical statement meant to point out the need of a proper philosophy to prevent one from making foolish, self refuting, perceptual judgements. (Like claiming the ego is an illusion to be traded.) Not to claim anyone said that.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
A quick and helpful introduction to representationalism vs presentationalism is found here:

https://books.google.com/books?id=8atV0vZXMbIC&pg=PA408&lpg=PA408&dq=representationalism+vs+presentationalism&source=bl&ots=w5y-gcbWxn&sig=5lshtsr3vLvcoMXo7J8he0hEWEw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjzy9_hyZPMAhVE0GMKHX4BAKIQ6AEIMTAE#v=onepage&q=representationalism vs presentationalism&f=false

Both sides of this 'debate' make valid statements, and I don't see much likelihood that either side is going to achieve a victory. I feel it's more appropriate to appreciate & understand both sides of the coin.

I'm also not seeing the contradiction in using 'normative' as applying to perception. A possible confusion is that Rick is talking about social & political perceptions, rather than sensory perceptions driven by objects in the surrounding environment. The study discussed in the Newsweek article seems to be focused on sensory & visual perceptions, and I think Rick's point in his initial post was to extrapolate those findings to social & political realms. The latter sorts of perceptions seem to almost always be wrapped up in normative judgments.
 

ousia

Member
Jerry said:

"I'm also not seeing the contradiction in using 'normative' as applying to perception. A possible confusion is that Rick is talking about social & political perceptions, rather than sensory perceptions driven by objects in the surrounding environment."

But that is in fact an equivocation because he is then not responding to what I am referring to with "the form-object distinction".

Since Kant it is common to conflate the terms perception and conception. I repudiate that error. Regardless, if one denotes conception as a synonym of conception, then they still need not confuse that usage with the non epistemic, sensory perception.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Richard said:

"For reference, the above is what the article quoted. It is speaking to something else. Here you are asserting the hubris that 'normative' perception is capable of observing and interpreting objective reality beyond the simpler isolated 'objects' around you. The evidence is all around us that it is not capable."

I dont think your quite familiar with the subject of the philosophy of perception. "Normativity" is an epistemological/ethical concept and to apply it to perception is a category error. Your claim of "evidence" again reaffirms that which it seeks to deny. You are saying that scientist, using their perception, have determined that perception is unobjective. Like filming a documentary set to prove that all documentary films are invalid.....
I was not aware that I am bound to your rules of Philosophical Pharisicism. And guess what? .... I am not. I will use words as I see fit to express them and, if nothing else, might ease you out of your posterior retentive modality. Though now I am thinking that you are likely the prime Postflavian candidate for an experimental topical 'trip', so to speak. Just make sure you have someone nearby to prevent you from causing any ill effects. As a member here, you will not need to receive dispensation to proceed.

From the Compact Oxford English Dictionary:
normative - adjective, formal, relating to a standard or norm.​

By 'normative' I mean that the normal human is incapable of perceiving the totality of objective reality even in his own physical sense space. I defy you to prove otherwise. You might object that I should have used the determinative word 'any' (human) instead of your precious word, normative. I used that word to imply that there are indeed some people that have the ability to perceive what 'normal' people can not. No appeals to seers, prophets, or oracles here, but rather that such people I am referring to have access to equipment that enables them to perceive phenomenon that others can not possibly hope to do. But even so, such people, scientists, engineers, technicians, etc. are yet limited by the specific lens that any respective equipment provides them. They still can not perceive all of objective reality in any one view.

Further yet, there is still debate ongoing, (and you have yet to fulfill your promise here) regarding the true nature of matter, i.e. the interpretation of the dual slit experiment, the makeup of subatomic particles, the 'dark' meaning of so-called 'noise' in the Michelson-Morley Interferometer, and such.

In this topical case we are discussing the results from fMRI (that's functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans that show significant neurological effects while the hippy temps are undergoing the experimental trip. The difference in your interpretation seems quite Reactionary to me, and from such as the (constant) desire to focus on your claimed superior epistemology, which seems more intended to distract us from that you want to avoid the possible implications that I mentioned. You knowingly and speciously introduced the term hippy to help poison the well via marginalization.

Your argumentation above reminds me of all the scientists who claimed that only wackos, the stoners of the day, could assert that man could fly. Of course, the scientists were correct, even today man can still not fly. But he can get into a machine and do certain things to make that machine take to the air and land. This, sometime after Kant apparently, we have recontextualized the word 'fly'.

Jerry said:

"I'm also not seeing the contradiction in using 'normative' as applying to perception. A possible confusion is that Rick is talking about social & political perceptions, rather than sensory perceptions driven by objects in the surrounding environment."

But that is in fact an equivocation because he is then not responding to what I am referring to with "the form-object distinction".

Since Kant it is common to conflate the terms perception and conception. I repudiate that error. Regardless, if one denotes conception as a synonym of conception, then they still need not confuse that usage with the non epistemic, sensory perception.
Now you achieve the height of either your disingenuousness or mission driven blindness, or both. Besides the fact that I clearly made such implied extrapolation in my initial post (and made it explicit afterward), it should be clear to any pedant, that all 'citizens', good or bad, have to first perceive the nature of which way the metaphorical winds blow in relation to their innate and/or implanted life priorities and other circumstances. From this and other inputs, they then form the notions of which political conceptions which they choose to align themselves with.

You have clearly stated that you have aligned yourself with the ultra-catholic Kochs and Hapsburgs under the pretense of the Roman conception of 'freedom' imposed upon their former slaves (leeches to you), who thus only perceive(d) that they were free. Same as it always was. And speaking of which (the Koch's and their libertarian Cato Institute), the HBO series, Rome, well depicted Cato and what kind of konditional 'freedom' he and the vaunted Republic was about. This is the Koch's hero? Shouldn't it be the Kato Institute? What say thee good 'citizen'?

I think your crypto-hysterical overReaction here only proves my point just above, with your desire to redirect the focus to my apparent failure to conform to your unagreed upon terms of terminology. The point of this discussion was, based upon the article, whether such as LSD can impact the way people think about abstract matters beyond what the article and the study limited itself to. This is called extrapolation, and it is a well understood process that scientists use to drive further research, based upon extrapolating predictions from prior results. Confirmation of the predictions lend more weight (credence) to the prior work.

At this late point in my life I see no reason to reduce myself to such philosophical drivel as you like to engage yourself, especially if you put it to such poor use. Yet once again, it is incredible to see the different avenues taken here to not engage with the substance of what Jerry and I are saying overall. Cui bono? I wonder what happened to Aristotle, his 'god', and his notable student Alexander? Please note here, that I personally have no general objection to a global end, but rather the various means employed, such as Plato's Noble Lie wielded by those so less than noble.

On a couple of occasions I attended the annual faculty and student party of the Philosophy and Religion department of a regional university. At one of these a student was being feted for his dissertation, asserting that Cause and Effect is bogus. He did not go into details at the party, and I did not inquire more about this. On the surface it seems quite absurd, but after all one can posit that no material 'atomic' object can even touch another such object, much less collide with it (ignoring such as atom smashers - possibly). This is because of those nasty electrical charges, which you not see, but can feel. From this you might then extrapolate that the game of billiards is impossible and auto accidents are impossible, only illusions or hallucinations. But I will not play this game with you.

But it is nice to ponder that were it not for the illuminating rude interference of wavelengths and various electron 'orbits', that all of matter would be invisible, like glass, to our eyes (which we would have no need for evolving), because all of such substantial 'mass' is of such incredibly small volumetric merit. Then we would not be having such discussion one way or the other.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
But that is in fact an equivocation because he is then not responding to what I am referring to with "the form-object distinction".
Ousia, would you agree that when the Newsweek article speaks of "illusion", it is referring to a state in which the perceptual form is failing to be a representation of the objective reality?

The scientist Tagliazucchi is quoted as saying: “So when we take psychedelics, we are, it could be said, replacing one illusion [with] another illusion. This might be difficult to grasp, but our study shows that the sense of self or ‘ego’ could also be part of this illusion...” In reference to your form-object distinction, would you take this as an argument that both ordinary perception and LSD-influenced perception are disconnected from reality, as well as an assertion that the ordinary perception of self or 'ego' is not based in objectivity?

I think what Rick is saying, on the contrary, is that the effect of LSD is to scramble the subject's perception of social and political reality, so as to enable the substitution of a new and hopefully more accurate paradigm when sobriety returns after the LSD trip. This seems like a pretty debatable proposition to me, and the quoted study doesn't provide any evidence for it, but at least it's an empirically testable proposition.
 

ousia

Member
Ousia, would you agree that when the Newsweek article speaks of "illusion", it is referring to a state in which the perceptual form is failing to be a representation of the objective reality?
I appreciate that the question you asked shows your attempt to understand my premises. I would however, say that an illusion is a presentation of the relevant objects to the senses but the perspective is such that the objects appear to the observer as similar to something that it is not. This is where perceptual judgment comes in. See more below on "illusion".

Regarding Popper's exposition you linked to. It is clear as mud and I disagree with it, like most everything else he said. He conflates epistemology with perception in that passage.

The scientist Tagliazucchi is quoted as saying: “So when we take psychedelics, we are, it could be said, replacing one illusion [with] another illusion. This might be difficult to grasp, but our study shows that the sense of self or ‘ego’ could also be part of this illusion...” In reference to your form-object distinction, would you take this as an argument that both ordinary perception and LSD-influenced perception are disconnected from reality, as well as an assertion that the ordinary perception of self or 'ego' is not based in objectivity?
It's a bit hard to parse your meaning here. The language of the article suggest to me that the article makes several mistakes regarding what an illusion is. The comments about "filtering out the veins", I regard as problematic. Perception is not a filtering out of veins as though there is a perceptual state that presents the veins. Perception is a state that does not include the veins. The form of the senses is not identical with the sensory apparatus. The apparatus is the "by means of which" that makes the form possible. To criticize the eye for not being the experience the eye makes possible is ridiculous.

Edit: The brain does not "construct" reality is the by means of which we experience reality.

So, what I see the article doing is treating the "self" as something that is not real by a false analogy made possible via an incoherent notion of what an illusion is. Likewise, the language chosen to describe the experiences of the participants is made possible via similar failures of conception, not perception. They failed to make valid perceptual judgments. The science that would teach them how to talk about their perceptual states meaningfully is epistemology.


I think what Rick is saying, on the contrary, is that the effect of LSD is to scramble the subject's perception of social and political reality, so as to enable the substitution of a new and hopefully more accurate paradigm when sobriety returns after the LSD trip. This seems like a pretty debatable proposition to me, and the quoted study doesn't provide any evidence for it, but at least it's an empirically testable proposition.
"social and political reality" is not a species of perceptual states. The argument follows the same equivocation as the article. You do not and cannot change a persons ethics or politics by conflating the two but by rational persuasion of a better ethical and political philosophy. The battle is conceptual, not perceptual.
 
Last edited:

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Ousia,

Thanks for the clarifications, perhaps we're making progress towards mutual understanding here.

I would however, say that an illusion is a presentation of the relevant objects to the senses but the perspective is such that the objects appear to the observer as similar to something that it is not. This is where perceptual judgment comes in.
I think we're agreeing that an illusion is a state in which the perceptual appearance is different from reality. But I'm not so confident that "perceptual judgment" can always overcome the problem. In most ordinary situations, I do agree that sensual perceptions are reasonably accurate; and by that I mean, sufficient to enable adaptive behaviors necessary for survival.

Regarding Popper's exposition you linked to. It is clear as mud and I disagree with it, like most everything else he said. He conflates epistemology with perception in that passage.
I found it helpful in explaining the terminology you're using. While the author of the piece seems to favor representationalism over presentationalism, it was clear to me that both sides have their advocates and it's regarded as a live topic for discussion. As to the "conflation of epistemology and perception", I might even argue that you're more guilty of conflating the two: you seem to be saying that from the epistemological point of view, we can rely on our senses to give us an objective view of reality. Which is exactly what presentationalists are questioning, on an epistemological basis.

From the standpoint of neural information processing, it is very useful to consider the brain as a computational engine that builds internal models of reality, based on perceptual input from sensory organs (eyes, ears, etc.)

Minor pedantic clarification: the link was to an article about Popper, written by W.W. Bartley III.

Perception is not a filtering out of veins as though there is a perceptual state that presents the veins.
Ah, but it is possible to create a perceptual state that presents the veins. In ordinary perception, we don't normally see the veins, even though they are continually in existence; I would characterize their absence as a sort of illusion, although benign in that it doesn't interfere with perception of objects in the local environment. Basically, the veins are filtered out by neural processes of selective visual attention.

So, what I see the article doing is treating the "self" as something that is not real by a false analogy made possible via an incoherent notion of what an illusion is.
I would certainly agree that the concept of the "self" is a very useful heuristic, but on the other hand, I also take it as an objective fact that there is a sort of unity that runs through the space-time continuum, and that we all are just parts of a greater whole. Also, as social beings, we are all joined together in our fates. I have the sense that perhaps, as an individualist and a libertarian, you have some conceptual need to deny this aspect of reality.

"social and political reality" is not a species of perceptual states. The argument follows the same equivocation as the article. You do not and cannot change a persons ethics or politics by conflating the two but by rational persuasion of a better ethical and political philosophy. The battle is conceptual, not perceptual.
But in terms of neurological circuitry and the configuration and evolution of the brain, it's far from obvious that we have independent facilities for sensory perception vs. ethics and politics. Sensory perception is very ancient from the evolutionary perspective; human ethics and politics are far more recent developments. Our ethical and political ideas may be built on neural substrates that evolved for other purposes, and have been rather crudely appropriated for such higher reasoning.

At any rate, political reasoning must be based on some sort of experiences and information which have been acquired through sensory channels? I don't see a problem with Richard's characterization of this as a form of perception, although obviously it's a different type of perception from the evaluation of visual scenes.

As to how to change a persons' ethics or politics, I confess it's a problem that leaves me feeling stumped most of the time. I put my arguments out there, and rarely have the feeling that they're producing the desired result.
 
Last edited:
Top