Hi John,

On 23 Mar 2009, at 23:44, John Mikes wrote:

> Bruno,
> I enjoyed your pretty comprehensive post!
> Thanks!
> John
> PS> one little question: have you ever been 'present' when in REM?

I feel like I am present in most of the dreams, that is in the rather  
realist dream of the REM states. But in general I am not lucid,  
meaning that I am not aware that I am dreaming during the dream. With  
a lot of training I have been able go up to an average of 4 lucid  
dreams per month. I have stopped since years to pursue that training,  
because it is time consuming and ask for a lot of day work. Also, non  
lucid dreams are more interesting philophically than lucid dreams.  In  
Conscience et Mecanisme I define a notion of contralucid dream. Dream  
having narration in which the dreamer concludes explicitly that he/she  
is NOT dreaming. They produces astonishment when waking up, and help  
to illustrate to oneself how much our brain can fool ourselves.
Some plant can enhance dream lucidity. The most known with that effect  
is Calea Zacatechichi. You prepare it as a tea, but it is bitter  
(*very* bitter!). Salvia Divinorum itself seems to increase the  
"realistic" nature of dreams, and can help to develop lucidity.

To be sure, I am not sure I completely understand what you mean by  
"being present" in a dream; I always feel present, in life and dreams.  
Even with strong salvia amnesia, I still feel present, even if I have  
no idea who is Bruno or even of what is a person. I guess you mean  
"lucid". I am not lucid in normal dreams, and usually I remain lucid  
in most "altered state of consciousness" (natural or medication  

Have a good day,


> On Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 4:14 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>  
> wrote:
> Hi Johnathan, Kim, Stathis
> I agree with you Johnathan. Scientists learn a lot from extreme cases,
> and altered states of consciousness is worth to study, even to
> understand better what is a "normal" (if that exists) states of
> consciousness.
> Now remember that our brain seems to generate already by itself a
> numerous of different "naturally",  or self-altered, consciousness
> states.
> The most amazing and well known is the state of the so called
> paradoxical sleep, or REM period, or dream state, or reality
> simulation state. It is a state unknown by the dinosaurs and the
> reptiles. It appears with the birds and then all the homeothermic
> animals. Michel Jouvet called it paradoxical, because it makes the
> animal hallucinated and paralyzed which makes it an easy prey for the
> predator, yet that states has survived 65 millions of years, nobody
> really knows why, but we suspect its importance.
> During sleep, with some training you can be "lucid" not just during
> the REM paradoxical state, you can be somehow lucid during the slow
> wave states, and that gives roughly speaking another collection of
> four "natural altered states". Fever, some headache, some stroke could
> lead to variants.
> Why altered states? I can find plausible that in situation of stress,
> like for a mouse in the mouth of a cat, your probabilities of
> surviving are made higher if your brain has a system of self calm
> down, if not self lying. It is known that mouse indeed generates
> endogenous morphine like pain killer, and as you know the brain is
> full of enhancers and inhibitors. Most drugs coming from plants are
> molecules looking like our own inhibitors of enhancers, general or
> specific. Which means (but don't repeat) that the first big drugs
> constructor is the brain itself (don't repeat because make they will
> make the brain and computer illegal).
> Like anything alive a big part of the work consists in self-repairing
> and all those endogenous drugs, well all, depending the amount, can
> alter *a little bit more* the state of consciousness, than it does in
> normal circumstances, so that, again, a normal state of consciousness
> is a sum of altered states in a equilibrium, belonging to some
> neighborhood of states.
> And why does plant constructs altered states of consciousness
> molecules? In my opinion it has all to do with the incredibly complex
> relationships that plant have with animals, in general, and insects in
> particular. Many plants have to detract predator insects. By killing
> them, or by just smelling like, or imitating the smell of, of the
> appearance of  the worst predators of the insect (sort of lies!). But
> they must also to attract insects, feed them, and manipulate them in
> such a way that Mister plant can send its Message to Missis Plant
> which leaves at five miles from Him. You bet that with millions of
> years they knows about manipulating insects and animals, from predator
> and pollinator to consumers.
> And which explains perhaps why there are so much medicinal and
> "psychedelic" plants (entheogen).
> Now I agree with you Johnathan, that for discussing about
> consciousness, we should distinguish between drugs which alter the
> mood and the perception, like cannabis and alcohol from hallucinogen,
> like some mushrooms and cactus, and dissociators like Ketamine. Salvia
> Divinorum, strictly speaking, is a bit of both a dissociator and an
> hallucinogen. The first alter your "actual" consciousness, the second
> triggers an actual different in nature experience, like an out of body
> experience, or a near death experience, or a dream, or a dream-like
> scenario. Typically and without training you don't remain lucid: you
> forget you are under the product. You can't take Salvia casually, you
> take it to live a particular experience which requires your attention,
> and preparation.
> Now, I would not compare the effect of Salvia with anything produced
> by any other entheogen. When smoked, it produces an effect which lasts
> in general between 3 and 6 minutes. Unlike cannabis, alcohol, LSD, and
> many others, the effect is disphoric, meaning not typically pleasant.
> Animals does not push twice on the "button" with salvia, showing in
> particular it is not addictive. Normal, "my thesis" in four minutes,
> the poor animals!
> The effect are quite different from people to people, and according to
> the concentration of the salvinorin molecules. You find it  from 1X
> (the leaves), to 5X, 10X, ... 40X (beyond it seems to me only the
> price grows up, not the effect).
> Many meet typical archetypes (elves, carnival wheel, clown). Some will
> relive childhood events, or complete life of someone else. Most will
> talk about a strong pulling or pushing rotation, physically felt,
> which can sometimes leads to being cut in billions parts and send to
> as much parallel realities (some can panic here). All talk about
> realities and perception of realities. many% (on about 1000 reports)
> talk explicitly about feeling a "feminine presence", which "teach" you
> something, the last point of it seeming unmemorable. Some lives the
> experience very badly. In my own experiment, with 30 participants (one
> by one), they made rewarding experiences, you just need to be patient
> and to increase the amount of concentration incrementally, and to
> encourage the respect of the plant. Most learns this by experience.
> Is it safe? The effect are impressive, but apparently not dangerous.
> If you look at the YouTube Video, you see that used in the worst
> conditions it leads, in the worse case only to bruises and nightmares.
> (With alpinism, a slight error can kill you and others). Like
> cannabis, no overdose level exists. Given big amount of
> "infinityX" (pure salvinorin) to rats makes then "sleep" for 4
> minutes, and then they resume their activities. It is estimated that
> on the last 2 millions of American who smoked salvia, there are zero
> death related to it, nor even emergency calls. There are thousand of
> death related to alcohol consumption, and many more injuries, just to
> compare.
> Salvia is above all a medicinal plant. Incredibly enough, I did cure a
> severe migraine recently. The person told me she did try all possible
> medications, without success, she has to just keep calm in the dark
> for 12 hours. A little hit of leave made it disappear in three
> minutes.  It is one of the main use among the Mazatec. It helps for
> nasal congestion too, it helps for sleep (always 1X here).
> It is antidepressant, and it is antiaddictive. It is a medication
> against drugs!
> And yes Kim, it is easy (far more than cannabis which is already easy)
> to grow your own plant and to multiply it. It is alas less easy to
> find the plant, there are no seeds available, because Salvia Divinorum
> has literally abandon sexual reproduction (I think she did have its
> own predator as pollinator, explaining the subtleties of her message).
> You don't need light, she hates light, she loves the dark, heat and
> water a lot. She lives, or at least her ancestors were used to live
> (because since 700 years she has been cultivated by the Mexican
> Mazatec) in dark hot and humid forest, in the nightlight of the day
> within the shadows of trees with many branches. Below 0° (celsius) she
> dies.
> I am glad I found my master. A plant!  (grin). But I will continue to
> explain UDA+AUDA for those who prefer the pure third person
> communicable way. Don't worry, (or worry, perhaps :).  It is a
> question of taste. Reality is creative, beyond wonders and surprises.
> People who does not like wonders, surprises should not study computer
> science and logics, neither physics, and should avoid Lewis Carroll
> and Salvia Divinorum. That plant likes joking. Here a video of someone
> very sensible, and a bit unprepared, who seems to appreciate the joke:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1QavlZe2H8&feature=channel_page
> About that plant, I would like to add that I am certainly in favor of
> some regulation. But criminalization of it is no less than criminal.
> The plant becomes really dangerous: it can send you to hell (jail),
> even without smoking it!
> We should have laws forbidding defamation about products related to
> health. Against the abuse of systematic well known errors of logic,
> the ignorance of what is a trance states, etc.
> Best,
> Bruno
> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
> >


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