The psychedelic future of consciousness

What can 1,800,000 human days per day accomplish?

Imagine the events that happen in a city of near two million persons. How much thinking is done? How many atypical views about the nature of reality take place in the sunny hours of a city of this size?

Psychedelic experiences are eventful, so they have to be weighted more than typical days in any sum total of the quantity of conscious events and conscious luminance. Not to say, the local consciousness flux capacity co-peaks with the peak of an entheogenic trip.

Now imagine, 1,800,000 humans who dedicate their lives to serious psychedelic and consciousness research. A large fraction of this population is experienced in employing psychedelic states of consciousness for qualia-computing applications (that is, for applications suited to the specific state of consciousness, that takes advantage of the computational trade-offs of different states of consciousness to perform certain operations more efficiently). Another large fraction frequently interacts with people reporting from myriad kingdoms of consciousness (which are as different from one another as you could say the kingdoms of life are to each other).

Many of them develop computational models of the dynamics of qualia for a living. They study how varieties of consciousness interact with one another. They ask questions like: How quickly can a conscious experience intensify? What is the function that maps present content of conscious experience to the set of conceivable ideas? How fast can phenomenal yellow be transformed/substituted by phenomenal blue?

They develop probabilistic models that predict the possible transitions between states of consciousness, at all time scales. In the microsecond domain, we see resonant chambers of qualia filaments dynamically modifying manifolds of experience with variable Fourier transforms. In the ‘real-subjective-time’ scale, we would see the change from one emotional state into another. The differential equations that govern the possible affective transitions between emotions in a sober state would have long been figured out. Predicting those equations for hypothetical states of consciousness which are then found in the lab (well, the psychedelic research center) is where the field’s at.

Other people develop connections between consciousness and mathematics themselves. Philosophy of qualiamatics. After all, the semantic content of a mathematical propositions is enclosed within and a part of the experience of doing and thinking mathematics. The engineering of semantically rich states of consciousness is now of interest to pure mathematics researchers, if for no other reason than to improve their investigative mathematical skills. Drugs and techniques that specifically target the kind of meaning-making useful for mathematics are developed and used by many.

And others do a whole flip within and study the nature of philosophical thought. If you are an astute reader, you’ll notice that philosophy of the science of consciousness (just as there is philosophy of the science of physics!) cannot be complete without an understanding of philosophy through the science of consciousness. While first dismissed as a simple circularity, a play of words, universities now offer serious classes on (1) the phenomenal quality of philosophy of consciousness, and (2) the philosophical implications of the science of the consciousness of philosophy. And as you may expect, both courses have a required lab component.

People have been working for a few decades already in the creation of an agreed-upon map of the varieties of conscious experience. Most of the daily experience of most of the persons alive belong to some of the few large and broad regions of the state-space of consciousness defined in standard charts available everywhere. There is also knowledge about general regions (i.e. kinds of experiences) to completely avoid, given their intrinsically negative subjective character. However, a sizable minority of states of consciousness are still completely unclassified and unclassifiable given the present vocabulary and shared conceptions. It is not that these states are in principle inaccessible to scientific study. Instead, there either is no reliable way of reproducing the states, or the current degrees of freedom don’t allow researchers to compare them to other states of consciousness.

Yes, it is true that in some sense every state of consciousness is inconmensurable to every other state. But you can always put them side by side in a phenomenally bound entity and see what happens. Subjective affinities can be quantified, and subsequent behavior is measurable. Consistent findings tend to happen, unless there is an intrinsically chaotic result, in which case that fact is noted. The vast majority of the state space of consciousness remains undiscovered, unexplored, and unconceived. And yet, general key principles of consciousness (such as relationships between behavior and intrinsic quality) are already known and applied widely in the exploration of uncharted states of consciousness. What shamans, psychologists and even philosophers of the past did more or less as an art (with 99.9% of practice time) is now done systematically, more thoroughly and better recorded (with no practice time needed) via technologically enhanced thinking.

Just as the mathematical characterization of tiny physical components of matter in the 19th century led to the development of computing machines made of tiny systems in the 20th century, we now see the mathematical formalisms of the behavior of consciousness are paying off computationally. The computational advantages of phenomenal binding are harnessed in the processing of information in a way that is far superior to digital computers. With the integration of semantics modules of thought, and mathematical renderers, conscious experience can quickly explore vast regions of possibility space. Now thinking about the nature of the possible has been transformed from an art to an engineering discipline.

Qualia treasures are discovered all the time. What used to be a person’s peak experience in a lifetime (a moment of transcendent delight from which the rest of the cosmos seems more profound and deeply significant than at any other point in life) are now a possible baseline of consciousness for many experimental subjects and artists of the mind alike. Yet, there are far greater and significant worlds of qualia discovered from time to time. And there is no sign that the rate of discoveries will slow down. Like prime numbers, perhaps, the interval between them increases as you find the ones closer to zero, and yet you are guaranteed to find one if you keep counting.

Needless to say, the discoveries of qualia treasures are welcomed by the general population, who get to try them and delight in them after robust accessing methods are proved safe. Qualia safety engineers work hard to avoid even the presence of the conceivability of a problem in a qualia world shipped to the general public.

Imagine, 1,800,000 researchers conducting all of this work on a daily basis. That’s a possible future. A very possible, perhaps inevitable one. Perhaps you are unaware of it, but this is a fact: We are at the edge of something big, unimaginably big.

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