Psychedelic alignment cascades

A given human computer is limited in its operations by its own acquired mathematical conceptual machinery; this is part of its supraself-metaprograms*. Maximum control over the metaprogrammatic level** by the selfmetaprogram*** is achieved not by direct “one to one” orders and instructions from the one level to the other. The control is based upon exploration of n-dimensional spaces and finding key points for transformations, first in decisive small local regions which can result in large-scale transformations. (This model reminds one of Ashby’s Design for a Brain, 1954, in which a large “homeostat” stimulated in one small region makes large adjustments throughout itself in order to compensate for the small change.)


One key in the mind is to hunt for those discontinuities in the structure of the thinking which reveal a critical turnover point at which one can exert emotional energy so as to cause a transformation in all of that region.


The analogy of the key in the lock is part of this subject’s human computer as a child. The lock is now transformed into an n-dimensional choice-point at which one could exert the proper amount of energy in the proper dimensions and in proper directions in those dimensions and find a radical transformation of all the metaprograms in that region of the computer. In a three-dimensional geometrical model of such operations (in which one decreases the number of dimensions so that they can be visualized in visual space) one can think of oddly-shaped rubber surfaces connected on lines, on points and over large areas which are inflated to different amounts and differing pressures so as to fill a very large room. These membranes are of different colors and various regions are differently lighted and the whole is considered to be pulsing and changing shapes but not changing contact between surfaces, lines, or points. One can imagine one’s self moving through these complex surfaces. There are various colors lighted from various directions. One hunts for that zone in which one can exert maximum amount of effect in terms of the redistribution of bond energies, over point, line, and surface area contact. One may also exert the maximum effect on the differential pressures in the spaces bounded by each of the surfaces where closed.


After sufficient study of this model one discovers that the points of contact between the membranes are not as fixed as when first seen. What one saw at first was a frozen instant of time extending over a long period of time as if the model were static. Suddenly one realizes that the points of contact are the sharing of portions of these surfaces along appropriate lines at given instants and that these boundaries are changing constantly. One suddenly also discovers that the colors are moving over the surfaces and passing the boundaries. This particular model is a small region in a larger universe filled with such surfaces and intersections and spaces between. One also discovers that the light sources are within certain of these sheets shining through to others and that the hue and intensity are varying according to some local rules.


One moves away from the model and sees that it is filling a universe; one moves back into the model and begins to look carefully at one thin membrane. As the structure of the membrane is revealed and the structure of the intersection between the membrane is seen, it turns out that there is a micro-circuitry within the membrane at a molecular and atomic level. There are energies moving in prescribed paths (sometimes in a noisy fashion) in multiple directions within the membrane. At the intersections collisions occur ([particles] are moving from one sheet to the other in both directions). Sheets that are immediatly adjacent are seen to be doing local computations at very high speed. The intersections are now seen as micro-molecular-atomic switch lines, switch surfaces, and switch points.


Thus one finds that the phrase, “The key is no key” has grown into a new conception of a computer. This computer within itself ideally recognizes no locks, no forbidden transitions, no areas in which data cannot be freely moved from one zone to another. At the boundaries of the computer, however, there are still, as it were categorical imperatives. Now the problem becomes not the boundaries within the computer but the boundaries outside it. By outside I do not mean only the integumentary boundaries of the real body. I mean other sources of influence than through the bottom layer of the external chemical physical reality. To symbolize this doubt, this skepticism, about the boundaries of the computer and the influence that can be brought to bear upon them other than those coming through the physical-chemical reality, a line is places above the supraself-metaprograms and is labeled unknown.


In the mind of the subject the unknown must take precedence. It is placed above the supraself-metaprogram because it contains some of the goals of this particular human computer. This exploration of the inner reality presupposes that the inner reality contains large unknowns which are worth exploring. However, to explore them it is necessary (1) to recognize their existence and (2) to prepare one’s computer for the exploration. If one is to explore the unknown one should take the minimum amount of baggage and not load one’s self down with conceptual machinery which cannot be flexibly reoriented to accept and investigate the unknown. The next stage of development of those who have the courage and the necessary inner apparatus to do it, is exploration in depth of this vast inner unknown region. For this task we need the best kind of thinking which man is capable. We dissolve and/or reprogram the doctrinaire and the ideological approaches to these questions.


To remain skeptical of even this formalization of this particular human computer’s approach to this region is desirable. One does not overvalue this particular approach; one looks for alternative approaches for exploratory purposes. Freedom from the tyranny of the supraself-metaprograms is sought but not to the point at which other human computers control this particular human computer. Deep and basic interlock between selected human computers is needed for this exploration. Conceptualization of the thinking machine itself is needed by the best minds available for this task. In a sense, we create the explorers in this area.


– Johhn C. Lilly, Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer (on the subject of reprogramming one’s brain using sensory deprivation tanks in conjunction with 100µg+ doses of LSD)


* Supraself-metaprograms: These are the mental “programs” that we inherit from our culture, influence from others, implicit historical beliefs, and so on.

** The metaprogramming: The activity of creating systems of mental programs with purposes that are context-triggered. This can be done implicitly (through emotion) or explicitly (by external or internal commands).

*** Selfmetaprogramming: Creating systems of mental programs through explicit volition.


  1. Pingback: Algorithmic Reduction of Psychedelic States | Qualia Computing
  2. Benjamin · June 2

    One of my top favourite books! Love John Lillys work!

    Liked by 1 person

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