Message-ID: <lemayC6xMpJ.1In@netcom.com>
Subject: Nitrous ramblings
From: lemay@netcom.com (Laura Lemay)
Newsgroups: alt.drugs
Date: Wed, 12 May 1993 21:08:06 GMT

'lo, all.

Two things:

Lots of people have been asking nitrous questions recently. There isn't a Nitrous FAQ on ftp.u.washington.edu. I've got some free time. I'm a writer. Hence: I'm writing one.

Send me info you have kicking about. I know lots about whip-its; its just about everything else I need to know about. :)

Secondly, I'm the one that posted a while ago about finding the secret to the universe on nitrous, and I should have known that people would ask me what it was. :) Its taken me a while to figure out how to actually write about my nitrous expreiences, just cause words are rather limiting when you talk about the wide expanse of what you can understand when you're on nitrous. But here goes.

Before I start, a disclaimer: this is long and trippy-sounding. I'm embarrassed as hell about posting it, cause its not at all what usually appears on this newsgroup, and a lot of it is wild speculation that I find fascinating, even four months after discovering it on nitrous. Note that I've never read any philosophy, including psychedelic philosophy. I am not at all religious, in fact I'm anti-religion. I'm not sure what relevance that has to all of this, but I felt it was important to mention. I thought of this all on my own. :)


First of all, I need to explain how I start thinking when I've had a lot of nitrous. A couple people have posted or sent me mail describing the effect as being like uncovering layers, or of things being recursive. Those are both good words.

I read once that most major breakthroughs in thought have taken place not because of an incremental increase in knowledge, but because of a paradigm shift. The thoery, as far as I could remember it, was that within a paradigm, incremental breakthroughs in understanding could only take you so far. But to really progress someone has to hold up then entire paradigm to the light and come up with a diffierent paradigm; then the cycle can start over again. The problem is that those who end up tossing out the old paradigm are usually thought of as crackpots and villified by thier peers for doing just that, and it may take years before eople decide that the paradigm-shifter was actually right.

The prime example of all this is Galileo and the sun-revolves-around the earth paradigm; science had gone only so far in explaining things under that paradigm, and they were unable to explain many other things (sorry I'm being so vague; I don't remember the details). When the paradigm shifted, and it was more commonly believed that the earth revolves around the sun, the problems made more sense. But it took someone to question that fundamental fact (as it was believed to be) for the change to take place.

My point in mumbling about all this nonsense is that sometimes its hard to see the forest for the trees; sometimes its hard to back up far enough into the paradign that you question the paradigm itself. Nitrous, for me, makes it easier. It makes it easy to question things you have never questioned before, to step back and see the bigger picture.

But it doesn't stop there. Once you've examined one paradigm and found its problem, you've got another paradigm to fool with. And then the nitrous makes you examine *that* paradigm. Its like an infinite onion; you peel away one belief and there's another beneath it. And another beneath that. And on. And on.

I've had many nitrous conversations with myself that dealt with wild religious conspiracy thoeries, whether animals think, how it is I can come up with ideas for short stories, and many other things I can't remember off hand. But my most mind-expanding nitrous trip of all was one where I started thinking about perception in general and just what reality means.

I started out thinking of the phrase "I'll believe it when I see it with my own eyes." Or not necessarily that phrase in an of itself, but the idea that truth only exists if we can see it, or hear it, or taste it, or whatever, for ourselves. We rely on our perceptions to draw conclusions and accumulate knowledge.

But our perceptions can't necessarily tell us the whole truth, cause there are things outside those perceptions that exist, but we can't perceive of them with the raw equipment we have. For example, 300 years ago there were no microscopes, and people could not see viruses or bacteria. It wasn't until we found a way to expand our vision into the very very small via microscopes that we were able to find out that microorganisms exist.

There are thousands of examples of bits of knoweldge that we didn't know about because we did not have the ability to bring the data into the focus of our senses, to perceive it and learn about it. We had to keep pushing on the "too small to see" or "too quiet to hear", and so on, boundaries before these things came into focus. Therefore it follows that if there were things that were beyond the extremes of our senses then, there are STILL things out there that we still haven't been able to observe.

At this point in my thinking, the onion peeled back. If there are things beyond the extremes of our perception that we have only just discovered, and there are still things out there beyond those extremes, then perhaps it follows that there are also forms of perception we have not yet discovered. Perhaps there are more than five senses, but we just don't understand what they are because they are not as observable to us as the original five. Perhaps there is reality out there that we'll never be able to understand because we don't have senses that will be able to find it, and we have no way to build machines that will open up those doors of perception to us.

Layers, layers of perception and reality. I know it all sounds really stupid. I'm reading this over and thinking "ack, you're not going to POST this, are you? How embarrassing." But this is exactly the way that nitrous makes you think.

After musing about all this for a bit, my mind began to fold back in to the present. In order to come up with this concept of inifnite knowledge contained in infinite perceptive forms, I had to be under the influence of a substance that makes my mind think in different ways -- that *changes my perception.*

Perhaps, unlike according to common knowledge, drugs don't *distort* reality, or pervert perception. Perhaps they are gateways into different forms of perception that we don't yet understand. Perhaps its only drug users who are looking at the future, at the alternate paradigms, at the different ways of seeing things that "normal" people may not find for hundred of years or not ever at all.

And if you follow that theory, isn't it sad that drug users are persecuted, teased, frowned at, and treated as criminals for not being "normal," for using drugs to "escape from reality." Maybe we're not escaping. Can you really escape from a reality if you don't understand what that reality is?

Five hundred, a thousand, some number of years from now, maybe people will say "isn't it funny how the people of the millenium frowned on drug use" the same way that we say "isn't it funny how people in 1600 thought the earth was flat."

Hmmmm.


Thats as far as I got on this train of through, or as far as I got that I can remember. Things get pretty strange the further down in the onion you go while under nitrous.

Perhaps others can take this reasoning and think about it while under the influence of nitrous or acid or whatever. Maybe you can come up with other layers that I can't found yet. By all means, let me know when you do.

Or perhaps you can all sit there and laugh and poke holes in my theory. Thats OK, too. :)

--
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Laura Lemay lemay@netcom.com
writer of trifles in shadows and blood
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