OPENING THE THIRD EYE
Most of us have encountered folk stories involving the evil or Third Eye - that psychic transcendent sight beyond sight - and it's a recurring theme in most pre-science mythologies. The last century has debunked supernatural explanations but, strange to say, stories of third eye experience strike at a demonstrable, biochemical truth.
Evolutionary biology theorizes the third eye as a remnant of our lizard brain and, though buried deep in the brain, its ancient remnants are still manifest in modern humans as the pineal gland. Recent research links the pineal to sleep (and dream-state) regulation as well as melotonin and natural dimethyltryptamine production. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms and ayahuaska, converts into dimethyltryptamine too; stimulating the pineal dream activity but while awake and fully conscious.
Opening the third or pineal eye (e.g. by taking a D.M.T. trip) may not be precisely creating a portal to another galaxy - or any phenomenon that defies the laws of physics - but it is opening portals into regions of the mind impossible to reach otherwise.
It's a transcending experience and integral to transcendental revelation is that most fascinating, baffling facet of the psychedelic trip: the encounter with apparently conscious, autonomous alien intelligences. These sentient beings are variously described but it's near unanimous - to the subject - that they aren't explained as mere drug-induced hallucination.
The psychedelic meeting with living alien intelligences is the focus of this article and let's be clear: almost everyone who's tripped has a version of this profound communion. For many it becomes a mesmerising; an ongoing conversation spread across separate trips. It's emotionally supercharged and never not convincing; as far from the actors in our dreams as the real people we meet in everyday waking life. More than any other feature of dimethyltryptamine, meeting aliens is the shared experience most bafflingly real and at odds to the prosaic expectations of everyday life.
But if the sentient aliens aren't an illusion, what are these recurring entities of the dimethyltryptamine universe?
PERSONALITY AND ALIENS
Personality is the iceberg tip of a multidimensional internal universe of the mind. The conscious tip doesn't know much about what's happening in the exponentially larger elsemind but psychedelic excitation - like a D.M.T. trip - brings tip and base into profound contact. Temporarily. Too ubiquitous to ignore, psychonauts report meeting intelligent aliens - distinct autonomous conscious intelligences. 100% real.
It's not an illusion.
The trip-induced communion is authentic and the familiarity most feel is not misplaced.
Psilocybin, whichever its ingestion mechanism, sourced, creates certain psychotropic conditions. These don't generally occur in sober daily life.
The psychedelic communion with "alien" intelligence is authentic.
THE MIND PAINTS SYMBOLS IN SENSES
The sights and sounds and sensations of the psychic world are symbolic - usually metaphorical - but this isn't the same as illusionary (though it's often mistaken as such). Executive function needs to frame the reality it's perceiving in some comprehensible way - the same method is used when dreaming, as we can all attest.
The intensity of the psychedelic experience demands powerful symbols and that's exactly what we get. Fundamental truth is multi-layered and while habit makes it second nature to parse revelation into limbic experience - transcendent visuals for instance - the mind has imagination for its toolkit and a palette as diverse as all memory. The trip is therefore rarely just a humdrum version of the everyday familiar world.
The representation of our psychospace machine elves excites imagination to push the envelope but the brain can't imagine in a vacuum. It has to use what it's got and in the case of the psychedelic encounters, nowadays this means interstellar travel and aliens against the backdrop of the universe. Meditation transcending is subject to the same methodology.
It wouldn't have always been thus.
Religious-minded meditators often see God and angels in heaven; and report their psychedelic encounters as angels and demons rather than aliens. Yoga practitioners perceive Atman and Buddhist mandala. African animists meet ancestral spirits. Amazonian ayahuaska shaman might speak of ghosts and nature-deities.
THE MACHINE ELVES
Sights, sounds and sensations of a psychic trip (whatever the catalyst) vary but the meta of the experience is common to all. None of the standard interpretations are factually correct, however, and perhaps that's not too surprising.
The sensually-sparkling intelligences encounterd on a D.M.T. trip (or sometimes using transcendental meditation; or during pineal panic as in near death experiences) are real. The sentient entities are conscious and not merely an ephemeral dream-illusion. It would be better to call them by the name best fitting their metaphysical attributes: MACHINE ELVES.
Machine elves are autonomous shards of sentient intelligence - fractals of consciousness - iterstions of identity - whose existence is played out entirely inside your brain's enclosed altconscious.
But they are not you.
This enclosure shuts in the machine elves and, except during psychedelic pineal excitation, it's an enclosure both ways, also beyond the reach of your brain's dominant persona; that being you.
The machine elves, though confined to the pineal altspace of your mind, were manifested, as you are, from the infinitely creative forces of homo sapiens Gaia. However many you meet, all have the same point of origin and - like you - share a common foetal ancestor. This may partly explain the familiarity felt when transcending the walls separating you from your pineal altspace.
Let's be clear about the alien interpretation, then: the machine elves exist inside your brain and nowhere else. There's no physics-defying interstellar psychic travelling going on. The psychic universe is within your brain, not out among the stars.
The machine elves are of your brain, by your brain, for your brain. Real and quite the opposite of alien.
They are distinct networks of synapses and neurons and axioms, tangled into complex consciousness patterns. In essence the machine elves are made of the same cell-stuff as you.
Some of the machine elves are sentient. Many may not be. These neurological entities are variously developed, depending on the history of a particular locus of identity. There's a whole spectrum of psychic life that's likely to have existed (or still exist) in the far flung regions of your brain: from fungus-like personality abortions to advanced 'living' homunculi, all the way to the conscious self-aware machine elves themselves.
HOMO SAPIENS INTELLIGENCE BLUEPRINT
The machine elves share your brain but their life (such as it is) is disarmed, shackled, ringfenced inside a separated space; exiled behind impenetrable neurological walls. Your life as the dominant paradigm and the lives of the machine elves unfold out of touch with one another. In physical space the machine elves may be close but in psychic space the distances are beyond traversing; even if relative locations could be known. Which they are not.
The absolute separation between "you" and the machine elves is the denouement of a Darwinian battle that's carried out in the foetal and newborn period of our physical existence. It's a survival of the fittest we've all fought and won; though like any of the early life struggles, it doesn't carry over into memory. None of us remember being born and, except perhaps in sewing the seeds of childhood predisposition, we don't remember the casualties of the brutal intelligence trial-and-error from which we emerged as most successful paradigm.
The conscious "you" - the person reading or listening to these words - was the sole advanced survivor of what must've been a defining civil war for brain-domination, fighting to the bitter end in the crucible of natural selection. It all happened before your earliest memory. The battle was winner takes all, contested entirely in your unfinished brain and the victorious alpha-identity (you) gained control of nascent executive function. This means no less than being entrusted with the burden of mind and body survival; of going forth and multiplying.
The proto-sentient fractals, from stone baby to autonomous rival - machine elves to be - were ultimately casualties of the neurological civil war. Some - early fatalities, less developed homunculi - would have been neatly recycled early by your brain. Others, more evolved, more capable, not yet evolved to blind self-preservation would have been mulched into your new and expanding subconscious.
The persona fractals - and you - are born from the same zygote fertilisation. Stone-baby neural fungus to feeling homunculus to the imprisoned self-aware machine elves, whatever the endpoint of their particular development before falling in the Darwinian survival war, every one of the prototype homo sapiens sentience are more than brothers and sisters. They're all iterations of personality that may, under different conditions, have become you.
PRISONERS OF THE ALTCONSCIOUS VOID
Brain is biochemical. There's no blueprint for finished homo sapiens intelligence. There can only be a blueprint for more basic algorithms, enough to set in motion the Darwinian trial and error natural selection - in microcosm, in fairly short time, playing out an accelerated intelligence evolution. "Survival of the fittest" is a proven way to play out the brain's algorithm experiment in alpha persona intelligence i.e. making intelligence and figuring out which is best for taking the reins in the prefrontal cortex.
Neurological natural selection uses time and extinction - in the patterns of synapses and axions and neurons - on the brain-substrate playing field to achieve intelligent design results without the need for a creator. Given the timescales, it's synonymous with Mother Nature - within a human brain - doing machine learning at incredible speed. The end result is just as impenetrable...
What's more, many of the most evolved, last to fall species of intelligent identity would not have succumbed passively to termination. Their self-awareness would have evolved to be stamped through with unyielding self-preservation (that you have in spades yourself) and, despite being beaten at the Darwinian coda, could only be subdued - not recycled or mulched, separated so the keys to the prefrontal cortex are controlled by the winning intelligence only.
There can be no sharing power in a human being, just as schizophrenia couldn't have become the norm: ways of being less effective at survival (in the outside world) go extinct. The nearly-you intelligences - advanced enough and robust enough to resist extinction - are therefore disconnected, ring-fenced, imprisoned. Nature is a pragmatic path of least resistance force and the brain is merciless. The winning intelligence (you) knows how to protect its position. There is no appeal for the sentencing of the rival sentient identities. No hope of parole. It's literally and metaphorically a life sentence.
These fully-formed loci of sentient identity become the future machine elves once they've been isolated in the cooling settling mind-nursery maelstrom and imprisoned in the altconscious void. For most of us, sane and balanced, the machine elves are ghosts in the machine, doomed to haunt a psychic space that's like a pocket universe locked away in the lizard brain region of the mind.
Although they've been silenced and, except in cases of mental illness, unable to interfere with your autonomy, the resilient homunculus tangles of neurons cannot be unmade. The most advanced will have evolved far enough to be coded a life as long as your own. Instead the machine elves are locked away in an altconscious void, a disconnected headspace that's also stable enough not to traumatise them. Doubtless one of the core functions of the homo sapiens blueprint is to maintain this separation and there's plenty of evidence detailing psychological breakdown in part of the overall system as fatal to the sanity of the entire mind.
p.s. the shared origin and ongoing cohabitation might explain why the "aliens" are so universally welcoming and attentive when psilocybin allows you to connect with the altspace. If you want to think of it in grandiose terms, your visit is both a homecoming and a messianic visitation. You are, quite literally, the centre of the "aliens" universe.
Articles and Essays:
Nature Magazine - Survival, the First 3 Billion Years