Psychedelic Information Theory

Shamanism in the Age of Reason


About Psychedelic Information Theory

Psychedelic Information Theory (PIT) began in 2004 as an extended essay entitled "The Case Against DMT Elves",1,2 which was a response to a web article entitled "DMT, Moses, and the Quest for Transcendence" by Clifford Pickover.3 "The Case Against DMT Elves" was meant to be an antithesis to the spirit models of DMT popularized by Terence McKenna and Rick Strassman in the 1990s, and as such it received some support for taking a more cognitive approach to examining hallucination.4 When I realized that cognitive case for complex hallucination had never been sufficiently compiled, I collected some notes and previous writings and began to assemble the PIT Alpha version on the tripzine.com website,5 which also includes an archive of material published in the now defunct Trip Magazine.

The process of putting the PIT Alpha version together took over a year and included the help of many people sending donations, proofreading, and providing valuable feedback on the text. PIT Alpha began as an attempt to reduce psychedelic phenomenology from a purely connective and pharmacological perspective. Sometime in late 2005, halfway through the text of PIT Alpha, I completely abandoned this approach. In 2006 I adopted a circuit model of psychedelic activation I dubbed Signal Theory, which emphasized the role of recurrent excitation in cortical networks as the source of hallucinogenesis.6 A summary of this theory was presented at the 2006 'Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference' in Tucson, AZ.7 Over a period of two years Signal Theory evolved into what I called the Multi-State Theory of psychedelic activation, which was the first time I considered the full implications of psychedelics as catalysts for driving multi-stable states of nonlinear consciousness.8

After releasing a review version of the Multi-State Theory online I received some interesting feedback that helped focus my thinking, some of it coming from an anonymous Canadian researcher who shared his unique theory of hallucinogenic frame stacking to simplify my theory of recurrent feedback in multi-stable network states.9 This led me to study the various nonlinear effects produced by a periodic modulatory interrupt in a precisely timed sequential frame processing system. By extrapolating the various overlapping pharmacological, circuit, and network models of psychedelic action, I settled upon the Control Interrupt Model of psychedelic activation, which posits that all hallucination begins with a high-frequency periodic interruption of multisensory frame stability.10 Once the Control Interrupt Model fell into place, Psychedelic Information Theory suddenly made sense again, and the entire PIT Alpha text was scrapped and rewritten from scratch.

After the six year effort on this project PIT is finally the model of hallucinogenesis I was always seeking to produce. I believe PIT sheds a unique light on the processes of human consciousness and the capacity of the human imagination, and will serve psychedelic research and altered-state exploration for many years. I sincerely thank all the people who have sent donations, feedback, and subtle reminders over the years. I could not have done it without the consistent encouragement. Much thanks for all your support.


James L. Kent

Notes and References

[1] Kent JL, Pickover C, 'The Case Against DMT Elves'. Tripzine.com, Internet Reference, 2004

[2] Kent JL, 'Deconstructing the Vision'. Tripzine.com, Internet Reference, 2004

[3] Pickover C, 'DMT, Moses, and the Quest for Transcendence'. Reality Carnival, "Sex, Drugs, Einstein, and Elves", 2004.

[4] Kent JL, Heinrich C, 'Elves, Entheogens, and the Death of Religion'. Tripzine.com, Internet Reference, 2004

[5] Kent JL, 'Psychedelic Information Theory: Alpha Edition'. Tripzine.com, Internet Reference, 2004

[6] Kent JL, 'Signal Theory Overview'. Tripzine.com, Internet Reference, 2006

[7] Kent JL, 'Signal Theory Poster'. Tripzine.com, Internet Reference, 2006

[8] Kent JL, 'Selective 5-HT2A agonist hallucinogens: A review of pharmacological interaction and corollary perceptual effects'. Tripzine.com, Internet Reference, 2008

[9] See "Erratic Hallucination"

[10] See "Control Interrupt Model of Psychedelic Action"

Keywords: pit, psychedelic information theory