PIT Summary and Overview
“Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason,” is an analysis of the physical mechanisms underlying hallucination, shamanic ritual, and expanded states of consciousness. Written by James L. Kent, this text was researched for over 20 years and includes over 200 references to the latest research in the diverse fields of pharmacology, shamanism, and perception. As a succinct yet comprehensive formal analysis of hallucination and shamanic ritual, Psychedelic Information Theory (PIT) is destined to become the modern textbook on psychedelic phenomena.
PIT begins by detailing the physiology and practical information limits of human perception and consciousness. By modeling the human brain as a dynamical information processing system, PIT demonstrates how consciousness can be destabilized to produce multiple states at once, or multi-stability, which is subjectively perceived as expanded consciousness. As consciousness moves from linear to nonlinear complexity, information is spontaneously generated in the human mind with the recursive self-similarity of a fractal or cellular automaton. PIT spells out the underlying pharmacological and perceptual mechanisms of this process in exacting detail, and the formal elements described will be immediately familiar to anyone who has had a psychedelic experience.
There are four major components to PIT. The first component is Psychedelic Information Theory itself, or the general study of the potential information complexity of the human mind, and how nonlinear information generated in humans ripples outward to affect the larger tribe or culture. The second component is the Control Interrupt Model of psychedelic action, which states that all hallucination begins with destabilization of perceptual homeostasis; that the destabilizing interrupt of any hallucinogen can be modeled as a distinct wave interference pattern; and that multi-stable states of consciousness can be controlled via the fundamentals of wave resonance, entrainment, and coherence. The third component is an overview of Nonlinear Hallucination, a formal analysis of the dynamics of entoptic, eidetic, and erratic hallucinations experienced under the influence of psychedelics. The fourth component is Physical Shamanism, or Shamanism in the Age of Reason, which describes how techniques of shamanic ritual drive phase transitions into targeted mystical states via harmonic wave interference, and how psychedelics stimulate neuroplasticity and proliferation through chaos and convergence in cellular signaling systems.
The fundamentals of PIT are derived from nonlinear dynamics, or deterministic chaos, used to model exponential complexity and convergence in coupled oscillators. By modeling the brain and the human organism as a resonant oscillator, PIT fully describes the power of hallucinogens and shamanic ritual to produce expanded states of multi-stable consciousness, also known as strange attractors. Once this process is fully described, the underlying mechanics of psychedelic therapy, shamanism, and expanded states of consciousness become self-evident. All of the models forwarded in PIT are physical and based on classical mechanics; from the wave interference created by a competing agonist in the modulatory systems of perception, to the resonant wave shaping and amplification provided by shamanic singing and ritual. By modeling hallucinogenic action and shamanic technique as a physical process, PIT avoids spiritual or metaphysical metaphors that may not have application outside their culture of origin. Since PIT is based solely on physical models, it provides an objective formal framework for analyzing hallucination and expanded states of consciousness not only in humans, but in any mechanical system of perception.
Citation: Kent, James L. Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason, Abstract, 'PIT Summary and Overview'. PIT Press, Seattle, 2010.