comment by [deleted] ·
2016-01-21T05:52:11.655Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Star Slate Codex readers may remember the prime number factorisation experimental protocol (http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/21/universal-love-said-the-cactus-person/). It’s one of many dangerous but high impact rationality experiments that I have had (not longer) an interest in testing. Before I got serious about rationality I was getting increasingly mentally ill. I was considered to be in the prodrome of schizophrenia and even experienced (though I was skeptical about the veracity of my memory, till this recent experience which helped remind me of the subjective experience) ‘’first episode of psychosis’’. I believe that immersion in the rationality community helped me eventually get discharged from early-psychosis intervention, get taken off anti-psychotics and to no longer be considered psychotic in any way shape of form. This is unpresedented, since it is generally believe the progress of schizophrenia is such that there is no such remission. So I reckon it’s my social duty to explore this and see if my story can be of value to others: raising the sanity waterline if you will.
This post will be the first in a multi-post series about the most recent such journey and why I have given it up. I hope it serves as a warning and caution to those with the gall to do similar things, and some insight into the limits of rationality to more mainstream rationalists. To anyone looking for something profound in this post without using their own powers to draw more from it than I saw straight up, I recommend you skip this one and keep an eye out for the follow-up posts since this is basically background information.
I had noticed a man wearing a plain pastel green shirt. No that’s too generous: plain pastel green tabard, a big nose and haphazardly braided hair aboard the trip. I assumed he was a kind of hippy tourist that was trying to hard and had gone out of his way to make his own clothing. I assume a gentle nature. As I left the ship he shoved past me through a tight corridor. It would be the first in a string of assumptions I would make that night that would plunge me into and out of harrowing world where I would explore the fringes of rationality.
Tonight was the culmination of years of planning and preparation. ‘Do you know where Mellow Mountain is?’ I asked the receptionist. She pointed at the raised platform in the dark of the rocks way above, looking over the waves. The stairs were rickety and lights didn’t pave the way. I had expected a happy looking hut. I had passed two drunkards a km away who had pointed me in this direction and said that the mafia pay off the local authorities. I thought they were talking about the locan mafia. I later had reason to believe they were referring to the Russian mafia. Open secrets. I had read online that the place was towards one end of the beach when I had chanced upon this place of accommodation. It was just what I was looking for: somewhere close by to retreat to. I thought it would be my sanctuary. I was so wrong.
There was a row of very dark skinned Thais at a bench overlooking the steps. They didn’t look up as a passed, they all paid attention to their smartphones. The whole place was really odd. The music was lurid, not traditional drug music. It was a rather scary place. It was dark, and none of the Thais smiled. I looked at the first bar. There was marajuana art around. This wasn’t the place I was looking for. I went further in and saw a second bar, tucked into the corner. There were no signs, no prices, nothing advertised. This must be it.
I asked the bartender: ‘Can I have one?’. He asked ‘what do you want?’. I felt a lump in my throat. If the rumours weren’t true, this could be a big mistake. Thailand takes drug crime very seriously. I asked for a ‘milkshake’. The man went to the back. It was an obtuse time, just like I wanted. There didn’t seem to be any eyes on me. I peeped over and observed. It looked like he and his coworker were preparing some kind of root by chopping it up. It was dark coloured. It didn’t look like a mushroom. The drink prepared didn’t look anything like a milkshake: there was clearly no milk in it. It didn’t taste mushroomy. I drank it and retreated. The effects were initially mild. I waited to get a sense for how much lead time I had before I had to retreat to a safer space when I downed a second drink. I saw the boats at sea driving around. I thought maybe they were patrol boats sponsored by the local mafia to ensure there were no drug related deaths at sea: a sure fire way to curb tourism. From past experiences I know I have extreme tollerance for hallucinogenic experiences. For instance, with concentration and reason I can flux into and out of lucidity during DMT trips, irrespective of dose.
Soon I returned to those stairs, quite clearly affected, yet not arousing the attention of the dark skinned Thai’s above still who had probably and/or experienced all kinds of things in their day. I guessed they were the local mafia. In the lead up to my return for seconds I had enjoyed embracing the sand, looking out at the waves from the beach, tried seeing if I could have a more nuanced reading of Rationality from AI to zombies and explored past memories, cognitive functioning and such. Now it was time for me to reach a so called ‘Level 5 trip’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychedelic_experience#Level_5_.28Ineffable.29).
What happened over the course of the night will have a seperate post. This post has just been relevant background information. The rationality experiments and my interpretations are coming in the next.
I will give the post’s Latin names to make them easy to find. I don’t want to post so much so I will combine various maxims into say 2 seperate post. The maxims aptly describe the relevant themes:
Tantum nimirum ex publicis malis sentimus, quantum ad privatas res pertinet : nec in iis quicquam acrius quam pecuniae damnum stimulat. - We feel public misfortunes just so far as they affect our private circumstances, and nothing of this nature appeals more directly to us than the loss of money (Livy).
goldBis interimitur qui suis armis perit - He is doubly destroyed who perishes by his own arms. (Syrus)
Acerrima proximorum odia - The hatred of those most nearly connected is the bitterest of all (Tacit)
aegri somnia vana - a sick man's dream
Facilis descensus averno - The descent to Avernus (Hell) is easy (Virgil)
Graviora manent - Greater dangers await (Virgil)
Tempus edax rerum - Time is the devourer of things
Una salus victis nullam sperare salutem - The one safety for the vanquished is to abandon hope of safety (Virgil)
Acclinis falsis animus meliora recusat - The mind intent upon false appearances refuses to admit better things (Horace)
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↑ comment by [deleted] ·
2016-01-21T14:47:20.509Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Ahh, screw the format. I’ll just post here to contain it in one place as it comes to me. I lie here in my hotel. Sometimes I think of relatively trivial matters compared to the recent tribulations: Í shouldn’t have prepaid my entire stay in this hotel. I should have taken it one night at a time’ I think. That may be wrong. There were some parts of the events of last night where my intuitions were gravely wrong. Both the hallucinations and the delusions offered insights:
Let’s star with the comedic, but totally non-chronological. One gentleman at a bar I stopped for some food seemed like mafia to me. It turned out he was a gay guy who upon noticing me, did the surrepticious gay secret ritual for wanting me to follow him to his hotel room. If I was in the mood and not drug-fucked, I might have obliged. Importantly, it’s unlikely that there would be an openly gay russian mafioso because of the homophobia among Russians and machismo of criminals. I noticed upon leaving that the bar was called Same Same and the servers came across as pretty gay.
So I was delusional. My insight fluctuated throughout the night but remained under a threshold. For one, I couldn’t will myself to consciously test items on scales of insight that I otherwise can vaguely remember if I’m primed with the memory. And indeed, during the peak of the trip I did WANT to test myself since it often increases my self-awareness: I just couldn’t do it.
During that peak: what felt like several hours but I later inferred was under an hour, perhaps about 330 minutes or less. I pleaded out aloud for anyone who might be able to here me to evacuate me to a psychiatric ward or hospital immediately. It was, in retrospect, looking for positives, a respite from the paranoia of losing my valuables that has burdened me for the whole trip. Nevermind that I could not reconcile my visual and auditory information, nor my olfactory sensory data with one another. In a sense it was a moment of highly intentioned high stakes reason: reason uninhibited by cachhed thoughts associated with typical familiar sensory input.
I assume the auditory information is hallucinatory. I was outside later and there was a dying beach scene. It wa already 10.30pm. Around 11.30pm when I go outside I can see there is a huge party happening. This relieves a lot of my anxiety.
The greatest relief from this hell was talking to people. After the hurdle of social anxiety was bounded, I landed in the real sanctuary: a safer, social environment. It took the group’s movemet into the party side of the beach filled with alcohol for me to return to my room, finally having some semblance of peace. I loathe recreational self-harm above such as alcohol and didnt want to be part of it.
I consciously thought through several rationality maxims given in the sequenes. I tried various techniques I had thought of too. They just pushed me deeper into the rabbit whole. My anxiety built while I found them to be rather useless in this context. How had it got to this? Before I was patting some nice cat that I can approached me while I sat on a bench up the road. I wasn’t at all scared of the dogs around me, including one missing a leg with a big bump on its head. I walked barefoot in quite an inappopriate place. It was a big downswing from when I literally hugged the beach sand. What marked the downswing to me was being shouted at by the Magic Mountain milkshake seller man. Or that’s what I remember remembering during my peak. It’s not clear to me if that really happened. I was very afraid thereafter and at the point was unsure what he was trying to tell me, but wasn’t able to figure out what to do to figure that out.
I waited to die. It was something to look forward too. I thought what positive I could: If I make it out of this I have nothing to fear of say torture: since at least I can know that is a finite thing with death as the end. I wasn’t even sure if perhaps this psychological torture is the real reality, and what I had known before was actually a disorted memory, or some kind of false dimension part of an infinite continuum of weirdness I was now in. At times, I suspected I am dead. At the time I was totally awarae these ideas were absurd. They felt absurd, but they also felt like useful working hypothesis to figure out how to play this game. I prayed to god. I tried closed eye visualisation to hallucinate meeting with god who then proceeded to tell me that he had no more left to teach you. It was underwhelming and I reckon it’s just my lack of creativity and pride speaking. I suppose it might be what they call çlose eyes hallucinations.
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↑ comment by [deleted] ·
2016-01-21T15:17:34.224Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I went on brief mental journeys. Things were still positive at this time. It was supposed to be a time of healing, retreating to my room. But, it would be the lead in to the negative parts. The mental journeys culminated in me making a few notes:
My life is a fortress
This was based on close eye hallucinations where everything was blocky, including my eyes
Its okay to try hard
I don’t remember the story behind this
And you cab (sic) make the profound out of nothing and ritual
Relating to how I was identifying meaning in trivial things. This conforms with priors around semiotics and psychiatry.
I had been to hell and back: psychosis before without drugs. This was a reminder of what it could be like and importance of mental health..i know that this probably not cure depression, just brief serotonin boost, others have reported this, but now motivated to restart antidepressants and maybe antipsychotics
I’m just on drugs, I thought. But that didn’t really help. I thought maybe it wasn’t mushrooms. It was the right duration, but so does LCD and some RC’s. The dangers of the unknown substance really scared me. Also my history of mental health scared me in that it may have precipitated on ongoing psychosis, or HPPD.
I think about the phone monkey cliff mafia. They might be disinformants
Replies from: None
Posts pop up on various facebook groups urging foreigners not to comment to the media, or speak to any outsiders until approval is given by key people on the island. Comments are deleted or self censored. There is an appearance of a wall of silence, either for personal safety, or to protect business interests. Various sock puppet accounts appear on online message boards such as Thaivisa.com attempting to derail commentary on the incident and the character assassination of the only witness begins.