Turning Back the Second Seconds
Citation: nowhereman. "Turning Back the Second Seconds: An Experience with DPT (exp79163)". Erowid.org. Jul 15, 2009. erowid.org/exp/79163
I've use DPT in this grove of eastern white pines or others like it five times before this -- there's something profoundly graceful about their gilded green clusters swaying against a sky that drips with blue -- and more times than not it's been revelatory. This time will be no different, but not in the same way I'm thinking it might be now.
I've found a reclining rock to trip out on three-fourths up a moraine composed of massive boulders -- a nice isolated place. It's about 150 vertical feet to a trail that runs along a ridge up top that I'll have to high step it to once I've come down enough from the DPT.
There was 55mg of DPT loaded in that barrel, 5 to 10 more than is usually needed to launch me into my sweet spot. I'm a once-a-month tripper, but finishing school projects early this spring has afforded me a window of opportunity that has been closed for 3 months before now, and so I've tripped 3 times in the past 2 weeks.
I loaded that dose because I figured I'd need a little extra oomph to blast over psychological tolerance. But I'm wrong. 20 minutes into it and I'm sure I've overshot my mark. I'm dislocated from my sense of my body and miles away from being able to walk. I'm feeling a bit like I did before the first and last time I achieved ego death with DPT years ago. It's fine though, I'm blocked from sight and all I need to do is wait here with a grin so persistent it aches while listening to music until the pieces fall back into place. But they don't.
It's a good 50 minutes after injection when I attempt to sit up. I'm way past the peak, but I'm definitely not ready to climb the boulders. I decide to do an inventory of my stuff to make sure it didn't fall out of my pockets and into that hole to oblivion I was dancing around earlier.
I look to my right and see my headphones … I look to my right and see my headphones … Did I just do a double-take? … Did I just do a double take? What? ... What?
I'm unable to realize it explicitly at this this time, but I've begun to consistently experience partial echoes of my emotional reactions, thoughts and interior monologue -- even the inner impressions of perceptions -- approximately two seconds after they occur.
To understand the nature of what I'll be describing more clearly imagine walking into a quiet empty room at 1 pm. A cuckoo clock whirs to life, startling you, and you twist your head to see it. It gives one quick “cuckoo.” Giggling at yourself, you watch as the tiny bird snaps back behind the doors of the clock. At 1 pm and two seconds the clock's doors have just shut, yet suddenly you're struck with the same sense of surprise you had when you heard the mechanism first start 2 seconds ago. Less than half a second later the sensation of twisting your head to see the clock recurs. You experience vertigo because in truth you haven't physically moved a bit. Still standing there looking at the cuckoo clock’s closed doors you can almost see the bird pop out and almost hear it's chime. It's more than a vivid memory. What you're experiencing is so transporting that you feel at a far distance from the image of the clock that is actually present an arm's length before you now, like you're a step behind yourself and trailing in time. Expressionless, you feel a mild sense of relief followed by a short spike of elation and a blush spread across your face. This is what that laugh you had at yourself a moment ago would have felt like if you hadn't smiled. You're getting the first hints that something's seriously wrong. Now the muffled echo of that 2 second old laughter is mixed with brand new confusion, which will soon mount to dread. You turn to leave at 1 pm and 4 seconds, yet as you take your first step you feel a part of you is still standing still, looking at the just closed doors of the clock... This is what's just happened to me.
“What the hell is this? ... What the hell is this?”
I sit for a while in the grove disbelievingly, looking around like I've just woken up in a strange place and don't know how I got there. I don't want to leave until I figure out what's going on. I keep thinking it'll just stop on its own. But it doesn't.
This is frightening. The trip has been rapidly declining (at this point I can easily stand up, walk, and focus visually), yet this phenomenon -- a glitchy state of mind I'd only expect to encounter briefly during a dizzying psychedelic overdose, if ever -- seems unwavering in its intensity.
I look at the sunlit trees, seeking something of the enveloping warmth and beauty I saw brimming at the edges of their leaves just minutes ago. But now their lyrical shimmer seems flat and tepid. And then, once more, it seems flat and pallid. The sublime and the beautiful are no refuge for me now. I feel a twinge of panic, but it's as though the fear's emotional cord is plucked with the soggy corner of a sponge. … Then the the same fear comes again, indistinct and without pain, just trickling down my back with the chill of stagnant water.
This should be over now. I'm down, but I'm not out. Stretched over two seconds, between two styluses scratching the same groove of time, I continue to find that all I experience is faded and degraded, and everything is twice.
In over a decade of psychedelic experiences and reading other's reports I've not encountered or heard of anything like what's happening to me now. It’s not an eternal tailspin into the recesses of the psyche or LSD's thought loopty-loop psychosis. It’s not something I can’t stop thinking about because it’s just so damned intriguing or a perseverative behavior spurred on by compulsion. For 30 or 40 minutes I try to tell myself it's one or a combination of these things and that I'm just still too fucked up to recognize it.
Throughout the episode I most often tell myself that what I'm dealing with is my own obdurate conviction in the pursuit of a question. I want what I'm experiencing to be the result of following a mystery so irresistible that I've placed myself as a character in its ongoing story to figure it out. The question: “if a person suddenly re-experiences everything even as they continue on with their life, what can they do to make the repetitions stop, and how do they catch up (or slow down) so that the two aspects of themselves once again track their experiences at the same point in time?”
I'm fooling myself and I know it. I just want the problem to be something I recognize so that I can know it will end or can at least imagine a way that it could end. I need to know this is something people come out of. But the second seconds are just there -- unapproachable and indelible like a brute fact.
I want to cry, or I expect that's what I should want. That’s what’s supposed to happen when things are desperate and you don’t know what to do. That’s the one outlet we always have. But I can’t feel anything strongly enough to cry. Feelings occur in our immediate experience, but in this labyrinthine echo chamber they cannot scale any sharp emotional crescendos because they’re constantly garbled and misdirected by the stirring of the just passed past. My thoughts and their echoes share the same breath as they stifle each other in endless error. I can’t understand what’s happening or escape it, only persist as a subject of its vague horror.
It's a simple horror, too, consisting of just this world, and just one repetition. This is no dimethyltrypamine temple, whose grand vault and ornate fixtures can only be maintained by the rapid influx of high concentrations of psychoactives. No, all this needs to maintain itself is what it already has: the independent reality of quotidian existence. Its hell is economical. It really could last forever.
I repeat the same rationalizations about what is or isn't happening repeatedly because often I can't tell if the the echo of these frantic thoughts is the second, third or the first time I've gone over them. Degraded experiences like the ones I am encountering now don't make much of an impression, so I constantly forget.
I'm flailing in a swarm of sensations. It's extraordinarily difficult to tell when I first INITIATE any action because often my sense of initiating some thought “B”' will coincide with the echo of my sense of initiating some previous thought “A”. The result is a sense that I experience starting to think about two things that are not necessarily related to one another at the same time. In this way even simple statements about myself can cascade into cacophonous congregations jostling with slick-tongued strangers.
I start to worry I could get rolled into a snowballing maze of ever-more-convoluted re-experiences of re-experiences. A few times I think that a positive feedback loop is forming, but the loops truly seem limited to just one iteration. My misperception of second or third repetitions, or repetition intervals of greater than two seconds, owe to forgetting what's been thought already and how long I've been repeating it, or repeating something to myself in order to comprehend it by rote and forgetting that repeating things to myself is what I'm TRYING to do, or pretending that my fear of being caught up in endlessly overlaid repetitions of shuffled experience intervals has actually come to pass but forgetting that I started out just pretending. Yeah, it's damned confusing.
Of all the things I re-experience my interior monologue is the most resonant, so it is it that I try to quiet. I hope that the real time and delayed tracks of my experience will be pulled back together if I can create a vacuum of mental silence. If no experience fills time, I hope, there is nothing to separate the copied experience from the original, nothing for the horror to orient its consistency.
Staring wide-eyed I see, and try only to see, something outside me: tree bark ... tree bark, lichen on granite ... lichen on granite, cloud ... cloud ... . It's futile. I can't empty my mind of thought because the echo is, itself, thought. It is automatically layered, it is always already inside.
I want to talk to someone. I want to hear a voice that isn't my own.
I feel almost completely sober in my body now. Why hasn't this stopped? This has to be because I've been tripping. But I'm not really tripping now. Is this nightmare really self-sustaining as I feared?
OK, last resort: When I make it home ... somehow, I'm taking a knock-out dose of GHB. A lack of consciousness cannot be divided. That will save me. I have to believe that will save me.
But for now: Walk, jump, keep your balance, find the trail, read the map, be busy. You're here now, this is happening now. You're the one behind your eyes. If your world is muffled turn up the fucking volume!
I find the trail and start heading towards the park's exit. Its up around a few more bends. I try to laugh at all this. How can it be? It's all so absurd. It can't be my fate if it's absurd.
You can't split and drag a clone of your ego behind you in time!
You can't be happening twice … you can't be happening twice.
Whatever is happening can only be happening amid the swirl of living symbols that is you. You cannot be stuck in a mystery of logic. You cannot lose yourself forever in a question. Your ego was unraveled during the trip, and when it started to spin back together the exact same length of thread was double spoo...
Here I'm not sure if I experience double-vision or if it's a hallucination, it's too quick, but for about two seconds the rightward bend of the trail in front of me divides in two and appears to curl back on itself.
“That's it!” I laugh out loud and for the first time in over an hour of feel a sensation resonate through my whole being. It's joy.
“... Wait. What?” I forget what I just figured out. For about half a minute I'm not even sure what's happened in the past hour or so, but I feel like crying. And I finally feel like I could cry. It's stopped.
Suddenly I'm tripping again. With elation that's bold and clarion, an amber-hued rhapsody resounds through the full breadth of my sensorium. It's partially the sheer ecstasy of being whole again, but truly I am tripping harder (perhaps a light +2 on Shulgin's scale).
Over the next half hour I figure out that what has probably happened is that earlier I mistook the sense of detachment from the world I was experiencing during the time of the repetitions for a substantial decline in the trip's intensity when in fact the trip had been declining far more slowly.
I check the clock on my cell and see I'm only a little over two and a half hours past dosing. I expected this to last three hours before fading into residual stimulation. But even so, the fact that I was still tripping harder than I realized at this point does not account for the great severity of the phenomenon I experienced.
Because the “eureka event” that ended the repetitions was followed by a brief period of quasi-amnesia it is difficult to say for sure, but I think I remember the essence of what the realization I had was.
Just before the realization I had suspected that towards the end of the DPT's peak I experienced something akin to ego death, but it was incomplete, i.e. some components of the ego remained “online” while others de-patterned. The part of my ego pattern that was disrupted (whose fragmented form perhaps took around two seconds to synthesize its degraded experiential gestalt) may have re-established itself nested within the the part of my ego pattern that survived the trip intact in error. This erroneous fragment followed the “ego-reassembly instructions,” but as it carried out those instructions it was chemically partitioned by the DPT from the surviving portion of my ego pattern that it would have otherwise been integrated withi -- that is, the fragment of the pattern that continued processing sensory information in the relative present. (This idea of a degraded nested ego is similar to but distinct from the simultaneously active egos shown to exist in the brains of some people that have undergone corpus callosotomies.)
In any case, what was happening was a lot more complicated than a localized muscle spasm or a vocal tick! Something needed to continually orchestrate the activity of a diverse array of neural sub-systems into a partial reiteration of whatever pattern was expressed in my brain two seconds before.
I see something intriguing about the duration of the trail hallucination “eureka event” that ended my experience of the repetitions -- that is, the hallucination of the path curling back on itself. I estimate it lasted just two seconds, which is the same duration as that of the delay between my experience in the present and its re-experience in a lesser form. To me the similarity suggests that two highly similar egoic brain processes, each partially capable of generating the essence of my usual personal conscious experience of the world, were synthesized and looped in succession. If this is the case, it might explain the degraded sense of self and the environment I noted during the experience. If mental resources needed to be reallocated to sustain both the ego that shaped my initial experiences and the echo ego that re-experienced them, I imagine the bio-electrical patterns that each of the two consisted of would need to be of a significantly lower fidelity than those of a single ego pattern free to utilize all mental resources available to it for itself.
It's also fascinating that throughout the episode I was trying to gain perspective on the problem by describing it to myself, but it was only when I came up with an interpretation of HOW the repetitions might have originated that the episode finally ended. My best guess is that by thinking of a theory that roughly explained the problem's origins consciously I provided some non-conscious maintenance intelligence a diagnostic solution that was “close enough” to the actual problem to correct whatever was happening and re-establish my normal unified ego pattern. The symbolism of the path curling back on itself may indicate that, on some level, such a non-conscious intelligence was aware of what was happening and chose to communicate it to me through the hallucination, but the symbolism is too vague to draw conclusions.
Of course, that a powerful ego-dissolver like DPT was decreasing in concentration at this point during the trip likely also played a role, both in my ability to make the realization about what was occurring and in the ability of my brain to reestablish and sustain the signal integrity that I believe likely underlies the functioning of my complete ego. I'm sure I didn't absolutely need to give an explanation for the problem's origination in order for it to end at all, but because the nature of the problem was so severe even at a mild +2 level of intoxication I also have no doubt that the repetitions would have continued for far longer independently of the episode's concurrent DPT concentration levels if I hadn't.
After almost 13 years of use even familiar psychedelics continue to surprise me. I think it's terrifying that an episode like this one can happen at all. To tumble endlessly through a labyrinth of myself unable even to summon the indignation to scream is a terror worse than I could have imagined. But it is also a profound testament to the facility of our minds that something so seemingly catastrophic as a looped ego pattern can be corrected though conscious understanding and epiphany. DPT taught me a psycho-philosophical lesson I had never read of or heard hinted about, and provided it through incomparably valuable first-hand experience.
As self-aware beings, I can't imagine being charged with a more natural or pressing responsibility than to use the complete repertoire of our material and cognitive resources towards expanding the limits of those aspects of our awareness that make us unique within the full breadth of the experiential realm. What tools today could be more valuable to those ends than these non-endogenous bridges of psychomatter we continue to lay across moribund voids to new and great expanses of the mind that are physiologically impossible to reach without them? I will not let horror dissuade me, not least a revealing horror. I won't fear such opportunity.
|Exp Year: 2009
|Age at time of experience: Not Given
|Published: Jul 15, 2009
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|DPT (21) : General (1), Difficult Experiences (5), Alone (16)
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