First-of-its-kind study hints at how psilocybin works in the brain to dissolve ego

magic mushrooms

© gilaxia/Getty Images

The psychedelic experience can be rough on a person’s ego. Those who experiment with magic mushrooms and LSD often describe a dissolution of the self, otherwise known as ego-death, ego-loss, or ego-disintegration.

For some, the experience is life-changing; for others, it’s downright terrifying. Yet despite anecdote after anecdote of good trips and bad trips, no one really knows what these drugs actually do to our perception of self.

The human brain’s cortex is where the roots of self awareness are thought to lie, and growing evidence has shown the neurotransmitter, glutamate, is elevated in this region when someone is tripping.

But up until now we’ve only had observational evidence. Now, for the first time, researchers have looked directly into how taking psilocybin affects glutamate activity in the brain. And the evidence suggests that our tripping experience, whether good or bad, might be linked to glutamate.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment, neuroscientists carefully analysed what happens to glutamate levels and a person’s ego when taking psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms.

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor the brains of 60 healthy volunteers, the team found significant changes in activity in both the cortex and the hippocampus in those taking psilocybin.

Glutamate is the most common neurotransmitter in the brain, and it’s known to be critical for fast signalling and information, especially in the cortex and hippocampus, the latter of which is thought to play a role in self esteem.

It also looks like psychedelics have a way of tapping into this system.

Interestingly enough, in the new clinical study, these two regions of the brain had quite different glutamate responses to psilocybin. While the authors found higher levels of glutamate in the prefrontal cortex during a trip, they actually found lower levels of glutamate in the hippocampus.

What’s more, this may have something to do with whether a person has a good experience with their ego or a bad one.

“Analyses indicated that region-dependent alterations in glutamate were also correlated with different dimensions of ego dissolution,” the authors write.

“Whereas changes in [cortical] glutamate were found to be the strongest predictor of negatively experienced ego dissolution, changes in hippocampal glutamate were found to be the strongest predictor of positively experienced ego dissolution.”

Practically, we still don’t really understand how this activity in the brain is linked to our ego, or even if it is. Still, it’s been suggested that psychedelics decouple regions of the brain, so factual or autobiographical information is momentarily separated from a sense of personal identity.

“Our data add to this hypothesis, suggesting that modulations of hippocampal glutamate in particular may be a key mediator in the decoupling underlying feelings of (positive) ego dissolution,” the authors suggest.

After decades of limited research, drugs like psilocybin, LSD and DMT are now finally being considered for their therapeutic benefits.

Understanding how these drugs work on a neurochemical basis could allow scientists to develop better treatments for those with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although if we’re going to be using these substances to treat mental health issues like anxiety, depression and addiction, we’re going to need to also understand the way the drugs mess with our ego – hopefully without the bad trip to go along with it.

The study was published in Neuropsychopharmacology.

Strongest solar flares in years coincide with riots, reminding us that solar activity and unrest are historically linked

solar flare and riots

With so many dramatic and consuming events taking place in our world, it’s easy to forget that as human beings we are deeply affected by all of the cosmic events taking place in the universe around us. We are beings of frequency in a universe made of energy.

Major civil unrest, protesting and rioting began to foment in the United States on the 28th of May, and on the night of the 29th, the unrest spread to over 30 American cities, marking the most significant incident of unrest many of us have ever seen.

While these events are deeply rooted in societal tension that has been building for decades, the timing of recent flare ups of unrest happens to coincide with a new wave of solar activity including the strongest solar flare we’ve seen in three years.

“Solar flares are intense blooms of radiation that come from the release of the magnetic energy associated with sunspots. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ranks solar flares using five categories from weakest to stongest: A, B, C, M, and X. Each category is 10 times stronger than the one before it. Within each category, a flare is ranked from 1 to 9, according to strength, although X-class flares can go higher than 9. According to NASA, the most powerful solar flare recorded was an X28 (in 2003).” [Source]

Spaceweather reported on May 29th:

THE SUN IS FLARING AGAIN: Today, the sun produced its strongest solar flare in nearly 3 years. The M-class explosion came from a new-cycle sunspot hidden just behind the sun’s northeastern limb. This weekend, the blast site will turn to face Earth, so future flares, if they continue, could become geoeffective. Visit Spaceweather.com for updates.

Following up today, May 30th, Spaceweather reports:

SOLAR MINIMUM, INTERRUPTED: Yesterday, in the pits of the deepest Solar Minimum of the Space Age, the sun unleashed a flurry of solar flares. One of them, an M1-class explosion, was the strongest flare in nearly 3 years. The source of the activity is now turning toward Earth as it rotates into view over the sun’s northeastern limb:

The question now: What is it? Early views of the emerging active region suggest that it is a relatively small sunspot surrounded by a vast field of magnetic froth (plage). The magnetic polarity of the region marks it as a member of new Solar Cycle 25.

Solar activity typically follows cycles of around 11 years, and cycle 24 ended last year. In April of 2019, scientists predicted that the next 11 year cycle, Cycle 25, would begin sometime between mid 2019 and early 2020.

“Lisa Upton, a solar physicist with Space Systems Research Corporation and co-chair of the panel issuing predictions, said Cycle 25 should begin between mid-2019 and late 2020 and that it should reach its maximum between 2023 and 2026, when between 95 and 130 sunspots are projected. Average is between 140 and 220 sunspots.” [Source]

In 2019, NASA warned that the coming Cycle 25 could produce ‘monster flares’ within the next few years.

As Minneapolis burns and the violence spreads, it appears that Cycle 25 may be kicking off, and given current events, we could be in for a wild ride, as many have recognized a historical link between increased solar activity and major disruptive and revolutionary events for human societies.

The last major solar flares occurred in 2017: an M-class on October 20th, and an X-class flare, which is the largest, on September 1oth, 2017.

In August of 2017, the Unite the Right rally took place in Charlottesville, VA, where, Heather Heyer, was killed and almost 2 dozen other protestors were injured. Later, on September 15th, large protests erupted in St.Louis when police officer when police Jason Stockley was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011.

The year 2003 saw eight of the fifty most powerful solar flares recorded since 1986. This was the same year the Iraq war began, the 6-day Benton Harbor riot in Michigan occurred, and the Miami FTAA protests happened.

Another eight of the fifty most powerful flares since 1986 occurred in 2001, a year that will live in infamy for the events of 9/11, with a large X-class flare and several M-class flares occurring within a week of the destruction of the Twin Towers.

A massive X-class flare was recorded in February of 1992, just prior to the devastating Los Angeles riots.

According to Adam Michalec, there is a long-standing connection between human activity and solar events, especially unrest and violent revolution.

Dates of historical events are compared with moments of solar maxima, beginning from the year 1750. It turns out that violent occurrences in Europe (like revolutions) are correlated with the periods of enhanced solar activity.” [Source]

In a document entitled Solar Activity and Human History, Michalec offers the following graph correlating human events and increased solar activity.

While the connection to human behavior and major societal events is yet to be fully understood, interesting research has been done Soviet era scientist A.L. Tchijevsky, in which he hypothesized that increased solar activity has an ‘exciting effect‘ on human beings, affecting our nervous system.

The most famous research was been done by professor A.L. Tchijevsky, a Russian scientist, who presented a paper to the American Meteorological Society at Philadelphia in the late 19th century. He prepared a study of the history of mass human movement compared to the solar cycle, beginning with the division of the Solar cycle into four parts: 1) Minimum sunspot activity; 2) increasing sunspot activity; 3) maximum sunspot activity; 4) Decreasing sunspot activity. He then divided up the agitation of mass human movements into five phases:

1) provoking influence of leaders upon masses
2) the “exciting” effect of emphasized ideas upon the masses
3) the velocity of incitability due to the presence of a single psychic center
4) the extensive areas covered by mass movements
5) Integration and individualization of the masses

By these comparisons he constructed an “Index of Mass Human Excitability” covering each year from 500 B.C. to 1922 A.D. He investigated the histories of 72 countries in that period, noting signs of human unrest such as wars, revolutions, riots, expeditions and migrations, plus the number of humans involved. Tchijevsky found that fully 80% of the most significant events occurred during the years of maximum sunspot activity. He maintained that the “exciting” period may be explained by an acute change in the nervous and psychic character of humanity, which takes place at sunspot maxima.” [Source]

Final Thoughts

As we all watch and wait to see just how much crazier 2020 can get, it’s easy to lose perspective on the big picture.

In reality, we are all made of stardust, we’re here for a cosmic blink of an eye, and when we die our bodies return to being stardust and our souls move on to something bigger than any of us can possibly grasp.

The events in front of us right now may seem like a huge deal, but there is so much more happening beyond our perception.

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.” ~Carl Sagan

BEST OF THE WEB: Why the public should rebel against forced vaccinations

Vaccine

© RIA Novosti/Vitaly Belousov (file photo)

The debate over the morality and practicality of forced vaccinations has been raging for many years, long before the coronavirus ever hit the US population. With the advent of the pandemic the narrative has shifted to one of “necessity”. The media and the majority of governments around the world now act as if mass vaccinations are a given; the “debate is over”, as collectivists like to say when they are tired of having to deal with any logical or factual complaints.

In the case of the novel coronavirus there is no vaccine yet; unless of course the virus was engineered or evolved in a lab (as more and more evidence is suggesting), and then perhaps there is one already developed. Typically, vaccines take years to test and produce, and whenever a vaccine is rushed onto the market very bad things tend to happen.

The vaccine debate often revolves around the issue of safety. Is a particular inoculation safe or poisonous? Does it have long term effects that are dangerous? Does it harm children with highly sensitive and underdeveloped body systems? These are valid concerns, but ultimately the fight over vaccines has less to do with medical safety or effectiveness and more to do with individual rights vs government demands.

In other words, the more important questions are: Should social engineering by governments and elites be allowed? Do people have the right to determine how their bodies are medically augmented or manipulated? Does the “security of the majority” take precedence over the civil liberties of the individual? And if so, who gets to determine what freedoms will be taken away?

The Legal Argument

The purveyors of the forced vaccination philosophy usually make a legal or technical argument first before they appeal to the idea of “the greater good”. They do this because they know that public perception often assumes (wrongly) that legal authority is the same as moral authority.

In 1905, the US Supreme Court was presented with Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, a case involving the subject of state enforced smallpox vaccination. The defendant argued on the grounds of the 14th Amendment that his bodily liberty was being violated by the state if he was subjected to arbitrary vaccination without his consent. The state and the Supreme Court felt differently (of course). The Supreme Court ruled against Jacobson on the grounds that his refusal to take the vaccine put other people “at risk”, and that “for the common good” states have certain “police powers” that supersede personal liberties.

Whenever liberty movement activists argue against forced vaccinations on constitutional grounds, THIS is the counter-argument that the government and statists will make. They will bring up Jacobson vs. Massachusetts and then claim that is the end of the discussion.

Essentially, the Supreme Court argued that the federal government could not interfere with state imposed forced vaccinations on the grounds of states rights and the 10th Amendment. Most people in the liberty movement will find this rather ironic, as it is bizarre to hear about the federal government defending states rights. But, this support of the 10th Amendment is highly selective.

First, let’s not forget that the Supreme Court has been wrong many times in the past. In the Dredd Scott case in 1834, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of slavery and the right of states to enforce the institution. They also argued that the 5th Amendment protected slave owners because freeing slaves meant depriving owners of their “property”.

The Supreme Court’s habit is to defend states rights and the 10th Amendment when people’s individual liberties are being quashed. However, if a case involves states protecting citizens from federal intrusion, the court flips and attacks states rights when they work in favor of individual liberty or self determination.

The Jacobson vs. Massachusetts case may be the reason why Trump and the federal government have mostly left the lockdowns and emergency actions to the states. The legal precedence was already established in 1905 on quarantines and forcing vaccinations through state police powers, so it only follows that the establishment would utilize the states to carry out such measures in the near future.

The “states vs federal government” debate sets up a false paradigm. There is no separation between state and federal governments when it comes to tyranny – both sides love it, though they pretend to be opposed to each other at times. That is to say, whether it is the federal government violating your constitutional rights or the state government violating your constitutional rights, the Supreme Court is often comfortable with both.

The truth they don’t want to discuss is that at bottom the Bill of Rights overrules them regardless of federal precedent or the 10th Amendment. The key to the Bill of Rights is that each American citizen has INHERENT LIBERTIES that supersede both federal and state power. These rights are inalienable. They cannot be violated today, and the law cannot be adjusted to violate them tomorrow. These rights and freedoms are ETERNAL.

The Supreme Court hisses with a forked tongue about the “spirit of the constitution” but ignores the clear and concrete intent as stated by the Founders. Statists argue in favor of the “living document” philosophy when it suits them as a means to change the original meaning and laws put forth in the Bill of Rights because this allows them to violate citizen freedoms under the guise of “legality”. But “legality” is not the same a morality. Legality is meaningless, and the Supreme Court is meaningless if it acts against the constitutional bedrock of the Bill of Rights and individual liberty as they have done numerous times in the past.

The Moral Argument

So, if we cannot rely on legality to protect us from state tyranny, what can we rely on? Forced vaccine advocates will say that morality is on their side as well, for if a person does not vaccinate they are putting the rest of society at risk of infection. Therefore, your individual rights must be violated in order to protect the rights of the rest of society. The problem is that Jacobson vs Massachusetts makes no logical argument supporting this assertion, and neither do forced vaccine proponents.

Look at it this way: How can a person that is not vaccinated “harm” people that are vaccinated? How are they putting those people at risk? If the vaccine actually works, then vaccinated people are safe from infection, aren’t they? So, the only person “at risk” is the person that chose not to vaccinate. This comes down to personal choice, there is no question of “the greater good” or social risk.

I find it fascinating that the people that argue fervently in favor of forced vaccinations (people like Bill Gates) also tend to be the same people that argue in favor of abortion rights. So, “my body my choice” is acceptable when it comes to women ending the lives of unborn children, but “my body my choice” is not acceptable when it comes to mass vaccinations even though an unvaccinated person is a threat to no one.

Some vaccine advocates will then claim that unvaccinated people could be host to “mutations” that threaten herd immunity. The problem is that there is no evidence to support this argument. The vast majority of viruses tend to mutate into LESS deadly or infectious strains, not more deadly. The only mitigating factors would be if a virus was deliberately designed or engineered to mutate in an unnatural manner.

If a virus is designed to mutate into a vastly different and more deadly strain that can attack vaccinated persons then the vaccine was never useful to begin with, and forced vaccinations are pointless. Once again, if the vaccine is effective then there is simply no basis for the position that an unvaccinated person puts vaccinated people in danger.

The Conformity Argument

The next argument by pro-forced vaccination people is to ask “why”? Why do you care if you are vaccinated? What do you have to worry about? Just go along to get along, right…?

This argument reminds me of a common anti-gun narrative: Why do you need to carry a gun? Why frighten other people? The chances you will need it are slim, right…?

The most important answer to the gun question is “Because it’s my right to carry and I plan to exercise it. Also, your fear of guns does not take precedence over my constitutional freedoms.” The same goes for forced vaccination: Because it is my right to refuse to have ANY pharmaceutical product injected into my body. Your fears of infection do not matter to my constitutional rights. If you want to take the vaccine then that is your choice. Leave me out of it.

Arguing about hypothetical threats is a waste of time. I carry a firearm because I have the right to have a means of defense just in case I need it. I refuse vaccinations because I have a right to avoid potential bodily harm just in case I have suspicions of a faulty product.

And is there reason to be concerned about faulty vaccines? Absolutely. Mass vaccinations programs that were rushed to the public have a track record of harming people’s health.

With globalists like Bill Gates, an obsessive champion of depopulation at the forefront of the Covid-19 effort, I have no plans to accept any coronavirus vaccine. Bill Gates has funded numerous experimental vaccine trials through the World Health Organization, including Polio vaccination programs. It was these same programs that led to viral outbreaks of polio in various countries and hundreds of paralyzed children. In fact, the vaccines caused more cases of Polio than the wild-type virus. This if VERIFIED FACT, admitted by the WHO and other mainstream sources, though numerous leftist media outlets continue to deny it.

At most, the WHO and Gates can claim that the infections were “accidental”. But if this is the case, it would still suggest that vaccines developed by Gates Foundation programs and the WHO should not be trusted.

In 1976 a swine flu scare enabled the initiation of a government funded mass vaccination program. The vaccine was faulty and was canceled in less than 10 weeks after causing hundreds of cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological condition that leads to temporary paralysis and sometimes death.

In 2008, Swiss company Novartis tested a Bird Flu vaccine on the homeless and poor population of Poland. The vaccine trial paid participants $2, and they were told the inoculation was for the “normal flu”. According a homeless center in the area at least 21 people died right after they participated in the trial.

A GlaxoSmithCline executive by the name of Moncef Slaoui was recently tapped by Donald Trump to head up the government’s effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine. This appointment should be highly concerning to the public. Why? Because Glaxo has a dark history in vaccine development, including an incident in Argentina in 2007-2008 when they were fined after a pneumonia vaccine trial allegedly caused the deaths of at least 14 babies. Slaoui was in charge of Glaxo’s vaccine division at the time.

Statists that argue in favor of forced vaccination will dismiss all of these examples as mere “accidents” that are “rare”. Others will claim that fighting the pandemic is worth the risk of a “few deaths” due to some faulty vaccines. But this does not address the core issue of the battle against forced vaccination programs. Does a minority of elites in government or even a majority of useful idiots in the general population have the right to declare ownership of your body in the name of an arbitrary “greater good”? I say no, which is why I will NOT be conforming to any forced vaccine measures and I am willing to take extreme actions to defend myself from them if necessary.

As mentioned above, if a vaccine works, then there is no need to force people to take it. It will protect those that want it and the only risk is to those that choose not to use it. Frankly, the people in charge of the vaccine effort are not to be trusted, they have open ideological agendas that are questionable to say the least. Allowing them to dictate what goes into our bodies is akin to slavery at best, and possible mass death at worst.