Thursday, June 30, 2011

Time Flies... or Jumps, or Skips, or....

Trouble and confusion regarding the passage of time is a really common characteristic of hallucinogenic experiences. Some people find it pleasant when time slows down or seems to behave strangely, and others will become baffled and anxious. This is sometimes exacerbated by the need to keep track of time for worldly engagements, or by paying too much attention to where you are in relation to your peak. Time perception is a really intricate brain process, involving many different pieces working together, and is by no means regular or infalliable.

There are many things that can affect your time perception even while sober. For example, the efforts of your eyes to maintain a clear picture can affect time perception. The eye actually makes many more jerky motions than we notice, and therefore has processes in place to give us the movie that we're used to. If you move your eyes very quickly to a clock with a second hand, you'll see that that one second seems to last longer than it should. The visual parts of the brain extend that image backwards in time so you perceive a smoother transition between your last focus and this new one.

I am by no means an expert on this matter, but from what I do know of perception and hallucinogens, these drugs affect the way your brain integrates the information that comes to it. I assume that that is why you sometimes see multiples-- your brain loses the ability to mesh the images from each of your eyes together. The kaleidoscope or fractal effect seems to me to be a result of the doubling of the edges of complex or irregular shapes, like clouds. Therefore, it's not a stretch that maybe the parts of your brain involved in time misfire similarly. LSD (I'm not so sure about other hallucinogens) results in sleeplessness and a loss of appetite, which may affect the Circadian Rhythm, which is the body process that tells you when it's time to eat and sleep. And experiencing novel things makes time seem to slow, and with hallucinogens novel is the name of the game.

My first trip was really interesting in this regard, and I didn't take it very well. I was reminded of this by both my friend's trip the other day and because I found my graphical representation of my time perception during that trip while I was cleaning out my drawer. :)

My ex-boyfriend took me out to the nearby park for my first peak. I figured I would feel very comfortable there because we hung out there a lot, but it was an unseasonably nice day so it was very crowded. It began to remind me strongly of a day that I had spent there with him a year earlier, and as that idea began to grow in my mind I became very confused. It seemed that the year had formed a loop, and that it was up to me to figure out the secret of breaking the loop so we didn't endlessly relive that year. Obviously, I had no idea how to go about this. I asked him if we could go back to his house, and he agreed. I sat down on his bed and asked for a piece of paper so I could try to explain my problem in a drawing. "I'm confused," I repeatedly whined. I felt that something important had happened on the journey home (probably just my peak) but I couldn't remember it.


I was trying to explain to you how time kept getting reset every 20 seconds. Minutes feel like hours. I feel like... who knows. I should just let it do its thing. I can't wrap my head around time. Like, the leaves could have been spring or autumn and then it was the day we met, it was a funeral was a wedding everything kept getting reset. What the hell was up with the pinecones? It seems tragic that I could have made that much of a fool of myself. I should stop fighting.

Time just got too much for me to handle. I should let myself float. I shouldn't be this confused.

All I can see are the leaves on the ground-- registers as orange. Orange? Could that be right? What? What day is it? Suddenly this matter o time is of utmost importance

I am glad that I saved this because I find it hilarious. :)

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  1. hehe, awesome post! I'm very glad you saved that as well. Great look into how your mind was working at the time. Wish I had something like that! Must remember to grab a paper and pencil next time I am on acid!

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