A old friend from another website I used to frequent and I were having an interesting conversation earlier today on Facebook about my conversion to Catholicism on Easter. My friend converted two years ago (from Episcopalian) so of course he knows much more than I do.
Both of us love philosophical musing and talking about weird, metaphysical subjects so as conversations sometimes will, soon I was asking him if he believed in Hell (he does but doesn’t think it’s a hellfire and brimstone sort of place) and if he believes all narcissists will go there (he thinks they will and there’s no hope for any of them; I don’t think that’s necessarily the case unless they’re psychopathic or malignant).
I asked him what he thought hell was like and he replied that it was worse than a fire and brimstone hell because it would involve the lost soul forever drifting alone in between the galaxies, where there are no stars and no light…utterly alone, and lost for all eternity with no hope of finding their way back to…anything at all.
This suddenly brought back memories of a bad LSD trip I took many years ago, when I was in my 20s. I was never adventurous about taking recreational drugs and pretty much stuck with alcohol and pot, which seemed safe. I must have known on some level I didn’t have the right sort of temperament to react well to a strong psychedelic drug, so I never messed with them except for this one time.
Psychedelic drugs make you extremely suggestible, and heighten whatever mood you’re already in or exaggerate what you’re already worried about. This is why it’s recommended that if you decide to experiment with this class of recreationals, to only do it in a setting you’re comfortable in and have a trusted “trip sitter” who is not under the influence there just in case a freak-out occurs. As a person who was constantly on edge and a nervous wreck anyway (and I also took it with someone I didn’t know well), the outcome wasn’t going to be good (but it sure was interesting).
My trip memories came flooding back (not as a flashback, just a memory) so I described these memories to my Facebook friend today. Personally I think these drugs can be extremely dangerous because I think that, much like messing with the occult, they can open doors better left bolted shut, and reveal truths about the universe we may not be ready to know or ever should know. You can be shown things you can’t begin to understand and that lack of understanding will terrify you. Basically, they constitute a way to eat from a Tree of Knowledge that can really fuck your head up for a long time, even causing a psychotic break, or at the least just cause extreme discomfort for awhile.
At first I thought nothing was going to happen, because the weirdness didn’t kick in for almost half an hour. Then I started to shiver as if I was cold but I wasn’t cold. The shivering was coming from inside me. Everything became metallic. My surroundings developed sharp edges that gleamed like the edges of knives and the sounds around me sounded like metal and glass.
We were outside. I watched a car zoom by and thought it looked and sounded funny–sort of like a cartoon–so I started laughing. I thought it was alive. I started rambling (probably incoherently) about why cars weren’t considered to be living things because they sure acted like living things and even had “systems”–the body covered with a metal skin, the engine (the heart), the transmission and electrical system (the nervous system), the various fluids that lubricated and made it run (blood and other bodily fluids), even a waste elimination system (the exhaust). And they had four “legs” that kept them moving. They could get sick and be “diagnosed.” Their inner workings seemed as complex to me as the inside of the human body. They even had quirks and “personalities.”
This early part of the trip was kind of fun but I was still disturbed by the metallic sound and cartoonish look of everything. The world seemed like it was screaming and shards of metal were slicing into my brain like razor blades. A fly landed on my arm and I screamed because I thought it was some kind of tiny machine that could see inside my soul. The fact that such “engineered insects” and even smaller nanomachines actually exist freaks me out more than a little.
Then I had a bizarre thought that came out of nowhere. I “realized” that nothing was real–that everything and everyone I had ever known, everything I ever learned about or experienced, in fact every person and every experience I had ever had since the time I was born–none of it was real. Everything and everyone I knew was merely a creation of my own mind. (I understand some Eastern religious practices actually do believe this).
But if everything I saw and knew and experienced was nothing but a mental construct I created from my own mind, and nothing really existed, then where were my own thoughts coming from?
I was a singularity, a tiny speck of bright white consciousness, floating alone in the black void of deep space, light years away or an eternity away from any known universe. I felt utterly alone and lonely, and wondered why only my consciousness existed. I was overcome with profound sadness.
And then realized this meant I must be God. I was pure consciousness floating bodiless within an eternity of nothingness. I could create my reality out of nothing. If that was the case, I could create a whole new universe. As God, I was the consciousness that brought on the Big Bang. I thought about creating a new universe, one that would make me happy instead of so miserable, afraid and sad. But I was too afraid to create anything at all. What sort of “God” would be so scared and so powerless?
I started to freak out. I remembered my past life, my job, my school, my friends, my family. I wanted to get back but didn’t know how. I had a massive panic attack so intense I thought I would die. Maybe I was already dead. Maybe I had never existed at all…who the hell was I? Where was I?
I was trapped in some weird time loop. Although I (think) I only had these realizations, thoughts and visions once, I had the unsettling feeling I had been through this exact experience many times before, and in fact this experience had been my only reality throughout all eternity. Everything else had been a dream. This was the only reality.
Gradually I began to come back to the world. My friend told me he was worried about me because all I had done was sit on the floor, backed into a corner of his kitchen, moaning and mumbling incoherently. He said my eyes looked like black pools of terror. He tried to give me some coffee but I had pushed him away. I didn’t remember doing that.
It was definitely an interesting experience but one I would never try again.
My Facebook friend and I started talking about the devil and whether he existed. Anyone who would think of themselves as God, even in a deluded drug induced state, was being influenced by Satan, who thought of himself as God or at least that he should have been God. I’m still not sure I believe in Satan, but this argument made a kind of sense. The overall feeling of my LSD experience was one of profound despair, terror, evil and separation from God.
Being “God”–a singularity of consciousness amid an eternity of nothingness–was terrifying. I told my friend I thought perhaps I went to Hell and it was exactly as he had described: a place of nothingness between the galaxies or even outside any known universe, perhaps within a massive black hole, an eternal separation from all that was real, whether bad, good or in between.
I was never so glad to return to the mundane and too often very boring and painful reality of the earthly world I lived in, just one insignificant human among billions of others just like me. I actually appreciated all the little things that angered, upset or annoyed me, at least for a little while.
Looking back on that experience now, I think I actually was in hell. I think that, if Satan does exist, utter aloneness, terror and despair is what he feels (but don’t worry, I’m not Mick Jagger and have no sympathy for the devil). Satan is the Ultimate Narcissist, and still believes he is greater than God, the source of all that is–and he hates God for casting him out of heaven into that eternal black void of nothingness.