close to that of serotonin. Psilocybin and LSD are both “serotonergic” in action. This means they act on the neurotransmitter serotonin. In fact, psilocybin and LSD are some of the most extreme serotonergic agonists. The hallucinogens appear to work by blocking serotonin receptors at the synapse, resulting in a rebound effect in which serotonin is overactive and receptors are hypersensitive. Basically, the brain’s natural serotonin system becomes imbalanced. There is another area of the brain in which hallucinogens concentrate called the reticular formation. This mediates the level of arousal and alertness in the brain. It begins in the medulla, runs up through the brain stem into the forebrain. It is also called “the volume dial of consciousness” (Palfai & Jankiewicz, 2001) The “raphe nucleus”, which controls sleeping and dreaming is largely stimulated as the reticular formation, (which filters out distracting stimuli) is aroused to let in more than the usual sensory messages. (Avis, 1999) The hallucinogens third effect is to activate the “NE” neurons located in the locus coeruleus of the brain. This is accomplished through the modulating effect of the hallucinogens on the serotonin neurons, which then affect the NE neurons. The NE neurons receive sensory information from the body and then direct the flow of this information. It goes downward to the reticular formation, then upward to the hippocampus, hypothalamus and amygdala. In animal studies, researchers have shown that LSD increases the responsiveness of the locus coeruleus to stimuli. (Palfai & Jankiewicz, 2001)
Although serotonin levels cannot be increased in the pineal gland by absorption through the digestive system or by injection, the effect of a serotonin overdose is achieved by the mimicking of serotonin by hallucinogens. Our brains have a built in defence mechanism, but which cannot deal with similar shaped molecules.
So, is the identity of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil a hallucinogen? Well, it’s food for thought. (Geddit?) We will probably never know the answer, but there are other symbolic clues hidden in the Garden of Eden story and elsewhere. Once Adam and Eve became conscious of their nakedness, they covered their genitals with fig leaves; when Buddha attained enlightenment, he was sitting under a Bo fig tree (ficus religiosus); when Jesus couldn’t find any figs on a tree whilst out with his disciples, he cursed it and made it’s roots wither up. Figs just happen to be a very rich source of serotonin.
To re-cap, humans automatically perceive 3 dimensions in space (length, breadth and height); the fourth we call time. We are trapped in the fourth dimension. We cannot move freely backwards nor can we “fast-forward”, nor can we stay in one particular moment. We are obliged to move continuously forwards at time’s pace as it were. Physicists call it time’s arrow.The Big Bang was the beginning, our universe continually evolves through time and human beings are conscious of this phenomenon.
Here’s a quick reminder of the relationship between the lower dimensions. An infinite number of points make a line. An infinite number of parallel lines, at 90° to the direction of the line, make a surface. An infinite number of parallel surfaces, at 90° to the direction of the surface, make a solid. An infinite number of parallel solids, at 90° to the direction of the solid, makes a four dimensional solid.
Time, therefore runs at 90° to our 3 dimensional world of space! It’s easier to imagine if you take a small object like a matchbox, and simply hold it in your hand for say, one minute. As soon as the minute starts to tick away, imagine that at each moment the matchbox is physically traveling in time. At the end of the minute, you can picture an “elongated” matchbox made up of an infinite number of 3 dimensional matchboxes! Obviously everything else is also moving through time, not just the matchbox, but it’s easier to visualize.
If we enlarge this way of imagining a 4 dimensional object, we can easily see our own life as an incredibly complicated piece of spaghetti. At one end is our birth, all our motions, growth, experiences etc are contained in the length of this “spaghetti”, and our death is at the other end. In other words, we can imagine ourselves viewed from a higher dimensional standpoint, as the piece of “spaghetti” is nothing less than a 4 dimensional line! An infinite number of 3 dimensional “snap-shots” stacked next to each other through time. Again as we jump up a dimension, an infinite number becomes a unit when viewed from the dimension above. One 3 dimensional “moment” is just a slice through this 4 dimensional line.
If we take our 4 dimensional line, and extrapolate the next dimension up, it is just the same process as I have already done with the one-dimensional line, i.e. an infinite number of lines stacked next to each other (in parallel with one another) make a surface. So, in this case, an infinite number of 4 dimensional lines make a 5 dimensional surface. This is the world of multiverses. Using the analogy of the piece of spaghetti, imagine your own life on this “line”, but now on either side there are an infinite number of