Alex Jones likes to say he has secret knowledge. The talk show host says he knows the Truth about aliens, Nazis, demons, George Soros, NASA — the whole shebang. Even DMT.
During a widely-heard podcast, Jones sputtered to Joe Rogan that he even has inside information on DMT, the world's craziest psychedelic drug, a compound no one understands: anyone who smokes DMT has five crazy minutes, like a five dimensional Tim Burton movie on fast-forward, and seems to encounter little beings, "entities." "Machine elves." "Archons."
DMT is a favorite drug of high schools and dorm rooms. But Jones said the government is using it nefariously. "Breakaway rogue intelligence agencies," Jones said, have a secret site near San Francisco where "astronaut-level people take super hardcore levels of [DMT] and go into meetings with these [entities] and make intergalactic deals" — downloading advanced technologies like cell phones and bombs "they" will use to enslave the human race. The "entities" want us dead.
How do we know this isn't true? We don't. But we know that Jones has never smoked DMT. (He says his brain is naturally on a DMT trip.) And if this location is secret, how come Jones knows about it?
But a more fundamental objection is that there is no secret truth about DMT, no knowledge that requires a secret site, nothing you can't see for yourself.
Though DMT is as illegal as cannabis, that doesn't mean it's hard to get. It's found in lots of plants you can buy online or grow yourself. Seventeen-year-olds can extract the drug from those plants in their basements, and have. Load the powder in a dab rig, or mix it in a vape pen, or dilute it into a saline bag and put it on a continuous IV drip, and you're in for a wild ride. Keep smoking, vaping, or IV dripping for hours, and you, too, can hang out with the "entities" for hours — like Jones said the government is doing.
And even for dudes who have smoked is hundreds of times, or IV dripped it for hours, DMT remains a mystery. If any of these regular folks who love DMT have made much sense out of the experience, they haven't broadcast it.
Not that they're not still trying. In fact, there are civilian efforts to do just what Jones described: extended-state DMT. More hardcore than ever before. A moonshot of DMT. And, at some point, they're going to succeed.
Andrew Gallimore is a genial, British-born neurobiologist with an attractive bald head who works in pure research at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan. As a sideline gig, he lectures and has a website exploring DMT's strange effects, and a book coming out this April called "Alien Information Theory: Psychedelic Drug Technologies and the Cosmic Game."
Gallimore is interested in the essence of what Jones said, stripped of Jones's fear-mongering, ramblings Gallimore calls "so fucking nuts."
Like many who smoke it, Gallimore thinks it's possible DMT is, in fact, a way to glimpse other dimensions. A way to talk to intelligences besides our own.
The idea is super out there, Gallimore acknowledges. "That's a good thing," he says by phone from Japan. "That's what science should do. Science isn't about offering answers, it's about asking questions, and giving people ideas — even if they're crazy sounding ideas."
A couple years ago, Gallimore authored a paper with DMT researcher Rick Strassman. It was a theoretical calculation outlining "Intravenous Infusion for a Prolonged Immersive DMT Psychedelic Experience." Basically, you would hook a person up to an anesthesia machine that pumps DMT through their bloodstream at a steady rate, and so keep them in DMT space for minutes, hours or days — like Jones said the government is already doing.
Doing DMT for longer, and at a higher dose — could it help us understand the nature of the DMT "entities"? The nature of the brain? The soul? The universe?
Lots of people hope so. Gallimore's paper, and some of the (often distorted) blog posts that followed, set a lot of regular people working on the extended-state DMT problem.
One is Egon Arenberg, a likeable web marketer from Florida who likes to call people "brother" and "dude." Arenberg has a nonprofit called Noonautics, and he's working with a Boulder outfit called Medicinal Mindfulness on extended state DMT. Arenberg, like Gallimore, believes that the DMT entities represent some kind of external intelligence.
"If you had time to explore that (DMT) space, you might have a lot more opportunity to understand what's in there," Arenberg says.
Arenberg has big plans. He notes that many countries don't specifically outlaw DMT. A citizen-led DMT experiment could be done there, Arenberg says.
Previous reporting on the "DMT machine" — including by me — made it seem like the DMT machine would be a difficult to build. It isn't. It's just a $1,000 (or so) infusion machine. It's getting the dose right that's hard.
This is a fun quest; and Arenberg is a fun guy to talk to. He's bursting with optimism about what citizen scientists could find out about the world or ourselves using psychedelic drugs. He doesn't have training, but he's like a sixth-century Polynesian trying to build a boat to sail to Hawaii, or a sixteenth century polymath trying to turn lead to gold. No one turned lead to gold. But some brave mariners found Kauai.
Jones, on the other hand, is a fear peddler, and business is good. After bloviating during Rogan's podcast about how governments are creating human-animal hybrids to replace us and are selling live babies to kill and collect their organs, Jones used DMT to frighten us that bad aliens are out to enslave us.
It's 2019; media runs on clicks. The more insane the story, the more clicks. In just one day, the Rogan-Jones podcast had 5 million views on YouTube, plus millions more downloads of the audio version.
Now, there are scary things about DMT. Most everyone who uses DMT has, at some point, a terrifyingly difficult trip. A rare few slip into psychosis, often because they overthink the whole thing.
But good trips are joyful, beautiful, wonder-filled. The visions are stunningly intricate and sometimes personally meaningful.
DMT makes the world seem bigger.
The Amazonians who, for hundreds of years, have drunk ayahuasca, a sort of liquid DMT, think psychedelics put them in touch with the spirits of their ancestors or the plants. Westerners have been smoking DMT for 60 years, and many think DMT lets you access some part of yourself you didn't know existed. And many other smokers have a mystical middle way of thinking about the trip, that the entities you encounter are both inside and outside of you, that your Self extends further than you normally think.
Maybe you are bigger than you knew.
Secret knowledge is overrated in our culture right now. And, as Joe Rogan has said: "I really don't think there is a 'they.'"
DMT is available to all. It will blow the back of your head off. You may not want to do it more than once. But don't let anyone use it to frighten you.
You might even get some useful information. But probably not the kind of info Alex Jones says "they" are getting.
"For many people, useful information (from DMT) would be some kind of free energy source or some kind of propulsion mechanism that didn't rely on diesel fuel," Gallimore says. "But some would say that useful information would be about the nature of existence, the fundamental structure of reality."
"The name of the game," Gallimore says, "is to discover our place within the universe."