Submitted by subrosa in Psychedelics

[Originally posted to the online community that came up with the name "Zustand", but I don't want my guide to be a 'reddit exclusive'. Maybe out of context it doesn't make much sense, so please feel free to ask any questions.]

A quick and dirty writeup after my second experience. This is not the way to do it, but maybe one way to do it. I'm not super great with language, but I hope it is interesting or even useful to someone out there :)

Let's get right into it...

Step 1: Find out about Zustand

It's much easier to follow through with any of these steps when you kind-of-sort-of know what I'm talking about here. Here's a very short summary (see "The State"). Basically, it's about a cognitive state that allows you to see the outside world in a different way. It's a cool addition to any set of cognitive abilities you already know of. This one's particularly interesting because you get to play around with otherwise fully-automated tools. Depending on how sudden you shift into it, Zustand can be disorienting and feel very alien, I thought you should know that before you get started.

Step 2: Drugs are bad m'kay

Acid. Two tabs. Zustand seems easier to access past the peak, so give it some time, there's no hurry. Try to time it for not-too-dark, not-too-bright lighting conditions. As in, sunset and sunrise are great. If you're inside, take it to the largest room available to you, and dim the lights.

Step 3: Disconnect

Sit down, relax, and look at the world. Choose an object to look at it, something that doesn't move, something a good couple feet (a roomlength) away from you. What we're trying to do here is disconnecting the two input streams (left eye, right eye) that are currently still mashed together for the cyclopean image. Why this is necessary will become clear soon enough.

So, just keep looking at the object you chose, and allow the acid do whatever it does. Soon enough you'll get the typical movements and distortions (looks something like this, maybe less extreme). When this happens, I think it is basically your brain struggling to keep the image together in a mashed-together cyclopean view. You can choose to allow it to happen. Let your mind struggle with these two input streams, and watch it switch back and forth between left and right.

The only difficulty here is that you have to keep looking at the object without re-adjusting your eyes. You will feel the need to bring everything back to 'normal' by re-establishing a focused stare at the object. It will feel as though you accidentally lost track of the object, and you instinctively want to bring them back. Don't. The only reason to re-establish a normal view is when you find yourself crossing your eyes. Because that's not supposed to happen.

Step 4: Learn to navigate two streams

Once you get the hang of having two images at the same time, you can enjoy having two images on top of each other, with the differences between the two becoming much more obvious. It's kinda like a 3D scene without 3D-glasses. The same "double-vision", but of course without the red/blue color difference.

As far as I can tell, it's important to get super comfortable with this double-vision. You want them both clearly seperated, but both centered on the same thing. At first it feels like you're not seeing clearly, but the more you spend time with it, the more sense it will make and the more stable it becomes. You can then try to stand up and move around, while still keeping your eyes locked on the object. Lean to the left, lean to the right, and see how it affects your render. And if that worked out, try looking at other things without losing the disconnected view.

Step 5: Awareness of the inner screen

Now, after disconnecting, you kinda already have access to a coordinate/mapping system, you just haven't made much use of it yet. Manual access to the coordinate system is practically the same as becoming aware of it. One crucial aspect here is the 'inner screen', which is like a blank canvas inside your mind. So let's talk about the inner screen for a moment...

What "data getting thrown onto the screen" looks like is not entirely new to you, because you know what's like to get an afterimage of the sun after you accidentally looked right into it. Usually, we instinctively try to map it onto the 3D world around us. But when you close your eyes (and the afterimage is still there), you will notice that it's very much inside your mind, sitting there, without any contextual information that would allow you to 'place it' in your 3D model of the world.

Step 6: The 3D coordinate mapping system

Explaining what it really is and how it all works, it would require a really long post, and I'm not even sure I understand even half of it. It'll make more sense when you see glimpses of it, so here's what you do next:

Let your disconnected double-vision rest on an object (ideally, something a little more distant), and consciously shift your attention to your peripheral vision. Get comfortable with looking at one thing, and having your attention somewhere else. Rest your eyes on an object and try to just 'take it all in'.

You will notice that the double-vision creates (or highlights) outlines to some or all objects. I think that's the data that one eye picks up that the other doesn't. It's the visual data your brain can't seem to make much sense of, because 'behind it' there's no corresponding information to align it with. So, like an afterimage, it's just some visual information sitting somewhere in your mind.

Once you become aware of all these left-right differences sitting there on your inner screen, you should start seeing how they do all map onto a 3D coordinate system. You get to see how every 'dot' on the inner screen relates to every other dot. You will notice that the 3D-coordinate system (basically your inner model of the outside world) doesn't rely on your eyes focusing on anything, the model is always there, always mapping distances and relations between all the input you receive.

Step 7: The playground.

Zustand, at least the way I think about it, is the ability to see and access it all at once: The coordinate system doing its thing on the inner screen, the left eye stream, the right eye stream, they're all coming back together to create a coherent (but very different) render that allows your attention to roam freely.

Your attention then pretty much turns into the navigator of this visual playground, but unlike a mouse pointer (and unlike attention tied to the movement of your eyes), it can work anywhere and everywhere at the same time. This non-serial type of awareness also comes with a unique 'headspace' that allows you to think in a less linear fashion, for lack of a better way to describe it.

I think that's all I've got for now.

Best of luck to you. And hey, if you do experiment with anything described here, I'd love to hear about it <#



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