Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato took a head-first leap down the psychedelic rabbit-hole last month with disastrous results, and only now are we getting the full story on why police, EMTs and a fire truck were needed to calm the storms of a man out of his mind on hallucinogens, running around nearly naked.
Puciato took to his blog to explain his bad experience with magic mushrooms, which – after a fascinating story of overwhelming terror and authorities – revealed some powerful things to the singer. Revelations that, with a little preparation, certainly could’ve been attained and explored without the interference of people with guns and defibrillators, but valuable ones nonetheless.
“I’ve done it enough (mushrooms) but not to that level,” Puciato said of the experience on his blog. “I felt like I was fully separate from my body, like my consciousness had nothing to do with being a physical being….like something in between a near death experience and a near-out of body experience. The only way I can describe it in hindsight, is that I felt that consciousness wasn’t something that comes from inside of us, that it’s somehow a universal thing that we must be harnessing into our physical bodies while we’re alive, as if we are living antennae or something, or conductors of it. That realization seemed fine to me, and I wasn’t scared of my energy or that consciousness disappearing or anything like that, I just didn’t want to leave this current existence because I had too much left that I wanted to do. Thinking that I was leaving this existence, freaked me out. I just panicked, my girlfriend panicked seeing me panic, the more either of us panicked the more it escalated…it was just overwhelming. ”
As most trippers would agree, the term “overwhelming” pretty accurately describes nearly every true hallucinatory psychedelic experience. But in Greg’s world, things then took a turn nobody in his position ever wants to see: “Next thing I know I was on a stretcher, there were cops everywhere, EMTs, taking my blood pressure…pulse….asking about previous mental health…giving me a sedative…asking me a lot of other health related questions…trying to get me to sign paperwork….I started thinking I was dying…and then perhaps that I was already dead.”
I’ve done my share of psychedelics, and I’ve gone the “too much too much” route more often than I’d like to recall. I have seen the world like a goddamned nightmare kaleidoscope and everyone in it like characters out of The Dark Crystal, and been immovably convinced that I was never, ever coming back. But nevertheless, I still managed not to fucking call 911.
The reflex here is to label this story as a bushleague amateur-tripper tale from a man who simply didn’t prepare himself for his journey, but regardless of the mental hurricane he threw himself into, Puciato did manage to take something highly valuable away from the trip. Reflecting on the experience, Greg attempts to put it into perspective: “That particular instance was beyond what I have ever encountered at any time of any experience of my life, and it instantly and very clearly weeded out what was and is important to me, in a very terrifying fashion. I refuse to call it a “good” or “bad” trip…it just is what it is…people make neutral things/experiences good or bad through their perception and what they choose do with what they’ve learned from them. I would just say it was very profound, and to me was worth sharing since all of you in my eyes are a part of one of the very few things that I viewed as critically important….The Dillinger Escape Plan….and making music and sharing it with/performing it for others.”
Read the rest of the entry and the original post over at Puciato’s blog.
It’s important to note that, despite the meltdown freakout Greg endured, he refers to the experience as “very profound” and “a wholly worthwhile place to visit now and then.” The transformative qualities on the ego, the engagement of spiritual curiosity free of boundaries and the dissolution of frivolous priorities that psychedelic mushrooms are able to provide can be an incredible aid to an individual, if approached correctly. There are vast archives of testimonials from all walks of life and levels of civilization throughout history to verify this. And while mainstream science is only beginning to open its mind (pun intended) to the vast potential therapeutic and psychological benefits of psilocybin use, psychedelic adventurers have attested to its powerful beneficial qualities for ages untold.
Then again, mushrooms are also great for laughing your ass off with friends in the park or at a concert. It truly comes down to dosage, strain of fungi, your state of mind and how you prepare the experience. The trick for true psychedelic explorers, however, is to align yourself with someone a great deal more experienced than you in the area, not only so that you’re more than a wild-eyed random rider of the metaphysical catapult, but so that you also are able to apply these experience in a direct manner to your everyday life, relationships and behavior. There is no emphasis on shamanism or spiritual guides in the Western world, because our culture’s obsession with pharmaceutical whores and evangelical vampires is the antithesis of this. Only on an individual, mostly isolated level are we able to explore these incredible dimensions of perception that are grossly undervalued in the present day.
Listen to a powerful, short discussion between Joe Rogan and Duncan Trussell on the subject, on the idea of shamanic principles as a means of improving modern society:
“If you really want to transform these weird people who worship invisible homophobic child-sacrificing gods, if you wanted to transform people who feel comfortable dropping bombs on other people, the quickest way to do it would be to give them a substance that allowed them to connect to each other and to the earth and to develop an instantaneous form of empathy unlike anything else. And then when they came back to, it would be much more difficult to perceive their weird invisible god in the same way.” – Duncan Trussell