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Is this psychedelic substance a real-world version of the Matrix’s “red pill”?

I first heard of ibogaine from Daniel Pinchbeck’s 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, even though he had previously written about it in Breaking Open the Head, which is still in my reading queue. He also talked about it in a 2003 Guardian article titled “Ten years of therapy in one night,” whose teaser reads: “Could a single trip on a piece of African rootbark help a junkie kick the habit? That was the claim in the 1960s, and now iboga is back in the spotlight. But is it a miracle cure? Daniel Pinchbeck decided to give it a go. And life, he says, will never be the same again.”

Now R.U. Sirius, the man who helped to break open my own head at the tender age of 18 when I started reading Reality Hackers, later to become Mondo 2000, later to morph, sort of, into Wired, has compared ibogaine to the wake-up pill offered by Morpheus to Neo:

Ibogaine is a hallucinogenic compound containing Iboga, a substance largely found in the African Tabernanthe Iboga root. It’s safe to say it’s the world’s least popular psychedelic substance. An Ibogaine trip lasts 36 hours and is understood to launch the deepest probe into personal psychological material available to humans on planet earth. A couple of hours into the experience, the Ibogaine tripper experiences an irresistible need to lie down and close her eyes. After than, (s)he will usually receive information — often experienced as though watching scenes on a giant screen — about all the accumulated traumatic events and the other types of awkward, uncomfortable, pathetic elements of personality and experience that the vulnerable human organism represses — partially or entirely — in order to “grow up” and maintain the socialized ego required by a complicated and competitive civilization.

What seems to emerge from these experiences is not a shipwrecked husk of a human being (as occasionally happened with LSD). It’s more like the tripper has undergone a very positive “extreme makeover” — but not one of a superficial sort. Indeed, many of those in the West who have had the opportunity (and need) to experience Ibogaine arrived at the experience as shipwrecked husks — they were drug addicts.


My sense is that most people would rather “work on themselves” for 40 years than be dragged in front of stark actuality — a terrifying something that we have no control over. So … will you take the red pill? Or will you take the blue pill … “you wake up in bed and believe whatever you want to believe” … for a long, extended time?

Full story at Red Ice Creations.