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(draft) Vietnam Flashback—How DMT and racism saved my life

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(draft) Vietnam Flashback—How DMT and racism saved my life
This is something I wrote in 2015 and never got around to cleaning up. It's rough and literally accounts for 5 minutes (at most) of my first huasca experience in September of 2006, but I figured having it posted would embarrass me into rewriting it. "A good public shaming is the surest fix for writers block" said no one, ever...but I'm already hating the first paragraph so maybe it's working....:?: (chaliponga +50g, moclobemide 300)

Vietnam Flashback—How DMT and racism saved my life.
One problem I’ve experienced during ayahuasca sessions presents itself when I am in direct interface with the “Akashic Record” phenomenon. At that point I am usually in a state of shock and awe such that I completely lose myself along with any of the intentions and questions I wanted to bring to this strange Library of Everything. Recalling my intent is like reciting the preamble to the Constitution during an UFO abduction scenario. Esoteric knowledge just becomes less important when the shit hits the fan and the anal probes deploy. At that point bigger, more immediate questions arise, e.g. “Am I dying?” So in the absence of a particular intention, this disembodied omniscient eye has flipped through random facts, memories, and events like a bored primetime TV viewer clicks through channels: anything from the last moment of a Mesoamerican empire *click* to “that time in 9th grade that…” *click* the diagnosis of a friend’s medical condition *click* the names of children who haven’t been born yet *click* *click*… One of the most memorable events I experienced came through as, of all things, a Vietnam flashback.

First of all, I’ve never been to Vietnam. I was born long after the armistice that ended that failed campaign. In the ayahuasca vision I quickly realized that I wasn’t myself any longer but an altogether different person… incarnate. I was looking through the eyes of a Vietnamese boy, a kid no more than 14, who had been conscripted into the Viet Cong after a life on his family’s farm in a far away part of the rural countryside. Instead of a plow or a shovel, this kid now clutched a gun that was aimed at a man’s chest. Although the kid was in no real danger from the unarmed American soldier, the boy was nonetheless scared for his life. He was alone; set up as a sniper. He’d never killed before. He’d never even been this deep in the jungle before this horror began and he had never been so afraid. Here he was, his weapon trained on a man, a creature like no man he had ever seen. At that moment the boy was sure–absolutely certain–that he was about to die. Through his eyes I saw an American soldier, a US marine. As it happens this soldier was my father, now an ex-marine who served a tour of Vietnam which brought him into the heart of the conflict of which he never speaks and from which he has never fully returned.

Though the next part is kind of funny, it still freaks me out how vividly the memory comes back from that ayahuasca journey. I saw the Vietnamese kid now from my fathers eyes. Unlike him, my dad did not have a gun trained on his enemy. Instead my father had a wounded comrade from his platoon slung across his shoulders quickly bleeding out as he made his way, keeping low, through in a clearing in the trees. Like the kid, my father stood frozen, staring eye to eye. Like the kid, my father was sure–certain beyond a doubt–that he was about to die. Die—not in the eventual someday of old age sense, but in the right-here-right-now.
I’ll pause here to tell you that this is not a story that I had heard previous to ayahuasca. Like I said, my father doesn’t talk about the war… ever. For the longest I thought that the vision may have just been a random holographic phantasm, a transdimensional allegory to teach me a lesson about some karmic jazz or other. It wasn’t until I was on a long car ride with my mother that she related the time that my father nearly died in the war when he was confronted by a child solder while carrying his comrade (who it turns out later died) to safety. To hear my mother tell it, it’s clear that my father’s version of the story goes that after staring eye to eye with the kid for a while he let him go, seemingly an act of battlefield compassion after seeing that he was aiding a fallen countryman. I was having my own kind of flashback as she told the story. Looking back, it’s a good thing I’m not the one who was driving that day. I’ve never gotten used to those “Holy Shit. That just happened.” moments. I hope I never do. My father’s version of events truly speaks to the common humanity shared by all persons. It tells us that even in the midst of the bloodiest of conflicts, decency springs like hope from Pandora’s box… But that’s not exactly what happened.

After what had seemed like an eternity of looking death in the face, my father slowly stepped away on shaking legs. As he did, the kid crept back, slowly, matching his pace as one might do when confronted with a lion. For the first time in a while, both men began to feel like they might not die here, in a jungle far away from their families and everything they had ever known. They both crept slowly, the gun still trained on the half-naked man-creature—my father had ripped his shirt up to act as a quick, and ultimately ineffective, tourniquet to stay the blood loss his platoon mate, a fat, baby-faced, man from some square shaped state. Utah? Kansas?…I dunno… When he had reached the edge of the clearing the boy turned and took off into the woods running at full clip, not just for his life but for his very soul. You see, the child soldier wasn’t showing mercy to my father. He was scared literally out of his mind, in preternatural fear of the thing carrying a man through the jungle, back to his cave surely to devour him.
Before I continue, let me first say that I’m not at all familiar with the rich heritage of Vietnamese mythology, religion, or folklore. For that matter, beyond having been taught Edith Hamilton’s Mythology in middle school (hence “Pandora’s box”), I have little understanding or knowledge of Western mythology either. Beyond the cool super-hero aspects of Greek and Roman legends, and of course the rampant homoeroticism, religious myths have just never been my thing… So back to the jungle.

As it turns out, before his assignment as a conscripted killer, the kid had never actually seen a Westerner in person. And since then he had only seen a handful of American and French soldiers… all of them white POWs. Moreover this erstwhile rural country boy had never so much as seen an image of black person on television or in print. When he saw my father, trudging through the jungle carrying a bloodied white man on his back, he absolutely believed he was seeing a creature from his cultural storehouse of local mythos, some ominous Dark Man who, as it turns out, feeds solely on human flesh. This Dark Man was now defending the deep jungle against the American invaders, one of whom it had apparently captured and partly skinned. When he saw that the creature would not peruse him he fled the scene of his close encounter as fast as he could.

Some researchers in the psychedelic movement have put forth the theory that at these points of extreme consciousness, like religious catharsis or psychotic break, the body produces and/or uptakes a chemical slurry that includes DMT. This is proposed as a possible mechanism responsible for often reported phenomena like time standing still or your life “flashing before your eyes” (or in this case your tripping unborn son’s eyes). I believe the ayahuasca brought me to this scene because this was one of the critical moments where, if events had been slightly different, I would not be alive. Beyond dead, never even born. It was also a moment which took place as much in DMT hyperspace as it did in the Vietnamese jungle. The message from the spirit was both simple and clear: “I saved you.”

Even after the war the kid would go on to tell his village, then his children, then his grandchildren about the “creature” he saw in the woods that day during the darkest part of the conflict. With the benefit of his village, his elders, and his large extended family, it seemed he would go on to be whole again—his postwar life abundant. My father on the other hand never speaks of the time that he, and I suppose myself as well, were spared by the “kind” act of an enemy combatant.
2,5-dimethoxy-4-methyl-phenethylamine has been known to help in writers block or study situations, it's quite rare, but not non-existent.

I have experienced similar events...

interesting stuff...

I don't like the title very much, but that's just me...other than that it's an interesting report describing a little discussed phenomena in psychedelia...

Thanks for reading all that. I don't like the title of either or the overall tone of it--i can sound a little been-there-done-that when I write about the content of entheogenic experiences--and it can get a lil prosey (well... prosaic). I'm defensive of the topic because it's been so misunderstood and miscommunicated to begin with and I am disorganized in my language. It should only take half that volume of text to state the facts as I remember them. It's not about "racism" which is a system of values, ideologies as much as high interpersonal strangeness, human eye meets human eye in a chaos of war or drug, life and death, happenstance, wilderness... so not appropriate to use racism--as a matter of semantics, it's overapplied in general and not the topic of the narrative if there is one. Here the term serves as a bookmark for an idea that is likely developed in psychology or social sciences... the pre-racial cognitve macinery of recognizing the human form as familiar even in the most surreal (another lazy overapplied term but one that i am not so concerned with diluting here) circumstances. What I'm talking about doesn't live in cultural or social space, but more like other situations of heuristics in perceptual problems/phenomena "the uncanny valley" or "face blindness" optical illusions like the "face to vase" image... or the recurring theme of black/indigenous people that appear in the "trip report" literature of iboga and aya vision (and other entheogens)--as one many reports listing together in the menagerie of "jaguars, giant snakes, jungles, and black people." I have had this experience "dancing black people" as well, before I knew of the recurrence of that phenomenon in the literature..

I don't know what I'm getting at, but it's how humanity and information are transmitted or miscommunicated. Two people in miscommunication of the most important facts of their lives without saying a word. I don't know what I'm getting at.
I've read this before. My only guess is that you posted this on another Specific site and I may have seen it there?
Asher7 said:
I've read this before. My only guess is that you posted this on another Specific site and I may have seen it there?

Hi, thanks and apologies for reading that (twice). I found this posted as is on a popular social media site. It is
not an essay or a story. I originally wrote it as a response to a Facebook group on the topic of life-saving DMT experiences. I don't mind it being reposted and I was credited; still it was an odd experience to find it last week, a rough bit of first person, a small piece of my first moclohuasca trul in a google search. Well not so much odd... I was mortified.

I really enjoy writing on this topic and I feel a large and terrible volume of that work is eminent (...immenenent?. ..eminent). I do share the linguistic deficits (and savantism) as well as speech stereotypy of others with schizotypal personality disorder—alternating jags of hypergraphia (sorry mods), and writers' block (a culture bound disorder ot currently included in the DSM) add to these no small amount of amateur angst (read: existential dread) and ego. When I write informally I tend towards the disordered, generalized, and vague which some find cryptic, unintelligible, and pathologically fractured. When I write formally its the overwritten, stodgy, exacting prose of law and instruction. But it's all me.

I don't like anyone reading anything unfinished but I really appreciate any feedback. I need to get over that ego sh*& so I can publish and speak on these topics, which I do know moderately well despite my personal communication style. In short I've got a few things to say and I've found it's useful to write them down.
I find nothing lacking in your writing style. It's an excellent story, and highly readable. Not a single bump in the road, really:thumb_up: .

I would mention, however, IME it's best to leave any conclusions about the "reality" of such visions, up in the air, so to speak.

Anyway, FWIW I'd pay to read your writing.
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