The Psychedelics & Language Website Launch
The Institute for the Encouragement of Outrageous Ideas is delighted to announce the launch of the Psychedelics & Language website. Created by Dr. Diana Slattery of the Department of Xenolinguistics, the website provides extensive information about the bizarre linguistic phenomena—alien scripts, morphing symbolic systems, glyphs of living language crawling on every surface of a multidimensional world—encountered in altered states of consciousness.
These new forms of language glimpsed in the psychedelic sphere, and the equally novel ideas about language they suggest, point to the co-evolution of language and consciousness, catalyzed by psychedelic medicines.
That’s why it’s so important to communicate, for all of us to put our best foot forward, to put our best metaphors on the table. Because we can move no faster than the evolution of our language. And this is certainly part of what the psychedelics are about: they force the evolution of language. And no culture, so far as I am aware, has ever consciously tried to evolve its language with the awareness that evolving language was evolving reality. —Terence McKenna
In the world of science fiction, Xenolinguistics means the study of alien languages. I’ve adopted the term for the exploration of psychedelics and language to give a feel for the high strangeness of these sports of language, from spontaneous glossolalia—the outpouring of language-like sounds—to Allyson’s Grey’s “secret writing” and Terence McKenna’s self-transforming, linguistic machine elves. And because these sports of language so often involve a form of contact and a means of communication with the Other in these alien worlds. The Articles section posts research in psychedelics and language and related topics; Institute Bulletins; and announcements. The blog is curated; submission of articles, short or long, is invited. And, of course, if you have experiences of your own in this area, we’d love to hear about it.
At the heart of the website are the images and ideas of a growing cohort of Xenolinguists, each of whom have made their journeys, and returned to the default world bearing gifts of language. A sample:
- Artifist, Skin Bridge
Among their projects as Artifist, Caroline and Gaetan Cottereau-Meurée kept a strict daily diet of Peganum Harmala for a year, during which Caroline tattooed Gaetan’s back using neuromediators such as pinoline and ayahuasca under the pigments. The result includes a twisting serpentine form, covered with language and symbolic forms. They discovered that each neuromediator has a specific signature of fluorescence under black light.
- Jason Tucker, Actual Contact
Jason Tucker on his work: “I actually consider the drawings to be more of a language than art, especially now that they have increased in volume and have taken on a more fluid, anthropomorphic form. . . And it is the experience of this heart, this spirit, this oblique symbolic approach to language that lifts the veil of dogma, and the isolation of being separated from the source.”
- Jack Cross, The Argot of Ergot
After 5 grams dried psilocybe cubensis, Jack Cross experienced “a SUPERNOVA BUTTERFLY made of Liquid Language and Light, and I knew it better than English, better than what I knew as life. I was ALL and NOTHING, a Mandelbrot Buddha laughing in a saffron sky, a Risen Ringmaster in a blazing red jacket throwing a private hierophantic fit. MY circus tent, was Enlightent-ment, expressed as Geometry and Archetype and Alphabet.”
- Allyson Grey, Secret Writing
Allyson Grey on her work: “In 1975 I began writing automatically in an invented or transmitted language. I do not give meaning to the symbols in my art as it is meaning that separates experience from expression. The alphabet that I use points to the notion of a sacred language beyond meaning.”
A Word From Our Sponsor
The mission of the Institute for the Encouragement of Outrageous Ideas—to seek out and champion the truly outrageous—rests on our primary assumption that in these troubled times on Planet Earth, we need all the half-baked and truly harebrained notions we can harvest, and we need to share them with each other. There is really only one research question here at the Institute: What’s the most outrageous idea you ever had—and what came of it?
We listen to the weird, the outré, the bizarre, antennas tuned with exquisite sensitivity to the creative ingression of novelty into human consciousness. We employ psychedelics as one of our primary methods of investigation for the simple reason that they open the floodgates of the imagination, propelling one through the veil of natural language, toward the Unspeakable. But reasons are never really simple when it comes the psychedelic sphere.
The Institute maintains an archive of Outrageous Ideas. If you wish to contribute yours, a Depository can be found under Contact on the menu.
Well, we finally got her into the water.