Copyright © 1995-1996, Paul De Rienzo, Dana Beal
and Members of the Project
All Rights Reserved
CHAPTER 12: Agent of Coincidence
One day in late July 1990, when he was stuck somewhere with nothing to do, Dana re-read a book he remembered as having offered a glimpse of Ibogaine’s proba-ble impact back in 1980-81, when the project was just starting. It was VALIS, by P.K. Dick , based on Dick’s famous near death experience (NDE) in 1974, from which he woke up speaking ancientkoine Greek, understanding his own name as Horse-lover (Philip) Fat (German for Dick). Dana was looking for a passage that reads–
“The Empire never ended,” Fat quoted to himself. That one sentence appeared over and over again in his exegesis; it had become his tag line. Originally the sentence had been revealed to him in a great dream. In the dream he again was a child, searching dusty used-book stores for rare old science fiction magazines, in particular Astoundings. In the dream he had looked through countless tattered issues, stacks upon stacks, for the priceless serial entitled “The Empire Never Ended.” If he could f ind it and read it he would know everything; that had been the burden of the dream.
“Prior to that, during the interval in which he experienced the two-world superimposition, he had seen not only California, U.S.A., of the year 1974 but also ancient Rome, he had discerned within the superimposition a Gestalt shared by both space-time continua, their common element: a Black Iron Prison. This is what the dream referred to as “the Empire.” He knew it because, upon seeing the Black Iron Prison, he had recognized it. Everyone dwelt in it without realizing it. The Black Iron Prison was the ir world.
“Who had built the prison–and why–he could not say. But he could discern one good thing: the prison lay under attack. An organization of Christians, not regular Christians such as those who attended church every Sunday and prayed, but secret early Christians wearing light gray-colored robes, had started an assault on the prison, and with success. The secret, early Christians were filled with joy.
“Fat, in his madness, understood the reason for their joy. This time the early, secret, gray-robed Christians would get the prison, rather than the other way around. The deeds of the heroes, in the sacred dream-time…the only time, according to the b ushmen, that was real.
“Once, in a cheap science fiction novel, Fat had come across a perfect description of the Black Iron Prison but set in the far future. So if you superimposed the past (ancient Rome) over the present (California in the twentieth Century) and super-impo sed the far future world of The An-droid Cried Me a River over that, you got the Empire, the Black Iron Prison, as the supra- or trans-temporal constant. Everyone who had ever lived was literally surrounded by the iron walls of the prison; they were all i nside of it and none of them knew it–except for the gray-robed secret Christians.
“That made the early, secret Christians supra- or trans-temporal, too, that is to say present at all times, a situation which Fat could not fathom. How could they be early but in the present and the future? And if they existed in the present, why coul dn’t anyone see them? On the other hand, why couldn’t anyone see the walls of the Black Iron Prison which enclosed everyone, including himself, on all sides? Why did these antithetical forces emerge into palpability only when the past, present and future somehow–for whatever reason–got superimposed?
“Maybe in the bushman’s dreamtime no time existed. But if no time existed, how could the early secret Christians be scampering away with glee from the Black Iron Prison which they hadjust succeeded in blowing up? And how could they blow it up back in Rome circa 70 C.E., since no explosives existed in those days? And how, if no time existed in the dream-time, could the pris-on come to an end? It reminded Fat of the peculiar statement in Parsifal: “You see my son, here time turns into space.” During hi s religious experience in March of 1974, Fat had seen an augmentation of space: yards and yards of space, extending all the way to the stars; space opened up around him as if a confining box had been removed…”
Now privately Howard, Boaz and Sisko would all sit around reveling in the changes Ibogaine would unleash–“the system-smash,” Boaz called it–like a Big Bang without an explosion. But Philip Dick they thought of as science fiction, even though VALIS i s actually a book on gnosticism and the lost plant sacrament of the early Christians, which Dick got to know all about during the ’60’s while married to the daughter of Episcopal Archbishop Jame Pike’s mistress. Pike–the famed companion of Martin Luther King at Selma, Alabama–perished a few years later looking for the missing sacrament in the vicinity of the Dead Sea.
VALIS, and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, Dick’s even more autobiographical chronicle of Bishop Pike’s quest and disappearance, provide a fascinating windown into mainstream–if heretical–Christian thought on plant sacraments.
Some months previously, though, Howard had cut a deal with the Belgian pharmaceutical giant Omnichem, which manufactures Ibogaine as a by-product of the leukemia drug nicristine, and by coincidence had decided, instead of dumping it, to stockpile this 99.7% pure (semi-synthetic) Ibogaine. So Howard had cornered the world supply of Ibogaine. And Howard, Boza and Sisko, who were now in the process of reconciling–working it out so that Howard wouldn’t have to sue Sisko for infringing on his patent–were uncomfortable with the part about secret early Christians, even though no less an authority than James Fernandez notes the affinity of the Bwiti mindset for Biblical-era parable and proverb.
Moreover, what tied Bwiti specifically to Gnosticism (even ancient Gnosticism seen through the post-quantum eyes of Philip Dick) was that, as Fernandez points out: “For these Bwitists… religion was not a matter of faith… It was a very pragmatic technique for understanding, predicting and controlling–in short a science or pre-science of hidden to things. To believe in something despite lack of evidence or evidence to contrary, which is the Western religious condition, was foreign to their attitudes. Fang had alway had good evidence for their beliefs”–via ready access to plant sacrament, like the Gnostics. In VALIS, in a passaga on Gnostic sacraments, Beal found an Ibogaine parallel which was just uncanny:
48. ON OUR NATURE. It is proper to say: we appear to be memory coils (DNA carriers capable of experience) in a computer-like thinking system which, al-though we have correctly recorded thousands of years of experiential information, and each of us po ssesses somewhat different deposits from all the other life forms, there is a malfunction–a failure–of memory retrieval. There lies the trouble in our particular subcircuit. “Salvation” through gnosis–more properly anamnesis (the loss of amnesia )–although it has individual significance for each of us–a quantum leap in perception, identity, cognition, understanding, world- and self-experience, including immortality–it has greater and further importance for the system as whole, inasmuch as thes e memories are data needed by it and valuable to it, to its overall functioning.
Therefore it is in the process of self-repair, which includes: rebuilding our subcircuit via linear and orthogonal time changes, as well as continual signalling to us to stimulate blocked memory banks within us to fire and hence retrieve what is there.
The external information or gnosis, then, consists of disinhibiting instructions, with the core content actually intrinsic to us–that is, already there (first observed by Plato; viz: that learning is a form of remembering).
The ancients possessed techniques (sacraments* and rituals) used largely in the Greco-Roman mystery religions, including early Christianity, to induce firing and retrieval, mainly with a sense of its restorative value to the individuals;the Gnostics, however, correctly saw the ontological value to what they called the Godhead itself, the total entity.
The more Dana got into it, the more he realized having VALIS** in 1980 was like being handed a roadmap to understanding gnostic substances, Ibogaine and Bwiti, back in the very beginning. But the Ibogaine story is replete with these coincidences.
Take Howard’s contact at the University of Miami, Dr. Deborah Mash, who is currently doing the first Phase I clinical (safety) trial with 10 crackheads. Howard met her at the DPF, which mostly gives Ibogaine the cold shoulder because they see it as a diversion from their mission of legalizing cocaine. (Perhaps they fear Ibogaine will prolong prohibition, by fostering the idea the War on Drugs can still be won, if only we had this magic bullet.) But Howard met Dr. Mash at the DPF annual conference. H er work showing cocaine and alcohol combine in the body to form a distinct addictive substance, coca-ethylene, was just what he needed to get his patent for the treatment of polydrug dependency (U.S. Patent #5,152,992, October 6, 1992).
Deborah Mash happens to be married to the Chairman of the Democratic Committee of Dade County. The Florida primary was very important to Clinton, so Mash was able to arrange a meeting with Hillary. After briefing her for more than an hour on the Ibog aine Project, Mash secured her promise to do something about Ibogaine if and when the Clintons got to the White House.
Also, the prospect of Mash’s IND application for the Phase I trial being ap-proved by FDA–and Howard pulling an end-run on the MDD–has kept up the pres-sure on Vocci to move ahead, despite countervailing static in the system. After tor-pedoing the meeting between ACT UP and CASA, Herb Kleber went into overdrive behind the scenes, activating his cronies salted away in NIDA’s peer review process to cut off new grants for Ibogaine in the regular extra-mural system–the mechanism outside the MDD that G lick used to fund all his research. (However–since as many animal studies came out supporting Ibogaine in 1992 as in all previous years com-bined–this was kind of like closing the barndoor after the livestock are long gone.)
None of this became known for months. What was obvious–after Glick told the ALBANY TIMES-UNION in October of ’91 that Ibogaine represented “the strang-est coalition I’ve ever been involved in”– was a long dry spell in the papers: noth-ing on Iboga ine being fast-tracked, nothing on ACT UP or Dhoruba joining the fray. Press releases that went out were up against the experts, and in drug-free America, reporters take their cue from the experts. Most of them thought the Staten Island Project was a bout as likely as some Japanese cut off an Island at the end of WW II coming up on their own with the Atomic Bomb.
But then coincidence intervened again–in the form of a disgruntled ex-Yippie, thrown out by Alice T. fourteen years ago for robbing Studio 10 blind, who, claiming to act still on behalf of Abbie Hoffman and the SOHO WEEKLY NEWS, still makes crank ca lls to 9 Bleecker every morning between 6 and 7 AM. He knows Dana can’t go back to sleep. Since 1979 he’s been trying to make Beal so fried he can’t function. He makes obscene phone calls to the kids, sex calls to Alice, anti-Semite calls if you’re Jewish , etc.
In the last three years or so, he’s escalated, putting up stickers on phones all over the city for non-existent whorehouses (Madame Alice, etc.) and sex services (gay dating club, sperm bank) so Alice would get twenty crank calls a day from aggressive weirdos. Alice is unflappable, though, so Hank the Skank escalated again. In April of ’92 he put up a sticker that said, “DRUG MULES: Earn Big Bux–Call 212 677-4899,” figuring he’d get Dana in trouble with his probation officer. It did cause an invest igation by Telco security. But instead of the DEA, a PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER reporter called up–Andy Maykuth from the New York bureau–and Dana said: “Oh, a sticker. It’s put up by a cranker in Brooklyn who’s trying to discredit what we really do, which is to work on a cure for hard drugs, an African rainforest alkaloid called Ibogaine.”
After ten minutes Maykuth agreed a crank from Brooklyn wasn’t much of a story–“But maybe we can do something with the Ibogaine.” Howard was in Lyden, the Netherlands, doing a series of treatments. Dr. Baastians, the Dutch psychiatrist who has to sign off with the Dutch government for each Ibogaine treatment, was too old to travel. Dr. Baastians, who pioneered treatment of concentration camp survivors with LSD, lives in Lyden. He’d just had triple-bypass heart surgery, and since he insisted on sitti ng in on the 24-hour-a-day treatments himself, the strain was so great Howard, Norma and the treatment team thought more than once they might lose him.
But the treatments were successful, and in early May Dana brought Howard to the floor of ACT UP with one of his successes: Carol Baker, the first HIV-positive person treated with Ibogaine. She’d been dually addicted, using 80 mg. of metha-done to get through the day, and $250 worth of heroin to get through the night. As a successful real estate broker she could afford it. But she had no veins left, and she wanted to live out her life clear of the methadone fog.
After an uneventful 22 hour treatment and a short nap, she awoke feeling like “her armor had been stripped away.” She was one of the first to fly back by way of the University of Miami, where Lotsof had set up his own post-treatment evaluations with D r. Mash and Dr. Sergio Ramirez.” I kicked methadone once be-fore,” she told ACT UP, “and it was five months of Hell. This time I woke up, I hadn’t had a fix in 24 hours, and I wasn’t dopesick. It was like a miracle.”
The visualizations weren’t like LSD, she said: “You see millions of visions when you close your eyes. But when you open them, you come back to where you are. You realize it was all mental.” ACT UP loved it–this little woman with HIV, de-toxed with on e ibogaine treatment. Andy Maykuth of the INQUIRER, sitting in the audience, could feel it. One thing led to another, and on July 4, 1992, in Philadelphia, the INQUIRER published “It’s From an African Shrub. Howard Lotsof Says it Got Him off Heroin and C ocaine: TO BATTLE ADDICTION, HE ADVOCATES USE OF A DRUG.” It was the lead head-line on page one: a Declaration of Independence for Addicts.
And best of all, when Dana appeared three days later for another adjournment on his probation violation (in Manhattan Court, not Queens), he could point to himself quoted in it: “Ibogaine kind of knocks you on your butt,which is good because you ca n’t go out and get drugs. By the time the ibogaine wears off, you don’t have any craving.”
“Your Honor,” he said, “I just want to say that because of your ruling allow-ing me to travel and lobby the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this breakthrough treatment for addiction has been fast-tracked by the Federal government.”
Sisko and Howard, though, were disappointed the story focus was still on a small cast of Lower East Side characters–that it failed to tell how in the past 18 months support for Ibogaine had metastasized beyond its countercultural roots. ACT UP was me ntioned way down in the text. Nothing on Dhoruba or Black community support. So while everyone else was in Holland for the AIDS Confer-ence, Dana put together an Ibogaine workbook with ACT UP’s xerox document-maker. It had all the available animal studies , the patents, the human anecdotal stuff, ACT UP correspondence with the government, with a couple introductory articles up front. Beal began sending the book plus the 60 minute augmented Nico tape out to every science writer, every drug reporter, every A IDS writer at every newspaper in the country.
He could add or subtract documents at will with the xerox, so for the August 4th Harlem Hospital gig, he added the African anthropological data, plus 20th Century documents relevant to the genesis of the Project, like the 1955 Harris Isbell letter, s elections of VALIS and the original Black Panther “Capitalism Plus Dope Equals Genocide.”
He was rushing to finish before his trial date of August 7. But then another Ibogaine coincidence intervened. Out in Sonoma, California, Dennis’ friend Brownie Mary Rathbun was busted blending 2 pounds of marijuana in brownies for AIDS patients. Aft er Brownie Mary hit CNN, Dana knew that in a few months, the publicity from her case would turn the country around on medical marijuana. He got another affadavit from Kunstler asking for a long adjournment. The Judge gave him until October 1st. He spent the next day waiting for Dennis and Brownie Mary to fly in for the Maury Povitch show, serenely cleaning up pages of the workbook on the xerox.
A few weeks later he added a section on waking REM, when David Goldstein turned up a new paper by H. Deportere,”Neocortical Rhythmic Slow Activity During Wakefulness and Paradoxical Sleep in Rats.” Deportere indicated Ibogaine tremor and behav ioral immobility were clearly a function of stimulation of acetyl-choline pathways–the ones active during sleep and REM (i.e, the Rapid Eye Movement during dreams). Dana threw in an article he’d been saving since Janu-ary from the NEW YORK TIMES scie nce section on dreaming, which contained a paragraph that reminded him of all the accounts of Howard, Nico, etc., of the sensa-tion of travelling at tremendous speeds through space, or down a tunnel, whichsaid:
Another nerve cell circuit connects to the place in the brainstem where movements like walking or running are triggered… When a group of cells in this region are triggered by an as-yet undetermined chemical signal…the stimulation helps bring on the muscle paralysis typical of REM sleep. At the same time glutamate, a brain chemical that excites neurons, is active. This might explain a paradox of REM sleep…that the eyeballs move and the body twitches even though the dreamer cannot move his slee ping body…
Changes of Scene
Because the gait center of the brainstem is activated in REM sleep, Dr Hobson said, “You are rarely stationary in a dream. You run, walk, skip, drive, fly; you are almost always moving forward.” (“Scientists Unravelling C hemistry of Dreams,” by Sandra Blakeslee)
During the ten treatments she did, Geerte says the muscles and eyeballs twitched like that during the entire visualization phase and even the beginning of the next phase, the one Sisko says gave him access to his “hereditary archive”–the ancestors. Ho wever, since Deportere indicated an EEG signature of true REM activ-ity was absent on Ibogaine, Dana modified the characterization of the visualization phase to “REM-like.”
In late August the Queens Judge dropped a bombshell, ruling out a defense of medical necessity–because marijuana only relieves the symptoms of AIDS. Every-one began to assume Dana would be in prison, out of the game for a couple years. And Carlo wa s so intimidated by the opposition in the bureaucracy that he didn’t even want to talk about it on the phone.
Dana sent him the revised work-book. He told him Clinton was going to win the election for sure, and that Mash had already talked to Hillary. And then he pointed Carlo to a passage in the Ibogaine book from VALIS, from the Book of Daniel, which Ph ilip Dick believed refered to Nixon, but due to the vagaries of the xerox had come out across from J. Edgar Hoover’s memo (See composite on the facing page.) on stopping the rise of a Black Messiah:
“In the last days of those kingdoms,
When their sin is at its height,
A king shall appear, harsh and grim, a master of stratagem.
His power shall be great, he shall work havoc untold;
He shall work havoc on great nations and upon a holy people.
His mind shall be ever active,
And he shall succeed in his crafty designs;
He shall conjure up great plans.
And, when they least expect it, work havoc on many.
He shall challenge even the Prince of Princes.
And be broken, but not by human hands.”
“Look at the last line,” Dana told him.
“What do you mean, not by human hands?” asked Carlo.
“Ibogaine, of course… Bwiti, as it were. See–the police state of Nixon and Hoover left us has never been overthrown. But we believe so many changes are going to flow from Ibogaine that in four years, the opposition won’t have a niche to come bac k to. Just relax, and let the Ibogaine do its thing.”
But Carlo was still apprehensive. And the minute he left Baltimore to come up for his radio-medicine board Sept 14th, calls started coming in to his bosses at the ARC from Herb Kleber: “What is Contoreggi up to? Who’s he seeing in New York?”
Kleber clearly didn’t want Contoreggi getting together with ACT UP. CASA had good intelligence on ACT UP. Richard Elovitch had left the organization to advise the American Medical Foundation for AIDS Research (AMFAR) from a new position at GMHC (Gay Mens’ Health Crisis), miffed that his seminars with 12-step experts from Columbia’s Substance Abuse Division were no longer getting alot of play on the floor. But he still had eyes and ears in ACT UP. Both he and Kleber had a lot to lose if an acknowle dged clean needle expert came in and validated Ibogaine, providing the critical mass to push ACT UP into some kind of mass action.
Carlo also had no authorization from Grudzinskas to address ACT UP, and feared doing so as a private citizen might endanger his new position “in the loop.’ On Sunday night he talked to a reporter who’d just interviewed Kleber extensively, preparing a piece on Ibogaine, and what he heard freaked him out so much that Monday morning Carlo cancelled his scheduled appearance at the ACT UP Monday night meeting. Dana was able to get an instant vote to zap CASA based on Kleber’s interference. But a seed of do ubt had been planted in ACT UP, and the zap was very small.
Howard, Boaz and Carlo were all a-dither over a new finding by a researcher at the ARC named Molliver. Molliver had discovered some brain toxicity in rats at 100 mg/kg (injected intraperitoneally, which is twice as toxic as giving it orally, making i t equivalent to 11 times Lotsof’s therapeutic dose). Howard was convinced this was a manuever to slow down Deborah Mash’s IND at the FDA, so MDD could get their IND approved first–when they were good and ready. But Contoreggi was more excited scienti fically–because such selective toxicity is often a good clue to where a receptor site is. Here was possible evidence of the elusive Ibogaine receptor site, in a part of the brain considered unrelated to the dopamine “pleasure pathway”–all the way back, in the cerebellum.
Instead of appearing at the ACT UP meeting, however, that morning Contoreggi went up to Kleber’s 168th St. offices at Columbia’s Substance Abuse Division to talk to a lower eschelon person who was his contact there. He was somewhat relieved after tha t meeting. But Dana had also leveled with him about the degree to which he was a pot activist, and Carlo was wary of even talking. He had the Ibogaine workbook, though, with the articles on REM.
On October 1st, the judge in Queens demanded that Beal produce his lawyer for trial October 9th. No more affadavits. Bill’s helpers prepared a massive Clayton motion–essentially a motion “in the higher interest of justice”–that the need of soci-ety as a whole for Dana’s Ibogaine work should be balanced with the good he was doing getting medical-grade instead of moldy marijuana to PWAs, and the charges be dismissed. The Clayton, thick as a book, was delivered October 8th.
To rule, the judge had to read the appendix, which contained the entire ACT UP workbook, dense with impenetrable rat studies. She didn’t want to do that, so on October 9th, she pressured the prosecution to offer a 60-day plea bargain. Dana didn’t lik e the compromise, but relented when the judge agreed her earlier ruling against medical necessity pot defenses would not constitute a precedent in other AIDSs cases –in effect nullifying her earlier decision. Bill assured him it would play in the med ia as a victory, a judgement that was borne out when the DAILY NEWS ran an article the next week reporting a big win for medical marijuana for people with AIDS. It even mentioned his Ibogaine work, and the November 20 sentencing date gave him time to do a presentation at the annual DPF Conference.
It also gave him time to go to the September 22nd protest by ACT UP, the Green Panthers and NORML at the Dept. of Health and Human Services, against the cut-off of medical marijuana to people with AIDS. Naturally D.C. ACT UP flew Brownie Mary and De nnis Peron in for the event. HHS is just 2 blocks from Tim Westmoreland’s office, so that Dana was able to set up a last-minute meeting with Tim, Dennis and Brownie Mary which explored giving states local option on medical marijuana. The HHS zap dominate d D.C. airwaves, and in the superheated pre-election atmosphere, reverberated across the country..
Best of all, after five weeks, Carlo called Beal rather than the other way around. His confidence was waxing as the election neared, and he seemed to feel ACT UP connections might be useful under the new regime. Dana told him that with funding until 1996, Califano and Kleber seemed to have designed CASA to sit out the next four years on the outside, looking in.
But then another Ibogaine coincidence took over. All the books and tapes Beal had been sending out bore fruit in the best article yet, in the Science Section of the BOSTON GLOBE. The reporter, Deborah Kong, actually read all the rat studies, so she sp otted the efficacy. She didn’t feel it necessary to “balance” the article with comments from skeptics too lazy to look at the data. A short version was reprinted all over the U.S. And at NEW YORK NEWSDAY, where Spencer Rumsey had been blocked by higher ups from getting an article published for three years, the GLOBE piece became ammunition to guilt-trip his editors: “You guys let me get scooped again!”
On November 19th, the Queens judge picked up her NEWSDAY and found a massive, four page feature on Ibogaine, which mentioned AIDS, ACT UP and the Black Panthers, even though interviews with Dana and Dhoruba had been cut due to space considerations. Th e next day Bill Kunstler walked into court with Dana and asked that the 60 day sentence be changed to some kind of community service. And when Bill got to the part about the NEWSDAY article, Judge Corrado said: “I read my NEWSDAY yesterday, Mr. Kunstler. ” She wanted to change the jail time to com-munity service on the spot, pending a letter from ACT UP Housing Works, the largest provider of housing for PWA’s in New York.
Dana was out–at least until the DA in the case pressured Judge Corrado to change her mind, In December he talked to Carlo again. Carlo was very excited. The receptor site in the cerebellum tied it all together– Ibogaine tremor, behavioral immobili ty, acetylcholine pathways, visualizations, everything. The cerebellum governs input from the muscles, joints and tendons; it regulates balance. It lets you know where you’re located in space, and what your body’s position is in it. It’s where you lear n to walk when you’re one year old. An Ibogaine receptor in the cere-bellum means that true addiction involves the same kind of deep conditioning of the cerebellum as learning to walk. Addiction doesn’t even happen at the so-called common narcotic recept or, where dopamine acts, butthrough the pleasure pathways, in the cerebellum.
Addiction involves the same circuits as learning to walk. And just like walk-ing, once you learn how to shortcircuit the conscious brain–once you’re addicted–you do it without thinking about it. The addict’s feet literally walk him down to the dope spot on their own. But that means there’s no “magic bullet” for addiction without going into the cerebellum. Carol Baker said that once the craving for heroin used to lock in, she could never just break out of the routine of going to cop and walk away. After Ibogaine she was always able to divert herself into doing something else–cleaning up, watching television, anything as long as it wasn’t going to cop.
There’s no cerebellar action without the tremor or visualizations, either. The acetylcholine pathways involved in REM, in dreaming–as the SCIENCE TIMES said —key right into the location in the brain for walking, running, moving, and that’s the cere bellum. Ibogaine works through the acetylcholine pathways, therefore there can be no interrupter effect without behavioral immobility and tremor, both effects of acetylcholine. Dana and Carlo each had pre-release copies of a monograph by Robert Goutarel, the father of modern Ibogaine research, and Carlo refered to a passage at the end:
“Barrass, B.C. and Coult (1972) demonstrated that ibogaine inhibits the oxidation of 121serotonin by a monoamine oxidase (MAO), ceruloplasmin, and catalyzes the oxidation of catecholamines by the same substrate.
“Indeed, Ibogaine is a potent serotoninergic that has the ability to reduce the level of cerebral catecholamines.
This decrease in the level of catecholamines, dopamine in particular, explains the results described recently on the blockade of the stimulation of mesolimbic and striatal dopamine induced by morphine or cocaine.
The decrease in the level of catecholamines and the joint increase in the cerebral serotonin level result in a suppression of REM sleep and the appearance of hallucinatory phenomena (C. Debru, 1990).
“LSD, like Ibogaine, is a potent serotoninergic that inhibits the oxidation of serotonin and catalyzes the oxidation of catecholamines by MAO.
“However, there is an enormous difference between these two alkaloids: LSD is active at doses of less than a milligram. Its activity is difficult to control and the hallucinatory phenomena produced belong to a high and angelic domain of esthetic sensa tions, whereas Ibogaine is hallucino-genic only at does in excess of 100 mg, and the domain of the oneirophrenic substance is that of the subterranean world of Freud, of animal impulse and of regression.
“Let us note that serotonin is the neurotransmitter of the cerebral parasympathetic system, catecholamines being neurotransmitters in the cerebral orthosympathetic system, and that the negative chronotropic and inotropic effects as well as the arousal -producing action of Ibogaine are nullified by atropine, an acetylcholine antagonist, acetylcholine being the neurotransmitter of the autonomic nervous system.
“The long waking dream period that follows the absorption of iboga or ibogaine at a subtoxic dose (or oneirophrenic dose according to Naranjo) appears to be responsible for a temporary destructuring of the ego, followed by its restructuring.
“This hypothesis is consistent with the observations made by the ethnologists in their studies of the Mitsogho Bwiti, and may be compared to the hypotheses of Michel Jouvet and Sir Francis Crick (C. Debru, 1990) on the role of dreams in the programing and deprograming of basic behavior patterns, resulting in a new individuation of the human brain.
“Normally, the stages of wakefulness of the human brain are: waking, NREM (slow wave or deep) sleep, PGO (pontogeniculo-occipital) waves, and REM (rapid eye movement or paradoxical) sleep. REM sleep is the period of dreams.
“Michel Jouvet and Sir Francis Crick consider PGO waves to be the principal coding tool that acts at the cortical level in recording the genetic and epigenetic acquisitions necessary for the individuation of the human brain.
“In addition, through random activation mechanisms, the PGO waves eliminate from certain types of neuronal networks an informational overload linked to pathological behavior. This is what C. Debru calls “cleaning out the neuronal circuitry.”
“REM sleep apparently undertakes a sorting out process among the “residues” stirred up by the PGO wave sleep pattern and disposes of these residues during dreaming.
“Michel Jouvet (letter of November 7, 1990) wrote: “The oneiric effects observed in humans and which are produced by hallucinogens do not enable us to approach the dream mechanism directly, because it does appear that these two phenomena cannot be link ed together as one.
“We know, however, that the principal difference between dreams and hallucinations resides in the way in which the stages of wakefulness are organized, with the suppression of REM sleep and the intrusion of PGO waves in the arousal (waking) stage and i n NREM (or slow) sleep. “The new organization becomes: waking (arousal) stage, stage of PGO waves, hallucination stage, sleep stage, and it appears possible that hallucinatory manifestations, the waking dream, eliminate “residues” stirred up by the PGO wa ve pattern in the absence of REM sleep.”–(Pharmacodynamics and Therapeutic Applications of Iboga and IbogaineRobert Goutarel, with Otto Gollnhofer and Roger Sillans, French National Scientific Research Center)
“You were right,” exulted Carlo. “Ibogaine is fundamentally different from the ‘clear’ psychedelics. And Howard is right in that there’s no way to duplicate the Ibogaine effect without the visualizations! It is a waking dream–but REM-like, not tr ue REM.”
What it is exactly is explained in Goutarel’s next lines:
“Near Death Experiences
“According to the Mitsogho, the initiate will see the Bwiti only twice in his life: on the day of his initiation and on the day of his death.
“This means that the visions at the approach of death, what are called near death experiences (NDE), are the same as those termed normative visions.
“We know that at the time of dying, some individuals see their whole life pass before them. In those who are “rescued from death,” a spectacular transformation is observed. They no longer fear death, they feel stronger, more optimistic, calmer, and con template their life more positively.”
The brain is capable of generating another state, which the conscious mind recognizes as “dreamlike.” Normally the waking mind has only indirect access to the activities of the acetylcholine pathways. Normally the activity of the sleeping brain only se eps into consciousness slowly–during the few minutes of REM we get every night.
But a real emergency can trigger a survival reflex, the NDE, which gets both halves of the brain up and functioning stereoscopically, at the same time. The serotoninergic pathways, organized as the ego, get direct access to all the disorganized acti vity of the cholinergic pathways, which are perceived as “five or six television programs going at once.”
Ibogaine triggers the NDE reflex. The “splitting of the skull,” which releases the visions, is the same as the jerk you sometimes feel just as you’re falling asleep, greatly amplified because your serotonin and acetylcholine are pumping at the same ti me, and your DA is way down, which normally doesn’t happen. But in the NDE, the conscious mind gets access to PGO wave material: direct genetic instructions from the non-nucleated genetic material in all of your cells.
These are the genes that are passed on directly from your mother; they don’t lose anything from generation to generation, unless a cosmic ray hits them. You get nothing from your father but nucleated genes passed on through the sperm, which is the ge netic equivalent of an earth satellite. The egg by comparison is a minature planet.
Primitive cells that replicate by division, like amoebas, pass all their memory along through these non-nucleated genes. But about a billion years ago some cells invented sex, swapping of genetic instuctions contained in the nucleus via mitosis. Much more complex organisms became possible, but to maintain access to cellular memory, through the acetylcholine pathways, they had to sleep . All the activity of the sleeping mind is summarized several times a night in the REM phase, which when you remember your dreams, makes a “report” from the unconscious to the conscious mind.
Sleep doesn’t just raise cellular memories to consciousness, though; every night your mind makes a “back-up” of the day’s memories all the way down in the non-nucleated genetic material of the cells. Since these little packets of information don’t de grade much from generation to generation, you have ancestral memories going back a quarter of a million years. But always through the mother, which is why Fred, on Ibogaine, experienced the concentration camps through the eyes of his mother and not his fa ther.
The thing is that these cellular memories might have in them the informa-tion you need to survive in a real emegency, when you have no chance to sleep until the answer just comes to you, in a dream. There’s a lot of situations, a lot of scenarios in a quarter million years.
So before there was language, before there was writing, we developed the NDE, this trick reflex that allows the conscious mind to access PGO wave activity directly. Ibogaine triggers the NDE reflex chemically, without having to be near death. Ibogaine turns the serotoninergic and cholinergic pathways into a super-augmented, “sterescopic” entity, capable of scanning ancestral memory in the nonnucleated genetic material of your cells: the ancestors.