So I received a copy of one of the science magazines i'm subscribed to, and this week had an interesting cover story, which described recent ideas and theories about how the conscious mind of an infant operates.
The article (unfortunately its not free to view the whole article)
One of the prominent ideas of the article involves some of the research of the Imperial College London, where they are exploring the effects of serotonergic psychedelic chemicals have on a person's emotions and awareness. In conjunction with research from the University of Denver, reserarchers believe these drugs cause changes in perception and self-awareness closely comparable to the natural mind-state of an infant.
I personally found this article pretty interesting, and it would be really interesting to see any future research on the cognitive experience of infants. I don't think its much of a stretch, considering serotonergic psychedelic chemicals are produced naturally inside our bodies.Think what it's like to be totally immersed in an engrossing movie. "You are not in control, your consciousness is not planning, your self seems to disappear – that's part of what's great about being absorbed in a movie," she says. "Yet the events in the movie are very, very vivid in your awareness." Being a baby might be like being sucked into a really good movie.
The effects of psilocybin – the active ingredient in magic mushrooms – on adult consciousness may effectively revert key hubs in our brain to an infant-like state, at least temporarily. We appear to start life without a recognisable sense of self, developing self-awareness through social interactions.
"One of the reasons why the psychedelic state is so interesting is that it offers a window into what infantile consciousness is like," he says. "It's the brain and mind moving back to an earlier stage, essentially, where our style of cognition is less constrained, less analytical, and more influenced by imagination and wishes, but also fears." Psilocybin also makes us emotionally volatile. Carhart-Harris is often struck by the child-like behaviour of his subjects. "One of the really notable things that you see with psychedelics is that people start to giggle," he says. "People behave in a very silly, immature way. It's quite endearing. They seem quite vulnerable."
As a warning though, many people abuse these chemicals for recreation, so don't think its in any way a good idea to try any of this at home. I shared this article because I thought it had interesting scientific significance, but serotonergic psychedelics are some of the most powerful drugs that exist, and can cause significant psychological harm (i.e. PTSD, other kinds of psychological trauma) if misused. Please leave the research to the professionals