I don’t want to say I’m nervous, but it definitely
looks as though some unlicensed medicine is about to be practiced.
Well guess what’s happening. What is happening?
Unlicensed medicine. Haha! [ modulated voice ]
The modern rogue experiences the ganzfeld effect. We are going to hack our brains. Do you want
to trip?! Let’s define some terminology here. What are
we getting at? – This is the ganzfeld effect.
– Okay. This is something that was discovered in 1930s,
and it is a way that your brain finds patterns out of unstructured stimuli.
– So in other words, you produce hallucinations? Exactly! It is a lot like the experience that you
get in sensory deprivation tanks. Where you start to hallucinate auditory and visually.
Your brain wants to find patterns in things, so when you have an unstructured stimuli,
like uniform field of light or white noise in your ears, or both, you will start to hallucinate
and your brain will start to convince itself that it’s actually seeing these things.
– Now I know that the scientist Richard Feynman was really into the idea of altering his consciousness
without drugs, so he would do sensory deprivation tanks, and specifically he had read that there was
a certain tribe of people — we perceive ourselves as living behind our eyes, but this other
tribe believed that the selves lived in the liver, and so he would get into the tank
and try to shift his sense of being to a different part of his body with limited success. In
fact, I experienced this! I did a life cast with the incredible artist Ralis Kahn, he
did a complete life cast you cannot talk, you cannot move or it’ll screw everything
up. And over this time, I got the strong sense that I was tilted over the entire time. I was seeing patterns, it was completely unreal. – What kind of patterns were you seeing?
– Geometric stuff, there was kind of a waking hallucination with almost a narrative. You
ever have it where, you kind of wake up out of sleep but you want to finish your dream,
and you’re not really sure if you’re making up the dream or actually falling
back asleep. It was like that, without ever having been asleep to begin with.
– But you were totally safe? – Oh yeah, yeah.
– That’s my biggest concern, which is my biggest concern any time I go to sleep… Freddy Krueger.
[ laughter ] – That’s like, bears, Freddy Krueger. Right there.
– We’ve got awake people supervising us so I think we’re going to be good.
– Thank god. If you want to produce ganzfeld hallucinations,
you can’t just close your eyes or turn off the lights and have it be quiet. You have
to have uniform stimulation, right? Whether it’s white noise in the ears, or whether it’s
white light, red light, you have to be looking at something so that your brain is shifting,
looking for patterns. Yes. You have to give your brain some sort
of input. This is giving your brain something that is completely unstructured. Some people
have experienced things like picnics, women riding by on bicycles, geometric shapes, Tetris,
explosions, aliens, dogs and cats living together! [ in unison ]
Mass hysteria! That’s awesome, I know that miners who have
been trapped in cave-ins, they’re going four or five days without any stimulation at all,
similar to the deprivation tank. Prison’s cinema is what they called it. Pythagoras’s
disciples would go into caves to achieve enlightenment, and they would just stare into the darkness for
hours on end. And also people going through the arctic in whiteout conditions, in just
seeing this field of unending white would start to hallucinate.
– Well, now I’m terrified, and now I guess it’s time for us to get started.
I know that you can create the uniform field by cutting a ping pong ball in half, but you
were mentioning that maybe that’s not the best way to go?
– Yes, I tried it with ping pong balls, but they don’t always fit over your eyes, so you
can see out the edges. One of the ways that I read was actually better, is to make your own
sleep mask out of just plain printer paper. Yeah, and you want to get the lightweight
printer paper that you can kind of see through. – You can see through, yeah!
– Don’t get the card stock, you don’t want something that’s completely opaque.
– Oh dude, yeah! So go ahead and cut yourself out something
in the shape of a sleep mask. We’ve got some rubber bands here to fasten to our heads,
staplers and tape and so forth. If you need some extra padding to pad the
corners out, you can actually use pieces of cotton to line the insides.
– Dude, for the record, these are the sweetest sunglasses I’ve ever owned.
I’m going to take two of these, just tie them together because I figure I can keep it loose.
We’re not going to be moving, right? It’s just the idea is that we stay still, how quickly
should we start experiencing something? I have read anywhere from ten to thirty minutes
as the average. The trick is you have to stay quiet, stay still, no other flashing
lights. You really want everything just kind of flat and quiet.
– So like, if you experience something don’t go like, “Hey Brian, you will not believe
what I’m experiencing right now!” Yeah, exactly. This isn’t the Oculus Rift!
[ laughter ] So here’s what I’m doing, just tying a little
knot on there, because again it doesn’t have to be super tight. But then that way the staples
keep it from wanting to pull off. – Oh sure, yeah.
– Now, what about the white noise? I like television white noise, myself. Just
the old sound of static from an old CRT, which you can find in YouTube, or Soundcloud or
anything like that. Of course, you’re going to want something uninterrupted for the entire
duration of when you’re laying there. I am peeking out a little bit at the bottom,
so I’m going to just add a couple of pads to cover up on the edges of the nose.
All right, I am set. Oh that’s actually, really good.
Perfect! I guess we dive in. I’ll see you in thirty minutes.
I guess it’s also good to have noise-cancelling headphones for this?
– Yes. – See you on the other side, Brian.
– That’s exactly what I was going to say! [ laughter ]
You beat me! [ white noise ramps up ] [ slow hip hop track plays ] [ seagulls echo in the distance ] [ A lot of people ask about this music, it’s just one of our regular background tracks slowed and reversed with seagull noises added on top. It sounds good though. ] [ it’s still just going with this music ] All right, I’m calling it. It felt like a lifetime in there.
– Yeah. – How did it go?
– It was intense, um, I definitely– [ exasperated exhale ] – It’s, I can’t believe it was only twenty minutes.
– Jason, I’m changed! I know, right? So, the first thing you get
are blooms of color, right? – Yes.
– So, there was this brief period where at first you notice the imperfections of the paper
and all that stuff, but then at some point it was like a switch flipped and everything
just looked completely uniformly white. And then you started to see blooms of color.
– It was like the room in The Matrix. – Yeah.
– Where he said, “We need more guns,” and then the guns came.
-You know how, you can rub your eyes and see fireworks?
– Yes. Like, that started to happen even though there
was no stimulation at all. And then after a while they would start to move into shapes.
I saw silhouettes of dinosaurs, like a puppet show, basically. There was a brief moment
that I was convinced that I was looking at a frosted window and I could see an office
around me in there. – Wow!
– Yeah, it was fleeting, right? It was like, the moment I thought too hard on it, Yes! it would evaporate. You really have to give yourself up to it.
With mine, what started as a simple screen saver experience turned into the Eye of Sauron
staring back at me. Do you know what I saw? I saw a face, do you
remember the Supreme Being from Time Bandits? – Yes!
– That’s it, the, “Return the mask!” That was amazing. Mine started off with like lots of blossoms
of colors and everything just kind of undulating and coalescing and then they turned into like
jellyfish type things. – Yeah?
– And then, the Eye of Sauron was there for a minute, and around that time, the sound,
I started to hear screams! Okay, I heard laughter in the background!
I could hear people applauding, like there’s a party in the next room over or something.
– See, I heard screams in the multiple layers of the static, but then once you started to
focus on it, it went away and it was just static again. But then, after that it became
me flying through the clouds looking down over this rocky desert planet, wavering everywhere
and I realized I was hearing seagulls. – Wow!
– Yeah, it was fascinating. And it started happening right away!
– That’s the same thing for me! It was like, maybe ninety seconds until the first tickles started to
happen, and I think it’s like you get caught up in a feedback loop where it’s like you
think, “Did I hear laughter?” And then you listen for laughter, and sure enough now you’re
seeking that pattern and you absolutely experience it. It was definitely enhanced, because I
tried to not move my body at all. I didn’t want to be reminded that I’m sitting
on a table or whatever, but instead you start to feel without form and without presence.
That was a trip, man. Uh, dude, high five on the ganzfeld effect.
– Highly recommended! – Yeah, absolutely dude.
– I’m going back in! – No! No, we’ve lost him!
– I need more! I’m going to get a beer.