This paper argues that the underlying neurodynamics of primary states are more “entropic” than secondary states i.e., primary states exhibit more pronounced characteristics of criticality and perhaps supercriticality than normal waking consciousness—implying that the latter is slightly sub-critical, if not perfectly critical. … My Business is to Sing.” In all versions of that phrase, the guiding image evokes boundlessness. Two such specimens of verse as came yesterday & day before—fortunately not to be forwarded for publication!” He had received Dickinson’s poems the day before he wrote this letter. In two cases, the individuals were editors; later generations have wondered whether Dickinson saw Samuel Bowles and Josiah Holland as men who were likely to help her poetry into print. (2012). Spontaneous neuronal activity distinguishes human dorsal and ventral attention systems. The DMN appears to have a consistently high level of activity, e.g., even when the DMN is relatively deactivated during goal-directed cognition, it is still receives more blood flow than elsewhere in the brain (Pfefferbaum et al., 2011). Higginson’s response is not extant. Pensions, property and more. Decreased PCC alpha power predicts ego-disintegration and magical thinking after psilocybin. A phase I trial of deep brain stimulation of memory circuits in Alzheimer's disease. Bottom: Decreased PCC alpha power vs. ratings of magical/supernatural thinking. Trends Cogn. 29, 449–476. Of Woman, and of Wife - (2010). This chart shows the average (+SE) ratings for the item “my thoughts wandered freely” in 3 neuroimaging studies, each involving the administration of psilocybin and placebo to 15 healthy volunteers. Serotonin induces excitatory postsynaptic potentials in apical dendrites of neocortical pyramidal cells. 10. Self-organized criticality: an explanation of the 1/f noise. These friendships were in their early moments in 1853 when Edward Dickinson took up residence in Washington as he entered what he hoped would be the first of many terms in Congress. Such processes may depend on a reduction of DMN control over MTL activity. Brain 133, 1265–1283. Edward Dickinson’s prominence meant a tacit support within the private sphere. doi: 10.1207/s15327752jpa6801_7. Known at school as a “wit,” she put a sharp edge on her sweetest remarks. Sci. J. Neurophysiol. London: Hogarth Press. Thus, by implication, a broader repertoire of transient states may be visited in primary consciousness because the system is closer to criticality-proper. (2009). doi: 10.1038/nrn2286. 5:183. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2011.00183. (2012). Sandison, R. A., and Whitelaw, J. D. (1957). Humphrey’s designation as “Master” parallels the other relationships Emily was cultivating at school. I hope you will, if you have not, it would be such a treasure to you.” She herself took that assignment seriously, keeping the herbarium generated by her botany textbook for the rest of her life. The psychological counterpart of this process is the development of a mature ego5 and associated metacognitive functions (see below for relevant definitions of these terms). For breakups, heartache, and unrequited love. She wrote to Sue, “Could I make you and Austin—proud—sometime—a great way off—’twould give me taller feet.” Written sometime in 1861, the letter predates her exchange with Higginson. Angel Nafis is paying attention. Primitive thinking is fundamentally different to the style of cognition possessed by healthy adult humans. Entropy is applied here in the context of states of consciousness and their associated neurodynamics, with a particular focus on the psychedelic state. Figure 5. However, evidence strongly supports the position that, conducted with appropriate caution, research with psychedelics presents a low risk of harm to study participants (Johnson et al., 2008; Morgan et al., 2010; Carhart-Harris and Nutt, 2010; Studerus et al., 2011; van Amsterdam et al., 2011). Sue and Emily, she reports, are “the only poets.” While certain lines accord with their place in the hymn—either leading the reader to the next line or drawing a thought to its conclusion—the poems are as likely to upend the structure so that the expected moment of cadence includes the words that speak the greatest ambiguity. That emphasis reappeared in Dickinson’s poems and letters through her fascination with naming, her skilled observation and cultivation of flowers, her carefully wrought descriptions of plants, and her interest in “chemic force.” Those interests, however, rarely celebrated science in the same spirit as the teachers advocated. Based Complement. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(05)50004-9, Bak, P., Tang, C., and Wiesenfeld, K. (1987). She asks her reader to complete the connection her words only imply—to round out the context from which the allusion is taken, to take the part and imagine a whole. Toward a cognitive neuroscience of metacognition. Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Franklin’s version of Dickinson’s poems appeared in 1998 that her order, unusual punctuation and spelling choices were completely restored. Natl. 7, 889–904. To place this in a context, only 6% of alcohol users claimed such improvements from alcohol use (Carhart-Harris and Nutt, 2010). Jung, C. G. (1982b). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.59.381, Ban, T. A. The model describes cognition in adult modern humans as “near critical” but “sub-critical”—meaning that its dynamics are poised in a position between the two extremes of formlessness and petrification where there is an optimal balance between order and flexibility. There were to be no pieties between them, and when she detected his own reliance on conventional wisdom, she used her language to challenge what he had left unquestioned. Cogn. Neurosci. Scand. Thus, Freud's cherished “royal road” has not proved particularly regal and a more practical alternative is required if key psychoanalytic theories are to be incorporated into the mind sciences. Importantly, these states are all characterized by a particular style of cognition that is fundamentally different from that of normal waking consciousness. Functional connectivity measures after psilocybin inform a novel hypothesis of early psychosis. Learn everything an expat should know about managing finances in Germany, including bank accounts, paying taxes, getting insurance and investing. 25, 1562–1567. In the fall of 1847 Dickinson entered Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Bonferonni correction gave a revised statistical threshold of p < 0.006 (0.05/9). J. Psychiatry 156, 505–524. The place she envisioned for her writing is far from clear. Cole, D. M., Beckmann, C. F., Long, C. J., Matthews, P. M., Durcan, M. J., and Beaver, J. D. (2010). Rev. In one line the woman is “Born—Bridalled—Shrouded.” Examples include superstition, and metaphysical beliefs. Irrespective of what the specific drivers of the DMN are, its enduring presence fits comfortably with the idea that it is the seat of the ego (Carhart-Harris and Friston, 2010), as in healthy waking consciousness, one's sense of self is never far from consciousness: “Normally, there is nothing of which we are more certain than the feeling of our self, of our own ego.” (Freud, 1930). This article proposes that states such as the psychedelic state, REM sleep, the onset-phase of psychosis and the dreamy-state of temporal lobe epilepsy are examples of a regressive style of cognition that is qualitatively different to the normal waking consciousness of healthy adult humans. Anthony Ashley Cooper, third Earl of Shaftesbury, was no fan of Shakespeare. doi: 10.1162/neco.1995.7.5.889, de Pasquale, F., Della Penna, S., Snyder, A. A., Worhunsky, P. D., Gray, J. R., Tang, Y. Y., Weber, J., and Kober, H. (2011). Blockade of the 5-HT2AR with the 5-HT2AR antagonist ketanserin, attenuates the principal hallucinogenic effects of psilocybin in humans (Vollenweider et al., 1998). Jung, C. G. (1961). (2010). “The love that dare not speak its name” may well have been a kind of common parlance among mid-19th-century women. Dickinson’s departure from Mount Holyoke marked the end of her formal schooling. As students, they were invited to take their intellectual work seriously. In her scheme of redemption, salvation depended upon freedom. (2004). Interestingly, the only other item that survived correction for multiple comparisons referred to the promotion of magical thinking, i.e., “the experience had a supernatural quality.” It is a central hypothesis of this paper that psychedelics induce a primitive state of consciousness, i.e., “primary consciousness” by relinquishing the ego's usual hold on reality (DMN control on MTL activity). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. Her poems circulated widely among her friends, and this audience was part and parcel of women’s literary culture in the 19th century. Schizophr. Sci. These ideas form the core of this article's hypotheses. Thus, in summary, it is hypothesized that there is a basic mechanism by which psychedelics can be helpful in psychiatry, whether they be used to treat depression, OCD (Moreno et al., 2006) or addiction (Krebs and Johansen, 2012). (2007). Thus, it can be inferred that one reason why the DMN is so highly and persistently active, is that it receive regular endogenous input from internal drivers. 25, 1453–1461. The neat financial transaction ends on a note of incompleteness created by rhythm, sound, and definition. The device, which is now not wider than a human hair, bears on its shoulders the entire weight of the Information Age. Eysenck, H. J. Lacking the letters written to Dickinson, readers cannot know whether the language of her friends matched her own, but the freedom with which Dickinson wrote to Humphrey and to Fowler suggests that their own responses encouraged hers. The genre offered ample opportunity for the play of meaning. Phys. Again, the frame of reference is omitted. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbs117, Carhart-Harris, R. L., and Friston, K. J. He was a frequent lecturer at the college, and Emily had many opportunities to hear him speak. The 19th-century Christians of Calvinist persuasion continued to maintain the absolute power of God’s election. Natl. The relevant reports document unusual phasic activities in the MTLs during the drug state that were difficult to detect at the scalp. J. Neurophysiol. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Proc. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). Sci. 3:15. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2012.00015, Tononi, G. (2010). There is an emerging view in cognitive neuroscience that the brain self-organizes under normal conditions into transiently stable spatiotemporal configurations (Sporns et al., 2004; Shanahan, 2010; Deco and Corbetta, 2011; Tagliazucchi et al., 2012) and that this instability is maximal at a point where the global system is critically poised in a transition zone between order and chaos (Tononi et al., 1994; Shanahan, 2010; Deco and Jirsa, 2012; Tagliazucchi et al., 2012). In 1838 Emerson told his Harvard audience, “Always the seer is a sayer.” Acknowledging the human penchant for classification, he approached this phenomenon with a different intent. London: Macmillan. To take the honorable Work Sci. Neurosci. LGBTQ love poetry by and for gay men, lesbians, and the queer community. When she wrote to him, she wrote primarily to his wife. ^Functional connectivity is defined as temporal correlations between spatially distinct neurophysiological events (Karl Friston). Acad. U.S.A. 106, 17986–17991. Neuroimage 46, 23–30. New York, NY: Atheneum. For Dickinson, letter writing was “visiting” at its best. Functional connectivity in the resting brain: a network analysis of the default mode hypothesis. Sci. Regardless of the reading endorsed by the master in the academy or the father in the house, Dickinson read widely among the contemporary authors on both sides of the Atlantic. Pharmacol. Then, during scanning, the participant could be asked to predict their friend's ratings—and crucially, to provide an additional confidence rating for their own predictions. J. Neurophysiol. (1967). Of Amplitude, or Awe - Chialvo, D. R., Balenzuela, P., and Fraiman, D. (2007). She rose to His Requirement – dropt Psychiatry 70, 366–372. Cohen, S. (1972). For example, intracranial recordings from the ventral PCC in humans revealed a dominant presence of theta oscillations. When applied in the context of the brain, this allows us to make a translation between mechanistic and qualitative properties. As Carroll Smith-Rosenberg has illustrated in Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America (1985), female friendships in the 19th century were often passionate. Lond. 23, 11167–11177. doi: 10.1007/s00213-011-2358-5, Griffiths, R. R., Richards, W. A., McCann, U., and Jesse, R. (2006). Crucially, such beliefs usually honor an emotional sentiment such as a wish (or fear) that something is true. The first English language publication was released in 1950 and here the authors reported: “the effect of LSD was a transitory toxic state, disturbing the barrier of repression and permitting a re-examination of significant experiences of the past that were sometimes relived with a frightening realism.” (Busch and Johnson, 1950) In the following years, psychedelics became one of the most researched classes of psychoactive drug in science, with several hundred relevant publications (Grinspoon and Bakalar, 1979). The phenomenon of self-organized criticality refers to how a complex system (i.e., a system with many constituting units that displays emergent properties at the global-level beyond those implicated by its individual units) forced away from equilibrium by a regular input of energy, begins to exhibit interesting properties once it reaches a critical point in a relatively narrow transition zone between the two extremes of system order and chaos. Gilbert may well have read most of the poems that Dickinson wrote. I guess –. At the academy she developed a group of close friends within and against whom she defined her self and its written expression. 80, S28.e1–S28.e8. Drugs 44, 410–417. Layer-specific network oscillation and spatiotemporal receptive field in the visual cortex. With this gesture she placed herself in the ranks of “young contributor,” offering him a sample of her work, hoping for its acceptance. On brush, old doors, and other poetic materials. In dreams, psychosis and other altered states, archetypal themes shaped by human history emerge into consciousness (Jung, 1982a). However, for those brave enough to embrace it, research with psychedelics could herald the beginning of a new scientifically informed-psychoanalysis that has the potential to influence modern psychology and psychiatry. A post-infusion increase in metastability for a specific network indicates that the mean signal in that network is a poor model of the activity in its constituent voxels, implying that the network is behaving more “chaotically” post-infusion than pre. Her words are the declarations of a lover, but such language is not unique to the letters to Gilbert. Neuroimage 52, 590–599. 7, 308–309. Dickinson frequently builds her poems around this trope of change. A., Richarte Fernandez, V., Bosch, R., Soliva, J. C., et al. doi: 10.3109/14659890903271624, Carhart-Harris, R. L., Williams, T. M., Sessa, B., Tyacke, R. J., Rich, A. S., Feilding, A., et al. The theory is intended to assist our understanding of the makeup of the human mind, addressing such questions as: “how does the normal waking consciousness of healthy adult humans relate to other states of consciousness?” “how does the human brain maintain its normal state of waking consciousness?” and “what happens to the human brain's functionality when non-ordinary states such as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep/dreaming, early psychosis and the psychedelic state occur?”. 136, e1–e11. Divergent network connectivity changes in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease. (2007). doi: 10.1126/science.161.3842.706, Aghajanian, G. K., and Marek, G. J. Syst. Psychol. Science 329, 1541–1543. N.Y. St. J. Med. Htr2a Gene and 5-HT(2A) Receptor expression in the cerebral cortex studied using genetically modified mice. The evolution of human consciousness may have occurred through a process of relatively rapid entropy-expansion (with a concomitant increase in system disorder) followed by entropy-suppression (or system re-organization and settling). Acad. 35, 2505–2511. New York, NY: AFCB Press. Despite this however, there has been a resurgence of scientific interest in psychedelics in recent years (Vollenweider et al., 1998; Nichols, 2004; Griffiths et al., 2006, 2008; Moreno et al., 2006; Gonzalez-Maeso et al., 2007; Grob et al., 2011; Carhart-Harris et al., 2012a). Jung, C. G. (1982a). J. Psychopharmacol. The EEG effects of LSD-25 in epileptic patients before and after temporal lobectomy. They alone know the extent of their connections; the friendship has given them the experiences peculiar to the relation. Comparison becomes a reciprocal process. Psychol. Neuron 21, 761–773. These findings strongly implicate the DMN in introspective thought and suggest that hyper activity and connectivity in the DMN is related to a certain style of concerted introspection. Brain Res. During the Civil War, poetry didn’t just respond to events; it shaped them. Soc. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0759-12.2012, Serafetinides, E. A. Indeed, we recently found this to be so when analysing the degree of orthogonality or “anti-correlation” between the DMN and TPN post-psilocybin. “It does not seem to be an exaggeration to say that psychedelics, used responsibly and with proper caution, would be for psychiatry what the microscope is for biology and medicine or the telescope is for astronomy. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01467.x, Fleming, S. M., Dolan, R. J., and Frith, C. D. (2012). Acad. Biol. 4. 33, 15171–15183. The book is wonderful and made me think really deeply about how our use of any technology shapes us (how we think, what we think, etc) and how … To make the abstract tangible, to define meaning without confining it, to inhabit a house that never became a prison, Dickinson created in her writing a distinctively elliptical language for expressing what was possible but not yet realized. 22, 1112–1123. Recent critics have speculated that Gilbert, like Dickinson, thought of herself as a poet. But now at night he lay in his bunk, face turned to the wall, listening to whoops of laughter below and the piano-string scurry of rat feet, the violin squeaking of mice, and the great shadowing, motioned silence of the Hound leaping out like a moth in the raw light, finding, holding its victim, inserting the needle and going back to its kennel to die as if a switch had been turned. Her few surviving letters suggest a different picture, as does the scant information about her early education at Monson Academy. Like the DMN, alpha oscillations mature developmentally and evolutionarily (Basar and Guntekin, 2009), tempting speculations that these rhythms have developed to reduce “entropy” [i.e., disorder or uncertainty (Ben-Naim, 2008)] by increasing mutual information among neuronal ensembles (Tononi et al., 1994; Basar and Guntekin, 2009). Clin. In her poetry Dickinson set herself the double-edged task of definition. The poem ends with praise for the “trusty word” of escape. In such scenarios, uncertainty about the system is minimized because we know that it possesses a particular character. 2. Like writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman, she experimented with expression in order to free it from conventional restraints. Conversely, in depression, OCD and addiction, specific states (e.g., the default-mode in depression) may be frequented more regularly than others—and this may be observed as certain mental states (e.g., introspection in depression or craving in addiction) or behaviors (e.g., compulsive acts in OCD) being habitually revisited in a stereotyped fashion. The poems dated to 1858 already carry the familiar metric pattern of the hymn. Positron emission tomography (PET) studies in humans found positive correlations between 5-HT2AR binding and trait neuroticism (Frokjaer et al., 2008) and pessimism (Meyer et al., 2003). The brevity of Emily’s stay at Mount Holyoke—a single year—has given rise to much speculation as to the nature of her departure. Grinspoon, L., and Bakalar, J. U.S.A. 108, 20254–20259. Disord. Specifically, we compared CBF before and after intravenous (i.v.) Dickinson apologized for the public appearance of her poem “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass,” claiming that it had been stolen from her, but her own complicity in such theft remains unknown. With this in mind, it was remarkable that we recently found a highly significant positive correlation between the magnitude of alpha power decreases in the PCC after psilocybin and ratings of the item “I experienced a disintegration of my ‘self’ or ‘ego’.” Scores on this item also correlated positively with decreases in delta, theta, beta, and low gamma power, although alpha explained the most variance (a considerable 66%) see Figure 4. Relative publications on psychoanalysis and cognitive psychology. Academy papers and records discovered by Martha Ackmann reveal a young woman dedicated to her studies, particularly in the sciences. Rev. Webster, R. (1995). 87, 068102. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.87.068102, Raichle, M. E. (2006). U.S.A. 105, 4028–4032. She read Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin, and Matthew Arnold. Z., and Buckner, R. L. (2008). Cogn. (2008). Rev. A distinction is being made between two fundamentally different styles of cognition, one that is associated with the consciousness of mature adult humans, and another that is a mode of thinking the mind regresses to under certain conditions, e.g., in response to severe stress, psychedelic drugs and in REM sleep. Emily Dickinson is one of America’s greatest and most original poets of all time. (1973). ^A network of functionally and structurally connected brain regions that show high spontaneous or “on-going” metabolism yet a relative deactivation during goal-directed cognition (Raichle et al., 2001). 56, 431–445. Her reply, in turn, piques the later reader’s curiosity. Grof, S. (1980). What is neuropsychoanalysis? When, in Dickinson’s terms, individuals go “out upon Circumference,” they stand on the edge of an unbounded space. Neuronal avalanches in neocortical circuits. Toxicol. Dickinson began to divide her attention between Susan Dickinson and Susan’s children. This may be because its hypotheses are hollow (Webster, 1995) or because they do not easily lend themselves to controlled experiment. (2010). *Correspondence: Robin L. Carhart-Harris, Division of Brain Sciences, Department of Medicine, Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology, Imperial College London, Burlington Danes building, Du Cane Rd., W12 0NN London, UK e-mail:, Front. While the emphasis on the outer limits of emotion may well be the most familiar form of the Dickinsonian extreme, it is not the only one. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1112029108, Buckner, R. L., and Carroll, D. C. (2007). Poet and translator Emily Jungmin Yoon comes through the studio for a deep dive into her work translating contemporary and modern Korean poetry, her new collection A Cruelty Special to... A formative moment, fixed in poets’ minds. Her wilted noon is hardly the happiness associated with Dickinson’s first mention of union. Fifteen healthy volunteers were scanned and the results revealed decreased CBF after psilocybin and no increases.