‘Far-Out’ Experiments of Dr. John C Lilly. Psychedelic Quest for Interspecies Communication

John C Lilly

John C Lilly was not the average scientist. Neuroscientist, psychoanalyst and inventor, he became a counterculture icon with experiments aimed at achieving interspecies communication with dolphins.

Dr Lilly’s journey began with a focus on the human mind. He developed the ‘Isolation Tank’, a sensory deprivation chamber that people could float in total darkness and silence.

The Architect of Sensory Deprivation, Dr John C Lilly

Imagine floating completely submerged, suspended upright with a breathing apparatus and mask covering your head…

This was the first (1950’s) float tank design created by Dr John C Lilly… later adding Epsom salts to the water allowed people to float on the surface. Including water heaters (to make it body temperature), filters and air pumps… By the 1970s he’d created what is still used today.

This sensory deprivation environment unlocks profound states of consciousness… These tanks, still used today for REST therapy, were the foundation for Lilly’s later, more ‘audacious and ‘far-out’ explorations.

The Truth at the Edge of Perception

Seeking to ‘unlock’ the mysteries of consciousness and reality, Dr Lilly embarked on a series of experiments with his sensory deprivation chamber… and LSD. Seeking insights into consciousness and the nature of reality.

Imagine floating in total darkness and complete silence, cut off from external stimuli… and adding psychedelics into the mix.

According to accounts in his book, “The Center of the Cyclone“, these sessions pushed the boundaries of his previous experiences, unlocking levels of consciousness he’d never encountered before.

Describing his journeys into the ‘inner landscape of his mind’, encountering vivid hallucinations, where profound insights were revealed… reporting that he felt he could directly perceive the workings of his own brain. He described experiencing a direct sense of connection to a universal consciousness and deeper understanding of the nature of existence.

…it was such experiences of connection that lead him on a deeper quest for communication, taking an interesting turn…

Interspecies High… The Doctor, the Dolphins, and the Delusion?

Setting up a research center in the Virgin Islands to study dolphins, believing their intelligence rivaled humans’. Here’s where things get a psychedelic twist. Lilly started administering LSD to the dolphins… he wasn’t just ‘dosing’ the dolphins, he was also taking it too.

Lilly believed that by sharing this kind of experience, a bridge of consciousness could be built between humans and dolphins for interspecies communication.

Although LSD was legal during this time, animal rights groups decried the experiments and the scientific community questioned the validity of the results… and the experiments stopped.

Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer

Dr John C. Lilly saw the brain as a biological computer… with experiences, thoughts, and emotions running like programs on complex bio-hardware.

More than just a passive computer, Lilly introduced the concept of ‘Metaprogramming’, referring to our ability to learn, and also understand how we learn. With the aim of modifying and improving our own internal programs like: writing the code that writes other code.

Tripping with the Times: Dr John C Lilly and the Psychedelic 60s

John C Lilly

An audacious explorer of consciousness, pushing the boundaries of the inner experience.. a far-out guru of consciousness exploration.

This was Dr John C Lilly, part of a generation of scientists and thinkers within the psychedelic counterculture movement that included Ram Dass and Dr Timothy Leary… all dedicated to uncovering the hidden aspects of consciousness.

“You are expected to expect the unexpected every minute, every hour of every day and of every night.”

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