I am reading the book "The Psychedelic Experience". In the following two sentences word "dominants" is used

1. ...world of psychic “dominants” from which the ego originally emancipated itself with enormous effort

2. ...and the terrifying dream evoked by karma and played out by the unconscious “dominants” begins

What does "dominants" mean in these sentences. I googled if "dominants" has any special meaning in psychology but couldn't find any results.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What makes you think this is a term related to Cognitive Science and not created in that book itself? $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Aug 1 '16 at 1:26

I have just been doing some research on this piece of writing and I wonder if anyone really should take heed to what is written. The reason is that the writing seems to be an attempt on a

psychedelic version of the Tibetan Book of the Dead (source)

It is not something I personally would take any notice of, however, from my understanding after reading the above source, this writing is talking about "transcendence" and the "pre-mortem-death-rebirth experience" through the stages of ego-loss, hallucinations and "reentry" created by ingestion of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, etc.

Of course, the drug dose does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key - it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures.

Where it says

...the terrifying dream evoked by karma and played out by the unconscious "dominants" begins.

it seems to be talking about the "second stage" called the Chonyid state (hallucination state) where you have "reached your goal" of ego-loss in the Fruedian sense and now you are allowing your thoughts to come to play as though they are reality as the preceding part of the sentence says

The "thought-forms" appear as realities, fantasy takes on real form

This is the effect of taking these psychedelic drugs. The ego is diminished and therefore you lose touch with reality, norms and rules.

I believe the "dominants" in this writing is referring to the dominant thoughts.

edit - for further info

I am in the middle of learning about analytical psychology and for the authors to refer to Carl Jung as someone who was interested in the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol) and that he would possibly advocate their "psychedelic version" interested me.

Carl Jung apparently suffered from a form of psychosis and as a result, he suffered with visions and hallucinations.

Jung spent time in his study inducing the visions and hallucinations. He did this not through the use of any kind of drug, apparently, but instead through his own personal methods that allowed his unconscious mind to become totally open and flowing forth. (source)


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