David Glowacki, an artist and computational molecular physicist, has created a VR experience called Isness-D that aims to recapture the experience of transcendence he had when he fell in the mountains fifteen years ago. “[O]”On four key measures used in psychedelic research, the program showed the same effect as an average dose of LSD or psilocybin (the main psychoactive component of ‘magic’ mushrooms),” reports MIT Technology Review. From the report: Isness-D is designed for groups of four to five people anywhere in the world. Each member is represented as a diffuse cloud of smoke with a ball of light approximately where the person’s heart would be. Participants can engage in an experience called energy fusion: they gather in one place in the virtual reality landscape to overlap their diffuse bodies, making it impossible to tell where each person begins and ends. The resulting sense of deep connection and ego fading mirrors the feelings typically evoked by psychedelic experiences.

[…] To create it, Glowacki drew aesthetic inspiration from quantum mechanics – as he says, “where the definition of what is matter and what is energy starts to blur.” For their work, Glowacki and his colleagues measured the emotional response the Isness-D elicited in 75 participants. They based their measurements on four measures used in psychedelic research – the MEQ30 (Mystical Experience Questionnaire), the Ego Dissolution Inventory scale, the “communitas” scale, and the “community-inclusion” scale. Communitas is defined as the experience of intense shared humanity that transcends social structure. Participants’ responses were then compared to those reported in published double-blind studies of psychedelics. For all four measures, Isness-D elicited responses indistinguishable from those associated with medium doses of psychedelics. On the mystical experience scale, Isness-D participants reported experiences as intense as those induced by 20 milligrams of psilocybin or 200 micrograms of LSD, and stronger than those induced by microdoses of either substance. The findings were published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

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