Podcast 331 – “Understanding the Default Process of Consciousness”

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Guest speaker: Dr. Brian Hewlett

Watch a video of this talk


This podcast features the third in the series of the 2012 Palenque Norte Lectures at the Burning Man festival. The speaker is Dr. Brian Hewlett and he titled his talk “An Algorithm of Human Consciousness and Implications for Artificial Intelligence”. As you can see, I have re-titled the talk “Understanding the Default Process of Consciousness” to better fit with some of his closing remarks which included: “If you understand the default process of your consciousness, and you work with that default process and start to pay attention to that process, then you can actually start to manipulate the process, just like you can manipulate any process that you understand.”


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“What you experience as reality IS reality, and it’s got consequences for you.” – Dr. Brian N. Hewlett

Dr. Brian Hewlett “Understanding the Default Process of Consciousness” – Burning Man 2012 from Palenque Norte on Vimeo.

The Psychedelic and Entheogenic Society of New York City


  1. Virginia Said,

    November 4, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

    I ran a background check on this speaker, suggest you do the same.

  2. Cody Said,

    November 4, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

    What happened to that epic series of fresh McKenna tapes?


    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I decided to first podcast this year’s Palenque Norte Lectures. The speakers and all of the people in the camp who worked on the lectures put a LOT of work into them, and since they are recent talks I figured that they were more important to get out first . . . since we’ve already heard quite a bit from Terence. Also, I’m still waiting for Mark Watts’ attorneys to contact me (as he promised) so that I can speak to someone about this situation who can discuss things calmly and without calling me names. If he still hasn’t done as he promised (i.e. sue me) by the time I’ve finished with PN then I’ll begin again with the Mckenna material.]

  3. mike Said,

    November 9, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

    Hey lorenzo, what do you think about posting the audio from this up on the salon?


    Dennis McKenna wrote the forward to this guys book and talked about it extensively in the podcast posted here between him and david ellenbogen. The theory is mind blowing and goes into psychedelics and plant/human symbiosis. Its definitely something frequenters of this site will find fascinating

  4. Zuma Said,

    November 9, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

    anybody have comments on colorado’s and washington’s historic firsts? and/or what the feds will or won’t do?

  5. Zeek Said,

    November 13, 2012 @ 12:08 am

    I don’t claim any special insight into government policy but I think that it will follow the same trend as medical marijuana has. The DEA will likely do some big raids to get in the papers and convince the more gullible Americans that they are still doing something, however ineffective it is towards their goal of limiting the freedoms of the masses. I think a full scale shutdown would be a PR disaster, wake a sleeping beast, and generate even more sympathy and support for legalization. While I may think that the DEA is full of jerks, they aren’t stupid. It’s the same reason they aren’t going after MHRB. They know a war on clothing dye isn’t exactly a smart idea.

  6. Zuma Said,

    November 14, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

    i don’t know if wrye sententia is related to this blog but given the name, the question occurred to me…
    good blog, i liked it.


    hi Zeke,
    great reasoning. makes persuasive sense. sounds like they’re stuck with an unintentional (?) fence-riding.
    i appreciate your thoughts muchly. they were more cogent than i could even imagine -which is sort of why i tossed out the question as i did. thanks…

  7. Virginia Said,

    November 14, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

    Hu… I don’t know about the “historic first” but… you have a man in the white house who used the “herb”…. everyone knows that from Bush to Clinton did also. Come on, everyone did it. We all know there is nothing to it, and it is better than having a stupid drunk on your hands. The gov. policy makers know we know why it is really illegal. It’s a money machine. But, they are going to have to make it legal across the board. Holding people in jails for using it is just stupid. What we need to do is market it & tax it. We could make so much more money if we were above board on it. It’s just the right thing to do (we all know it) and they do too.

  8. Mongo Said,

    November 17, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

    This was one of my favorite talks on the salon for a long time! Great work Hewlett!!

  9. Eric Hendrickson Said,

    November 25, 2012 @ 12:06 am

    Forward by the distinguished Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.-Author
    Provocative and Enlightening Book Dissects the Human Consciousness
    “The Far-Off Land” philosophically evaluates the hallucinogenic drug-experience and
    intends to collect the perspectives of philosophy for better understanding of the human
    consciousness, improve the cure to mental illness
    RIVERTON, Utah – (Release Date TBD) – A credible resource classifies hallucinogens as psychoactive drugs
    that could cause subjective changes in human perception, thought, emotion, and consciousness—inducing
    experiences qualitatively different from those of ordinary consciousness. To gain a deeper understanding about
    this perennially interesting subject, author Eugene Seaich attempts to dissect the human consciousness to
    provoke and enlighten the readers’ mind in The Far-Off Land, a revealing book that presents a philosophical
    evaluation of the hallucinogenic drug-experience.
    This book is a cerebral piece of literature that attempts to discover the broader realities that lie behind
    psychogenic phenomena and seek a pattern that will explain the longing of human being for the Beyond, for the
    otherworldly substance of their intuition. Seaich will take readers on a trip through millennia, offer them
    glimpses of the forthcoming and explore deeper his own psyche—and experiences with LSD and mescaline—in
    order for them to discover a more profound and broader understanding of the mind and human consciousness.
    Guided by a cardinal principle, Seaich captures the philosophical prospects and covers a great background of
    other relevant fields of study that promote psychotropic knowledge to better understand human consciousness—
    and to ultimately improve humanity’s cure to mental illness and even solve life’s mysteries.
    Filled with tremendous meaning and insight, revelations and wisdom, historical facts and quotes from the
    world’s greatest minds and literature, The Far-Off Land is an intelligent and poetic prose that will inform
    readers about human consciousness and inspire them about life, including its complexities, a journey full of
    realizations and value. Stanley Krippner, PH.D. Co-author DEMESTIFING SHAMANS AND THEIR WORLD

    Now available
    An attempt at a philosophical evaluation of the hallucinogenic drug experience.
    By PH.D. Eugene Seaich


    It seems to me that the well-established properties of the hallucinogenic drugs might be well employed to enable us to explore this far-off land, which is in effect our subconscious mind.

  10. Patrick Lewis Said,

    December 18, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    Am I the only one who really wished that Dr. Hewlett would have had more time to fully flesh out his ideas? It seemed like he train-wrecked into the discussion of consciousness altering drugs right at the end. Lorenzo, any further talks by this fascinating speaker would be appreciated by this long time listener and non-drug taking psychonaut. (I simply haven’t the time!)

    PS: I know you’ve left it behind, but “Go Irish!”

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: re: “Go Irish!” . . . for what it’s worth, I was at that 1973 Sugar Bowl game when ND won by one point, going ahead in the final minutes. As I recall, ND and Alabama split the national title that year. But I’ll miss the game this year, as I’ll be on a train somewhere between Chicago and LA that night. So I’ll say it now, Go Irish!]