The Skyshale Documents
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|The Skyshale Documents|
The Skyshale Documents refer to a collection of hand-written journal entries, photos of which were originally posted on 4chan's /x/ board in 2014. The journals contain research notes concerning the study and manipulation of conscious perception through a combination of meditation and psychoactive drug use. As well as various notes and essays on topics including experimental decentralized political systems, world religion, AGI development, and the nature of the self.
The journals have received widespread attention to their erudite and esoteric nature. Skyshale outlines several techniques for radically augmenting consciousness, including the formation of separate sentient personalities, the induction of photo-realistic hallucinations at will, full control or even abolition of human emotion, and a procedure for achieving classical Buddhist enlightenment.
Skyshale's last notebook is notorious for its content. The final journal devolves into strange ramblings about how the author's expanded perception has become inconceivable to human minds. Skyshale developed an obsession with a "malignant thought" which she believed was eating away at her psyche. The last few pages are filled with scribbles and word salad concerning a faceless terror, possibly indicating symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia.
On June 23rd 2014, an anonymous user began posting pictures of Skyshale's journal pages to 4chan's /x/ - Paranormal board. Over three dozen photographs were posted. Forty minutes later more photos appeared in a thread on Reddit's /r/creepy board, posted under throw-away account. Eventually a link to the thread was posted on NetherWiki and members of the community began analysing the contents of the photographs.
References to 'Skyshale' and 'PW' quickly led investigators to the PsychonautWiki IRC channel, where they questioned the active members. Joskins, Skyshale's fiancée and current site administrator, eventually agreed to a VOIP interview with Foxmilk. She mailed Skyshale's remaining notebooks and her IRC logs, which are being actively cataloged and edited for content.
Skyshale is described by friends and family as friendly and intelligent but introverted, almost painfully shy. She liked to spend time by herself and could often by found late at night reading or programming on her computer. She developed a fascination with consciousness after reading Gödel, Escher, Bach in eighth grade. Together with her girlfriend Skyshale began experimenting with psychedelics which she bought from Silk Road using Bitcoin.
Like the telescope and microscope are used to explore the infinite and the infinitesimal, mankind finally posses a tool to explore the self. LSD holds the power to completely revolutionize our understanding of cognition. By fracturing the normally opaque mind into it's [sic] individual subcomponents, we are able to observe in real time the very fabric of our conciousness.— Skyshale, Notebook #1
Skyshale became intrigued with LSD and started a blog with Josikins describing their experiences taking it. At this point that Skyshale began keeping her first journals which Josikins contributed heavily to. While Josikins continued to document the effects of hallucinogenic substances, Skyshale's focus drifted towards eastern spirituality. She began meditating regularly and became particular fascinated with the self-immolation of Thích_Quảng_Đức.
While psychedelics provided Skyshale with extraordinary changes in perception, they remained temporary and Skyshale began researching alternatives. Using concentration meditation as a base, she began practicing vipassanā, a form of meditation traditionally used to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Combining the practice with small doses of LSD, Skyshale increased her meditation sessions to three or four hours a day, aiming to achieve stream entry. Unsatisfied with the baggage and dogma associated with traditional Buddhist terminology Skyshale opted to invent a more secular terminology, dubbing her technique Acceleration.
Skyshale's acceleration technique consisted of a series of attention and perceptual exercises which slowly stretched her perception over a period of several months. Skyshale employed intense concentration to break her stream of consciousness into individual percepts she called 'vibrations'. Documenting her experience in a series of blog posts to Less Wrong:
The orthodox view is that these vibrations are related to 'impermanence,' according to Buddhism one of the three characteristics of everything that exists. A science-inspired view is that this style of meditation develops one's attention to the point that one can directly observe an artifact of the way that attention is implemented and interacts with sense data and cognitive content in the brain.— Skyshale as DavidM, Less Wrong Post #2
As Skyshale improved more vibrations shifted from subconscious to conscious perception, and Skyshale became able to trace phenomenon in real time as they rose from sensory input to conscious experience. The mind constantly shifts from one of these vibrations to another dozens of times a second, creating what we traditional perceive as a stream of consciousness.
As perception increases side effects such as mania and depression are common. The end result of Acceleration is a temporary cessation of consciousness that leads to rapture and the partial-reconstruction of an individual's sense of self. This process is repeated in a cyclic fashion as more delusions are shed. Acceleration eventually results in a permanent amplification of perception.
Skyshale's concentration practice involved pioneering a form of meditation she called Soma. A take on Buddhist samatha meditation, Skyshale developed a methodology for entering discrete altered states of consciousness she called mental strata or jhanas. These states range from opiate-like euphoria to almost complete ineffability. Much of Skyshale's early writing revolves around mapping out these states and describing the effects of various supplements on her concentration abilities.
By centering concentration again and again on the same object it will eventually become locked in place, unmoving and solid like a rock. We then shift our concentration to a pleasant sensation, any will do. Subtle at first, [as] we pay attention it grows and grows. Like a feedback loop in our brains. This propels us suddenly into the first of the jhanas.— Skyshale, Notebook #3
By mixing her practice with various stimulants Skyshale vastly improved the stability of her concentration, allowing her to practice meditation with a complete absence of thought for hours at a time. As Skyshale developed her awareness she discovered deeper and deeper forms of these states, eventually reaching levels of consciousness that defied explanation, invoking descriptions such as "neither perception nor non-perception."
One of the early jhanas branch off into a different set of mental strata which were eventually adopted into what Skyshale called Amalgamation. These strata are characterized by vivid hallucinations that persist even when not meditating and form the traditional Buddhist experience of siddhi. A person who has entered this territory may experiences seemingly supernatural phenomenon such as implied telepathy or interaction with autonomous entities. There is controversy in the community as to whether or not these mildly schizoaffective episodes were merely foreshocks towards Skyshale's eventual spiral into psychosis.
Tulpas refer to a form of autonomous entities imagined into existence through mental discipline and meditative techniques. Unlike the concept of imaginary friends, tulpas can be more closely compared to a controlled form of dissociative identity disorder. They appear to be seemingly sentient long-term companions, manifesting in the form of a chronic hallucination.
Originally a product of high-level Buddhism, the creation and maintenance of tulpas has seen resurgence as a modern subculture, propagated by dozens of active online communities. Skyshale became heavily invested in the phenomenon and was the main driving force behind an article on the subject.
Skyshale created two tulpas whom she kept in constant communication with, although she was careful to never truly consider them alive. She was able to master many advanced techniques including interacting with them in dreams, full visual and tactile imposition, and the complete transfer of control from her physical body.
During her downfall she claimed both her tulpas were murdered and consumed by her faceless terror.
Skyshale is strongly associated with Prototheism, a modern pseudo-religion partially inspired by her research. The movement is known for its emphasis on rationality and rejection of the supernatural. Adherents claim respect for all sentient life and work together in order to achieve widely beneficial benevolent goals, a concept referred to as "High Charity". Prototheism has variously been described as a pseudo-Buddhism philosophy, a cult, and even a blueprint for a new world order.
Originally written in reference to a collection of essays illustrating theoretical applications of cryptocurrencies to decentralized governments, Prototheism later evolved into a complete architecture for a modern meritocracy. Prototheism is based in what Skyshale describes as "undeniable hidden truths" that include rational justifications for the altruism and international collaboration as well as attempts to rectify what she called "chronic conceptual pathologies" among the human population.
In her later years Skyshale contributed heavily to the design and implementation of OpenCog, an actively developed software platform for human-level artificial intelligence. Inspired in part by a series of interactions with a DMT entity, Skyshale re-structured the framework based on her concept of a “universal cognition engine”. A resolute panpsychist, Skyshale believed that consciousness is the fundamental substrate of physical reality.
- Josikins, Skyshale. "Disregard Everything I Say". Retrieved June 25, 2015.
- Skyshale (Under the pseudonym DavidM). "Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 1 of 3)". Retrieved July 11, 2015.
- Skyshale (Under the pseudonym DavidM). "Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3)". Retrieved July 11, 2015.
- "Tulpa.info home page". Retrieved October 17, 2016.
- "Tulpas subreddit". Retrieved October 17, 2016.
- "Tulpas.io home page". Retrieved October 18, 2016.