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Masters and Houston - On becoming a machine



Type of Spiritual Experience


The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience – Dr Robert Masters and Dr Jean Houston

The body is variously regarded by the subject as an instrument or tool, an operated vehicle, a plaything, an encumbrance, a source of pain or pleasure, a regrettable necessity, a source of wonder, a source of contempt, as the 'temple of the spirit' on the one hand, or as a mere machine on the other.  The body may be thought of as a prison or a trap; as a traitorous agglomeration of imperfectly operating parts.


A description of the experience

The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience – Dr Robert Masters and Dr Jean Houston

Case Study ;  female, late twenties, wife of a Naval Lieutenant

Becoming a mechanical woman, S described herself as reacting with instantaneous and profound aversion 'to this thing I have become'.  She explained that her only neurosis... consisted of a deep rooted......... dislike of machines.  She wondered why, since this was so, she should now have become one; and went on to express her strong opposition to such ideas as a mechanical universe and 'man is nothing but a machine'.  She was particularly distressed at the thought that 'this mechanising of myself may mean I don't believe what I've always thought I've believed.  Maybe this is the way my unconscious has of telling me that I am a machine......

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps