Why are psychedelic visuals geometric?

To truly explain why these geometric patterns appear for so many people would require an understanding of math, psychology, the human mind, and the nature of our universe that I believe is far beyond the reach of any human. What I can do is offer some insights and my personal perspective.

So, what is geometry anyways?

Geometry is a branch of math that deals with relationships between lines, angles, and surfaces which create forms, such as squares, circles, and octagons. While math may have never been your strength in school (trust me, it wasn’t mine either), when you take the pressure of grades and performance out of it, math can actually be pretty interesting. Math is often lumped in with science, but it’s really much different due to it’s uniquely accurate ability to model naturally occurring, seemingly random patterns such as the arrangement of petals on a flower or the branches on a tree.

Taking the tree example, it’s been shown that the way trees grow and split off into branches is a fractal pattern, which you may have heard of before. Fractals are self-similar, repeating patterns which means that ,no matter where you look at the pattern, it will always appear exactly the same. Look at the tree below:

a fractal representation of a tree

At the lowest level, you see a tree trunk and two splitting branches, forming a Y, but notice that each of the two original branches become the bottom of new Ys, each splitting of into two more branches. At every level, this tree is formed by smaller and smaller versions of the exact same Y shape, and it’s remarkably similar to real trees. If you don’t believe me, go outside and notice the way bare tree branches look next time it’s winter where you live.

Another mathematical phenomenon is constant numbers, like pi. To find the distance around a circle, multiply the length across it by pi, which represents the number 3.14… This works the same for any circle in the entire universe, making it a constant, unchanging number – it’s sort of like a special number with it’s own unique personality.

The universe appears to be mathematical

When I say that, I don’t mean that the universe appears to be mechanical or scientific. I mean that the “language” or set of ideas used to create the universe appears to be highly mathematical, using numbers as sort of an underlying code. Think of it this way: if your primary or only language is English, everything you say and write will be expressed in English, using English words and grammar. You aren’t “English,” but you use English to express yourself. Similarly, I don’t believe the universe is “math” or that a creator is “math,” but I do believe our creator uses math as a way of expressing itself and creating.

If the universe or creation is based on math, then it follows that people (and the way their brains are structured) are based on math. Typically, we only see the top level thoughts, similar to using a user interface on a computer. When we’re on psychedelics, I think we get a view at the actual structure of thoughts. It’s kind of like looking at the computer code. The most visual form of math is geometry.

Are we machines?

Am I saying that we and our creator are like machines? Absolutely not. Remember that machines as we know them have existed for only a very short time. Recorded mathematics has only been written down for a short time as well, considering how long the entirety of humanity, the Earth, and consciousness has existed. Machines are only one human reaction to math. We came up with a very simple use case for an expansive, infinitely complex framework – numbers. Remember that music is also mathematical: melodies, harmonies, and notes can be reduced to relationships between vibrations, but music is so much more to us than that.

A geometric structure of thought

My view on geometric psychedelic visuals is that, with our logical, processing brains turned on mute, we’re getting a look at thoughts at their most basic, structural level – sort of like seeing the buds of thoughts as they blossom. I think that the intense colors are the structures of our emotions or feelings about those thoughts. From my perspective, we’re doing the equivalent of looking at the binary code instead of just a user interface. During a psychedelic trip, everyone’s visuals are different because we have unique ways of thinking. There is one consistent, underlying theme: geometric shapes.

Is this fact? Absolutely not, just my perspective. Hope this helps.