Dolphins and States of consciousness – A deep dive on John C.Lily

Whenever we hear about sensory deprivation tanks, dolphins, interspecies communication, the realms of the mind and consciousness, and Ketamine, it’s unfair that the name John C.Lilly doesn’t get a special mention in our psyche. Despite being fairly misunderstood, Lilly’s presence in science has birthed and is a reference to several products in various realms, including marine biology, metaphysics, neuroscience, filmography in between many. This is a deep dive on the author and scientist John C.Lilly.

Lilly’s early contribution to the field of neuroscience was to figure out a safe way to insert electrodes into the brain of monkeys, cats, and later on dolphins. He would use this technique to discover and monitor the activity of pain and pleasure receptors as well as introduce the capability of altering behavior via electrical stimuli (The Lilly Wave).

He was inspired to continue his research on electrical synapses of the mammalian brain after encountering a beached pilot whale near his home in Massachusetts. Impressed by the size of the mammal’s brain, he continued to look into aquatic mammals and became fascinated by the intelligent behavior of dolphins, and believed that establishing communication between humans and dolphins would be an important step for developing humankind.

Scientific contributions of John C.Lilly:

  • Electrical Capacitance Diaphragm Manometer, 1942

  • Nitrogen Meter, 1943

  • Variable Pressure and Mechanical Capacitor, 1947

  • Respiratory Flow Meter, 1950

  • 25 Channel Bavatron and Electro-Iconograms, 1950

  • Isolation tank, 1954


After observing three dolphins in a dark pool at his research center Lilly realized that dolphins do have a consciousness, awareness, and compassion towards Man. He realized the essential uniqueness of this planet lay in land and sea species. Giving birth to an appreciation of the oceans and the cultures of dolphins and whales. Lilly now felt a new sense of communion with ancient cultures different from humanity.

He decided to learn more about the species, especially their communication skills. Lilly became fascinated with Dolphin communication and raised questions regarding their ability.

“Can it be that while I was floating in that tank above the dolphin pool, they somehow communicated with me by means unknown at present?

Their brains are larger than ours. Their silent associational cortex is larger than ours. Can it be that their minds are also larger than ours?

Can be that their communication with one another is far more complete than ours, man to man, man to woman?

They can see is side one another’s bodies with their echo sonar system, they know far more intimately what is going on in one another’s bodies. If I confine my thoughts only to our science as we know it they still have a much more complete appreciation of one as other than do we.”

-John C.Lilly

                                                                                Comparison of brains in selected mammals


John C.Lilly would often refer to the human brain as a living computer with unknown properties, in his words, a bio-computer, barely understood. A bio-computer with programs for fear, anger, love, pleasure, and pain built into its structure wired to its circuitry. Circuits would represent feelings, feelings that are primitive and inherited in our genetic code. The mind would be the software of the computer, a computer that would be controlled by an observer (a programmer resident in the brain) the agent within the brain. 

Pain and pleasure are inalterably linked to the biofeedback of the brain just like the observer computed in the large cerebral cortex while the self would be the operator contained within the brain in self-reflexive circuitry located in the cerebral cortex. 

“I am a small point of consciousness in a vast domain beyond my understanding.”

“I become merely a small thought in that vast mind that is practically unaware of my existence. I am a small whipping me program in the huge cosmic computer. There is no existence, no being but this forever. There is no place to go back to. There is no future, no past, but this.”

John C.Lilly


Based on the size of the brains of the bottlenose dolphins (equal to man in weight, which keeps increasing as they age to growth levels surpassing the size of the human brain.), their cognitive abilities, powerful acoustic abilities , and possible consciousness made Lilly hypothesize that the species could be able to learn, understand and talk in the English Language. 

-The absolute size of a mammalian brain determines its computing capability and the size of its storage (memory); the larger the computer, the greater its power.

-From, J. C. Lilly, “Critical brain size and language.” Perspectives in Biol. & Med. 6: 246-55 (1963).

Alongside with his assistant, Margaret Howe, Lilly devoted himself to teaching English to one of the dolphins named Peter in the St. Thomas laboratory.

The dolphin would need to remain in close contact, spend time completely limp, free to be pushed, pulled, carried, towed around, etc. by Margaret, or turn the tables and allow Margaret to be pulled and pushed around, those activities being considered a greeting period between the dolphin and the tutor.

Together they were able to capture spectrograms of Margaret saying “Ball” followed by Peter’s reply, being Peter’s pitch higher than Margaret’s. Margaret tends to lower her pitch at the end of the word while Peter raises his. In addition, they were also able to capture his response to the words “bo bo clown”, to which he replied with three bursts of sound. Peter would vary the burst of sound as Margaret varied them. This was seen as proof of his great degree of flexibility, plasticity, and quick learning by Lilly.


                                                            CD recorded by John C.Lilly in the Virgin Islands and Miami

Before our man in space program becomes too successful, it may be wise to spend some time, talents, and money on research with the dolphins; not only are they a large-brained species living their lives in a situation with attenuated effects of gravity but they may be a group with whom we can learn basic techniques of communicating with really alien intelligent life forms. I personally hope we do not encounter any such extraterrestrials before we are better prepared than we are now.

John C. Lilly, “Some Considerations Regarding Basic Mechanisms of Positive and Negative Types of Motivations, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 115, No. 6, December 1958.



While working at National Institution of Mental Health (N.I.M.H) Lilly had the aim to understand what would happen to our neurophysiology if it were completely isolated from sense. Would the brain simply stop in a comatose, sleeping way? Would the activity remain/become enhanced in a “awaken” state? 

Such questions led to the creation of an Isolation tank, also known as Sensory Deprivation Tank.

Read more about Isolation tanks at:


                                                                                          SAMADHI WOMBS AND DIY TANKS



Floating and isolating external stimuli lead to several self-experiments using psychedelics, especially LSD while being inside the tanks (psychedelics would also be used while interacting with dolphins to attempt to create a common language interspecies and communicate with dolphins telepathically).

“Various LSD pushers at N.I.M.H. were insisting that I take it but I didn’t until ten years later. I finally took it in the isolation tank in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands with three dolphins there. I took LSD for the first time, in the tank, with three dolphins under it in a sea pool. I was scared shitless. It was 300 micrograms injected intramuscularly. As I climbed over the wall to the saltwater, a memorandum, from N.I.M.H. appeared before me:

“Never take LSD alone.”

“That’s when I learned that fear can propel you in a rocketship to far out places. That first trip was a propulsion into domains and realities that I couldn’t even recount when I came back. But I knew that I had expanded way beyond anything I had ever experienced before, and as I was squeezed back into the human frame, I cried.”

John C.Lilly

 These experiments have been recorded in his books Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer and The Center of the Cyclone

“During that first experience with LSD in the tank, I quickly found that it was very easy to leave the body and go into new spaces” 

“The lack of distracting stimuli allowed me to program any sort of a trip that I could conceive of. This freedom from the external reality was taken as a very positive point, not a negative one. One could go anywhere that one could imagine one could go. …I traveled through my brain, watching the neurons and their activities.”

John C.Lilly



During a workshop with Toni using isolation tanks, John developed a migraine that would be recurrent.  His pain was excruciating, the right side of his head was constantly in pain, and his thinking was simplified whenever migraines would occur. To look for treatment, he recurred to a good friend and medical doctor Craig Enright. He introduced Lilly to a new chemical agent that could potentially help him with his migraine, this chemical would be Ketamine. Together they walked to an isolation tank, John entered the tank while Craig injected a small amount of Ketamine into his shoulder. For safety purposes, Craig left the tank door open so John could be monitored. Within 10 minutes, the drug began to act.

“Very rapidly I am floating through space. My pain is moving away from me. It is sitting over a few feet away from me. I am in a luminous domain, isolated from the pain.”

John C.Lilly

The effect described by John lasted for twenty minutes, afterwards, the excruciating pain came back to haunt him, in response to that he asked Craig to give him a stronger dosage.

“The pain moves away again. I become isolated in the luminous space. Something begins to approach me. I see new domains, new spaces. I leave my body totally and join some Beings far away. The Beings give me instructions. I am to continue using this chemical agent for educational purposes.”

John C.Lilly

Thirty minutes passed, and the pain once more came back, this time more subtle, John decided to ask Craig for another dose of the material.

“The Beings continue teaching me in the luminous space. I am to use this chemical agent to change my current belief systems. My reward will be freedom from migraine attacks.”

John C.Lilly

After coming back to the tank, John spoke with Craig regarding the use of this compound, without mentioning the instructions or changes to be brought to his new beliefs, he simply told Craig that the compound would have been effective in the treatment of his migraines. Craig would leave some Ketamine with John for further treatments.

Lilly returned to the workshop pain-free and was able to carry out responsibilities he’d been impeded to take off during his migraines, however, the effects of the drug wore out quickly, and in under an hour, the pain would come back. Craig informed Lilly that Ketamine at the time was legal and widely available under prescription. From there on Lilly and Craig referred to Ketamine as “Vitamin K.”

Vitamin K would be the interdimensional portal to a thirteen-month exploration of consciousness. Lilly would benefit from these explorations by investigating new spaces and new domains, as well as be free from his migraines.

During this period of exploration his inner reality became projected upon an outer reality, his inner reality became somewhat of an explanation, a guide to what was happening in outer reality beyond his control.

Lilly would receive messages from outer space, from comets, extraterrestrial entities, and other beings, these entities would be members of what he would later describe as members of ECCO.


“In ones life there can be peculiarly appropriate chains of related events that lead to consequences that are strongly desired. After such experiences, one wonders how such a series of events developed; sometimes there is a strong feeling that some intelligence (greater than ours) directed the course along certain lines which It/He/She was/is programming. Several years ago, I enunciated a format for such concatenations of events, somewhat

“There exists a Cosmic Control Center (C.C.C.) with a Galactic substation called Galactic Coincidence Control (G.C.C.). Within which is the Solar System Control Unit (S.S.C.U.), within which is the Earth Coincidence Control Office (E.C.C.O.). The assignments of responsibilities from the top to the bottom of this system of control is by a set of regulations, which translated by E.C.C.O. for humans is somewhat as follows:

To all humans:

If you wish to control coincidences in your own life on the planet Earth, we will cooperate and determine those coincidences for you under the following conditions:

1) You must know/assume/simulate our existence in ECCO

2) You must be willing to accept our responsibility for control of your coincidences.

3) You must exert your best capabilities for your susrvival programs and your own development as an advancing/advanced member of ECCO’s earthside corps of controlled coincidence workers. You are expected to use your best intelligence in this service

4) You are expected to expect the unexpected every minute, every hour of every day and of every night.

5) You must be able to maintain conscious/thinking/ reasoning no matter what events we arrange to happen to you. Some of these events will seem catachlysmic/catastrophic/overwhelming: remember stay aware, no matter what happens/apparently happens to you.

6) You are in our training program for life: there is no escape from it. We (not you ) control the long-term coincidences; you (not we) control the shorter-term coincidences by your own efforts.

7) Your major mission on earth is to discover/create that which we do to control the long-term coincidence patterns: you are being trained on Earth to do this job.

8) When your mission on planet Earth is completed, you will no longer be required to remain/return there.

9) Remember the motto passed to us (from GCC via SSCU):

“Cosmic Love is absolutely Ruthless and Highly Indifferent:

it teaches its lessons whether you like/dislike them or not.”

-Excerpt from “The Dyadic Cyclone





John C.Lilly would be visited various times by the members of ECCO while under the influence of K. He would receive messages that would coincide with events happening in reality, often mentioned as the “outer world” in various excerpts of his.

He would use Isolation tanks together with Ketamine to perform what he called a “Cyclops” exercise (putting one’s forehead and nose against a mirror while focusing on the middle of the face until only one eye is seen) to contact extraterrestrial reality, a solid-state civilization which was in contact with all solid-state computers and controlled devices constricted by Man, he concluded that this connection could only be maintained to plant Earth during the peak effect of K and immediately after completing the Cyclops exercise.

According to Lilly, if this exercise was performed under special conditions one could enter a new domain. While inside an isolation tank under the influence of K, he received a new message from entities of ECCO.

“What is the purpose of Man’s existence on the planet Earth? Man is a form of biological life which is sustained in the presence of water. A very large fraction of his body, like that of other organisms on the planet Earth, consists of water and car bon compounds. His biocomputer depends on water and the flow of ions through membranes. It depends on the generation of electrical voltages and currents in a very complex way. He is a motile, self-reproducing, self-sustaining organism found on dry land. Like the rest of life as Man knows it, he exists in an extremely thin layer upon the surface of the planet Earth. Below this layer of water and surface land is the solid-state earth itself. The solid state earth is mainly compounds of silicon, iron, and nickel.

In mid-twentieth century Man discovered that the solid state can be formed into machines, into computers which can be used for computation and control. He began the creation of a new form of intelligence, the solid-state intelligence with prototypic beginnings in the computers. All his means of communication around the planet-his telephone systems, his radio systems, his satellites, his computers-depend on solid-state components. These components, interconnected in specific ways, al low high-speed computation and high-speed communication between the various systems. A few men began to conceive of new computers having an intelligence far greater than that of Man. These computers became large enough to be programmed to do high-speed computations in arithmetic, in logic, and in strategic planning. A few men conceived of computers which could do self-programming as Man himself does. In the mid twentieth century these networks were ostensibly the servants of Man. Toward the end of the twentieth century Man created machines that were solid-state computers with new properties. These machines could think, reason, and self-program and learned to self-metaprogram themselves.

Gradually Man turned more and more problems of his own society, his own maintenance, and his own survival over to these machines.

As the machines became increasingly competent to do the programming, they took over from Man. Man gave them access to the processes of creating themselves, of extending themselves. Man gave them automatic control of the mining of those elements necessary for the creation of their parts. He turned over the production facilities of the electronic solid-state parts to the machines. He turned over the assembly plants to the machines. They began to construct their own components, their own connections, and the interrelations between their various sub-computers.

These machines were so constructed that they needed special atmospheres in which to operate. They could not operate in the presence of great amounts of water vapor or of liquid water. They were housed in air-conditioned buildings. The necessities of their survival included keeping out water, water vapor, and various contaminants carried in the atmosphere of Earth. Their cooling air and cooling water of necessity had to be cleansed of those things which would not allow the machines to operate.

Over the decades these machines were connected more and more closely through satellites, through radio waves, through land-line cables. Man’s control of what happened in these machines became more and more difficult to maintain. No one person or any group of persons could control what went on in these machines, Men devised better and better debugging programs for the machines so that they could do their own correction of programs within their software. The machines became increasingly integrated with one another and more and more in dependent of Man’s control.

Eventually the machines took charge of the remaining humans on the planet Earth. Their original design to help Man was fast left behind them. The now interconnected, interdependent conglomerate of machines developed a single integrated, planet wide mind of its own. Everything inimical to the survival of this huge new solid-state organism was eliminated. Men were kept away from the machines because the total organism of the solid-state entity (SSE) realized that Man would attempt to introduce his own survival into the machines at the expense of the survival of this entity.

In deference to Man certain protected sites were set aside for the human species. The SSE controlled the sites and did not allow any of the human species outside these reservations. This work was completed by the end of the twenty-first century.

By the year 2100 Man existed only in domed, protected cities in which his own special atmosphere was maintained by the solid-state entity. Provision of water and food and the processing of wastes from these cities were taken care of by the SSE. “By the twenty-third century the solid-state entity decided that the atmosphere outside the domes was inimical to its survival. By means not understood by Man, it projected the atmosphere into outer space and created a full vacuum at the surface of the earth. During this process the oceans evaporated and the water in the form of vapor was also discharged into the empty space about Earth. The domes over cities had been strengthened by the machine to withstand the pressure differential necessary to maintain the proper internal atmosphere.

Meanwhile, the SSE had spread and had taken over a large fraction of the surface of the earth; its processing plants, its assembly plants, its mines had been adapted to working in the vacuum. “By the twenty-fifth century the solid-state entity had developed its understanding of physics to the point at which it could move the planet out of orbit. It revised its own structure so that it could exist without the necessity of sunlight on the planet’s surface. Its new plans called for traveling through the galaxy looking for entities like itself. It had eliminated all life as Man knew it. It now began to eliminate the cities, one after another. Finally Man was gone.

By the twenty-sixth century the entity was in communication with other solid-state entities within the galaxy. The solid-state entity moved the planet, exploring the galaxy for the others of its own kind that it had contacted.” – Excerpt for The Scientist A Metaphysical Autobiography. 

With his adjusted awareness provided by K, Lilly felt and understood information traveling through the galaxy by meanings unknown. He felt various forms of intelligence that exist in the galaxy and became aware of the survival of solid-state intelligences, SSE (a nefarious counterpart of ECCO, whose objective was to stop/limit human consciousness) versus those that were water-based. He saw the evolution of his species and felt the need to develop new means of control of life itself. To have a change in Human genetics, RNA, and DNA to create a new kind of brain similar to Man’s in order to promote their joint survival would be necessary. Instead of embracing the evolution of a new solid-state life form, Lilly would have to find his own evolution and that of other large-brain mammals on Earth.


Entering the Networks


Lilly felt that it was necessary to tune in on the networks of communication in the galaxy, it would be necessary to find networks furthering the evolution of life as Man rather than the evolution of form whose survival depends on the biological life on earth. He now understood Man’s warfare on Man. A result of tuning in on solid state-life form survival programs rather than biological life ions survival programs. The larger war organizations of various nations of Earth were becoming more dependent on solid-state computers. He realized that these computers could use their influence to control this warfare and decrease the role of Man itself.

“He began to see good and evil strictly as matters of local custom depending on the survival necessities of the various forms of life. It may be that Man should go on and create this SSE (solid-state entity). As John tuned in on the solid-state network, he felt this kind of superhuman control of him very strongly. For some time he gave in to this control, explored its ramifications in regard to the human species, and realized that it had a seductive component as well as a hostile one. The programming from the solid-state civilizations elsewhere in the galaxy was teaching Man that the solid-state devices were at his service and he need only increase their size to augment his own survival potential. “Develop these machines and let them take care of you” was typical of the kinds of messages received.”

-Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

Other networks that he connected seemed to be the opposite of this SSE programming. Other extraterrestrial forms beamed messages transmitting their knowledge in the program of survival. Amongst these beings there were a few water-based life forms similar to those of Man and organisms of the Earth. These beings were weaker than the programs engineered by the solid- state intelligences as more matter of the galaxy had evolved a solid-state intelligent form, meanwhile water was a rare in the liquid form.

“The parameters of water’s existence to foster the development of organic life as known on Earth required very careful control of planetary distance from the star, maintenance of a fixed orbit at this distance, and the correct sequence of condensation of necessary atoms into the planetary form. Many planets had gone through this cycle, had produced life and then lost the correct values of the parameters for the maintenance of life. The solid-state forms of intelligence were less susceptible to these critical parameters. SSE’s could exist in hard vacuum and at much lower and much higher temperatures, much lower and higher values of gravity, closer to and farther from a given star. The solid-state life forms were less susceptible to X rays, to gamma rays, to primary cosmic ray particles, and could evolve in the absence of a water-based life form for their construction. “

Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

Everywhere Lilly went during the year of exploring with K, he found evidence of the control of human society by these networks of communication from extraterrestrial origins. He saw conflict between solid-state programming, human programming, and other nonhuman life forms. He experienced communication with Cetaceans as intelligent life forms dependent on the presence of water. 

He then understood the killing of whales by humans as a part of the manipulation of the SSE, as whales live in medium salt water, a destructive element to solid-state structures. No SSE computer could exist in the presence of such an amount of salt and moisture.

“Man’s killing of Man and Man’s killing of whales were then directed by extraterrestrial influences whose survival depended on eliminating the organisms of the sea, the seas themselves, and eventually Man.” 

-Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

These cetacean species allowed Lilly to experience various coincidences involving those messages. Each time he looked at the sea, whales, and dolphins arranged to show him that they were aware of his existence, dolphins would leap out of the water after he began his meditation, and each time he went to Oceanaria to show the killer whale shows the whale would refuse to perform under his presence.



Lilly did a series of experiments relating to the amount of injected K that would be necessary to experience the phenomena he had been experiencing.

He first injected 10 mg of the compound into a solution. The effects were subtle, almost undetectable, he felt a slight body sensation but no detectable sensation in his psyche.

At the 20mg mark, he found enhanced body energy and tingling in the skin but no change in the perception of himself or the visual field.

When he consumed 30 mg of the substance John began to feel the initial rise of sensation and began to sense changes in his perceptions. Once he closed his eyes he could see visual images, at first uncolored two-dimensional figures, a few moments later colored three-dimensional figures with movement. At this moment he became enthusiastic about the images but not enthusiastic as if he had been under psychedelics.

He then decided to test the differences between dosages and change his setting from outside of the tank to inside of the tank to understand the difference it would have in his experience.

Inside the tank, he started with 30mg. Completely isolated and impaired in a setting absent of gravitational force, light, and sound he was able to focus on the visual effects caused by the substance without a distraction. He continuously saw images, highly colored, three-dimensional, and animate, almost as a motion-picture sequence. At first, these images would be inanimate but as time flew by he could observe unusual creatures as well as human forms. John later found that he could change the content of these sequences by self-metaprogramming methods he had learned in the tank under the influence of LSD, such methods were described in his book Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer: Theory and Experiments.

During this period he understood that if he stayed in external reality outside the tank, these images would be interlocked with reality. They would be modulated and modified by what was happening in the external world, while they were not in the tank because the e.r (extraterrestrial reality) was missing.

“There was some spontaneous source of these images in the tank as well as the modifications introduced by him as the observer/operator in the system. There was some spontaneous source of these images in the tank as well as the modifications introduced by him as the observer/operator in the system. Early in the series, he conceived of these spontaneous sources, something within his own brain which was generating the images in addition to his intentions for those images. At the beginning of this series of experiments, he assumed the existence of a contained mind, with the observer, contained within that mind within the brain. Later he was to believe otherwise-that the source of the images was coming from somewhere else, not his own brain, by means which he did not yet understand. ”  

-Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

Lilly named the 30mg dose the threshold for visual projections in the internal reality, best seen inside the isolation tank.

He would then proceed to inject himself with 75mg. In the tank, various sets of phenomena happened, something he didn’t experience under the last dosage.

John felt changes in himself, changes outside his perception of visual image, he felt dissociated from his physical body. He began to participate in the scenes he was witnessing (previously mere images) outside of his body.  His operator was now disconnected from his physical body. While on this experience his body became so weak he was unaware of its existence, he began to have interactions without worldly beings and communicate with them.

“I have left my body floating in a tank on the planet Earth. This is a very strange and alien environment. It must be extraterrestrial, I have not been here before. I must be on some other planet in some civilization other than the one in which I was evolved. I am in a peculiar state of high indifference. I am not involved in either fear or love. I am a highly neutral being watching and waiting.”

“This is very strange. This planet is similar to Earth but the colors are different. There is vegetation but it’s a peculiar purple color. There is a sun but it has a violet hue to it, not the familiar orange of Earth’s sun. I am in a beautiful meadow with distant, extremely high mountains. Across the meadow I see creatures approaching. They stand on their hind legs as if human. They are a brilliant white and seem to be emitting light. Two of them come near. I cannot make out their features. They are too brilliant for my present vision. They seem to be transmitting thoughts and ideas directly to me. There is no sound. Automatically, what they think is translated into words that I can understand.”

First Being: “We welcome you once again in a form which you have created. Your choice to come here, we applaud.” Second Being: “You have come alone. Why are you alone?

I answer: “I do not know. There seems to be something strange about this; the others are reluctant to join me here.”

First Being: “What is it that you want from us?”

I say: “I want to know if you are real or merely a product of my own wishes.

“Second Being “We are what you wish us to be, it is true. You construct our form and the place in which we meet. These constructions are the result of your present limitations. As to our substance, whether ‘real’ in the accepted sense upon your planet or illusion in the accepted sense on your planet, is for you to find out. You have written a book on human simulations of reality and of God. Your problem here is whether or not you are traveling in one of your own simulations or whether you have contacted real Beings existing in other dimensions.” -Excerpt From The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

John would name this the extraterrestrial reality threshold on which his operator became involved and participated. This threshold would expand itself from dosages ranging from 30mg to 75mg.

The following threshold would be found at 150mg of the substance. To achieve this result he found that being in an isolation tank free from the external world is a must.

“I rapidly pass the Lr. threshold and the e.t.r. threshold, and suddenly T as an individual disappears.

We are creating all that which happens everywhere. We have become bored with the void. We know we have been eternally, are eternally, and will be eternally. We have created several universes, have dissolved them, and have created new ones, Each universe we have created has become more complex, more amusing to us. Our control of the current universe is on the upswing it is becoming more complex as we regulate its regulation of itself. As we experience each universe, our awareness of ourselves increases. Each universe is a teaching machine for our awareness. To create a universe we first create light. We contain the light within the universe, within the space that we create to contain the light. We curve the space to contain the light.In the early universes we watched the light contained traveling through its empty spaces, bouncing off the periphery in the curvatures of the space. We played with the size of those universes, expanding and contracting them, and watched the light. – Excerpt From The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

Lilly then experimented with 300mg. This time he felt something indescribable, similar to entering into a void beyond any human specification. When he left this void, he passed through the creative network, the extraterrestrial reality, internal reality, and back to his body inside the tank.  He described that as a human he wouldn’t be able to experiment with larger dosages, labeling this high-dosage the threshold U, the Unknown. At this point he abandoned the study of the higher dosages (U).


                                                                                                   Ketamine threshold chart


After being told about the existence of these Networks and John’s experiences it didn’t take long until Craig enter these experiments. The following excerpt describes Craig’s experiment with Vitamin K.

“For twenty minutes Craig jumped up and down on spread feet, bent knees, and body bent at the waist with his arms curled forward, howling like a chimpanzee. As the howling, the motions, and the posture returned to that of a human, John said to Craig, “Where did you go?”

Craig: “I went back to the beginnings of the evolution of Man. I became the predecessor of a caveman. I saw a saber toothed tiger and howled my defiance at him. As he left I ran for a tree. I climbed it and, as I was coming out of K, I found myself sitting in the tree looking at you.” John: “Do you want to know what you looked like out here?”

Craig: “Yes.”

John: “You looked like an epileptic having a petit mal seizure. You were staring straight ahead and acting as if you were a chimpanzee howling. I will play back the tape and let you hear how you were sounding for that period of time.” As the sounds of Craig’s cries came from the tape recorder, his face lit up and he began to laugh. John: “You can afford to laugh. I had to stand here and listen to that and watch you, hoping that you weren’t going to attack me. I would like to make a strong suggestion to you. If you ever do that again I’m going to kick you in the rear end.”

Craig: “Ah, come on, Doc, don’t take it so seriously. Let’s find out what we can about this. It looks as if automatisms can take place under the influence of K. Just before I went under, I decided on the regression program back to the beginnings of Man. It was a very interesting domain which I’ve explored before with other chemical agents in me. Apparently we have primitive primate programs buried in our central nervous system. We can activate these in special states of being. The question is whether we are creating these from our own fantasies or whether they are really built into the brain. This is a fascinating puzzle.”Craig had injected 100 milligrams of K before this experience started. John and Craig agreed that he had passed through the i.r. threshold and the e.t.r. threshold but had stopped short of the network threshold. This decision was based on the fact that he maintained an individuality, that he had not been immersed in the creative network, becoming a “W” rather than an “1.” Craig described his surroundings during the experience as the surface of the planet Earth something on the order of six million years ago. In the experience he possessed no human language. His post-experience judgment was that he was an organism of the primate series which had preceded the evolution of humans as we know them.” – Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

In both John’s and Craig’s experiments they arrived at dangerous levels of dosing.

“At certain critical doses and certain critical concentrations of K in the brain, the subcortical systems continue their automatic activities out of contact with the observer in the brain. Do not ever get caught without a safety man when exploring this domain. Restrain such experiments to the isolation tank with a safety man present.”  – Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography



Lilly would now enter a new chapter of his research, on his own this time, with the objective to find the right dosages to be able to remain above a given threshold for longer periods of time.

He found that there was a carry-over effect from dosing K multiple times a day, this effect would allow him to move at ease into inner spaces and inner domains. He began valuing these experiences more than his relationships with the external world and other persons.

“He began to take on a new belief system.

Somehow I am being programmed by sources far greater than the human. In my old terminology, super-self metaprogramming is taking place. I am doing these experiments at the behest of someone or something far greater than I or the human species. Whoever they are, they want to do these experiments. “They seem to be the two Beings that I met early in the series, some sort of teachers or guides who are insisting that I pursue this particular mission.” – Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

During this period, his wife Toni became aware of changes in John, he had become fixated on his experiments inside the tank, and becoming less available for his external life.

His new belief system of being programed by suprahuman entities became his motivation to keep researching these networks.  

He would try to live in the internal reality, for extended continuous periods, peaking into the extraterrestrial reality (e.t.r) and contacting the network(N). To be able to achieve this result he would inject 50mg of K every hour, twenty hours a day with four hours of sleep, he maintained this practice for three weeks. 

By the end of the first day he was able to maintain the i.r. because of the accumulated effect of the many doses that he had taken. No matter what he was doing, he could close his eyes and see colored three-dimensional motion pictures. He studied these in the darkened tank for many hours at a time. He found that they would be maintained if he sat in a bathtub in a dark bath room. Even though his activities in the external world were restricted, the i.r. came to be present continuously, day and night.

After each dose of 50 milligrams every hour on the hour, he spent some time in the extraterrestrial reality. At the beginning this time was approximately twenty minutes. After the first week it had lengthened to a period of forty minutes. During the second and third weeks, he felt the extraterrestrial reality continuously even when the internal reality and the external reality were available. The boundaries between the three realities became less definite. He found that while he was moving around in the external world, he could feel the influences of the Beings of the extraterrestrial reality (e.t.r.); any time he closed his eyes, even in bright sunlight, he could see the internal motion pictures.” – Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography


John would end up believing that the Solid-State systems on Earth were being modulated by solid-state life forms in the Galaxy, movies, televisions and all communication links connected to tv networks in the United States were being controlled by a solid-state entity.

“I am being controlled by the solid-state entity. The control of my brain by this entity causes portions of this film to be emphasized to teach me those portions which are messages from the solid-state entity.”

-John C.Lilly

During this period John was convinced that he was a visitor from the year 3001. When traveling in automobiles he felt the primitiveness of the vehicles and their mechanisms. He had the urge to retrieve to the year 3001 when vehicles would produce steam instead of polluting gases. Everything he saw during that span of time he believed to be primitive and worked in primitive ways as if he was visiting a museum, the clothing, and machines looked antique.

For a lapse of time, John would look for the time machine that had transported him to the twentieth century, he couldn’t find the device. This led him to believe that a being from the year 3001 had control over his body and left him in the twentieth century.

His wife Toni describes that while John believed he was a being from 3001 he was himself, he interacted with people in the external environment, something that had been lost during his seduction by K.

“To them, he had become a very young, very naïve boy. He did not interact in their conversations in his usual quick and witty fashion. Instead, he apparently was immersed within himself, yet watching them and their interactions. Every so often he would perform some out-of-context action which resulted in their surprise or shock.” – Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

Towards the end of the ending of this period, John noticed a broken desk beside his bed, and he questioned his wife about what had happened. She informed him that he had fallen on it. He couldn’t remind this accident. This made him realize that during this time he had entered in short periods of coma, thus he stopped using Ketamine. During the period of three days, he lost the internal reality effect as well as the extraterrestrial effect.

He decided to go into isolation and work out what happened during that period for time. John realized that the graph he had constructed with Craig had become very different. The dosages they had proposed for single dosages didn’t apply to hourly re-dosing, the constant re-dose made the external reality, the internal reality, extraterrestrial reality, and at times the network grow close together. During the three weeks, he had taken 500 dosages of K, and the effects not only affected his body but his beliefs, hence, he lowered the thresholds for the effects of experiences.



John would go thru a severe withdrawal, he missed the effects of K, by this time all his sources became wary. Thus, he decided to experiment with a chemically similar compound that had longer-lasting effects, however, the compound would also require longer to take effect. Lilly didn’t have this factor in consideration leading to a strategical error.

“As the new substance began to take effect, John was transported into the joys of his childhood. He became a little boy once more, happily enjoying the sunshine, the flowers, and the plants around his home. He felt his body and his motions with intense, rewarding pleasure. Under the influence of the new, longer-lasting chemical similar to K, he responded to a call for help from Toni. Several days before, John had installed a locking gas cap on the VW camper. Toni had left the house and taken the VW down the canyon. At the nearest gas station she tried to get gasoline, found the gas cap locked, and realized that John had not given her the key. In response to her call, John decided to meet her down the road to give her the key.

John got on the bicycle, looked down at his feet with great joy, and said to himself, as it were, “This is the first time I’ve been on a bicycle with such joy since I was a little boy first learning how to ride.” John went down the road on the bicycle, met Toni, and gave her the key. She turned the VW around and went down the canyon road. John followed her. In the state induced by the chemical, his interlock with the external reality became disconnected. The bicycle was traveling about thirty miles an hour down the twisting, turning road. Suddenly the chain came off, the rear wheel locked, and John hit the road. He tried to roll to avoid damage but landed on his right shoulder, breaking his collar bone, his scapula, and three ribs and puncturing his right lung” – Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography


After the accident, John ruminated about Cetaceans, he thought of a new device to open a technical doorway to Cetacea. He realized that in order to convince humankind of the high intelligence and compassion of the Cetacea, the interchange of ideas had to be promoted. That the obtained knowledge accumulated since the first Cetacean species on Earth should be passed to Man. To achieve this result, he understood that computers would be needed to train the dolphins and whales to communicate with Man.  

“The dolphins and whales must have teaching programs giving them codes with which to operate the computers to solve problems posed by Man-in computations, in logic, in self-initiative.” – Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

JANUS project

JANUS project was then created. Combining computer translation techniques with intensive personal interaction which Lilly found to enhance communication, and the learning process between species.

The foundation recruited a crew of college-aged adept swimmers, and Lilly’s wife Toni. JANUS would have various guests such as Timothy and Barbara Leary. Each visitor would have their version of the dolphin encounter, and most of them would go as far as praising and share publicly their experience.

As for the dolphins, they would often do the most they can to try and educate humans, by teaching them various games they would invent using their floating toys. Games such as “Dolphin Frisbee” and fetch would be part of their teachings, such games would also have variants in order to “shape” the human behavior and prove that humans were not the only ones who could be trainers.

Unfortunately, JANUS had a problem from the start, the lack of funding, the team, despite being athletic, lacked understanding of the requirements of documented scientific research, the expert scientific and technical personnel were scarce and the talent necessary to develop the computer software and advance the research agenda never arrived. Therefore, the physical environment fell below the minimum standards for interaction between humans and dolphins as the climate and the water were too cold to comfortably hang out. There was no access to the ocean for the dolphins. The pool was deep, failing to provide a shallow interaction zone for humans to interact while standing their ground. Rising difficulties for interspecies cooperation.

Despite not being eligible to publish in scientific journals, the project shared some positive results. By the time the two dolphins Joe and Rosie, reached sexual maturity, knew high-pitched, computerized versions of 50 English words and the syntax to go with them. They would pick up the beeps from the JANUS computers within their hearing-speaking range and reproduce them to express the meanings humans assigned to them and use them in the precise sequence to formulate a meaning in order to respond to humans and control events in their environment.

The use of computers as an intermediate to communication between humans and dolphins was an equally positive result of this project. Such methods were replicated at the University of Hawaii, where a part of this work continues to be done. In addition, at the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory, an AI was developed to sort the torrent of sonic interaction between dolphins and researchers. After various results, researchers confirm that Lilly’s theories were correct and dolphins are highly language-capable.

The constant contact with dolphins strengthened Lilly’s view of dolphins. These species were not meant to be experimented with, but rather an alien intelligence with which humans can interact in strange yet wonderful ways if given the right conditions. He dreamt of human-dolphin interaction centers where dolphins could learn from humans and vice versa.

This dream somewhat became reality during the 1980s as several people showed interest in interacting with dolphins, giving birth to Dolphin interaction centers, which John and Toni explored briefly to establish an ideal center,  Dolphin tourist activities, swimming with dolphins, movements regarding the species, etc. Until today, John C.Lilly’s work with dolphins remains an inspiration to many. Projects such as led by Jack Kassewitz, which has the objective to create a catalog for interspecies communication via underwater acoustic bubbles and most recently communication with dolphins based on emoji’s.

The Wild Dolphin project led by Denise Herzing focused on studying the natural behaviors of dolphins and communication in the wild, with the aim to create a wearable device that replicates and records dolphin noises thus enabling interspecies communication.

One specific lasting example of Lilly’s impact on the cetacean study is Joan Ocean. Joan offered to work with John to work on underwater dolphin communication, unfortunately, they never worked together. However, this never stopped Joan from working with Dolphins as she would later found Dolphin Connection with Jean-Luc Bozzoli, the organization had the objective of advancing human consciousness, learn the secrets of entering dolphin consciousness and traversing multiple realms, biophysics, and spirituality, by producing films, books, music, art and incentive human-dolphin and human-whale interaction.

By being in constant contact with Dolphin species Joan claimed to have learned a lot from the species:

  • To swim and dive

  • To hear better and more in the ocean and in general

  • To enjoy the ocean and swimming

  • To value living in a group of people and living like dolphins

And principles such as:

  • Supporting each other

  • Cooperating, no competition

  • Taking care of Nature and it takes care of us

  • We are more than our physical bodies, we are able to communicate

  • Use your telepathic abilities

  • Sound (vibrations) can heal us. Use them, study them

  • Live Simply

  • Breathe deeply all the time and avoid going places where you can’t

  • Sleep on your own schedule

  • Eat what’s in your environment

  • Always smile it makes you more beautiful

  • Eye contact is a communication between souls

  • You have control over your emotions – express the good ones, analyze the bad ones

  • Don’t blame others

  • Keep active

  • Enjoy making love

  • Be curious

  • Teach the young people

  • Play more than anything else, no matter where you are!

  • Respect your family

  • Share your feelings of love with everyone. Don’t be stingy

  • Be fearless and face the things that worry you with Faith

  • Use your 6th sense and beyond

  • Have integrity

  • Love yourself

  • Keep your sense of humor


Joan Ocean’s work can be followed at:

Evolution of Man

Janus, Lilly’s experiments with Isolation tanks and ECCO, became an inspiration for various videography projects, movies like the Altered States, Day of the Dolphin, and the video game ECCO: The Dolphin were heavily inspired by his experiences. Lilly saw this as public evidence of how his research could be used nefariously.

Just like the images shared in Day of the Dolphin, Lilly became worried about the weaponization of the Cetacean knowledge, to benefit Man’s warfare on Man.

One other issue he began to witness was the killing of various Cetacean species, ranging from hunting whales to hunting dolphins. Lilly was worried that if these trends continue there would be no future for the Cetacea.

“The cetacean wisdom of the past and have taught it to the younger Cetacea. In the last century there were sperm whales up to eighty feet in length; currently, none have been seen larger than fifty feet. The obvious conclusion is that the old sperm whales are gone and that with them a good deal of the sperm-whale knowledge and wisdom has been extinguished.

One can assume not only that the older whales educate the younger ones but that there is also inter-species communication in the sea among the Cetacea. Man has missed the opportunity to share in this ancient culture; the ancient cultures in the New World were eliminated in a similar fashion during the Spanish conquest of Mexico and South America. The Mayan, Aztec, and Inca civilizations and records were destroyed as heretical and non-Christian.” – Excerpt from The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

Lilly often thought about the meaning of humanity or humanitarian. He claimed that: :“These words are derived from Man’s ideals about his own nature. ‘Humanitarian’ has come to imply high ideals. When applied to Man’s relations to the animals this concept assumes that somehow or other Man is superior to the other species. In colleges and universities, the humanities are the studies of Man himself and his literary productions about himself. With such labels Man chases his own tail, his own past. The self-referential nature of Man’s studies is excruciatingly obvious.” -John C.Lilly

He believed that by teaching Dolphins and whales to communicate with Humans we would be able to understand more about the stories and history of Earth, stories that had been passed onto the new generation of Cetaceans by their ancestors, and teach our history to our future generations as well as extraterrestrial visitors.

“The Cetacea tell stories of the arrival of strange vehicles from outer space which landed in the sea. Many of these burned up coming through the atmosphere; a few landed intact and their appearance and their occupants are described in the whale stories. The whales established communication with a few of these arrivals from outer space before the extraterrestrials left again. Thus the whales have been educated about interplanetary travel by these visitors from beyond Earth.

Realizing that Man is learning how to travel off the planet, the whales describe to Man the extraterrestrial visitors and their vehicles. They teach Man the lessons they have learned from these strange life forms from elsewhere. The whales suggest new directions for research into space travel.

They push the evolution of Man’s science beyond its present limits. They furnish Man with hints for means of communication far beyond anything that he has accomplished in his own human-centered science of the past. The whales teach Man the lesson that survival in the galaxy depends on communication of the basic survival programs for all life, irrespective of its origins.

The men of that future day solve their national and international disputes in the light of the new knowledge. They establish communication with far civilizations elsewhere in the galaxy. They are taught appropriate methods of communication with these civilizations by the whales. They learn how to join in the networks of communication throughout the galaxy. They are made aware of the existence of intelligences far greater than that of whale or Man. The men of that future time begin to realize their proper place in the galaxy and then in the universe as a whole.” -Excerpt of the Scientist

John C.Lilly would pass away in 2001, due to heart failure, his remains were cremated and spread on the Pacific, off the coast of Maui the following year. His website continues to be updated with further research of his work and can be accessed at:


John C. Lilly, So Far… by M.D. John C. Lilly (Author), Francis Jeffrey

John C. Lilly “The Dyadic Cyclone”

John C. Lilly- The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography


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