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Thread: MDMA and Empathy etc.... can anyone help?

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    MDMA and Empathy etc.... can anyone help? 
    #1
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    I wonder if there is ANYONE who could help answer questions for me about the effects of MDMA. I have no personal experience of this and therefore would be truly grateful of any insight. Whether you can remember experiences or perhaps keep my queries in mind when you next experience. I would be extremely grateful for your thoughts and experiences of the following:

    * I understand that high levels of empathy are experienced whilst taking MDMA, with knowing exactly what the other person is experiencing and this goes on for a long time. But I am interested to know if anyone has experienced just as much empathy, even for a few seconds, at say a very special times. For example if you are sharing a lovely moment with someone or you feel very sad about something and are sharing that sadness with someone else. Do you think it is at all possible to have just as much understanding/empathy even for a few brief moments?

    * Also, I understand that empathy(understanding) can be linked with compassion ( feeling sorry for and wanting to help) but do you think that you can feel just as compassionate - feeling sorry for and wanting to help - say a loved one who is suffering. Could you feel just as compassionate (even for a short time) as you would whilst taking MDMA?

    * I would also like to ask about the enjoyment of music. I realise that the beat etc. can enhance enjoyment of music but I wondered if anyone feels that they have perhaps enjoyed their favourite or other types of music at certain special/poignant times (even for brief moments) just as much as when experiencing MDMA?

    * Lastly, I appreciate that a sense of touch is enhanced but please can anyone tell me if they have encountered just as much a beautiful experience with partners at very intimate times. Does anyone feel that it has been just as lovely an experience without the experience of MDMA?

    I would appreciate any thoughts and views on any of this. It would help me a great deal. Thank you so very very much.

    Jolan
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    #2
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    Achieving the level of empathy you feel on MDMA is definitely possible, IMO. The drug simply unlocks your potential, that you've already been equip with.

    Same goes for compassion.

    Same goes for music.

    Same goes for intimacy.

    The thing is, we more often than not can not achieve that level of "feel good". It takes very, very extreme circumstances for us to even get close to the levels of "feel good's" as MDMA unlocks for us within hours.

    Again, this is all my opinion, and i have tried MDMA before.

    In regards to empathy.. I actually kicked out my friends girlfriend from my appartment on MDMA. I think i did it out of compassion for my friend, as she was being quite the bitch to him. But on the other hand, it was a pretty cold thing to do. So again, i don't think it gives one more empathy than one's already capable of having.
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    #3
    I believe MDMA can transcend your abilities. I deleted a whole anime after watching the first episode and hating it. When I watched it during an mdma comedown, it became my favorite show ever. She still brings a smile to my face a year later.

    It is possible that it only unlocks your potential, however. As a very antisocial person who despises bonding with others, the effects were predictably less pronounced on me than what I hear most others describing. Nonetheless, it was still the happiest time of my life.

    * Lastly, I appreciate that a sense of touch is enhanced but please can anyone tell me if they have encountered just as much a beautiful experience with partners at very intimate times. Does anyone feel that it has been just as lovely an experience without the experience of MDMA?
    This is a definite no for me. I have an aversion to bodily contact with others so such an experience was never pleasurable to me. Thus, the enhanced tactile sensation that molly provided was incredible. I couldn't stop brushing my hair, it felt so good.
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    #4
    Yes to all of them, and not only that but I feel I've gained some ability to access these feel good states while sober as well. It sounds like you're fully aware of the limiting factor in all of this; Duration.

    I can go to a show and the music/dance can bring me to heights similar to MDMA, my pupils will even dilate to the point where it looks like I'm rolling even if I'm fairly sober (no such thing as full sobriety.) The difference is that when I'm sober it will only last for 1-3hrs whereas on MDMA I'm looking at 4-6 or more.

    Also while I absolutely love MDMA it doesn't increase empathy quite the way people think. It essentially makes the world shine in a positive light. Empathy is the ability to feel with someone, good or bad. MDMA doesn't work quite the same in that it makes the good emotions feel great and the bad emotions not so bad. For instance, research done on people who took MDMA that when shown faces of different emotional responses they perceived them to be more positive than they actually are.

    So in a nutshell, MDMA doesn't truly increase empathy but it allows for it at times by suppressing our negative emotional responses to hurtful situations. When someone tells you something on MDMA or you relive a past emotional trauma your able to see it in a positive light and there is something powerful and lasting about that. Also you can then stay calm and respond to it in the most loving manner possible.

    It can actually be detrimental to be too empathetic because you can get constantly weighed down by the hurt others are feeling. I've seen and experienced this first hand (as a kid I'd sometimes cry at night over the suffering of others), and again it shows me that the effect of MDMA is still unique from that of Empathy.

    -GC
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    #5
    G_Chem, I doubt the validity of many of those things you said. People get panic attacks and bad trips on MDMA if they take it in an uncomfortable environment. It certainly did with me when I took it while I was in a bad mood. Also, when I tried to watch some porn while rolling on my good trip, I was enjoying it a lot less than while sober because I kept feeling sorry for the actresses, feeling they were being exploited. Is this not increased empathy?
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    #6
    Well not necessarily... The only instance you listed which could even possibly be connected with empathy is the last statement. My guess is your guilt which hides away easier sober is shining through.

    I should apologize as I guess I came off as MDMA producing zero empathy and it does but not to the extent in which people think and not quite the way normal empathy is defined.

    The research I talk about is available. It clearly states that people on MDMA have a harder time recognizing fearful facial expressions and recognize people as looking happier than they are.

    This comes back to my point.. Our defenses lower and we become more understanding because we become less fearful. This can have huge positive implications but it is not the same as what people define "empathy" as. They both have similar outcomes but different mechanisms.

    In the end it's just easier to call what MDMA does "empathy" but to be honest it does something even better.. Instead of feeling what someone else is feeling your able to maintain a positivity that can turn a negative situation in to a positive one. With empathy you may feel with someone and understand their situation but be incapable of fixing it yourself because your weighed down by the same emotions afflicting the person your connecting with.

    -GC
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    #7
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    To OP it sounds more if you are trying to understand what mdma does to your feelings without actually using the stuff.
    The terms you use are the ones mentioned in most trip reports.
    What mdma really does is open you up to your inner joy, and makes you confident enough to overcome your fears.
    You can talk about yourself in ways you never imagined on mdma, what's more because you are not on guard you can understand other peoples feelings and though processes much more clearly.
    Yes sensation changes, this affects mainly hearing and touch, vision is less enhanced.
    As to your question of whether you can feel like this when not high, yes you can but the sensation of love, tenderness, delight or whatever is usually fleeting when down, whereas in the mdma experience the sensation seems to come from a bottomless well.
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    #8
    I agree with g_chems comments.
    It wasnt meant to mean the drugs exclusive effects. More the general effect.

    Their will be examples of all sorts showing drug effects are what is commonly documented. But the general effect considering set, setting etc... is what the above post highlighted
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by G_Chem View Post
    The research I talk about is available. It clearly states that people on MDMA have a harder time recognizing fearful facial expressions and recognize people as looking happier than they are.
    Yes but these people are in a safe, warm, comfortable environment looking at a PICTURE of someone looking negative. Wow, so dramatic. Molly was enhancing their experience which was overwhelmingly content, perhaps even exciting as they get to do drugs legally with no fear of trouble or losing their job/friends etc. Try rolling in an overwhelmingly NEGATIVE environment and see if looking at a picture of someone smiling will cancel your bad trip. Let me tell you from experience: it doesn't.
    I tried watching the cutest video of cuddling puppies and kitties to try and reverse the bad trip that was progressing. The negative feelings were being enhanced a lot more than anything positive so I was in hell for two hours.

    Your theory is it increases empathy and joy? My theory is it amplifies whatever you're already feeling, positive or negative.
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    #10
    ^^If your theory were right this drug would be useless for treating PTSD or allowing for acceptance when someone is nearing death. When someone with PTSD were to try and confront the issues they'd be thrown head first into an episode.

    What your describing is more in line with traditional psychedelics and while I do feel MDMA is somewhat psychedelic and somewhat reliant on set/setting, it can more often than not make the user feel ok with most any shitty situation.

    This is why psychedelics are not good for people with PTSD. I know a guy that got beat senseless by a marine who had war flashback on mushrooms, while I think psychedelics can be beneficial only in conjunction with or after some MDMA therapy.

    MDMA is known as the feel good drug for a reason.

    But speaking of negative environments, I've seen and experienced some fucked up shit while rolling. One night I was getting majorly harassed by the police (imagine super troopers x10 that's my old town) and instead of freaking out I was far too calm for the situation. I knew I was too calm cuz my normally fearless partner in crime (not rolling) was looking at me like I was crazy while we were dealing with it. To be fair this was MDA.. But I digress.

    I saw someone die below me (I was on the balcony) at a show once, felt bad but was much more accepting of it than if I hadn't of been rolling.

    I feel with MDMA we are able to better access these normally hurtful emotions in a way that allows to better accept them. On MDMA life is beautiful.

    -GC
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    #11
    First of all, dayum, glad you got through those missteps without any baggage.

    I agree with you that molly enhances positive feelings more than negative ones and that with the right environment it is indeed a very beautiful experience. I've experienced it. But you only have to experience the opposite once to realize she isn't all that all the time. It isn't useless for helping people, I think it has great potential to help people with PTSD overcome their shit but it also has a dark side that could make them worse. What you're reading about is only transient hype, the exact same crap the pro-drugs crowd kept shouting about medicinal marijuana and how it's a cure-a-tonic for every ill. I'm for legalizing all drugs and everything, but the reality turned out to be different than what both sides thought. Not as bad as the prudish anti-drug crowd was proclaiming but also not the liberating utopia the pro-drug crowd was insisting either.

    I'm just not convinced that the joyful and empathic feelings will be there without some ammo to back it up. In your case you had your friend with you who you trusted, in the study it was probably the safe, controlled, legal environment and caring doctors. A happiness needs a source and drugs can enhance that but not create it out of thin air. I deleted a show that I hated and when I watched it while coming down from a roll, it's now my favorite and the main character still brings a smile to my face a year later.
    MDMA is very powerful and can make life beautiful, but there is so much we don't know about it and a lot of damage in addition to therapy will occur because of it. That's what I'm saying.
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    #12
    IME nothing comes even close to MDMA while sober.

    Not gonna compare your first two points as I lack empathy/compassion, but music and sense of touch is on a whole different level.

    For me atleast, music becomes so amazing that I would prefer listening to music over having sex. That's not really gonna happen without MDMA.

    Same with sense of touch...Nothing comes closes IME. Usually 3 days after a roll I feel amazing and glowing. Music feels much better than usual and everything feels better overal. But still nothing close to while being high. Altho I do feel MDMA has opened up something in my head that makes me enjoy certain things more.

    If someone experiences short burst of MDMA feelings, then you are either really lucky or have never had good MDMA :P
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