THE BUREAU: Part Nine, "Your Sandwich Speaks!" — with SBaGen-based Digital Drugs for New Year's Eve

THE BUREAU by Ethan Persoff

Welcome back to The Bureau. It's the ninth installment and it looks like that sandwich you found in your pocket contains a bossy talking slice of Brain. And man, it's feeding you some gab!

Happy Upcoming New Year. The Bureau is a story focused on how we spend our time on this planet, and following this weekend is the annual clock reset for most countries locked on Pope Gregory's calendar: New Year's Eve.

To help set the mood properly, here's a little Alan Watts:

Now Alan's getting a little deep here, but questioning time's absolute definition is a nice thing to consider. Of course, mind-shifting substances can help with these perceptions. Drugs, used responsibly and with purpose, can be useful to sharpen our questions, forgive ourselves from trauma, and find our answers. Digital Drugs are an interesting category.

Perhaps NYE will be an introspective one for you at home. If so, the following binaural generator (especially if paired with other things) will add to a good Set and Setting.

Achieving the "Set" in Set and Setting: 4 Principles to Make the Most of Your Psychedelic Experience

Digital Drugs are great. They are unregulated, downloadable, and medically untraceable in your system. Their effectiveness depends on the user, often based on your ability to focus or reference previous experiences. Even if completely fake panacea or snake oil, they are fun. Sound-based ones can bring about easy mood uplift in the same way music itself affects Dopamine reception. Others, when paired with hardware, can bring about synesthesia and other true meditative positives. If you've previously used LSD it is often possible to bring about a manageable flashback with the right software, as well, along with other sedations.

SBaGen (aka the Binaural Beat Brain Wave Experimenter's Lab)
Computers have provided many miracles in our lifetime, from being able to print a book in your living room (to now being able to 3D print a living room itself) but what about composing mood in a way that is capable of being played back, on demand?

In many ways, this mood-playback is the intention of SBaGen, one of the oldest and best binaural beat generators. It is open source (Download here) and uses your computer to play a series of tones and rhythms out of sync in each ear. This offset stereo field can have numerous positive effects.

SBaGen, which stands for "Sequenced BinAural beat GENerator", allows you to write your own Binaural sequences, as well. Its creator Jim Peters describes its origins:

My original idea for SBaGen was to use this utility to play a programme of different tones throughout the night, hoping to improve dreaming and dream-recall, and then to bring myself up into Alpha rhythms to (hopefully) make a good start to the day. I am now using it more for shorter focussed sessions of about an hour, both during daytime and at night. However, other people have used this software in many different ways. For example, one person suffering constant pain from historical injuries appreciated the way that he could tune the frequencies very accurately to his needs to help him sleep better at night. Other more unusual uses have included: mixing the sounds in as part of musical compositions, and generating ambient sounds during live DJ sets.

And explaining Binaural Beats in general:

The theory behind binaural beats is that if you apply slightly different frequency sine waves to each ear, a beating affect is created in the brain itself, due to the brain's internal wiring. If, in the presence of these tones, you relax and let your mind go, your mind will naturally synchronize with the beat frequency. In this way it is possible to tune the frequency of your brain waves to particular frequencies that you have selected, using of the four bands: Delta: deep sleep, Theta: dreaming and intuitive stuff, Alpha: awake, focussed inside, and Beta: awake, focussed outside.

It should be noted that mp3s or Youtube streams are not as effective as the actual audio running through software (as it will not have artifacts or compression) – therefore, having a program like SBaGen running is very clear and nice. Actual sbg instruction files are smaller than mp3 files, too.

How It's Said to Work
Not unlike music's effect on our motivations, SBaGen's rhythms can get us excited, calmed, or meditative, and many stroboscopic tones do provide a shift in balance and can cause satisfying hallucinations, especially with your eyes closed. With practice and calm, you can begin to hear audio inside the tones; imagined voices are common. Interactions of light color can merge into lucid-styled dream images, as well. This is mostly due to the illusions presented to your brain caused by binaural rhythm. Your brain will want to fill in the patterns. It's like a sound-based strobe light for your brain.

SBaGen-Emulated Drug Experiences
Some time ago a company misused the open source code and made a commercial product selling SBaGen-based experiences as a commercial, compiled-only (closed source) product. An agreement was arrived upon, and now you can get these numerous binauraul 'drug doses' on github, unencrypted and free. After you've downloaded SBaGen, try this repository out. In particular, enjoy this list of downloadable sbg files.

The following run codes are entertaining:
./sbagen lsd.sbg
./sbagen DMT.sbg
./sbagen Ecstacy3.sbg
./sbagen Hash.sbg
./sbagen Trip2.sbg
./sbagen Ketamine.sbg

And so on. :-)

SBaGen requires some rudimentary understanding of running and editing command line code sequences, but can be extremely rewarding. If you're looking for an iOS app version of this with no code, I recommend this Banzai Labs bundle. Their Brainwave apps are terrific.

(If you'd like to try customizing your own tones through a touchscreen, Binaural is a good app, as well) — With all of these sound tools, exercise caution with length of use and avoid high volume with headphones.

And now, Back to The Bureau

Getting back to our story, quite a 45 minute workout for you this week! Your sandwich talks, Todd's been framed, the country's at War, and you've met a very nice woman. You and her both feel trapped, but you've pulled a lever to make it all stop for a moment and jump off the train. Here's your soundtrack:

Have a nice New Year's Eve. To Be Continued.

The Bureau will return January 2, 2019 at 4:54pm PST.

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