The pineal hasn’t even been formally linked to the production of DMT in research, only theorized.
The pineal was a sensory organ, though — a literal third eye, with retina, lens, and cornea. It senses light in pre-mammalian vertebrates, many of whose sculls are thinned in certain areas, to allow light through to be sensed by the pineal “eye.” We see the residual of this function in our gland, and the light-sensitive release of its melatonin.
That being said, my thought is that, yes, the pineal gland is/was a sensory organ — but one which senses light above the visible spectrum of our regular eyes.
We should try to think outside materialism — or, rather, inside it. 😉
About DMT and the light-sensitivity of the pineal, yea, it governs the production of melatonin, which you know helps us transition into sleep when it is dark out, but as for the actual influence of melatonin ON the content of dreams, that’s a bit more fuzzy and unsubstantiated.
What acknowledging this original sensory function of the gland does is allows us to think beyond the simple duality of “waking” and “sleeping” consciousness, to all the distinct realms and channels of perception that exist between those two states — the whole range of hypnagogic phenomena and the “in-between” range of experience, much of which is composed of valid perceptions.
So, if DMT is produced in the pineal (and it seems very likely that it is) it would make sense that it produces heightened sensory phenomena, like the perception of subtle or non-physical aspects of nature, energetic phenomena, etc.
So often, the discussion of DMT and ayahuasca in the popular Burner circles drifts to talk about extraterrestrials and UFOs. This is very off-putting to me. The idea of discussing things light-years away and other planets seems a little far-fetched, both in terms of physical distance and focus. It seems beneficial to keep the discussion of the pineal focused, at least initially, on things we are perceiving IN the room — the shared perceptions of an ayahuasca ceremony, for instance — not only for verifiability, but also for a more literal understanding of the mechanics of higher consciousness.