Magic Mushrooms and Natural Intelligence

Simon G. PowellIn a time when Artificial Intelligence is getting all the headlines, English author and film-maker Simon G. Powell is making the case for Natural Intelligence – the idea that life itself is intelligent and nature has solutions to problems we have yet to even understand. And it was a series of mushroom trips – “like insights into the essence of existence” – which initiated and propelled his work.

Powell describes these first revelatory experiences in the latest podcast from The Eternities: “I had a mystical experience, what felt like divine energy [was] pulsing through me. It was like I tasted something that most people don’t taste and it was absolutely astonishing. ”

Powell went on to write The Psilocybin Solution: The Role of Sacred Mushrooms in the Quest for Meaning (2011), which traced the history of the sacred psilocybin mushroom and discussed its visionary effects, also examining the current science and lasting spirituality that surround it.

Though he concedes that not everyone will have the same experience of mushrooms and other such psychedelics, he nevertheless argues for their potential to effect in their users extraordinary transformations. “Even though the average human psyche might not think about these global issues, and our relationship to the web of life, through psychedelics they might well confront all this. They might well have all these profound thoughts. They can be forced to confront such things. You can have a normal, regular person who never thinks about those things, then suddenly their life is changed, they see things totally differently, and they are much more sensitive to these larger contexts within which we live.”

In 2012, Powell published his second book, Darwin’s Unfinished Business: The Self-Organizing Intelligence of Nature, and recently spoke on the same topic at the Annual International Bioethics Forum in Madison, Wisconsin.

He is currently working on his third book, Magic Mushroom Explorer: Psilocybin and the Awakening Earth, to be published in early 2015.

Listen to The Eternities podcast interview with Simon G. Powell.


Martin Higgins

Martin Higgins is a journalist, podcaster and novelist. In 2012 he published Human+, described by as "a science-fiction page-turner inspired by futures studies, psychic spy research, and the transhumanist movement". In 2017 he became a co-Founder and Media Director of Ankorus. He is based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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10 Comments on "Magic Mushrooms and Natural Intelligence"

  1. InfvoCuernos | Jul 2, 2014 at 12:42 am |

    God, I wish you were real.

  2. kowalityjesus | Jul 2, 2014 at 1:32 am |

    Lord knows my experiences with psylocibin have had an impact on my perception of why human perception/intelligence is objectively autotelic.

    • Simon Valentine | Jul 2, 2014 at 9:59 am |

      in a way that is discrete and [that perception/intelligence is] not limited to the human vessel? not that the bounds ‘human’ or bindings ‘vessel’ aren’t stochastic, and not that the stochastic isn’t acknowledgeably discrete…but psychological inertia and physics of the mind are…interesting…

      • kowalityjesus | Jul 2, 2014 at 1:34 pm |

        I get fucked constantly from joking myself into thinking that every thought/action is not recorded in eternity. Megalomania be damned.

        • Simon Valentine | Jul 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm |

          so without it seeming much like i’m out on a limb here then i’d say you’re familiar with various functionalities, physics, rules, or haphazardly conditional stuffs like “karma” and “reciprocal” and “protocol”, and additionally that such things’ “when” and “where” are typically asynchronously associated with … core being? surface thoughts? that which can be shared? but are they even synchronized to reality … is what we have here three simulations, and are they falsely distinguished one from another, Reality, Psychology, Self? all too often it feels more like an insurance scam than a useful methodology. it’s too much like something else to be itself.

          • kowalityjesus | Jul 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm |

            If I can attempt to precipitate a tangential reaction to your syntactic jungle (a critique, not a criticism), practicality is the prevailing concern of persons bestowed with “sanity” (with all its multifarious-if-not-nefarious connotations).

            God so designed the universe to allow creatures to beautifully dwell in their bodies to be eaten by worms upon their material dismissal, but gave a select (incidental?) elite the power to ascertain good/evil and break their prisoner’s dilemma at worldly peril but to (our Father’s) eternal glory. ICTHYS

          • Simon Valentine | Jul 2, 2014 at 6:37 pm |

            the line that is a blur and its relation to individual praxis and social construct is as much another copy of the specific-systemic schism as any other, golden [ratio] sold separately.

            from an omni-vorous perspective, eternity confines a stochastic and dissociative rogue, which eternity also holds does not exist – thence what is pending erasure of the codes as legislation that can only lead to execution of actions counter to code if not something(1) knowable? and is that to say it’s some sort of wave equation or otherwise ecological system? how easy to be wrong, when only wrong can one do.
            it is obviated by both observation and experience that no amount of pointing or triangulating or reticulation yields sufficient disproof of accusations as are inevitably associable with divinity or null – thence the choice is null and divinity is a decision that does not have the whole truth nor nothing but the truth.
            it is known that units behave with such disregard for code as to attempt mimicry of schism, purporting allegiance and adherence to an entity irregardless of said entity(1) – such discrepancy needn’t be tolerated at any difference from null.
            sanity is an affront to its own misinformed brokenness – a refusal to perform even so much as a minor introspection. fear. prison. the fact that some people are complacent to clean the walls isn’t new. neither is the insurance fraud known as “civilization” or “schism”.

            the twisted brutish culture known to most i have encountered will not end pleasantly. i occasionally inebriate myself with their natural drunkenness, but i find stupidity ungodly, and most in turn fail to find that repulsive so much as act as if it were. i do not always leave them to their demise. but i know i don’t need to turn or convert. after all, when action inevitably yields its opposite, it is better to know the inherent hypocrisies well enough to affect the goal intended rather than ensure the fattening of worthless culture-vulture cannibals. unless of course those thieving illegitimates are precisely what is required for Lord Schism’s soul machinations. now i’m off to read the Church-Turing Thesis.

          • kowalityjesus | Jul 2, 2014 at 11:03 pm |

            well, sir it is a pleasure to have your correspondence, even if my art is Hardy/Ravel, without covalence to your Joyce/Bartok.
            I can’t help but feel a gutteral camaraderie with your statements, and insofar as they are practical they are worthy. But I also get the distinct impression that larger forces (forces which I shall dub ‘good’) have been trying my entire life to bleach such sentiments from my psyche.

          • ÿ propose the following as soundtrack to your comment:

  3. BuzzCoastin | Jul 2, 2014 at 6:00 pm |

    the so called reality wee live in is already pretty trippy
    scroomz on make it a little more apparent

    yesterday I walked out my front door
    there was a rainbow that stretched from
    the mouth of the active volcano to
    the new Hawaiian island of Lōʻihi
    pretty trippy butt no scroomz involved

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