In 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.