I can’t even believe how many articles about psychedelics there are everywhere I look these days. I see exactly nothing bad about any of this. That being said, when anything gets excessively popular, it then also typically gets excessively over commercialized and dumb in a way. I will say that a lot of the articles on psychedelics I run into have been sounding the same for a while here, which is what’s great about this piece. It’s a guy actually sort of calling bullshit on the stuffy button down approach currently being taken in the academic world. From the Huffington Post:
“The official U.S. response to classic psychedelics has been primarily a defense of existing normality. The response was aroused, for example, by the “drop out” kicker in Tim Leary’s famous motto (“turn on, tune in, drop out”). It was shaped by perceived links to social disarray caused by claims of equality from blacks, women, people dismissed as shiftless, and foreigners who resented intervention (such as in Vietnam).
My own introduction to the “drug” issue came from a college student when I was a teaching assistant at Stanford in a course on personality theory. It was back in the late 1960s. “I was told this pill is really great,” this student reported being assured at a frat party. “Swallow it and get ready for a really good time.” He didn’t even ask what the pill was said to be, much less seek data on what it actually contained. He just swallowed. LSD was soon made illegal. (As we will see below, this was far from an ideal set and setting.)
When U.S. research on psychedelics was allowed to resume, decades later, it was largely for projects that explored medicinal uses, which aim to restore a person to—you guessed it—normality. Has most of society been afraid not only of party drugs, but also of the experience of awe? Awe is regarded as okay for the occasional mystic, who may even be elevated to sainthood (for example, Francis of Assisi, after whom the current Pope chose to be named), but it arouses suspicion when people talk to birds. That’s weird.
Nobody wants vast criminal syndicates, users do not want the risk of impure drugs (with dangerous molecules sometimes being sold as “Ecstasy”), nobody wants their children thrown in prison for smoking pot while good burghers drive their cars to a bar to get plastered, nobody wants to pay higher taxes to keep non-violent young people locked up, and researchers do not want prohibitions on research about amazing substances, even if they were not widely used. But anything in defense of normality.
The big question is whether we’re ever going to find a way to integrate awe into lives that are otherwise normal, to tolerate a regime under which people can, if they want, suspend ordinary reality in a safe and beneficial way. At least since 1954, when Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception gave us that brilliant writer’s account of his trip on a classic psychedelic, explorers have tried to bridge the gap between their direct experience and the views of the majority who weren’t burdened by personal encounters with awe but who, with the help of the media, knew what they believed.”
Read the rest over at the lefty fake news mecca that is the Huffington Post and know that just like me, that dude got paid nothing to write that. Breitbart pays well above industry standard I might point out.
It’s a good article but as mentioned in the headline, he just doesn’t go far enough. Look, I don’t want to knock anybody in academia who’s taking this on as I thought it would be impossible to do so back in the early 2000’s and gave up. But we know we’re marketing this concept of psychedelic medicine precisely because academia is so rigid right? Keep doing it, it’s working, but please. Psychedelics aren’t medicine, they’re religion. This shit ain’t psychiatry, it’s shamanism. Until we can accept that, we’re only going so far with this stuff. Dreams are the next horizon.
Which is why it’s important for people outside of the sterile rigidity of academia’s halls to take just as much of a lead on this front. Computers would have never taken off in a University setting and I think the same thing applies to the future of psychedelics and psi in general, purely because of the inherent bias that exists in that environment. Academics can only study what the mystics imply. We have to continue to imply the perceived impossible and demonstrate its imminent plausibility. I’m on it.