Can our society make a place for psychedelics intended not only to return people to normality (the medical model) but also to go beyond ordinary reality? If so, what might we find there? In his new book, The Psychedelic Future of the Mind: How Entheogens Are Enhancing Cognition, Boosting Intelligence, and Raising Values, Thomas B. Roberts has one answer.
So far, we have put a toe in the water by permitting limited experiments with the use of psychoactives for such curative tasks as ending alcohol abuse or assisting therapy for post-traumatic stress; by allowing marijuana to be ingested (in Colorado and Washington states) alongside some of our society’s traditional drugs of choice (such as beer, wine and hard liquor); and by legalizing the traditional use of mescaline in rituals of the Native American church and the importation of ayahausca “tea” by two churches that, after being founded in Brazil, are now represented in the U.S. Meanwhile, for a generation, according to surveys on use, a massive underground activity has continued in spite of the war on drugs.
The constraints on progress for drug reform are so many that the medical model offers a path of least resistance, forcing a wide-ranging reform organization like MAPS to focus much of its energy on validating psychedlics through medical research.
Arguably, or so I heard from participants at a conference sponsored by MAPS, one of the dangers posed by psychedelics is, by lifting the curtain around ordinary reality, to occasion doubt about authority structures built on a narrow assumption of what’s possible. Whatever dangers exist for certain people (those who are “pre-psychotic,” for example), these substances pose a challenge to the assumption that the ordinary work-a-day world is all there is, and that other worlds are distortions, distractions, or as Oliver Sacks may be taken as implying in his new book, “hallucinations.”
– Read the entire article at AlterNet.