Using Psychedelics to Expand Human Consciousness (by Emilio Modeste)

[ By on May 16, 2017 ]

According to a scientific experiment on the effects of psychedelics from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it was concluded that the brain limits the consciousness of the individual, and with the use of psychedelics, this consciousness is expanded and the brain submits to the effects that follow. This manifests itself through experiences of synesthesia, a dream-like state, and feeling unfamiliar senses.

A goal of many people is to discover a higher purpose in life, or to discover what role they play society, but also in the universe. Many philosophers who task themselves with developing a heightened level of self-awareness, like author Sam Harris, often experiment with psychedelics like LSD or MDMA. The question that arises from this is: Is it ethical to use drugs in order to attempt to reach a higher level of consciousness? As Harris writes, using drugs can open up a person’s perspective, but the user could also “know what it is to be clinically insane,” if things go wrong. Though he believes that the use of drugs have heightened his self awareness, he also believes that using drugs is a very risky game to play. And furthermore, do these drugs even have this effect on everyone? Anthropologist Daniel Lende notes that the euphoria caused by these psychedelics exists within the brain of the user, and if they have specific genetic dispositions to interpret these chemicals in a specific way, they may not experience the same kind of life-changing experience. Also, previous life experience can contribute to a lessened sense of euphoria, if the user has not been raised (whether it be society or household) to interpret the information sent to the brain in the same way.  For example, if one is a Christian, they might see different things than someone who is atheist, or Hindu. Another critic and anthropologist, Greg Downey, believes because society is generally against this higher level of spirituality that most users will not be able to access a point similar to Sam Harris. Does this imply that a person who has studied and practiced various religious disciplines is able to become more enlightened, and thus can also become the most enlightened of psychedelic users?

 

PNAS

NPR

Scientific American

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2 Comments on “Using Psychedelics to Expand Human Consciousness (by Emilio Modeste)”

  1. KNF

    Kelley Nicholson-Flynn

    [ May 16, 2017 at 6:13 pm ]

    You’ve identified interesting sources for this subject. Could you think about Performance Enhancing Drugs in other domains (athletics, for example)? How would this be similar to and different from those examples?

  2. KNF

    I would be interested to hear more on the question you raised in your last sentence.

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