Recently on Aeon.com Sam Haselby asked “Do you think taking psychedelics will ever become a completely mainstream experience?”
Here’s my reply:
Psychedelics are becoming (increasingly) mainstream — and as they do, the notion of what mainstream actually is, changes, because psychedelics change people and they change culture, often for the better. In other words, as psychedelics become mainstream, the mainstream becomes “alternative”. A kind of Möbius strip-return trip ;) of humanity and culture. The visionary experience — for healing, celebration, divination — has been part of our humanity since day one. It’s up there with sex, food, hunting, gathering, community, religion, music, art and technology.
The simple fact that there’s more people on the planet means there’s more people using psychedelics than ever before. So we’re seeing a good ol’ tipping point of psychedelic activity.
Yet, it’s not as though ayahuasca will ever become the new coffee, or magic mushrooms the new snack — the psychedelic/entheogenic experience is accompanied by ritual and ceremony, and so this too comes into greater being. However, while ritual and ceremony may show up as waves or cycles, or “trends” like mindfulness, meditation, healthy eating, ecological awareness, and diverse forms of spirituality — it may also show up as “regulation” and commodification. Which, if wielded with ill intent or unconsciously, a regulatory, consumerist mainstream influence can wind up representing the dark side of the psychedelic experience; the bad trip, brujeria, black magic, and other bummers.
Like most things these days, it’s up to us — it’s in our hands, our hearts, our minds, our souls, and it’s our responsibility. Seems to me every time I engage psychedelics, the visionary plant medicines in particular, I get the sense (as many people do) that these are the things that radically change our minds, beautiful change the world, help us heal the planet and our place in it.
So I’m all for it.