To the Field
A letter. Part three of four.
In this open letter, I will be sharing why I left the psychedelic movement and what I see as some of its major foundational problems.
But first I want to talk about people I love.
I don’t know who of my friends and colleagues consider themselves as part of a movement, versus simply being passionate about psychedelics, but I know I still love them.
Last week, I learned of my friend’s death from a community I love, and it brought me back to that magical period of my life I knew him from. It was not my first psychedelic naivete, nor what Paul Ricoeur called a fully seasoned second naivete, but my second “first naivete” in psychedelics, this time with psychedelic religion. Everything in my psychedelic work from that time felt truer than true. When I think of friends who had deep addictions and got a lifeline from psychedelics, my heart softens all over again. When I think of the people, like myself, who felt like they had something of a spiritual awakening, I rejoice with them.
I’ve also been reflecting more on my time as a chaplain intern at a Veterans Affairs hospital. I remember having fervent hope that one day people with crippling PTSD could get healing from life-robbing illness with MDMA and other psychedelics. I still think many will, with more time and more rigorous science. Thinking on still more stories of others with other forms of mental illness given new leases on life with other psychedelics, I celebrate them all.
With or without psychedelics, I want people to be as free as they can of whatever traps that bind them, accepting the limits of our humanity that we’re stuck with.
So when psychedelics are an agent of freedom, I want that. And when they awaken people to a spiritual life, I want that for them too. And where I see that, I rejoice in that.
This is why it’s been heartbreaking that, over the last six months, what I’ve sensed was not liberation, nor awakening, but a movement falling further into its own traps.
Because the more critically I started to look, deconstructing all my prior assumptions, the more I saw people lose prior addictions only to develop new spiritual and psychological ones, or get an insight into one trauma only to be retraumatized into another. I have learned of more friends and acquaintances who developed neurological and psychological issues in environments they were told were perfectly safe. I have learned there were way more abusive stories than I knew. I think I have always had an ambient awareness of such stories, but denied the implications of what their stories meant for my participation in the movement.
More disturbingly, I began to realize there was already awareness of the issues among the most vocal psychedelic proponents. Most of them, but not all, routinely failed to translate their private awareness into raising public awareness. It made me lose faith in the state of the movement’s moral and intellectual center, that it either lacks critical thinking or has developed a complex that justifies paternalistic information manipulation. I now believe that as long as there’s been a psychedelic movement, this misinformation has been abundant.
I personally began feeling like I had been misled and betrayed, even though I believe many of these leaders—who are also people—sometimes are just genuinely ignorant. Despite this, and despite however spiritually unbecoming it may be, I have gotten angry when I witness movement leaders justify misinformation and minimize raising awareness around abuse.
Whatever liberatory potential lies in psychedelics, whether medical treatment or spiritual awakening or simple joy, I am for. Whatever new traps and new prisons lie within them, I am against. All I can do is to try to sort it all out and to share information and perspectives that I think will help set the people I love—and the ones I have a hard time loving—free. And I can only do that from a place of cognitive liberty.
Movements and Fields
Despite this letter’s title, this is not a letter to those who are already in the psychedelic field, as in, those who participate in psychedelics as a field of inquiry with more live questions than sure answers. They have far beaten me to the punch, and have been vocal critics of hype longer than me. This is a letter to those who identify as part of an overconfident psychedelic movement.
When I criticize a movement, I am criticizing the social contagion that is, essentially, a force that works on, in, and through humans, but is not human itself. Not all movements are made equal. A healthy spiritual movement is something more than the sum of its parts; an unhealthy movement is less than the humanity of the people caught up in it. Therefore, I am attempting to avoid criticizing anyone’s personhood, but I will be very critical of the powers and principalities that make us forget our personhood.
In short, I believe the best way to subvert these powers degrading psychedelia is for more people to move from a “movement mindset” to a “field mindset.”
At times in this letter, my perspective might sound personally damning of all who are visible psychedelic professionals, or all who advocate for psychedelic benefits. To help parse this out, I’m going to recognize and reference many people that I would consider as part of a field mindset who also believe in some psychedelic benefits. Though perhaps this is not so clean either, because people may slip back and forth from feeling alive in a field to being lost in a movement, while others may consider themselves as part of both at once.
As for me, I know I used to be in the movement, and I do not know that I ever truly was or am in the field; if so, I am just on the border between it and a forest beyond.
A field is open. It has natural equipoise. It is invitational. It is so naturally spacious that space doesn’t even have to be made. It can accommodate small organizations and large ones without compromising its structural integrity. People have space for emotions, even to shout. It is non-hierarchical because it is not trying to lead anyone anywhere with any intention. It just is.
With these traits, true fields foster intellectual curiosity and ethical integrity. As such, fields have first principles that lead us wherever those principles will.
In contrast, a movement loudly seduces and silently coerces people into unconscious conformity, privately imposes certainty, with aims that eventually erode the principles of its people. Movements become insistent and aggressive, both overtly and covertly. Movements corrode the humanity of its members in favor of ideological idolatry (or “ideolotry”). Movements are not transparent, but deliberately opaque behind the wall of their energy. Movements are not curious. A movement resists criticism and promote manipulation of the truth, because it sees itself as truer than truth.
Of course, in spite of the costs accrued by their dynamics, some movements are good and necessary to expand rights. This is why in spite of my fears, I am in favor of a broad-based drug decriminalization movement. It is specific in its political goals, temporary, with harm reduction aims, not driven by greed, and often led by people who themselves are not drug users. I think decriminalization can, already is, and should be further decoupled from the psychedelic movement writ large. One can even think drug use is completely harmful and still support decriminalization. In my view, making this case would be a far better use of movement-like energy towards reducing harm and building a political coalition. Decriminalization would also alleviate many of the incentives driving the worst problems of the psychedelic movement.
The vast majority of people who use psychedelics are not part of the psychedelic movement, though they may be misled by its PR. They are recreational users, private journeyers, or independent religious groups not trying to convince more people to join them. Some of them may have some stakes and identity as part of the movement insofar as they are sharing joy and seeking legal protections. I do not chide any of these psychedelic users, all of whom are counting on a robust psychedelic field in order to have informed consent for their personal practice.
But I have come to believe that most, but not all, psychedelic scientists and advocates are caught in the pyschedelic movement mindset. This mindset seduces and leads to much, but not all, contemporary psychedelic science to be geared towards creating legitimacy rather than pursuing truth. Unfortunately, this has made it impossible for me to trust most psychedelic science.
Frankly, I’m not saying anything that generations of psychedelic scientists themselves have not already observed. In Acid Revival, sociologist Danielle Giffort studies the history of the psychedelic research world that for decades has been torn between field and movement in attempting to overcome the psychedelic legitimacy hangover. Based off interviews with the researchers themselves, Giffort describes how researchers have constantly battled against the Timothy Leary “impure scientist” reputation of psychedelic research. To do this, they have worked hard to avoid the appearance of being seen as driven by the movement, while still quietly very much believing in it.1 Such scientists seek to “perform sobriety” while being pulled and seduced by movement forces. For instance, one scientist claims in both Acid Revival and in How to Change Your Mind to identify as a “sober and conservative” scientist, only to then admit to sharing misleading graphics that promote hype because it “looks good on Twitter.”
A field mindset that simply performs objectivity for the sake of advancing the psychedelic cause is not a true field mindset, just a more deceitful expression of a movement mindset. A true field mindset, not just among scientists but among all psychedelic organizations, is one that is not simply at tension with movement forces, but actively rejects them, because the cost is good science that makes or breaks human lives. And I know there are many psychedelic scientists who do care about this, not only because they love science, but because they love people getting reliable information.
These movement and field dynamics apply to my field of religious studies, too. It may be futile to protest against a religious movement, but I can ask that more people with a religious belief in psychedelics take a pause to consider how they are swept up in similar movement dynamics in their own contexts. What are the hidden costs of treating religious psychedelic use as something to be evangelical about? Which movement-driven forces may be unconsciously influencing your psychedelic religious beliefs?
For a field to be a field and resist movement dynamics, it requires the inclusion and circulation of voices who stand at odds with each other in commitments and identities but remain in dialogue, such as Sidney Cohen in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. A proper contemporary psychedelic field would be made more complete with a few more prominent people opposed to their use altogether, for they would serve as a worthy adversarial check and balance on proponents’ assumptions. In the long run, this would allow an honest movement to fully understand what it is actually moving towards. A movement that cannot tolerate dissent cannot learn from it, much less integrate it.
Why am I so passionate about this field and movement thing? Because I believe it is the dynamics of the movement that have caused and continue to cause harm to countless people, especially victims of abuse, and including moral injury to the people caught in the movement mindset themselves.
To be clear, I know I’m a late arrival to the field party, but the social pressures and bad ideas of movement mindset remain persistent and stickiest in private psychedelic conversations and the public mind.
Now that I’ve left the movement, I don’t know that I will stay in the field, but at least for today, I have a few things to give to it, beginning with the story of my life’s latest disillusionment.
My Last Six Months
As a psychedelic explorer for over a decade, and someone in the professional psychedelic world for only about four or five years, I am grateful for the opportunities provided to me and the friendships I’ve made. Naturally, I should also have some gratitude for psychedelics themselves. As I have written, they offered what were some of the most course-altering experiences of my life.
But when I began researching untold histories and more critical perspectives of psychedelics, I started seriously wrestling with how many of these course alterations were actually good for me. Simultaneously, what became more clear is that the psychedelic movement has some serious problems with the truth and informing users enough to know what they are doing. Simply put, there were so many awful stories that had been memory-holed, forgotten, or dismissed, that I could not experience this as anything other than deeply amnesiac at best, innocently self-deceived and naive on balance, and propagandistic at its worst. This bears out in my own personal life, where in telling the story I told myself and told others, I conveniently omitted my personal failings, psychologically destabilizing trips, and poor decision-making that were influenced by psychedelic use.
I grew up Christian, and I am again, but I am glad I went through disenchantment with it. Disenchantment isn’t bad, and deconstruction is natural the more we learn about the complexities of anything and see the sausage factory up close. And for a time, I still had a faint belief in the movement as a movement, and I still had some hope in the merits of my particular affiliate groups and organizations. But ultimately I decided I could not stay in those organizations either.
James Kent, a 30-year veteran of psychedelics, describes a long-running psychedelic legitimization imperative in his Dosenation podcast. This imperative has led to decades of inconvenient stories being ritually dismissed, and after learning enough of these, I came to see the psychedelic legitimization movement as manipulative, and that it had manipulated me.
Realizing I had been swept up in a movement and unable to discern what was true about psychedelics led me to leave all my psychedelic involvements and divest myself of the psychedelic movement in early April. 2 However many biases I retain—and we all have them—I can at least speak as an agent free of any psychedelic organizational commitments. And I can still speak with love for the friendships I’ve made and compassion for the personhood of the people in the movement, if still frustration and anger at some of their actions.
I haven’t seen every psychedelic scenario, but I’ve experienced a decent variety of structured and unstructured settings over 12 years, from private and personal to small groups of friends to larger religious ceremonies to strictly therapeutic, taking them everywhere from concerts and festivals and living rooms and hikes and air-conditioned sanctuaries and temple tarps barely holding back the wind—still my personal favorite. After all that time, it was exciting to see psychedelics explode in interest over the past few years.
In more recent months, with this latest hype-wave growing inversely to my cynicism, I began coming to grips with my culpability for a number of experiences where I feel lucky to have escaped, suffered mental health issues, risked the safety of others, or otherwise acted immaturely, and my culpability of not being honest about those experiences.
And so with all this, I am worried about how many people will be harmed, because I hate how this movement treats people it has harmed.
The Abuse Was Just the Beginning
For those of you who have kept up with me on my other newsletter, you’ll know my soul searching began in response to the reporting in Cover Story by Lily Kay Ross and Dave Nickles. The podcast covered sexual abuse in the clinical trials conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and its atrociously insufficient responses, in particular, to the harm inflicted upon Meaghan Buisson and others in their clinical trials.
(As an aside, I am happy to say there is a bit of good news on this front—Health Canada has ordered a halt to an MDMA trial, where “deficiencies were noted in conducting the clinical trial in keeping with good clinical practices … [and] in the completeness, accuracy or availability of the required records.”)
The reporting on this story was a key turning point for me to start asking more critical questions and to start discovering just how rampant abuse was. But this did not, by itself, cause me to divest from the psychedelic movement.
No, if I thought such abuse and accountability allergies were truly isolated, and things like the alleged financial elder abuse of a Holocaust survivor by a MAPS Board member were statistical noise of something otherwise good, I probably would have gotten right back on the caboose of the hype train, and this epistle might have been just another choo-choo.
What gave me even greater pause about my place in the movement was when I started to examine the impulsive reactions and justifications within myself. These included the impulse to minimize, shoot the messengers rather than address the message, and create justifications on behalf of the institution doing the harm. I now see my moral confusions as symptoms of movement mindset thinking. Perhaps they are natural reactions, but I feel awful about them and repent of them. I am sorry I did not take them seriously sooner.
But let me take another step further—for all the talk I sometimes hear about how psychedelics can bring us in touch with our authentic selves, when I examine those reactions to abuse, I could not help but feel something inauthentic to our humanity.
President Nixon himself could scarcely deny that psychedelics enhance creativity. It makes sense, then, that psychedelic institutions often have an open culture of bending workplace norms and finding creative solutions to get psychedelics mainstreamed. Yet suddenly, when it comes to helping victims of psychedelic abuse that happened under their care, psychedelic institutions are all out of creativity.
I am still in the process of taking inventory of my psychedelic healing, growth, and spiritual insight compared to my pain, stagnation, and new traps of pseudospirituality. These traps had a negative impact on my relationships, my communities, and myself. As is difficult with any self-reflection, I am still sorting out what was a “me problem,” what was a “me and psychedelics problem,” or what might be a more universal problem with psychedelic use.
What I am confident is not just a “me problem” is how psychedelics impact the relationship between our consciousness and unconscious minds on a more fundamental level.
Tribal Messianic Complex
I believe there is a real danger that psychedelic use exacerbates unconscious grandiosity, and that this shows up in the movement’s collective grandiosities.
In particular, I am concerned about a prominent tribal Messianic complex that believes psychedelics will save the world, making the psychedelic movement the carriers of this salvation. This complex believes itself to be the enlightened group to save the rest of humanity from its (admittedly, many) spiritual failings and mental health problems.
I find this group Messianic complex is most evident in statements that say things like psychedelics will create “net zero trauma” in 2050 and “spiritualize humanity” by 2070, beliefs that continue to go publicly uncontested in the psychedelic movement by any other prominent leader in the movement. I personally will contest them on the grounds that the ideas express religious chauvinism and a fundamental misapprehension of human nature.
Whenever this kind of tribal Messianic complex shows up in any religious group, it begins to believe its version of spirituality is so self-evidently true that misinformation, violence, and coercion are justified, as well as minimizing and covering up abuse. This kind of unconscious inflation is the same unconscious grandiosity that led to Christian colonization and genocide, as well as any number of mass movement horrors.
I know not every psychonaut holds this tribal Messianic belief on an individual level, and few would say violence is justified, but this is describing in broad strokes what I see as the movement’s shadow. It is healthy and normal for groups to believe they have something unique to offer the world. What makes for a dangerous Messianic complex is believing that your group will save the world, and this kind of rhetoric has been all over Western psychedelia since the mid-20th century. I believe this leads to the moral failings and propagandistic public messaging we see.
Political Science: Public Relations Over Public Safety
As Rick Doblin has admitted, MAPS doesn’t do science, but does “political science,” a type of movement mindset that is primarily interested in successful narratives. This does not even mention the widely-observed problems of capitalism, academia social dynamics, the replication crisis, and the file drawer effect that pervade psychological research not done by scientists with spiritual beliefs in their molecules. Those issues make mundane and dispassionate science difficult, much less religious science.
It is fine if people want to experiment without knowing all the risks. That is inherent to psychedelic history. And there are people in the psychedelic field who are honest about the known knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns.
But the psychedelic movement mindset consistently shows it is far more interested in public relations than public safety. How to Change Your Mind arriving on Netflix is a “peak experience” of psychedelic hype in this vein. It describes itself as a “clear-eyed” assessment but drastically overstates evidence and omits important history. To just name a few, there is a detailed thread by Sasha Sisko showing many errors in the series, and Del Potter noted its questionable treatment of Maria Sabina.
Movement mindset keeps the general public in the dark about these scientific, historical, and social ambiguities. This does not mean I think individuals are always intentionally manipulative. Sometimes it is difficult to tell when people are just genuinely caught up in the hype, or unable to discern good research from bad. But sometimes they feel justified in “fighting drug war misinformation” by creating imbalanced misinformation of their own. Either way, the end result is a public misinformed.
The movement may continue to ignore and deflect these issues—even if the individuals within them acknowledge them privately. But I encourage all of us to have far more skepticism towards the often questionable scientific findings, whose problems are more numerous than the miracle narratives suggest.
A False Sense of Security
Given the abundance of known unknowns and unknown unknowns, I continue to take issue with those in the movement who irresponsibly promise psychedelics are absolutely “safe” experiences. I believe this, too, is a symptom of movement mindset.
It is one thing to be able to promise relative physical safety, i.e. having a safe supply, rigorous health screening, and a setting that is well-staffed in a space minimizing physical risks. But nobody can actually promise holistically safe experiences; in 2022, there is no such thing as guaranteed safety with psychedelics, even in the most controlled clinical settings. That doesn’t mean one has to declare they are unsafe, it just remains unclear. It is not clear what actually makes for a psychologically safer container for a Western mindset—Kent has argued that the raver and Burner perspective might even be psychologically safer than a clinic or a ceremony because the user is holding the experiences lightly instead of with great import.
To this point, as Shayla Love wrote in her recent article on telepathy research in the early psychedelic movement, there are a lot of questions around the ethics of psychedelics inducing belief changes. To quote a few scientists in the piece, Phil Corlett asks, “Can you even consent to undergoing a procedure that's going to fundamentally change the type of person that you are?” David Yaden notes, “In terms of consent and prep, I think absolutely we need to address these a lot more—the more anomalous experiences and resulting beliefs.” As William Smith and Dominic Esti remark, “Peculiar features of psychedelics pose certain novel risks, which warrant an enhanced informed consent process–one that is more comprehensive than what may be typical for other psychiatric medications.”
A field mindset can raise and consider these questions as serious reasons to pause. A movement mindset ignores them and charges ahead with action.
Further, a movement mindset likely underestimates how many bad trips actually happen due to simple social dynamics. When an experience goes poorly, the groupthink within the movement creates pressure for people not to tell their stories of genuinely psychologically and spiritually harmful experiences, including gaslighting them that their experiences weren’t that bad. I know of many people to whom this applies, and who I sympathize with, and who I obviously won’t out.
Again, in lieu of solid data about the long-term psychological and spiritual health unknowns of psychedelics, it is one thing for people and groups to privately decide whether such risks are worth it to continue their psychedelic exploration on their own. But overstating the evidence of benefits and omitting the risk—including the high risk for abuse and personality change by practitioners, researchers, and anyone administering you a high-suggestibility drug in their ontology—does not give people informed consent.
Science and Spirituality
Kent has noted there is a persistent “law of unintended consequences” that is absent from contemporary psychedelic discussions. I see them as subsumed by movement mindset. These consequences run from deeply delusional thinking of psychedelic heroes to gruesome psychedelic-induced violence, but there are also broader historical considerations of earlier non-psychedelic movements that combined (often questionable) science and spirituality.
Jules Evans has covered the history of spiritual eugenics that were popular in pre-psychedelic movements, including Aldous Huxley’s brother Julian. In Christianity, the Social Gospel was an early 20th-century movement that largely wedded progressive Christianity and science with the hopes that science could bring about the kingdom of God, which was also in enthusiastic support of eugenics. Reports of far-right psychedelic subcultures, as reported in this paper by Brian Pace and Neşe Devenot and as observed in the infamous “QAnon Shaman,” should also give a movement further pause.
A question then lingers with me: does this movement think of itself as a scientific movement or a spiritual movement, or both?
If the latter, do we judge a spiritual or religious movement by how it champions its successes or how it treats those it harms? Do we judge it by its stories of glory or by its commitment to telling the uncomfortable truth? Do we judge it by how certain it is of its inevitable victory, or do we judge it by how it humbles itself in the face of its own failure?
Similarly, do we judge a scientific movement by how confident it is in its hypotheses? Or do we judge it by how rigorously it treats itself with skepticism?
And if a psychedelic institution claims to be a scientific organization with a spiritual mission—or a spiritual organization that is scientifically informed—then a commitment to the truth at the sacrifice of its own power is what would bring legitimacy. A commitment to institutional self-defense and narrative manipulation brings ephemeral gains, but sacrifices its scientific mind and spiritual integrity. And in the end, despite short-term gains, these symptoms of movement mindset spell the death of the institution.
To the Field
A field doesn’t have to stop having a fondness for psychedelics. It just doesn’t pretend to know where it’s going, with the hubris of self-assured Messianic ends to justify corrosive means. A field mindset simply explores and studies one part of our natural, spiritual world. To be in a field is to stand in open inquiry, where all assumptions can be questioned, where conversation can happen between independent thinkers with equipoise and ontological agnosticism.
A movement needs to convince other people to join it, but a field can just be whatever the hell weird thing it is, and let the truth it finds be naturally persuasive. And if a field is unable to live according to truth, it is not really a field at all, but a means for accumulating power.
Reforming a movement mindset into a field mindset does not require anything more radical than a perspective shift person-by-person. Structurally, it can happen within the existing conference ecosystem. Some conferences are already more field-like than others in rigor and candor. But having been to a few myself, and in reading reports, I believe many-to-most are little more than movement-gathering events that, frankly, can feel like cult recruitment.3
To be sure, there is little point in complaining about the existence of movements any more than the reality of hurricanes. A movement, like a hurricane, is mindless, possessed by an unconscious but natural force. An unintentional and unconscious movement necessarily invites an equally unconscious countermovement, and perhaps that is what the psychedelic movement is as a response to the War on Drugs. Without a greater shift, I find it likely that the failings of the present movement will birth another counter-movement before all is said and done. And I would not bet everything on short-term psychedelic inevitability.
To make space for movement and counter-movement energies to dissipate, I believe in a field open enough and confident enough to include voices that don’t think people should be taking psychedelics at all. And this has been the case before: as Giffort reports, in 1979, a group of the most prominent LSD researchers gathered in a Los Angeles living room to describe what went wrong with the first wave. Among those in attendance was Sidney Cohen, who by that point was the chief government spokesperson against the use of drugs, sharing his perspective on mistakes made.4 This is field mindset at its best.
Skeptics are the white blood cells against the idolatries of the mind, including the idea that promoting psychedelic use is a worthy movement in and of itself. I don’t think it is. But this is not a contradiction with the belief that psychedelics can do good. I know they can.
I continue thinking of my friends I love in this movement.
I love all my friends, and I want them to have no fear of imprisonment, and I want religious freedom for sincere and ethical religious practice. And because I love them, I also want them to be free of the powers and principalities of a movement mindset.
I also think of the basic dignity of all human beings who wish to alter their consciousness, even when I think it can be misguided, harmful, and not liberating. A manipulative psychedelic movement is not actually in support of their dignity or respect, but disrespects and indignifies everyone it misleads, and puts them at more risk than they know.
If there is anyone reading who has felt unable to speak their mind to the room’s elephants, if you hear nothing else, hear this—rediscovering the freedom to think and speak for one’s self apart from any commitment to a movement is treasure beyond measure.
Rather than living in a movement’s shadow of manipulation, I hope more people will move to the field. You can still believe in psychedelics from there—or not! But the unconscious mind of the movement does not trust even its own members to handle uncomfortable truth, and so it does not care about your true cognitive liberty. Its incentives and dynamics overwhelm all caught in it. It has an entrapping mind of its own.
Divest yourself from the tribal Messianic complex of the movement and apply Leary’s advice back on psychedelia: think for yourself. Question psychedelic authority. Demonstrate that you are willing to be critical thinkers of the movement’s questionable practices by developing a stronger scientific and spiritual ethos of your own. Like many mentioned in this letter, and those I didn’t have space to mention, you can stand out in the psychedelic field by offering more honesty to the public than the movement is willing.
Whether in a movement or a field, I encourage anyone to be in service to something greater than psychedelics. And I hope people choose wisely—there’s a religious argument to be made that even devotion to something as important as “healing” can become an idolatrous intention. Ultimately, if we serve no higher purpose than serving psychedelics, we will be willing to sacrifice the humanity of others for the sake of psychedelics, and in doing so, sacrifice our own humanity.
I give thanks for all the people I love who are still in the movement. And I give thanks for those who have been in the field a long time, telling the truth as best they understand it. What they’ve given me has been less comfortable but just as important as any trip I’ve taken.
For anyone who finds themselves lost in the movement, know that there is much more space, and freedom, in the field.
This is part three of a four-part series. In part one, I talked about how psychonauts rob each other when we do not risk telling the truth. In part two, I talked about the possibility that psychedelics fuel unconscious grandiosity. In part four, I share what I find to be the most promising long-term ideas in psychedelics.
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Giffort, Danielle, Acid Revival, 13.
My previous organizational commitments were Ligare, a Christian non-profit, and Sacred Plant Alliance, a group of underground churches originally sponsored by the Chacruna Institute. I also spoke on and produced panels for Chacruna and Harvard Divinity School, and conducted an interview with Rick Doblin in 2019 for my now-retired podcast. I currently have two previously scheduled speaking engagements for the Fall, though I believe I can speak with integrity from the field rather than as part of a movement.
In disclosure, I am a bit of a hypocrite here, because I had an opportunity to help plan a conference last year, and instead of helping effect this change, I passed on it when I was beginning to get disenchanted.