Psychedelics, Child-Like Wonder, and the Will to Novelty

A commonly reported feature of the psychedelic experience is seeing the world with fresh eyes – as if for the first time. This has also been likened to a child-like state of wonder, where everything in the world is transformed from dull and lifeless to fascinating and animated.  While reverting back to this child-like form…

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The Meaning-Enhancing Effect of Psychedelics Can Be Both Helpful and Harmful

During a psychedelic experience, everything can appear more meaningful and significant – everything in both the outer world (what we are perceiving) and the inner world (all the thoughts and ideas we are having). Geometric hallucinations can appear deeply significant, as can spontaneous insights about ourselves, the world, and fundamental reality. Psychedelics have long been…

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How Psychedelics Can Affect People’s Career Choices and Attitudes Towards Work

An underexplored effect of psychedelics is how their use can affect both the career choices someone makes and the attitudes they have towards work in general. The LSD guru Timothy Leary famously told a countercultural audience – 30,000 hippies who gathered at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in 1967 – to “turn on, tune…

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Some Reflections on the Backlash Against Psychedelic Hype

The hype surrounding psychedelics can be characterised as an overly positive picture of the benefits of psychedelics and an attitude of overlooking, ignoring, or downplaying the harms and risks of these compounds. We can view this as Pollyannaism applied to psychedelics. The growing psychedelic industry can be seen as following the trend of the Gartner…

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Tripping Imperfectly: The Most Common Regrets of Psychonauts

In a 2021 paper published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, researchers describe how psychedelic users turn their challenging trips into valuable experiences through the particular narratives users construct around their bad trips. One crucial finding was that many users identified a lack of competence as the cause of their negative psychedelic experiences. This…

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