Explaining the Aesthetic Dimension of Nature

It may seem intuitive, in evolutionary terms, why we would find natural settings attractive and appealing. The biologist Edward O. Wilson argued that humans possess a trait called biophilia (fondness for nature, or an innate tendency to seek connections and affiliations with nature and other forms of life), which he argued makes sense evolutionarily. It…

View Post

Deliriants and Spirituality: AA Founder Bill Wilson’s Path to Sobriety

Many members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) may not be aware that the organisation’s founder, Bill Wilson, was an advocate of LSD. This may seem like a strange fact, given that for AA members, achieving ‘sobriety’ tends to mean total abstinence not just from alcohol but all mind-altering substances. However, Wilson – based on his own…

View Post

Neophilia and Neologisms: The Psychology Behind Inventing New Words

The human species has often been referred to as neophilic, or novelty-loving. For evolutionary reasons (i.e. being incentivised to be nomadic, or to search for – and explore –  new surroundings), we tend to respond to new stimuli in a positive way – with intrigue, interest, curiosity, and satisfaction. Our species has been deemed so…

View Post

Altering Consciousness Without Drugs: My Experience With Psychedelic Breathwork

There are many reasons why someone may want to alter their consciousness without drugs: legality, safety, more controllability, and fewer side effects. Humans have also long engaged in non-drug methods for altering consciousness, including meditation, fasting, chanting, drumming, and dancing. The Czech psychiatrist and LSD researcher Stan Grof developed a mind-altering technique called holotropic breathwork…

View Post

Asemic Writing in Shaun Tan’s Graphic Novel ‘The Arrival’

The Arrival (2006) by Shaun Tan is a wordless graphic novel (which can be read here) that tells the story of an immigrant’s life in an imaginary world. It consists of small, medium, and large panels – as well as pages of full artwork – depicting a world that sometimes resembles our own but which…

View Post