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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Potential Trap of Spiritual Highs

I’ve been thinking recently about this idea of ‘spiritual highs’ becoming a trap – something that can become one’s focus in life, to the detriment of other areas of life. The result of chasing spiritual highs ultimately becomes a barrier to personal growth, or ‘spiritual development’.  I came across this Tweet that got me thinking…

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