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…

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Soft Animism: Embracing the Aliveness of Nature Without Belief in Spirits

Soft animism is a term I use to refer to an acceptance of the animistic ethic, sensibility, and mode of perception but a rejection of the belief in spirits that reside in nature. Alternative terms for this position could include weak animism and naturalised animism (the latter emphasising that this is a form of animism…

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Oneness, Duality, and the Dominant Narrative of Mystical Experience

For many of the influential philosophers and psychologists who have studied mystical experiences, the feeling of unity or oneness is an essential feature of these states. Thinkers have described the unitive experience in different ways: as the unification of opposites or the union of oneself with the outside world, the entire universe, ultimate reality, or…

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The Mistake of Viewing Psychedelics as a Panacea for Mental Distress

As much as psychedelics hold great promise in alleviating all kinds of psychological distress, they are not a mental health panacea, which they are sometimes touted to be. Based on positive media stories surrounding psychedelic research and anecdotal reports of people being forever cured of chronic, severe mental illnesses, it’s easy to get the impression…

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