Psychedelics and the Experience of the Sublime

The connection between psychedelics and philosophy isn’t made too often, despite the fact that there are multitudinous ways in which the psychedelic experience can relate to, challenge, contextualise, and add weight to various philosophical ideas and theories. There is, however, a definite history to the philosophy of psychedelics, with writers such as William James and…

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Book Review: Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon

Star Maker (1937) is a sci-fi novel written by British writer Olaf Stapledon. It describes the rich tapestry of cosmic evolution, surpassing in scale his previous novel First and Last Men (1930), which details the history of humanity from the present day back to two million years ago. Star Maker tells the story of a…

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How to Distinguish Between a Religious Experience and Psychosis

There are possibly many ways in which we can define a religious experience. We need to ask ourselves: what features should such an experience exemplify? There is also a difficulty in trying to ascertain whether a certain experience is pathological in nature. For reasons which will become clear, I will be using the term religious…

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Sigmund Freud’s Perspective on the Mystical Experience

In 1927, the French dramatist Romain Rolland wrote a letter to the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, in which he coined the phrase ‘oceanic feeling’. It is oceanic because the experience seems to be “without perceptible limits”. Rolland believed that this feeling of ‘the eternal’ was a religious feeling independent of any organised religion, but…

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