past and future brains

THE LONDON PSYCHEDELIC DEBATES are periodic public discussions as part of the Psychedelic Socials -- one of many assertive and popular outreach programs organized by the UK Psychedelic Society.  The most recent session was the October debate:

Should everyone take psychedelics at least once?

What do you think? 

Should everyone do psychedelics at least once?  Is this kind of experience something merely peripheral like going to Patagonia (i.e. nice but not necessarily for everyone, or something fairly standard like having had sex at least once?  Or even something aspirational like regular meditation? 

This question continues to quietly divide the metamodern, liminal, transformational, developmental & regenerative communities.  Our networks seem to break up roughly into purists, pagans and technocrats: 

Purists are deeply suspicious about psychedelics.  That doesn't necessarily mean they've never tried.  They might not even have strong negative judgments about sex, drugs and Neo-Wiccan mushroom-picking sojourns but they definitely hesitate around such things.  They are emotionally attuned to a certain quality of mainstream purity that combines with classical inner practices and a pragmatic analysis of the world's current needs. 

Making real systems change (and looking for the authentic innate essence of spiritual consciousness) is so important that it should not be casually conflated with or distracted by the naive enticement of psilocybin cuddle puddles & rave culture.

Pagans (so to speak) -- regardless of how much or how little experience they have had -- normalize psychedelic usage along with progressive and celebratory attitudes toward sexuality, nature, music, art, the subconscious, etc.  They can hardly believe anyone hasn't used these obviously normal and extremely interesting substances.

Technocrats, meanwhile, are testing out innovative new psychedelics being developed internationally in corporate labs as the governments of the world begin profitable decriminalization.  Or perhaps they are working in those labs?  They are excited about curing PTSD for veterans, and accelerating human intelligence.  Maybe an extra carbon molecule is all we need to turn Iboga into a magical key for collective sapience?

Maybe you have all three inside you?  I hope so.  It is not trivial to remember that we have allies from all three blocs.  Perhaps there was a time when you could simply group tightly with your temperamental cohorts and roll your eyes at the weirdos in the other categories -- but today we need all hands on deck. 

Emerge networks are committed to the simultaneous inner & outer transformations needed to address the  “polycrisis that is a permacrisis that is a metacrisis that isn't a crisis" (Rowson).  That means that subjective metanoia & social mindset transformation remain a huge part of the mission.  This is especially true when these issues converge with laboratory science and appear to have enough corporate interest to modify the chemical habits of global citizens. 

Corporate chemical modification does not sound great but everyone is already consuming drugs in a world whose governance is organized by pressure from business lobbies.  The question is whether we are consuming carcinogenic, addictive and stultifying substances or those that increase the likelihood of trauma healing, emergent sensemaking, perspectival complexity, and new community.  It always becomes an inquiry into which substances and how they are handled.

These things aren't magical.  They have limits and dangers.  But how many other objective, fast-acting & mass-distributed tools for psychosocial complexification do we actually have at our disposal?  That's a serious question.

If the need of the current moment is to scale up inner and outer change then we are not leaving the drugs conversation behind anytime soon.  In fact, we might need to be having psychedelic debates more often and more frequently than ever.


The UK Psychedelic Society is officially a “not-for-profit worker co-operative based on the Teal principles of Frederic Laloux (in Reinventing Organizations.)  That checks out.
Words by
emerge is convening a field of metamodern praxis