Posted by: Steve Coplan | July 18, 2006

Opening the doors of perception.

From an empirical point of view, I’d say it’s difficult to conclude with certainty that munching magic mushrooms makes you any more receptive to the sublime, as this study suggests. Given that it touches on the debate on the limits of the state to dictate or regulate what any individual ingests as well as the fairly well-established proclivity for human beings to get high, the study has attacted its fair share of attention.

What’s interesting to note is how selective the lead researcher was in defining his test group: all had what is referred to in the literature as “active spiritual practices”. In other words, he was stacking the deck. Also, he was building on a significant body of research, albeit conducted on an anthropological basis. Still, I believe that it’s an important debate to have when the war on drugs has an abysmal failure and created narco-states across the globe. Magic mushrooms are hardly big business, but having a rational debate about their utility and risks is a step in the right direction.

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