Mental illness and psychedelics seem to go hand in hand in the common discourse.
Their capacity to impact positive change in the lives of those suffering from mental illness, and even their capacity to heal it entirely is the medicalized road to their modern legitimization, but what about the discussion around psychedelics causing mental illness; psychotic episodes, transient hypomania, and even full-blown psychosis?
Discussion on the risks of psychedelics is present in the reporting and research; indeed, most responsible and even quasi-responsible people will ensure you know this risk is real. Their capacity for risk, however, often feels obligatory and penciled-in for some sort of plausible deniability or perhaps to try and convince people not to jump on the psychedelic bandwagon and become a threat to the legitimization campaign.
We can’t have people going off the rail while we are working so hard to get this psychedelic ship birthed in Western society!
People do go off the rails though, a lot of people, some of the most famous psychedelic spokes-people have gone off the rail, has psychotic episodes, and some were never the same afterward. Terence McKenna, for a famous example, the psychedelic anti-guru of the modern underground, the man at the root of #5DGISD freaked out and stopped taking mushrooms for the rest of his life.
What about those people lost and confused and bewildered, those who did go offer the rails? Who do they have to talk to? Mostly no one as very few people are talking about this. Even the psychedelic underground (e.g. Reddit, Facebook groups, and YouTube) tends to shame, guilt and ostracize people who speak out or even try to claim psychedelics have harmed them. They are blamed for doing it to themselves and even told they are harming legitimization (harming all of us) by speaking out and to shut up and go away.
I know this is a real scenario as I have witnessed it happening, even directly. After I wrote about my off-the-rails (or as I like to call it “full-scale freak-out”) with Ayahuasca, I began getting emails from many people who had gone through similar issues and felt ostracized, alienated and victim-blamed by the psychedelic community when they reached out for help. I even had a friend tell me in private that others in our direct psychedelic community were attacking and shaming me for speaking out against “Mother Ayahuasca”.
This scenario is problematic, to say the least, and barely scratches the surface of the issues it represents. How do we expect to legitimize and integrate psychedelics into the modern world if we leave our wounded behind and pretend we didn’t see them?
Thankfully, this trend is starting to shift and more and more people are coming out and talking about this. One such person is the guest for this episode of the Adventures Through The Mind podcast, James Kent.
He has been studying psychedelics for over twenty-five years. He was the editor of Psychedelic Illuminations Magazine, publisher of Trip Magazine, and founder of DoseNation.com. His book, Psychedelic Information Theory, is an examination of the physical processes behind psychedelic hallucination. His latest project is the final ten episodes of the DoseNation podcast, where he explores the darker side of psychedelics and the psychedelic community.
His Final Ten Episodes Of DoseNation is an unapologetic and unbarred exploration of his questions criticisms, and exposures of the psychedelic culture from his 25 years of immersion and his first-hand experiences of psychosis, psychotic episodes, and even ketamine addiction.
I am happy to have him on the show to explore some of these themes as not only do I consider them essential for the ongoing psychedelic discourse but because they have been personally impactful and helpful for myself.
Welcome, James Kent, to Adventures Through The Mind.
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- Where these ideas came from and why, despite years of keeping them private, he has chosen to go public with them.
- The psychological implications of speaking out on unpopular ideas and perspectives.
- How do you know if you have a “fragile psyche”?
- Psychedelics, psychosis, psychotic episodes, and mania.
- The European intellectuals and the purpose of psychedelics
- Shamanism and delusional megalomania.
- Ayahuasca: a ritualistic poisoning?
- Similarities between ayahuasca dieta and cultural indoctrination or military brainwashing techniques.
- Heart Of Darkness (ayahuasca edition)
- Social displacement from psychedelic experiences.
The challenges of living in western culture post-transpersonal awakening.
Trying to change the world.
Loneliness in the psychedelic community.
Here you will find the content-crux of our discussion, as well as other DoseNation podcasts all the way back to its inception.
This link provides multiple reading options for James’ book, including free downloadable e-versions.
Some other articles and content from James Kent
The Case Against DMT Elves (article by Kent)
PsyPressUK Written Interview With Kent.
Psychedelic Information Theory: A Talk with James Kent (written interview with Reality Sandwich)
James Kent’s Interview From ‘DMT: The Spirit Molecule’ Documentary (Video)
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(I don’t know who the artist is to give proper credit but if you are or know the artist, please contact me so I can properly credit you!) *** I figured it out! It is from the Berserk Manga!