Psilocybin Mushrooms Are Not A Tool.
Here are my thoughts on the language of “tool” that is often used in the modern discourse on psychedelics. It comes from an interview with me on the Love & Compassion Podcast
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW
AUDIO-ONLY STREAM + TRANSCRIPT
1:27 Start of Clip (the question)
3:19 Psilocybin is Not a Tool (my response)
CLARIFYING MY POSITION on the use of “tool”
How we use a word matters to us, personally, for sure. But we are not the generators of language. We are the end users (Daniel Dor). The language itself carries a meaning through time and into our use. That history of meaning has implications and consequences on how we are oriented to the thing we are using language to describe, implications and consequences conscious and otherwise.
Tool, as a noun comes from “Old English tol “instrument, implement used by a craftsman or laborer, weapon,” from Proto-Germanic *tōwalan “implement” (source also of Old Norse tol), from a verb stem represented by Old English tawian “prepare”” This means that “tool” infers an extension of human, with the human as the source of its use, value, and all action that comes from it.
The use of tool to describe a thing infers that what it is, fundamentally, is determined by its use by, and usefulness to, humans. Thus, when we use tool to describe a living thing, we are directly and indirectly subjecting it beneath humans in value ( according to a human-created hierarchy of value that has a very poor track record for its consequences on our wellbeing and the natural world)
How we language a thing infers the meaning with which we regard it and how we regard it reflects our relational orientation to it.
My proposal is that when we use tool to describe what psilocybin is, we orient ourselves to it in a way that makes it beneath us, even if we don’t intend to, it’s there in the language. If not in us specifically, then likely still in those we are communicating with– as people, I assume, who are wanting to help more people find positive encounters with psychedelics, that’s something that makes sense to consider.
And, being that experiences with psilocybin are encounters with something beyond our control, where our efforts to control it often lead to harm, it serves us to entertain the use of language that does not attempt to linguistically(in meaning and orientation) subjugate it to anthropocentric delusions of superiority over the natural world. But instead to explore language that orients us to psilocybin in a way that enables “communion with”, rather than “use of”.
I am not saying I am right for not using “tool” and you are wrong for using it, I am saying “wonder about this and whether or not it serves our relationship with psilocybin, whether or not it serves our capacity to live the lessons it offers us, and whether or not it serves the larger cultural rhetoric insofar as how that language will impact those entering into the space for the first time/looking to make sense of their experiences”
Psilocybin And The Cultivation Of Compassion
ABSTRACT: By examining this correlation from a trauma-informed, psychotherapeutic framework, we find an understanding of emotional healing and healthy emotional processes, with or without psilocybin on board.This lecture will explore the essence of compassion and how a lack of it is related to early childhood trauma and emotional repression.
Furthermore, it will explore the potential of psilocybin in the resolution of emotional trauma and the cultivation of healthier relationships, as well as the potential of suffering as a necessary skill for being an adult.
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