Right now the time has come to hear, take into account and try to clarify the opinion on these issues. For some time there were general attacks on the Bill of Rights under the pretext of the so-called drug war. For some reason, the problem of psychoactive substances has become even more frightening, more insidious for society than communism at one time. The quality of the rhetoric coming from the psychedelic community should be radically improved. If this is not done, we will lose the opportunity to use our birthright, and all the possibility of studying the psychedelic dimension will be closed. Ironically, this tragedy can occur as a kind of footnote to the prohibition of synthetic and addictive drugs. It will never be superfluous to say that the issue of psychedelics is a matter of civil rights and civil liberties. This is a question related to the most important of human freedoms — the freedom of religious practice and the private expression of the individual mind.
It was once said that women should not be given the right to vote, otherwise society will perish. And before that, kings could not give up their absolute power: otherwise there would be chaos. And now we are told that it is impossible to legalize psychoactive substances, since otherwise the collapse of society will occur. This is absolute nonsense. As we have seen, human history can be described as a series of relationships with plants, relationships established and broken. We explored many of the ways in which plants, substances, and politics were violently confronted, from the effects of sugar on commerce to the effects of coffee on a modern employee, from the British opiate pressure on the Chinese people to the use of heroin in the ghetto by the CIA to create disagreement and discontent.
Our story is a story of relationships with plants. Her lessons can be made conscious, introduced into social policy and used to create a more prosperous, meaningful world, or they can be rejected, as happened with human sexuality, the discussion of which was forbidden until the work of Freud and others brought it to universal review. This analogy is appropriate, since the enhancement of the ability of cognitive experience, possible due to plant hallucinogens, is basically as fundamental to the essence of a person as sexuality. The question of how soon we will develop into a mature community capable of addressing these topics depends entirely on us.
HYPERSPACE AND HUMAN FREEDOM
What is most afraid of those who advocate for a non-working Luddite decision such as “just say no ” is a world in which all traditional social values dissolve in an encounter with individuals and populations obsessed with psychoactive substances and an endless search for self-satisfaction. We should not rule out this too real possibility. But one should reject the idea that such a disturbing, by all accounts, future can be avoided by witch-hunts, the prohibition of research and the hysterical spread of misinformation and lies.
Since time immemorial, psychoactive substances have been part of the galaxy of culture. And only with the advent of technologies capable of purifying and concentrating the active components of plants and herbal preparations, these substances are separated from the general tissue of cultural affairs and instead become a kind of scourge.
In a sense, our problem is not the problem of psychoactive substances, but the problem of controlling our technology. Are we expecting in the future the emergence of new synthetic substances, a hundred, or even a thousand times more capable of causing addiction than heroin or crack? The answer will be an absolute “yes” if we do not recognize and investigate the inherent need for chemical dependence in humans, and then we do not find and approve any ways of expressing this need. We discover that human beings are creations of a chemical habit, with the same terrible distrust with which the Victorians discovered that humans are creations of sexual fantasy and obsession. This process of meeting with oneself as a species is a necessary precondition for creating a more humane social and natural order. It is important to remember that the adventure of such a meeting with oneself does not begin with Freud and Jung and does not end with them. The argument, carefully developed in this book, is that the next step in understanding ourselves can only occur when we take into account our innate and legitimate need to live in an atmosphere rich in mental states that are caused by our own free will. I am confident that we can begin this process by reviewing the sources of our origin. Indeed, I made great efforts to show that in the Archaic environment, in which self-reflection first appeared, we find the keys to the origins of our troubled history.
Hallucinogenic indoles, unexplored and prohibited by law, are presented here as agents of evolutionary change. These are biochemical agents, whose final effect is not on the direct experience of the individual, but on the genetic constitution of the species. In the first chapters, attention was paid to the fact that increasing visual acuity, improving the ability to reproduce and enhancing the stimulation of the protolinguistic functions of the brain are the logical consequences of the inclusion of psilocybin in the food of an ancient person. If one could prove the idea of the emergence of human consciousness in connection with the indole-mediated synergy of neurodevelopment, then our image of ourselves, our attitude to nature, and the current dilemma regarding the consumption of psychoactive substances in society would change.
We cannot solve the “drug problem”, nor the problem of environmental destruction, nor the problem of stockpiles of nuclear weapons, until our image of ourselves as a species is again connected with the Earth. This business, first of all, begins with the analysis of a unique combination of conditions that are necessary for the organization of the animal in order to make a leap towards conscious self-reflection. When the main meaning of the “man-plant” symbiosis mediated by hallucinogens is understood in the scenario of our sources, we are able to understand our current state of neurosis. The lessons learned from those long-standing and formative events can lay the foundation for decision-making not only regarding the need to manage the consumption and abuse of substances in society, but also about our deep and growing need for the spiritual dimension of life.