The UC Berkeley Survey That Fell Silent in the Echo Chamber of the Industry
Thoughtful and interesting piece, as always.
Hi Pat. I commented on a post of your's many months ago, and here I am again! This piece you wrote about the Berkeley poll results struck so many chords for me. I am a psychedelic therapist on the West Coast of Canada which is now becoming an epi-center for this work and the legal latitude here is beyond anywhere in the world with dispensaries, online, and underground work everywhere. I am a neuroscientist/meditator/clinician and what I have experienced and witnessed working with psychedelics is nothing short of remarkable. I am also painfully aware of the utopian evangelizing and the naive, simplistic thinking that is in this space. Let's face it, these medicines can shift our perceptions of EVERYTHING, and that is kryptonite. I work tirelessly to bring more nuance, complex thinking, safety, compassion, and a more comprehensive conversation to this space as it is so necessary. Let's face it, "mental health" and "mental illness" are now household terms and the traditional medical system has appalling few sustainable treatments for most conditions. Psychedelics are showing to provide a potentially powerful, physiologically very safe, and sustainable alternative to traditional treatments. The questions of dogma, religious beliefs, spirituality, and politics really need to be in perspective in this conversation, as we risk getting mired in unsolvable debates. The day to day reality as I'm witnessing first-hand is that folks are indeed getting massive amounts of help from psychedelic healing/therapy and I continually witness individuals going back to their homes, families, jobs, communities with hearts that are more open, more peaceful and with a more accepting and compassionate view of themselves and the world. Now isn't that the definition of potentially world changing? I mean it has to start somewhere. So to conclude, I deeply appreciate you bringing up the counter-balancing facts in this space. We need them as we need to have the maturity to appreciate all sides of this unfolding. However, I believe that the world needs hope. People need and want hope. Not hype but hope. So let's be wary of too much cynicism and remember that what we focus our attention on is literally what we manifest. I stand firm in my belief that psychedelics are bringing hope to the world, in a beautiful, complicated, fascinating and ever-evolving way. Let's not be too reductive about it all, and be open to exploring what they have to offer!