Coming out of the Psychedelic Closet

[embed][/embed] “No culture on earth is as heavily narcotized as the industrial West in terms of being inured to the consequences of maladaptive behavior,” Terence McKenna wrote in Food of the Gods, “we pursue a business as usual attitude in a surreal atmosphere of mounting crisis and irreconcilable contradictions.” Denying and repressing a knowledge of certain psycho-actives, while sanctioning others (like opiates, uppers and pain-killers), our legal relationship with drugs is complicated and contradictory to say the least. Of course, “black market” drugs, taken without informed consent, cause even more problems. Thankfully, historical websites like Erowid and the recent, scientific drug research via MAPS and other therapeutic uses for psychoactive compounds has come to light. The tables have turned. Yet, this doesn’t excuse those of us psychonauts who have been exploring altered states of consciousness from “coming out of the psychedelic closet.” That’s why conversations, like this one between long-time Reality Sandwich contributor and author Gabriel D. Roberts and Dr. Ingrid Walker of the University of Washington Tacoma, are critically important. Gabe and Ingrid discuss some of the paradoxical ways we think about psychoactive substances in American culture through fear and embrace.

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