As Timothy Leary put it, a psychedelic experience is “a period of increased reactivity to stimuli both from within and from without.”
In a YouTube video, freestyler Jason Silva eloquently discusses the potential for exploration of consciousness that psychedelics offer. In fluid, poetic detail complete with trippy music and visual effects, he explores the psychedelic experience, and spiritual realization. He uses Leary quotes and personal observations to show how, often, the two go hand in hand.
At both the start and finish of the video Silva includes a shout-out to the nonprofit, independent Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). MAPS advocates for, and funds, the “responsible investigation of psychedelic plants and chemicals and exploring their potential as tools for interpersonal transformation.”
As Silva describes in the video we are currently living through a type of psychedelic Renaissance:
“All of a sudden people are starting to take these tools, these cognitive technologies that have been used for thousands of years [psychedelics] a little more seriously,” he says in the video. “We’re starting to take out the magnifying glass, and stop being alarmist, and actually paying attention and studying the potential of these tools.”
Since its founding in the early ’80s, MAPS has sponsored a number of government-approved, placebo-controlled, clinical human trials looking at the efficacy and safety of various psychedelics to treat a number of psychological disorders. One study published last year, for example, showed that LSD-assisted psychotherapy can reduce, sometimes cure anxiety in patients nearing the end of life. Other MAPS studies have turned out results showing significant potential benefits of MDMA, psilocybin, ibogaine, ayahuasca and other psychedelics.
As Silva explains in the video, in a psychedelic experience “you are immediately plunged into a dialogue with your own subconscious.”
MAPS and other professional organizations and individuals working with psychedelics are careful to point out the importance of a controlled environment (set and setting) when using psychedelics either therapeutically, or for any reason. As Silva explains in the video, “[On psychedelics] you are like a mind in flight, you are in orbital position, you are seeing the big picture.” So, he says, you need navigation. That navigation can come in the form of beautiful music, ecstatic poetry, and people whose company induces feelings of well-being, all of which he recommends surrounding yourself with during a psychedelic journey.
Watch Silva’s enthusiastic description of psychedelic exploration, and the importance of what MAPS is doing, below.