As the haze clears on this strangest of Earth Days in 2020, and as the traffic shifts from the fuel-guzzling kind to the data-hungry type, the coronavirus lockdown has certainly had us all reflecting on our lives.
One of the greatest hurdles in reducing climate change is the widespread degree of apathy – this extends towards our impact on the environment and our contribution to climate change, as well as the loss of species. This is exacerbated in a society which has become detached from the natural world, in which for a great many people the digital realm has largely replaced nature.
Amanda Feilding founded the Beckley Foundation in 1998, and since then has conducted ground-breaking research into psychedelics. She recalls that during the psychedelic cultural explosion in the 60s, “LSD inspired a lot of new concepts that worked their way through western society, changing it to a more spiritually-inspired, healthy, open, and compassionate society than it was before.”
Psychedelics have been credited with presenting new solutions to complex problems. Repeatedly, people such as Steve Jobs and Kary Mullis have claimed that they would not have made their discoveries without the inspiration of a psychedelic. These examples of the great elasticity of thinking that psychedelics provide, if used correctly, provides us with a sense of hope for the future, and is a welcome juxtaposition to the seemingly insurmountable nature of the challenges we face in the years ahead.
Human behaviour will need to change at the fundamental level, and probably at warp speed too, if we are going to alter our current trajectory. There is little doubt that mind altering compounds bring about immediate change in our thinking, and studies indicate that these are longer lasting than we thought, the great task ahead will be to look even more closely at the topic, employ further research, and then draw out the lessons we learn to convert them into actionable solutions.
The Beckley Foundation has been exploring the potential benefits that psychedelics could have on neuroplasticity and creativity with the hope that this could provide a possible route to problem solving amongst teams and individuals. We hope to share these results soon.
We must also remember the systemic impact that the global mental health crisis plays on our ability to find new solutions to age old problems and the important role that psychedelics can play here.
“It would make sense for us to look more closely at how these compounds might help provide better insights into the complicated dilemmas of environmental destruction which we are now facing. But first we should also consider that psychedelics can play a significant role in helping humanity to overcome psychological problems such as depression and addiction, and also those problems which emanate from human neurotic, and indeed psychotic, mindsets,” Amanda says.
Psychedelics can offer an opportunity to “reset” our fixed mindsets and Amanda reminds us that with the correct support, they could play an even more important role in helping us to protect our environment “particularly if attitudes can become more flexible and governments adopt evidence-based drug policies.”
To donate to the Beckley Foundation and show your support for psychedelic research, please click here.
Psilocybin for Depression
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