An Inclusive Litany

4/22/02

Charles Hayes, author of Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures, in Tikkun, March/April, 2002:
The disturbances of September 11 have sent us reeling, driving many to seek relief from anxiety and depression through socially-sanctioned psychotropics such as Prozac, Xanax, and alcohol. But some of the so-called psychedelic drugs (cannabis, LSD, peyote, psilocybin, ayahuasca, and MDMA or Ecstasy), targets of America's deeply misguided War on Drugs, could have a more profound and healthful effect, if used responsibly. The very idea of going off on a psychedelic "head trip" in this hour of national crisis might be seen as self-indulgent folly, or worse, an act of cerebral sedition. Yet a cold and sober look through the smoldering smoke of Ground Zero leads me to believe that, depending on individual circumstances, of course, there are now even more compelling reasons to sanction the practice of judicious psychedelic use.

If combat readiness is an issue, if your function is to evacuate a building in a hurry, screen airline passengers, detect the presence of microscopic pathogens, analyze forensic evidence that could lead to the apprehension of culpable or would-be terrorists, or execute a commando raid on an Afghan mountain, this is probably not the season for psychedelics. But if you're not sure who the real enemy is, if you're inclined to ask more questions about the nature of the reality that's just swung out into a broad new arc, or if you're seeking solace and healing from trauma or debilitating stress, it could well be the time to venture out into new psychical frontiers by means of certain time-tested plants and chemicals. In fact, for some especially scarred, it might even be foolish not to, given that there might not be as much time to lose as we thought we had....

[Ed.: The article cites Dr. Rick Strassman, who has performed research on DMT, a natural compound he claims the brain uses to facilitate spiritual awakenings: "Contemplation of the grisly carnage of September 11 has strengthened his belief that upon death, bodies should not be disturbed, so that this process is able to play out and facilitate the soul's transfer to a noncorporeal state."]

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