Basically, psychedelics can be treated in two different ways. They can be seen as distorting or revealing reality. If they are considered distorting, or as hallucinogens, there is no point in looking for their logic. Substances that distort reality have nothing to do with understanding reality. They should only be studied if they are not considered hallucinogens.
However, the logic of psychedelics is hard to find. Even if you believe they reveal reality, it is impossible to understand them simply by the sheer experiences they produce. Why on earth does the world look so different through them?! Experiences do not seem to open up reality, although, at the same time, they evoke strong feelings that it is through them that the world is experienced correctly! Religiosity is, of course, one way of interpreting, but on the other hand, religious phenomena need in themselves an explanation.
The contradiction between knowledge and experience is really difficult to explain. If the phenomenon is to be explained, psychedelics must be able to link to some psychic functionality, but to what…? Actually, there is one kind of functionality that psychedelics fit into, but there is one problem which arises from a scientific point of view: this functionality is rare and cannot be replicated as scientific proof would require. However, this is exactly the reason why it hadn’t come up much. This phenomenon is, as I call it, mental adulthood.
By mental adulthood I do not mean social adulthood, which is mainly an orientation to a social role. What I mean is a single event that should occur only once in late adolescence. Because of its rarity, it also has the name “mystical experience” So it is one type of altered state of consciousness. Despite its obscure epithet, the phenomenon has sometimes been a normal and natural part of the psychic growth of human species, but is no more! This phenomenon, which has not been recognised by academic research so far, has disappeared from the human life cycle and therefore its “return” through psychedelics is both confusing and in many ways healing.
What I want to say is that I have a plausible explanation for
- why this has happened
- when this has happened, and
- what series of events has led to this.
I just want to say that accepting and understanding psychic adulthood is the only way to understand the effects of psychedelics. In my view, psychedelics are capable of mimicking the event of mental adulthood — even though they do not make it permanent. Only understanding that such an event should be part of the normal life cycle of our species and that such a thing has disappeared from us, can help to understand the logic of psychedelic experiences.
In short, if the logic of our everyday perceptions is based on our child bodies covering our senses and minds from the diversity of the world, the logic of psychedelics is based on revealing that diversity to the adult! So our bodies fool children, but only to keep them better alive. While this view of psychic growth problems helps to understand psychedelic experiences and why they are so healing, it raises one big worldview challenge: at the cost of understanding is realising an adult modern human to be mentally deficient. This may be too hard a price for some, but many see it as a factor that finally explains the peculiarity and exceptionality of our species.