logic – Psychedelic Frontier http://psychedelicfrontier.com make the most of your dose Fri, 11 Jan 2019 12:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 48719013 Are Entities and Plant Spirits Real? http://psychedelicfrontier.com/entities-plant-spirits-skeptics-guide-tripping/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/entities-plant-spirits-skeptics-guide-tripping/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:41:27 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=2211 Are Entities and Plant Spirits Real?

Trips are like dreams. A genuine insight may bubble up from deep in your subconscious, handily solving a problem that your sober mind found intractable. Or you might emerge with absolute nonsense, the product of synapses firing without the guidance of logic and consistency.

You don’t take your dreams as absolute truth upon waking, and psychedelics should be no different. It’s crucial to think critically about which lessons to take back into consensus reality, and which to leave behind.

Wisdom or Dogma?

Many psychonauts spread their personal beliefs and speculations as though they were fact. Sometimes they take an ancient myth, like Amazonian animism, and dress it up in the new-age language of spirits, energies, and vibrations. “Mother Ayahuasca,” they say, “is the plant world’s way of communicating with us, raising us to a higher vibration.”

Other times they’ll offer a testable scientific hypothesis, but disguise it as established fact.

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Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 6—Asking Questions http://psychedelicfrontier.com/reclaiming-prohibition-debate-6-asking-questions/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/reclaiming-prohibition-debate-6-asking-questions/#respond Mon, 17 Mar 2014 11:38:36 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=2087 Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 6—Asking Questions

This is the conclusion of a six-part series about the Prohibition debate. You can check out Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, though they are not necessary for understanding this post. In Part 5 I discussed cognitive liberty as a basic human right, and in this final section I review the questions we should be asking about drug policy.

Legality does not constitute endorsement

Prohibition supporters often say that repealing prohibition would “send the wrong message” to America’s youth. But the legislative body is not in the business of sending messages. We do not pass laws to communicate how people should be living their lives, but to forbid certain aggressive behaviors that harm others.

Opting not to punish a certain behavior is a far cry from “endorsement” – it just means that the behavior does not violate the rights of others to such an extent that it warrants punishment.

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The War on Sweets http://psychedelicfrontier.com/war-sweets/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/war-sweets/#respond Mon, 03 Feb 2014 12:40:58 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1898 The War on Sweets

This is the fourth in a six-part series about how the Prohibition debate is tainted by our assumptions and prejudices. You can check out Parts 1, 2, and 3, but they are not necessary for understanding this post.

We often focus on what would happen if cannabis were legalized. This is a terrible way to frame the debate. It’s worthwhile to consider the effects of any legislative act, of course, but we focus way too much on societal effects and not enough on human rights. We consider the ends at the expense of the means.

An example will illustrate my point. Suppose a society outlaws unhealthy foods and mandates exercise from every citizen under threat of imprisonment. (Suspend your skepticism and assume for the moment that a majority of citizens would support this legislation.)

Forty years later, this is the new normal: some people are healthier, but obesity and heart disease remain major problems due to rampant illegal snacking.

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The Power of Words http://psychedelicfrontier.com/power-words-language-prohibition/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/power-words-language-prohibition/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:45:15 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1709 The Power of Words

This is the third in a six-part series about how the Prohibition debate is tainted by our assumptions and prejudices. You can check out Parts 1 and 2, but they are not necessary for understanding this post.

Those who rule symbols, rule us. —Korzybski

Consider the power of words. If we uncritically accept the state-sponsored language, the DEA’s job is to enforce laws that apply to illicit substances. But a humanitarian perspective may sound more like this: the DEA robs and kidnaps individuals who possess, create, or sell some substances, almost none of which are especially poisonous when compared to commonly available items like bleach or gasoline. The DEA is not alone here, but works in conjunction with the state and federal legislatures that draft the laws, the courts that uphold the laws, and local police departments across the country, among other agencies.

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The Gravity of Law: Taking Human Rights Seriously http://psychedelicfrontier.com/gravity-law-human-rights-prohibition/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/gravity-law-human-rights-prohibition/#respond Thu, 09 Jan 2014 12:30:35 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1693 The Gravity of Law: Taking Human Rights Seriously

In Part 1 of this six-part series, I discussed the importance of comparing terms and assumptions before debating drug policy. In this post, I re-examine the nature of law and our disturbingly casual attitude towards coercion and punishment.

The primary function of any government is to protect its constituents’ human rights. The secondary goal is to uphold the smooth functioning of society. Secondary functions include zoning laws, market regulations, welfare programs, and tax collection—these activities don’t protect individual rights per se, but they (arguably) keep society running smoothly without excessively infringing upon our rights.

Not everyone will agree with my definition of government’s functions, or the way I have ordered them, but that’s okay – the whole point of outlining our fundamental beliefs is to identify where exactly we diverge in opinion, and why. In my operating definition, protecting human rights is the prime function of government.

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Myths and Lies of Prohibition http://psychedelicfrontier.com/reclaiming-prohibition-debate-1-myths-lies/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/reclaiming-prohibition-debate-1-myths-lies/#respond Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:30:17 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1670 Myths and Lies of Prohibition

I have already examined the psychology of Prohibition and our neurotic desire for control. In this six-part series, I focus on the skewed language and unquestioned assumptions that taint the Prohibition debate.

Language always lies… We proceed from one fiction to another, every time we open our mouths to speak.

—Robert Anton Wilson

Language hypnotizes us. We are raised with the phrases and conventions of our culture, and no matter how insidious or wrong-headed they prove to be—no matter how independent-minded we pretend to be—these ideas carry great power over us for our entire lives. When we name things, imbuing them with connotations of good and bad, approved and taboo, we make them real. Not objectively real, but real in our minds—which for human beings is practically the same thing.

When we act as though our concepts are real—as though currency had value, as though laws had power, and as though “sin” and “vice” and “crime” were more than just socially disapproved behaviors—we make them so.

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Control Freaks: America and its Uncontrolled Substances http://psychedelicfrontier.com/control-freaks-america-uncontrolled-substances/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/control-freaks-america-uncontrolled-substances/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 18:38:36 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1741 Control Freaks: America and its Uncontrolled Substances

I’ve analyzed the psychology of Prohibition before, concluding that the War on Drugs is a deceit maintained by the national ego. In this article I take a deeper look at how the desire for control affects our laws and language. This is a prelude to my six-part essay on language called Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.  


Humans like to feel in control. This is not always a bad thing, but it becomes problematic when we are so obsessed with the illusion of control that we forego the real thing.

The war on drugs is a lost war, and worse, a sham intended to placate us. This desperate bid to maintain the appearance of law and order does not benefit us; it benefits the prison-industrial complex (now a lucrative private business, about as anti-humanitarian as a business can get), police departments (who use the War on Drugs to seize property and justify their bloated budgets), pharmaceutical companies (who oppose public access to cheap, effective, and un-patentable chemicals), and of course drug cartels.

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A Treatise on Psychedelics Part 1/3: The Stigma http://psychedelicfrontier.com/a-treatise-on-psychedelics-part-13-the-stigma/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/a-treatise-on-psychedelics-part-13-the-stigma/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 17:03:05 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=978 A Treatise on Psychedelics Part 1/3: The Stigma

This guest post by Martijn Schirp was originally published on higHExistence.com and is reproduced here with permission.

Martijn is the co-founder of higHExistence, a travel junkie, a meditation practitioner, and a yoga lover. He is a student of philosophy, passionate about science, and immensely fascinated by consciousness.

The true student of science neglects nothing and despises nothing that may widen and deepen his knowledge of nature, and if he is wise as well as learned he will hesitate before he applies the term “impossible” to any facts which are widely believed and have been repeatedly observed by men as intelligent and honest as himself.

Alfred Russel Wallace, “Are the Phenomena of Spiritualism in Harmony with Science?”

Some time ago I was in the right place at the right time by attending the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research in Amsterdam orchestrated by Stichting Open. 

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Sacredness Is in the Eye of the Beholder http://psychedelicfrontier.com/sacredness-eye-beholder/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/sacredness-eye-beholder/#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2013 10:00:48 +0000 http://www.psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=321 Sacredness Is in the Eye of the Beholder

There is a logical fallacy that psychonauts tend to make called the Appeal to Tradition. Just as it sounds, this is when someone describes a particular method or system as superior because it is traditional. The truth, of course, is that a solution’s stature as a tradition has no bearing on its effectiveness. A tradition may be passed on for many generations and still remain fundamentally flawed.

Even psychonauts with the best of intentions commit this logical error. Having come to deeply respect a particular entheogenic tradition — for instance, the Amazonian ayahuasca ceremony — they insist that it is sacred. They begin to scoff at casual recreational users, claiming that the only proper way to ingest the “sacrament” is with a certain attitude or in the context of a certain tradition. “DMT is an ancient and sacred spiritual molecule,” they intone with grave voices (or what I imagine to be grave voices, as I read their posts on various forums).

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