Updated: Sep 16
Psychedelics causing unusually strong experiences of color, sound, smell, taste, and touch, and other mental effects such as feelings of deep understanding or hallucination (= imagining things that do not exist)
Voiceclub is a Melbourne-based podcast on psychedelics and philosophy that’s worth digging into. In addition to regular audio podcasts, Voiceclub is now producing excellent video snippets on its Youtube channel. The latest video discusses the danger of psychedelics through the lens of Carl Jung.
From the video:
You really best beware of what it is you don’t understand about yourself. Because what you don’t understand about yourself — well, it has you, for good or ill. And so, wisdom of the kind that Jung puts forward is really not to be brushed aside. This is to say little more than where there’s potential there’s danger, and we’d do well to keep both sides of the coin in mind.
In a letter he wrote in 1954, C. G. Jung said he was “profoundly mistrustful of the pure ‘gifts of the gods'” such as mescaline, saying that “you pay very dearly for them.” Elaborating, he writes:
I should hate the thought that I had touched on the sphere where the paint is made that colours the world, where the light is created that makes shine the splendour of the dawn, the lines and shapes of all form, the sound that fills the orbit, the thought that illuminates the darkness of the void.
Of course, that is exactly what attracts some of us to the psychedelic experience — to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of reality, or at least of our own minds. Jung talks more about delving into the collective unconscious, and why, in his view, it is a mistake to tread lightly into the world of dream and reverie using psychedelic tools.
So what do you think — is Jung onto something here? Or, as someone who had not tried mescaline and other psychedelics, was he speaking out of turn about something he did not really understand?