Recently I was misidentified as a psychonaut
so allow me to clarify,
I am not.
I am no longer
part of that cabal,
I am no more a psychonaut than I am a catholic;
But, as a philosopher, I will write of it.
Psychonautics is an act of configuration.
It refers to a methodology
for describing and explaining
configurations of consciousness,
And a research cabal
in which adherents explore
and harness those configurations.
The power of psychonautics
is that configurations of consciousness
have resonant effects on meaning and belief.
The psychonautic cabal emerges from a recognition of this.
Psychonautic exploration is not without risk
to the physical and psychological well-being
of the researcher, to their essence and beliefs.
An experienced and trustworthy practitioner
can provide a tether to your shared reality,
Advanced practices require caution and patience
to navigate safely; "[t]here is no casual experiment".
In the Western paradigm, classical psychonautics
was defined by contemplative and ritual techniques,
The religious or spiritual practices of a tribe or society.
Modern psychonautics has been increasingly defined by
the use of psychoactive substances, which is likely the result
of secularization, advances in pharmacy, and the war on drugs.
In contemporary society psychoactives are a valuable commodity
that many people use (or misuse) for a variety of reasons.
Some will seek out drugs they have not tried before,
Few shall devote themselves entirely, investing
their time and resources in learning about,
acquiring and assessing psychoactives.
This latter cohort aligns with the methodology
of psychonautics, they commit to understanding
through practice. Many become well-versed
in Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS),
Some academics assume this is the mark of the modern psychonaut
but it is mere specialization rather than characteristic thereof.
As more initiates into psychonautics emerge from drug experiences
so does the cabal become more chemical. Nevertheless
it draws its adherents from a diversity of practices.
Psychonautic practices entail ontological risks,
The ranks of the cabal are full
of disordered, misguided, or warped adherents
whose heedless practice undermines
the meaningfulness of consensual reality.
A lack of formal training and mental health
likely contribute to this, although no equation
can encapsulate the qualitative experience which
compromises ontological security.
The cabal is decentralized, without singularly defined leadership
or ideals, and it operates through intrigue. Its adherents
may dispute the ethos or validity of some practices
and their corresponding configurations, and so
within the cabal there is an internal politics:
believe anyone using responsibly
should be allowed their methodology and be able to practice.
Universalists or absolutists
believe everyone should be initiated, if not adherent.
Elitists and psychocrats
hold that only their method and practice is valid.
believe the methodology and its praxis must not be vested
in nation-states, corporations, or religions
if it is/they are to retain its power.
The cabal's politics of intrigue
represent an unspoken power struggle
where the stakes are unclear, if even communicable.
If the war on drugs comes to an end, psychonautics
will be redefined by its next wave of initiates,
May they be wise and kind.
I have written enough,
That part of my life is well and truly over.
My purpose here is to explore ideas, to experiment with poetry.
The place I allocate psychoactives
has always been secondary to that;
Rarely do I deign to sail the soul now
but when I do, know I am a philosopher
and do so as an inquiry into mind
rather than in service of alteration.
Line Twenty-Two from PiHKAL by Alexander & Ann Shulgin.
"When you see a headline extolling the virtues of “resetting your brain,”
What’s missing is the “visceral, sometimes hellish experience”"