Which Hallucinogen Would I Try First?

As part of my Charity:Water campaign, I’m writing blog posts for people who contribute $25 or more to bring clean water to 23 people. You have a word/topic/question you want me to riff on? I’ll (probably) write it. One donor asked me to write about what it means to me to “live in the moment”, so here goes nothing. 

Interested in supporting – and getting your own blog post? You can still donate to the campaign (100% goes toward clean water, not fees). We’re less than $200 away from the goal!

That was one of the best title hooks I’ve ever written.

And I had to laugh at this question, deliberately phrased to be a challenging one to answer: particularly because I have never taken drugs and couldn’t tell a hallucinogenic mushroom from a Portobello. I’ve never been cool or edgy enough for people to seriously offer me hallucinogens.

I have little against hallucinogens. The natural ones (see, I can’t even name them!) appear to have many benefits which medicine should be free to explore. They also seem to be one of the healthiest ways for people to do some “psychonautic” exploration. I’ve definitely considered myself interested for a while now in one day trying them.

But I do have reservations: not least the bad trips, tainted drugs, etc. And while many hallucinogen advocates talk about the spiritual experiences that come along with it, I wonder whether it would just be a form of cheating for me to get at “oneness” that way (I believe Carl Jung voiced this concern).

In talking with the person who asked the question for this post, I can see both sides to the argument. So what if it’s a “fast route” if the enlightenment gained is the same as enlightenment earned the hard way? As a realization, “everything is one” is fine regardless of how you get there.

Even if I grant that enlightenment via hallucinogen is possible – and equal to the enlightenment achieved by real internal work – I’d question its shelf life.

We tend to value and use the things we work for more than the things that come to us without pain and labor and cost. The person who works through college is going to put a heck of a lot more effort into using and retaining that education than a person who gets a free ride from Daddy and Mommy.

Similarly, an experience of spiritual enlightenment gained in 5 minutes will probably not have effects in a person’s life in 5 years. On the other hand, spiritual enlightenment gained over 5 years of suffering and questioning and self-development may have an impact for 50.

So maybe I will try hallucinogens one day, but I think I’d better keep eyes on the longer game.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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