Psychedelic experience isn’t just brain chemistry

Not just a lightshow

There is a psychedelic revolution happening. An increasing number of studies are promising a transformation of mental health through their controlled use. What is still unclear is what exactly the nature of that psychedelic experience is, and what makes it so powerful. Sceptics are too quick to dismiss the whole thing as a hallucination, merely a disturbance of the brain’s chemistry. But a closer look at the philosophy of consciousness seems to suggest otherwise, writes Ricky Williamson.


I am currently sitting in an airport on an 8-hour lay-over. The next plane was just cancelled, adding an extra 4-hour delay. A pretty good metaphor for base reality. Is it possible to experience another world? Something transcendent? Is it possible to experience something outside normal human experience? Will I ever get on the plane?

By transcendent here I mean something beyond either our normal, consensus reality, or something beyond the boundaries of our self. An ex

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Pascal De Falco 25 December 2023

“For starters, no-one has ever given a good explanation of how unconscious matter is supposed to produce consciousness.” Yes, someone did exactly that: Douglas Hofstader in “Gödel, Escher, Bach”; it involves what he calls “strange loops” in mathematics that allow complex systems to become self-referencing. The huge success of his book, praised everywhere including in academia since the eighties… hasn’t yet registered or made a real difference for people who write about this subject