Transcending the self and finding reality

How psychedelics can help to uncover the mysteries of reality

Only recently has the topic of psychedelics fully broken through into the public consciousness. An exciting area of new enquiry for scientists and philosopher alike, we are now beginning to understand how they can be used to help us solve mysteries regarding the nature of life and reality. In this article, John Vervaeke explores the transformative powers of psychedelics, arguing that they provide the possibility for ‘self-transcendence’;  a state which brings us closer to reality.


The question as to whether the use of psychedelics can bring us closer to reality depends on what we mean by the use of psychedelics, and what we mean by the perennially vexed question as to what reality really is. I will be making some important relevant distinctions. One is between the phenomenology of a mental state or process and its cognitive functionality, i.e. how does it help to gather knowledge about the world. Another distinction is between a psychedelic expe

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