This episode focuses on entheogens—psychedelic drugs that are known to cause “mystical states” of consciousness. Our hosts discuss Rick Strassman’s work on DMT, but that is merely a subset of entheogen study. Current research in the fields of brain science, psychology, and religion are struggling to explain how entheogens and the experiences they cause should be understood. The dilemma of consciousness, more popularly known as the mind-body problem, is at the heart of the struggle. Do entheogens simply affect part of the brain and its chemistry triggering new states of consciousness from inside your head? Or do these drugs separate consciousness from the organ of the body we call the brain, verifying that consciousness is distinct from the brain? Are God and other supernal beings experienced by people under the effect of entheogens just a product of the brain, or are they entities to be experienced by unhindered consciousness?

Articles:

Peter Bebergal, “Mystics Under the Microscope,” Search Magazine (January-February 2009): 35-39

Ron Cole-Turner, “Entheogens, Mysticism, and Neuroscience,” Zygon, vol. 49:3 (September 2014): 642-651

Leonard Hummel, “By its Fruits? Mystical and Visionary States of Consciousness Occasioned by Entheogens,” Zygon, vol. 49, no. 3 (September 2014) : 685-695

Michael Lerner and Michael Lyvers, “Values and Beliefs of Psychedelic Drug Users: A Cross-Cultural Study,” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 38:2  (June 2006): 143-147

David P. Luke and Marios Kittenis, “A Preliminary Survey of Paranormal Experiences with Psychoactive Drugs,” The Journal of Parapsychology 69:2 (2005): 305-327

W.A. Richards, “Here and Now: Discovering the Sacred with Entheogens,” Zygon 49:3 (Sept, 2014):652-665

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