Andy Letcher – ‘Psychic Spies From Gaia’ Magic Mushrooms, Nature And The New Animism

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One of the most enduring Western discourses about the experiences occasioned by psilocybin (‘magic’) mushrooms, is that they facilitate a beyond-normal sense of communion, or even communication, with other-than-human nature. Mushrooms are regarded as agentic, and as able to confer important insights about our relationship to planetary ecology at a time of severe environmental degradation. As one informant puts it, “Mushrooms are psychic spies sent from Gaia to rebalance, reconnect and re-mind us; a corrective mechanism of the biosphere if you like”. In this paper, I examine this discourse from an hermeneutic perspective. While I conclude that the ontological status of these claims eludes us, the pressing need for action in regards to climate and environment compels that we take them seriously. I argue that they are certainly justified in the light both of developments in cognitive science and what is called in anthropology, the new animism, both of which stress relationality.

Filmed at Breaking Convention 2017 – 4th International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness University of Greenwich London, June 30th-July 2nd 2017

Comments

Maitrī xp says:

Great talk! Thanks for bringing awerness toward the heart of human conscioucness. It could have been longer 🙂

geezusispan says:

It would be great if you could improve the sound quality. At least fix it the next time you record.

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