DOI: 10.14704/nq.2011.9.3.419

Psychedelic Experience as a Heuristic Tool for Exploring the Mind and the Brain

Alexey Alyushin

Abstract


I discuss the ontological nature and heuristic value of psychedelic experience. I argue that psychedelic phenomena may manifest the activity of certain mental formations that otherwise remain hidden. Thus, psychedelic phenomena can be heuristic tools and intriguing objects of the scientific study. I consider two types of psychedelic phenomena in particular. The first is the moral cleansing that may accompany a psychedelic trip. The second is the appearance of perceptive hallucinations. I establish a unified explanatory ground for the phenomena that are commonly viewed as distinct in their genesis. I explain both phenomena as products of the increased imaginative ability of the brain, which results from chemically-induced neurophysiological changes. I suggest that the activation of the imagination causes increased empathy and thus accentuates moral feelings. I propose the hypothesis that hallucinations are mental objects of a quantum nature.

Keywords


hallucinations; imagination; mental imagery; psilocybin; psychedelics; quantum phenomena

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