According to a new study from the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London, published in the journal Psychopharmacology, psychedelic mushrooms tend to make people more resistant to authority. They also found the psychedelic experience induced by these mushrooms also cause people to be more connected with nature.
“Our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism,” researchers Taylor Lyons and Robin L. Carhart-Harris write in the study.
Experiments in the past have had similar results, but this research team wanted to figure out whether anti-authoritarian, nature-loving people were just drawn to psychedelic drugs, or if it was the substance that brought out these traits in people. To figure this out, the team monitored a group of depressed patients who were given psilocybin and asked a series of questions both before and after the psychedelic experience. The results showed that people who were given the psilocybin did, in fact, change their views in regards to nature and authority.
The study also found that the subjects who took the psilocybin noticed a reduction in their depression symptoms as well. The control group that was not given the psilocybin had no noticeable changes in their attitudes towards nature or authority, and they did not see a reduction in their depression symptoms.
“Before I enjoyed nature, now I feel part of it. Before I was looking at it as a thing, like TV or a painting… [But now I see] there’s no separation or distinction, you are it,” one participant said in the follow-up exam.
Lyons and Carhart-Harris did caution that there was a small number of subjects in their study, so more research would need to be done to back up these findings.
“This pilot study suggests that psilocybin with psychological support might produce lasting changes in attitudes and beliefs. Although it would be premature to infer causality from this small study, the possibility of drug-induced changes in belief systems seems sufficiently intriguing and timely to deserve further investigation,” the study concluded.
However, these conclusions match theories that psychedelic drug users have had for many years, and if true, this could explain why government entities are so afraid of psychedelic drugs.
Terrence McKenna, one of the frontrunners of the modern psychedelic age, understood the nature of this situation very well and toured around the world to speak with audiences about the wonders of psychedelic shamanism.
In one of his lectures, Terrence articulated this psychedelic inquisition quite well by saying:
“All cultures are involved in the culture game and psychedelics transcend the culture game, and whether you’re a citizen of Jerusalem, a Tokyo stockbroker or a tribal islander when you take psychedelic substances your cultural values will suddenly be much more relativistically revealed to you. And that is political dynamite. Psychedelics challenge the assumptions of any cultural or political system and that makes them dangerous to every culture or political system.
So if there’s anything a Marxist dictatorship, a high tech industrial democracy or a theocracy, they can all get together on one thing which is that psychedelic drugs are a knife poised at the heart of community values, well this is just simply nonsense and all the reasons brought forth are a red herring. Psychedelics are among the safest substances known for human ingestion. Considering the depth of their impact on human mental functioning the fact that you pick yourself up 6-8 hours later and go on about your business with an expanded point of view is quite remarkable.”
McKenna’s point is highlighted in recent American history by the counterculture explosion of the 1960s. Psychedelic research began in the late 1950s and became a regular part of the youth culture by the mid-1960s. The explosion of psychedelic use interestingly coincides with the explosion of cultural freedom and anti-establishment sentiments of that decade.
It is for this reason that the American government took quick action to make these substances illegal and to vilify them in the public arena. Laws were passed which imposed strict penalties on anyone involved in psychedelic use, manufacture, or until very recently, even scientific study.