Trump, mass hallucinogens, and the cyber-psychedelic transformation of capitalism (2020)

by Federico Soldani – 13th Oct 2020

In two previous articles on these pages, two points of contact between Trump and some of his worst critics were highlighted: [1] remote psychiatric diagnosis, from a distance, to address political divergence and societal problems, including digital diagnosis for citizens as well as [2] de facto using TV and digital media such as Twitter as a reality show with the effect of teaching psychological language applied to politics globally, a terminology I have proposed to call ‘ideopathological lexicon’ or ‘psyspeak’ (here the first proposal, 3rd Sept 2019).

Both instances can be seen as causing anti-democratic and even more radical anti-political effects and promoting globally a culture of technocracy, which is the substitution of technical to political solutions that involves the redundancy of political debate, by spreading psyspeak and related concepts as politically valid means and by spreading the culture of diagnosis and its language to address political as well as societal problems.


As an example, in October 2019 in one of the oldest and most prominent U.S. magazines, the Atlantic, formerly Atlantic Monthly, citizens were encouraged to read DSM-5, the “bible” of mental and behavioral disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, and become as a result political diagnosticians:

“Understanding how people behave and think is not the sole province of professionals; we all do it every day, with family members, co-workers, and others.

Nevertheless, how the mental-health community goes about categorizing those characteristics and traits can provide helpful guidance to laypeople by structuring our thinking about them […]

One scholarly paper has suggested that accounts of a person’s behavior from laypeople who observe him [ed. Trump] might be more accurate than information from a clinical interview, and that this is especially true when considering two personality disorders in particular—what the DSM calls narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.” 


In this article on PsyPolitics a third similarity is highlighted between Trump and some of his worst critics, which is [3] the promotion of hallucinogenic substances for the masses.

The co-founder of the so-called Extinction Rebellion movement, has recently called for an apparently incomprehensible “mass psychedelic disobedience.”  The other co-founder of the movement – they are both British – founded this year the political party called Beyond Politics.

CBD and vaping shop in Dalton-in-Furness, Northern England 2019

At present, the FDA under the current Trump administration is working on several hallucinogenic drugs, such as esketamine for depression (first ever hallucinogen approved by FDA, in March 2019, for a psychiatric condition; of note, FDA Commissioner Gottlieb announced his stepping down on the day after such approval).  

As already discussed in an article (in Italian) about hallucinogens and Evola – an ideologue of the fascist period recently quoted by Steve Bannon, himself Trump’s “ideological guru,” according to a 2017 New York Times article – in August 2020, the FDA even approved this hallucinogen for the treatment of those who have expressed suicidal thoughts and are at high risk.

This is happening in the current context of the so-called Psychedelic Renaissance movement (linked article in Italian, more on terminology here). Hallucinogenic substances such as cannabis / THC and related cannabis products with milder psychotropic effects, such as CBD – which according to the New York Times is already “everywhere” – but also substances with no market yet, are actively and aggressively promoted for any possible medical or non medical uses, in so-called micro doses or in light versions as well as to seek their traditional hallucinogenic effects.

CBD and vaping shop in Dalton-in-Furness, Northern England 2019

A result of the experience with hallucinogens, according to its proponents, would be “ego dissolution” or “ego death.”

The pro tempore U.S. President Trump himself recently called for the Veterans Administration to buy “a lot” of intranasal esketamine to prevent suicides among veterans. 

In the FDA pipeline there are now magic mushrooms / psilocybin and MDMA / ecstasy, the rave party drug, awaiting fast review to be approved for medical purposes.

Along with diagnosis based on existing facts and outside of a clinical context and with the media spectacle spreading psyspeak, on one more account Trump and some of his worst critics might find a point of contact: mass hallucinogens.

Cyberdelic, or cyber-psychedelic, subculture is emerging as a common ground.


“The large social, ecological and health problems of today are connected to the dual materialistic philosophy of life which shapes the industrial age.  The psychedelic experience often produces a change in consciousness which leads towards an integrated experience between humanity and nature, helping to create the intellectual and cultural prerequisites for the necessary change in our threatened world” – Albert Hofmann, scientist, “father” of LSD, ‘Psychedelia Britannica’ 1997

“It was not exactly the emancipation demanded by Karl Marx, who, moreover, did not have the fancy to imagine that the result following industrial capitalism were the states altered by LSD” – Geminello Alvi, ‘Capitalism. Towards the Chinese ideal’ 2011


CBD kiosk in Glasgow, Scotland 2019

Article modified 14th Oct 2020

(Photos by the author. First photo above in the article is from the Extinction Rebellion Wikipedia page in English, accessed 13th Oct 2020, Extinction Rebellion München auf der Fridays-for-Future-Demo in München, 2019-09-20)

Last Updated on October 14, 2020 by Federico Soldani

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