In this article, two covers are presented from conferences proceedings sponsored by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, about Cybernetics – 1953 Macy Conferences – and Neuropharmacology – 1955 Neuropharmacological Conferences, in which U.S. neurophysiologist and behavioural scientist Ralph Waldo Gerard proposed the term ‘psychotomimetic’.
“There is one golden rule that should be applied in working with model psychoses. One should start with oneself.”
“Our psychotomimetics resemble the hypothetical endotoxin that Carl Jung called toxin-X and that we have called M (mescalinelike) substance.”
Osmond views raise an interesting paradox of experience over logos: if in order to discuss rationally about such substances one has to use them and if using them disorganizes the psyche, would it ever be in fact possible to discuss rationally about them? Or the move to use them implies – a priori – an abandonment of human rationality?
“No account of model psychoses would be complete that did not relate those that are induced chemically to those induced by other means, such as the reduced or specialized environments described by Heron, Bexton, and Hebb and by Lilly. These specialized environments have been used since antiquity.”
“The substances in question can be used to develop very high degrees of that mysterious yet vital quality – empathy.”
“I believe that these agents have a part to play in our survival as a species.”
The broader political meaning of these substances was stated by Osmond from the very birth of the word ‘psychedelic’.
‘Psychelytic’ would appear to be in line with a Gnostic worldview – as presented by Eric Voegelin – requiring the dissolution or disintegration of the psyche. However, instead of psychedelic, for the pneuma to be revealed or manifested a more appropriate term could be ‘pneumadelic’.
“For most of their history, they have been mysterious, dangerous substances and must be treated respectfully.”
“There is no a priori reason why a sustained, even intelligent, study of the phenomena which induce these visions cannot eventually permit us to attain them at will.” “And when a being is in possession of them, he knows or thinks he knows the meaning of life and thus, as a secondary benefit, reduces, by the aid of memory, to their proper unimportance, the sorrow, the tragedy, even the ostensible evil which is woven of necessity into the texture of our temporal days.”
“Such plant grown in England shot from seed to 14 feet in five months.”
“Gnostic man must carry on the work of salvation himself…. Through his psyche (“soul”) he belongs to the order, the nomos, of the world; what impels him toward deliverance is the pneuma (“spirit”).
The labor of salvation, therefore, entails the dissolution of the worldly constitution of the psyche and at the same time the gathering and freeing of the powers of the pneuma.”
The cyber turn of 21st century capitalism is becoming more explicitly cyber-psychedelic, digital as well as hallucinogenic, working to modify common sense and our shared sense of reality.
According to Keynes “the essential characteristic of capitalism” is “the dependence upon an intense appeal to the money-making and money-loving instincts of individuals as the main motive force of the economic machine.” Keynes emphasized the role of the irrational in economic life and talked about “the Freudian theory of the love of money.”
In the CyPsy hypothesis on the mind, as the mind is currently transformed by cyber-psychedelic capitalism, the super-ego becomes largely externalized onto the surveillance digital system, the ego is dissolved, and the id becomes free of internal constraints only to be regulated by the external substitution of the super-ego, which is the digital panopticon of surveillance capitalism making profits.
“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)
Harvard psychologist Murray about Hitler
“What seems a god is actually a devil, what seems a liberation is in fact an enslavement” – Aldous Huxley
The current public psychiatrization of “the most powerful man in the world,” as the media often describe the President of the United States of America, could be seen as a new paradigm shift in contemporary power.
In addition to the increasing use of a psychologized lexicon in everyday speech, a role might be played by such spectacle communicating symbolically, and contributing to, a global cultural shift towards a subjectivist worldview and a progressive de-politicization of citizenship.