Anthropology

How psychedelic science privileges some, neglects others, and limits us all

Currently, indigenous people who have been studying these medicines for many generations receive little if any respect in Western science for their extensive expertise. Furthermore, underground therapists, often women, have been putting their lives, livelihoods, and reputations on the line in the name of healing without institutional protections or recognition for their work.

These are people who have been doing the work on the ground for generations, studying and developing these profound tools for healing. In Western science, the men who lead the boards and the research are the ones who receive the funding, the credit, and the accolades for bringing about the current “psychedelic renaissance.” They also receive the protection and the respect of our governmental, scientific, and cultural institutions. Despite claims to the contrary, “set and setting” was not a recent discovery of modern science. Indigenous peoples have emphasized the importance of intention, ritual, and sacredness in the use of plant medicines since the virtual beginning of time …There is an urgent need for cultural humility in psychedelic science in order to prevent it from falling into the same limiting, and often unethical, traps that we see in Western science and medicine. Cultural humility requires sharing and even giving up the podium to make space for diverse voices and contributions. Healing happens in community. I believe our movement wants collective healing for all of us, not just some. This discussion is timely, as the United States is currently embroiled in debates about the value of health equity: the importance of health being accessible to all, not just the privileged few. We would like to believe that psychedelic science has the potential to undo these systems of power such that we all have safe access to the cognitive liberties promised by this movement. To achieve this potential, we need to begin to broaden our framework of healing to include a cultural focus.

Original Article (Chacruna):
How Psychedelic Science Privileges Some, Neglects Others, and Limits Us All
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