Modern Culture

Psychedelic communities, social justice, and kinship in the capitalocene

Our case is built around four interlocking premises. The first three premises give an overview of ideology and capitalism in the contemporary era. The final one brings the issue of psychedelic communities directly into the discussion. Each premise informs the others, and together they lead to implications and recommendations that may help us (re)discover new and ancient pathways and collective purpose.  We offer our ideas in the spirit of the Australian Aboriginal activist and academic Lilla Watson’s well-known qualification for collaboration:If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

Premise 1- Ideology is always a background condition: We may find that we spend less time trying to legitimize psychedelics to the scientific/pharmaceutical complex, knowing this will hasten the commodification and privatization of sacred medicines. We may find ourselves less interested in taking Silicon Valley CEOs on excursions to the Amazon in favor of more social justice leaders. We may find an innate satisfaction in remaining outsiders to a system that does not serve Life.

Premise 2- Our modern crises are the logical outcome of our complex, adaptive economic system: We may find ourselves reinvigorated by sitting in a medicine circle as an illegal, revolutionary act. We may find new purpose in collective prayer and communal shamanism, eschewing the old hero-based, patriarchal model of the single shaman. We may find that there will be access to deeper purpose than self-help.

Premise 3- Neither blind optimism nor avoidance can save us: The binary idea that change starts within will give way to a more non-dualistic, discursive mode of simultaneous inner and outer change that will feed upon itself. We may find that the abolitionist’s truism that “none of us are free until all of us are free” may hold an antidote for the spiritual ennui of Western culture. We may also find that the existing power structure will not be able to so readily co-opt or consume an intersectional community, held together by numinous experiences, the sharing of sacraments and ancient knowledge, and deep spiritual-political practices. We may find access to spiritual capabilities we had forgotten we possessed.

Premise 4- The merger of the social justice movement with psychedelic communities can serve as pillars for a global community of kinship:
We may find that the union of spirituality and politics, of mysticism and anarchism, may provide us with a pathway to begin the necessary work of reconciliation, recuperation, redemption, and rewilding. We may find that there is no remaining distinction between an activist and a shaman. We may find that our ancestors, the elements, the plants, and other emissaries for a living universe conspire to speak to us in new and timely ways. We may find ways to be the ancestors we hoped we would become.

Original Article (IDPC):
329 NGOs call on world leaders to address the global health and human rights crisis among people who use drugs on the occasion of the 26th International Harm Reduction Conference
Artwork Fair Use: Chris 73, Luc Viatour, Dicklyon, Imwe___

Modern Culture