The Banality of Psychedelics

Stephen Akey at The Hedgehog Review:

A carefully administered and properly controlled dosage of a hallucinogen, their studies attest, can accomplish in a single, not-to-be-repeated session what years of psychotherapy and regimens of antidepressant medications often fail to achieve.

I believe it. Nowhere, however, in the outpouring of recent literature on the subject, have I encountered any significant discussion of what most struck me in my limited experience of psychotropic drugs. The visions I encountered and the perceptions I took away were every bit as intense, rapturous, frightening, and transformative as sober physicians and wild-eyed advocates claim them to be. They were also—and this doesn’t get talked about much—astonishingly banal. If “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was one frame of reference for me, another was the poster art of late sixties California acid rock. I had been given a privileged glimpse into the collective unconscious and it looked like a dayglo poster for the Jefferson Airplane at Fillmore West circa 1967.

more here.