Psychedelics: A Non-Religious Spiritual Awakening

A – not quite – ordinary way of understanding everything

Alexandre PortoDec 30, 2020 · 2 min read

spirituality and psychedelics
Claude Monet, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As you know, humans use psychedelics in order to induce a psychological state that is not only highly expansive and unconstrained by reality or even the self but also usually filled with joy and bliss.

The experience of many people, myself included, has been that this state leads to an understanding of how things are in a way that does not result from normal thinking.

There seems to be a natural state of mind that is associated with the psychedelic experience which can be viewed as some kind of non-conceptual understanding.

We have various philosophical ideas about what would constitute knowledge or justified belief but I think it is fair to say that many people who are familiar with psychedelics feel they have acquired such knowledge.

philosophy of psychedelics
Public Domain

Philosophical Significance

The philosophical significance of this is that it shows there are non-conceptual ways of understanding things. This could be an important discovery in the philosophy of knowledge.

Many people in the psychedelic community have come to believe that psychedelics have a spiritual significance.

That is, they can be viewed as agents of some kind of religious awakening or enlightenment.

Some people believe that psychedelics can induce a spiritual experience comparable to those brought about by other religious practices such as meditation or prayer.

The main point is that this view who have taken psychedelics does not follow any of our philosophical concepts.

I personally believe that psychedelic use can induce a form of ‘spiritual experience‘ which is not connected with religion.

I think psychedelics have the effect of temporarily taking us out of our normal state or what we might call ‘the egoic mode’. 

This state can be called something like ‘awakening’, however, this term is vague and needs to be sharply distinguished from the concept of enlightenment.

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