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Philosophy Students Top UK Drug Poll

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Almost nine out of ten British philosophy students have owned up to using illicit drugs, in a massive new poll of over 5,000 students attending 21 universities.( The Tab)


87% of philosophers admitted dabbling, compared to 72% for economists and 57% of medicine students, with nationally 70% of all students saying they’ve tried drugs at least once in their lives.


Responding to the study, the Guardian asked why philosophy students were so much more likely to have claimed they used drugs and suggested noted 19th century US philosopher William James might have inspired a few.


“William James took nitrous oxide and found, as he reported in The Varieties of Religious Experience, that it served to “stimulate the mystical consciousness to an extraordinary degree”, said the Guardian.


“It was only then he understood Hegelian philosophy’s notion of god: “[T]o me the living sense of its reality only comes in the artificial mystic states of mind.” (Guardian: )


Noted Russian psychiatrist Dr. Igor Kungurtsev reported similarly transformative qualities with ketamine when he tried using the drug to treat alcoholics in Russia in the early 90s.


“It is interesting that many people who never thought about spirituality or the meaning of life reported having experiences that one might read about only in spiritual texts or Eastern teachings,” he reported in the Albert Hofmann Foundation Bulletin of Autumn 1991.


“For many patients it is a profound insight that they can exist without their bodies as pure consciousness or pure spirit. Many of them said that as a result of their experience, they understood the Christian notion of the separation of the soul and the body, and that they now believe some part of them will continue to exist after death.” ( )


Psychedelic guru Terence McKenna also spoke repeatedly of the mystical insights available to some though also noted their subversive potential to undermine mainstream society.


“Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong,” he suggested.


“The message of psychedelics is that culture can be re-engineered as a set of emotional and spiritual values rather than products. This is terrifying news.” (More Terrence McKenna quotes;  “Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed.” (The Varieties of Religious Experience A Study in Human Nature by William James, entire book available here as a free download)










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