An interesting article in the nytimes:
“On psychedelics,” Halpern says, “you have an experience in which you feel there is something you are a part of, something else is out there that’s bigger than you, that there is a dazzling unity you belong to, that love is possible and all these realizations are imbued with deep meaning. I’m telling you that you’re not going to forget that six months from now. The experience gives you, just when you’re on the edge of death, hope for something more”
Dr. John Halpern, head of the Laboratory for Integrative Psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont Mass., a psychiatric training hospital for Harvard Medical School
Not that, I, personally am at the edge of death. However, illness makes you think about mortality. And in our society, mortality is spoken in whispers. We are brainwashed to believe we can have it all- lots of money, great food, great sex, never-ending happiness, the white picket fence, the fast car, the clothes- and get it now! Death? That is something distant, something that happens to other people. I’m not purporting the use of drugs as the only way to answer existential questions; there are numerous other avenues including meditation, yoga, etc. However, not having a practice that allows a person to thoroughly explore end-of-life issues is a big problem in our society. The consequences include painfully prolonged end-of-life interventions that, oftentimes, do not increase the quality of life for patients. I’m not saying everyone should be DNR when they enter a hospital. I’m just saying the sooner we face the inevitability of our own death and speak freely about it without the risk of sounding “depressing”, the better for us all.
This is a very complicated subject with various aspects, but I suppose opening up the discussion is an important beginning.