What is your motivation to contribute to MIND?
The orientation of MIND hits the sweet spot that combines evidence-based rationality with an open-minded curiosity. This creates a setting which attracts very creative, responsible and pragmatic people to work on different aspects of a shared vision. Personally, with my academic background in cognitive neuroscience and my current clinical work as a psychotherapist, I have long been looking for an environment in which it is possible to discuss and promote the understanding of psychedelic states. It just feels like a really good match!
Which meaning does the psychedelic experience have for an open society?
There is a two-way relation between a society and its individual members’ minds. I can’t imagine a free society that does not permit its member individuals access to psychedelic experiences, that is states of personal authenticity and self-actualisation. If such states are perceived as a threat to society, I would struggle to call it ‘free’, whatever that word even means in the present times. The other way around, I think that self-actualised, self-respecting and responsible individuals are able to contribute to society in a way that can improve it on a larger scale. My definition of psychedelic experiences and subsequent growth are quite broad here, this is not simply about dropping a certain type of pill! In this sense, ‘psychedelic’ or ‘open’ converge to a common meaning of overcoming oppression and removing any irrational obstacles for personal growth and overall development.
What is your vision regarding MIND?
My personal vision is a future in which the therapeutic applications of psychedelic states are evidence-based, legally available and publicly accepted possibilities for professional practitioners. This requires certain empirical preparatory steps, namely effectiveness and feasibility studies, which will in turn provide details as to which practices are reasonable and worth developing and promoting. Personally, I try to be as open as I can towards the future developments and I hope that MIND will persist to provide a platform for realistic and critical discussion and reflection of this process.
What is the main challenge for an organisation like MIND?
Organisations like MIND currently spark a lot of different, partly opposing, expectations in the public. Some people hope to gain access to a magic pill that will instantly end all suffering, others hope to become admired modern scientific shamans. Some hope to get rich by establishing a psychedelic market, others still dare to hope that psychedelics will undermine the capitalist order. Almost everybody ultimately strives for the validation of their world-view. All those motives and hopes have their reason and maybe legitimacy, but can’t and shouldn’t be fully realised simultaneously. The challenge is to navigate between those expectations without falling into either of the extremes and to stick to the initial vision without losing the willingness to reflect the ongoing process.