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The Psilocybin Solution: The Role of Sacred Mushrooms in the Quest for Meaning Paperback – June 23, 2011
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“Simon G. Powell has crafted a magnificent, multifaceted argument for the reintegration of psychedelics into science, culture, psychotherapy, and religion to inspire our unbalanced species before we ‘push the biosphere into total decline.’ The Psilocybin Solution persuasively illuminates the profound social value of large numbers of people experiencing communion with and direct personal perception of Nature as a single system of self-organizing intelligence. A massive accomplishment!” (Rick Doblin, Ph.D., founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studi)
“This book provides a clear and up-to-date picture of what goes on in the brain during the visionary psilocybin experience. The author’s intrepid speculations, centering on information as the fundamental stuff of the universe, are clearly signposted. The writing is lucid and a joy to behold, an important contribution.” (Jeremy Narby, anthropologist and author of The Cosmic Serpent, Intelligence in Nature, and The Psych)
“The profound experiences unlocked by the visionary psilocybin-containing mushrooms are more than a recreational holiday for the mind. They are, in fact, the key to understanding that consciousness is not an aspect of reality, it is reality itself.” (Dennis McKenna, Ph.D., ethnopharmacologist and coauthor of The Invisible Landscape)
“A worthy successor to Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception, The Psilocybin Solution takes the reader behind the grand curtain of reality with a compelling hypothesis that approaches a unified field theory of human consciousness in an intelligent and interconnected universe.” (Bill Linton, CEO of Promega)
“In this fascinating and provocative book, Simon G. Powell speculates on the nature of reality. He posits that Nature is a deliberate and intelligently behaving system, and he proposes that psilocybin, by altering the neurochemistry of the brain in specific ways, enables novel patterns of information to emerge, allowing the psyche to become a sort of conduit to the Other. If in fact that is what actually happens, then entheogens (psychedelics) are much more important to the human species than has been realized.” (David E. Nichols, Ph.D., president and cofounder of the Heffter Research Institute)
“It’s as if these fungi, which grow wild on most of the Earth’s land surface, beckon us to commune with them, Powell hints. And if we do have the chance, we’d do well to heed his advice on the “retuning” process. This communion offers a link with the intelligence of Nature. Opening the doors of perception and returning to entheogenic wisdom could ultimately create a more mystical, meaningful society.” (Nexus Magazine, Vol. 18, No. 6, October 2011)
“Read this book. Follow directions in the last chapter closely. Confirm or deny.” (Diana Reed Slattery, Reality Sandwich, October 2011)
“Overall, another adequate introduction to entheogenic thought but one that, interestingly, broaches questions about neurology more explicitly than others, in attempting to locate entheogenic thought in a wider metaphysics.” (Psychedelic Press, November 2011)
“All in all, this is a stimulating and revolutionary volume, whatever your take on “chemically induced theophany.”” (Mac Graham, Whole Life Times, December 2011)
From the Back Cover
SPIRITUALITY / ENTHEOGENS
“Simon G. Powell has crafted a magnificent, multifaceted argument for the reintegration of psychedelics into science, culture, psychotherapy, and religion to inspire our unbalanced species before we ‘push the biosphere into total decline.’ The Psilocybin Solution persuasively illuminates the profound social value of large numbers of people experiencing communion with and direct personal perception of Nature as a single system of self-organizing intelligence. A massive accomplishment!”
--Rick Doblin, Ph.D., founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
It has been more than 50 years since sacred mushrooms were plucked from the shamanic backwaters of Mexico and presented to the modern world by R. Gordon Wasson. After sparking the psychedelic era of the 1960s, however, the divine mushroom returned underground from whence it mysteriously originated. Yet today, the mushroom’s extraordinary influence is once again being felt by large numbers of people, due to the discovery of hundreds of wild psilocybin species growing across the globe.
In The Psilocybin Solution, Simon G. Powell traces the history of the sacred psilocybin mushroom and discusses the shamanic visionary effects it can induce. Detailing how psilocybin acts as a profound enhancer of consciousness and reviewing the research performed by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Johns Hopkins University, and the Heffter Research Institute on psilocybin’s ability to dispel anxiety in the terminally ill and its helpful effects on obsessive-compulsive disorder, he examines the neurochemistry, psychology, and spirituality underlying the visionary psilocybin experience, revealing the interface where physical brain and conscious mind meet. Showing that the existence of life and the functioning of mind are the result of a naturally intelligent, self-organizing Universe, he explains how sacred mushrooms provide a direct link to the wisdom of Nature and the meaning of life.
SIMON G POWELL is a writer, musician, and filmmaker with an avid interest in the biosphere and psychoactive fungi. He lives in London.
Top customer reviews
This is a review, not a spoiler, but I can reveal that Powell's core idea depends on his notion that the universal experience common in a state of Psilocybin-induced enlightenment is not a delusion but is as real as normal consciousness. A skeptic, I followed his logic, which is offered as elegantly as a mathematical proof. Even the possibility that Powell's solution is true is hugely important! The Psilocybin Solution can also be personally liberating, as it has been in this state - and only in this state - that the euphoric truth was ever obvious to me...many others too, I suspect. Those who value truth owe themselves this "tutorial" - and a book that may literally change your mind. Serious people who cannot fake religion yet also recognize the limits of science can experience despair; Powell argues for a natural cure.
I must close by a confession: as a physician I am shamed by a medical community that has put up a white flag to a predatory "Big Pharm" establishment. We offer every form of "performance enhancement" from steroids to amphetamines to Viagra; yet when it comes to consciousness enhancement we submit to policemen. The integrity gap in our profession is an open invitation to untested alternative healers -licensed by government - including classic charlatans. The Psilocybin Solution is not to be confused with that lot. Rather, this book -in addition to its main contributions - is a lucid challenge to the arbitrary criminalization of Psilocybin, which hobbles rational scientific study. Read this book, if, like John Lennon, you're "sick and tired of hearing things from uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites..." The Psilocybin Solution by Simon G. Powell will give you some truth.
The basic premise is that there is an underlying intelligence in the universe--a cosmic "Other," as described by the author--which subtly nudges the universe progressively to greater and greater levels of complexity. This process has, quite fantastically, (so far) resulted in the emergence of a Cosmos able to contemplate itself, via the human brain, and it is a process which continues indefinitely. The "Other" permeates the entire Cosmos, all of spacetime all at once, and its presence can be felt and experienced by us directly--we need only be properly attenuated to its vibrations. The key to achieving that attenuation is the main subject of the book: the responsible consumption of psilocybin mushrooms by mature truth-seekers.
This is all obviously quite, for lack of a better term, "out there," and indeed the author loosely terms the above "The Fantastic Hypothesis" in full recognition of this. As someone who has never consumed psilocybin (my job description kind of precludes it), I cannot confirm or deny the presence of the Other as experienced in a bemushroomed state. I am, however, quite sympathetic to the notion of complexification towards an Omega Point and to a kind of spiritual energy directing the process.
My brief description here hardly does the intellectual quality of the work justice. These are not the semi-lucid rantings of a mind rotten out by drugs. It is serious philosophical business by a serious thinker. The only recommendation I would make to prospective readers is first to become at least loosely familiar with the philosophy of Teilhard de Chardin, as it is an obvious influence/inspiration behind much of the thinking presented in this piece. A good place to start is this lecture by British theologian Keith Ward: Reaching the Omega Point -- The Trajectory of an Open Universe. Viewable on YouTube.
In summation, I highly recommend this book and look forward to more fine presentations to come from Mr. Powell.