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'Psychedelic Horizons', by Tom Roberts

Reviewed by Bruce Sewick, LCPC

This fascinating book by Tom Roberts takes a close look at multi-mind states, entheogenic healing, and more.

Dr. Tom Roberts' interest in psychedelics is best reflected in his recent book "Psychedelic Horizons". His fascination with, and appreciation of the untapped potential of these substances is best summed up in his words, "As an educational psychologist, I am grateful to psychedelics for teaching me that our minds function in many mindbody states... psychedelics challenged me to explore our minds, and I am thankful that they invited me when they did." The exploration of the concept of different mind-body states is one of the more intriguing theories in Dr. Roberts' book. Roberts feels that attachment to our ordinary, normal, "awake" state (single state) is limiting. What is needed, he says, is the recognition that "our minds do useful work in mindbody states in addition to our ordinary awake state". This is the idea of the multistate mind (italics mine). He likens the concept to a person who has bought a powerful computer, but will only use it to play chess, thus underutilizing a powerful information-processing resource.

Dr. Roberts feels that psychedelics, along with other psychotechnologies (e.g. yoga, meditation, martial arts, dream work, etc.) have helped to expand our assumptions about our minds. He proposes a "Multistate Studies Center" to "explore how current abilities vary across mindbody states, to reask educational questions from a multistate perspective, to explore leads from other cultures on our own, and develop the possibilities of designing new mindbody states and housing them".

The second, rather revolutionary theory, is related to the "placebo effect"... Dr. Roberts posits that the placebo effect is a mindbody skill our minds and our bodies have. He calls this "placebo ability". He feels that psychedelically enhanced mystical experiences could produce an overwhelming sense of well being and might offer clues to spontaneous, unaccountable healing (i.e. placebo effect). He questions and hypothesizes: "do entheogen-induced mystical experiences boost the immune system?" Dr. Roberts calls this the EMXIS hypotheses, short for Entheogen, induced Mystical Experiences Influence the Immune System. This theory differentiates between psychedelics and their transformation to "entheogens" (generating the experience of god within) when a sense of sacredness accompanies the emotional peaks.

I found Dr. Roberts book to be very thought provoking, informative and entertaining. His chapter on "Snow-White-Grof's Landmarks in Disney's Land", for example, is a whimsical, psychedelic interpretation of Snow White that will change the way you read this fairy tale.

The last part of Dr. Roberts' book "Enlarging Education" expands the meaning of what it means to be a well educated (i.e., one with multistate capacities) person: "A well educated person can select from a large number of mindbody states, enter them, and use their resident abilities". Dr. Roberts acknowledges this multi-state education when he expresses his gratefulness in discovering through psychedelics "that religion is about something, and that something is unitive consciousness". He feels that psychedelics democratizes primary religious experience: "for spiritual guidance, verbalists consult the word of God, mystics consult their experience of God" Part of the entheogenic experience, by definition is the direct experience of the divine. These mystical experiences, drug induced or otherwise, often cause major paradigm shifts -which make it easier to experience mystical states more often and/or to a stronger degree. This could potentially increase our spiritual intelligence. This increase in spiritual intelligence generated by the use of entheogens could have far reaching affects in society and planetary survival.

The final chapters in the book speculate about the future of multistate education and where it may take us. It is fascinating reading both for the uninformed and those of us, who in the seventies sense, "are experienced".

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Tags : psychedelic hallucinogen placebo
Posted on: 2006-07-05 17:29:15