In this episode, I speak with psychedelic scholar, editor, publisher, and researcher Robert Forte. For over three decades, Robert has collaborated with some of the most influential and well-known figures within the psychedelic movement, including R. Gordon Wasson, Timothy Leary, Stanislav Grof, and Alexander Shulgin, to name a few.
In this discussion with Robert, we reference a recent article published by Marine Corp Times, titled ‘Can LSD and magic mushrooms help win wars? This Marine officer says ‘yes’.’ As the article states, the “military should join the growing list of psychedelic beneficiaries […] to become “stronger, faster and smarter than our adversaries”” through the microdosing of psychedelic compounds, like LSD and psilocybin, in order to counter “the nearly-insurmountable task of analyzing a rapidly-growing tidal wave of analytical data that, with today’s advances in technology, will only continue to expose cognitive shortfalls.” (http://bit.ly/2JfKIq1) As the use of psychedelics enters the public discourse again, and as we continue to see the normalization of their use by Silicon Valley corporate executives and others to “significantly heighten alertness, creativity, and problem solving,” we have to step back and examine the ways psychedelic use is actually reinforcing the status quo of our society.
I ask Robert to explore the early days of psychedelic interest in American society, initially generated in large part by the release of the 1956 Life Magazine photo essay by R. Gordon Wasson (J.P. Morgan Vice President of Public Relations) — a landmark piece that was the first to expose the American public to the use and effects of psilocybin mushrooms. (http://bit.ly/2Hjr2y9) As Robert explains, the C.I.A. funded this venture (http://bit.ly/2VXcr4J), and was largely behind, along with media mogul Henry Luce, the branding of the psychedelic experience for Western audiences. Why would this be the case? As we descend down this rabbit hole of inquiry, we discuss the absolutely perplexing history of the popularization (and demonization) of psychedelic use in the modern era, including the overwhelming interest by Western elites to use these substances for mind control and social engineering purposes, as demonstrated in the MK-ULTRA project by the C.I.A., among other examples. Toward the end of our discussion, Robert and I get into some rather hairy topics relating to “conspiracy theory” in the “post-truth era,” as defined by the blurring of lines between what is verifiably true and what is difficult to make sense of. While Robert and I may not come to agreement on these difficult subjects, we both absolutely recognize the necessity of questioning officially sanctioned narratives of events as propagated by the corporate-and-state managed press.
Robert Forte is a scholar and researcher of psychedelic drugs. He first studied with Frank Barron, who started the Psilocybin Project at Harvard with Timothy Leary in 1963. Robert is the former director of the Albert Hofmann Foundation, and currently is adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). James Fadiman, psychedelic researcher and writer, has described Robert as “a major but not well-known hero of the psychedelic movement.”
- Follow Robert on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2VvlNoW
- Read the article ‘Can LSD and magic mushrooms help win wars? This Marine officer says ‘yes’’: http://bit.ly/2JfKIq1
- Read the 1956 Life Magazine photo essay by R. Gordon Wasson: http://bit.ly/2Hjr2y9
- Watch the Alex Jones deposition: https://youtu.be/I7siWJ86g40
- The song featured in this episode is “Hi-Potent” by Roni Size & Reprazent from the album New Forms (20th Anniversary Edition).