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. James Fadiman, psychedelic researcher and writer, has described Robert as “a major but not well known hero of the psychedelic movement.”✧
In this discussion, we discuss Robert’s skeptical, but well-grounded, concerns regarding the “psychedelic renaissance” currently underway, in particular as we begin to see a resurgence of public interest (including more positive coverage in the corporate press) of MDMA and other psychedelic compounds, as well as the ongoing legalization (or as Robert states it: the commodification) of cannabis through out the United States in recent years. Robert is fundamentally concerned with the various forces that aim to control the ways psychedelics and cannabis are perceived and received by the general public — pointing to the reality that we exist within a capitalist consumer culture, and as such corporations, government institutions, and policy-makers have their own agendas when it comes to the decriminalization and legalization of these substances for broader public use.
To understand Robert’s perspective, we touch on the work of Aldous Huxley and his book ‘Brave New World’ and its addendum ‘Brave New World Revisted’ in order to frame our understanding of what is currently taking place within the broader cultural and societal trends regarding the use of psychedelics and cannabis for therapeutic, medical, and recreational use. Having a deep respect for psychedelics and their appropriate use, Robert asks that the psychedelic community be aware of and counter the underlying agendas of these forces within our society, in particular when it comes to approaching the subject of the legalization and therapeutic use of these substances in the modern era.
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. In 1981 he moved to Esalen to study with Stanislav Grof, and then attended the Divinity School, University of Chicago. During this time Forte conducted an independent investigation of MDMA. He obtained his master’s degree under Mircea Eliade and has collaborated with many of the leaders in the field of psychedelics, including R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, Alexander Shulgin, Claudio Naranjo, and many others. Robert’s is former director of the Albert Hofmann Foundation, and currently is adjunct faculty at CIIS.♀︎
✧ Source: http://bit.ly/DarkHistory
- Learn more and purchase Robert’s book ‘Entheogens and the Future of Religion’: https://amzn.to/2IasXVI
- Learn more and purchase Robert’s book ‘Timothy Leary: Outside Looking In’: https://amzn.to/2IcxGGw
- Listen to the episode of Psychedelics Today that sparked my interest in Robert’s work: http://bit.ly/DarkHistory
- The song featured in this episode is “Rap” by Actress from the album Ghettoville.