Hallucinogens and Culture: Creativity and Psychedelic Drugs
ANT 4461-Spring 2013
Table of Contents
Main Body of Paper…………………6
Discussion and Conclusion...…..…...12
In a world where the mind is its own unknown universe, it is no surprise that scientists, philosophers, scholars and the everyday person try to understand how the brain works. We try to utilize as much of the brain as possible to get through the day. At every moment of everyday, thousands of neurons bounce around that tell our body to breathe, to move, to create. Creativity is a topic that many people want to understand and have difficulty finding answers. “What makes a person more creative than me” is a common question we find ourselves asking. Some may say that the parents that played Beethoven and other classical music when their child was in the womb is a contributing factor. Others say that at a young age, they were put in arts programs whether it be dance, music lessons or art classes. Many believe that creativity has to do whether a person is right-handed or left-handed. Regardless of what people think, studies have shown that it is quite difficult to measure creativity levels between different individuals.
Creativity is left to opinion to the person that is observing the creation. Creativity is interpretative and often is highly influenced by word of mouth and prestige. Alice Flaherty said, “A creative idea will be defined simply as one that is both novel and useful (or influential) in a particular social setting.” Many of the times, creativity is a bell-curve that comes in waves and eventually repeats itself. Most of the works of art in literature, art, dance and music has great influence from past generations and so the struggle to be different and create something new rises.
From the 1950s to the 1960s, America went through, as some may call it, a renaissance with the help of psychedelic drugs. Many people in the arts used this as an advantage, as a way to open the mind and express something that only they could see and understand. Even today, people accredit their success to psychedelic drugs and achieving something they never thought was plausible. I consider myself a very creative individual but I could not see myself needing to dabble in psychedelic drugs to experience an awakening in my mind. However, this topic intrigued me greatly; therefore, the question I proposed was, “what is the connection between psychedelic drug-use that sparks creativity in works of art?” Throughout this paper, there will be compilation of experiments, research and testimonials as well as scientific insight into the mind and how the brain works under psychedelic drugs. To reach a conclusion to the aforementioned question, this paper will explore a myriad of experiments, surveys and studies as well as what the correlation between psychedelic drugs and creative works is. In addition, this paper will dive into the limitations in the brain that allow psychedelic drugs to break through and spark creativity along with the after effects that come with using psychedelic drugs.
Psychedelic drugs have been used around the world for centuries but remain a taboo. The derivation of the term “psychedelic” is from the Greek origin words “psyche” and “delein”. Psyche meaning mind and delein meaning manifesting; this implies that these drugs can open doorways in the human mind and referred to as mind-expanding. Psychedelic drugs are part of a larger umbrella of drugs known as hallucinogens. Under that umbrella and along with psychedelic drugs are the categories of dissociatives and deliriants. These drugs cause the user to experience changes in perception and consciousness among other changes in the mind. Hallucinogenic substances are the oldest drugs used by human kind and are...
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