Those engaged in psychedelic science—legit or outlaw flavors—assume, as the ancient profession of shaman has always presumed, that the discoveries, the observations, the affordances, and the actions available to a person in an altered state are useful to the community. How useful?
Certainly the insights of psychedelic science—at least the raw observations—have penetrated the zone of mainstream science in an epistemologically potent fashion at the hotspot of biotechnology and genetic engineering. The ability to edit our own design is with us now in part because the LSD-assisted insights of Francis Crick (DNA structure) and Kary Mullis (PCR reaction) laid the theoretical foundation and the principle technological tool. Whether we can design or re-design our own program intelligently is a legitimate question. Attention seems to be going first to repair actions, finding the disease and deformity-causing genes and eliminating or re-writing. What happens when we start to think seriously about what we could be like, what we want to be like, what, perhaps, we need to be like.
In simplest terms—we are heading into an ecological and evolutionary crisis in a few short years. Would more intelligence be of use to tackle the problems of looming disaster? Would an enlarged capacity for compassionate relations with each other help or shall we just continue tearing each other to shreds in the fight for scarce resources? Can we engineer a body-type more adaptable to star travel if we have to flee our self-fouled nest? Or will this whole effort devolve into a marketing ploy for the fashionistas in a frivolous party-while-Rome-burns extravaganza? We’re already practicing our desires for body re-design on Second Life.
Re-tooling the bodymind for survival with a full confrontation that it is our very selves we need to change in order to survive is an option. Needless to say, this will be fought tooth and nail under the same schizophrenic logic that gasps in horror at the thought of human cloning while aiming at the ultimate scientific achievement: the conquest of death. Life extension is well underway. Conquering disease is moving right along. These questions, huge as they are, arise in the psychedelic sphere under the awareness of radical interconnectivity. We can call it ecological insight, or consilience, or simply Love. A science informed by Love? Is such heresy possible?