1.1 ‘The Future Resilient Temple’
Is anyone else thinking about?
A resurgence in psychedelics first appeared on my radar in 2016 after reading an article on ‘microdosing’, the practice of taking sub-perceptual doses of LSD and Psilocybin as a performance enhancer for creative thinking and anxiety reduction.
Conversation appears to have shifted on from the anecdotal evidence of microdosing, to psychedelics as a groundbreaking mental health treatment and a powerful tool for lasting self improvement.
Just this week, Prince Harry revealed his own experiences with psychedelics to help with the grieving of the passing of his mother.
“I would never recommend people to do this recreationally, but doing it with the right people, if you are suffering from a huge amount of loss, grief or trauma, then these things have a way of working as a medicine” he said. “For me, they cleared the windscreen, the windshield, the misery of loss”. High praise indeed, regardless of your views on Harry (that’s another content series entirely).
In July 2022, I joined an online seminar by Synthesis Institute, a psychedelic retreat in Amsterdam, with their Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer Martijn Schirp, and Dr Robin Carhart-Harris. In it I posed the question: ‘What does the future look like for psychedelic retreats, and how is it working in a field that exists on the fringes of the law?’ keen to hear Martijn’s thoughts.
He answered it with a question that he finds himself coming back to: ‘What does a future resilient temple construct look like at scale?’. To un-pack this — Martijn is referring to the inevitable scaling of psychedelics and whether this will result in the proliferation of ‘temple’ like physical spaces for people to explore their effects in a controlled environment.
As expected, the more I read, listened and thought about the elusive ‘resilient temple’ — the more questions it threw up. As the psychedelics debate reaches mainstream popular culture — it is easy to imagine a world where the benefits of psychedelics become widely championed. But will it inevitably become another capitalist exploit? Should it be treated as a trend, and branded as such?
In a series of articles, we don’t plan to reach a shared consensus on the ethics of psychedelics. It’s a far too emotionally loaded topic to do so. Instead, we are interrogating some of the important questions we’d implore ourselves to explore if a psychedelics brief were to land on our desks. From understanding the movement to decolonising wellness to creating more representative storytelling, we will unpack topics that ensure psychedelics are treated as more than a fast moving trend.