Transpersonal ecodelia: Surveying psychedelically induced biophilia
Emerging evidence indicates that the ‘recreational’ (non-clinical) use of psychedelics increases connectedness to, and concern for nature (Luke & Yanakieva, 2016), and is associated with nature relatedness in terms of self-identification with nature and the desire to be in natural environments (Forstmann & Sagioglou, 2017). Furthermore, the influence of nature relatedness on pro-environmental behaviour is mediated by the lifetime use of psychedelics (Forstmann & Sagioglou, 2017).A prospective study found that nature-relatedness significantly increased after the non-clinical use of psychedelics for at least two years and was positively associated with consumption in natural surroundings and with subsequent increases in wellbeing (Kettner, Gandy, Haijen & Carhart-Harris, 2019). Similarly, the clinical treatment of depression with psilocybin was found to significantly increase nature-relatedness for at least 12-months (Lyons & Carhart-Harris, 2018), and the universal increase in the sense of connectedness associated with reduced depression from psilocybin treatment often came with an enhanced sense of respect and care for, and interconnectedness with, nature (Watts & Luoma, 2020). What currently remains lacking is closer inspection of the role of the nature-based transpersonal experience in mediating these psychedelic transformations in attitude, wellbeing and behaviour. The paper reports on two internet-based surveys of psychedelic users (combined N = 300+) regarding the extent to which psychedelics have changed their ecological orientated attitudes and behaviours. In particular the surveys explore the nature of the psychedelic experiences that have affected their eco-consciousness, and how psychedelically-induced transpersonal experiences involving nature lead to increased biophilia.
Dr David Luke is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich, where he has been teaching an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience since 2009, and also Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College. His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including ten books, most recently Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (2nd ed. 2019). He directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon at the Institute of Ecotechnics, London, and is a cofounder and director of Breaking Convention: International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. He has given over 300 invited public lectures and conference presentations; won teaching, research and writing awards; organised numerous festivals, conferences, symposia, seminars, retreats, expeditions, pagan cabarets and pilgrimages, and he lives life on the edge, of Sussex, UK.