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The Hidden Psychedelic History of Philosophy: Plato, Nietzsche, and 11 Other

The Hidden Psychedelic History of Philosophy: Plato, Nietzsche, and 11 Other


The Hidden Psychedelic History of Philosophy: Plato, Nietzsche, and 11 Other

There have been found many connections between Philosophical discoveries and psychedelic usage. Here are 13 instances where the two have coincided.

1. Plato

Plato is widely agreed to be the father of Western philosophy. It is known that he aspired to be a part of the Mysteries and having consumed Kykeon there is one of his cherished achievements. Kykeon has been said to contain the same substance on the basis of which LSD was invented.

2. Thomas De Quincy

De Quincy is a Kantian philosopher who delved a lot into the philosophies of Plato and Schelling as well. His consumption of opium was public knowledge and he admitted that it allowed him to think and imagine things which were even further beyond than the brilliance of Babylon.

3. Humphry Davy

A contemporary to Quincy and follower of Kant and Schelling, Davy is perhaps most well known for the invention of Davy lamps. But he was also equally popular for his experimentations with the laughing gas i.e. nitrous oxide.

4. Arthur Schopenhauer

A German philosopher, atheist and idealist. He widely promoted the use of intoxicants for higher thinking and intellectual stimulus. But he also warned against the excess, as post the tipping point the effect would be opposite of what is desired.

5. Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche didn’t seem to care about the popular opinion at all. If his proclamation of God being dead wasn’t enough, he also earned a lot of ire for his professional ethics or lack thereof. He also consumed a lot of opium for his chronic headache and other ailments.

6. William James

Nietzsche still preferred to keep his use of psychedelics under wraps. But his American counterpart made no qualms about using it as well as promoting it for furthering studies in the field of metaphysics and philosophy.

7. Henri Bergson

More than consuming psychedelics himself, Bergson is credited with laying out the philosophy which is still analyzed in connection with psychedelic usage.

8. Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin experimented with Hash and recorded those experiences. His death too is supposedly due to an overdose of morphine.

9. Ernst Jünger

He wrote about drug use and compared someone who consumes drugs to an astronaut. Both the astronaut and the psychonaut according to him are commendable because they traverse hitherto unknown territories.

10. Octavio Paz

Psychedelics are also found among followers of Nihilism, such as Paz who promoted drugs as they turned the notions of right and wrong and morality all on their head.

11. Herbert Marcuse

Marcuse too thought that psychedelics are important to reject pre-established notions, mainly those of capitalism. And unless we can reject them we cannot be aware of their exploitation.

12. Jean-Paul Sartre

Sartre too had his fair share of hallucinations when he tried experimenting with mescaline. The experience was harrowing and kept haunting him for quite a time afterwards. It is also said to be one of the inspiration behind his seminal work Nausea.

13. Michel Foucault

Although he didn’t actively participate in the discourse related to drugs and didn’t write much about it, he was quite fascinated by the relationship between drug use and artistic pursuits, especially of the west.


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