Is fascism good for anything? Not yet, but it may soon be responsible for the recognition that magic mushrooms cause ingesters to be less open to fascism.
“Our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism.”
Woo-hoo, Ma! Put on your boots and let’s go out into the cow pasture and fight fascism! Taylor Lyons and Robin L. Carhart-Harris, revealed in the Journal of Psychopharmacology the results of their recent tests which showed that psilocybin could potentially make a person less favorable to authoritarian ideas and more attuned to nature. Moreover, these changes in attitude due to 'shrooms appeared to be permanent.
Lyons and Carhart-Harris are researchers for the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London. They were aware of two previous studies: one showing that magic mushroom and LSD users reported an increase in enjoyment of nature and another finding that the use of psychedelic drugs was associated with liberal and libertarian views (they actually needed study to figure this out?). What Lyons and Carhart-Harris wanted to determine was which came first … the liberal views or the mushroom use.
The subjects of their test were seven people with treatment-resistant major depression and a control group of seven mentally healthy people. The volunteers were surveyed on the views about politics and nature prior to the study and two times during it. Those with the depression were then given two oral doses of clinical psilocybin. And the results?
“Patients reported a greater connection with nature 1 week after treatment. This increase in nature relatedness was sustained at the 7–12-months follow-up. One week post-treatment a significant decrease in authoritarianism was also observed, and at the 7–12-month follow-up the decrease was at trend level.”
There was no change in the views on nature or politics in the control group (although they may have felt some jealousy at the study after-party).
While Lyons and Carhart-Harris admit that tests on a much larger group are needed (where does the line start?), they believe their results are noteworthy.
“With significant caveats clearly highlighted, our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism. These findings motivate further controlled studies to better determine the causality, reliability, specificity and durability of this relationship, as well as potential applications.”
One of their test subjects summed it up best:
“Before I enjoyed nature, now I feel part of it. Before I was looking at it as a thing, like TV or a painting… [But now I see] there’s no separation or distinction, you are it.”
Isn’t that better than being a fascist?