David Nickles – Kitchen Chemists & Capitalism


February 25, 2017

The psychedelic resurgence has crafted and perpetuated a number of memes that have subsequently become embedded in the fabric of public psychedelic discourse. These ideas are frequently treated as truisms with little to no discussion about their validity or legitimacy. Despite a lack of structural analysis, notions of utilizing psychedelics to effect “paradigm shifts” are a dime a dozen, while direct action appears largely absent.

As certain self-styled experts proclaim that ayahuasca should never be drunk without a “shaman,” insist that only whole plant “medicines” are legitimate, and push for new psychedelic markets—all while ignoring the implications of commodifying these plants and experiences within the contexts of capitalism and industrialization– public discourse about what these compounds and experiences have to offer is shrinking.

Meanwhile, thousands of people grow and extract their own psychedelics, brew their own ayahuasca, and eschew many of the attitudes fast becoming the “mainstream” ideologies of the so-called “psychedelic community.” Examining this growing rift necessitates questioning claims to power, modalities of engagement, and processes of commodification. If one of the most empowering aspects of psychedelic experiences is their ability to shift perspectives, then why does so much of the prevalent psychedelic discourse reflect the dominant cultures from which it originates?