“it´s not for western psyche”

When some of the western therapists and mental health specialists, not so long ago completely ignorant of potential of psychedelics, or worse, openly opposed to them, now try not only jump on the bandwagon but take steering wheel, they tend either to ignore indigenous paradigms and approaches to working with psychoactive plants, or at best, give politically correct token acknowledgment but always quickly adding various versions of disclaimer : these are culture specific, exotic traditions, that can not be applied to needs of modern man not wearing feather crown and hunting monkeys with blowpipe.

Let’s think about this paternalistic stand. It is perfectly fine to be offering western format of psychotherapy to clients in Kolkata or Lagos, to stuff pizza in Samoan bellies, to export democracy or gender politics to mountain villages of Middle East, western financial, economical, cultural, lifestyle models and norms of any kind into any corner of the world, and to keep checking if they match standards that are being invented and modified in think tanks and universities of London, Paris or LA. All these subjects of western hegemony will be perfectly fine as long as they keep up with adjusting their psyche and lifestyles to what their more mature teachers will tell them.

But Western man, despite having, especially in last decades, very poor performance in mental health, and so very poor credibility for preaching how to fix it, should not look for solution in places where social harmony, and individual mental health ( I write those two on purpose together, and in such order ) are, or at least have been, until western contamination, something we can dream of ? Because they are exotic and so foreign to his psyche? Or perhaps precisely here lies the problem, it is because we are so removed from these not so long ago universal values, worldviews and practices, that we suffer so much?

So who decided about that, that an Amazonian healer is a worse teacher and guide for modern psyche than a shrink from New York? That whistling new plant sourced patterns into your energy body is a weird backward practice, or less effective modality than more of the same : talking, from mind to mind, augmented in recent makeshift psychedelic therapy models by holding hand and softer pillow, or perhaps AI designed playlist, because the former reeks of our superstitious past we thought to have exorcised with our rationality.

We pride ourselves, as civilization, to be open minded, and yet even in this field, where we are such helpless beginners, grasping in despair for salvation from our depression, anxiety, array of neuroses, we immediately must claim authority, and again establish centre of the world, not in poor ( hence stupid ) backward Amazon but in John Hopkins of New York or Imperial College of London? Let’s be honest, isn’t that at least partially because one is full of rickety shacks and another has marble floors, and good doctor must be the rich doctor with fancy office, the one that helps us living in fancy house, to have more comfortable life, this time by catchy offers of neuroplasticity or biohacking? Well, more of the same will bring more of the same, and the main hope for another outcome lies in subversive character of the plants themselves, that will not be tamed and will slowly crack this arrogant facade of the occidental palace of logos.

And if you choose to go with the “middle way” tune, it would be nice of course to “take the best of both worlds”, but while obviously many ego driven indigenous shamans would benefit from having some kind of psychotherapy supervisor, the other side needs first to notice, value and compensate them enough for that to have a chance of happening, and at the same time answer the most important question – what from the animistic way of being and working in the world is it willing to accommodate in its human and mind centered paradigm.

( text and photography by Tata Mundo )

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