Joe Atwill cautions against the resurging interest in psychedelics and entheogens.
photo by: Skeptiko
(audio 1979 news report) In their never ending search for the miracle weapons, CIA operatives searched here, in the remote mountain areas of Southern Mexico, for what, up until then, had been considered a myth; magic mushrooms.
The clip you’re listening to is from a 1979 news report and it’s one of the chapters in the fairytale version of the CIA’s involvement with psychedelics and as strange at that opening ten seconds was; it gets even stranger.
They used this man, a part-time chemist for the CIA, to dupe this man, a vice president of a bank and an amateur mycologist or mushroom expert, to try and get to the magic mushrooms and turn them into a drug, but it would be the amateur R. Gordon Wasson, and his colleagues, who would win the race and develop the drug psilocybin from the magic mushrooms.
Now, the notion that a Wall Street banker like Gordon Wasson, who is deeply connected at the highest level to the United States government, to the Director of the CIA, to the Council on Foreign Relations, which is the most influential group in Washington, the idea that he was somehow the central figure in the discovery of magic mushrooms in the hills of rural Mexico is just, again… it’s the stuff of fairytales.
But, if we’re to pull apart and truly understand what psychedelics are and how they’ve been used in our culture and how we might use them going forward, well this story might have a lot of significance to those questions, and that is, at least, certainly the opinion of today’s guest on Skeptiko, Joe Atwill.
Joe Atwill: They do not have any concern whatsoever for the human value of their subjects. These are lab rats. They knew perfectly well that the drug produced psychosis and they knew perfectly well that a fraction of the people weren’t going to come back, but they went forward with the experimentations regardless.
This was all used against us once. The sex, drugs and rock and roll culture was artificial, it was used against us, it really debased and damaged our culture. So now, as we sit here, we have this new era, new drugs, new research, new government involvement. We just aren’t in a position, until we know what is controlling the government, to trust these things.
Stick around, all that and a lot more coming up on Skeptiko.
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Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Joseph Atwill back to Skeptiko. He’s here today to talk about some of his recent research and writings into the topic of psychedelics, entheogens, how those have been introduced and promoted in our culture, and what the implications of those might be for our culture going forward.
Of course, we talked about this subject a little bit a couple of episodes back and I’ve been very interested in bringing Joe’s voice and perspective to this discussion, as I think he has a very,