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Take Mushrooms, See God

By Kimya Afshar

The universe is a huge, sprawling mass of infinity and mystery— incomprehensible to our thinking, perceiving human brains, which are limited by the finite capacity made available to us by an evolutionary process only concerned with getting laid. We’re strange creatures, cosmically indistinguishable from simple monkeys only by our incessant thinking, and our insistence on divinity; there must have been something that once allowed us the potential to escape the asphyxiation of our egos and fixed potential of our lucid minds, and realize our order on this little blue dot. Psilocybin has the promise and potency for such a revelation: with mushrooms, worlds beyond imaginable horizons are revealed, and the unmistakable feeling of divine order is present. People have been using mushrooms for thousands of years: indigenous people of Mesoamerica have been using them for religious communion, divination, and healing. Now, as we operate in the isolating habitat of post industrial capitalism and the bustle of cities, the proliferation of social media, and the rise of a ruthless kind of individuality, we’ve strayed from this divinity, and spiraled into an epidemic of loneliness, hedonism, and apathy—and mushrooms might be our cure. 

Psilocybin is a chemical unique to certain species of mushrooms, and has the ability to unveil the inherent connectedness we all have to each other and to our natural world—which is frequently obscured by the filmy screen of our worrying and insecure minds, or our egos. As we project ourselves onto the world surrounding us, and attempt to derive our flimsy meaning from our trifling human minds, we fail to realize our relevance. As humans, we exist not to live in a constant state of worry, insecurity, and anxiety: submitting job applications, searching for love to fill the bottomless pit of despair inside of us, and lashing out when we can’t find any. Instead, we exist as apertures through which the universe can come to understand itself, rather than capitalistic vessels for production and consumption. Mushrooms allow a broadening of our habitual perspective, which is integral to reclaiming ourselves from the unconscious forces which continue our individualistic behaviors, and returning to the peace which lies within the natural and spiritual realms. 

Even the particular growth patterns demonstrated by mushrooms appear almost celestial in nature: as we delve deeper into the muddy waters of hedonism and the consequences of the industrial revolution, they appear in increasing frequency- almost as if warning us of our increasingly unconscious world. Psilocybin works by activating serotonin receptors in the brain and causing widespread connectivity amongst neural networks, changing typical brain processes and habits of thinking. The receptors that psilocybin works on are most abundant in the cerebral cortex, particularly in the areas responsible for cognition and self awareness. Thus, psilocybin acts chemically to create perspectives and experiences not possible during the brain’s standard processing patterns. This effect has had promising potential for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders and rich changes in consciousness. A psilocybe—a mushroom which contains the psychoactive compound psilocybin—is a particular type of mushroom which is commonly found growing near disturbed land, most frequently upset by human interference. They appear in especially high concentrations where there is ecological catastrophe and human habitation, such as mudslides, clear-cut forests, the wakes of bulldozers, and land left behind from agriculture. These mushrooms have also been found more frequently in areas which are populated by humans—such as suburban gardens, city parks, highway rest stops, prisons, college campuses, and other areas which experience high rates of human activity and interference. Almost prophetically, it seems as if these mushrooms increase in frequency as human civilization and society evolves. As we stray further from our nature, these mushrooms rear their heads as if to tell us to shed our egos and broaden the scope of our periphery. 

Taking mushrooms is much like quieting the whining voice in your head which squeals about having more sex, feeling more social acceptance, and staying focused on productivity and improvement—allowing for the rich loam of your subconscious to replace the fallow soil of your automatic mind. The separation between the self and the external world dissolves, leaving behind an overwhelming sense of connectedness, unity with some larger entity, and unexpected patterns of thought. Aldous Huxley, the famous philosopher who authored Brave New World, speaks of the mind’s reducing valve—the natural product of evolution which prevents our psyche from taking in too much of the information around us, and focuses on only that which is advantageous to our survival: this is our ego. Our ego constructs a self,  which is our own reflective consciousness that often works against us. To escape the self is to understand the attainable potential for peace, presence, and a feeling of connection to the secular divinity which exists all around us. One of the prerequisites to unlocking this elevated form of consciousness and spiritual understanding, is discovering the potential which lies behind the steel doors of the ego’s cage—which mushrooms allow us to do. 

While psilocybin has long been restricted, stigmatized, and concealed from public use, the recent partial legalization of mushrooms in some states promise an important revival of our efforts to reconnect with each other, and to the divinity around us. As our sleepy civilization stumbles forward in an unconscious haze, mushrooms insist that we blink our eyes open to the rampant destruction which our egotistical and selfish behaviors perpetuate, and recognize our place in the divine, cooperative order which promises peace and a form of paradise.


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