PSYCHEDELIC GROWTH: THE COGNITION OF CREATIVITY AND CHANGE
In the words of neuroscientist Sam Harris; “psychedelics guarantee the contents of consciousness will change”. Is this change predictable? If so in what ways and for how long? How might psychedelics affect our values, our relationship to ourselves, others and the world? Neuroscience shows us that the mind resists change, and prefers certainty to uncertainty. Through a psychedelic “trip” these neural set points may change. Psychedelics allow us to be more receptive to new ideas and can be described as increasing our cognitive repertoire. These traits underlie their strength as both creative agents and their ability to heal. My analysis will be formed by a backbone of neuroimaging and scientific data from clinical trials and enriched by synthesising work outside the psychedelic field into openness, peak experience, creativity and Integrated Information Theory (IIT). My aim it to provide a framework to better understand and navigate the psychedelic experience.
MELISSA WARNER is a self-described ‘neuro-sculptor’ on a mission to empower others with mastery over the contents of their consciousness. Melissa is a co-founder of The Australian Psychedelic Society and was co-organiser of The Melbourne Psychedelic Dinner and Seminar (2016) at The University of Melbourne. She is a commentator on the science and philosophy of psychedelics substances on radio, print and social media. A lover of aesthetics, her tertiary studies began in digital art, creative writing and philosophy. However, upon first learning of chemicals that were of “the plane of art”, “perpetual creation” that “may serve as an antidote to mental sickness in the future”, in Aldous Huxley’s explorations with psychedelics in The Doors of Perception, she transferred to science seeking to learn more. Melissa is currently a student of Neuroscience and Computer Programming. She is an avid meditator, performance artist and health enthusiast. She hopes to contribute to the study of consciousness as a researcher in her future career. Particularly by using psychedelics as tools to unlock the secrets consciousness. A survivor of complex PTSD, she lives as a case study of the efficacy of psychedelics as therapeutic tools. Her diverse experience provides a unique perspective. Melissa traverses the divide between research and therapy through lived experience in healing, science, philosophy and art.