Psychonautics  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A psychonaut (from the Greek ψυχοναύτης, meaning literally a sailor of the mind/soul) is a person who uses altered states of consciousness, intentionally induced, to investigate his or her mind, and possibly address spiritual questions, through direct experience. Psychonauts tend to be pluralistic, willing to explore mystical traditions from established world religions, meditation, lucid dreaming, technologies such as brainwave entrainment and sensory deprivation, and often psychedelic drugs (entheogens). Because techniques that alter consciousness can be dangerous, and can induce a state of extreme susceptibility, psychonauts generally prefer to undertake these explorations either alone, or in the company of people they trust. Therefore, they are averse to using altered consciousness in a social or "party" context. Psychonauts generally regard the latter sort of use as irresponsible and dangerous.

Goals of psychonautic practices may be to answer questions about how the mind works, improve one's psychological state, answer existential or spiritual questions, or improve cognitive performance in everyday life.

Psychonautic works and notable figures

One of the best known psychonautical works is Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception. Aside of Ernst Jünger who coined the term, the American physician, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst, philosopher, writer and inventor John C. Lilly is another well-known psychonaut.

Philosophical- and Science-fiction author Philip K. Dick has also been described as a psychonaut for several of his works such as The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Another influential psychonaut is the psychologist and writer Timothy Leary. Leary is known for controversial talks and research on the subject; he wrote several books including The Psychedelic Experience. Another widely known psychonaut is the American philosopher, ethnobotanist, lecturer, and author Terence McKenna. McKenna spoke and wrote about subjects including psychedelic drugs, plant-based entheogens, shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, language, culture, technology, and the theoretical origins of human consciousness.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Psychonautics" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools