After completing a Masters degree looking at the pernicious effect of the ‘war on drugs’, I started working at the Beckley Foundation in England. As I looked more and more into the science behind psychedelic drugs and helped to communicate some of our scientific projects to the public, my focus shifted from the harms of prohibition to the potential benefits of psychedelics as an aid to therapy and a tool for neuroscience.
TITLE: Your right to psychedelics: what is cognitive liberty and why does it matter?
Everyone agrees we should have the right to think and feel what we like. Most people believe that this is a right we have already won; that it would be impossible to take this right away from us. We are the the masters of our own minds, after all…
By explaining the concept of cognitive liberty and how it relates to drugs policy, I will demonstrate that our right to think what and how we like has been stolen from us by the global regime of drug prohibition and that in the case of psychedelics especially, we have become criminal trespassers in some of the most exciting, magnificent and awe-inspiring cognitive landscapes known to humankind.
I will go on to show the importance of making space for the concept of cognitive liberty in the drive for drug policy reform and argue that if we’re to achieve the types of reform we’re really aiming towards, the drug policy debate needs a new ideology, one which doesn’t just pave the way to a less bad world, but to a genuinely better world. One which doesn’t stop at minimizing harms, but insists on the paramount importance of maximizing freedoms.