This nugget from what is a more or less typical story about the investment in psychedelic tech by would-be psychedelic pharma companies: “… So biotech firms are already working on next generation psychedelics, which aim to either shorten the trip time, or cut out the mystical, hallucinogenic part altogether.”

So much packed in here, aside from the usual questions around the dubiousness of trying to patent and commercialize these agents.

My knee-jerk reaction is to ask if we cut out the “mystical, hallucinogenic part altogether,” what exactly is left? 

Hmm, how do we parse this?  “Mystical” would seem to refer to the experiencing of a different order of reality – one of a spiritual nature.  It would be interesting to know if those wishing to remove the “mystic” are wishing to remove the possibility of catalyzing the experiencing of this other order of reality, or of removing what is, after all, “nothing but” a purely subjective matter of no import in the healing process which is seen not as a cognitive-integrative process but simply a biochemical pharmaceutical one.

As for “hallucinogenic,” I’m inclined to take objection in rather the same way that early psychedelic explorer John Lilly did to the inscription the renowned physicist Richard Feynmen made in his isolation tank guest book, saying “thanks for the hallucinations.”  The term hallucination tends to imply a perceptual experience lacking reality.  Along with Lilly, I hold space for and affirm that there are non-ordinary perceptual-cognitive experiences — such as may be associated with psychedelic experience — that are bona fide cognitions of a different order of reality.  

It is certainly true that these experiences of non-ordinary consciousness may be confused, disorganized, or riddled with experienced mirages, illusions, or distortions.  But it is also possible that one may experience a different spiritual reality along the lines of what Rudolf Steiner calls Imaginative, Inspirational, and Intuitive cognition.

Assuming one creates such agents, they would certainly not be psychedelic in the literal sense — they would not be “soul manifesting.”

There is a vast spectrum of degrees of intensity (and duration) of psychedelic substances across, for example, Ketamine, DMT, and the “classic” psychedelics like LSD.  Looking at the practice of microdosing, we have an instance where the dosage is so low as to be sub-threshold in terms of the “psychedelic experience,” yet there are any number of enthusiasts and practitioners who experience a tonic or therapeutic effect.

Initially I was quite dubious as to the efficacy in any domain of the practice.  In the process of more deeply reflecting on the mechanism of psychedelics within the context of Rudolf Steiner’s model of the membering of the spiritual human being, landing upon the surmise that psychedelics in some way catalyze what can be described as an expansion or loosening of the parts of the etheric body corresponding with the brain, I’m left with a bit of speculation that could fit the microdosing case.  Most simply, I’m trending to the idea that if psychedelics provoke a more or less radical loosening of the etheric body, (or: etheric part of the brain), then it is not irrational to suppose that a sub-threshold — from the point of view of consciousness — “loosening” could in some instance favorably effect the individual, if, crudely expressed, the etheric was “clenching” (for want of a better word) elements or components of the etheric brain that are involved in expressing or regulating baseline functions of mood, orchestration, and so on.

It’s still unclear to me what a psychedelic without soul-manifestation (psyche delic, literally) — that is, “mystical” and “hallucinatory” — would be aiming at.