What does ‘having an experience’ mean? Why does it matter to think about that, when we are talking about the integration of psychedelic experiences?
In a very broad sense, everything is ‘experience’. But because that empiricist notion means a lot, it maybe doesn’t say too much.
In a more tangible way, ‘having an experience’ refers to distinct processes, sometimes leading to quite dramatic real life implications for a specific human being. An experience as a whole always reveals something – by transforming us and how we view the world in which we are living. It is not just something that happens to us, but an actively chosen way that has become deeply relevant to us. It is a reciprocal process that is opening up new ways of encountering our being-in-the-world. In the best case this means broadening one’s horizon and anew making us available to the richness of life. But it can also imply a narrowing of perspectives.
A discrete experience has specific, distinguishing characteristics and is striving for consummation.
This is, what ultimately makes it whole – an integrated experience.
Psychedelic experiences are special in many ways, but they can also inform us about the very nature of experience itself.
When the aftermath of a psychedelic journey is rough, it might be, that it has not fully reached it’s completion.
Contemplating the relevance of experience for educational purposes, the famous pragmatist philosopher John Dewey states that “the measure of the value of an experience lies in the perception of relationships or continuities to which it leads up”.
If psychedelic experiences are showing us the interconnectednes of being – they might be worthwhile.
The topics adressed in this talk have arisen from actively being involved in psychedelic integration work. Because of the practical implications of these philosophical considerations, I will link them to some relevant core concepts from gestalt therapy as well.