Psychedelics Can Change Your View on the Nature of Reality

New research has found that a high dose of psychedelics can radically shift your metaphysical beliefs.

Evan Lewis-Healey


Picture retrieved from Wikimedia Commons

“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out.” — Aldous Huxley

A recent study, published in Scientific Reports, has found that psychedelics can fundamentally change your core beliefs about the nature of fate, reality, and consciousness.

The study is the first of its kind to track changes in these core beliefs before and after participating in a psychedelic ceremony, and represents a more nuanced shift in the ethical underpinnings of psychedelic therapy.

This Is Your Mind on Metaphysics

The branch of philosophy concerning the nature of reality — metaphysics — is a murky subject. Philosophers of the East and the West have been wrestling with metaphysical questions for thousands of years. As of yet, these existential questions, like “What exactly is consciousness?” and “Do we really have free will?” are yet to be universally agreed upon.

Newbies to philosophy may not be fully acquainted with the lingo, but they will most likely hold their own metaphysical beliefs. If you subscribe to science, for example, you likely hold the materialist view that reality is purely physical — just as you can explain an apple falling from a tree through gravity, you can explain the behavior of the mind through activity in the brain.

On the other hand, you might be more convinced by the supernatural; an idealist believes that consciousness is the starting point of reality, and this simply can’t be explained through the physical world — in other words, you believe in mind over matter.

Not everyone may be explicitly conscious of their metaphysical worldview, but research has found that certain extraordinary experiences can increase people’s awareness of, and sometimes even change these deep-set beliefs. The tunnel of white light, and the ineffable feeling of peace and calm during a near-death experience, for example, can convince people that…



Evan Lewis-Healey

PhD candidate at Cambridge University. Studying the cognitive neuroscience of altered states of consciousness.