A. N. Whitehead and Psychedelic Phenomenology
The panexperientialism of A. N. Whitehead can inform our understanding of psychedelic consciousness.
The dissolution of apperception in the psychedelic state may be understood not as mere non-veridical perception, but as a fragmentation of the superordinate sentience and thus a downward fusion into the subordinate sentiences that panexperientialism asserts as existent. Likewise, yet contrariwise, such dissolution may also suggest an upward fusion into what Whitehead tentatively calls ‘God’ in a particular, panentheistic sense.
In addition to these vertical movements, there is scope to investigate a horizontal influx into other actualities. For Whitehead, perception operates in the relation part-to-whole rather than in the typically-believed relation of representation-to-object. This former mereological relation may be emphasised under certain psychoactive-chemical induced states. Through the eyes of such a process philosophy, psychedelic consciousness can be viewed in a novel manner.
Peter Sjöstedt-H is an Anglo-Scandinavian philosopher who specialises in the thought of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bergson and Whitehead, and within the field of Philosophy of Mind. Peter has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in Continental Philosophy from the University of Warwick, where he was awarded a first-class distinction for his dissertation on Kant and Schelling in relation to ‘intellectual intuition’. Peter subsequently became a Philosophy Lecturer in South Kensington, London for six years but is now engaged with his PhD at Exeter University. He is the author of the book Noumenautics and the inspiration behind the new inhuman philosopher Marvel Superhero, Karnak.