Magic Mushrooms in Bali

Humanity is staring through the keyhole, the ozone hole, onto an increasingly degraded planet and its own short-sightedness. Addicted to oil as if it were crack, we are chopping down the world’s tropical forests at an astounding rate…

Against the floods, genetic pollution, bacterial onslaughts, radioactive infernos unleashed by human stupidity or aggrieved nature, our technologies will pop like toy guns. Watch the fun as the stock markets continue to seek profit, down to the last seconds of recorded history, betting on the margin-calls of disaster relief and reinsurance agencies. What is “profit” anyway?

While I was in Bali I wasn’t tempted to gobble down any of the island’s infamous magic mushroom pancakes.

But perhaps I should have.

Because in an astonishing report released today, scientists have revealed that “a universal mystical experience with life-changing effects can be produced by the hallucinogen contained in magic mushrooms”.

For the Johns Hopkins study, 30 middle-aged volunteers who had religious or spiritual interests attended two eight-hour drug sessions, two months apart, receiving psilocybin in one session and a non-hallucinogenic stimulant - Ritalin - in the other. They were not told which drug was which.

One-third described the experience with psilocybin as the most spiritually significant of their lifetime and two-thirds rated it among their five most meaningful experiences.

In more than 60 per cent of cases the experience qualified as a "full mystical experience" based on established psychological scales, the researchers say. Some likened it to the importance of the birth of their first child or the death of a parent.

The effects lasted for at least two months. Eight out of 10 of the volunteers reported moderately or greatly increased wellbeing or life satisfaction. Relatives, friends and colleagues confirmed the changes.

At least two months? Bloody hell. That’s what I call a prolonged high!

The good thing of course is that these mushrooms are absolutely legal in Indonesia – there’s no chance you’ll end up sharing a cell with the busty Aus beauty Schapelle Corby – (what’s she getting up to these days, I wonder?).

But magic mushrooms don’t suit everyone.

And although hallucinogenics might bring you to God, they can also mess you up pretty bad too, as happened to Pink Floyd legend Syd Barrett, who died yesterday of cancer aged 60.

This poor blighter got so screwed up, he spend the last twenty years or so of his life shut away in the bedroom of his mother’s house in Cambridge.

But then again he was taking heaps of LSD. Not a good idea at all…



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