Experimental Mysticism:

The History and Science of Psychedelic Research

This special Civic Liberal Arts (CLA) course explores the uncommon history and science of psychedelic research.  Students examine the work of pioneering scientists, intellectuals, and religious scholars who have explored the claim that psychedelics can facilitate a bonafide mystical or spiritual experience that transforms an individual's personality. With assistance from Drs. Katherine MacLean (former research psychologist at Johns Hopkins University and current director of the Psychedelic Education & Continuing Care Program at the Center for Optimal Living) and Christopher Kelley (associate adjunct professor in religious studies at Lang College), students craft their own experiential projects of self-transformation. Each student’s unique “vision quest” draws on course readings, lectures, and class conversations. Students also have the opportunity to develop their projects in the context of monthly group psychedelic education meetings at the Center for Optimal Living. At the end of the semester students share their projects in a “TED style” presentation to the class.