I know I’m a little late on this because I don’t have cable… or a TV. Anyway, I finally got around to watching last month’s X-Files episode, “Babylon,” in which Mulder ingests magic mushrooms in an attempt to solve a terrorist crime.
I just want to say that I’ve been a huge, HUGE fan of the X-Files for years and really dig the new episodes. Mulder with a smart phone is just precious!
But “Babylon” really earned an A + with this scene, showing a psychedelic glimpse into Mulder’s subconscious.
Be still, my heart…
I can’t stop watching! This scene is pure gold for so many reasons:
Mulder line dancing/wearing a cowboy hat
The nerdy, obsessive man of my dreams finally leaves the basement to bust out some cowboy moves on the dance floor? Like a boss? I can’t be the only one who feels like celeb crush fantasies just don’t get any better than this.
That sweet MUSH ROOM fist bling
You know what I want for my birthday!
Catching the crazy train: psychedelic culture merging with the mainstream
Hunky, nerdy cowboy style aside, (for a moment- while I mop up the drool) I just love how psilocybin was the real hero in this episode.
Granted, Fox Mulder was never the most conventional character, but I think the fact that this episode showed him taking magic mushrooms, in capsule form, in a hospital, is pretty significant.
As an insatiably curious person who’s spent years working in neuroscience research, I’ve been keeping an eye on psychedelic science for almost a decade.
I was excited to see studies popping up at leading institutions such as NYU and Johns Hopkins, which led me to start following organizations like The Heffter Research Institute and Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.
I had the pleasure of briefly interviewing Brad Burge from MAPS last year, and was inspired by the work they’re doing, despite the enormous challenges of breaking through the stigma surrounding psychedelic medicines.
We were chatting about a MAPS-funded study on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, and he said,
“patients can undergo therapy just two or three times, instead of taking a pill every single day.”
This really resonates with me, personally. Aside from my academic interest in the brain, I’ve struggled with mental illness for as long as I can remember, and was thoroughly over-medicated throughout adolescence and early adulthood. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in my early teens, and more recently diagnosed with PTSD.
The suitcase full of medication bottles my parents kept locked in a closet didn’t help me. On top of the depression I was experiencing, the pills turned me from an honor student, athlete and musician into an obese couch potato who sometimes wet the bed…
And I know I’m not the only one.
All of those drugs, were 100% legal. Psychedelics, on the other hand, are still illegal and generally frowned upon. Instead of appreciating psychedelic medicines for their therapeutic value, society still regards them as evil hippie junk.
WAKE UP, PEOPLE!
I’m grateful that some scientists are tough enough to stand up to the intolerance surrounding these “magical” medicines in an effort to find a better way.
The truth is out there
Back to The X-Files: Not only were magic mushrooms presented in a clinical setting, but they helped Mulder solve the great mystery! Isn’t that what mushrooms are for!?
After spending a decent chunk of my life listening to recorded Terence McKenna lectures, I can understand why X-Files creators thought psilocybin might mesh well with a character who pretty much dedicated his life to extraterrestrials.
Mushrooms in general, not only psychoactive varieties, are pretty trippy. Spores can survive in outer space, and their entire life-cycle is alien-like.
On top of that, every time I’ve taken magic mushrooms, I’ve felt like something is communicating with me.
For example, I remember one story from a backpacking trip with a former boyfriend. We set up our tent, ate some mushrooms, and then hiked out to a couple of mountain lakes right before sunset.
Of course, we lost the trail as it was beginning to get dark! Feeling frustrated, my ex-man and I decided to split up and hunt for the trail separately.
I felt a little panicked, and heard him calling to me from an unseen location behind some granite boulders. Then I heard a woman’s voice, crystal clear in my mind, say, “Don’t listen to him. If you follow him, you’ll get lost. You know the way to go.”
I didn’t think I knew the way, but she sounded pretty confident. I took a few deep, calming breaths and started walking with my eyes half-closed. Within 25 steps, BOOM- I was on the trail.
This is just a very basic example, I’ve definitely had more profound insights while on psychedelics.
I can’t quite explain how it all works, but I’m going to keep digging.
Because really, what else are we going to do with these precious moments we have? Consciousness is a gift, and I, for one, prefer to expand and explore its vast potential.