As part of wrapping up the project of analyzing Dose Nation’s ‘Final 10’ podcast series, I post here my notes written while listening to Episode 1. These notes served as the basis for my part in the discussion with Max about this episode in Transcendent Knowledge Podcast Ep. 17.

  • For Dose Nation, Kent envisioned earning money from it. Imagined that it would turn into a media outlet. Kent has instincts of profit-oriented journalist in time of online branding
  • He complains about the smallness of the ‘community,’ that it is not large enough to sustain a media outlet focused on psychedelics. This chimes with something I’ve suspected: it’s a mistake to make psychedelics themselves the basis of a community or a principle of identity. There’s not enough there on their own. They are attributes of a community, identity, practice, discipline, but not the single sole marker of a community.
  • C. 1:05: Kent is a skeptic
  • Claims that US culture *is* consumerist. Nihilist libertarian. Insists that it is our “cultural heritage.” He treats capitalism as a given to enable amazing tech gadgets.
  • Linking American interest in shamanism etc.  to consumerist choice is good, but he deploys “cultural appropriation” in a hyperbolic way.
  • Against the “superstitious cosmology” of shamanism.
  • 1:23 pro-science, against cultural heritage
  • 1:24. Claims that psychedelics cause people to reject narrative of their cultural heritage and look for a newer more specific form of cultural narrative that speaks to them personally and emotionally. This is a libertarian individualized viewpoint. It also can’t account for cultures that use psychedelics to reinforce tradition.
  • Kent argues that psychedelics cause people to find cultural tradition laughable. Only in America where capitalism has destroyed vestiges of traditional social relationships, roles, and community.
  • His history is laughably bad. No mention of art, beauty, etc. 
  • 1:28. Claims that psychedelics are incompatible with modern western culture and that’s why they were made illegal. Pro-prohibition framing. Treats Prohibition as the natural response.
  • The framing that psychedelics *cause* people to dislike modern culture is odd. There’s an odd emphasis on causation. Are psychedelics the primary cause of disliking modern culture?
  • Yet he’s not wrong to critique the impulse to turn from western culture to other cultural traditions, as if those cultures didn’t have problems.
  • Kent defends modern western consumer culture, but attacks western tradition of religion/philosophy. The framing is so constrained. He acts as if the only option for psychedelicists is to reject Western cultural heritage, which is bizarrely interpreted to mean strictly modern consumerism, and to embrace some other tradition. But 1) it’s not the only option; 2) the embrace of other cultures is not solely caused by psychedelics.
  • 1:34 A capitalist libertarian view of human “nature”: claims that “primitives” would gladly bulldoze earth if they could. He thinks all people are profit-driven first and foremost. Yet I agree that there’s no magic other place to turn to.
  • 1:35 Kent is explicit that profiting off of the land is not merely “western culture” but “human nature.”
  • Kent has an axe to grind about the utopian “dropout” movement.
  • Agree that there are reasons to critique simply turning to a new culture as if it were that simple to solve all of your problems. Interesting that he labels that consumerist. But I disagree with his general nihilism.
  • 1:40 speaks against self-improvement via psychedelics. Fair critique, but scorched-earth and nihilistic. Has nothing to say about ethics/morals, only that “there’s only life and behaviors.”
  • 1:45 Kent is typical of contemporary Americans in his obsession with safety and trusting authoritarian power
  • Kent is thoroughly disillusioned with psychedelics community. Kent’s position: because I now think that leading figures in the psychedelics movement were wrong in the answers they provided me, I therefore think that there is no answer at all. Everyone who tries to provide an answer is lying. Kent has become stuck at the failure of authority to provide satisfactory answers to the question of the goal of taking psychedelics and their cultural place. Rather than formulate answers himself, he has gotten stuck in complaint. It’s like a child’s tantrum of frustration. In his cynicism and nihilism, he now asserts that there is no answer (instead asserting that psychedelics are for recreation only) and that anyone who tries to argue for a goal is misguided.