Giulio Sica

The Psychedelic Culture Wars.

The utopian vision and revolutionary political spirit of the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s gave way to the economic austerity and neurosis of the 1970s and to a redefining of multinational corporate power facilitated by the neoliberalism of Reagan and Thatcher. This normalisation of corporate power as the only game in town has been called Capitalist Realism by the late culture theorist Mark Fisher and the recent popularity of psychedelics has tended to fall into this category.

While science has succeeded in demonstrating environmental and climate crisis as well as the medicinal value of many psychedelics and other banned psychoactive substances, political voices from within those psychedelic and social justice countercultures wishing to challenge corrupt power and reductionist thinking and to protect indigenous cultures and spiritual expression have been diminished and often erased and more recently these subcultures have been overwhelmed by more conspiratorial and rightwing thinking which has grown unchecked further alienating these groups.

My presentation will form part of my studies in Environmental Humanities, seeking to find creative solutions to the marginalisation of ecospiritual and social justice voices in the psychedelic community and beyond. I hope it is the beginning of a collaboration with other voices sharing similar psychedelic, political and spiritual perspectives.

Having studied Critical Theory for my English literature degree, to 15 years working in mainstream media for newspapers such as the Times and the Guardian, I moved to Glastonbury in 2013 to delve into the remnants of the new age counterculture, living there through the anarchic and often conspiratorial resistance to the biopolitics of the pandemic and eventually to my present studies at Bath Spa, a master's degree in Environmental Humanities, which I hope to complete later this year.My research centres around the interplay between psychedelic culture, postmodern spirituality and an anti-capitalist, ecofeminist and ecospiritual politics which seeks to understand the present destructive influence the reductionist, exploitative corporate system of governance is having on the so-called psychedelic renaissance and indeed in the wider world. My perspective attempts through dialogue with others to highlight the spiritual and ecological value of psychedelics and rave culture as intrinsically a communal and progressive influence on society in our collective attempt to meet the challenges of post-capitalist environmental crisis.