SAB XEW

Sab Xew
Doctoral candidate

A New Focus for Transhumanism: Psychedelics as Affective Technology to Resist Affective Capitalism

Do psychedelics hold potential to change the power structures of society at large? This presentation looks at the unconscious ways that the current neoliberal structure of society makes us feel, and how these implicit feelings (‘capitalist affect’) in turn hold up this structure; a viscous cycle exists between neoliberal structure and individual feeling. By interpreting some therapeutic mechanisms apparent in recent psychedelic therapy research, Sab applies them to this structural situation, arguing that they hold potential to help us resist this capitalist affect and thus disrupt this vicious cycle. This is by offering new feelings that directly opposes these unconscious neoliberal feelings. These psychedelic feelings involve a renewed sense of self, that queers the neoliberal narrative of the ‘the individual’ that is at the heart of this viscous cycle.

She believes that the madness movement and the psychedelic movement can be allies, and works to help bridge this gap. She is also an experienced volunteer for Psycare UK which is a psychedelic harm reduction service that attends festivals, providing support and help for people undergoing psychedelic crises. She sees her work in both these areas as contributions to the paradigm change that she believes psychedelics are capable of.

She is committed to promoting the socio-political changes that psychedelics can inspire, as well as lending a critical eye on how the socio-political intertwines with and informs these anomalous states of consciousness and the movement as a whole. In particular she is interested in the wider intersections of psychedelics with queer theory, critical transhumanism, and feminist concerns. As well as researching, teaching and writing about this, Sab explores ‘the psychedelic’ through her performance art in dance, circus and burlesque.