Field Tripping

Medicine For The Soul | Amanda Fielding

Episode Notes

Amanda Fielding is one of the most prominent pioneers in psychedelic research. A champion of psychedelic science for 45+ years, she is widely recognized for her contributions to global drug policy reform. Amanda details her initial interactions with psychedelics and how she recognized their capabilities for healing, while opening up about her thoughts on today’s psychedelic renaissance, the ethics behind the movement, and even her experiences with trepanation.  Amanda is the Founder of the Beckley Foundation, an organization that initiates, directs and supports psychedelic science. Learn more about her work at


Show Notes: 

2.50 - Amanda’s first interaction with psychedelics. 

4.27 - Amanda’s discusses her initial experiences with LSD and her thoughts on its healing powers.

6.28 - Amanda reveals that she lived on LSD everyday to psychoanalyze herself and walks Ronan through her observations. 

9.30 - Amanda talks about her upbringing and family’s reaction to her use of psychedelics. 

10.52 - Amanda discusses what being a part of the first psychedelic movement in the 60s was like. 

12.15 - The movement’s focus on psychedelic integration, Amanda’s use of art to express psychedelic benefits. 

14.22 -  Amanda’s perspective on the war on drugs and its effect on her research. 

16.30 - How Amanda feels about the psychedelic renaissance we are experiencing today. 

19.21 - Ronan and Amanda discuss today’s relationship between science and spirituality. 

23.31 - Ronan’s reflection.

25.05 - What psychedelics actually do and the mechanisms that underlie them.

28.39 - Amanda’s experience with trepanation. 

31.48 - Why psychedelics should be available to everyone, not just for specific conditions. 

33.22 - Ronan and Amanda discuss our relationship with governments and regulation.

35.00 - Amanda talks about psychedelics and the mental health crisis.  

38.36 - How Amanda feels about the uprising of the psychedelic industry. 

43.44 - Ronan’s key takeaways. 

Episode Transcription

Amanda: I always had a particular loyalty to LSD and I mean that he can deeply heal psychological trauma better than anything else available. And it's so magic and it can do all these things and he actually said, very wisely, a scientist who's not a mystic is no scientist.

Ronan: This is Field Tripping and a podcast dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I'm your host, Ronan Levy.

Ronan: During my time in the psychedelic landscape, I've been fortunate to join and become part of a large community of fascinating people, all of who believe in the potential of psychedelics to help address many of today's challenges and many who have dedicated their lives to advance the power of this message. And today, we welcome one of the most prevalent and important modern pioneers in the psychedelic space, Amanda Fielding. She's been called the hidden hand behind the renaissance of psychedelic science. And her contribution to global drug policy reform has been pivotal and widely acknowledged. In the 90s, Amanda founded the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust which initiates, directs and supports neuroscientific and clinical research into the effects of psychoactive substances on the brain, such as LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, DMT and MDMA. Their research investigates new avenues for treatment in depression, anxiety and addiction, and uses cutting edge brain imaging technologies to examine the neuro physiological changes in altered states of consciousness. Amanda has published over 40 books, reports and policy papers analyzing the negative consequences of the criminalization of drug use and has also laid out policy alternatives to protect public health, diminish violence and safeguard human rights. In 2010, Amanda was featured in The Guardian's list of the bravest men and women in the history of science.

Ronan: Thank you so much for joining us on Field Tripping, Amanda. It's a real privilege and it's a real honor. So as we hop into it, the first question I have for you is where did your interest in psychedelics and consciousness expansion come from initially? And what were your first experiences with psychedelics?

Amanda: Well, actually, it came very early on in my life because I live in an amazingly isolated place. My grandfather became a Buddhist monk. So from the age of kind of eight, I was deeply immersed in Buddhism, Hinduism, the gods and the altered states. And it was a very lonely place. So one had nothing much to do except mooch around and experience one's own consciousness. And so I became rather obsessed with consciousness and different aspects of it, different religious spiritual expressions. And that made me leave school when I won the science prize and the monks would give me books on Buddhism and Hinduism. So I went off traveling without any money, heading for my godfather in Ceylon and never got there, had all sorts of adventures on the way. Then I came back and I somehow managed to end up with the top professor in the world, someone called Professor Zaehner at All Souls in Oxford who became my tutor on comparative religions, and he'd just written a book called Mysticism Sacred and Profane. Anyway, so it was always my subject. When I was 16, I experienced cannabis. I just was amazed by the beauty of actually Ray Charles. And then a few years later, I experienced LSD. And I realized, my goodness me, this is giving me the experience I've been studying all these years. And I was very impressed and fascinated by it, but at the same time, I felt without knowing how to handle it, it was rather like going to the fun fair. I didn't quite know how you, one integrated it into one's daily life. And then I had a trauma by someone pouring it in my coffee to take advantage of me, thousands of trips he had a bottle the size of a vinegar bottle, started something called The World's Psychedelic Society or something like that. So that was a trauma. And then I came out of this trauma. A friend of mine suggested I went to a party in London with Ravi Shankar was playing. So I went there. And then I met this amazing Dutch doctor scientist who actually then became my great love. And he taught me about the mechanisms underlying the changes in consciousness to do blood in the brain, increasing blood in the brain capillaries so that more of the brain is functioning, basically was the basis of the hypothesis. And with that came the ability to control one's behavior in expanded consciousness. And that, to me, was absolutely an amazing new step and also it threw light on the ego, what is the ego and how have we humans become the way we are, which is basically because of our ability to control our behavior. So that became my passion, trying to understand better the human condition and why we are such a mad species. And so at that point, I began to live on LSD. It was when it wasn't it wasn't illegal. And my friend actually had made LSD, which turned Europe on. He was a brilliant scientist and said his LSD spread out from Ibiza across Europe. And then I suddenly realized, well. This this is my mission in life. This is truly amazing how it changes consciousness in such a fascinating way, how you can learn more. You can, your brain works better. It was a revelation to me, the change it brought about. And so for the next years, we all lived on LSD with gaps because you get used to it, and during that period I read all the books of Freud and Reich and all sorts of studying the mind, psychoanalyzing myself with my partner in the sense that the two of us were there together. So one wasn't alone but one wasn't doing it together. The hypothesis was that when you increase the metabolism within the brain, the brain cells are very extravagant in their use of glucose. So your sugar level drops, you have hypoglycemia, which I was very familiar to because my father was a very bad diabetic. And so I found that the art of taking LSD is the art of keeping the sugar level normal so you get high that you can control that increased consciousness. Our mission was to, in inverted commas "save the world". How do you introduce the fact that consciousness can be manipulated in this very subtle way, how does one introduce that to society say that instead of it being taboo, which you something become increasingly taboo with prohibition, how does one make the medical profession realize that this is the amazing medicine which can be used to treat all sorts of conditions that poor mankind suffers from? And so that really became my passion and my mission, and it was a very incredibly exciting time.

Ronan: There's so many questions I have coming out of that first one, what was it like I imagine in the late 50s and early 60s, having these interests in Buddhism and Hinduism and all of these I would say exotic cultures, probably still, relatively speaking back then, probably in a very conservative I would imagine a household in England at the time. Was your family embracing of that? Was it, was it shocking or was it kind of like?

Amanda: Yeah, I lived in a very unconventional household. It was at the end of a long hunting tack at the edge of a moor. It was a Elizabethan hunting lodge surrounded by three moats with three towers, and it was completely isolated. And my parents, charming, lovely people, but they didn't have any money. So we didn't have tourists. We didn't go out. We were very isolated. There was no taboo when you think about exactly what we might have talked about. So it was a very free upbringing in that sense. And so, yeah, I wouldn't say I suffered from repression intellectually. When I left school at 16, I went traveling with twenty five pounds in my pocket. And that doesn't get too far away, probably six months or something. So was living off my wits at 16, there weren't many kind of English girls traveling around the desert, I had all sorts of adventures. And then I kept that out for several years.

Ronan: What was it like? Maybe a little bit older, being part of, I guess, the sixties movement and the first go around with psychedelics becoming kind of a mainstream conversation and entering the mainstream consciousness for lack of a better word.

Amanda: I first took LSD when I was twenty two. Nineteen sixty five. And so it was just at the beginning when it was the first LSD coming to England actually. And so it was a very exciting period. I mean it was a wonderful period and it was all a kind of a big joke I think. I mean the fact that when you walk down the street. You would be careful not to laugh in front of a policeman because maybe he'd suspect you were on something and you know, a very strange period. And at the same time we were filled with excitement of thinking this is really something important. It's rather like there was a story I read as a child about an elephant which was needed a pill, and his carer couldn't get him to eat the pill. It wrapped up in a donut or in this and that. And every time he ate the donut and spat out the pill. So trying to get society to eat the pill and funnily enough I mean, at that point, London had a lot of fun parties, in high part, you know there were thrown and we knew those people and we could go to those parties. But we were working away at our mission, which was to understand how these compounds work in the brain, how we can use them best, and how one can somehow integrate them into society. That was our mission and trying to do, I was an artist trying to do artworks. No one cared what you said in art. I mean, at that point, then, as you know, it became prohibited. But in art, you could say anything. So I kind of had exhibitions at the CIA and one in New York and different places trying to express the value of realizing that altered states can have immense benefits if one learns to use them cleverly. And I was desperately looking for a doctor or scientist who I could work with and do research and everything, but it became increasingly difficult as the taboo became greater.

Ronan: I've recently started reading the book, it's called Chaos, and it's all about Charles Manson and the Tate-LaBianca murders. And, you know, I guess an historical legend right around then is kind of it was the end of the hippie movement, was the end of the countercultural revolution that once seemed to be the spark that created a backlash against everything that seemed to be happening vis a vis the hippies and psychedelics and consciousness expansion and all that kind of stuff. Now, whether that's true or not is an entirely separate question. But for me, I've always been fascinated with the 60s and early 70s and the entire Woodstock movement, you know, flower power, counterculture. What was it like watching that come to an abrupt halt? Because everything I think about is that optimism and excitement of that time, especially for people in their late teens or early 20s, seemed palpable. You know you can almost feel it still to this day what it was like back then, and it seemed like it came to a crashing halt. And I was just wondering what it was like to kind of witness that firsthand.

Amanda: I mean, it never came to a halt for us. We carried on. I mean, it didn't really make any difference. I mean, it made a difference in one saw it as a tragedy one thought, my goodness me, this is humanity once again making one of its terrible mistakes. I remember someone asking me, how did I value psychedelics? And I remember answering, well, I think it's improved my lifestyle by 60 percent. You know, I mean, I have the ability to give one so much. One can understand one's problems better and have more fun and think better. And see answers quicker. I think all of those things and I had a rather successful way of testing, whether it is, is it fantasy that one thinks one thinks better on LSD and is it a reality, well, in that period the end of the 60s and early 70s as relaxation, we were passionate Go players and if you don't know Go it's an ancient Chinese game, which actually is only skill. There's no luck in it. The better player wins. It's seeing abstract patterns. And I found that one has a handicap system so one knows one's level against one's opponent. I was a slightly better player than my opponent, but if I was on LSD, his handicap went up by three, which meant I won games. So that proved to me uh-huh. It does make one think, see better see, you know, intuitive pattern recognition, which is kind of basis a lot of intelligence was improved.

Ronan: What's it like now watching, you know, everything you've worked for over the last 30 or 40 years, coming back into the spotlight and being the darling of science and research and mental health and consciousness expansion becoming so exciting again and so embraced?

Amanda: Well, one just feels we've wasted 50 years. But I mean, when I came across it, the underlying mechanism let's say. Then I realized this is the answer to many questions, many problems. And then I thought it would take about five years for us to get it through and get it accepted and in fact in took 50 years, but I also realized that the way through the taboo was to do the best science, because in a way, science has replaced religion, it's the religion of the modern age, and so, if you can demonstrate the efficacy of these compounds with science, it's much more difficult to disregard them. And that is exactly what happened. But what I find rather magical about it happening is that science having kind of thrown spirituality in the rubbish heap and I think that humanity's got more lost than maybe it was now through the research that I've been doing and that other people have been doing. We've discovered that at the center of the psychedelic healing process is the mystical experience.

Ronan: I was speaking with someone who completed treatment in one of our Field Trip Health locations. And she was saying that it was her first experience with psychedelics at more than a micro dose level. And she said something that struck me and I thought about it a lot and you kind of touched on it there. She said she found the profound in everyday things while she was experiencing the ketamine. And it dawned on me that when you find the profound when you find meaning in something, regardless of what that is, that filters out all the noise, right. You know, as soon as you attach meaning to something and find meaning in it, everything else becomes kind of insignificant. And in some ways, it feels like that's what psychedelics offer to some people, is that you can find the profound in the mundane. And by doing so, you can just focus on that energy, that resonance of meaning and love and tune out everything else. And what had also struck me as part of that was that science is kind of discarded meaning from the conversation. There's just objective reality and nothing else. There's there's no mystery. There's no meaning. There's no rationale. It just kind of is. And I've often wondered if our great kind of social and mental health malaise that we're experiencing right now is due to the fact that we've discarded meaning, we've discarded spirituality.

Amanda: I mean, kind of Instagram image. All of those things have become the replacement, but it's filled the emptiness. And it breeds self dissatisfaction in a way and I mean, the spiritual traditions are always saying aren't they that you can see eternity in a grain of sand. I mean anything can be everything. I mean, I look on with psychedelics as an amazing tool because they can be so different in how you use them from the microdose to the full dose, they're totally different tools, although they are doing the same thing. So they are a medicine of the soul as well as the medicine of the body and mind, which is a pretty amazing offering, actually. And what a human mistake to make these incredibly on nature given compounds to criminalize them and the suffering which has come through that millions of people who have ended up in prison or infectious diseases or all the other horrible ways it's caused misery for humanity.

Ronan: You touched on the idea that psychedelics are not only medicine for the brain, but also medicine for the soul, which I entirely agree with. I walk into so many of the investor conversations, which I'm sure now you're privy to quite a bit through your work with Beckley Sci-Tech and Beckley. And the conversations almost always turn on the science. You know, you're talking to these hyper rationalists who have no interest in discussing the mystical elements of it. They're just curious to know what receptors it hits and the binding constants and all this kind of stuff. And I sit there and I'm like, you know, deep down, I think most of these people know the conversation has to get out of just the objective and the scientific. And we need to start to embrace the conversation around the mystical and the spiritual, because I really think that's that's what's happening, personally. But it's kind of frustrating because you kind of have to do this dance of speaking their language and only their language slowly but surely. You know, I think eventually people people's eyes are going to be opened and everything that they've been missed is going to start to come to light, which is kind of what's exciting. But it's also a little bit frustrating because it's like, do we have to play this game? Can't we just get to the end and state?

Amanda: I mean, in a way, the science is a tool to open the genie box and let it out. Now it's got locked away. And it's such a tragedy to lock it away. I always had a particular loyalty to LSD as a friend and I promised him, I respect your eyes, his child, problem child, he recognizes what it is, which is the magic region. And I mean that he can deeply heal psychological trauma better than anything else available. That I think you'll find that is extremely valuable in helping treat, heal degenerative illnesses in time and just the work in this area, and I can see immense possibilities. And then there's the spiritual sell aspect of it. It's rather hard to believe this fungi, which you've come up with you know form by accident, clever Albert Hoffman fell apon it. And it's so magic and they can do all these things. And he actually said, why? You see, a scientist who's not a mystic is no scientist.

Ronan: There has been much debate and discussion among philosophers as to whether the soul is entwined in the body, is created by the body or creates the body. A simple look at physics suggest it must be the latter, just as matter is nothing more than the condensation of energy into atoms. So, too, it seems that the body is simply the embodiment of the condensation of the soul. But at the end, the real question is, does it really matter? It's Tom Robbins writes, If you need to visualize the soul. Think of it as a cross between a wolf howl, a photon and a dribble of dark molasses. But what it really is, as near as I can tell, is a packet of information. It's a program, a piece of hyper spatial software designed to explicitly interface with the mystery, not a mystery, mind you, the mystery. The one that can never be solved. Let's say you've inflated your soul to the size of a beach ball and it's soaking into the mystery like wine into a mattress. What have you accomplished? Well, long term, you may have prepared yourself for a successful metamorphosis, an almost inconceivable transformation to be precipitated by your death or by some great worldwide astrological hoop jamboree. You may have. No one can say for sure. More immediately, by waxing soulful, you have granted yourself the possibility of ecstatic participation in what the ancients considered a divinely animated universe. And on a day to day basis, folks, it doesn't get better than that.

Ronan: You mentioned that psychedelics and kind of the psychedelic renaissance, at least you thought in the 60s and maybe it's true to this day, would help answer and a lot of questions and a lot of humanity's problems and that's something I hear a lot of and people talk about it, and it's something that I gravitate towards too and believe. But. It's also something that gets left in that very highbrow open ended. Oh, this is going to solve a lot of problems, but we don't really kind of touch on exactly what problems and how it's going to solve them. So I'm just curious to know if you can translate that into something a little bit more tangible.

Amanda: I think it deepens awareness. And ever since the sixties I have been longing to know what are the mechanisms underlying it to bring about these changes. So when brain imaging started to evolve in the 90s, that's when I realized, well, I am not having much success convincing the world that we should embrace psychedelics and make use of them. So maybe I should do the science which will bring about the change. And so I better become a foundation. And funny enough, it was a very clever trick. It's sort of like a Trojan horse getting into the wooden Trojan horse. Suddenly I wasn't me or as my poor husband, he had said, he married a person and then found he had a foundation, but managed to get the leading scientists in the field on my advisory board. So that suddenly gave me a status. And from there, I could start I started giving very exclusive seminars in the House of Lords in London, and so people from around the world ahead, head of Putin's best friend and whatever, he was, the channel director and the home secretary, they all wanted to come to these seminars I organized about Wendy, my aim was to teach people what a gift cannabis and psychedelics are. They shouldn't be criminalized. They should be respected and regulated and um. And that's what I still think, you know, I think they should be respected for the incredible gifts that the government should make the purest compounds and make them available for those who use them safely and obviously for medicine.

Ronan: And you tried trepanation. I'm sure you've talked at length about it, but I'm curious to know what the experience was, was like.

Amanda: I think what it does is give that to the brain contents, the full pulsation that you have in childhood, and I think it's a very, very slight difference. You know, if you say psychodelic is if the adult is at the level of 30, psychedelics is 100, trepanation is 35 or something. It's a little tiny lift, but it's been recognized by our ancestors from the Stone Age onwards and all the world in unconnected communities. And very often it was the priest, gospel, the shaman, but those ones who took the psychedelic psychoactive compounds, who went through the procedure. And because I think they recognized obviously they didn't have a scientific explanation of it, but they recognized that it was something. Now that I've kind of helped get psychedelics on the road to acceptance, I very much want to do scientific research into what are the underlying mechanisms. And indeed, if there are underlying mechanisms, maybe it's all a placebo and it's such a small difference, one can never be sure if it's a placebo, it'd be amazing at all if it was a placebo. But I have to say that still now, 50 years later, I'm interested enough to find out how it works to I'm going to really get into this research now. But it is actually much more difficult. I mean, it took me twenty five years to research LSD. I hope it won't get another twenty 25 years to research trepenation. But if it does bring about the very subtle change, I think it does. It's an advantage not to be saluted at, because I think it gives you a little bit more energy. And I've actually lived with two partners, both of whom I knew before and after their trepanation. And in both, I saw the terror, very slight, shocking improvement. And it's kind of loosening of the internal mechanism. I think it's the loosening of the ego mechanism, it's loosening that grip which kind of strangulating in some way.

Ronan: One of my frustration points with psychedelics and what's happening right now is that, you know, you need an indication, you need to be depressed or anxious or have PTSD in order to be able to participate. And most either psychedelic research or even with ketamine-.

Amanda: That's not the fault of the compound or the fault of many human beings. I mean, I came across psychedelics in the course of my life and luckily I grew up in an isolated place and I had a father who told me, whatever the government tells you always do the opposite and that good stead. And I didn't you know not then take seriously the authorities who says the authorities have a better grip on reality than one has? So if one holds one's own reality, better, one should follow one's instincts. And I don't think it should only be available as a medical thing. I think it should available for inspiration and self exploratory.

Ronan: The comment from your father is something that resonates with me quite a bit in my own kind of path to self discovery. I recently realized I had this kind of innate recognition that as I looked at Justin Trudeau, who is the prime minister of Canada, of whom I actually have quite a amount of respect for, I realized who is he to tell me how to live my life? You know, I respect him. I think he's probably a very decent guy and well-intentioned, but doesn't mean he has any more knowledge or is any more aware or is any more informed than I may be, especially for what is relevant for my life. So, you know, oh, why do we give so much control over our lives to governments? It really is a question I've now been pondering.

Amanda: And governments are very fascinating because they're really external projections of the internal ego and they can cause a lot harm both inside the body and outside the body. But still, to a certain degree, there's too many of us to do without a government probably.

Ronan: Yeah, that's kind of the inherent struggle between, I think, psychedelics and modern society, which is I think psychedelics gives people a path to question a lot of authority and question a lot of assumptions, question a lot of taboos, and that doesn't fit with a system of regulation and governance. And so my guess is, well, I don't think it's a guess. I think it's pretty well established that the concern around psychedelics wasn't about self harm or anything along those lines in the 60s. It was about challenging the status quo and questioning authority and the government systems.

Amanda: Which actually makes people disobedient to the laws they're kind of inferior laws. In terms of the government, I basically think that when sensibly used psychedelics can be a paradigm shift, with humanity and in a way, I think maybe this horrible, terrible pandemic which is exaggerating all that is threatening in our society that hopefully maybe good will come out of it, which will be the realization that we are slightly slipping, slipping into a precipice, but that mental health is getting worse and worse. And we need some new way of healing ourselves. And I think the very clever common sense way of using psychedelics, which doesn't preclude it only to be limited, only to mention they can be a wonderful healing, for humanity.

Ronan: It's interesting, I mean, one of the things that I'm so excited about as a result of the psychedelic renaissance and I want to ask you your opinion about what you see happening right now and how things are evolving today and what's happening. But for me, the potential of psychedelics is significant. But the bigger potential of psychedelics is if it just gets people to open themselves up to being proactive about their mental and emotional health and wellbeing as opposed to reactive, because most people do it reactively. We go see a therapist or a psychiatrist when we're depressed, when we're anxious, when we experience trauma as opposed to treating it like physical fitness. We all know that going to the gym and staying physically fit and strong makes us happier, helps us live longer, keeps us healthier. And we do that on a proactive basis. Not all of us, but we know we should. People don't think about their mental health that way. And if psychedelics become the stepping stone such that people think that approaching and thinking about their mental and emotional health and wellbeing is fun or useful or meaningful or improves the quality of their lives, that alone is going to have a massive shift on humanity. Now, I think psychedelics can greatly amplify that, but it's not actually, in my mind, necessary for psychedelics to be part of that conversation. It's just pretty cool that they are.

Amanda: They're like the telescope or the microscope. To the human soul, and I think what is wonderful, we, in a way past the point, I think now of demonstrating that they do have value. And the next problem to solve is providing access to people to have these experiences and have this treatment both at medicine and at enhancement.

Ronan: How do you feel about what's happening right now with the emergence of a psychedelic industry? You know, I see. Unfortunately, and I think it's one of the biggest risks to the Renaissance that we're experiencing right now is just fractionalization of everything that's happening. You have the psychodelic call them purists or the community who thinks anything even remotely approximating capitalism or or profit motive is, you know, destructive and contrary to psychodelic principles. You have companies emerging that are very much capitalist, purely focused on the scientific rigor and almost to the exclusion of the mystical. And then you have kind of the camps in the middle. But as far as I recall, you know, I think a lot of what we're experiencing right now has been made possible explicitly by by your work that you've done directly and through Beckley and from what I understood much of what has become Compass Pathways was a result of the research that you were helping fund.

Amanda: Compass Pathways is based on our research, we did it, the center set up the Beckly Imperial Research Center, where we used to psylocybin to investigate whether it could help treat depression. And we just did a very small study of 15 people, and it showed amazingly positive results. Sixty seven percent success rate, which dropped obviously as months, passed. So I funded it to the cost of thirty five thousand pounds because I funded everything on pitons because I only had pitons so at that point people would be willing to take my pitons, because then together we worked and got good papers and that with good etc.. I think ideally one should face it ethically, I mean, the whole thing about psychedelics is increasing mindfulness, compassion and all of those things, so ideally, people who get into the psychedelic industry will follow ethical pathways to make whatever the dream they have come true. And it absolutely isn't for everyone, and you know not just the majority of people are perfectly happy.

Ronan: I've had the privilege of meeting most of the people doing the work in what we're experiencing now between you and and Rock and Cosmo and everyone at Beckley who I genuinely admire. I think you are wonderful people. I've had the privilege of having great conversations with Rick Doblin and all the work he's doing at Maps, you know, even though they have received a negative reputation and maybe some of it earned you, even the people at Compass Pathways and ATAI. You know, when I speak to them, they seem genuinely motivated by the right intentions, at least as far as I can tell. And even though I know a lot of people within the psychedelic community are concerned about the for profit motive entering the space and concerns about ethical versus unethical capitalism, place I keep coming back to is that you can't help but be touched by psychedelics, that people who have experiences with psychedelics, you know, in a controlled and thoughtful environment will be touched by them. They will be moved by them. They will be, they will see something that they hadn't seen before. And even if it only moves them by half a percent or 10 percent or one hundred percent, that's going to move everybody. And so while I'm usually reticent to say that the means justify the ends-.

Amanda: My children say, oh mum, if suddenly she got disillusioned with psychedelics, I sometimes am disillusioned, you know, whatever. But on the whole, I think, my goodness me, what what a gift. What a gift they are. And clever old Albert for discovering LSD by accident and of course, our ancestors knew their value, but on the way along we became blind and rather stupid that we made the great unnecessary hurdles. And I think however people move the game forward so long as they move the game forward. That's great. I think the game is moving forward. Very, very rapidly and I think it's got too far for it to be put back in the box. So I hope it will start a new chapter for humanity where we have a slightly wider mission. And I must say I'm very grateful that I am the lucky one to it getting to know how to use psychedelics at a very young age, right at the beginning of the whole thing that I've had what a great 50 years of using them with knowledge.

Ronan: I will take this opportunity to A) thank you for joining us on the podcast. B) thank you for all the work that you've persevered through over over your career. It has inevitably made this moment and this conversation possible. So please accept my personal gratitude for for you and everything you've done and your family, who I said I genuinely appreciate and admire.

Amanda: Very nice talking to you.

Ronan: I came away from the conversation with Amanda with some great insights, here are just a few. First, as Amanda said, a scientist who's not also a mystic is not a scientist. I've been increasingly coming to the conclusion that one of the causes of the global mental health malaise we are experiencing is a result of our loss of a connection to spirituality, to mystery, to meaning. Too often, science tends to discard wonder and the profound in the name of objectivity. But that comes at a cost. And it's not altogether clear to me that this so-called scientific view is accurate. The future, I believe, belongs to scientists who embrace both knowledge and mystery. As Einstein said, the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. Second, much like Rick Doblin, Amanda demonstrates the perseverance of few others, her passion and commitment to continue to pursue something she believed so passionately in resonates on the energy of love and meaning. And to me, those are the energies that will lift each of us and the entire world to new levels. Amanda's career and commitment to her cause is emblematic of what it really means to make love stay. Finally, Amanda's comments about finding the infinite in a grain of sand. There's so much truth in this. And it all leads back to the theme of mystery in this episode. As Tom Robbins said, "Funny how we think of romance, as always, involving two when the romance of solitude can be ever so much more delicious and intense. Alone, the world offers itself freely to us to be unmasked. It has no choice.

Ronan: Thank you for listening to Field Tripping, a podcast dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I'm your host, Ronan Levy. Until next time. Stay curious. Breathe properly. And remember, every day is a field trip if you let it be one. Field Tripping is created by Ronan Levy and produced by Conrad Page. Our researcher is Sharon Bhella. Special thanks to Quill. And of course, many thanks to Amanda for joining me today. To learn more about Amanda and her work, visit Finally, subscribe to our podcast and sign up for our newsletter at FieldTripping.FM.