The White Sun of Substance: Spinozism and the Psychedelic Amor Dei Intellectualis

In Christine Hauskeller & Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes (eds.), Philosophy and Psychedelics: Frameworks for Exceptional Experience. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 211-235 (2022)
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Abstract

Experiences of enlightened unity with Nature or with Deity are reported not only in the mystical literature of the past but also in contemporary accounts of the psychedelic adventurer. In Chapter 13, Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes seeks to fathom such reported states within the framework of the metaphysics of Benedict de Spinoza – a metaphysics encompassing monism, pantheism, panpsychism, and the eternal substance: the timelessness of pure Nature, God itself. God is Nature for Spinoza. To achieve this framework, the tenets of Spinozism are explicated with a culmination in the Intellectual Love of God, amor Dei intellectualis, where the finite mind and infinite intellect of Nature unite. Sjöstedt-Hughes then provides a phenomenological account of the unitive states occasioned by certain psychedelic substances, notably the ever-so potent 5-MeO-DMT, comparing these phenomenological elements to the ontological aspects of Spinozism. This comparative analysis will proffer a Spinozan-Psychedelic symbiosis: that certain psychedelic states can be understood through the Spinozan system, and that the Spinozan system can be intuited through certain psychedelic states – a blinding flash of Spinozism that can change one’s relation to oneself and to Nature itself.

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Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes
University of Exeter (PhD)

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