The Psychonaut’s Ship: Pairing technologies with psychedelics to augment user agency
by AM Houot
AM Houot is an independent researcher, philosophizing at the crossroads of psychedelics and technology. He is currently writing a book on psychedelic science (due 2023).
Modern psychedelic users are commonly advised to surrender to altered states of consciousness. Once users consider the possibility that ‘surrenderism’ is a necessary prerequisite—though not exclusive approach—coupled with the idea that psychedelic experiences might not be religious or supernatural, the idea emerges that pairing technologies with psychedelics is a viable methodology to comport oneself during psychedelic states.
Shamans display signs of control and mastery upon entering altered states, partly because of intentionally crafted techniques and technologies that assist them. It is argued that modern psychedelic users of modern technologies may augment the level of control over their experiences, that is to say, making use of prostheses to maintain balance during intoxicated states.
The understanding of the concept psychonaut or sailor of the mind is analogously expanded to include the psychonaut’s ship, comparable to nautical technologies used by sailors. The example of the psychonaut’s ship provides the platform upon which to reflect future applications and utilities of psychedelic technologies.
If psychedelic users are like sailors of the mind, then, what is their ship? What follows is an inquiry into how modern psychedelic users can apply technologies like their shaman counterparts to increase agency during psychedelic experiences.
The commonly held supposition that modern users have little to no agency during psychedelic experiences needs revision. Recommendations to passively surrender to the experience, i.e., ‘surrenderism’, is of particular interest when it comes to modern users’ fears and concerns of psychedelic experiences. Experts recommend modern users surrender to psychedelic states, and users unquestioningly heed such advice. Alternative approaches as to how one comports oneself in altered states of consciousness are available.
The following is an examination and expansion of one such overlooked approach, that is, using technology during psychedelic experiences. I contemplate how pairing modern technology with psychedelic states may provide augmented user agency compared to the current, dominant surrenderism model.
In Section 1, I consider one of many possible reasons why modern users would want to pair technology with psychedelic experiences, namely, to curb fear of the unknown. I argue elsewhere that modern psychedelic users need not only interpret their experiences from the mystic’s fear and surrender perspective but also might consider adopting shamanic principles of control and mastery of altered states through the use of techniques and technologies.
In Section 2, I defend the premise of surrendering to psychedelics, however, for particular subsets of users and motives; for example, the inexperienced, the inadequately prepared or trained, or preventing harm to self or others. In Section 3, I highlight the tendency of ancient peoples to interpret that which they did not understand or control as somehow being religious or supernatural. Simply because present-day people do not adequately comprehend psychedelic experiences does not qualify these experiences as sacred.
I invite readers to consider historical examples when science and technology could eventually better explain natural phenomena than divine beings or gods. Additionally, many people take the notion of surrender for granted, but I ask why modern psychedelic users must surrender; why should surrender be given automatically; and why taking into consideration some level of control of experiences is not treated?
In a move away from surrenderism, ayahuasca-drinking Santo Daime religious members incorporate rituals and codified frameworks, attempting to constrain the psychedelically unconstrained mind. These sociocultural-specific constraints are a step in the direction I propose. Finally, I develop ideas to integrate purpose-built psychedelic technologies, or prostheses, to constrain or channel the intoxicated mind, aiming to increase user agency during psychedelic experiences.
1. MYSTIC FEAR AND SHAMAN CONTROL
In previous research, I analyze ways in which modern users might conceptualize the psychedelic experience that counters the current fear-laden discourse on drugs. Since many modern societies and individuals fear the experiences psychedelics elicit, I explore the likely roots of these fears, and once known, ask how modern technology might be used to somehow steer or control psychedelic experiences. For that which one controls, no matter the degree, one increases one’s agency during the experience, therefore, theoretically minimizing one’s fear of the once-held fear object.
Early researchers such as Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass) turned to Far Eastern and Indian religions and philosophies in the 1950s–1970s, notably mysticism, in an effort to make sense of psychedelic effects on modern users’ subjectivity. Depending on their religious inclination mystics may speak of love and devotion when ‘melting away’ and merging with the Other, or they might speak of fear and the unavoidable surrender to some divine being(s).
Mystics surrender to a claimed divine being or presence, suggesting that whatever or whomever they surrender to is in charge; the Other is in control for as long as the mystic remains in the altered state. Psychedelics alter consciousness as well, leaving modern users with similar experiences and questions, hence the analogous comparisons to mysticism.
In continuing this line of reasoning, I argue that modern users find themselves in at least three types of ‘master/subject relations’: master/slave, host (master)/guest, and teacher (master)/student. In each case, users relinquish control of their being, thereby assuming the role of slave, guest, or student when in psychedelic-induced states.
A modified framework based on former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s ‘there are known knowns’ comment is used to get at modern psychedelic users’ ultimate fear, drilling down from knowns to unknowns, from which I develop a new qualitative framework to explain notions of self in a surrenderism paradigm regarding the assessment of ‘complete’ mystical experiences, and ask whether there is another way for modern users to increase their agency during experiences.
From this perspective, I turn to a spiritual practice that is farther removed from modern society and culture, namely, shamanism, appreciating how shamans’ notions of control and mastery (claimed by modern academics) of drug and nondrug altered states can inform modern users’ conceptualizations of psychedelic use and self-comportment.
Shamans use techniques and technologies (broadly construed) such as song lyrics and melodies, dances, rattles, and drums, particularly a technique proposed by psychologist Richard Noll called ‘mental imagery cultivation’, through which novices learn to develop the vividness of visions with the intent to control them. Shamans not only have means to enter into altered states of consciousness; they also have systems in place apparently to control their experiences. Shamans do not speak about altered states in terms of fear and surrender as mystics and modern psychedelic users do; conversely, they display control and mastery.
In reframing the perception of the psychedelic experience to one that moves away from surrenderism and which addresses fear, I conclude that modern psychedelic users might fare well to use ‘mysticism to explain’ while simultaneously using ‘shamanism to control’ their experiences. As expert shamans have manifold techniques and technologies to enter into and exercise some control of altered states or of themselves in altered states, likewise modern psychedelic users can do the same through the use of what I call ‘symbolico-technological relations’, in other words, pairing symbol with technology:
[P]sychedelics, symbols, and technologies used together reveal new applications, resulting in a wrestled-free symbolico-technological third function. Coupling symbol with technology creates avenues of new experiences, experiences malleable by the user depending on the co-equal symbolico-technological relation and how each co-shapes the created third function.
Psychedelic technologies in general have considerable potential to act as ‘prostheses’ or crutches that afford a kind of balancing act when psychedelic users experience non-ordinary mental and perceptual conditions.
I realize now that I limited my scope of ‘psychedelic technology’ to symbolico-technologies only; in actuality, they are but a subset of what a psychedelic technology can be. I flesh out the discussion about why and how to pair modern technology with psychedelic experiences in my previous work. However, I shall expand on my arguments by detailing the obvious need for surrenderism, the eventual need to abandon surrenderism, and propose additional utilities for pairing technologies with psychedelics.
I define and discuss psychedelic technology in detail in Section 4.
2. SURRENDERISM FOR SOME, BUT NOT FOR ALL
Experts in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and harm reduction contexts assert the notion of surrender since at least the 1960s. It is no wonder that current Psychedelic Renaissance researchers, chiefly focusing on psychedelics’ therapeutic use, would advise modern users, especially their clinical study participants, to surrender. Advising surrender in research contexts minimizes risk to everyone involved and ensures there are nil or few mishaps during the research process; an unpredictable, ‘freaked out’ participant is bad for business, so to speak. In addition, we can safely assume that psychedelic-naïve and -experienced participants are far from exerting shamanic standards of control.
While I disagree with such a blanketed recommendation for modern users, I point out appropriate instances when individuals should practice surrender: (i) user inexperience; (ii) inadequate preparation and training; and (iii) surrender is better than potentially harming oneself or others.
Author of a book on ayahuasca phenomenology, The Antipodes of the Mind: Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience, psychologist Benny Shanon identifies three levels of cleansing that ayahuasca induces: bodily, psychological, and spiritual in this progression. For Shanon, the ayahuasca drinker would find it difficult to ascend to heightened dimensions of experience if one did not first overcome personal psychological issues.
Thus, surrender is a good strategy for novices who have little to no experience with psychedelics or still have personal issues to deal with. Once these issues have been worked out and the user no longer takes psychedelics for therapeutic or personal growth motives, one can work on ‘spiritual’ cleansing, before, or in parallel, attempting to control the experience through and with technology.
Second, and closely tied to the point above, users would be advised to adopt a surrender position if inadequately prepared or trained in psychedelic experiences. The majority of modern users are not trained at all to handle these experiences compared to the intensive training shamans receive. The motive for taking psychedelics is also an important factor: while many shamans are first and foremost chosen to be shamans, they enter altered states on behalf of members of their community in addition to gaining insight and knowledge from other realms to ensure their community’s survival.
The trends du jour for taking psychedelics among modern users, as a result of recently rediscovering or rebranding psychedelics, are personal and spiritual growth, and addiction interruption. Users desperate to personally and spiritually grow or become well would likely try anything such as ingesting a psychedelic even though they might lack adequate preparation. Once again, surrender turns out to be good advice for someone unprepared or ill-trained to operate with an intoxicated mind.
Practice through repetition offers users a feasible way out of surrenderism. Psychedelic psychotherapist Duncan Blewett, who worked with Humphrey Osmond in Canada in the 1950s, hints at this: ‘Self-surrender is not an event that occurs only once, but must be repeated as additional repressed material is released. Each repetition becomes easier because of the positive reinforcement given by each previous self-surrender’.
For Blewett, repeated self-surrender to psychedelics becomes easier as one accustoms to them and jointly attends to their own personal and repressed issues (similar to Shanon’s views). Evidently, there exists the possibility and even likelihood that one need not endlessly surrender to the psychedelic as experiences become ‘easier’. Such initial surrenderist maneuvers serve as necessary stepping-stones toward increased agency of one’s subsequent experiences.
Third, surrendering to the experience is better than, for example, physically or mentally breaking down, therefore potentially harming oneself or others:
‘Surrender can be considered a form of passive control, in that surrendering to the experience is a better alternative than resisting the oncoming altered state, which could lead to bad experiences’.
The very act of surrendering, knowing that one should surrender, either from one’s intuition or a clinician’s recommendation, is a form of control because the experiencer is regulating that part of their self that might resist, or react to, the temporary bodily and mental changes. While surrender can be considered a soft form of control, it is not the sort of control I illustrate in later sections.
3. SECULARIZATION OF EXPERIENCE
The second commonly held attitude that must change for a revision in the way modern users consider psychedelic experiences, ultimately leading to a new or parallel paradigm, is the secularization of experience.
In his book, Cleansing the Doors of Perception: The Religious Significance of Entheogenic Plants and Chemicals, religious scholar Huston Smith comments on the sacred, surrender, and control. He is quite right when he says that that which we wield greater control or comprehension over leads to demystification. For example, humans do not control the weather, but meteorologists today better understand it than polytheistic humans did thousands of years ago who attributed weather events to one of the gods.
Of course, we do not know for certain whether weather gods exist, maybe they do, but I imagine most people would consult meteorological science and technology experts to explain climatic happenings.
Smith goes on to question whether (total) control is even wanted, that surrendering to some of life’s experiences has its virtues and not doing so could lead to cynicism:
Not only is the notion of total control contradictory, it isn’t even attractive. To enter a friendship, to say nothing of marriage, with intent to control it is to soil the prospect from the start. Life calls for balancing the rewards of control with gifts that come to us through openness and surrender. The more we resolve to have things our own way, the more closed we become to the virtues in alternative ways. If we cannot perceive the virtue inherent in the capacity to surrender – to surrender to another person in love, or to obligation in the sense of feeling its claims upon us—cynicism awaits us.
I too shun the idea of trying to dominate friends and romantic partners and agree with the unattractiveness of ‘total control’ over life’s circumstances. Let us backtrack for a moment and instead refrain from speaking in absolutes. What about some form of partial control, not when it comes to people, but other features of reality? Why must some lived experiences remain a mystery? Why would not seeing Smith’s virtue in surrender lead to cynicism?
On the contrary, I find the prospect of giving more agency to psychedelic users through technological means optimistic and positive. ‘Intent to control’ need not lead to ‘soiling’ experiences. The definition of to soil is ‘to stain or defile morally—corrupt; to make unclean especially superficially—dirty’. Intent to control psychedelic experiences that are commonly considered to have religious or supernatural overtones does not indicate psychedelic technology users want to morally defile or make unclean such experiences.
Humans have always controlled aspects of their lives and surroundings in partial and agreeable ways; psychedelic experiences are nonexempt from suchlike pursuits. Smith’s position sounds like a desperate effort to dissuade probative people from questioning their lived experiences and reality, reminiscent of religious leaders coping with Copernican angst.
As mentioned in the preceding section, repeated self-surrender is important for user acclimatization to altered states. In a similar way, members of the syncretic ayahuasca religion called Santo Daime incorporate ritualistic and cultural cues to constrain the unconstrained mind. Lifshitz, Sheiner and Kirmayer report how Santo Daime members structure their religious-psychedelic practices: men and women segregate in rows expanding outward from a central table where senior members sit, members recite prayers, sing hymns, coordinate dances, meditate silently while seated, and their interpretation of visions contribute to an…
‘…ordering of ritual time and space structures the psychedelic experience along multiple modalities. On a pragmatic level, it provides the framework and repeatability required for regular religious practice, and codifies Santo Daime’.
Seen from the religious/healing perspective of Santo Daime, Lifshitz et al. say, ‘Thus, promoting healing with psychedelics likely requires constraining the unconstrained mind through symbolic situational cues and embodied rituals that emphasize the potential to move from maladaptive patterns toward constructive states and behaviours’. Although my views about the claimed inherent religious feel to psychedelics and those of Santo Daime practitioners differ, I commend them and indigenous users for their codified frameworks that attempt to constrain or give order to the psychedelic experience.
At this juncture, I address the following possible objection to my argumentation thus far. Shamans and Santo Daime members ostensibly already use techniques and technologies to control aspects of their psychedelic experiences in religious contexts. One might ask why the abandonment of religious/supernatural connotations would be necessary to modern technology use that increases user agency during psychedelic experiences. Neuroscientist Robin Carhart-Harris says scientists aim to be
…dispassionate, to really give ourselves the best chance to glean what is true. … I come here with an open mind wanting to understand the phenomena but with a motivation to try to study it. I think if you just leave it [psychedelics] in this enchanting space, then you might be motivated not to even study it.
A secular approach stands a greater chance at advancing knowledge of psychedelic states. The religiously inclined or the ‘enchanted’ may stop short of probing deeper into experiences for any number of reasons, whereas people with more of a secularist mindset will likely ask questions and conduct experiments that contradict indigenous and mainstream religious dogma.
Psychiatrist Matthew W. Johnson recognizes the fallibility in using nonempirical frameworks in psychedelic medicine and research contexts and discloses multiple dangers regarding the use of religious references by psychedelic scientists and clinicians. ‘It is important to operate instead from a secular framework that is nonetheless open to working with patients or participant [sic] of any religious/spiritual background’.
As tempting as it may be for some clinicians to introduce religious and spiritual belief systems to help study participants find meaning from their experiences and about their lives, these placeholders and the icons that represent them should be avoided, according to Johnson, because they not only precondition psychedelic users to have a specific experience, but they also alienate participants who might be atheist or practice another religion whose religious symbolism is absent from the study environment. In short, preconditioning experiences and alienating study participants leads to bad science and practice, not to mention ethical concerns.
Surrenderism is a necessary step in one’s evolving psychedelic journeying process; however, it is not the only way to comport oneself as I hope is beginning to become clear. Additionally, once one accepts the possibility that altered states of consciousness—including those psychedelic-induced—are not religious or sacred, one would no longer resort to unconditional surrender as mystics do and as modern researchers recommend. As one gains enough experience through repeat exposure and the initial transcendental luster subsides, repeat users might realize that otherworldly phenomena afforded by psychedelics are indeed highly curious other dimensions, yet without the religio-sacral connotations.
4. AUGMENTING AGENCY AND CONTROL WITH PROSTHESES
Ernst Jünger, German author and friend of Albert Hofmann, coined the term psychonaut (from the German, psychonauten) to mean ‘psychedelic astronaut, explorer of the inner cosmos’. While the astronaut-explorer-of-psychedelic-spaces description aptly references these experiences, we should also inspect the meaning of the suffix nautès. In this sense, psycho-naut means ‘sailor of the mind’ or ‘navigator of the psyche’, referring to individuals wanting to explore their minds by means of any kind of consciousness alteration. The resultant substantive form then is psychonautics, or ‘(the art of) ‘sailing the mind’ or ‘navigating the psyche’’.
If psychedelic users are like sailors of the mind, then, what is their ship? How does one turn sailing the psychedelic-intoxicated mind or navigating the psychedelic-intoxicated psyche into a predictable and controllable art form? Psychonautic technology from rituals and symbolico-cultural cues to the pairing of technologies with psychedelics is an overlooked topic in modern psychedelic discourse.
The sailor on their ship does not leave port hoping that the tide will take them to their desired destination. No; the sailor commands a transportation device made for a specific purpose. The ship undoubtedly is subject to waves, weather, creatures beneath the water’s surface, etc. Nevertheless, the experienced sailor knows how to use their technology to steer through the unknown, that which they cannot control, and toward their destination. They use technology to go from one point to a predetermined other, and their ship is suited to deal with many natural events en route.
The same can be said about the sailor of psychedelic worlds. Whereas both surrenderists and psychedelic technology users might start with an intention to guide them through the experience, surrenderists basically leap into the ocean of altered consciousness expecting the tide to take them to their destination, an action predicated on hope and submission. This is folly. Modern users would do better to think about using a sort of ship, some technical or technological accoutrement that can improve the journey’s steadiness and at their volition. One must ask whether one is a passive passenger (e.g., surrender) or a course-charting captain utilizing seaworthy technology (e.g., control).
In demarcating the boundary between science and technology, philosopher of technology Andrew Feenberg says:
‘Science and technology share a similar type of rationality based on empirical observation and knowledge of natural causality, but technology is concerned with usefulness rather than truth. Where science seeks to know, technology seeks to control.’ 
No one knows for certain the metaphysical status of psychedelic states; we can infer however, according to Feenberg, there is an inherent element of control regarding the essence and usefulness of technology. Just as modern-day instruments help natural scientists learn more about reality, technologies offering greater control and therefore agency to psychedelic users would also likely help answer experiencers’ and scientists’ knowledge or truth claims about psychedelic phenomena.
I define my concept of psychedelic ‘symbolico-technology’,  but fall short in defining what ‘psychedelic technology’ is. Here, I define psychedelic technology as follows: a human-made technique or technology that pairs with psychedelic states of consciousness for the purpose of documentation, data collection, and/or to control aspects of the experience for purposes of navigating, co-shaping, directing one’s experience, etc., resulting in augmented user agency.
In other words, psychedelic technology broadly speaking is any technique or technology paired with psychedelics that gives users greater insight, control, and/or agency over their experiences. There are at least two types of psychedelic technology: passive and active.
Psychedelic technology is passive when that which is being overseen is the documentation, collection, and analysis of data from one’s experience. For example, physiological testing equipment can be used to pick up signals or biomarkers from psychedelics’ effects on users. Note that high-tech research devices such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were not designed with psychedelics in mind but are used by psychedelic researchers.
Furthermore, other modern technologies and passive psychedelic technologies certainly will assist in developing purpose-specific active psychedelic technologies. Psychedelic technologies are passive when they are in the background to collect or monitor data in some capacity, and usually would not be purpose-built for psychedelic experiences, although the latter is possible.
Active psychedelic technology is a means to increase control of experiences through navigating, co-shaping, or directing. Within the category of active psychedelic technology, we can further differentiate between hard and soft control. I define hard control as controlling everything about the experience, that is, the experiencer wields absolute control. Since this is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future, if ever, soft control is what trained psychedelic technology users can do: they are able to navigate, shape, and determine how their experience unfolds depending on their expertise with psychedelics and their skill in using paired psychedelic technologies.
As mentioned earlier, such skill requires one moving beyond the prerequisite surrender phase of one’s psychedelic journeying evolution. Passive psychedelic technology can become active if, when monitoring vital signs, the researcher directs the experiencer to take specific anticipatory actions, for example, to raise or lower blood pressure, heart beats per minute, directing the drug user’s attention, changing position of the body, introducing an idea or object during the experience, etc. Therefore, psychedelic technologies are active when they are in the foreground to steer experiences, and presumably will be purpose-built for them.
Not necessarily a prosthesis to stabilize one’s visionary experience but rather a documentation tool can be found in Qualia Research Institute’s Tracer Replication Tool. This psychedelic technology was designed to ‘collect quantitative data about psychedelic tracers’. The internet browser-based tool works as follows. The participant observes a bouncing blue ball on their computer screen while in an intoxicated state. Once the visionary experience subsides, they toggle the tool’s settings to reconstruct what the tracer looked like as it was superimposed upon the default blue ball in addition to providing information such as drug type, dosage, how many hours into the intoxicated state they used the tool, and how many hours after the experience they documented their tracer.
The Tracer Replication Tool is a simple technology purposely built to document a specific aspect of psychedelic perception. As user-generated reports filter in, we may make more sense of what happens to visual perception depending on drug type and dosage and we will be able to literally show such representations to others. While one’s unique physiology and cognition shape each person’s subjective experience, the above technology may reveal that drug, dosage, age, mood, culture, or any number of standalone or combined factors may lead to consistent and predictable tracer phenomena.
I offer another practical way to think about psychedelic technology. Aikido is a Japanese martial art that teaches the importance of defensive maneuvering by using the attacker’s own movements to subdue him. The attacked conserves energy by flowing with, not against, the attacker:
‘Aikido is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. … The goal of Aikido training is not perfection of a step or skill, but rather improving one’s character according to the rules of nature’.
In this way, the attacker expends more energy and thus is more at risk of tiring themselves out, making themselves susceptible to the impassable defensive offense of the attacked; the attacker must work harder to bring down their opponent.
According to the survival response known as fight-or-flight (-or-freeze), psychedelic technology use would be considered as a form of ‘fight’ because it is certainly not flight or freeze. However, it is not fighting per se, rather an active and anticipatory defensive-like maneuver, a form of flowing with one’s precarious environment with the help of technological accoutrements designed for psychedelic states.
Sailors know the limits and capabilities of their technologies and have expertise in navigating their ships around adverse weather events or, if need be, to sail through waves head on. Sailors do not try to control the weather but instead know how to work with it by getting the most out of their nautical technology.
The ship is purposefully built for moving atop the uncertainty and randomness of waves: it has a keel to stabilize, sails to propel, a rudder to steer. Active psychedelic technologies would have comparable features that enable users to gain some level of control over the uncertainty and randomness of visionary phenomena and worlds.
Whatever the intoxicated mind shows experiencers, one must face it and accept what comes; one must confront whatever presents itself or that which needs to be revealed. (One day, perhaps, technologies will be capable of inducing specific/desired visionary content as well.) Sailors cannot control approaching waves and storms; they skillfully maneuver their vessel with or around them. Similarly, modern psychedelic technologies may enable users to direct their experiences with greater control irrespective of that which presents itself to consciousness.
Historical evidence suggests humans sacralize that which they do not comprehend nor control. In accordance with the mystic’s views, surrendering implies that the psychedelic user foregoes whatever agency they may have. History teaches that there might not be anything religious or supernatural about psychedelic-induced states; likely, these spaces merely are different dimensions of reality upon which, because of naivete and lack of knowledge, people put such placeholders.
The surrenderism model within psychedelia is a prerequisite for inexperienced, untrained, or novice users and should not be abandoned any time soon. However, sustained belief in letting go or giving oneself over to the experience concretizes the feeling that one could not possibly understand these realms. I contend that surrenderism may have damaging downstream effects insofar as experiencers relinquish pursuits of experiential sense-making. Academics and amateurs must eventually transcend surrenderism and religious/supernatural connotations in favor of new methods to have any chance at making epistemic gains pertaining to the visionary, otherworldly content afforded by psychedelics.
Recognizing surrenderism’s usefulness as a means, but not exclusively as an end, and welcoming prospects of having more agency, prepares the psychedelic user for new types of experience. Any form of constraining the psychedelic mind, from rituals and symbols to psychedelic technologies, helps users manage visionary experiences. In addition to controlling their voyage, curbing fear is but one reason why one would want to use technology during their psychedelic experiences; other reasons include navigating, co-shaping, communicating, and determining the experience. The purpose, design, and function of a psychedelic technology will depend on one’s worldview, the type of knowledge one seeks, and what aspect of the experience one wishes to stabilize or document.
Humans will continue to find ways of incorporating technology with psychedelic experiences. Psychedelic experiences have already been modified by shamanic technologies and ritualistic and symbolic cues found in the Santo Daime religion, and will continue to be by modern users and their technologies. We must begin thinking how modern technology will shape psychedelic experiences for any user, no matter their cultural conditioning. Pairing deliberately designed modern technologies with psychedelics is not only the future, it is the next evolutionary step in psychedelic drug use. It is going to happen, and so we must consider how it will happen, how technology will be used before, during, and after psychedelic experiences, and for what purposes?
Passive psychedelic technologies already exist and are being used in academic research. What encourages me is what the future may bring regarding active psychedelic technologies. I do not know what they will be, but their development and use are indeed possible. Admittedly, I argue for something that does not yet exist, and cannot exist until people secularize their psychedelic experiences, outgrow their tendencies toward surrenderism, and seriously consider the possibility of pairing modern technology with these dimensions of non-ordinary experience for the purposes of augmented control, agency, and mastery, and hopefully, newfound knowledge as a result.
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 Sjöstedt-H P (n.d.) The Psychedelic Influence on Philosophy. https://highexistence.com/hidden-psychedelic-influence-philosophy-plato-nietzsche-psychonauts-thoughts/ (retrieved 17/3/2021).
 Blom JD (2010) A Dictionary of Hallucinations. New York: Springer Science & Business Media, p 434.
 Blom (2010, p 434); Ott (2001).
 Feenberg A (2006) ‘What Is Philosophy of Technology?’ in Dakers JR (ed) Defining Technological Literacy: Towards an Epistemological Framework. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, p 5 (my italics).
 Houot (2019).
 When speaking specifically about psychedelics, the term ‘psychonautic technology’ should be avoided because it refers to techniques and technologies used during any form of consciousness alteration such as meditation, yoga, other pharmaceuticals, etc.
 Wu L, Gomez Emilsson A and Zuckerman A (2020) QRI Psychophysics Toolkit – Tracer. Qualia Research Institute. https://qualiaresearchinstitute.github.io/psychophysics/ (retrieved 9/12/2020).
 Aikikai Foundation (n.d.) What is Aikido? > About Aikido. http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/aikido/about.html (retrieved 17/3/2021).
 Houot (2019).