Master Plant

In the documentary series “How to Change Your Mind” about the role of psychedelics, journalist Michael Pollan mentions tobacco in addition to LSD, psilocybin, MDMA and mescaline. There are 8 million premature deaths worldwide each year from smoking, yet indigenous peoples have used tobacco for thousands of years to clear the mind and cure mental illnesses. When I went through the Ayahuasca ritual in Peru, everyone smoked tobacco grown in the jungle there. The smoke was supposed to ward off evil spirits. I’m not sure about demons, but during the hardest moments of the ceremonies, smoking did help me come to my senses. Some participants were prescribed specially prepared tobacco leaves as medicine by the shaman. There were also vegetable gardens on the retreat grounds where many plants were growing, including coca and cannabis.

The attitude of the Indians toward all these plants is different from that of the tourists in Amsterdam. There is no excitement, no anticipation of enjoyment, no teenage smirks. On the contrary, their attitude is reserved and respectful, for it is not just a “grass,” but a Master Plant. The urban dweller cringes contemptuously when he hears such “heresy,” saying it is the naive prejudice of primitive people stuck in the past. What knowledge can the “flower” convey to him? That is, until his pride is trampled by a personal catastrophe, which all the modern progress in free morality, philosophy, medicine, and technology could not help him cope with. Tragedy awakens humility. So there is a chance to find a nugget in the mud.

It is encouraging to see prominent scientists today trying to understand the mechanism of action of substances and rituals that helped our ancestors for perhaps millions of years. In the end, it’s not about a particular phenomenon, but about our ability to use it for our own benefit or detriment. The value is knowing the function, context and limits of anything, whether it is nuclear fusion or DMT.

Yours sincerely,


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Alexander Lyadov

Alexander Lyadov

As a business therapist, I help entrepreneurs to navigate faster in non-standard situations.