The New York Times Magazine
has a lengthy article
on the breaking trend of providing end-of-life patients with drugs. Psychologists are effectively administering magic mushrooms and hailing "the healing power of psychedelics." One of the leading researcher's reports:
On psychedelics you have an experience in which you feel there is something you are a part of, something else is out there that's bigger than you, that there is a dazzling unity you belong to, that love is possible and all these realizations are imbued with deep meaning. I'm telling you that you're not going to forget that six months from now. The experience gives you, just when you're on the edge of death, hope for something more.
The role which psychedelics are hoped to serve at the end of life is pretty much the same as that supplied to most people by religion. One doubts that the writers at the Times
know any such people. So, the substitute for faith is hallucination. Perhaps the Times
sees them as one and the same. But I suspect most people comprehend the difference.
My first reaction is that this is a cowardly way to approach death - just as drug use is a cowardly way to approach life. Such a solution has always been available. Re-branding it as science, medicine or progress changes nothing. Those of faith have nothing to fear and everything for which to hope. Atheists at least have nothing to fear. And sinful sorts can benefit from a little fear and trembling.
This is not medical advancement. It is social regression.