Here is the full transcript of psychologist and neuroscientist Robin Carhart-Harris’ TEDx Talk: Psychedelics: Lifting the Veil at TEDxWarwick conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: Psychedelics – Lifting the veil by Robin Carhart-Harris at TEDxWarwick
Robin Carhart-Harris – Psychologist and neuroscientist
It’s easy to be captivated by the world out there. It’s a fascinating place. It’s deserving of this attention. But what if we were to invert our focus and look inside, what would we find?
Well, I study psychedelic drugs for a living. And the reason why I do this — often could fault you — is because I think they’re special. And the reason why I think they’re special is that I believe they have a unique ability to reveal to us the very depths of our minds, dreams, and perhaps a select few other states may hint at what lies beyond the reaches of normal consciousness.
But psychedelics, in my view, are really unrivaled in their ability to do this. Now, many of you will be familiar with the word psychedelic but I doubt so many of you are familiar with its origins or what it means.
So psychedelic was a word that was coined in the 1950s by the British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond with reference to this class of drugs that I study. And it combines two Greek words: psyche and delos which when put together mean to make the mind manifest or to reveal the soul.
Now I’ve been fascinated by psychology for most of my adult life. The one question that has always bugged me is why can’t it prove the existence of the unconscious mind? Is it because it doesn’t exist? Or is it because it’s especially difficult to see?