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Psychedelic approach

Psychedelic (from the Greek psyche and deloun, i.e. 'mind-manifesting') was first coined as a noun in 1956 by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in a letter to Aldous Huxley. Psychedelic experience is connected with altered states of consciousness (Tart 1972, 1975) which are defined as conscious states that can be recognized by an individual or by an external observer of that individual as representing a major difference in behaviour and experience from ordinary baseline states of waking consciousness. Altered states of consciousness may be induced by psychoactive drugs such as marihuana, LSD or mescaline or by other means such as meditation and sensory deprivation. The psychedelic approach to creativity is based on the idea that the normal state of consciousness restricts people's awareness and consciousness enhancement is needed to realize one's fullest creative potential (Barron, 1965; Masters and Houston, 1966, 1968; Abraham, McKenna and Sheldrake, 1992). Creativity can be considered as a discrete class of psychedelic phenomena (Krippner, 1999).

Gowan (1972, 1973, 1975, 1980) developed a comprehensive taxonomy of 'exotic factors of intellect and paranormal powers and abilities, ' which he classified in three classes - trance, art, and creativity - according to its relation to numinous element. He argued that the psychedelic experience connects a person to an impersonal universal source of knowledge called 'the collective preconscious' or the 'numinous, ' which is 'the source of all creativity, all paranormal knowing, all of the hidden (occult) faculties' (Gowan, 1980: 48). The work of mapping of the realm of human (un)conscious has been continued by transpersonal psychologists such as Grof (1975, 1986, 1988, 1992) and Wilber (1977, 1980, 1996).

However, the connection between creativity and psychedelic experience is not limited by exotic factors and states induced by psychoactive substances. The phenomenon of 'flow' popularized by Csikszentmihalyi (1988, 1996) and some characteristics of creativity as such may be considered as examples of altered states of consciousness.

Psychedelic approach. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny., 2007.
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