Cognitive Liberty UK: Should the State Have the Power to Dictate How You Die?


A recent article
follows many that highlight the profoundly positive influences psychedelics can have on peoples experience of dying. Indeed, an unusual consequence of the restrictions on how psychedelics may be legally tested is that the positive effects that psychedelics (e.g. LSD) can have on peoples’ experience of dying has been verified scientifically beyond reasonable doubt.

Aside from the experiential benefits, there is the possibility (however slim) that these drugs will have a meaningful effect on an individuals post-death existence. The renowned discoverer of LSD Albert Hoffman speculated about whether such chemicals have not only a phenomenological impact, but a metaphysical one: by virtue of this, the very destiny of your “soul” could, in theory, be influenced by the experiences leading up to death. (In ‘LSD:My Problem Child’)

In our current society we assume that the state has the right to control factors that intimately influence our power to control the experience of death. “Designer death” is already a reality, the widespread use of pain-killers during the process of death is, in pure terms, about controlling the experience of death.

The state permits some experiences, but restricts others: LSD is illegal, but why shouldn’t a dying person have power over their own mind? Shouldn’t we have the right to die as we please? If the principle of Cognitive Liberty implies anything, it should be not only that we ought to just to have sovereignty in terms of how we live, but how we die as well.

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