Back in July I gave a talk on psychedelic research as a potential cause area for Effective Altruism. If you read this blog, you probably know something about psychedelic research already. If not, see the following posts for a refresher:
Psychedelics, Personality Traits, and Values: A Closer Look at the Research
Mystical Experience & Psychedelics: Meaningful, Measurable, Life Changing
Effective Altruism will be less familiar to many of you. EA is a global movement and community based on using reason and evidence to do the most possible good. It consists of a range of organizations, non-profits, and local groups that all loosely fall under the Effective Altruism umbrella. For a good introduction to EA, listen to co-founder Will Macaskill on this episode of Sam Harris’ podcast.
There are cause areas in Effective Altruism, which are what the people in the movement generally agree are the most important things to work on. The current major cause areas are global poverty, animal welfare, and improving the far future (mostly managing existential risk and AI safety). But EA also puts emphasis on updating one’s beliefs based on new evidence, and keeping an open mind about potential new cause areas where a lot of good could be done.
It was in this spirit that I gave a presentation on psychedelic research to our local Toronto EA group. This was loosely aimed at convincing EAs that psychedelic research could be a cause area worth focusing on (and certainly an area worth paying attention to), and more broadly that wider access to psychedelics could do large amounts of good. Below are the slides – if you have questions about any of this, let me know.