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“Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Creative Behavior and the Use of Psychedelics”.
Yearbook of Cross-Cultural Medicine and Psychotherapy. 1995;? (6).
In pre-Conquest Mesoamerica, art as a discipline and activity was embedded in such daily activities as the manufacturing of implements, the construction of tools, and the making of paraphernalia for the rituals and ceremonies that reinforced cultural myths. Creativity that was presumptively inspired by psychedelic plants also can be observed in ancient murals, architecture, sculpture, and literature. Contemporary examples include the association between the sacred use of psychedelic mushrooms and the poetic verses of the Mazatec shaman, Maria Sabina, of peyote and the yarn paintings of the Huichol shaman Ramon Medina Silva, and of ayahuasca and the paintings of the mestizo shamanic healer Pablo Amaringo. There is even some evidence of ritual psychedelic usage in the art forms of Late Neolithic Eastern Europe. The ritual use of psychedelics and the art associated with it can be contrasted with contemporary usage by Western artists, as identified in anecdotal accounts and in research studies. Paradoxically, psychedelics appear to foster creative behavior in traditional cultures by upholding their cultural myths, and appear to stimulate creativity among artists in industrialized societies by deconditioning them to their cultural myths, often freeing the imagination so that it can envision concepts and percepts outside the socially constructed cultural mainstream. Art involves the controlled structuring of a medium or a material to communicate as vividly as possible the artist's personal vision of experience. If art resonates with a larger public, it has succeeded in filling the gaps in social knowledge or in resolving cultural contradictions. This perspective may be useful in studying artistic productions associated with psychedelic substances in both traditional and industrialized societies.
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