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[letterhead of the Institute of Noetic Sciences]

July 10, 1995

Robert Jesse, President
Council on Spiritual Practices
San Francisco, CA

Dear Bob,

I commend you on your bold venture, and am pleased to add my endorsement.

It has been clear for four decades at least that the entheogens, properly used, have an important place in modern society — a society that has largely lost touch with its spiritual roots and desperately needs to rediscover them. Because of the medicalization of all non-food substance ingestion, and the positivist paradigm that dominates the medical community, the sacramental potentiality of these substances has been distorted and ignored. The religious community, for other reasons, has opted to stick with crackers and grape juice, and not raise awkward issues. Thus it has taken a courageous group like yours to reopen the dialogue.

I enthusiastically applaud your efforts to put the entheogens clearly in the context of people's yearning for "primary religious experience." We have tiptoed around the issue for many years, bowing to the conventional wisdom that spiritual experience is primarily a medical or therapeutic matter. Meanwhile, recognition of widespread spiritual hunger has been growing. Sooner or later, this search for spiritual meaning is going to demand that this country live up to its commitment to religious freedom. I think you are doing the right thing at the right time.

I appreciate your sensitivity to the complexity of the issues involved, your patience-with-integrity that allows for people's emotional involvement with their beliefs on the matter, and your persistence in not being thrown off course by the many obstacles encountered. Your strategies of building coalitions with organized religion, and working with, rather than against, the regulators and lawmakers, are the ones that help everybody win in the end. Modern society has to achieve sanity with regard to this issue eventually.

I'm amazed at what you have accomplished so far, in a limited time and with limited resources. Tom Roberts' bibliographic guide in itself is a major accomplishment, to say nothing of your conferences and other publications. You have allied yourself with competent and responsible individuals and organizations, and have successfully established the Council on Spiritual Practices as a credible humanitarian group. I am happy to give you my personal endorsement and offer to be of whatever assistance I can.

With warm good wishes

/s/ Willis Harman

Willis W. Harman, President
Institute of Noetic Sciences

Original letter PDF
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