Psychonautics (from the Greek ψυχή (psychē “soul/spirit/mind”) and ναύτης (naútēs “sailor/navigator”) – a sailor of the mind/soul) refers both to a methodology for describing and explaining the subjective effects of altered states of consciousness, including those induced by mind altering substances, and to a research paradigm in which the researcher voluntarily immerses him/herself into an altered state by means of such techniques, as a means to explore human experience and existence. A person who uses altered states for such exploration is known as a psychonaut. —Wikipedia
Alexander Horned Sphere
The scheduling of LSD and other psychedelic materials created a divided field among those who were investigating these substances in a variety of practices: pharmacological, medical, artistic, psychotherapeutic. Call it a split between the overground—those seeking legitimization and legalization of the psychedelics in a medical model (the brave, the few) and the underground, (all the rest of us) who continued our pursuit of self-knowledge, healing, creative inspiration, ecstatic pleasure, and/or the Unspeakable despite the illegal status of most psychedelic use. All of these psychonautic efforts are producing scads (since no one has a clue how many soul-sailors there are) of new knowledge. This research—not that psychonauts necessarily characterize their trips as such—has had profound effects on our global culture.
The underground began re-framing the consciousness of the culture through the linguistic technology of the computer, a machine built on layers of interconnected and evolving languages. Through computer graphics. Through web-design. Through animation, and especially by re-framing the consciousness of generations of gamers educated from childhood to navigate and act effectively and have fun in the wraparound imaginal worlds of psychonauts, played on software coded by psychonauts not much older than themselves. No one knows yet how wide this influence is, but it is enough to make a difference.