My mother would have loved this TED Talk. Her years as a teen, and later as an adult (after I was able to look after myself) included exploration of psychedelic substances and spiritually awakening planets. She was most enamored in her later years of psylocybin mushrooms and became an amateur mycologist while living in South Africa. She saw her use of these substances as this man does -- a way of raising one's consciousness -- and would keep a journal handy during her experiences. She shared many of her most profound visions with me, the mushrooms providing her with the feeling of the deepest connection of the earth and contact with light beings who made her feel safe and protected. In books like PIHKAL, she discovered stories almost identical to experiences she had as a child, and sought out greater experiences because of them.
Though I've never experimented -- those who know me well, know I can reach altered states of consciousness without substances (and probably wouldn't react well to them anyway) -- I've always found these natural, sacred forms of altering the mind to be fascinating. My mother's stories from her acid trips as a teen to her psylocybin and phenethylamine experiments as an adult, often affirmed for me the experiences I'd had without these external chemicals.
This talk, while a bit heavy with the fast-paced speech and particular perspective/focus, certainly brings up topics we ought to be addressing more -- about consciousness and about the way we live our lives.