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A valid question, but I want to point out that Buddhism (and modern psychology, to a certain extent) have been using this transitory, conditional model of the self for a long time.



Many people think psychedelics are an alternate path to the same destination, although I haven't done any major searching on whether any significant research has gone into comparing experiences.

I think you're partially right.

At least from the Buddhist side of things (and in more than one Buddhist tradition), the spiritual path consists roughly of:

1) an initial awakening to the true nature of one's own self-construct

2) a lifelong process of deepening and integrating this deeply liberating insight into all aspects of one's mind, life, and behavior

The Buddhist canon contains a lot of stories about people who attained at lease a glimpse of 1), sometimes seemingly triggered by a random event (especially in the Chan/Zen tradition) such as hearing a loud shout. So I wouldn't be surprised if psychedelics could drop-kick one's consciousness into this realization.

But I would be surprised if drugs alone could produce the kind of long-lasting shift in perspective and well-being that 2) brings - mainly because it requires a lot of meditative effort, and effects of pharmaceuticals tend to be transient.

From personal experience, I believe it can create the shift in perspective, but you're right about the permanence of it, that seems elusive in a way that cannot even be described.

As I mentioned, I haven't tried psychedelics but from listening to Sam Harris and a few other experienced meditators talk about it, it sounds quite useful for witnessing firsthand the context dependency of human experience. I think this is an important insight in to our existence - the person you feel like you are is whatever is happening in your brain right now and that can change quite easily and quite quickly. A bit unnerving.

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