Philosophy Discussion Meeting Notes
This meeting is held every Saturday afternoon. A short list of topics is either decided on prior to the meeting or ideas are taken from members the day of. Ideas can be submitted through the meetup.com Psychedelic Society page. This is where we keep a record of ideas and personal anecdotes gathered during our discussions. While this in no way serves as the official views of the Psychedelic Society, hopefully it provides a start to the discussion of the many questions we encounter with psychedelics. Also, names and places are of course left out!
Psychedelic Philosophy Discussion Meeting December 15th, 2018
1) What is your favorite psychedelic effect?
-Childlike sense of wonderment
-Everyday experiences viewed from a different lens
-Enhanced cognitive depth
-Feeling the life of plants
-Seeing perfection in everything and feeling gratitude
-Sense of amazement and awe
-Feeling totally connected with everything
-Heightened non-verbal communication with physical and non-physical beings
-Feelings of love
2) What experiences do you find cathartic?
-Recreational experiences may be considered by some to be cathartic
-Playfulness is sometimes overshadowed by the serious therapeutic nature more often associated with “legitimate” use
-The Genesis Generation book says every time you laugh you level up
-Recreational use vs. non-recreational distinction may not be so distinct or useful
-Personal Anecdote: I had full body laughter on a cellular level that was very cathartic and healing.
-Puritanical roots in culture may prevent guiltless joy but we need more of that
-The projection of psychedelics on the public is a big factor in how we view recreational use because of how powerful the effects are
-In defining recreation, we should take into account intent: thrill seeking vs. therapy
-If we encourage dissenters to pay attention to specific effects like laughter, we can help them open up to it
-Personal Anecdote: Recreational use was harmful in my younger years from Tim Leary-type attitudes.
-Compare psychedelics to the attitude toward sex in our culture, we have misinformation sex-education in schools and a preponderance of sexual crimes, therefore, is prohibition the best idea?
-Personal Anecdote: I had a nice blend of modern psychedelic therapy practices and recreational set/setting for a group LSD experience. It seemed like having the best of both methods along with a group of trusted people made it a beneficial and integrated therapy.
-Personal Anecdote: Laughter in a therapeutic setting was more meaningful and tied to release and interconnectedness, less so in recreational setting for me.
-Personal Anecdote: The most therapeutic experience was without intention or any expectation. When I tried intention and it didn’t work.
3) Meditation Practice Ideas
-Try the Insight Timer and Headspace apps
-Try float tanks and acupuncture as meditation catalysts
-Just you and your thoughts, thoughts aren’t bad, shouldn’t be suppressed or avoided, rather just allowed to take their natural course
-Being in nature helps calm the mind for some
-Personal Anecdote: Meditation is contrary to being intellectual and using thinking to get from A to B, but has helped me a lot to balance that part of life
-Personal Anecdote: Using meditation apps has helped maintain regularity because it tracks your progress, gamifying it
-Personal Anecdote: For me, it’s 90% work and 10% bliss
-Personal Anecdote: The simplest and hardest thing I’ve ever done
-Michael Pollen says psychedelics can be like years of meditation
-Personal Anecdote: Meditation was a primary treatment for anxiety and depression with mindfulness as a key aspect
-Meditation is like food, many different kinds, some you like, some you don’t, so just try another one
-Try meditating in the morning shortly after waking or when you are a little drowsy during the day
-Dr. Andrew Weil 4-7-8 technique
-Day dreaming is actually an effective form of meditation
-“The Artist’s Way” book suggests writing a little each day, feels like meditation
-The element of acceptance of your thoughts is crucial to the benefits of meditation, which is why activities that don’t seem like meditation actually have similar effects (writing, daydreaming, music…)
-Both meditation and psychedelics are very self-directed
-Notice that you notice things, it’s when normally mundane things become interesting
-Alignment with a universal source of energy
-Progress, not perfection
-It matters less how long you meditate, but how often
-Reserving space and time when you won’t be disturbed helps avoid added worries, concerns, doubts, etc…
Psychedelic Philosophy Discussion Meeting December 8th, 2018
1) Is it possible to hold psychedelic insights inside a sober frame of mind?
-Personal Anecdote: Some ideas seem unable to be encapsulated while in the psychedelic state.
-Personal Anecdote: My initial experiences always ended with a frustration knowing I wouldn’t be able to bring back what I experienced, which eventually led to meditation. It took commitment, but I am much more equipped now to bring the psychedelic experience back into regular life
-Frameworks provided in conventional society make it hard to appreciate the experience
-Personal Anecdote: I achieved a similar state from a water fast, even lasted weeks after, there was a sense of a spirit visiting me, it was transpersonal..
-Personal Anecdote: I had a peak experience, which is when you are both inspired and challenged, but you fall from grace afterwords. Bringing the information back into a condensed form took practice, but was worth taking psilocybin.
-Personal Anecdote: In a punch through dose of psilocybin, I found myself on a beach with god, and it stayed with me like a helpful guide ever since.
-Evoking the feeling or emotion of the experience helps bring information back
-The nature of articulating these experiences in words is difficult because of the natural limitation of words
-There is a pictographic alphabet for nonlinear communication using circular symbolism
-Some substances may work better for certain people because of a certain relationship you can build over time with them
-Personal Anecdote: In making art and writing there is a greater sense of coherence for me that varies with set + setting, therefore, insights seem dependent on the present moment.
-Art and music are much more capable of communicating and capturing these deeper ideas
-Personal Anecdote: Allyson Grey painted something that was exactly like something I saw on ayahuasca, which makes me think something was brought back and recorded.
-It seems the types of thoughts we want to bring back are in competition with where human civilization is currently: technology, material creation, rational and linear thought… This is in contrast to a person choosing to live in the more magical, playful side of life being more capable of actively retaining psychedelic insights
-Remembering things doesn’t have to be precise, but remembering the most meaningful, emotional things are what sticks easier
-Ayahuasca feels like contact with godlike beings, LSD feels more like tapping into one’s own deeper/higher self. Also, ayahuasca can’t be driven by your own will, unlike LSD, which seems much more self-driven
-Personal Anecdote: My DMT experience put me in the middle of an impossibly complex machine containing enormous amounts of information, the amazement and awe of the experience was the main thing I brought back .
-Perhaps humans will eventually be able to communicate these bigger ideas with more collective experience
2) Does the psychedelic experience affect your perception of the masculine and the feminine? Does a gender spectrum seem more or less likely than a gender-binary point-of-view after a psychedelic experience?
-Psychedelic experiences tend to cause people to want to break down societal systems like politics, religion, capitalism, etc… but binary genders are less commonly challenged even with modern empirical findings of gender non-binary and transitioned genders
-Being able to relate or not relate to someone different affects people’s distaste, fear and hatred, but if we can have transcendent experience of knowing what the other gender is like, barriers can be broken down… for example, past life vision of being another gender
-Personal Anecdote: I’ve gone through different phases of life: trying to dress and act like a man to compete in a man’s world, then choosing to get in touch with my feminine side, so now I wonder which I am, maybe I’m both.
-Personal Anecdote: I have a family history of cis-gender influences, but my psychedelic experiences have challenged that norm.
-Personal Anecdote: I worry a lot about offending people about this topic because of the influences of my authority figures.
-Personal Anecdote: As an older person, I haven’t actually been uncomfortable with the idea of gender fluidity, despite old-fashioned values being less conducive to that.
-Personal Anecdote: Not being around people that are insistent on labeling your gender, I’m more comfortable with a more complex gender identity that seems to change throughout time anyway.
-Should gender identity or any identity be defined by statistics and data? Or is the subjective, personal experience more valid? In other words, perhaps we should take someone’s word for it, much like treating trauma – you should never tell a trauma victim what they should feel or think
-There are many layers of gender identity: chromosomes, sex hormones, external appearance, ways of thinking, behaving. . .
-Other aspects of identity are fluid, like career, family, culture, political. . . why not gender?
-Personal Anecdote: Speaking in a different language, being in different places often force identity labels and that has felt like a growth hindrance.
-Personal Anecdote: I’ve felt like an alien, but not focusing on identity and more on purpose has helped a lot, psychedelics also have helped.
-What if we are aliens implanted into humans bodies sent to peel back the layers and find out what the purpose is
-Gram Hancock “we are a species with amnesia”
-Personal Anecdote: I had a salvia experience like the holodeck on star trek, which made me think about how we could program realities with our thoughts
-Personal Anecdote: I feel closer to the group having talked about this.
Psychedelic Philosophy Discussion Meeting November 24th, 2018
1) Microdoses vs. High Doses
-Baby steps towards the heroic dose helps, which could mean microses leading up to it
-Personal Anecdote: High dose seems conducive to spiritual growth moreso than microdoses
-Fadiman protocol for microdosing says 1 day on 2 days off
-LSD Volumetric dosing makes for easier measurement
-Microdoses make integration of the psychedelic experience into daily life easier
-Dosing microdoses by body weight is necessary, but other metabolic factors apply too, individual experimentation is probably necessary to find optimal dose
-Personal Anecdote: Microdoses integrate meaning for me, particularly language and how that relates to my thoughts, high doses gave me more upfront insights, which were harder to ignore
-Personal Anecdote: Used microdoses for migraine prophylactic and has worked well, also was able to do some preventative dosing
-Watch out for “aborts” in mushrooms - tiny underdeveloped mushrooms that have higher concentrations
-Different species of mushrooms have different concentrations and even can vary among batches
-Thought loops in high dose mushrooms seem associated with analytical thinking, focused, controlled thinking, so letting go, surrendering to the present moment, not questioning things during the experience may help with that
-Personal Anecdote: Holistic health preparation like staying fit, eating healthy, meditating, etc… have helped with thought loops on mushrooms
-Personal Anecdote: A session led by a therapist suggested not doing so much that you can’t bring anything back with you and having a skilled sitter is beneficial
-Book: Sacred Wisdom - written by therapist Bill Richards at Johns Hopkins for psilocybin therapy
-Doing yoga or any physical exercise helps in preparing for high doses, especially during that initial transition period in the beginning
-Personal Anecdote: Getting to those scary parts of a trip where things can get stuck - just remembering this is what I was asking for reminds me why I did it in the first place
-Personal Anecdote: Setting intentions, not always effective because things come up unexpectedly, so now I set intentions less specifically, more general concepts, especially with mushrooms
-Setting intention may not always be necessary because relevant things tend to come up on their own and your could also just forget your original intention
-Once the experience comes about, the idea of a concrete intention becomes less concrete
-Personal Anecdote: Trust in the healing process has seemed more paramount than setting the right intention
-Preparation - cutting out empty “calories” intellectually and literally, like sugar and processed foods, or internet addiction
-Microdosing may be a helpful prep for high doses because of the effect on the default mode network calming the analytical mind
-Having a spiritual guide can be helpful
2) Ego Dissolution
-Ego is like our mental survival mode, needed to get through the physical world without dying. It’s also a fear response, too much can be bad, but so can too little
-Ego isn’t bad, you need it to live and it’s a tool
-Ego gets a bad rap in spirituality circles
-Personal Anecdote: Mushrooms seems more difficult to achieve full ego dissolution without very high doses, however, smoked DMT is a very efficient at that
3) The Entourage Effect - Multiple Psychoactive Constituents in Psychedelic Plants and Mushrooms vs. Synthetic Extracts (like Psilocybin)
-Personal Anecdote: Syrian rue vs. traditional ayahuasca - the ayahuasca was much more welcoming, rue was hostile
-Personal Anecdote: Pure mescaline vs. peyote - very similar, but mescaline was more pleasant
-Personal Anecdote: Salvia extract vs. raw leaf - similar, but potency main difference
-Personal Anecdote: San pedro vs 2C-B - 2C-B felt like a predetermined show of sensory pleasure, not so meaningful, felt like a human construction, didn’t feel like that gateway into something divine
-Magic bullet vs. whole plant - Can we find a single chemical for healing or is there a value in the plants’ chemical variety? Clinical use may not figure this out anytime soon since patent laws and empirical standards play such a huge role in deciding what doctors prescribe
Psychedelic Philosophy Discussion Meeting November 17th, 2018
1) During psychedelic states of consciousness, does a person experience less of an objective, consensus reality, and more of an abstract and subjective one? If so, where does this world you experience exist? Is it only in your mind or is it somewhere else?
-Perhaps it’s a bigger, more real version of reality
-From a Platonic philosophical perspective, subjectivity is fundamental and all-pervasive, like the shadows in the cave analogy
-The reducing valve (as evidenced by recent neuroimaging studies) or Default Mode Network may indicate the sober, conscious mind is like a telescope or microscope, narrowing the view and psychedelics are like removing the lens
-Perhaps our normal senses filter so much that what we consider the objective reality is dependent and defined by how much we are filtering out, and true objectivity is actually much more complex because it has to be filtered to be understood
-Perhaps we actually have more senses beyond the physical ones, which would indicate reality is more than conventional objectivity
-How does this relate to shared experiences? Maybe it would validate the idea of a reality beyond normal objectivity
-Could this extra reality contain archetypal knowledge that manifests in our concrete thoughts?
-Physical reality vs. abstract reality, which is really consensus? Physical reality certainly has a lot of disagreement in opinions from politics and philosophy to even science and morality. Perhaps the consensus is actually in psychedelic states and nonphysical states where abstraction is more capable of unifying opposing perspectives
-Perhaps the limitations of conventional reality is necessary and even the mechanism of consciousness manifesting into physical reality
-One similar concept that may be connected is the wave-particle duality in quantum mechanics
-Personal Anecdote: A group DMT experience led to a shared perception of time breaking from linearity
-Personal Anecdote: A shared DMT experience was had between two people not even in the same place or same time
-Perhaps the true form of reality is formless until awareness collapses it down to something discrete
-Material Reductionism is conventionally accepted, even though we can’t prove consciousness manifests from matter and not the other way around
-Psychedelic experiences can create this subjective feeling of consciousness coming before matter
-Does consciousness require information? It is possible to be conscious without having any sensory input or inner dialogue, as evidenced in meditative practices and sensory deprivation chambers, but is there still brain activity? If so, what?
-If consciousness arises out of matter, then it should be possible for a computer to be conscious and to upload a human mind into a computer, but no one has done it yet
-Computers aren’t intentional on their own, humans inject their own intentionality into computers, this would conflict with the idea that matter gives rise to consciousness
-Personal Anecdote: Determinism seems true based on my grander psychedelic experiences that have shown me an unavoidable destiny, but there’s still free will to defy that destiny once I become aware of it. However, life becomes miserable and problematic if I do defy, which then makes it feel less like free will
-Right and wrong seem relative at certain levels, but perhaps there are more underlying unifying principles people can agree on
Psychedelic Philosophy Discussion Meeting November 3rd, 2018
1) How have psychedelics changed your relationship with people?
-Tripping with other people has created strong bonds and life-long friends
-Becoming more aware of a connection to other people
-Increased experience of intimacy, vulnerability, transparency, sense of familiarity, shared concern, able to see deeper into a person
-Personal Anecdote: During a session with a trained psychedelic therapist, there was a feeling of overwhelming love - felt that if more people could have that, the world would be a better place
-Personal Anecdote: Some experiences with other people have been burdensome, had to distance from them
-Personal Anecdote: Have felt estranged from others due to intense release of dormant issues
-Similarity between meditating people and psychedelic users in terms of spiritual openness
-Personal Anecdote: A psychedelic experience with significant other accelerated eventual breakup
-Personal Anecdote: Has felt rejection from more “advanced trippers” due to needing extra care - Response: it helps to make strides to find stability in yourself before guiding others in psychedelic experiences
-The legality aspect of psychedelics creates difficulties, particularly with people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens, this becomes very distracting and troublesome for relationships of various kinds
-The psychotherapy community is not usually understanding of psychedelics
2) Some shamanic traditions hold the concept that each person has a spirit animal “companion” that is uniquely appropriate for them; for one person it may be a jaguar, for another a bird, etc. Do you have a spirit psychedelic companion; a preferred psychedelic that seems uniquely appropriate for you?
-Finding one helps get out of the intellectual mindset, relies more on intuitive approaches
-Personal Anecdote: My dog is my spirit animal and partner on many trips
-Having recurring dreams, hobbies, unexplained obsessions, recurring circumstances, etc… are these similar to religious ideas like a catholic guardian angel?
-Spirit guides may be less about the literal associations and more about the malleable interpretations, which could explain why people often choose similar spirit animals
-Perhaps there’s a connection between recreational use and spirit animals - meaningful experiences can be brought about by playful activities or imaginative psychedelia, also laughter is a trend on psychedelics, which is therapeutic and fun
-There seems to be a stigma around “recreational drug use” even though there seems to be come therapeutic potential
-Animal sightings correlating with major events in a predictive manner
-Noticing meaningful connections to yourself coincidentally regarding a certain animal may lead to it becoming a spirit animal
-Personal Anecdote: Animal appeared in a vivid, intense dream and then the same animal began showing up in waking life
3) Experiences or ideas about microdosing?
-Personal Anecdote: LSD microdoses opens up the intuition and increases overall energy
-Personal Anecdote: Psilocybin mushroom microdoses helped expel an infectious respiratory sickness
-Personal Anecdote: Psilocybin mushroom microdoses seem more laid back than LSD
-Research and personal anecdotes shows microdoses can help with migraines and cluster headaches
4) What are some visual or audio perceptual differences between different psychedelics?
-Peyote visuals and a southwest motif
-Mushrooms and a mexican or latin geometric art style
-LSD and a funhouse mirror-type visuals
-Salvia and a multidimensional aspect of the visual field
-LSD architecture forms out of plain surfaces
-LSD saturates colors, creates a metallic shine and becomes more liquid
-Mushrooms and a lattice framework, somewhat tribal designs
-Mushrooms not as saturated and softer edge than LSD
-Hash and an Arab artwork connection
-LSD enhances visual acuity and detail
-DMT kaleidoscope, going inside it and then beyond it into another world
Psychedelic Philosophy Discussion Meeting October 13th, 2018
1) Do psychedelics create an illusion of an alternate reality or do they give access to an actual reality?
-The definition of reality doesn’t have to separate illusions from actual reality since everything is perceived relative to the subject
-The neuroscience perspective is a reductionist view of the individual physical components of the brain that create reality, but from a spiritual perspective there is much more to consciousness than that
-There may be no truly objective truth based on the relativity experienced on psychedelics
-Either it’s in the brain or outside the brain, but the complex and varied experiences on psychedelics suggests reality isn’t confined to the physical space inside the brain
-Dualism separates the mind from the world and this idea is ingrained in our reductionist, cartesian paradigm
-Perhaps the brain doesn’t generate these experiences, but rather acts as a receiver that can tune into frequencies that are all around us. THe psychedelic brain, like the schizophrenic brain may allow more signals to be picked up, thus creating the experience of altered reality
-Perception is reality, like when you’re in love you tend to see everything through that lens, you notice things with that quality more often
-Social conditioning is a factor, we are being told what our reality is, like the political reality
-Personal Anecdote: Calling it “alternate” reality may be a result of not integrating properly because in my experience reality has gradually changed since taking psychedelics and meditating for years. My life resembles that “alternate” reality more on a regular basis.
-It seems possible to share a reality with another person, particularly in a psychedelic experience, so this could indicate reality is a product of what is being shared between people and not localized within the brain
-Personal Anecdote: Learning to shift between realities has been important to me
-Personal Anecdote: A couple got married on psychedelics and had a shared experience of a squid angel entity that aided in the consecration of their love. It even remained as a powerfully symbol of their partnership throughout their relationship.
-People that live more in “alternate” realities like shamans or spiritual teachers are labeled taboo and often segregated from mainstream society only to be called upon for specific tasks. Therefore, in order to truly integrate in a materialistic society, nearly everything will have to be done differently
2) In a psychedelic experience does a person just “see” entities or realities or does it involve other senses?
-Personal Anecdote: senses can trigger emotion as well
-Personal Anecdote: Some senses can seem to come from internal sources as well as external
-It depends on what you are taking, different psychedelics seem to target different aspects of the emergent property of consciousness
-infinite potential of access to more perceptual tools
-When accessing these other senses, self-referential abilities open up the capability of expanded realities,
-”Alternate” realities feels more distinct when integration is in elementary stages, such as a first-time ayahuasca ceremony, whearas meditation and other spiritual practice is a gradual perceptual alteration, so it seems to apply more to drugs
3) Can a computer have a psychedelic experience?
-Consciousness vs. A.I. - is A.I. conscious? Nay sayers argue because A.I. doesn’t have spontaneous emotional responses it is not, but could this be related to the ability to be psychedelic?
-Maybe if we can graft human consciousness onto a computer it could be possible
-Self-referential capability is a part of the psychedelic experience - this i how emotions arise, also body awareness, viewing aspect of yourself externally and expanding upon that feedback loop - for a computer, the psychedelic experience would be self-referring within its digital realm, and the internet
-We are already merging with computers through our personal devices, so the psychedelic component could be influenced by that as well
-A computer already has similarities to human consciousness like the self-preservation of an automatic reboot-diagnostic process after a computer crash
4) Do psychedelics enhance spirituality?
-Personal Anecdote: Ayahuasca created a powerful feeling of unconditional love throughout the whole body - was coming in faster than it could go out
-Personal Anecdote: After a psychedelic experience I could understand religious meaning in a deeper way and felt connection to the source of wisdom those religions are rooted in - it provided an important sense of belonging
-Personal Anecdote: Psychedelics make normal life brighter and more real - spirituality is the belief there are spirits within everything, so being more spiritual would mean the ability to connect to spirits, which allows more energy transfer
Psychedelic Philosophy Discussion Meeting October 6th, 2018
1) Who do you tell about psychedelics? Who do you not tell?
-Personal Anecdote: Since trying them myself, I’ve found many people in my life that are open to talking about their experiences with psychedelics. There doesn’t seem to be as much fear surrounding them as I previously thought. I suspect people are looking for something new, something that hasn’t been offered to them before, something that can do better than the status quo. Finding good therapy is tough, antidepressants get frustrating after a while and this has been a way to broach the subject.
-Personal Anecdote: Going to jail for doing psychedelics almost seems worth it because at least my mind would be free.
-Personal Anecdote: In the healthcare field, people are mostly skeptical or totally ignorant to psychedelics, I don’t bring it up around bosses. My friends either don’t get it or don’t care about it. This meet up group is my main outlet.
-Personal Anecdote: In alcoholics anonymous and recovery groups psychedelics are lumped together with all drugs of abuse, thus not considered as therapy even though the founder of AA experimented with LSD in the ‘50s and used it as a tool for the part of the 12-step program involving finding a higher power. Since then, christianity has taken over the program and been used as the primary outlet for a higher power.
-Personal Anecdote: As a kid, I kept that and many other things from all authority figures, as an adult, the need to integrate rapidly increased. Found some connection in eastern spirituality, but the drugs themselves still not accepted. Outside of that, staying quiet unless provoked is necessary.
2) How do we plug people in to psychedelics in a safe way that addresses the current skepticism?
-Science is a good inroad because people listen and it affects public opinion
-Using marketing strategies that counter old belief systems, could learn from the cannabis industry
-Starting conversations in small groups is a good start, easy to help build confidence around the subject
-Helping people understand how it became illegal is important, educating on the political motivations and racial segregation
-The need for better mental health tools seems to be a popular route to finding psychedelics
-For others, the search for spiritual experiences is as well
3) How does one know if they are ready for a psychedelic experience? Is there preparation?
-Giving it to kids is controversial, if only because the undeveloped brain behaves more like the psychedelic brain already, less pruning, more widespread connections, however, rates of child depression/anxiety and suicidality is going up, psychedelics could be a better treatment than conventional medicine. Psychedelics may not target the root cause in children due to their high dependence on their parents and immediate environment
-In adults, fears and doubts can taint the experience, but could be mitigated through research that addresses certain expectations
-Knowing you have a safe place and people that will support you is critical
-Being able to break away from the intensity somehow, having a sober friend or with music
-Just knowing the people close to you won’t demonize you because of it will help with anxiety that may come up during the experience
-Meditation practice may help train acceptance of your thoughts on a trip
Psychedelic Philosophy Discussion Meeting September 29th, 2018
1) What have psychedelics changed your mind about?
-Academic research gives a lot of hope as an alternative to existing medical infrastructures
-Many reports of people having never taken psychedelics that then find a meaningful purpose in life after their first experience, which then inspires change and positivity
-Seeing connections between bodily awareness and the external world
-Personal Anecdote: a single DMT dose lifted long suicidal depression although the exact mechanism is hard to identify
-Personal Anecdote: Media coverage more often puts psychedelics in a bad light, but when a trusted source of information advocates for benefits of psychedelics it changed my mind
2) Are psychedelics dangerous? How do we create a healthy respect for the risk?
-Still a sense of danger associated with the word “psychedelics” and saying it to inexperienced people often invokes these feelings
-Power tool analogy: They are useful when used correctly, but dangerous when not
-Perception of danger is not always aligned with facts and intention
-Both the lack of information and beliefs are involved in perception of danger, fortunately our society does a decent job at exposing objective evidence despite popular opinion compared to nations led by totalitarian or religious regimes
-Popular opinion may be slowly changing as more individuals use psychedelics in a good set/setting
-The danger of psychedelics relative to the danger of continuing your normal life may become less contrasted. For example, people taking the leap to travel to Peru because of a feeling of being stuck in a state of suffering. The risk seems worth it when your normal life doesn’t feel healthy.
3) What are the differences between meditation and psychedelics?
-Meditation is a long journey and requires more rigorously managed lifestyle
-The materialistic nature of modern society pairs better with drugs due to the ease of initiation, but meditation is necessary to integrate certain changes
-Personal Anecdote: I experienced normal ups an downs in meditation practice, but did have one particularly hallucinogenic experience from a meditation session that led me to seek out psychedelics
-Personal Anecdote: My early psychedelic experiences led to frustration of not having the positive effects while sober, which is what led me to meditation. I noticed certain traditions of ancient meditation practice explained meditation-induced altered states of consciousness in a way that mirrored psychedelic states.
4) Are psychedelics performance-enhancing substances?
-Anecdotal story: Dock Ellis pitched an infamous no-hitter pro baseball game on a day when he took LSD. He originally wasn’t scheduled to play, but was then called in after having taken the LSD
-Personal Anecdote: Also experienced performance in baseball and basketball to be enhanced on psychedelics. Experienced extra-sensory perception and knowledge of things happening beyond conscious thinking
-Personal Anecdote: Music collaboration when all party members are on psychedelics seems to enhance the collective telepathy commonly experienced in normal circumstances
-Personal Anecdote: Playing guitar alone on psychedelics causes a visualization of sound which makes creation faster and better
-Flow state researchers found people engaging in extreme sports experience similar extra-sensory abilities, they can predict correct moves faster than normal, but requires sufficient amount of danger and challenge while engaging in a skilled activity
-Flow state also seems dependent on the mind state of other people in close proximity, if there is shared thought the experience is enhanced
-Personal Anecdote: Yoga classes induce similar states, but is greatly dependent on the teacher
-Quieting down trivial life concerns and non-related thoughts seems to be a trend in performance enhancement, which is validated by default mode network research
Psychedelic Philosophy Discussion Meeting September 22nd, 2018
1) Are psychedelics educational? If so, in what way?
-Potentially as a teaching aid, like going to school, but dependent on the frame of the user
-Evidence of this in historical accounts of artists being inspired by psychedelics
-Educational potential could be related to the impact of a quieted ego, less filters, opportunities to see from novel perspectives, which is the goal of creativity
-Creativity also a result of unlearning acquired programming, working with new sets of tools, a blank slate, the beginner’s mind (concept from buddhism), a child-like innocence
-Psychedelics help tap into more infinite potential of understanding subtler details and connections of an already familiar skill
-Learning could be from the perspective of healing, psychedelics help a person learn about the most important issues in your life, usually related to past trauma, automatic homing capabilities of the psychedelic experience
2) Michael Pollan once referred to psychedelics as “disruptive technologies.” Do you agree? Disagree?
-Perhaps Pollan used the term “disruptive” because he’s newer to psychedelics and it relates to his perspective mores than those that have been using them and integrating them throughout their lives. For some, a term like ”expansive” seems more appropriate.
-Pollan also exists in the public awareness whether he intends for that to come out in his writing, he is connected to the mainstream, thus relates more to the popular opinion of psychedelics that resulted from 60’s-70’s era politics
-Disruptive could be referring to the breaking down of old systems to make way for new and better ones
-Disruptive could be appropriate because the state of modern human lives is not in harmony with nature, therefore psychedelics challenge that norm purely by their orientation to a greater truth.
-History of “disruptive” figures in psychedelic counter-culture may have contributed to Pollan’s perspective. People like the Grateful Dead, Tim Leary, Ken Kesey, merry pranksters, etc…
3) Psychedelic experiences can occasionally be extremely unpleasant. Is this a bug or a feature?
-Perhaps people ask this because they are lumping psychedelics in with other illicit recreational drugs, which are more notorious for irresponsible and abusive usage that results in bad experiences, but when viewed as a therapeutic device, unpleasantness is not always bad
-Having a bad experience is an opportunity to learn how to turn it in to a good one, these experiences are usually related to something in a person’s normal life, thus is therapeutic
-Bad trips are a prerequisite to having good trips
-It is possible to have negative drug reactions that are based on preventable factors like health concerns or complications
-Pre-existing health conditions can be made more intense, more apparent, but also could be an opportunity to find the source of illness
-Psychedelics tend to bring the most important things up automatically, as if it were built in to the intelligence of the plant/chemical, however, different plants seem to bring up different things