Shaking the Snow Globe: A Theory of Psychedelics

With the release of the Michael Pollan’s Netflix documentary series ‘How to Change Your Mind’, there seems to be an increase in interest both within and beyond the medical community on the usage of psychedelic medicines for the purposes of mental health and well being (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8LRb4jfZ9g&t=1s).

I wanted to repost an article I wrote two years ago about the research and possibilities of this ‘psychedelic renaissance.’

Of note, this article is not intended to provide medical advice etc. , rather it is to inform the reader of the theory and research being done on psychedelics.

A Life of Virtue: Philosophy as a Way of Life

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Admittingly, I was first hesitant to write about psychedelics. For better of worse, these substances have become associated with the anti-establishment and counterculture movements of the 1960’s. Consequently, psychedelics carry a lot of stereotypes and cultural baggage from the past. Nonetheless, after reading Michael Pollan’s fantastic book, How to Change Your Mindand looking into additional research I became convinced of the potential of psychedelics to bring about transformative experiences. If used under the guidance and supervision of trained medical professionals, psychedelics have been shown to have significant positive effects in mental healthcare.

Psychedelics which include substances such as DMT, LSD and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) produce altered states of consciousness resulting in temporary changes to cognition. At a rudimentary level, psychedelics appear affect the brain’s serotonin system, fostering new neural pathways in the brain.

You may still be wondering, how one experiencing these peculiar and strange altered…

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Finding Beauty in Brokenness

None of us can live indefinitely in the Garden of Eden. We are all thrown out in the world, into the cold, facing the inevitability of hardship, struggle and disappointment. We wake up one day to find our dreams shattered, our plans disrupted.

No shelter can fully protect us from the wrath of the storm.

This is the reality of this world. It is unpredictable and in constant flux. We can try to vigorously plan and control events to our favour, but in the final analysis we truly don’t know how it all will unfold in the future.

It is beyond our control.

We then ask ourselves, how can we can we best respond to this predicament?

We could naively try to chase perfection and blind ourselves to the nature of reality. However, as I have argued, this strategy is futile at best. If life is in perpetual change, any attempt to control and regulate things to our liking is akin to chasing after a moving target.

Alternatively, we can cultivate an attitude of acceptance. One that is more realistic and aligns with the way the world actually operates.

The Japanese concept of wabi sabi speaks to this notion of finding beauty in our flaws and in imperfections. Wabi sabi a way of life, attitude and aesthetic.

We can see this embodied Zen Buddhist art and ceramics in the concept of kintsugi. Broken pots, bowls and cups are restored and mended with a gold powder. The aim is not to hide or conceal the flaws of these broken objects, but rather to celebrate them. It is a symbol and reminder to us that nothing lasts forever.

All things are transient.

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Wabi sabi is a helpful antidote to the anxieties of our time which are perpetuated by advertising and our consumerist societies. These signals tell us we ought to look or be a certain way, aligning our image with the fashions and trends of celebrity culture.

However, for many of us, we intuitively know we don’t want to partake in this perpetual striving. If we are honest with ourselves, we can finally admit that this charade is exhausting. A weight is lifted from our chest when we stop pretending and learn to embrace our flawed nature.

We can now accept ourselves, live authentically and age gracefully.

This freedom all begins when we learn to appreciate who we are rather than merely conforming to the unrealistic expectations of our modern materialistic societies.


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Marcus Aurelius: On Humility and Duty

Hello Everyone,

I’ve been taking some time off from writing, but hope to be back with some original content soon.

In the meantime, here is a reblog on an article conveying the wisdom of the great Stoic Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

We could always a bit of Stoic wisdom in times like these.

AA

A Life of Virtue: Philosophy as a Way of Life

We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Five

In this day and age it is far too easy to become addicted to our ego. Through the internet and social media, we long for instant gratification and praise. Consequently, we become consumed by the notifications, the ‘likes’, and the comments as we continually search for validation. We are inclined to boast our feats, our good deeds and accomplishments to others. However, through this, we lose perspective of the original intentions of our actions.

The Stoics looked to nature and assessed how the world natural operates to understand how humans should act. It follows from this that humans are rational and social animals. As human beings, we flourish through…

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