9/10/22

Recommended Reading

Get Ready for the Magic Mushroom Pill (Published in Bloomberg)

Notes: 

  • While I haven’t read this in its entirety, the bit that I did make it through was very interesting. 
  • I do not believe that everyone needs to take psychedelics to improve their mental health. In fact, I think it’s quite possible that all the potential benefits that psychedelic therapies offer could be derived from breathwork, meditation, and darkness retreats. However, there are some incredible stories of healing coming out of the psychedelic world, such as the one described in the excerpt below. In addition to being intrinsically amazing, I think many of these stories also contain big clues as to the nature of the mind and reality at large. 

Excerpts: 

  • “The first three decades of Payton Nyquvest’s life were characterized, in equal measure, by chronic pain and extraordinary powers of compartmentalization. The pain he traces to his birth, which was premature and marked by multiple complications. His childhood, in his description, was “traumatic,” and he developed constant, mysterious gut pain.”
  • “Nonetheless, by his late 20s, he was well along in a successful career in finance, running the Vancouver office of a brokerage firm and focusing on investments in novel industries—at the time, cannabis was particularly hot. And yet his pain was landing him in the emergency room two or three times a week, where he received the only intervention that ever seemed to help at all: injections of the powerful opioid hydromorphone. He eventually realized that his body had grown dependent on them.”
  • “When I flew down, I made up my mind that if this wasn’t going to work, then that was it,” he says. “I was going to take my own life.”
  • “Along with 90 other Rythmia guests, he dressed in white, lay on a mat in a large, open-air room, and drank the potion for four straight nights. On the second, he recalls, everything suddenly went dark. He looked down to see his stomach and intestines exposed to the open air, and he felt a hand reaching down his throat and rearranging his insides. Then, he recalls, he had a vision of himself as a newborn, “back in the incubator and healed.” He says he’s been symptom-free since.”

 

Excerpts from my journal

In my opinion, the word “story” gets thrown around a bit excessively these days, often in instances when words like “belief” or “assertion” would be more appropriate. Using “story” in lieu of the latter words is bit like calling a rowboat a ship. 

You don’t need to follow the news. There are an infinite number of other ways in which you can contribute to society, many of which have the potential to bring about far more benefit to others, and are far less likely to have a detrimental impact on your mental health. I don’t deny that reading the news can be helpful. It can teach you something. It can lead to money being sent to good causes. But I still feel that most people watch the news not to be informed, but to be entertained. And the assertion that reading the news is somehow necessary to be a good citizen is often used as a way of justifying this escapism.

Intelligence and happiness needn’t be mutually exclusive. The reason, I think, why many “intelligent” people or often unhappy, is because they use their abilities to read, think, code, etc, to constantly run from the emotions and parts of themselves which they ultimately need to face. 

Every morning, I like to set aside one to two hours during which I simply sit, breathe, and look at the plants in my yard. Some might call me insane for doing so. However, it is quite possibly the most effective practice I have found for improving decision making, boosting creativity, increasingly the likelihood of my having novel insights, and reducing the likelihood of my spending time in ways that I eventually end up regretting later on. 

 

Quotes 

“If more information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”

  • Derek Sivers 

 

Music Recommendation