How To Change Your Mind

Quotes

“To put words to an experience that was, in fact, ineffable at the time, and then to shape them into sentences and then a story, is inevitably to do it a kind of violence. But the alternative is, literally, unthinkable.”

“Matter is the fundamental substance of the world and the physical laws it obeys should be able to explain everything that happens. I start from the assumption that nature is all that there is and gravitate toward scientific explanations of phenomena.”

“You go deep enough or far out enough in consciousness and you will bump into the sacred. It’s not something we generate; it’s something out there waiting to be discovered. And this reliably happens to nonbelievers as well as believers.”

“The mystical experience seems to offer a graduate education in the obvious.”

“A platitude is what is left of a truth after it has been drained of all emotion.”

“Psychedelics can make even the most cynical of us into servant evangelists of the obvious.”

“What is the sense of banality, of the ironic perspective, if not two of the studier defenses the adult ego deploys to keep from being overwhelmed — by our emotions, certainly, but perhaps also by our senses, which are liable at any time to astonish us with news of the sheer wonder of the world.”

“That’s the brain doing what the brain does…that is, working to reduce uncertainty by, in effect, telling itself a story.”

"All these disorders involve learned habits of negative thinking and behavior that hijack our attention and trap us in loops of self-reflection.”

“You have to imagine a caveman transported into the middle of Manhattan. He sees buses, cell phones, skyscrapers, airplanes. Then zap him back to his cave. What does he say about the experience? ‘It’s big, it was impressive, it was loud.’ He doesn’t have the vocabulary for ‘skyscraper,’ ‘elevator,’ ‘cell phone.’ Maybe he has an intuitive sense there was some sort of significance or order to the scene. But there are words we need that don’t yet exist. We’ve got five crayons when we need fifty thousand different shades.” -Bill Richards

“(The mystical experience is) authoritative over the individual to who, they come (but there is no reason the rest of us must) accept their revelations uncritically.)" -William James

“There are three things we are afraid of: Death, other people, and our own minds” -R.D. Laing

How To Change Your Mind

Author: Michael Pollan

Buy It:  Amazon

Entertainment Value: 7/10

Life Value: 8/10

It’s hard, as someone who has explored psychedelics, not to become a raving psychedelic advocate. These compounds have given me windows of insight into my life that have completely changed my nature. Who would I be without psychedelics? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be the guy that is writing this now. Consciously and intentionally exploring psychedelics has been one of the most important choices I’ve made in my life.

So it’s hard not to advocate when I see my friends, loved ones, family, and strangers suffer from perspectives, habits, and self-generated stories about themselves and their lives that I viscerally know psychedelics could improve. Their rebuttals for not exploring psychedelics vary, but the root is the same…it’s fear. I can’t blame them for their fear. Our culture panicked in the 60s, and the reverberations of that panic still echo in psyches of some of the smartest people I know.

But things are shifting. If you are in any way interested in helping or healing people, and you respect science, now is the golden age. Scientific studies are emerging that are showing the incredible therapeutic benefit of psychedelics across a wide spectrum of conditions. This book has done a better job than any I’ve read so far on this subject at rationally, calmly, and scientifically exploring just how impactful psychedelics can be for the individual and our culture. It is a great book to recommend to anyone interested in a thorough education on the history and status of psychedelic medicine to date.

Quotes

“To put words to an experience that was, in fact, ineffable at the time, and then to shape them into sentences and then a story, is inevitably to do it a kind of violence. But the alternative is, literally, unthinkable.”

“Matter is the fundamental substance of the world and the physical laws it obeys should be able to explain everything that happens. I start from the assumption that nature is all that there is and gravitate toward scientific explanations of phenomena.”

“You go deep enough or far out enough in consciousness and you will bump into the sacred. It’s not something we generate; it’s something out there waiting to be discovered. And this reliably happens to nonbelievers as well as believers.”

“The mystical experience seems to offer a graduate education in the obvious.”

“A platitude is what is left of a truth after it has been drained of all emotion.”

“Psychedelics can make even the most cynical of us into servant evangelists of the obvious.”

“What is the sense of banality, of the ironic perspective, if not two of the studier defenses the adult ego deploys to keep from being overwhelmed — by our emotions, certainly, but perhaps also by our senses, which are liable at any time to astonish us with news of the sheer wonder of the world.”

“That’s the brain doing what the brain does…that is, working to reduce uncertainty by, in effect, telling itself a story.”

"All these disorders involve learned habits of negative thinking and behavior that hijack our attention and trap us in loops of self-reflection.”

“You have to imagine a caveman transported into the middle of Manhattan. He sees buses, cell phones, skyscrapers, airplanes. Then zap him back to his cave. What does he say about the experience? ‘It’s big, it was impressive, it was loud.’ He doesn’t have the vocabulary for ‘skyscraper,’ ‘elevator,’ ‘cell phone.’ Maybe he has an intuitive sense there was some sort of significance or order to the scene. But there are words we need that don’t yet exist. We’ve got five crayons when we need fifty thousand different shades.” -Bill Richards

“(The mystical experience is) authoritative over the individual to who, they come (but there is no reason the rest of us must) accept their revelations uncritically.)" -William James

“There are three things we are afraid of: Death, other people, and our own minds” -R.D. Laing

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