Michael Pollan and Tim Ferriss | SXSW 2019 - YouTube - Deepstash
Spirituality & The Ego

"The opposite of spirituality is not materialism... but egotism" - Michael Pollan. 

Spirituality is often associated with gods or religion. It is, however, an experience of connectedness with the world and other people that does not require the supernatural. But it requires pushing the ego out of the way

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Psychedelics are not drugs but experiences

The US government (starting in the 70s with the Nixon administration and its War on Drugs) classified psychedelics as Type 1 drugs, alongside narcotics. However this classification is being challenged:

  • psychedelics are not addictive
  • psychedelics are not drugs but experiences

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The mental health profession is focused on the brain chemistry, assuming it's the be-all of brain health. Psychedelics on the other hand focused on experiential healing, proving that limited experiences can have permanent effects on the brain. 

"Can you achieve the same results through talk-therapy or meditation? Sure ... But it will take you 10 years. With psychedelics it took me an afternoon!"

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The Default Mode Network

The default mode network is a group of brain regions connecting the cortex, the rational new part of the brain & the older part focused on emotions& memories. It is believed to play a large part in our ego, because it rests when we are focused and active when we are awake and not involved in any specific mental exercise like:

  • self-reflection
  • thinking of the future

Quieting the default mode is what happens through meditation or psychedelics. 

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Brain rigidity and mental problems

Why is that psychedelics work on rather distinct mental problems like depression, anxiety and the addictions associated with each? 

A hypothesis is they are all symptoms of the same problem - obsessive thinking (too much ego). After all:

  • depression is regret about the past
  • anxiety is regret about the future

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