There’s a Catch-22 when you try to talk about drugs. You run into cliches and start to sound like a spaced out hippie. “We’re all, like, one with the Universe, man.”
Because of their preconceptions about drugs, people don’t take you seriously. The Catch-22 is that the more you try to explain this to them, the less seriously they take you.
It’s hard to get away from this, at least in my mind. But because I think there is real value in drug experience for people focused on self improvement, I’m going to try.
Drug Experiences Provide Perspective and Insight
For those of us focused on self improvement, perspective is all-important. We strive to see ourselves objectively, in order to accurately judge progress. We need to be able to recognize weak points so that we can address them. After all, how can you know where you’re going, if you don’t first know where you stand?
We also know that you can’t get anywhere in life if you lie to yourself. Rationalize your weaknesses, explain away your failures without taking responsibility for them, and you will never become the person you want to be. We need good perspective to have accurate knowledge of self.
Without getting too abstract, I think the way to get good perspective is to integrate as many other valuable perspectives as you can into your own. Defining what perspectives are “valuable” or “resourceful” might be a complicated topic, but that’s not what this post is about.
Anyway, I think we can agree:
It’s often hard to get novel, meaningful, comprehensive, and most importantly useful perspectives on ourselves
Psychedelic experiences in particular can offer these kinds of perspectives at little cost. All you need is a suitable environment and a few hours of free time.
Compared to other avenues for attaining self knowledge, (hundreds of hours of meditation for example, or extensive research into psychology) the cost/benefit of psychedelics is in your favour.
Drug Experiences are Introspective
If you are a naturally introspective person, taking psychedelics will amplify this. You will see deep down into parts of yourself that you’ve never touched or even thought existed.
With this kind of introspection you can come to understand something fundamental about yourself that you never realized before, or it might suddenly become clear that you’ve been deluding yourself in a particular way.
Maybe your relationship to a problem or obstacle will shift, and you’ll see a new way through or around it. Or maybe you’ll realize that what you thought was a problem isn’t really one at all.
Drug experience can provide insight on making a big life decision, or might make you realize you’ve made a wrong decision in the past. Alternatively, it can make you absolutely certain that the path you’re on is the right one.
Whatever it is, you will learn something new about yourself and your relationship to the world. Isn’t that what life’s all about?
Most Things are Worth Trying Once
I think most things in life are worth doing, just to “see what it’s like”. Life is for the experience, right? Otherwise what’s the point?
Can you imagine dying having only experienced a small fraction of what life has to offer, because of avoidance due to ignorance or fear? I can’t.
This is what I always tell people when they ask me about drugs:
“Just try it and see what it’s like. If you don’t like it, then don’t do it again.”
People don’t seem to realize that they have complete control when it comes to their future actions. If you try something once and don’t like it, then you never have to do it again for the rest of your life if you don’t want to.
Isn’t the (small) risk of having a bad experience worth what you might gain from it? Or at least worth just seeing what it’s like?
There is Little Risk
As with almost anything, it’s unlikely that any harm will come from doing it just once. You’re not going to die, jump off a roof, or run in front of traffic. You won’t lose control of yourself, and you probably won’t have a “bad trip”.
Misinformation about drugs is rampant (especially in mainstream media) and most people’s fears are unfounded. The facts are easily accessible on the internet, yet people continue to believe things like “LSD will make holes in your brain”.
You won’t get addicted either. Psychedelics are not even addictive. The fear of addiction has been drilled into us since childhood, “Take one puff of a cigarette and you’ll be hooked for life”, we’re told, but of course it doesn’t work like that. So long as you have some modicum of self awareness and self control, addiction won’t be an issue.
The different aspects of life are here so you can experience them, right? What’s the point if not to just try out a bunch of things, and see what you like and what you don’t? To see what helps you get to where you want to go, and what doesn’t? If you’re serious about personal development, then why discount anything (drugs or otherwise) that might help you, without even trying it first?
Do you have any thoughts? Have you had an interesting or powerful psychedelic experience? Do you agree that most things in life are worth doing, just to see what they’re like? Let us know in the comments below.