Want a shortcut to better living? Psychedelics may be it.

LSD may help us change our lives by spurring perspective shifts.

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  • Psilocybin trip may turn banal insights into "sticky" and "revealed truths" that change the way we live our lives.
  • For instance, LSD may be able to help smokers cut their addiction. How so? By allowing them to have a perspective shift on its effects.
  • Sometimes the insights made during psychotherapy, after years of counseling, can be made with an LSD trip in a single afternoon.
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How psychedelics work: Fire the conductor, let the orchestra play

Michael Pollan explains what goes on during the mental fireworks of a psychedelic experience.

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  • If your ego had a "location" in the brain, it would be the default mode network, where much of your self-critical mind chatter happens. Taking psychedelics down-regulates this brain network.
  • Researchers describe the effect of psychedelics as "letting the brain off its leash", or firing the conductor to let the orchestra play. Without the default mode network acting as a dictator, areas of the brain that don't normally interact meet, producing phenomena like hallucinations and synesthesia.
  • An overactive ego may be what punishes those of us plagued with anxiety, addiction and mental health disorders. Psychedelics can have a beneficial effect by temporarily killing the ego, jogging the brain out of negative thinking patterns.
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Mind-altering drugs: The magical history of LSD and mushrooms

Why did government officials stop psychedelics from reaching mainstream culture?

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  • In the '60s drugs escape the lab and become a very important ingredient In the creation of the counterculture. Timothy Leary, a psychologist at Harvard in 1960, has something to do with this.
  • In Cambridge, he starts the Harvard Psilocybin Project which focuses its research into learning more about this promising drug. Because of its medicinal properties, and apparent positive effect on mental health, Leary believed that everyone should use acid, or psilocybin.
  • Richard Nixon called Leary the most dangerous man in America. He felt that LSD and other drugs were sapping the will of American boys to fight in Vietnam.
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BBQ of the Gods, with Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan explains the lost cultural and spiritual importance of cooking and eating meat.

Culture & Religion

Michael Pollan explains the lost cultural and spiritual importance of cooking and eating meat. Pollan is the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.