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Brief thoughts on Michael Pollan's "How to Change Your Mind"

I recently finished Michael Pollan's book "How to Change Your Mind," about the history, experience, and science of psychedelics.

One of the most interesting takeaways for me is the idea that our self, our ego, what we consider to be "us" and how we experience the world, is not fixed. Those steeped in the religious philosophy of Western antiquity often talk about "essence," as though there is a "true self" situated within the body (not physically situated, they would say, but metaphysically). Just today I was reading a comment from someone who claimed, from a religious perspective, that our "true essence" remains intact even if we have Alzheimer's. Color me deeply skeptical, and psychedelics provide an insight as to why.

It's hard to describe to someone else what the experience of a psychedelic is like. It's sort of like asking, "What is the content of your conscious experience right now?" Most of us don'…

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