Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Pill of Perfect Happiness



I was inspired by Michael Pollan’s new book, How to Change Your Mind, which explores  the outer limits of psychedelic consciousness.  We know it’s possible, by means of psychoactive chemicals, to change our minds in wonderful and fascinating ways.  The question is, how far are people willing to go?  How many of us are ready for transformation?  And would society be willing to support our efforts?

It might help to try a thought experiment. Imagine what would be an event of world significance: a group of neuroscientists announce the discovery of a drug that transforms consciousness, offering permanent benefit to the individual and to human society at large. One treatment is all that is required, and there are no ill side-effects.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Braking for Armageddon



Driving us toward a climax nobody wants to think about are three global trends: the  mounting risk of nuclear war; faster than expected approaching climate catastrophe; and the ever-growing gap between the rich power elites and everybody else.

Each trend, each dynamic, by itself, left unchecked, points toward civilization crashing. The three trends, chugging away at the same time, can only amplify each other exponentially.  And at the moment all three are gaining momentum. As the world appears to be evolving today, things may have to play themselves out before any real possibility of improvement.  

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Creative Power of Coincidence



Events colliding together by apparent chance often reveal themselves as deeply meaningful. Most people now and then experience interesting coincidences. They often seem to provide us with raw material for finding or for creating meaning.  Coincidences, as deep meaning markers, play a prominent role in religion.

One particular kind of coincidence seems to generate an immediate, overwhelming response of religious feeling. The other day I watched an interview of a woman who described how she barely made it out of her burning house, after which she watched it collapse into a heap of smoldering flame. She was breathless with joy and with awe at the thought that God had saved her.  When people escape disaster by a hair’s breadth, the instinct is commonly to ascribe the good fortune to divine intervention.

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