I think everyone should do drugs at least a couple times. It’s not super important which drug you choose, but maybe psychedelic mushrooms would be a good choice. (Do your research if you take me seriously, these are relatively safe drugs, but they do interact badly with certain preexisting conditions just like any medicine).

The reason is that the world we live in is so terribly convincing. Our perceptions are eerily consistent, and if we run in a fairly “normal” crowd, those beliefs and perceptions are even consistent across the many people we know. So they “must” be true.

And Hard Facts™ have gravitas, so we make them important. Your mortgage, your job, they exist objectively, in reality, so you react to them, you stress about them. Your depression, your anxiety, they are fundamental, objective facts about reality. You have the option to deal with them, tolerate them, or try to ignore their omnipresence.

Except that’s bullshit, of course. Those things are figments even moreso than the chair you’re sitting on is a figment. Anyone who has done drugs not to escape reality but to see it in a different light knows how arbitrary and capricious “reality” can be.

It’s humbling to find that your perceptions, beliefs, and emotional states are entirely arbitrated by the chemical stew you happen have in your brain. It makes you realize that if evolution had produced us with a little more of this chemical, or a pinch less of that chemical, the sky might really be green, happiness might be our default state, or fear might be wholly outside of our emotional repertoire.

I think it’s a fundamental life lesson that perception is, in fact, not reality. It might correspond in some limited way with reality, but probably not. Take it easy.