Trapped in the Cave
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.
Expectations as Mirrors
> **Epiphany**: you can learn what to expect from people by finding out what **they** expect from people. ## 1. **Everyone models other people as anomalous versions of themselves.** I once walked from the tower by the river where I used to work to get sushi with Brad, the guy who sat in the cube across from me picking his nose all day instead of writing software. We passed a craggy-faced man who smelled like a rancid orange soaked in engine grease. He tried to start the conversation that normally goes: *Hi guys, beautiful weather, how are you? Say, I...
People who are trying to improve themselves by thinking about the way they think often ask the questions: *What's wrong?* and *How can I fix it?* Which is a more useful tool than thinking about nothing and doing nothing. So honor yourself for that. But they say what we focus on becomes our reality. So when we focus on all our problems, our self image becomes a collection of problems in various stages of being solved. Our eating disorder, our confidence issues, our personal finances: all problems that we work to solve and that come to define us. But you...