Neil deGrasse Tyson On Whether Psychedelics Have A Role In Understanding The Universe

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The Overview Effect: A cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space.

“The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring, and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth,” said NASA’s Jim Lovell, part of the crew of both Apollo 8 and Apollo 13.

One doesn’t necessarily need a seat on a NASA rocket to acquire a profound shift in perspective and interconnectivity, they just need the cell number to Randy from my hometown.

The public is shifting its view of psychedelics from something dread-locked dirtbags take at Woodstock as a form of escapism to a practical vessel of overcoming trauma and understanding the universe through a dissolution of self.

From Aeon:

In a small but noteworthy clinical trial of psilocybin as a treatment for depression, 85 per cent of participants experienced significant reductions in their symptoms, and an increased sense of connectedness was commonly reported by those whose depression symptoms improved. In another trial, of those participants who experienced significantly reduced depression, 94 per cent described feeling a new sense of connection to the world around them, with the same number reporting increased connection to other people even up to a year later.

We sat down with Neil deGrasse Tyson, a man who’s spent his life deepening his connection with The Great Beyond, to talk about how substantial psychedelics can be in this quest.

“The human brain, when functioning perfectly, barely gets it right…You can buy whole books on optical illusions…And I’m thinking to myself, if we can collect simple line drawings that confound our human brain’s ability to understand what is objectively true, to then say, let’s add some chemicals in! Let’s add some to connect you deeper to nature. We’re barely connected to nature as it is. So no! I’m not on the line saying, let me get some psychedelics so I’m more plugged in to the operations of nature. I’m not that person.

If you need to feel like you’re deep, sure. But that doesn’t mean you’re actually deep…I’m not saying don’t get high, I’m saying don’t get high with the expectation that reality becomes clearer to you.”


The stories we tell ourselves…

Listen to our full Endless Hustle interview with the brilliant Neil deGrasse Tyson below, and click here to purchase his new book Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide To Who We Are, How We Got Here, And Where We’re Going. It’s become a #1 best-seller.

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Matt’s love of writing was born during a sixth grade assembly when it was announced that his essay titled “Why Drugs Are Bad” had taken first prize in D.A.R.E.’s grade-wide contest. The anti-drug people gave him a $50 savings bond for his brave contribution to crime-fighting, and upon the bond’s maturity 10 years later, he used it to buy his very first bag of marijuana.