Psychedelics For Personal Growth
Mark Manson, author of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living the Good Life” joins us for a conversation on psychedelics and personal growth. We discuss how psychedelics can be used for maximum benefit, and how Eastern philosophies have influenced Mark’s unique style of self-help advice.
- Psychedelics can be miraculous, but can also be used in ineffective or harmful ways
- Most self-help is too focussed on positivity – psychedelics reinforce the idea that there is balance between good and bad, suffering can give life richness
Mark had a rebellious childhood – he started taking psychedelics at the age of 15, and smoked pot since he was 13. This early and unprepared drug use culminated in a bad LSD trip which completely changed Mark’s attitudes about drugs; during the early hours of the morning, covered in dirt, still tripping hard, Mark was kicked out of a shop – he overheard one of the employees assuming he was homeless.
This experience made Mark step back and look at his life. It made him more accepting of people in different situations to him. He thought about where he wanted to go in life, and what changes he needed to make.
Mark was using psychedelics to run away from something, when they should be used to go towards something. Psychedelics, says Mark, are like tools in a toolbox, and we need to understand how to use them properly. There’s an amazing spectrum of psychedelic use ranging from utter silliness to genuine profundity. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell where you are on that spectrum.
Psychedelics have heavily influenced Mark’s unique style of self-help. “I try to make an argument for negativity. I feel like there is way too much focus on positivity. There’s a reason for negativity and it can help us in our lives.” Mark’s experiences with psychedelics led him to an interest in Zen Buddhism, which does not value positivity or self-aggrandizing. “The world needed a Zen version of self-help,” says Mark: “Oh, you achieved something today? Doesn’t matter. Get over yourself.”
Mark believes that ultimately, the psychedelic experience can show us that the easier life becomes, the harder it is to find meaning. “Suffering can give life richness.” This is part of what psychedelics can offer modern life.