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I have been thoroughly impassioned by psychedelics for the last ten years. The experiences they have offered me, and the subsequent questions they awakened, occupy a large chunk of my daily psychic bandwidth.

Those questions were the sails with which I entered the seas of each succeeding psychedelic experience, but also the burden I carried during each portage. I continued to follow these questions, even when they proved profoundly disruptive the otherwise steady course of my life.

The most difficult one I have grappled with goes something like this:

Life contains pain and suffering, a fact we cannot avoid. Furthermore, we pass through these painful experiences carrying with us, despite the best efforts of our parents, the generations of trauma that came before us. Navigating all this suffering in a way that doesn’t ultimately crush us requires a sense of meaning. That meaning is typically endowed in our lives by cultural context. But culture is a human construct, an ideological contract, an illusion. The basis of meaning is an illusion; therefore there is no meaning to life. And yet we need that meaning to make life, and all its pain, worth living. So how do we live a life of meaning, when there is no meaning to life?

It is my proposal in this lecture that the very struggle with suffering itself is what gives life meaning, and that the illusory constructs of culture are the paints by which we artistically render the stories that come with it. Furthermore, that the ritualistic suffering and strife awakened when facing uncomfortable truths about oneself, and the world, during a psychedelic experience, if you go deep enough, will not only elucidate the question posed above but also solve it in the process.

Topics Breakdown

  • My ideologies coming apart during my first ayahuasca experience.
  • Discovering meaninglessness and learning to live in it
  • Differentiating between Consciousness, Meaning, and ‘meaningness’
  • The role of ‘meaningness’ in perception
  • Language, stories, and making meaning
  • Inner meaning vs outer meaning
  • The woes of consumer culture
  • Learning to relate well to life’s hardships
  • Deep meaning arises of hardship
  • Dismantling the ego to change the story
  • The role of psychedelics in cultivating resilience
  • How to make a culture psychedelic
  • Questions asked
    • what substances might work for this process?
    • What about hypomania?
    • What about my spirituality now, after losing it all at the hands of ayahuasca
    • Where does meaning come from
    • A general question about evil entities
    • Surrender and not surrender

{special thanks to Aleksi Mikael out of The Netherlands for helping film this lecture! You can connect with him for filming services here.}

Watch The Trailer

This lecture was recorded on September 5th, 2018 at the Mixtree in Amsterdam, Netherlands, hosted by the Psychedelic Society Of The Netherlands

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Lecture Clip

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