Opinion: Thinking Outside The Box

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By Peter Chow

“You are driving in your car on a very stormy day.  You drive by a bus stop and see 3 people waiting there.

The first is a beautiful woman, the perfect woman of your dreams.

The second is an old friend who once saved your life.

The third is a lonely old lady who looks really sick.

You have room for only one passenger.  To whom would you offer a ride?”

This was a moral and ethical dilemma actually used by Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, as part of a job interview.

Do you pick up the old lady because she seems to need medical attention and you should try and help her?

Do you pick up the old friend because he once saved your life and this is the perfect opportunity to repay him?

However, both those choices leave you missing out on the woman of your dreams.

The candidate hired, out of 30 applicants, however, had no trouble answering.   He simply said, “I would give the car keys to my old friend, let him drive the old lady to the hospital, and stay behind to wait for the bus with the woman of my dreams.”

His answer surprised even Jobs.

“Everyone is born with an instinct for success but only those with the ability to think outside the box succeed.”

Steve Jobs credited his outside-the-box perspective to LSD.  He felt it had made him think of the world in a different way.  He said, “Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life.”  Jobs never failed to ask job applicants whether they had ever used psychedelics.

Francis Crick, of the DNA-structure discovering Watson and Crick, told numerous friends and colleagues about his LSD experimentation during the time he spent working to determine the molecular structure of DNA that houses all life’s information.
The Cambridge University’s researchers often used LSD as “a thinking tool.”  Crick actually “perceived the double-helix shape of DNA while on LSD.”

John Lennon:  “It was such a mammoth experience that it was unexplainable: It was something that had to be experienced, because you could spend the rest of your life trying to explain what it made you feel and think.”

Ken Kesey wrote “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1962. He leveraged his position as a thought leader to popularize LSD use. “I believe that with the advent of acid, we discovered a new way to think, and it has to do with piecing together new thoughts in your mind.”

Kary Mullis is a Nobel prize winning biochemist who invented the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. This technique is used to make copies of DNA segments and is standard in criminal forensics, diagnosing diseases (including the current test for Coronavirus), and in genetic research. A year after winning the Nobel prize, the scientist said his LSD use in the 60’s and 70’s was far more important to his accomplishments than any courses he ever took in school. Not only that, he claims his entire legacy probably depended on using LSD. “What if I had not taken LSD ever; would I have still invented PCR?   I don’t know. I doubt it.  I seriously doubt it.”

Frances McDormand – Most people know McDormand as the plucky sheriff from the cult movie Fargo, but she “really, really enjoyed LSD.” The actress says that the drug is a deeply profound experience, and hopes that one day the government can “figure out this whole legalization thing.”

Ray Charles – LSD was most definitely on his mind. “LSD made the blind man see.”

Jean-Paul Sartre, the French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic, one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy and a key proponent of Existentialism, experimented regularly with mescaline.

Sam Harris is an American author, neuroscientist, and philosopher:
“I have two daughters who will one day take drugs. If they don’t try a psychedelic like psilocybin or LSD at least once in their adult lives, I will wonder whether they had missed one of the most important rites of passage a human being can experience.”
“There was a period in my early twenties when I found psilocybin and LSD to be indispensable tools, and some of the most important hours of my life were spent under their influence. Without them, I might never have discovered that there was an inner landscape of mind worth exploring.”
“The positive experiences were far more sublime than I could ever have imagined or than I can now faithfully recall. These chemicals disclose layers of beauty that art is powerless to capture. Positive psychedelic experiences reveal how wondrously at ease in the universe a human being can be – and for most of us, normal waking consciousness does not offer so much as a glimmer of those deeper possibilities.”

A rapidly growing number of young professionals in Silicon Valley and elsewhere insist that taking small doses of psychedelic drugs simply makes them perform better at work – becoming more creative and focused. The practice, known as “microdosing”, involves taking minute quantities of drugs such as LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) or mescaline (peyote cactus).

Silicon Valley also has a long history of psychedelic drug use to boost creativity: technology stars Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both famously experimented with LSD.

At high doses, LSD powerfully alters perception, mood and a host of cognitive processes. LSD now appears to be one of the more commonly microdosed drugs. A microdose of LSD consists of about a tenth of a recreational dose (usually 10-20 micrograms), which is not potent enough to cause any hallucinations.  Instead, it is reported to heighten alertness, focus, energy and creativity.

Joe Rogan, the host of one of the most listened-to podcasts and another California resident, is a big proponent of micro-dosing mushrooms and has had numerous guests on his shows, ranging from scientists to executives to artists and writers to athletes and MMA fighters, who have shared their positive experiences from micro-dosing.

Studies have been done on the therapeutic effects of psilocybin for terminally ill cancer patients at Johns Hopkins, who were crippled by crushing, overwhelming anxiety about their impending death.

“For a few hours, I remember feeling at ease; I was simultaneously comfortable, curious and alert.  More than anything, though, I no longer felt alone.  The whole “self” thing just kind of drops out into a more timeless, more formless presence, the crushing anxiety lifted,” one patient said.

Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary and Steve Jobs all used psychedelic drugs when they died.

In a landmark decision in August, 2020, four Canadians suffering from terminal illnesses were approved by Health Canada to receive Psilocybin therapy to treat their anxiety – marking the first time that a legal exemption has been given in Canada for patients to access psychedelic substances for treatment.

One of the four spoke to CTV News in June about his struggle with terminal cancer, and the crushing fear that such a diagnosis brings.

The 52-year-old’s anxiety about the end of his life was making his current days unbearable, and anti-anxiety medication wasn’t having the effect he needed.

It was this suffering that pushed him and three other Canadians with similar diagnoses towards Psilocybin.

Research tracking the effects of the psychedelic drug has found that it has the potential to provide long-term relief for mental health struggles such as anxiety and depression, especially in those receiving palliative care due to a terminal diagnosis.

The U.S. Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is currently running clinical trials to assess whether the drug should be released on the market as a prescription medication.

In the 2020 US presidential elections, the state of Oregon voted in a proposition to legalize Psilocybin for mental health treatment and to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of all drugs for personal use. The new law will come into effect on 1 February 2021.   On the same day Washington, D.C. passed an initiative to decriminalize the cultivation and possession of “entheogenic plants and fungi (magic mushrooms containing psilocybin).

Kevin O’Leary, “Mr Wonderful” on the TV show Shark Tank, is backing MindMed, a neuro-pharmaceutical company testing psychedelic-inspired medicines.

O’Leary  cited the potential of its drugs to address problems like depression, alcoholism, and opioid addiction, issues that haven’t seen medical innovations in almost three decades.

Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. is a public company seeking to apply psychedelics to societal problems including anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, cluster headaches and addiction.

The company is assembling a compelling drug development pipeline of innovative treatments based on psychedelic substances including Psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, DMT and an Ibogaine derivative, 18-MC. The Company has a number of trials underway, including a trial that seeks to understand whether combined dosing of MDMA and LSD could mitigate bad trips, studies into Psilocybin and studies on the use of microdoses of psychedelics for cognitive enhancement.

We are living through a seismic shift in social and legal attitudes toward….. just about everything, from gender and sexuality to mental and physical healthcare to race and class.

Now it’s time to look ahead to the next major investment trend to come out of the drug reform movement: psychedelic medicine.

Psychedelic medicine is coming back. A recent study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine shows Psilocybin is an effective addiction treatment. And investors around the world are starting to take notice.

The door is slowly opening.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Or you know… we could teach people proper coping skills in life and how to harvest their creativity… You don’t need a hallucination to pull those out.

    So what’s the next opinion piece “Fentanyl for back pain”?

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