Since the 1960’s counter cultural revolution, modern society has been influenced by a new ‘inner’ culture. Psychedelics and mysticism. The science of which has moved us from a culture of deep scepticism and stoicism, to one that routinely practices mystic techniques such as mindfulness in psychology/psychiatry, hypnosis and NLP in sports and in business and has established the benefits of many practices like yoga, meditation, floatation and so on. Very recently we have seen a massive recent rise in the use of floatation (sensory deprivation) as a means of enhancing creatively and mental health, especially amongst competitive professionals, and it seems like psychedelics are also having a new revolution right now, as a with a similar set- success seeking millennials such as those in Silicon Valley.
What is Microdosing?
“Micro-dosing” is the practice of taking a ‘sub-perceptual’ dose of a psychedelic, and going about one’s normal routine. It’s said to make people more open, happy, more productive and enhance creativity and problem solving, also increasing sporting or exercise performance without producing typically mind altered subjective effects that might interfere with one’s normal activities.
Business mysticism, tech and psychedelics
It’s a big hit with business leaders and tech gurus. It follows on some business science suggesting that people can better problem solve resistant problems using psychedelics. Essentially these new go-getters are using the brain connectivity of psychedelics, at a level below what is called threshold – the level at which effects are subjectively apparent. Although in saying that these users are reporting a ‘lift’ and more energy in engaging day to day activities, so they still feel ‘something’ it’s just subtle.
A sliver of the offering – How small is a LSD microdose?
Typically, the micro dosage of psychedelics is usually 1/10th or 1/5th of a normal dose: 6-25 micrograms LSD, 0.2-0.5 grams dried mushrooms, 50-75 micrograms mescaline HCL.
Microdosing magic mushrooms
Because the New Zealand mushroom season is starting, I thought I’d make special mention of that. According to what I gather from peoples reports, mushrooms micro-dosed are viable, but tend to be ‘less focused’, more ideal for exercise and creative ventures than day to day office work. Your mileage may vary. I hear lots of people saying it boosts their exercise, and it grants the same sort of mood boosting and creative benefits as LSD, perhaps making micro-dosing mushrooms more ideal for creative jam sessions, problem solving sessions or extreme sports, or trail running.
Do athletes take LSD?
Indeed, there is a widespread belief amongst athletes that such dosing (with LSD) can enhance endurance and performance.
Micro-dosing as a trend, outside of the original micro-doser Hoffman, is relatively new. There is little doubt that these drugs can in fact boost creativity, and improve mood at more substantial doses and so it follows that something is actually happening here, but as a new trend, it’s hard to quantify or know what is or isn’t happening at these doses. Hoffman originally wanted to market LSD as an anti-depressant, and is quoted as saying that if it weren’t illegal it would be used instead of Ritalin.
Psychedelic chemical culture in New Zealand
The trend might sit somewhere between the sort of shamanic pursuit of inner knowledge and the nootropic trend where many people are attempting to optimize their mood and cognition by pharmacological tinkering – human beings seeking ‘the designer mind’. I would caution people from thinking this way too much, as it tends to avoid the causes of malcontent and poor performance that come from our own psychology rather than any chemical basis. You cannot dose your way into a better you, without also addressing yourself, i.e. doing the work. And in doing the work, quick solutions are not the panacea they might appear to be at all at first.
If the answers truly lie within, to our problems, then we need a better way of accessing that, if we are to truly tap it. Drugs are only potentially a part of that, however powerful they are.
Enlightenment or Symptom?
In part this is reactive, and somehow part of the 24-7 heart attack capitalist nightmare. At worst this represents a culture so obsessed with the external, with wealth and recognition, with competition, that it’s stumbled into psychedelics without comprehending the contradiction between self-awareness and the relentless and thoughtless pursuit of external goals. That’s how many media outlets would paint it too – just a substitute Ritalin for stressed professionals. But at the same time it’s a culture that is actively pushing back against the reductive ‘rational’ mind set, in favour of a more holistic understanding, one that is following the bloom in scientific and psychological understanding that started in the 60s.
At best, perhaps this actually speaks to a promising trend in the worldview of public culture –A sort of zen, of modern capitalism – the fermenting of long held truisms about perception and inner strength held in business and sporting communities and centuries ago in mystic temples – the return of the inner arts and self-awareness. And I think the sudden rise of both floatation and micro-dosing at this time, in the last few years, shows evidence of a sort of ‘new wave’ of inner explorers, a continuing emergence of a kind of Renaissance of the self.