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Invisibledblaney
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Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization?
    #4444773 - 07/23/05 11:23 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Somebody mentioned self-actualization on the boards today, and it got me thinking.

It seems to me that alot of times, psychedelic drug use serves as a pathway to self-actualization. There are, obviously the exceptions, and I would guess these are the people who trip just for the aesthetic pleasure of it, never getting anything more from it (not to say that there's anything wrong with that).

Here is a definition of self-actualization (proposed by Dr. Maslow)

Quote:

Self-actualization

The last level is a bit different. Maslow has used a variety of terms to refer to this level: He has called it growth motivation (in contrast to deficit motivation), being needs (or B-needs, in contrast to D-needs), and self-actualization.

These are needs that do not involve balance or homeostasis. Once engaged, they continue to be felt. In fact, they are likely to become stronger as we ?feed? them! They involve the continuous desire to fulfill potentials, to ?be all that you can be.? They are a matter of becoming the most complete, the fullest, ?you? -- hence the term, self-actualization.

Now, in keeping with his theory up to this point, if you want to be truly self-actualizing, you need to have your lower needs taken care of, at least to a considerable extent. This makes sense: If you are hungry, you are scrambling to get food; If you are unsafe, you have to be continuously on guard; If you are isolated and unloved, you have to satisfy that need; If you have a low sense of self-esteem, you have to be defensive or compensate. When lower needs are unmet, you can?t fully devote yourself to fulfilling your potentials.

It isn?t surprising, then, the world being as difficult as it is, that only a small percentage of the world?s population is truly, predominantly, self-actualizing. Maslow at one point suggested only about two percent!

The question becomes, of course, what exactly does Maslow mean by self-actualization. To answer that, we need to look at the kind of people he called self-actualizers. Fortunately, he did this for us, using a qualitative method called biographical analysis.

He began by picking out a group of people, some historical figures, some people he knew, whom he felt clearly met the standard of self-actualization. Included in this august group were Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Adams, William James, Albert Schweitzer, Benedict Spinoza, and Alduous Huxley, plus 12 unnamed people who were alive at the time Maslow did his research. He then looked at their biographies, writings, the acts and words of those he knew personally, and so on. From these sources, he developed a list of qualities that seemed characteristic of these people, as opposed to the great mass of us.

These people were reality-centered, which means they could differentiate what is fake and dishonest from what is real and genuine. They were problem-centered, meaning they treated life?s difficulties as problems demanding solutions, not as personal troubles to be railed at or surrendered to. And they had a different perception of means and ends. They felt that the ends don?t necessarily justify the means, that the means could be ends themselves, and that the means -- the journey -- was often more important than the ends.

The self-actualizers also had a different way of relating to others. First, they enjoyed solitude, and were comfortable being alone. And they enjoyed deeper personal relations with a few close friends and family members, rather than more shallow relationships with many people.

They enjoyed autonomy, a relative independence from physical and social needs. And they resisted enculturation, that is, they were not susceptible to social pressure to be "well adjusted" or to "fit in" -- they were, in fact, nonconformists in the best sense.

They had an unhostile sense of humor -- preferring to joke at their own expense, or at the human condition, and never directing their humor at others. They had a quality he called acceptance of self and others, by which he meant that these people would be more likely to take you as you are than try to change you into what they thought you should be. This same acceptance applied to their attitudes towards themselves: If some quality of theirs wasn?t harmful, they let it be, even enjoying it as a personal quirk. On the other hand, they were often strongly motivated to change negative qualities in themselves that could be changed. Along with this comes spontaneity and simplicity: They preferred being themselves rather than being pretentious or artificial. In fact, for all their nonconformity, he found that they tended to be conventional on the surface, just where less self-actualizing nonconformists tend to be the most dramatic.

Further, they had a sense of humility and respect towards others -- something Maslow also called democratic values -- meaning that they were open to ethnic and individual variety, even treasuring it. They had a quality Maslow called human kinship or Gemeinschaftsgef?hl -- social interest, compassion, humanity. And this was accompanied by a strong ethics, which was spiritual but seldom conventionally religious in nature.

And these people had a certain freshness of appreciation, an ability to see things, even ordinary things, with wonder. Along with this comes their ability to be creative, inventive, and original. And, finally, these people tended to have more peak experiences than the average person. A peak experience is one that takes you out of yourself, that makes you feel very tiny, or very large, to some extent one with life or nature or God. It gives you a feeling of being a part of the infinite and the eternal. These experiences tend to leave their mark on a person, change them for the better, and many people actively seek them out. They are also called mystical experiences, and are an important part of many religious and philosophical traditions.

Maslow doesn?t think that self-actualizers are perfect, of course. There were several flaws or imperfections he discovered along the way as well: First, they often suffered considerable anxiety and guilt -- but realistic anxiety and guilt, rather than misplaced or neurotic versions. Some of them were absentminded and overly kind. And finally, some of them had unexpected moments of ruthlessness, surgical coldness, and loss of humor.

Two other points he makes about these self-actualizers: Their values were "natural" and seemed to flow effortlessly from their personalities. And they appeared to transcend many of the dichotomies others accept as being undeniable, such as the differences between the spiritual and the physical, the selfish and the unselfish, and the masculine and the feminine.




What do you think?


--------------------
"What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?"

"Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword"
- John Mayer

Making the noise "penicillin" is no substitute for actually taking penicillin.

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln


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OfflineTao
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: dblaney]
    #4444786 - 07/23/05 11:31 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Yeah I was reading about Maslow's self-actualization just this year. Interesting connection...


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Magash's Grain Tek  + Tub-in-Tub Incubator + Magash's PMP + SBP Tek + Dunking = Practically all a newbie grower needs :thumbup:


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Invisibledblaney
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: Tao]
    #4444796 - 07/23/05 11:36 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

What do you think of it as an idea? Is it totally out there or do you think that indeed psychedelics can drive a person towards realizing the petty-ness of most things, thus driving them closer to self-actualization?


--------------------
"What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?"

"Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword"
- John Mayer

Making the noise "penicillin" is no substitute for actually taking penicillin.

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln


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InvisibleFreedomFight
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: dblaney]
    #4444803 - 07/23/05 11:38 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

A cool read. I don't think that psychedelic drugs will bring out self-actualization; however, they seem to be great at pointing a slacker in the right direction. It may help bring someone to realize what he or she should do, but I feel that psychedelics don't do much more than fill a head with dreams.

Summary: If a lazy person takes shrooms he or she will realize that he or she is lazy and should do something about it. The next day this person is already back to his or her old habits.


--------------------
I do not grow anything illegal.
I do not sell anything.
I am, however, a very curious individual.
I also try to be helpful.


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InvisibleColonel Kurtz Ph.D
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: dblaney]
    #4444830 - 07/23/05 11:48 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Well, very interesting post. It seems to me this has several sides to be discussed.

I feel most people who get into psychedelics for spiritual reasons are already self-actualizers. The description seems to talk about a lot of traits often found on spiritual/enlightened/psychedelic people, like general kindness, non-conformity, a more natural state of being, appreciating more deep friendships, etc.

It could also have another connection, it also seems pretty obvious that psychedelics used for spiritual reasons make the user aware of personality traits and social/cosmological realities which may direct them towards self-actualizing ways of thinking. A good example would be peak experiences created by psychedelics, as the ones experienced by Huxley; the natural way  of accepting realities socially not acceptable, etc.

I find very interesting that self-actualizers feel a lot of guilt. I also feel that way a lot, and I'm sure a bit of it is due to a few psychedelic revelations I had. In my case, psychedelic experiences have created an imprint of universal justice in my mind I can' deny, and when I feel I've treated someone unfairly I always have the worst regrets. Interestingly enough, this makes me a better person as a whole, but I suffer more than before :grin: I guess that's one of the faces of the cosmic joke.

Anyway, I'm just sort of rambling, so I'll leave it like that for now :mushroom2:


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:whatwhat:

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InvisibleColonel Kurtz Ph.D
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: FreedomFight]
    #4444852 - 07/23/05 11:55 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

FreedomFight said:
Summary:  If a lazy person takes shrooms he or she will realize that he or she is lazy and should do something about it.  The next day this person is already back to his or her old habits.




Not true in my experience. After the last year of psychedelic abuse I have learned a lot about myself, thought a lot about the world I want to live in, and have developed a more strict code of conduct for living my life to it's fullest.
I'm more kind to people, I try to correct my mistakes as soon as possible, I work harder towards the goals I've set for myself and so on. But hey, I'm a little obsesive-compulsive so maybe it has nothing to do with psychedelics at all :lol: Maybe I just want to be able to die whit the minimal possible amount of regrets :wink:


--------------------
:whatwhat:

There's no better way to rock out than with your cock out!!


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OfflineTwirling
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: dblaney]
    #4444869 - 07/23/05 11:59 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Psychedelics can definitely lead to self-actualization, as they have the ability to alter consciousness in such a way that a person's defense mechanisms are shattered. How a person reacts to that is usually what determines how self-actualized they will become. In essence, psychedelics can act like a catalyst ? the experience of removing the psychological mechanisms which provide the lower needs Maslow was talking about often times forces a person to adapt to life without them, and thus growing as a human being because they overcame those obstacles.

Of course, that?s one situation out of many. Sometimes people fall in love with the feeling of deep psychological understanding that it becomes a sort of defense mechanism. It?s interesting to me, because when I was reading these boards before I used mushrooms, I fell in love with what I saw as the potential of mushrooms. It was largely because I had no experience, and projected what I wanted mushrooms to do for my life, rather than realizing what type of role mushrooms play. Then I got the chance to experience them, 35 grams fresh, and that all came into a train-wreck. Ironically, that train-wreck inspired me to reexamine my outlook on life because, well, those defense mechanisms were shattered and I had to readjust. So in the end, mushrooms provided me with self-actualization, but it was as a catalyst, not as a magic cure which healed me instantly.

There is no doubt in my mind that psychedelics are one of the most powerful ways to achieve self-actualization. Unfortunately, that type of mystic gets built around them, which changes how people react to the experience itself. More significantly than anything else, the ?War on Drugs? is responsible for instilling fear into people, making it harder for them to open up to the experience, even while tripping. People perceive any type of drug use as having an immoral side to it, and automatically make a connection to ?brain damage? and having any type of psychoactivity. It leads people to freak out, because they are experiencing a total loss of control, and anyone with a firm understanding of psychology knows that this is contrary to every biological and behavioral instinct. They then see psychedelics as far too chaotic, and write the experience off as something negative, rather than being able to take something out of it.

Essentially, psychedelics themselves have a wide range for potential outcomes. Used in the right sense, and with the right empathetic guidance, they can allow people who normally wouldn?t have an understanding of that side of themselves to grasp it. I know this comes off as pro-drug to a lot of people, even people here at the Shroomery (I?ve been accused of that a couple of times), but that?s not really the point. It?s more about the potential for the person, and the drug is only a catalyst.


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The very nature of experience is ineffable; it transcends cognitive thought and intellectualized analysis. To be without experience is to be without an emotional knowledge of what the experience translates into. The desire for the understanding of what life is made of is the motivation that drives us all. Without it, in fear of the experiences what life can hold is among the greatest contradictions; to live in fear of death while not being alive.



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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: dblaney]
    #4444876 - 07/24/05 12:01 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

I think for psychedelics to do anything for you, you have to be searching for something in the first place. Psychedelics open the door, but they can't make you go through.


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Invisibledblaney
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: Twirling]
    #4444879 - 07/24/05 12:02 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Amen to that


--------------------
"What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?"

"Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword"
- John Mayer

Making the noise "penicillin" is no substitute for actually taking penicillin.

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln


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InvisibleColonel Kurtz Ph.D
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: dblaney]
    #4444931 - 07/24/05 12:16 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Well said, twirling and paradigm. But I differ in the notion that "Psychedelics open the door, but they can't make you go through". IMHO they DO make you go thru the door, the so-called "bad trips" are the result of not wanting (or not being prepared) to see thru the door and being forced to do it. However, I'll give you that a lot of people  seem to forget what they saw (or learned!) as soon as the psychedelic experience fades away.

I know a very specific case of an asshole who has taken lots of psychedelics and that doesn't make him a better person at all. I guess he just doesn't learn anything from it, and even tho he claims to have archieved several times ego-loss he has the biggest ego EVER :shrug:


--------------------
:whatwhat:

There's no better way to rock out than with your cock out!!


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: dblaney]
    #4444946 - 07/24/05 12:21 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

What I find interesting is that I don't get insight from a trip unless I'm in a time in my life where insight is needed. If I tripped right now, I'd just see shit and have a good time, because my life is going good right now, and I'm in a healthy state of mind. But when I tripped last Fall, at a time when I was thinking about dropping out of school, I came to the realization that things weren't as bad as they seemed, and I could get through it.


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OfflineTwirling
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: Silversoul]
    #4444998 - 07/24/05 12:39 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

What you're saying is often true, Paradigm. Sometimes psychedelics FORCE you to deal with things, even if you're not looking to deal with them. That usually happens when there is actually something to deal with however. Some people seem to only get recreation out of psychedelics, and whether this is simply a matter of personality, suggested method of use, neurological differences, or what, I don't know. That's another problem with the War on Drugs, is that it makes it difficult to get exact answers on that type of thing.


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Invisibledblaney
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: Twirling]
    #4445011 - 07/24/05 12:44 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Yeah, I've often wondered why certain people seem to react in one consistent way to psychedelics (eg never a bad trip, always just seeing pretty visuals, not much mental depth). But it sounds like they might be starting research in Russia soon!


--------------------
"What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?"

"Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword"
- John Mayer

Making the noise "penicillin" is no substitute for actually taking penicillin.

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln


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OfflineHrethic
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: dblaney]
    #4445596 - 07/24/05 03:44 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

I like how all that sounded. I think psychedelics could really be at least a semi reliable way towards something like that. It's certainly done that for me, and continues to at an increasing rate. It not only broadened my mind to be able to comprehend more, but showed me the simplicity and greatness of the way of life that i truely craved. Interesting stuff...


--------------------
Will all the big boomers please unveil, please unveil, please unveil.


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InvisibleColonel Kurtz Ph.D
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Re: Psychedelics as pathways to self-actualization? [Re: Hrethic]
    #4445740 - 07/24/05 04:31 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Hrethic said:
[psychedelics] showed me the simplicity and greatness of the way of life that i truely craved. Interesting stuff...




:thumbup: So did for me.


(can I quote you on a paper I'm writting?)


--------------------
:whatwhat:

There's no better way to rock out than with your cock out!!


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