Me, LSD & The Meaning of Life
I have confidence in stating that I understand the meaning of life. The meaning of life is not some airy-fairy “it is what you make it” notion; it’s universal. The same meaning applies to all people, and all existence. It’s self-fulfilling in that it does not require a creator per-se, but also explains both how and why the universe came about without the need for an endless loop of “who created the creator?” It makes sense of pretty much everything that happens, it explains the nature of all things, the course of evolution, and it can be applied on an individual level to live a more fulfilling life.
How do I claim to have come to know this? Well, that is a story about me and LSD. Bear with me. Firstly, what is LSD?
LSD is a chemical extracted usually from ergot, a fungus which grows on grains. Large scale crop infections of ergot have been hypothesized to be responsible for outbreaks of mass-hysteria in the Middle Ages. Lysergic acid diethylamine itself was first synthesized in 1938 by Albert Hoffman, a Swiss chemist.
LSD is it’s pure form is almost impossible to obtain nowadays. What sells on the street as LSD is almost always one of the various semi-legal analogues of LSD, each having different effects. Some are more visual, others are more contemplative; some last for 4–6 hours, others for over 12 hours. What I have is called 1P-LSD; it’s illegal in Denmark, Sweden & Switzerland, and as an analogue of LSD it’s illegal to be sold for human consumption (but possession is not necessarily a crime) in US, UK & Australia. In most other countries, including the country in which I live, it’s legal. 1P lasts for 12 hours and is of the particularly contemplative variety of LSD.
LSD is non-toxic and not physically addictive. Technically everything is toxic in some quantity, so a little bit of research reveals that the toxicity of LSD in humans is 20,000–80,000mcg. The standard ‘hit’ of LSD is 100mcg, making it around 10x safer than paracetamol. Despite the popular but untrue urban legend of someone imagining they can fly and jumping out a window, there are no recorded deaths from LSD overdose. You’re more likely to die from sugar overdose than from LSD. The worst case of LSD poisoning was when some clever fellows snorted a large quantity of pure LSD crystals thinking it was cocaine, had respiratory failure, got medical attention, and recovered after 12 hours [Clin Toxicol 8:191, 1975].
According to this article from New Scientist just 75mcg of LSD unifies the brain, enabling activity and communication between regions of the brain that normally work separately. The infographic below shows an MRI of a brain on 75mcg of LSD, compared to a placebo. The difference is phenomenal.
Enough science. What does LSD actually do in my experience?
You know, that’s an interesting question. At the time of writing this article I’ve taken 1P-LSD on four occasions and I’d say that it’s pretty much anything one wants it to be. Each occasion was different. I wouldn’t really say that it does anything specific, what it does is do everything and anything. It allows one to see everything for what it is; know everything for what it is; immersively experience everything and anything. It’s like having a conversation with God. Or perhaps, if I dare say it: it’s like being God.
I’ll outline some of the different experiences I have had:
My balcony is a beautiful panoramic view of the sea, islands, sailing boats, trees, birds and butterflies. On LSD I could see all of it at once. All of it was in focus and my attention was literally everywhere at once; I did not miss one single butterfly or a single ripple in the sea. Neither was it sensory overload. There was a calm and quiet acceptance and appreciation of the beauty without needing to change anything; the small things no less important than the big things.
There is beauty in everything. Mold on the wall or a crack in the paint becomes full of quiet beauty and magnificence. The reason for which is not that I’m imagining beauty, it is truly an appreciation for what has always had beauty in it, only I never looked at it closely before. This feeling remains; I can still see that beauty in normal daily life now that I know it is there.
Music is amazing. On LSD I can hear each note as distinct and in a different spacial dimension to each other. The words become poetry and full of deep meaning. It’s a fully immersive experience consisting of all senses. On a side note, what with knowing the meaning of life, I figured that songs which try to be deep are almost always whining about artificial, self-inflicted problems, whereas pop song with shallow lyrics are much more honest, and in that sense are closer to the truth. Love songs are the most separated from reality, and only make sense if one considers the singer to be singing the love song about themselves, which is of course what they are actually doing without realizing it.
I genuinely feel sorry for everyone who has to deal with emotional issues from the outside. When one has an internal struggle they have almost no choice but to project it onto someone else, and then attack that person. Counseling exists because it is extremely difficult to dig down, find the cause of issues and address these issues directly — instead one needs someone else to bounce off so that they can even tell what issues they have, let alone attempt to address them.
When one doesn’t deal with an emotional issue immediately it gets suppressed, that is to say it is pushed deep down inside oneself, and there it grows. To conquer that demon one needs to bring the demon out, which is a slow and difficult process as the issues get rooted into the subconscious. Most people avoid dealing with their issues at all, and only deal with the overflow when it gets too much for them to function normally in a social setting. There just isn’t enough capacity for expression to deal with emotional issues. Smashing plates is OK, but it’s just not enough.
Alternatively one can take LSD. LSD allows you to venture inside yourself, to that same place where you pushed those demons and they made their home. You take LSD and there you are, on the same level as your demons. They can’t hide from you and you can’t hide from them.
On LSD it is remarkably easy to see all of your issues, to summon them, and to express whatever you need to express. You can relive an experience from different perspectives. You can FEEL the anger/pain/resentment/sadness as a fully immersive experience and express with the same full immersion. In that state, inside your own mind, you can cry for the world, scream and destroy the universe. You can look right into the eye of your demon and unleash hell to any extent that you can imagine — and you can imagine well on LSD. It’s a combination of complete emotional expression combined with being able to see what your issues are, where they come from and why you have them. There is no better way.
On LSD I can see myself as separate to myself. It’s hard to explain. I am me but I can also talk to me as if I was separate from me, and I can get really honest answers. It is quite literally like having a conversation with one’s own subconscious, projected into an actual person. Or with one’s ‘higher-self’.
It’s almost impossible to explain how useful and unbelievably awesome the splitting is. You see: I know everything I’ve been through. I understand myself completely. I know what I’m thinking. I know why I do things.
Here is an example of a conversation I might have with myself in that state:
“Hey Me, remember that time I did that thing?”
“Haha, that was so awesome!” [Me and Me laugh together wholeheartedly.]
“Oh, remember when I did that other thing? Why would I do that?”
“Well it was obviously because of xyz.”
“Oh wow! That’s totally selfish.”
“Yeah, but you meant well and it was only because of zxy that you thought that way.”
“Yeah, I did mean well and I understand. Thank you Me.”
“Just remember that I’m always here with you. You can always count on me.”
“I know Me. I’m here for you too.”
It turns out that my subconscious knows precisely why I do the things I do and is more than happy to explain them all to me, and yet at the same time reassure me that there was always a good intention behind everything. We can laugh and cry together and it’s like having a best friend, partner and parent all in one. Someone who always understands me, always believes in me and is always there for me.
But this is not to say that in that state I actually see myself as separate in a delusional way. I am aware all the time that the separation itself is just a method to be able to have a conversation with myself. It allows a self-dialog, self-analysis and self-appreciation with the best parts of talking to someone else, but still with me being only one person. Difficult to explain.
Following on from splitting is self-love.
One of the little comments I wrote down on my last LSD experience was this definition: “Love is how one feels about oneself.”
Intellectually it’s easy to understand the concept that we must love ourselves first before we can love another, we can’t give what we don’t have, etc. But an intellectual understanding is not a true understanding, it’s more of a choice to attempt to believe something. On LSD I can look in the mirror, say “I love you” and KNOW that I mean it and really FEEL it.
That right there is love. I am always there for me. I will never let me down. I have only the best intentions for myself. I will never abandon me. I understand myself completely. Right there a lifetime (or perhaps multiple lifetimes) of self-doubt and insecurities are wiped clean away in one breath. It doesn’t go away once the LSD has worn off.
Looking for that love (which is what everyone is doing) in another person is a fools errand. No one else can give you that even if they wanted to, it’s not possible to get it from anyone other than yourself. (So don’t blame others.)
I am Everything, Everything is Me
Without contradicting the splitting, on LSD I feel connected to everything. The outer world is simply a reflection of the inner world. It is me. To discover and explore the world physically is the same as to discover and explore oneself, because I am the universe.
The entire universe is present in all things. Everything is everything. I am you; you are me. I am the universe; the universe is me. I am God; God is me. I am LSD; LSD is me. It’s like that :)
Nothing Matters, Everything Matters
Nothing matters. Truly. Therefore everything matters. Why? Because when you get to really feel that nothing matters then suddenly it becomes apparent that in nothing mattering there is still existence, and the existence is already here, and since nothing matters then it is within my abilities to make something matter. So everything matters — if I want it to.
This eventually leads to the understanding that I decide what matters and what doesn’t matter. It matters if I want it to matter, and that that is how existence is meant to be. I mean, I am God afterall so it makes perfect sense.
Now I’m not entirely sure what enlightenment is supposed to mean. It appears to be a grandiose and fuzzy concept consisting of legends of people who non-enlightened people claim to be enlightened, but themselves only claim to be ‘awake’ or ‘aware’. Osho claims that enlightenment is a state of mind that many people achieve for a temporary time, and few can hold onto it on a permanent basis.
What I will say is that the state that I got to the last time, in which I took 300mcg of LSD, was something akin to what I imagine enlightenment to be. I had full awareness in the moment. I could see, hear and feel everything at once without effort. I had an inner peace where everything is accepted. I understood any and every concept without words. I was more awake and aware than I’d ever been. It was Life 2.0, Deluxe Edition.
Before taking the LSD I’d done a lot of preparation, mostly making everything safe and easy for myself in case anything went wrong (thanks Me, I’m so thoughtful!) One of the things I did was make a list of questions I wanted answering. I didn’t really think that I was going to be able to answer them, but why not have a target? In my quasi-enlightened state I picked up a pen and without a second thought answered all of the questions like it was nothing. Two of my favorites are as follows:
One question I’d asked was “What do I need to do in order to be complete?” My enlightened self answered it by crossing out the word ‘complete’ and in it’s place wrote ‘awake’ so it now read: “What do I need to do in order to be awake?” Clever me! One cannot be not complete, only more or less aware.
Another question was “What is life?” to which my enlightened self wrote: “Thank you for asking. What is not life?” The genius of that answer amazes me, if I say so myself. The first part illustrating that to ask what is life is to be alive, and also reflects the meaning of life itself. The second part illustrating that to answer the question of “what is life?” one would need to know what life is not, which itself is a beautiful question because by definition it’s not possible to experience not-life, and hence the original question cannot have an answer. I don’t think there could be a better answer to that question.
Hallucinations & Subjective Reality
Another thing I learned from LSD was that our reality is entirely subjective. The hallucinations that LSD creates are not actually hallucinations in the way that I thought of the word ‘hallucination’ before. They’re more like projections from one’s own mind onto the outer world; one can see something differently to how one normally sees it. The thing is that that’s how we are anyway, it’s just that we are consistent in our world view and LSD destroys that consistency.
As an example, when you look at a car you don’t see the parts of the car really, you see a concept of a car and you see what you expect to see. With LSD that falls apart. Combine that with the extreme suggestibility that you get from LSD and whatever you are thinking of or feeling at that time will be projected onto what you see. So if you’re thinking of a dog and you then look at a car, you might see it as a robotic dog; but that is because you are not really looking, only projecting, which is what we always do. On LSD, looking in the mirror in the dark, if I stepped away so my face was in shadow I could see my face shift between different faces… but this itself was not different to me being a child in my room at night and imagining that a chair with a shirt on it was a monster. It’s the same projection, we just establish a consistency in our projections as we get older and get trapped in particular ways of thinking.
It’s all projections. Yes, LSD can make you see something as something it’s not, and to some extent see something that’s not there at all. But this is not different to how we see the world normally. LSD just makes us more sensitive and removes the filters we previously established. It made it obvious to me that everyone literally sees the world differently, and I don’t mean that metaphorically.
LSD also enhances the differences between things. It makes colors more distinct, to the point that you can see shades of intensity that don’t exist in normal life. On 300mcg there was one point where everything became wibbly-wobbly but even this I understood to be an exaggeration of what I am normally seeing. It also induces synesthesia, which is where the senses cross over, so one can see sound, for example. But even that feels very natural, you get used to it quickly and I understand now that it happens all the time, it’s just less obvious.
I don’t believe in the concept of a ‘bad trip.’ LSD brings out one’s subconscious and so if you don’t like yourself, don’t trust yourself, and are scared of the unknown then you could easily have, and probably would have, a ‘bad trip.’ Except that it’s not really a bad trip. It’s honesty. That’s you. That’s your own subconscious.
In that case it’d probably be a bad experience, but you would be forced to face your fears (you can’t run from yourself) and so it’d probably be extremely healing. I’m all for facing fears head on.
For me, I tried to have a bad trip but it didn’t work. I thought of the most horrific images I could, and they came… really horrific images… and yet, I knew them for what they were: nothings, lies, images of no true meaning that I’d seen before from movies and television, with slight variations. They were not scary, they were petty and there was nothing underneath them because they existed only to be terrorizing and so they were shallow and meaningless.
I wrote down in that state “fear is the face of fear” meaning that the grotesque and horrific faces I imagined were themselves fearful and I found myself (slightly tongue-in-cheek) asking the hallucinations what they were scared of and telling them not to worry and that I’m there for them. They dissolved.
Back to Reality
There is a concern from some people that LSD, even if it isn’t physically addicted and isn’t toxic, could lead to one losing touch with normal life in favor of an LSD-fueled existence. For me, I think this is unfounded. LSD provides a higher-level of thinking and it’s very obvious that it’s a spiritual journey that would therefore, almost by definition, be meaningless to try to achieve on a continuous basis.
A spiritual journey is for normal life. To stay within a spiritual journey and forget about normal life would not make any kind of rational sense. It would be like working for a vacation that you never take, or saving money to buy a house and then never buying it. It’s a means to an end. It’s also not realistic to take it too often because the body builds up a tolerance which lasts for a few days after each trip.
I was surprised to find that there was no come-down, as in no negative effects when coming off LSD. It would make sense to me that since the senses are heightened and intensified during the trip that everything might seem dull and colorless afterwards, but that is not the case. In actuality, the different perspectives one gains under LSD remain and there appears to be no negative consequences.
The War Between LSD & Alcohol
The world hates LSD. It’s illegal in all UN countries by UN convention. To take LSD is considered a ‘bad’ thing, it’s an ‘illegal drug’ and people who take it are ‘users.’ However, the world loves alcohol. Alcohol is legal and socially encouraged almost everywhere.
Alcohol is an inhibitor chemically-speaking, it binds to neurotransmitters and makes them stop working. That’s why when you drink alcohol everything from your senses to your thinking become duller. Your brain slows down, making time pass faster. It makes everything ‘less.’
LSD is an activator, it binds to neurotransmitters and makes it easier for them to fire. This makes your brain more active, it makes everything ‘more.’
Alcohol is the opposite of LSD.
LSD has never killed anyone. LSD makes one think clearer. LSD enables you to see the truth and to see what you really want in life. It helps you deal with your issues, and gives you a true sense of compassion and connectedness. It brings out the best in people.
Alcohol destroys lives every day. Alcohol makes people do things they don’t want to do. Alcohol makes people kill other people and themselves. Alcohol makes people depressed. It brings out the worst in people.
No one has taken LSD and gone to sleep in the middle of the road, started a fight, or run someone over in their car and not even noticed. Alcohol makes people do this every day.
I used to drink alcohol several times per week, either out of boredom or wanting to ‘loosen-up’ in a social setting. On LSD I realized that boredom is caused by a lack of stimulation, meaning that in a bored state we want more stimulation. Alcohol gives the opposite of stimulation, it reduces sensation and in that sense it’s literally making one lose what it is to be ‘alive,’ to lose consciousness, to lose life. Alcohol is a poison and a solvent, it’s extremely toxic, it causes death, psychologically, spiritually and physically. In a social setting: yes it makes us calm and comfortable, because it makes us forget issues that are real issues that should be dealt with — not ignored, suppressed or projected onto other people.
Don’t get me wrong, alcohol is not evil. I’m all for death, it has a purpose. It’s just that right now I’m alive and to be alive is to live. There is a time and a place for death, and that time is not in the middle of life.
My LSD split/higher-self told me this and made me promise never to drink alcohol again. In this state I could see the damage and I could see my future, not yet but maybe in 10–20 years, one day the alcohol would get me if I continued to use it to avoid living.
The Meaning of Life
Now we get to the meaning of life that I spoke about at the beginning of this article. I’ve been deliberating on whether to say it or not, on the basis that while it can be intellectually understood relatively easily, that is itself not a good thing. To intellectualize is not to understand, and perhaps by hearing it but not feeling it then it will be more difficult for you to discover it yourself.
Then I decided that that’s your own problem, and so here it is:
We must first start at root truth, which is as Descarte said “I think, therefore I am” meaning that the only thing we can know for sure is that we exist, and we only know we exist because we are able to question whether we exist. Therefore the only thing that we can be 100% confident exists is whatever asked the question: “do I exist?” Everything else we just assume exists, but we can’t prove it. We’ve therefore proven that at least the questioner exists.
Once that is accepted let’s stick with that and have one consciousness, that being the thing in you that can ask the question as to whether it exists, and let’s assume that consciousness begins alone in the universe (so to speak, as the universe doesn’t yet exist.) There is no problem with this consciousness existing because we already proven that it does exist. So there it is, by itself.
With there being only one thing, it is impossible to feel or know anything, because there is no point of reference; no comparison. But we already know that this consciousness is capable of asking whether it exists, and what with there being nothing else it does the only one thing that it can do and asks itself what it is.
To do that it attempts to know itself, you could say by feeling itself. But what is feeling? There must be a feeler and a felt and in that notion the consciousness is split into two concepts: one that is feeling itself and the other that is itself being felt. Both being the same thing, but suddenly the concept of separation comes into existence based on it trying to feel itself. Now there is a point of reference.
Since nothing yet exists except the consciousness split into feeler and felt, the immersion is entire, that is to say that it is all feeler and all felt and therefore you could say it devours itself. I’m not the first to figure this out:
The two, the feeler and the felt are the eater and the eaten, the knower and the known, the predator and the prey, the masculine and the feminine, the yang and the yin. They are two aspects of one thing under an illusion of separation, the illusion being created due to the one thing having to be both a feeler and the felt at the same time in order to know itself, when really they are the same thing.
And so all of existence then comes into being on this basis. The two active forces at play in the universe are the masculine force, which wants to devour the feminine, which itself wants to be devoured. The masculine wants to know, to understand; the feminine wants to be known, to be understood.
Everything then spins off from this, because inside that one consciousness is all possibility. Infinite universes/dimensions/realities are created as it attempts to know/feel/devour itself. In one sense therefore, reality does not really exist, it’s illusory, a projection of the method for the one consciousness to know itself. On the other hand, since there is no other reality then we must accept that reality is in fact real. Both real and illusory at the same time.
And so the primary goal of all existence is to know oneself, and oneself is everything, therefore the primary goal is to… live and experience. To be alive, that is to say to know, to feel, to be.
Within this come levels of desire/need as reflections of the masculine and feminine, feeler and felt. There is the need to eat, that is to devour other life forms — all life eats other life — as a reflection of the one consciousness, and from that sustaining life by one part of existence devouring another part of existence. Then sex is a sister of the need to eat, it’s again a symbol of the one consciousness with the masculine and feminine, one the chaser and the other that wants to be chased, longing to come together and create new life out of their oneness. Eating and sex are almost exactly the same thing and are both fundamental to existence, being very close to the original purpose. This also explains why there are many crossovers between the concept of eating and the concept of sex, which I won’t go into but you can look it up if you’re interested.
So that’s the how and why of the meaning of life. How does it relate to our daily life as human beings here on Earth?
On the most fundamental level what we want is to feel. To experience. To explore. We can do that by exploring the world around us and we can do that be exploring our inner selves, the two are the same. We want to get to know ourselves and we are everything, so we want to get to know everything. By ‘know’ I don’t mean in an intellectual sense, but in a completely immersive sense: to feel and to understand.
And since each of us symbolizes either the masculine or the feminine on a subtle level, we play a little part in the devouring in that we desire to experience the half of us that we do not ourselves symbolize. Males want to know females and females want to be known by males. To really know, immersively ;)
So each of us has a part to play. We are all God and our job and our meaning is to go out and know ourselves, know others, know the world, know reality. Anything that makes us feel alive is a good thing. There is nothing that is bad, since all experience is desired by the one consciousness, but you will be happy if you help with the original purpose. That means not reliving the past, which is already experienced and therefore already satisfied, and not obsessing about the future, which cannot be known, but feeling and living in the present. Life is for living.
Read more about my LSD adventures and the nature of reality:
Me, LSD & The Meaning of Life
Eggs, a Short Story from Ali’s Adventures in Wonderland
Reverse Engineering a Higher State of Consciousness
A Journey to Hell and Back Again
The World Has Gone Mad
Me, LSD & Everything
The End of the Line: Looking Back