"[W]hy this[psychedelics] is not four-inch headlines on every newspaper on the planet I cannot understand because I don’t know what news you were waiting for, but this is the news that I was waiting for. It’s an incredible challenge to human understanding to try and make sense of this."
Psychedelics might reveal to you that the neat little reality that you thought you had all figured out is a lot stranger and different from from what you thought it was, that your understanding of it might be all wrong, and that your place in it might not be all that cozy and secure. The experience could put everything in to question for you.
A lot of people feel threatened by that, so they try to push it away, lock it up, turn it off, or dismiss it.
Contrast that reaction to that in some other societies with a long tradition of psychedelic use. Psychedelic experiences there usually confirm the world view of the society, and tend to be very positive and accepted.
"The British enzymologist, J. B. S. Haldane in the 1920s, in an essay, said, "The universe may not only be stranger than we suppose; it may be stranger than we can suppose," and I suggest to you that as we look back over human history, every pinnacle of civilizationf whether it be Mayan or Greco-Roman or Song dynasty, has believed that it was in possession of an accurate description of the cosmos and of man's relationship to it. This seems to go- this seems to go along with the full flowering of a civilization. But, from the point of view of our present civilization, we regard all those conceptions as, at worst quaint, at best half right, and congratulate ourselves that our civilization, at last, has its finger on the real description of what is going on. " from https://www.asktmk.com/talks/Psychedelic+Society?query=stran...
That being said, the belief that the scientific method can build up arbitrarily accurate models of any observable phenomena is without foundation, yet some behave as if it is obviously true.
Until we have something like a unified model of physics, there is no reason to believe that statement to be true.
(and in fact, the scientific method has led to results like Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, which makes it perhaps more likely for it to be false)
Maybe numbers and language (especially written) are more important. Oh ya, and fire.
But the scientific method is way up there in important, no argument there.
Often though, we try to (or pretend we are applying this method to achieve unscientific questions (a la Karl Popper's criticisms of Scientism) or try to add up scientific answers in an unscientific way.
When we do that, we are using the (well earned and underappreciated) cultural authority of science in ways that do not promote truth seeking.
You hit the nail right on the head.
It reminds me about how we want and need security, particularly around our beliefs. What I think is true in that regard is what Adyashanti, a spiritual teacher, once noted: "The magical part is that the more you let go, the better it feels. The more you step into insecurity, the more you notice how secure and safe it is. Where you just stepped out of was unsafe. Everyone is so miserable because they seek security in things that are limited and always moving and changing unpredictably."
Something happens, and we judge it good and feel good about it. Then something else happens, and we judge it bad and feel bad about it. And so on. Our feelings are put on a roller coaster according to our judgements. But we don't have enough information to judge anything good or bad. It always remains to be seen. Deeply internalizing this results in equanimity.
Could you name one? For maximum utility in this conversation, can you pick something likely to happen more than once in an ordinary life, some common case?
Death of a loved one.
Birth of a child.
Most people tend to experience these things more than once in a normal life. They represent a reality more real and more final than even psychedelics could manage: life and death. Impermanence.
Imagine how it would be if we didn't die. So is death good or bad?
I have a family friend whose first wife died of cancer. After mourning for years, he found another woman and married her. Unlike his first wife, she was insistent on having a baby. When their baby was born, he told us that, having held his child in his arms, he understood now that it would have been a huge mistake not to have had a child as he originally planned with his first wife. So was the death of his loved one good or bad?
> Unequivocally good: Birth of a child.
My sister was born and it must have been a very happy event. When she died it was very hard for my parents. Was her birth good or bad?
This is what the story is getting at. It doesn't make sense to assign good or bad to things. We don't have enough information yet. And we never do. It perpetually remains to be seen.
It's not apathy or learned powerlessness to accept the fact of reality that you just don't know enough to say whether something is good or bad. It's wisdom.
It's like hearing a song or a joke in a dream which seems really beautiful or funny, and turns out to be utterly dull when you wake up and replay it.
So sure, altered perceptions give the lie to some of our assumptions about the world, and can lead to some interesting insights, but they also add a lot of new assumptions which are not healthy, and certainly aren't adapted to functional life in the non-psychedelic world.
Curious though, what kind of new assumptions do you consider unhealthy?
That said, I largely agree with your perspective as well: "The opposite is also true".
Distorting perception doesn't reveal truth, it simply allows you to experience something "other" than reality. It's not that this is bad, but I don't accept that it offers enlightenment or wisdom.
Brain in a jar/The matrix style VR perception altering technology could make me experience a different world - but it wouldn't be reality. I actually could still see this resulting in wisdom under certain circumstances, so I guess I have to cede that actually :)
Or for people that are severely depressed, that your broken reality and thought loops that are deeply ingrained can actually be healed without a major neuronal shift.
The difference between a psychedelic experience and mental delusion is that the former brings a newly found perspective on and (knowingly or unknowingly) appreciation for the "big illusion". The latter usually reflects a degenerative condition and the delusion may never end.
Both no doubt lead to fascinating experiences but they're intrinsically non-sense. There are tantalizing connections to be made that are _just_ out of grasp, and always will be.
As a child I once had a fever so high that Lego blocks began to fall from the ceiling and stack up around my bed. I ran out of the room before I could be crushed. Also as I child I learned how to lucid dream; only marginally less non-sensical, though at least there's the interplay between conscious thinking and the dream world. I've also befriend a few far-gone schizophrenics over the years; quite fascinating but, again, it's pointless to try to unpack the delusion. For me these personal and recounted experiences _reinforce_ my appreciation for the "big illusion".
What bothers me about people who promote psychedelics is that they ignore the utter fragility of the human mind. Most people will come back from their experience but in others it can instigate or hasten mental decline (e.g. schizophrenia, psychological dependency). That may or may not have happened regardless, but if you want to promote self-knowledge, IMO the most important thing to _know_ is how precious and fragile the "big illusion" is, and maybe lead with that.
It's sort of like promoting fasting by exclaiming that hunger is awesome. I don't think starving people think hunger is awesome. Fasting isn't a way to learn that hunger is an illusion; it's a way to appreciate what you have and your relationship to it. (I've also experimented with fasting.)
I've never taken psychedelics and wouldn't do it recreationally because, frankly, I'm too scared. And it's unnecessary. More power to people who do but it'd be nice if they were less flippant about it.
I am apparently very sensitive to THC, because under what seem like mild doses to most people, I feel like I have lost my grip on reality in a deeply uncomfortable way. I have never tried more serious psychedelics due to fear for my safety and sanity.
I suspect many people have experiences that feel much more manageable. But I agree with your skepticism about the maximalist viewpoint.
We don’t yet fully understand exactly how these alterations work objectively. But they do suggest that our subjective constructions of reality are just that: constructions.
So the only illusion to lose is the entire nature of reality: in some sense there is more than one “reality”, as far as your brain is concerned.
I think this is the sober, science backed version of this notion and I think it is profound.
The human experience of the world (thoughts, vision, audition, pleasure, fear,...) is triggered by the nervous system (including the brain) that reacts on bio-chemistry.
Changing the bio-chemistry changes the human experience but gives no super powers. Most likely your thoughts on drugs are less smart but appear smart to you. Similar to other drug intoxications that disturb the normal brain activity and the sober judgement of your thoughts and experience of reality.
Granted, some people have been able to solve some of their problems with psychedelics because they are strong destabilizers.
I am in favor of using psychedelics as last resort medicine under supervision of a medical expert.
But I am against the promotions of psychedelics by people who are either lucky (no bad life changing effects for months or years because of drug induced trauma with PTSD or bad neuroplasticity) or suffer already from psychosis.
Nothing like a blanket statement in your first sentence to immediately discredit your argument.
"All black people... All psychonauts... All Americans..." When you look at it yourself... doesn't it sound stupid to try to argue this way?
There are now hundreds of studies showing numerous benefits to psychedelics, from anxiety, depression, OCD, anxiety, Autism, etc.
What more evidence and data do you need?
My opinion is as valid as the opinion of psychonauts. Maybe more so because I do not rave about great insights about the universe or gods or aliens or chakra or kundalini or third eye or old souls; New Age stuff whose proponents are famous for the promotion of altered states (!) by meditation or yoga or drugs.
> "There are now hundreds of studies showing numerous benefits to psychedelics, from anxiety, depression, OCD, anxiety, Autism, etc.
> What more evidence and data do you need?"
All noteworthy (positive) studies are published by medical experts.
All medical experts warn against the casual use of psychedelics. They all promote a therapy that might include psychedelics under supervision of a medical expert.
Only people who suffer from psychosis defend their delusions as real and important.
Disclaimer: NOT intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment
For example, if you imagine the brain as a big Bayesian classifier, which is filtering and shaping the inputs through the prior "knowledge", then the psychedelics block the prior and let you experience the inputs in a different way from your sober, usual, daily experience.
Now they don't completely block all the priors all the time, so you can consciously understand what's happening. Also, "inputs" don't come exclusively from the external world, they can be your thoughts, memories and so on. And without the priors blocking and shaping them, they re-surface (which is the basis of the name psychedelia) and show themselves in a new light. So you can process them again, in a better way, for example.
Based my reading of that, what these researchers are doing is not prescribing psychedelics to patients with mental disorders and giving the whole "take one time a day with food". What these researchers are finding is that the drugs can be very effective in a therapeutic setting with a guide (trained therapist or otherwise) to coach and conform the experience to reach a goal. In other words to those familiar with these drugs, set and setting. That is, mindset and surroundings are at least as important as the drug itself to achieving anything. Without that, it's just a drug experience. This is very unique compared to the drugs we're used to.
No medication will ever be a miracle drug, and most drugs show a significant decline in effectiveness once they're out of small trials and methods have standardized. However, any drug or therapy that sees orders of magnitude of improvement over existing drugs and therapies is promising and not worth dismissing simply because of a moral panic from the 60s or the Puritan ideals of our Western culture. Given time and the leeway to experiment, hopefully we will find uses for this class of drugs that have gone shunned for decades for no reason other than someone's moral qualms.
That's already more expensive than a year on SSRIs, as crazy as that might sound. Human interaction is shockingly expensive.
How does it compare to an intelligent friend/partner?
Not necessarily. Under some insurance plans under Medi-Cal (the California Medicaid program), you get unlimited therapy (once a week) for free.
I strongly recommend that anyone who qualifies for Medi-Cal (ie. if your income is low enough) investigate this option, if you are looking for therapy. You actually get your own choice of therapists, as long as they accept your insurance plan.
Also, when choosing health insurance plans, make sure to take a look at how much therapy they cover. You might be surprised. Some plans definitely cover much more than others.
If you'd like an introduction to his work I'd recommend his post on planting the opium poppy, I really enjoyed it.
When a small study shows that 80% of smokers stop cold-turkey after a single session and 60% of them are still abstinent a year later (versus 30% for therapy), it's hard to discount the results so long as other trusted methods are used.
Study using psilocybin for smoking cessation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27441452
Study using CBT for smoking cessation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4119230/
N = 15. I understand that there are a lot of regulatory obstacles to performing large-scale clinical trials into psychedelics, but the overall quality of the research so far is indifferent. A great number of ineffective and mediocre interventions have been made to look miraculous by a handful of small open-label trials. The homeopathy community has produced a mountain of similar trials.
Psychedelics do indeed look promising and have a plausible mechanism for providing very large effect sizes, but it really is too early to draw any firm conclusions. The authors have registered a larger comparative efficacy trial, so I look forward to seeing their results if and when they are published.
Can you even judge the sample size separate from effect size?
If 15 out of 15 people register an improvement it's a lot more meaningful than 3 out of a 100 sample, despite the much larger sample size in the latter case.
There is one psilocybin study by Compass Pathways starting this year in 8 EU countries with I think about 800 participants which if successful will pave the way for legal use of psilocybin therapy of depression. MAPS is doing another one for MDMA for PTSD, that's FDA Phase 3 in 14 international sites.
In other words it could be dispensed in a clinical setting, but not via a pharmacy or other "take home" pathways.
I'm thinking that must already exists for certain surgical anesthetics, etc.
There is a cognitive liberty argument to be made for the use of psychedelics (and all other drugs), namely that one should be free to alter one's consciousness as one sees fit, for whatever reasons one sees fit, without restriction.
Medical use is one legitimate use, but use as a sacrament for religious purposes is another, and so is use just for personal enjoyment.
Most people don't generally object to someone drinking alcohol for personal enjoyment (or using it as a religious sacrament, for that matter). One does not have to justify one's use of alcohol to anyone, one does not need to have a doctor's permission to use it, nor does one have to take it in a clinical setting. Despite the consequences of alcohol abuse arguably being much worse than psychedelic abuse, no one is seriously considering placing these kinds of restrictions on it.
It's true that too many people use psychedelics in frivolous, even destructive ways, and suffer negative consequences as a result. But I'm not sure if the best solution is to limit them to use under a doctor's supervision, as it narrows the potential of psychedelics and directs the narrative towards a medicalizing one: that the only legitimate use of drugs is medical. I'm not sure that's true. Drugs could be positively used towards for creative purposes, for enhancing love, for appreciating nature or one's own life, to enhance one's connection with others, independently of therapy.
I'm not sure if everyone's ready for that... we certainly need a lot more education on how to use drugs constructively rather than destructively. But if prohibition has taught us anything it's that people that want to will use drugs regardless of any artificial restrictions put on by the state. So perhaps the most constructive way forward is towards full legalization plug increased education and the offer of help for those that need it.
Correct. You can get cocaine when you're at your ophthalmologist, but not from your pharmacy.
Unfortunately, this is likely politically challenging as the DEA has a strong self-interest incentive to make drug laws as restrictive as possible, so they can get more funding and successfully prosecute more people.
LSD changed my life, and continues to do so.
If you live in California, check out MAPS and Psychedelic Seminars.
I’m a huge advocate because I have experienced first hand the profound transformation that occurs as a result of a psychedelic experience.
I know a lot of people are looking for that "magic-bullet" panacea for all their small woes (social anxiety, minor depression, etc) and have tried everything under the sun (exercise, all kinds of diets, all kinds of books). It's been my experience with the people I knew personally who did acid/psylocibin didn't always improve as much by my measure as they did by self-report.
I think the psychedelics nurture the ability to recognize that feelings and narratives are not representative of reality, that there are multiple realities bound up in which perspective you possess, or which one possesses you.
The ability to detach from self, to recognize a spectrum of truth, of perception, is one of the greatest benefits of psychedelic experiences.
I’ve used LSD for years off and on, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken it. So many I lost count long ago. It’s a beautiful experience, and it helps me and everyone I share it with to this day.
I have friends who remark what a profound life changing experience it was for them years after our trip together, and it always catches me off guard. You never know how profound it affects a person. Sometimes it takes years to recognize the shift that took place.
Either way, I think there is so much promise. I’m a huge advocate, and I think people who struggle with mental health issues should definitely explore psychedelics (I would caution those with schizoid tendencies/ family histories). Anyone with anxiety, depression, addictions, compulsive thoughts... there is much promise there.
>The ability to detach from self, to recognize a spectrum of truth, of perception
It sounds a lot like meditation and buddhist practice. I mean, I already hear that everywhere and there are some clinical trials with meditation too. But your narrative fits nicely. That's cool.
Edit: I've never experienced psychedelics myself, but have had been using mindfulness/meditation to come to terms with these same ideas.
I agree that many normal things help even simpler, such as good sleep, exercise, good diet, meaning work, connection to community/society/family, etc.
You are absolutely correct that there is no panacea.
The MD's website [in german]: http://www.petergasser.ch/
That being said I would never recommend LSD to someone undergoing serious mental health issues. IMO not safe at all, you can really end up in a bad place.
That's certainly the main reason for "bad trips". People just don't bother to read up on everything properly before the trip. So they do stupid things. And then it's the substance's fault.
LSD is probably not the best drug for this simply because it lasts for so long, but guided trips using psilocybin are definitely doable (and currently happen).
Indeed. I highly recommend reading "The Secret Chief Revealed", about Leo Zeff, a pioneering psychedelic therapist. His "clinic" was not a hospital with whitewashed walls, but more like a cozy apartment (it might have even been his apartment.. I don't have the book on hand myself right now). Here's an excerpt from the book that I wrote down. It doesn't talk about the setting much, but reveals some of his approach:
"Zeff did not like to refer to psychedelics as "drugs" rather "medicine". It could be used properly or improperly, just as morphine or antibiotics. Working as a Jungian therapist Zeff believed he was there to basically assist his clients in finding their own solutions, more of less waiting it out. With LSD the solutions came much quicker, often with a single trip. In therapeutic use of LSD Zeff had his clients agree to a basic set of rules: 1. they would not leave the house or place where the trip was taking place without his permission, 2. they agreed that there would be no physical harm or violence to them, him or anyplace they were, 3. reiterate the security agreement - they must agree that they will never reveal to anybody else where and with whom they had the experience without his prior approval, 4. there would be no sex during the experience, 5. the client had to agree to follow Zeffs directions no matter what, the client had to agree to follow his commands without question and have faith in him. Prior to taking the medicine they would then read a prayer aloud. The clients were asked to bring in photographs of family and important people and places in their lives as well as personal articles which would stimulate a therapeutic conversation which would take place prior to the effects of the medicine. Once the medicine took effect the client would lie down, put a cover over their eyes and headphones on so that they could listen to music.
"Music was played the entire time during the experience. Zeff believed this to be very important. This is one area in which I wish the conversation/text had delved deeper. The music which was considered so important is barely discussed other than to say that it was always on. It is mentioned that the music would very based upon the clients tastes, the impression I get is that classical or jazz were the main genres."
Here is the beginning of a much more recent account of psychedelic therapy (I encourage reading the full article, as it is excellent), the methodology of which is clearly influenced either by Zeff or other early psychedelic therapy pioneers:
"When Mettes arrived at the treatment room, at First Avenue and Twenty-fifth Street, Tony Bossis and Krystallia Kalliontzi, his guides, greeted him, reviewed the day’s
plan, and, at 9 A.M., presented him with a small chalice containing the pill. None of them knew whether it contained psilocybin or the placebo. Asked to state his
intention, Mettes said that he wanted to learn to cope better with the anxiety and the fear that he felt about his cancer. As the researchers had suggested, he’d brought a
few photographs along--of Lisa and him on their wedding day, and of their dog, Arlo--and placed them around the room.
"At nine-thirty, Mettes lay down on the couch, put on the headphones and eye mask, and fell silent."
 - https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Chief-Revealed-Myron-Stolaroff...
 - https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/09/trip-treatment
Instead I'd probably nudge them towards MDMA perhaps under proper medical treatment until they can work through their issues and actually get to the underlying problem (if it is in fact something that therapy can work through and not some chemical imbalance that needs treated by chemical means).
To put that in perspective, I've probably taken psychedelics around a dozen times and only truly achieved something I would call "ego death" once (a truly fascinating and moving experience, but that's for another time!). And a lot of the people I know would take fairly low doses and do things like go to parties or walk around Central Park. By comparison, the clinical amounts Pollan is describing make it virtually impossible to move around or talk in a coherent way, let alone go out into the world.
The podcast episode referenced in the article is also well-worth listening to. They talk about the current state of the research, the regulatory process, getting funding, etc.
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide, by Jim Fadiman (http://www.psychedelicexplorersguide.com/)
 - https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Chief-Revealed-Myron-Stolaroff...
Joe Rogan had Michael Pollan on recently, who wrote The Omnivores Dilemma and a new book How To Change Your Mind which talks about the benefits of hallucinogens. They also briefly talk about the psychotic breaks some people will experience as a result of widespread use and shrug it off like it’ll be fine. Aldous Huxley wrote a book about his use of mescaline called Doors of Perception which felt almost unintelligible and very strange to me as a person who has not (and will not, as my mental health is great but I’m certain I’m at risk of a psychotic break from hallucinogens due to family history) done psychedelics.
- you likely know a lot of people who actively or in the past were experimenting with psychedelics, but you don't know that you know them because it is socially taboo and their experiences aren't super relavent to how you are interacting with them
- if you can accept that idea, then you might also consider that given a larger population of people who've tried it with few ill effects your anecdotal sample might not be an accurate representation of the psychedelic experience.
That second point would reconcile the "strange fervor for others to try it, even from people who have had bad trips."
There are indeed plenty of people mental health issues floating around, and while it's true that you may or may not know if these drugs will trigger a larger episode, that kind of life altering aspect of psychedelics not very common in my experience as a person who knows hundreds of people who have worked or played with these substances.
Those ideas are also based in my anecdotal experince, and perhaps it comes from a willingness to question some "fundamental axioms from scratch", but at the same time maybe that's a) not always a bad thing to do from time to time, and b) if your fundamental axioms are good there is no reason that you won't come back to them.
Anyone who's been in a psychedelic community for long(stoners, deadheads, etc) knows at least a few people who have been temporarily(1 day - 1 year) or permanently fried from having experienced one or many trips. I feel like there is often a backlash against our regressive legal approach which tends to accentuate the positives and diminish the negatives but really we need information. These drugs can permanently change your personality in some ways that will generally not be seen as positive. Yes, they can have many good effects but that comes with a small risk of extreme side effects.
A visual distortion is a good example. When experiencing a visual distortion, it is possible to feel anxious about the appearance of such a distortion, or instead one could be indifferent to it, or even enjoy and welcome it. It need not be negative.
More research is certainly needed on the negative experiences people sometimes have with psychedelics (so far, most of the research has focused on the positives), but I have a strong feeling that how people approach their experiences, what they expect to happen, and how they interpret what happens plays a very critical role on whether the experience is positive or negative for them. This is the old "set" (or "mindset") part of "set and setting" that's critically important for their constructive use.
Also, it may be possible to work through any anxiety or negative effects one experience with a therapist. Panic attacks and anxiety, for instance, are things that therapists tend to be actually really good at treating.
My set going into the trip was that I was expecting to have a great time with friends. I was young and very positive towards psychedelics. I did not have a 'bad trip'. The effects came later.
As a fun fact, you can drive on LSD if you’re experienced with psychedelics and know you can trust yourself, at least under doses <150ug. Absolutely not recommending it to anyone, but the visuals don’t really get in the way. (I’ve only driven on acid once, when I witnessed a really, really bad skateboarding accident and had to rush a stranger to the ER).
IME most people handle psychs fine, some can handle practically anything, and some will lose connection to reality and basically forget how rational thought works on an eighth of mushrooms. There’s little indicators that have given me an idea of how someone might react, but you never know for sure. Thus why the advice to have a trip sitter is always given - personally I’ve never needed a trip sitter, but I’ve seen people who absolutely did.
It's not just the visuals that are the problem. Temporal distortions are common -- you can feel like time has stopped or slowed down or sped up or gone backwards. Also, you might get disoriented or confused -- not understanding where you are or what you're doing or how a steering wheel works while you're on the freeway is probably not the wisest or safest thing to subject yourself or others on the road to. Or you might get irresistibly entranced by a fleck of paint on your dashboard, which could look like a whole animated world to you, while you should be keeping your eyes on the road, etc, etc, etc.
You know how there's a warning not to drive or operate heavy machinery on some medications? Well, that warning should be on psychedelics, only times 1000.
Also I ended up with essential tremor, ticks, and restless leg syndrome. That runs in my family though. I probably have mutations in my dopamine system.
The first rule of psychedelics: don't worry.
How to not worry? Relax. Keep the body at peace. Be simple. Stay in the heart (stay with how you're feeling, not just with what you're seeing/experiencing). Let go. You cannot lose yourself because you are always yourself. Be grateful for the incredibly valuable experience you're having, even if it's difficult.
I honestly don't think we have the capacity to test existing psychiatric medication to the extent that we can provably demonstrate that over the long term, psychiatric medication + negligence (or simply, variance - controlled lab conditions versus real world) in mental health care is not a direct cause (more nicely, a contributory factor) of psychotic breaks for patients.
So yes, it's a risk, but it's not one that doesn't currently exist with what we do now.
As opposed to blindly "believe everything"? I would say the ability to question everything is evidence of a strong independent adult mind. The ability to just believe everything you are told isn't really "frail" (which I associate with old age and wisdom), but still weak in a childlike sense.
I don't see a problem with this line of questioning. There is lots interesting to consider there. Just some stream of thought:
What does tuesday mean anyway, why do we have weeks, why 7 days per week, what is the exact definition of day, could there be planets without "days", do dogs recognize a weekly cycle, would they if "freerunning" without human companionship, what about wolves who "howl at the moon", does that mean they recognize the lunar cycle, in that case maybe they also mentally divide it up into subsets greater than a day but less than a full month, how could we study wolf behaviour to try to figure this out, why exactly do I feel like there is a difference between sunday and tuesday, just because one is during the weekend or something more, do wild packs of wolves/dogs take regular days off from hunting/etc, what do they do in their free time?
I find those types of questions to be relaxing and interesting. As soon as I begin to connect those questions to either, their relation to my own awareness as a social being, that's when they become exhausting. That's because I stop thinking about the question as a pure question, and I begin believing I can know how both I and others think about it, in addition to any other number of details present (of which, not only are there thoughts to be had about how others think of those details, but how all of those thoughts will eventually influence how others think about all the minutia in addition to original thought, and how that will affect how you think eventually, and thinking about all of that - if you choose to, it doesn't end!).
When oneself thinks about how others think, oneself is still thinking about how oneself thinks. Not in the direct way, where oneself knows exactly how another thinks at a precise moment, but the thoughts oneself has about others influence the thoughts oneself has about oneself, eventually, even if you've thought all the thoughts you can besides the thoughts you've worked ridiculously hard to avoid, eventually oneself has to confront all the thoughts that remain, lest they prefer to just chant 'om'.
So gimme all the ridiculous, disconnected from reality problems you have. Because I absolutely loathe having to think about how my thoughts affect my thoughts and how my thoughts affect how others think their thoughts and how their thoughts affect their thoughts in the future and how those thoughts will eventually affect my thoughts. That's exhausting, you can't keep up with it. Even if you are right about how someone else thinks, they can always change how they think, for no reason besides they either know how you think, or they think they know you think they know how they think.
But otherwise. yea, I get that it seems like it can't be avoided. Because people seem to expect some degree of you thinking for them if they think for you, that's socially wholesome, I suppose. It's all absurd to me. Tuesdays.
Tuesdays are weird indeed.
Being forced to do anything will be exhausting, it is totally different from having the ability to do so if you so choose.
Because it is useful to divide up things into increments. 7 because there are 7 visible celestial bodies visible to the naked eye. Which the names derive from.
> What does tuesday mean anyway
> what is the exact definition of day
A singular rotation of the planet. Also known as a sidereal day. Or more simply put: sun goes up, sun goes down.
> could there be planets without "days"
Yes, these are known as tidally locked. Some planets have long days. Venus has a longer day than year (rotation of planet around parent star)
> I don't see a problem with this line of questioning. There is lots interesting to consider there.
Yes, but answers are also reasonably found. Don't just stop and think, but also seek. That's why we think differently about the person who is like "wow man, what even is Tuesday" and the person that discussed the historical reasoning and mythos that led to the naming of Tuesday and why having a seven day week is so pervasive throughout the world, leading back to ancients looking up at the sky (which was better than what most of us see, considering light pollution). Sometimes things are extraordinary and sometimes they are mundane.
There's a lot of usefulness into relying on historical knowledge. That's why we advanced so far. And by finding the breath of our current understandings you will find new and deeper questions.
Tldr: don't just question, find answers.
You just picked the easiest questions and left out the rest...
>"the person that discussed the historical reasoning and mythos that led to the naming of Tuesday and why having a seven day week is so pervasive throughout the world, leading back to ancients looking up at the sky (which was better than what most of us see, considering light pollution)."
You should question this as well. Have you ever considered there was a period where the ancients could not see the stars, moon, or sun due to excess clouds, smoke or dust blocking the view? Perhaps an asteroid hit, or there was a lot of volcanic activity, or whatever.
Imagine if it was always cloudy, perhaps this even lasted for a generation or two so that no one alive had ever seen any of that, then suddenly the sun appears through a break in the clouds. This would explain why the bible claims that light was created before the sun.
You were just saying you shouldn't directly trust people and I'm saying you should also dig. You asked a lot of questions, I don't have the answer to all of them, but somebody might. And that's why I say dig. Somebody might have already done the work. I for one am not omniscient, don't just counter everyone with "well you don't know everything", it isn't useful and is a non sequitur to the topic at hand. The answers were to illustrate a point, not to provide exactness. And your entire reply missed what I was saying because you were caught up in minutia.
> You should question this as well.
Are you talking about when the asteroid hit or are you suggesting a fictitious example? If the former I suggest looking at a timeline of human evolution and studying more about animal behavior. The latter, yeah thought experiments are fun. Who is saying they aren't? I'm definitely not. I'm not even disagreeing with your main point, I'm expanding on it. I'm literally saying don't just ask a question and stop. Ask a question and search for an answer! And you might like a story called Night by Isaac Asimov. It does discuss what is likely to happen with civilizations capable of communication, mythos (and included exaggeration).
> This would explain why the Bible claims that light was created before the sun.
We're taking about questioning things and you're taking the Bible as directly literal? Maybe you should question that.
I mean there have been too many times when I learned about a topic (eg historical event) from one source and internalized it, but then another source that focused on different details (not even conflicting details) told an entirely different story.
Regarding the bible passage. I just cannot imagine a mindset that fails to make the connection between the sun and the source of light, so what in the world does that passage mean? Perhaps its just another bad translation (another way to totally change a story).
for them a fruitful question is defined as something along the current trajectory. but they never ask if they're on the right trajectory because that wouldn't be something on the current trajectory.
see the issue?
So-called "bad trips" can be tremendously beneficial afterwards. They're "bad" because you get into the kind of deep, uncomfortable introspection that most people would want to avoid naturally. You learn things about yourself and the world that you probably wouldn't have wanted to know. That doesn't mean that you're going to go crazy afterwards. A lot of people come out better on the other side.
While such uncomfortable introspection could certainly occur in a bad trip, it's far from the only kind of experience that could make a trip bad. You could also find yourself imagining you're in something like a horror movie or in hell, dead, or dying.
Terrence McKenna and Rupert Sheldrake coined the term "necrotogen" (a play on the much more common term "entheogen") for the common effect that psychedelics have of being confronted with death. Such an experience often feels very real, sometimes even "more real than real".
That kind of experience is much more than simply uncomfortable introspection, especially when it's combined with temporal distortions and confusion that is also common in psychedelic experiences -- where one feels like what one experiences takes years, decades, centuries, or millennia, or that one is stuck in a temporal loop of doing the same thing over and over again, or that one can't escape from the distressing situation that one is in, or that one doesn't know who one is or where one is or what is happening or what is real and what isn't.
Are you really dying? Did you just murder someone? Or are you being murdered or threatened in some way? Did someone call the police or ambulance? Are you in jail or being tortured or abducted by aliens or dead and experiencing decomposition, etc.
Despite all that, I fully agree that one could learn a lot from such very negative experiences -- for example, how to cope with them -- and the "bad" trip could wind up being one of the best trips one ever had because of what it revealed to you about yourself and the world.
Also, it's quite common for such a "dark night of the soul" experience and/or ego-death to be followed by an experience of rebirth and of very positive, life-enhancing and life-embracing revelation (incidentally, such psychedelic experiences bear strong similarities to shamanic initiation experiences, where sickness, bodily dissolution, and death prefigure and even legitimize the abilities and status of the shaman). But even without the latter, it could still be very constructive, and one could learn a lot.
Aren't these both apart of life?
I know there is a good argument about setting, mindset and support being the relevant factors, but the possibility of multiple hour horror trips always made me think again. And again. Which in itself is a huge problem for people who get complications because of that fear.
There are some drugs who work similar to an "allergy test". Salvia divinorum for example has an extremely short duration of effect. A few minutes (<10) in comparison to the same amount of hours. With proper supervision the potential to detect people at danger without lasting complications looks extremely promising to me. Sadly I dont think anyone will care for such safety measures as long as the whole benefit of psychedelic drugs is illegal at the moment.
• extremely small portion
• trigger for a pre-existing condition
At this point though, any assertion that psychedelics cause anything more than a very slight increase in the background rates of diseases like schizophrenia would need a serious amount of evidence to back it up. Psychedelic use is common; something like 15—20% of the American population tries them in their life. And the general understanding of diseases like schizophrenia right now involves actual structural changes that simply aren't plausible consequences of infrequent psychedelic use. I won't speak toward long-term, frequent use, but by all the evidence I've personally seen, LSD in particular is extraordinarily safe for the population of people without a family history of schizophrenia.
I'd also like to point out that the original assertion—that psychedelics trigger psychotic breaks—itself doesn't come along with that much in the way of evidence. The original notion came about in the '70s when mental health professionals started seeing a higher proportion of their patents coming in after having tried psychedelics. I'm not sure if hard data was collected (or at least, I haven't been able to find any), but the most straightforward explanation for this is that this likely simply mirrored the increase in the background rate of people using psychedelics. If the background rate went from 1:10 to 2:10, then you'd expect that the number of people coming in with mental health issues will show a doubling in psychedelic usage rates. And in the fifty years since then, I've not seen much additional evidence for a causal link between the two.
Your consensus might be general among irresponsible psychonauts that are either lucky or accept psychosis.
The general consensus is to use psychedelics only as part of a therapy under supervision of a medical expert.
> an extremely small portion of the population
> typically a premature trigger for a preexisting condition
How does this reduce the danger of psychedelics in any way ? It increases the danger because you do not know in advance if the drug will trigger a mental disorder that you do not have yet.
A bad trip triggered by psychedelics might be your first trauma with PTSD.
You're using the words "irresponsible" and "lucky" here to trigger an emotional response that these kinds of risks are anything but rare, which simply isn't supported by any data. I "irresponsibly" crossed the street today. Am I "lucky" I wasn't run over by a bus?
> The general consensus is to use psychedelics only as part of a therapy under supervision by a medical expert.
And the general consensus is to always consult your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise program. This is a standard CYA position adopted by the medical profession.
Nobody is denying that mental health problems are real and prevalent. The link between psychedelics and the onset mental health problems is what's at issue. 15%–20% of the US population tries psychedelics in their lifetime, and 5% of US adults experience a serious mental illness each year. Mental illness is clearly a huge problem with or without psychedelics, and the zeitgeist of research into these substances in the past decade has been almost universally uncovering the ways they can be used to help the situation.
> How does this reduce the danger of psychedelics in any way ? It increases the danger because you do not know in advance if the drug will trigger your mental disorder that you do not have yet.
Many people have the underlying structural changes in their brain that indicate an imminent onset of symptoms of schizophrenia. In cases like this, it's theorized (but again, data is scant) that psychedelics like LSD can be a triggering event that brings about an onset of symptoms, but ones that were all but inevitable anyway. That's not to say that the loss of even a month or week of sanity isn't tragic, but I've seen very little in the way of evidence that occasional LSD use in particular is substantially more risky for the average mentally healthy person than any other recreational activity one might engage in.
The comparison with an exercise program is lame too. Of course an unusual big effort or training load is bad and might harm you or kill you.
A bad diet like paleo or keto might lead to an early death as well.
The numbers show that many people are prone to mental issues or have them. Not a small percentage but a big percentage concerning many millions.
Even responsible psychonauts warn against psychedelics in the wrong setting. But you do not know in advance if you will have good or bad trip.
All noteworthy positive studies are published by medical experts.
All medical experts warn against the casual use of psychedelics. Psychedelics should be considered as medicine and not as easy harmless miracle drugs or party drugs.
Your concerns are more relevant to the higher, hallucinogenic doses.
All medicines have a dose:response curve with a dangerous response zone starting somewhere along the increasing dose axis.
The benefits of responsible psychedelic usage greatly outweigh the risks. I haven't seen any evidence that permanent psychosis after psychedelic usage is statistically significant compared to psychosis in the general population. Honestly, riding your bike to work is more dangerous.
Something that's hard to quantify (because it's been illegal to study) is that people who use/abuse psychs before slipping into a permanent psychosis may have been on a manic upswing that led to the risky usage of the drugs. I've seen that happen to people in hypo mania with weed, alcohol, shopping, and the greatest offender and most predictable, cocaine. This can lead to PTSD and further self medication that can become a race condition that lasts a lifetime. The fear, shame, and personal loss can be crushing without the support to handle it.
Permanent psychosis or schizophrenia are so poorly defined. One of the hallmarks of schizophrenia is that it doesn't get better. So if you had an episode and they diagnose you then it does go away, well they guess you didn't have it. The more modern thinking is that schizophrenia doesn't exist. There are so many factors that lead into an unmanageable mental state, not the least of which is our bizarre modern environment. IMO it's a miracle most of us are able to pass as sane well enough to keep the trains running on time.
I just don't buy the "don't do it, you might go crazy" though. But if you feel like it's not for you, it's probably not for you. Thoughtful enthusiasm is so important. Also knowing what you're taking and where it came from.
If you or someone you know struggles with mental illness coupled with drug use, there is real help for it and free resources. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and it's Dialectical cousin are showing amazing results. SmartRecovery is a fantastic free resource. With free daily online chat groups (audio, video, and text) as well as in person meetups all over the world.
One of the main points of the article you link to is that schizophrenia does exist, with the caveat that it exists not as a single disease but as a disease spectrum:
"when Dr. van Os writes that "'schizophrenia' does not exist," taking care to place quotation marks around "schizophrenia," what he's mainly saying is that the term "schizophrenia" doesn't represent a single disease entity and should therefore be replaced with "something like ‘psychosis spectrum syndrome.'"
"saying that "schizophrenia" represents a variety of distinct disorders with different causes doesn't mean that it doesn't exist at all"
It concludes with:
"In the end then, the argument that "schizophrenia" doesn’t exist is far from compelling. Schizophrenia is a word we use in medicine to describe a familiar set of
co-occurring psychotic symptoms, with potentially different causes, just like "anemia," or "hypertension," or "headache." In some cases, it can be useful to think of it as
a categorical disorder, distinct from other forms of psychosis. In others, it can be best thought of as a spectrum condition, lumping it together with other psychotic
disorders. A more enlightened view of schizophrenia acknowledges that both can be true."
I very much agree with the conclusion clinically. However I've seen how the imprecise nature and the scarlet letter stigma of the disorder can feed into itself. Especially when coupled with (a lot of times secret) drug usage.
There are issues with co-morbid problems like autism spectrum+PTSD+psychiatric medications with unreported usage of substances that very much exhibit like psychotic spectrum disorders and because of a failure to identify the difference, people get the wrong care and sometimes it kills them. I tragically saw this play out with a friend of mine and in hindsight it was totally preventable.
I am definitely not denying that people have mental illnesses that need to be treated. Just saying that crazy isn't what most people think it is and crazification when it comes to psychedelics is something that fails to appropriately address a lot of factors. To think of psychosis in terms of absolute doesn't help people that struggle lead better lives and doesn't really cover the bases for self discovery and personal awareness either. In the end, not being critical of this kind of talk related to psychedelics makes it much harder for us to explore their massive therapeutic potential.
Psychedelics have been used to treat schizophrenia and depression before. Here is an excerpt from a paper on "Treatment of Childhood Schizophrenia Utilizing LSD and Psilocybin":
The first patient we treated [with LSD] was an eleven-year-old girl who
was dying of something akin to marasmus. Marasmus is a condition of
wasting away of the body, where nutrients are not assimilated. It
occurs in infants who have no human contact. They go into such an
isolated mental state that not even intravenous feeding is effective..
The girl was actively suicidal and would make every attempt to destroy
herself. She was in twenty-four-hour restraint. When let loose, she
would batter herself: smash her eyes, smash her head against the rails.
She looked like an old, wizened lady -- nothing but skin and bones, and
battered black and blue.
So the psychiatrist said, 'Why don't you start with this girl. She's
going to die anyway, so there is nothing to lose.' It was quite a
challenge to take as my first patient someone who was in such a terrible
situation. I was afraid that maybe she would die during the session.
But I didn't have any alternative, because this was who I was given.
We didn't use low doses with any of the patients. My guess is that she
got 300 or 400 micrograms [of LSD], and she weighed maybe fifty-five
pounds. She was just skin and bones, and was totally incoherent. She
screamed, babbled, and spat if you got near her. She was not in contact
with anybody, nor had she ever been since she was hospitalized.
During the session she started wailing like a wounded animal -- it was
the most chilling sound. Then she started screaming, and the pitch
would increase and increase. We tried everything to make contact with
her, to no avail.
After about seven or eight hours I was exhausted, and so frustrated that
I just yelled at her, "Nancy! When are you going to stop screaming! I
can't stand it anymore!" [laughs] She stopped and looked at me. This
was the first time she had made eye contact with anybody, and said, "I
have a long way to go, so just stay out of my way." That was the first
thing she ever said to anybody. Then she went back to screaming. That
was our session.
Hers was an amazing story, which we subsequently published. Once she
started speaking, it was possible to work with her more effectively.
She was a very intelligent girl, perhaps an ancient soul. She was a
challenge -- conniving and manipulative -- and she gave us a run for our
money. Her bottom line was always that she had control over hurting
herself; this became her ace in the hole. As she improved, she would
eventually just carry a Kleenex around, put it on her hand, and say that
the Kleenex was stopping her from hitting herself. So we would grab the
Kleenex and hide it, and she'd say: "Damn you! Damn you! Give me that
napkin!" There was a whole power struggle that went on for months.
Of course, during this time she was no longer in restraints, and she
could move about on the ward. She struck up a companionship with one of
the other girls in the program, and she was in constant contact with the
She must have had eighteen or nineteen sessions spaced apart by two or
three weeks, and every session was productive. Between these sessions,
we had to develop a whole treatment program for managing her, as she was
extremely bright and incredibly manipulative. One time she said to me,
"Well, I can't fool the day staff, but I can still fool the night
staff." Then as soon as she said it, I could tell that she was
thinking, "Oh my God! I've given myself away!" I looked at her and
said, "That's not going to last very long, is it?" And she said, "Damn
you!" So, that night I got together with the evening staff and clued
them in on what to do, because she was still manipulating the hell out
of them. Talk about a tough patient! But she was no longer hurting
herself. And although she remained in the hospital, she got well enough
to attend school.
 - http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v07n3/07318fis.html
The author suffers from psychosis.
Many people accept psychosis as normal.
PS: Removed the word "religion" to prevent a religious flamewar.
Can you uncensor it ?
Besides there is no "name calling" against the author of the post.
besides, in a clinical context, it's highly unlikely any kind of psychotic break could get too far out of hand; an astute clinician would recognize the patient spiraling out of their control and administer a correcting dose of an anxiolytic, or, failing that, a trip-ender like an antipsychotic.
I think the key for tribes in the amazon is the important ritual associated with these drugs. They aren't taken at a rave, they are taken with very serious purpose in mind.
Your thought-terminating-cliche however is clearly biased.
He wrote a book about it also: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594204225
tl;dr: take alpha lipoic acid (ideally na-r-ala) when rolling to prevent a reactive oxygen species/inflammatory cascade
But I'm concerned about the subtler, not-obviously-harmful-but-not-necessarily-desirable ways in which they permanently alter the brain. Slate Star Codex has a few recent articles that are worth considering:
It's a risk that should be taken very seriously, but if you're just taking a low dose of mushrooms once a year or so it's not a huge risk.
Is it reasonable to assume a direct chemical action as the cause here? We accept that e.g. PTSD results from experienced trauma, and psychedelics like LSD can certainly induce very intense mental states. Could that not be enough to explain "flashbacks" etc?
I don't think so. There might be a chemical cause, but to me the correlation with anxiety makes it more likely that it's a state-shifting phenomenon, more like depression.
they could be especially effective in mitigating TBI if taken right before the game :)
So their strategy is:
a) eternal astro-turfing and fear mongering in forums such as this one.
b) developing new substances which may have similar effects to LSD etc. (even if less successful) and can be patented.
The back market produces new drugs on a regular basis in order to work around legislation. Legitimate drug companies can do the same (but with proper studies) for the sake of patenting.
And even if existing molecules turn out best, there is always a small tweak that can be made. Adderall for instance is good old amphetamine, but with a specific isomer ratio and salts, so it can be patented.
There's a very long road between showing that these drugs promote neuritogenesis and proving their clinical effectiveness.
Before anyone gets upset, I'm not saying that pills are bad, I'm just saying that many rely on them without making an effort to make other positive changes to their life.
There's a reason why people who lift joke that the heaviest weight in the gym is the front door.
One approach that has worked well for many is establishing positive habits to displace negative ones. That takes a while, but there are tricks to help, like having a group to hold you accountable.
Depression is like I'm sitting on your chest and tell you that breathing is easy and all you need is to do it rhythmically.
Depression is like that day your brain doesn't function properly after not sleeping during the night, but every day for years and regardless how much you sleep.
Depression is not a bad habit, just like the flu is not a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Furthermore, what is somewhat amazing is that, on a Good Day (or less depressed or in-remission day, or whatever one wants to call it), one can also look back on a Bad Day, just yesterday, and be mystified why that seemingly dead simple task , seemed completely overwhelming to the point of impossibility.
Like many diseases of the brain, including dementias and schizophrenia, the sufferer can seem and even be fully functional when the disease isn't (as) active, including being prone to falling for the same fallacies as everyone else.
In the throes of the symptoms, however, the brain just isn't working the same, so it's not fair, compassionate, nor reasonable to extrapolate about habit formation or responsibility from an unafflicted brain. It can get a bit too easy to blame the victim that way.
None of this is to say that encouraging good habit formation or increased patient self direction/determination can't be helpful, when possible. I'm just saying not to start with that as an assumption and that it likely isn't even possible for the more severe cases.
 taking out the trash, running the dishwasher, or even just getting out of bed
If you think the two are anywhere near each other in terms of instantaneous effectiveness, you must be tripping. Exercise can take months to possibly help. A single good trip can fix years of depression, months forward.
Olympic weightlifting is actually one of the safest sports. But most people who lift are doing body building or more sport-specific training, which is where you see most of the injuries.
Meanwhile, I commute by motorcycle exclusively five days a week and have never missed work due to or come to work with an injury. The safeness of any given activity is relative to each individual and their training.
They're actually required to be amateurs, but otherwise yeah. :-)
Your typical gym-goer does all kinds of other stuff though, like crossfit and similar nonsense, which is highly injury prone.
The "classic" (i.e. Olympic) exercises, is a very safe sport.
Second, anyone who thinks psychedelics are a shortcut or an easy way to do something obviously haven't experienced them.
But this is how the early experiments with ketamine are being described - as a near instant treatment that takes a couple of hours and lasts for months.
I highly recommend doing more research before pushing exercise as a more moral (or whatever, 'safer' if you prefer, but I suspect most opposition is on old-fashioned moral grounds) alternative. The hand-me-down moralisms about drugs have got to stop, especially in a world of legitimate alcohol and prescription drug use. It's time to question what the authorities have been legitimizing versus stigmatizing. The opioid crisis and long-time cannabis prohibition aren't enough to cause questions about the impartiality of the status quo?
I recommend ignoring such persons on the grounds that listening to them is likely to cause harm and unlikely to be beneficial.
On a more nuanced note, different things work for different people, and gyms aren't the optimal mental healing environment for everyone.
If you're gonna arrange everyone on a hypothetical comfort spectrum between gym and library, it seems reasonable that some people would be more likely to seek mental help if it came in the form of taking a tab under supervision from a qualified professional in a private room than they would if they have to go lift in the company of a bunch of loudly moaning middle-aged men hell bent on proving to the room at large that they are the highest quality specimen of humanity in the room. Lets not be elitist about the paths to mental health, options are good.
It's about half an hour a day, that's all you really need.
True, if you can't spare half an hour, then you've got greater issues.
The latter part of your argument I personally have never ever once experienced, nor have anyone I known experience it outside of the gym at high school. People grunt when exerting effort, everyone wears headphones anyway. And even then, you don't need to go to the gym to lift, calisthenics are perfectly fine for those with no access/no desire to go the gym.
Unless you don't have a car, or live in a congested city, or live outside the city, in which case it can be half an hour of commuting time before you get your half hour of exercise. It's also ~$60 a month, which not everyone can spare. Your statement also assumes people aren't working two jobs, and aren't working shift work (or have access to a 24h gym, which not everyone does).
Calisthenics, or bodyweight, exercises are perfectly viable for becoming fit and require nothing than you being able to find a nice spot on a floor. If this hypothetical person is that strapped for time, then how do they even get any sleep? That's an even bigger issue than not being able to work out consistently.
Oh, I see! You're proposing fixing the widening class gap in most western countries. Sign me up!
Then we'll all follow your example.
However, you can really only do that between april and november here. There's four months of the year where going on any meaningful hike is absolutely only for people who are totally dedicated and have thousands of dollars of gear, plenty of experience and have been guided on that specific track during winter at least once. Those are the same four months when there's no sunlight and the seasonal depression sets in. I'm not in that league and I'm not embarrassed about it.
The whole "just exercise, it's great and easy" shtick is kinda naive and TBH vaguely annoying. Lots of people, even quite wealthy people, live in circumstances where it's actually just not easy, at least not all the time, and exercise kinda only works for mental health if it's regular. You should see the tires on the bikes that the cyclists who try to keep form during the winter here have to use just on city pavements.
But then if you have that time, why not use it for bodyweight exercise at home?
It costs absolutely nothing, requires no equipment, and weather is not an issue. You could be getting quality exercise for free during the same time that you would have otherwise spent hiking.
If you're open to trying it, check out the bodyweight fitness sub on reddit and their recommended routine.
 - https://www.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness/
 - https://www.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness/wiki/kb/recommend...
What I'm arguing strongly against is the notion that exercise is a magical solution that can suit any lifestyle, any country and any economic situation. It's not been so long since I was working a job with a 2.5 hour commute each direction that I find it easy to listen to people with cozy and secure 9-5 jobs in lovely temperate latitudes condescendingly explain how there's no possible excuse for struggling to find time for regular exercise without calling them out on their shit. Offering better results-for-time options for mental health is not indulging the indolent.
For everything else I agree.
Exercise might help prevent mental ill health, and it's important because mental health meds have severe impact on physical health, but it's probably not a great treatment option, even if you can get people to comply with the treatment.
Exercise is moderately better than nothing, but only if you include weak studies. As soon as you only include good studies the efficacy drops off.
There has to be a more comprehensive study done on its neurotoxicity. Or more studies in general. But who will pay for it and why?