Feeling Isolated?

Authored by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,

  • Does anyone else in your life share your concerns for the future?

  • Is there someone you talk with regularly about the unsustainability of our current economic and ecological trajectories?

  • Do you have friends and/or family members who support your efforts to develop a more resilient lifestyle?

If you answered “no” to these questions, you’re not an outlier. In fact, the #1 most commonly-reported complaint we hear from Peak Prosperity readers is that they feel alone and isolated when it comes to the warnings delivered in The Crash Course.

The end of economic growth. Declining net energy. Accelerating resource depletion. These are MASSIVE existential threats to our way of life — to our species’ survival, even. Most PPers can’t comprehend why *everyone* isn’t obessively talking about these dangers.

But very few people are. Truthfully, most don’t want to; for a wide variety of reasons.

So that leaves us, the conscientious critical thinkers, alone by ourselves to worry and plan.

Does this sound like you? If so, read on…

Wired For Connection

Humans are biologically wired for social connection.

Until just recently, historically-speaking, humans typically existed in small tribal groups of 30-60 people, where the degree of unity and cohesiveness of the group directly determined its odds of survival. Facing constant adversity from the weather, predators, other tribes, etc — every member of the group had a role and a duty to perform. 

We’ve delved into this topic deeply in the past, particularly in our podcast with Peabody Award-winning author Sebastian Junger.

In his book Tribe, Junger observes how far modern life is from the conditions our distant ancestors evolved from. We are so dis-connected from each other now that the lack of community is manifesting in alarming ways in today’s society.

Junger focuses on the challenges that soldiers, Peace Corps volunteers, war refugees, and others who have similarly banded together under adverse conditions — as our distant ancestors did — face when re-integrating into peaceful, civilian life. Depression, addiction and suicide are all-too common responses as they struggle to find meaning in their daily lives, which now feel unfulfillingly superficial and lonesome compared to the “real-ness” and “alive-ness” they’d experienced before.

Despite the often-horrible conditions they were subject to, many guiltily admit to Junger that they preferred life under duress — facing threats like bullets, disease, or cancer. What does that reflect about quality of life in our current society?

In the case of US veterans, they’re committing suicide at the rate of over 20 deaths per day — nearly one every hour. And they’re dying of opioid drug overdoses at twice the rate of the civilian population. While there are many reasons behind this, Junger is convinced from his research that “leaving the tribal closeness of the military and returning to an alienating and bitterly divided modern society” is a root cause.

An Epidemic Of Loneliness

This alienation and division isn’t only being felt by veterans.

In a world of digital devices and social media, our interaction with other humans is becoming increasingly virtual. In the sprawl of suburbia, we live in densly-packed cul-de-sacs yet hardly know our next-door neighbors’ names. The fast-growing wealth gap is forcing the 99% to work harder just to make ends meet, leaving little time left in the week for socializing or family interaction.

The US is now experiencing an “epidemic” of loneliness, according to a study released by Cigna last month. Perhaps not surprising given that their cohort is the first to grow up with smartphones in hand, those in Generation Z are the worst off:

Gen Z is the loneliest generation, survey reveals (CNBC)

Loneliness among Americans has reached “epidemic levels,” according to health service company Cigna’s U.S. Loneliness Index, released Tuesday.

The index, which surveyed over 20,000 U.S. adults, found that nearly half of survey respondents reported sometimes or always feeling alone (46 percent) or left out (47 percent) and younger generations feel much lonelier than older ones.

For Cigna’s report, survey respondents were evaluated on their loneliness using the UCLA Loneliness Scale, a 20-item questionnaire that was developed to assess subjective feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

Gen Z adults surveyed (ages 18 to 22), are the loneliest, according to the report. More than half of Gen Zers identified with 10 of the 11 feelings associated with loneliness, according to the survey, including feeling like people around them are not really with them (69 percent), feeling shy (69 percent) and feeling like no one really knows them well (68 percent).

“While we know that this is a group that is making life changes, these findings give us a surprising understanding of how this generation perceives themselves,” Douglas Nemecek, M.D., chief medical officer for Behavioral Health at Cigna, tells CNBC Make It in an email. “It’s something that we need to explore to understand how we can address it. And that’s what we’re planning to do.”

If you’re a parent to any Gen Zers, this photo really hits home:

The ramifications of living life through the filter of social media are beginning to become clear.

recent study by Harvard Business Review confirms what most parents have long suspected: the more we use Facebook, the worse our reported physical health, mental health and life satisfaction. Even top former executives from Facebook have gone public with their fears that it’s “ripping apart society” by “exploiting a vulnernability in human psychology”.

It’s little wonder why Gen Z feels so crummy.

But it’s not just the youth suffering. According to former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, at least 40% of all American adults report feeling lonely, with reported loneliness rates doubling since the 1980s:

There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades. 

During my tenure as U.S. surgeon general, I saw firsthand how loneliness affected people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds across the country. I met middle and high school students in urban and rural areas who turned to violence, drugs, and gangs to ease the pain of their loneliness. I sat with mothers and fathers who had lost sons and daughters to drug overdoses and were struggling to cope alone because of the unfortunate stigma surrounding addiction. And I met factory workers, doctors, small business owners, and teachers who described feeling alone in their work and on the verge of burnout.

During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.

(Source)

How concerned should we be about this loneliness epidemic?

Very.

Medical research shows a direct and pronounced link between social isolation and early mortality. Here’s a scary set of statistics:

Living with air pollution increases your odds of dying early by 5%. Living with obesity, 20%. Excessive drinking, 30%. And living with loneliness? It increases our odds of dying early by 45%

(Source)

Understanding Loneliness

In order to improve the situation, it’s important that we understand what our loneliness is trying to tell us.

Sadly, in our current society, loneliness comes with a lot of shame. That if we’re not popular, if we’re feeling apart from others, then something is wrong with “us” (vs our culture).

That leaves many of those feeling lonely to suffer in silence and to withdraw further, worsening the situation.

As popular author and social scientist Brené Brown cautions:

We feel shame around being lonely (as if feeling lonely means there’s something wrong with us), even when it’s caused by grief, loss, or heartbreak. This isn’t just sad – it’s actually dangerous. We’ve evolved to react to the feeling of being pushed to the social perimeter by going into self-preservation mode: when we feel isolated, disconnected, and lonely, we try to protect ourselves. That means less empathy, more defensiveness, more numbing, and less sleeping. In this state, the brain ramps up the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening – narratives that often aren’t true and exaggerate our worst fears and insecurities.

(Source)

This withdrawal away from the world is exactly what we DON’T need when we experience loneliness, warns University of Chicago neuroscientist John Cacioppo.

His research supports Junger’s claim that humans are hard-wired for community; that “our neural, hormonal, and genetic makeup support interdependence over independence”.

To Cacioppo, the feeling of loneliness is simply another way our body tells us we’re becoming deficient in a critical nutrient — just as thirst and hunger do. In his mind, “Denying you feel lonely makes no more sense that denying you feel hunger.”

So when we feel lonely, we need to recognize that signal for what it is. And just as feeling hungry sends us shuffling off to the pantry, feeling lonely should motivate us to make an effort to engage directly with others. We need to fight past the things that tempt us to retreat inwards —  such as our current culture’s norms of shame and the false sense of connection/relief that digital media offers.

Creating Connection

So how can the lonely find connection?

Well, first, it’s important to understand that when it comes to social connection, quality of relationships matters more than quantity.

As Susan Pinker details in her book The Village Effect, you don’t have to be a social butterfly to experience the benefits of connection; you just need a few relationships that actually matter. But they have to be face-to-face, in-the-flesh interactions.

OK, so how does one go about creating these kind of face-to-face interactions?

Glad you asked. Here are several resources that offer specific guidance for doing just that:

In addition to the above, Chris and I are continuing to do our best to create opportunities for the like-minded PP crowd to convene in person. Consider coming to our annual Seminar in California next year, or attending one of our 1-day city Summits  — our next one will be in New York City in September (details to be announced on this website soon). Over the years, these gatherings have spawned many great friendships.

And in the meantime, if you’re feeling weighed down by loneliness, or the angst of being the only one you know who “gets it” when it comes to the material we discuss on this website, we recommend considering seeking the guidance of a professional therapist who understands the Peak Prosperity mindset. We’ve seen it work wonders. If you’re having trouble finding one, here’s a therapist we refer people to (full disclosure: she’s my wife!).

Lastly, while not “in-the-flesh”, we’ve built a very special online community here at PeakProsperity.com, where truth-seekers and action-oriented people from all over the world gather to exchange ideas and engage constructively with one another. If you’re feeling isolated in your life, lean into this community. Share your thoughts. Reach out.

We’ll reach back.

Information Overload: 7 In 10 Americans Are Overwhelmed By News, More Among Republicans

n a period in which most Americans feel mentally exhausted by news flow — from Facebook’s trending stories to Twitter’s hashtags to Trump’s spontaneous tweeting — and of course, how could we not forget, the mainstream media’s constant barrage of very fake news, approximately 70 percent of Americans feel “overwhelmed by the amount of news there is,” according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted from Feb. 22 to March 04, 2018.

Nearly 68 percent of Americans feel mentally exhausted by the high-rate of news in the modern era, compared with just 30 percent of Americans who enjoyed the amount of news they get. Pew said today’s “feelings of information overload” is similar to how Americans felt during the 2016 presidential election.

While it certainly seems like Americans are consuming too much media, Republicans are experiencing more news fatigue than anyone else. Roughly 77 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are mentally drained from the constant bombardment of news headlines, compared with just 61 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, said Pew.

The report detailed that avid news watchers were less likely to experience mental fatigue than those who sparingly read headlines. For those who chase headlines “most of the time,” 62 percent reported psychological exhaustion, meanwhile, 78 percent of those who less frequently get news say they are overwhelmed.

Americans who regularly criticized the mainstream media as fake news were the most “worn out.” About 80 percent of Americans said the mainstream media were doing “not too well” or “not at all well” in factually covering stories — acknowledged the most exhaustion. Americans who said the news media did “fairly well,” 69 percent reported mental fatigue. Only 48 percent of those who claimed news organizations do “very well” said they were worn out by news flow.

Pew said white people had a higher probability of feeling fatigued from the news than black or Hispanic people. The report also highlighted women generally feel more tired than men from news headlines.

In a deeply divided nation, when Republicans religiously follow Fox News and Democrats are mindlessly blasted with very fake news from CNN, it is understood that Americans are living in a stressful period.

Maybe the echoes of the Strauss–Howe generational theory, the Fourth Turning, is alive and well as the awakening and the unraveling of the empire has flung this country into a full-blown crisis — first observed in news headlines and then reflected among its citizens’ mental fatigue.

The human brain which created this modern world is just not wired to process the vast amounts of information from news networks and social media. Americans are sleepwalking into a period of too much stimulation in tense periods, which could result in irrational decision making. America is stressed — its people are stressed — and there is just too much damn news. What could go wrong from here?

DOJ Reneges On Commitment To Provide Trump Russia Docs To Congress

Authored by Sara Carter,

  • DOJ officials limit a briefing on new documents to a select few Congressional members

  • The briefing is planned to take place during the first two days of the North Korea Summit in Singapore, when all eyes will be on the negotiations

  • Sources worry the documents provided will be heavily redacted

  • A source says during a May 24 Congressional meeting with DOJ, the department argued with congressional members over who would have access to the documents

The Department of Justice reneged on a commitment to provide access to documents they promised to congressional lawmakers by Thursday morning. Instead, DOJ issued a press release after midnight suggesting they will only meet with a group of select lawmakers to discuss the matter on the same day the North Korea summit opens in Singapore, according to numerous sources and a DOJ statement.

Moreover, the Justice Department also issued new stipulations for briefing congressional members and limited the meeting with only the Gang of Eight, which is comprised of eight leaders within Congress who are briefed on classified intelligence matters.

These sources claim that briefing Gang of Eight lawmakers restricts the dissemination and discussion of the documents that will be taken for review. Although the DOJ contends that the documents are highly sensitive material, in reality, these documents are not considered to contain high-level national security information.

So while it seems that DOJ is complying, congressional sources say it means that the documents provided may be highly redacted.

A source familiar with the discussions stated that the documents, “…do not rise to Gang of Eight level material requiring such strict rules that would limit those members to discuss the material with other lawmakers.”

Lawmakers are also questioning the Justice Department’s decision to provide the documents early next week during the highly anticipated start of the North Korea summit. A senior Justice Department official announced the briefing is, “expected on Monday or Tuesday, depending on members’ schedules.”

On May 24, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-SC) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), met with DOJ officials and FBI Director Christopher Wray to discuss Nunes’ demand on April 24, for specific classified documents related to the committee’s investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Russia/Trump investigation. According to a source familiar with the discussions, the DOJ pleaded with the members, “not to say anything about the DOJ having brought the documents to the meeting.”

In last night’s press release, however, the DOJ admitted to having the documents. A senior Justice Department official accused the committee members of not reviewing the documents provided at the May meeting stating, “The Department and FBI will also provide the documents that were available for review but not inspected by the members at the previous briefing along with some additional material.”

According to sources with knowledge of the May 24 briefing, the DOJ argued with congressional members over who would have access to the documents during the meeting. The DOJ also limited the distribution of the documents to “only those members in the room” and would not allow investigators to review the documents for their ongoing investigation into the FBI’s handling of the alleged Russia/Trump probe.

“This request for documents is not at the Gang of Eight level,” said a source familiar with the matter.

“This is yet another line of obfuscation, stonewalling and delay tactics by the DOJ. They were supposed to deliver the documents to Congress Thursday and then at the last second did what they always do: fail to keep their commitment. Now they are waiting until the opening of the North Korea summit in an attempt to bury it from the public.”

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fl) told this reporter that the DOJ’s failure to produce documents has put both Congress and the American people in a seemingly never ending predicament that does more harm than good for the nation.

“It’s the same old games and Congress is facilitating this behavior by continuing this back and forth with the Justice Department,” said DeSantis. The lawmaker noted that Congress has the power of the purse and authority to follow through with the contempt proceedings against DOJ Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.

DeSantis added, Americans are upset about this and have every reason to be. They could’ve turned these documents over more than eight months ago and answered our questions and we wouldn’t be in the mess that we are in now.”

A senior Justice Department official said in the press release, The Department and FBI are prepared to brief members on certain questions specifically raised by the Speaker and other members… The Department and FBI believe it can provide information that is directly responsive to congressional inquiries in a manner that is consistent with its national security and law enforcement responsibilities, and is pleased to do so.”

The DOJ official said with regard to not providing the documents on Thursday, “Although the Department and FBI would have liked to provide this information as early as this week, officials have taken a little additional time to provide the most fulsome answers to the members’ questions as possible. The Department and FBI take congressional inquiries seriously and believes that the documents provided next week will be valuable to the Gang of Eight.

City Officials Struggle To Fend Off “Unstoppable Juggernaut” Of Chinese Homebuyers

As we’ve pointed out time and time again, foreign – mainly Chinese – buyers seeking to park their ill-gotten gains beyond the reach of the Communist Party have – in addition to global capitals like New York City and London – favored a handful of cities in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Many of these cities – for example, Vancouver – have seen property values rise to levels that are unaffordable for local buyers.

While the influx of capital helped fuel an economic recovery in the aftermath of the crisis, home values soon reached crisis levels that demanded action by local officials. Some places have tried to use taxes to deter foreign buyers. In some instances, the taxes worked – at least temporarily.

But with the flow of buyers refusing to slow despite efforts by the Chinese government to stop money moving offshore, many of these cities are getting desperate. And after years of occasional headlines, it appears the crisis has finally become dire enough for the mainstream press to start paying attention.

Vancouver

To wit, government officials in Canada and Australia who spoke with the Wall Street Journal for a story about how Chinese homebuyers expressed concern that widespread foreign ownership has created bubbles in local real-estate markets. Even as Australia and New Zealand and some Canadian cities have raised taxes on foreign buyers, many are worried that home values will continue to climb, foiling policy makers best efforts to control them. Since it passed an 8% foreign buyers tax last summer, Sydney says foreign buying hasn’t let up.

Jon Ellis, chief executive of Investorist, an online portal for cross-border property transactions, said Chinese property buyers are an “unstoppable juggernaut”. In some markets with large Mandarin-speaking populations, locals can spot real-estate ads in Mandarin at bus stations and benches in the surrounding area. In response, Vancouver imposed a 15% foreign buyers tax back in 2016. When that didn’t work, city officials worked with the province on something more aggressive.

China

The Province of British Columbia has also passed laws to discourage the resale of unfinished condo units.

After the first Vancouver 15% tax failed to put a lid on foreign buyers, Mr. Robertson worked with the province of British Columbia on more aggressive steps. In February, province officials raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20% and expanded coverage well beyond Vancouver. Officials also imposed a new levy – 0.5% of the property value and climbing to 2% next year – on homeowners who don’t pay income tax in Canada.

In April, British Columbia also announced measures to deter the resale of condo units before construction was completed, to discourage investors from flipping units before they are occupied.

At the Beijing expo, Florence Chan said she originally wanted to buy a home in Vancouver but changed her mind. “The taxes are too high,” she said, adding that Melbourne is looking better.

Officials complain that fending off foreign homebuyers is like squeezing a balloon: No matter where you press, the air moves elsewhere. After New Zealand passed a ban on foreign speculators buying homes (a measure the IMF blasted as “discriminatory”) last year, buyers moved back to Canada. And investors are already looking to Malaysia and Thailand as the next markets ripe for foreign buying.

Foreign capital is now returning to Canada, driving the latest surge in home prices. Buyers from China and the U.S. have found Victoria, the small capital of British Columbia that sits on an island west of Vancouver.

Victoria was declared the world’s hottest new housing market last year in Christie’s International Real Estate survey, based on a 29% increase in annual sales of million-dollar-plus homes. Single-family homes in the Victoria area hit a record high of about $570,000 in May, up 9% from a year earlier, according to the Victoria Real Estate Board.

“Victoria is experiencing the same rapid growth in housing prices and sales volumes that have strengthened Toronto and Vancouver in recent years,” Christie’s International said in its survey last month. “If Toronto and Vancouver can be a measure, it is likely Victoria will continue to perform well despite [new] regulations” targeting foreign buyers.

Attention has already turned to Malaysia and Thailand, which now tops the list for Chinese buyer inquiries, ahead of the U.S. and Australia, according to Juwai.com. Two years ago, Thailand ranked sixth.

In Australia, Chinese buyers are believed to be responsible for between 10% and 15% of homes under construction. Chinese buyers prefer newer homes, and will demolish old homes to rebuild from scratch. The share is highest in Melbourne and Sydney, where foreign buyers account for a quarter of newly built apartments. At one swanky new development in Melbourne, Chinese buyers are said to be behind 10% of the sales.

Officially, Chinese citizens are only allowed to move $50,000 worth of yuan offshore every year, but there are many loopholes, including buying expensive watches and exchanging them for cash offshore, or exercising exceptions for having a child studying at college or living abroad. But unless the Chinese government strengthens its crackdown on money moving offshore and disappearing into foreign towers, it’s difficult to imagine how local governments will stop foreign buyers – after all, taxes also make the problem worse for locals. Over the next decade, some analysts predict Chinese investors could spend as much as $1.5 trillion abroad.

 

The Political Significance Of LSD: What You’re Not Being Told

Authored by Vikram Zutshi via Open Democracy,

The shifts in consciousness brought about by psychedelics could help to dissolve our fear of ‘the other’…

Microdosing” on psychedelic substances like LSD ingesting just enough to heighten cognitive faculties, enhance creativity, improve concentration and alleviate depressionis currently back in vogue among people not normally associated with anything remotely ‘countercultural’ in the USA.

The term psychedelic was coined in 1958 by British psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond and is derived from the Greek words psyche (“soul, mind”) and delein(“to manifest”), hence “soul-manifesting,” the implication being that psychedelics can access the soul and develop unused potentials in the human mind. It’s a contention that’s gaining increased acceptance in mainstream universities.

New York University, for example, is hosting clinical trials using psilocybin to treat alcohol addiction. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has been at the forefront of research in treating patients suffering from chronic treatment-resistant PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) with MDMA, commonly known as ‘Ecstasy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently designated its MDMA-assisted psychotherapy project as a ‘breakthrough therapy.’ Apart from MDMA, MAPS also advocates the use of Ayahuasca, Ibogaine and medical marijuana for a variety of conditions ranging from bipolar syndrome and drug addiction to autism-related disorders, ADHD and clinical depression.

The therapeutic use of psychedelics isn’t new. Between 1953 and 1973, the US federal government funded over a hundred studies on LSD with more than 1,700 subjects participating. Psychedelics were tested on convicts, substance abusers, people suffering from chronic depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenics and terminal cancer patients. LSD was also tested on artists and scientists to explore its effects on creativity, and on divinity students to examine spirituality from a neuroscientific perspective. The empirical data gathered from these tests was largely positive.

LSD “truly was an acid, dissolving almost everything with which it came into contact, beginning with the hierarchies of the mind… and going on from there to society’s various structures of authority” says author Michael Pollan in his book How To Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics. And that’s what makes this subject socially and politically interesting.

“It is curious to me that what I see as the two greatest threats – environmental crisis and [political] tribalism – these drugs directly address both those mindsets” Pollan told the Guardian in a recent interview.

“They undermine our tendency to objectify nature, to think of ourselves as separate from it. They undermine tribalism in that people tend to emerge from these experiences thinking that we are all more alike, all more connected.

If this is true, then those of us committed to social transformation must start to take the use of psychedelics much more seriously. But what’s the actual or potential connection between LSD and politics?

It was a Swiss chemist called Albert Hoffman who discovered the drug by accident in 1938. While conducting research on another pharmaceutical compound he absorbed the drug through his skin and staggered home to lie down on his sofa, where, “in a dreamlike state, with eyes closed”, he wrote later, “I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colours.” Hoffman felt he had been given the keys to unlocking the mysteries of the universe, “the mystical experience of a deeper, comprehensive reality.”

A few decades later in August 1960, Timothy Leary, a clinical psychologist from Harvard University, traveled to Cuernavaca in Mexico and ingested psilocybin (‘magic’) mushrooms for the first time, an experience that radically altered the course of his life. In 1965, Leary commented  that he had “learned more about … (his) brain and its possibilities…[and] more about psychology in the five hours after taking these mushrooms than…in the preceding 15 years of studying and doing research in psychology.” Leary became a lifelong evangelist for the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics.

Theoretical physicist Carlos Rovelli, author of The Order of Timesays his romance with quantum theory and the mysteries of the space-time continuum were sparked by his LSD trips as a student radical at the University of Bologna. “It was an extraordinarily strong experience that touched me also intellectually,” he told the Guardian. “Among the strange phenomena was the sense of time stopping. Things were happening in my mind but the clock was not going ahead; the flow of time was not passing any more. It was a total subversion of the structure of reality. How do I know that the usual perception is right, and this is wrong?”

Rovelli has spent the better part of his life grappling with the relationship between space, time and consciousness, fundamental concepts that underlie existence and how we simultaneously perceive the world and shape it. “If I observe the microscopic state of things,” he writes, “then the difference between past and future vanishes … in the elementary grammar of things, there is no distinction between ‘cause’ and ‘effect.’” The concept of time, he says, “has lost layers one after another, piece by piece.” We are left with “an empty windswept landscape almost devoid of all trace of temporality…a world stripped to its essence, glittering with an arid and troubling beauty.”

Large parts of the world are being polarized at a rate rarely seen before, helped in no small measure by social media ‘filter bubbles’ and algorithms that divide people sharply along the lines of nationality or ideology, their underlying human connections rendered increasingly irrelevant. Perhaps such deep hatred and suspicion of the other was always there, but now it has taken center stage and is being used as a potent election strategy by populist and hyper-nationalist leaders the world over. Like herds of cattle, large numbers of people are being programmed and deployed as pawns for a larger agenda.

Therefore, perhaps real change begins with rewiring our perceptual framework. Psychedelic substances have been ingested sacramentally by indigenous cultures to achieve this goal since the dawn of time, and now they’re being validated by the scientific and medical communities. The shifts in consciousness that can be brought about by psychedelics can help in dissolving the man-made boundaries or fear of the other that are implanted in our collective psyche.

While Silicon Valley bio-hackers microdosing on LSD to enhance their workplace performance may not be looking to bring about tectonic shifts in collective consciousness, there’s no reason to restrict the use of psychedelics to these groups and purposes. They could also work as a potent catalyst to awaken humankind to the dangers of toxic nationalism and rabid nativism that threaten to engulf us.