Openness [Was: Re: Gingrich, Moynihan step down]

Max More (
Sat, 14 Nov 1998 16:34:46 -0800

At 03:24 PM 11/13/98 -0800, Paul Hughes wrote:
>True enough, but like I said it is a matter of degree. How much would depend
>on how strongly you feel versus your fear of what the tribe might do to you.

Certainly. I can imagine circumstances under which I would be much more private about my views on certain issues. If I were living under Stalinist Soviet communism with my current political views, I would be extremely cautious about how (and to whom) I expressed my views.

> BTW, would your decision not to write 'extravagantly' about
>psychedelic drugs stem from your fear of the tribe or a change of view on the
>drugs themselves?

>From the latter. I still believe that psychedelics can be valuable tools by
enabling the imbiber to take very different perspectives. Among all the silly ideas I've had under the influence, I've also had some valuable insights and forceful reminders of things I already knew but was not paying enough attention to. However, these substances don't make you change--the hard work of altering yourself for the better based on these insights remains.

I'm sure that the reduction of my enthusiasm for psychedelics has nothing to do with fear of the tribe. Back when I was using LSD, I remember an occasion when, accompanying a non-altered friend, I walked calmly and confidently between two uniformed policemen to enter a donut shop. I was amused by the policemen clustered around the donut shop, but not concerned about arrest since I felt in charge of myself.

I think it's unfortunate that the careful use of psychedelics is not part of any accepted ritual in this country, as it is in some South American countries. I saw a program recently showing the use of a mild psychedelic as part of a weekly (or perhaps it was monthly) ritual in a church. A study apparently showed that the users of the drug (I think it was ayahuasca) were physically and psychologically healthy than comparable non-users. The structure of the ritual use ensured that the drug was not overused, and that the experience was guided.


Max More, Ph.D.
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Consulting services on the impact of advanced technologies President, Extropy Institute:,