Welcome to Afterglow, a newsletter that will change your mind. My name is Charles Bliss and I'm a psychedelic journalist from Norwich, UK.
This week, watch my new video about how psychedelics have the potential to help us come to terms with our fear of death.
William James said the knowledge that we will die is “the worm at the core” of the human condition—a universally shared phobia that informs all our thoughts and actions.
We’re all terminal—and the knowledge that someday we will die can give rise to a feeling of dread or panic.
This feeling is known as existential anxiety. When we think of death, when we confront the limitations of our existence, we can be overwhelmed by the meaningless of life.
But the worm at the core can be removed without spoiling the fruit.
In this video, I explain how psychedelics have the potential to help us overcome our thanatophobia—and how research studies are proving that these drugs can help people lead improved lives of meaning and purpose.
Psychedelic compounds like psilocybin—the principal psychoactive ingredient in the psilocybe genus, known as magic mushrooms—can offer access to altered states of consciousness that can have a powerful and positive effect on how we perceive our own mortality.
Studies have shown that after just one session, patients experience deep and enduring transformation, gaining new perspectives on how they navigate and experience life and view death. This improves the quality of life for terminally-ill patients and reduces the distress felt by their families and loved ones.
Though it may be uncomfortable, confronting our own mortality can be incredibly beneficial for our mental wellbeing. Psychedelic experiences can help us learn to approach death without fear and gain a new perspective on life. By exploring these altered states of consciousness, we can reduce existential anxiety and increase our ability to live in the present.
So, if you’re scared of death and dying, I hope this video might change your mind.
🤯 Mind at Large
A breakdown of mind-blowing ideas I encountered this week:
📚 Book – Mindfuckers: A Source Book on the Rise of Acid Fascism in America (1972) by David Felton. I'm deep in research on a chapter for my book about the relationship between The Beatles and Charles Manson. After finishing Vincent Bugliosi's Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders (1974), I picked up Felton's book, which discusses a different strain of fascism that emerged in the wake of the acid revolution.
📖 Article – Should conspiracy-thinking be classified as a risk of psychedelics? A thought-provoking piece from Ed Prideaux about the relationship between psychedelic experiences and conspirituality. I'll be speaking with Ed soon, so look out for an interview with him in an upcoming edition of Afterglow.
“The conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life’s joy. One can experience an unconditional affirmation of life only when one has accepted death, not as contrary to life but as an aspect of life.”
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