TLDR?: How about watching a 2 minute video instead?

I’m an investigative journalist, anthropologist and author of the New York Times Bestselling book “What Doesn’t Kill Us” and wrote about Wim Hof before he became the international superstar he is today. Before that I was better known for exposing organ trafficking rings and false gurus for Wired, Mother Jones, Playboy, NPR and Men’s Journal. I’m here on reddit today because I just released a new book called “The Wedge.” And, like every author who does an AMA: I’d love you to read it.

For the last few years I’ve been traveling around the world trying to discover esoteric techniques that help put space between stimulus and response--things that allow us to take control over our bodies’ autonomic processes--so that we can thrive amidst adversity. So, I studied the roots of fear in a neuroscience lab in Stanford by swimming with virtual great white sharks, I learned a crazy kettlebell throwing exercise where there’s constant risk of breaking a foot, plunged into sensory deprivation tanks at a brain research institute in Oklahoma, fasted, took a 5 hours sauna with Latvian shamans called “pirtnieks,” did MDMA with my wife in the presence of two clinical psychologists and ended my journey in the Peruvian amazon where I engaged in a series of ayahuasca rituals where I wasn’t sure whether I was going to go mad or find transcendence.

So, yeah, in other words, and completely unintentionally, my life sort of sounds like a summary of Joe Rogan’s greatest hits. (To make things stranger, I also produced a podcast about my wife’s year long search for Bigfoot--which I hear is also a Rogan passion, but I digress). I’ve been doing all these things is because I’m very interested in how humans respond to stress and how repeated exposure to difficult things makes us stronger and more resilient in any circumstance.

I believe The Wedge lies at the heart of just about every human experience. We evolved to use it. It’s a power that we all have when we’re born and start learning to use our bodies, but over time as we get comfortable in our environment we stop using it. My book is an effort to try to dig deeply into the concept and test out different wedges for myself.

I’ve also started a subreddit called r/wedge that I hope can be a place for people to explore this concept deeper and share their own experiences pushing their own limits and honing their own wedges.

Last time I did one of these people were pretty interested in my relationship with Wim Hof and the various things I’ve done in the cold. While I’m sure that some people will think that I’m crazy, give me a shot and I’ll do my best to answer all of your questions.

Oh yeah: Here’s some instagram and twitter proof.

1:50 PM MT: After almost four and a half hours it seems that the comments are finally slowing down with 617 in the feed. I will check back in a little later to see if I can answer more, but I'm a bit tired after typing pretty much constantly this whole time. Please excuse typos etc. There was a nice mix of skepticism and interest here and I did my best to address everyone along the way.

Comments: 1646 • Responses: 98  • Date: 

tamwafle2433 karma

It seems like you find extreme experiences - physical or psychedelic to some degree - to be more important somehow than quiet and sober moments. I am a practicing Buddhist and nature lover - especially backpacking and canoeing - who believes strongly in the importance of quiet observation of experience, reflection, and thoughtfulness.

With that background, I’m actually very put off by the philosophy behind your “investigations.” It seems like you approach life as an accumulation of experiences, notably experiences that can’t be attained by average people with kids, jobs, health issues etc. Is this not just like the accumulation of any other commodity?

Do you see any downsides to treating experiences as commodities to accumulate? I also note the exoticism of the experiences - Latvian “shamans,” ayahuasca - do you notice a specifically western, imperialistic approach to what you’re doing (“the globe has been explored already, but I can still explore and commodify [for sale in a book, at that] my exotic, cosmonautical experiences!”)?

To be blunt, this all seems like the product of an ADHD culture that fetishizes the accumulation of exotic and thrilling experiences. I am much more impressed by someone who can enjoy sitting quietly, or a good book and friends, or who brings mindfulness and this “wedge” to his interpersonal relationships.

gekogekogeko205 karma

Thanks for this well thought out question. And it's a valid critique. But I also find a great deal of solace in ordinary moments. Most of my life is made up of ordinary moments. Hell, I'm still in my pajamas as I type this comment. The reality is that it's all about contrast between stress and release. Between sympathetic and parasympathetic. Fight and flight and rest and digest. And most people in the modern world don't get variation.

tamwafle373 karma

Clearly you find extreme experiences as providing more meaningful versions of those contrasts, perhaps because it takes greater external stimuli for you to notice them.

  1. Do you feel any push towards cultivating the ability to experience those feelings without the need for more extreme external stimuli? E.g. cultivating a sense of meaning in ordinary life that can equal the sense of meaningfulness manufactured by MDMA?
  2. Regardless of how you personally feel about the above, do you understand how pushing for more and more extreme external stimuli can be destructive? For example, you are contributing to the commercialization of a spiritual native experience - the ingestion of ayahuasca - to sell books. Would you feel any personal responsibility for the commodification of this spiritual native ritual when western tourists who have read your book turn the ritual into just another festival drug experience?
  3. Do you understand or think about the possible philosophical destructiveness of your approach? I notice from your twitter that you have posted multiple times about your book reaching the #1 spot on bestselling anthropology books. It seems like the drive to be Number One, to have the MOST intensive experiences, to cultivate the "Wedge" to the FURTHEST of its potential, is a very pernicious undercurrent of our society. The bravado and competition it creates leads to people like Trump always having to have the largest crowd. It fuels the drive for maximal exploitation of natural resources, maximal growth, etc. Can't we just chill out and stop chasing things to their extremes?

I recently attended a screening of the Banff Film Festival, a series of short documentaries about outdoor sports. I was struck and dismayed that nearly every one of the shorts were about extreme mountaineers etc. who had to be the FIRST to do x or y outdoor feat. No one was simply enjoying nature as it was - it was all about personal achievement and overcoming adversity. Don't you feel like we should, I don't know, get over ourselves?

gekogekogeko283 karma

  1. Yes. You don't need to do MDMA to have meaningful experiences. But contrast can help make ordinary experiences feel more meaningful. Does that make sense?

  2. Commodification worries me. But this is the world that we live in and I try to get buy-in from the people I work with. When I asked the Lakota whether I could participate in a sweat lodge and write about it they said no. So I didn't. I was invited to Peru. I try to be respectful along the way. I'm not sure how I can do better than what I did.

  3. I don't think twitter is a great indication of what is in the book. And I was doing that tongue in cheek for what that's worth.

Should we get over ourselves? It's not all about ego. In fact, if you were to read the book, you would see that while there is an extreme element to me getting the message out into the world, the heart of what I'm trying to get at is how we're all connected. But there is a dualism there. You are welcome to judge me negatively if you like, but I do think that it's more valid if you know what I'm writing.

MrKekklesworth106 karma

I just want to say, bigups for actually addressing meaningful challenges in your ama. These types of questions are generally stonewalled. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to criticisms.

gekogekogeko92 karma

Thanks. I am trying my best to answer every question fairly.

flukz164 karma

Your wife searched for bigfoot for a year, which is relevant to me because I searched for unicorns for almost as long.

In your work with false gurus, did you learn anything from them that informed you to make up this ridiculous "wedge" theory?

gekogekogeko48 karma

I learned a lot from writing the Enlightenment Trap. I know that there's a dangerous side to all esoteric searching and have seen people die from choosing that path. I understand where you are coming from calling me "ridiculous," because I've lived through the darkest parts of that journey. Someone close to me committed suicide on a 10-day silent meditation retreat in India and I was responsible fro brining her body back to the United States. I've debunked false gurus who sold super powers to their gullible flocks. And I was much more shocked than you are here when, after meeting Wim Hof, that I could do the same things he could. But it's not magic, it's just evolution. And so there's a thin line between what appear ridiculous and what is possible.

DarthFinsta159 karma

Is there a way for non well off white guys to have this much fun?

gekogekogeko37 karma

Yes. I tried to shy away from costly interventions, but admitedly, flotation tanks and trips to Peru are expensive. However, the kettlebell throwing and breathwork are basically free (a kettlebell costs like $20 at Walmart). And you can really dig deep with just these things. You can also find all sorts of great stimulation in the outdoors.

Timesmyth155 karma

Could you please explain why you chose "The Wedge" to refer to this "power"?

gekogekogeko106 karma

The easiest way to think about it is a method of separating stimulus from response. When you put yourself into a stressful situation that new environment gets translated into chemical and electrical signals in your nervous system that then get sent to the emotional centers of your brain. There's an element of subjectivity to every sort of stress. And because of that you have a chance to change the way you interpret that stress, which, in turn, changes the way your body responds with hormones and other physical releases.

Cyathem49 karma

This sounds very much like a known technique called "mindfulness". How is "the Wedge" different from "mindfulness" techniques?

gekogekogeko27 karma

They're related for sure. I love Ellen Langer's work, for instance. And there are LOTS of different types of mindfulness in the world today. I see the Wedge as a bit more active than simple mindfulness, because it's not just watching the body, it's actively putting the body in stress and then controlling the reactions. So it's a conversation between the inside and outside world. Of course that's present in many mindful techniques--I just feel that word isn't as powerful as it was in 1985.

Cyathem19 karma

It seems to me that what you are describing is a process through which one can attain familiarity with the state of "mindfulness". Any description that I have heard of "the Wedge" seems functionally identical to Mindfulness. It is the conscious effort to separate your incoming stimuli from your autonomous response. You seem to be very honed in on the process of placing yourself in situations where this can be trained or sharpened and less on the physical phenomenon you are developing. Is that accurate?

gekogekogeko14 karma

As I said, I think there is a lot of overlap in the concept of mindfulness and the wedge. I even use a quote from Ellen Langer to open a chapter. The problem with the phrase the way it is frequently used is that it is often passive, not active. The way many people use mindfulness to remain just in the present moment, and that can make it hard to plan for the future. Of course, that's not everyone---it's probably just an issue of semantics.

Michel184634 karma

This seems to be a relatively old yet important realisation. The philosophy of Stoicism places also an emphasis on separating an event and the (re)action to it. It basically says, nothing in life is ultimately in your control but your reaction to things. So stop trying to control outer events or base your satisfaction on them.

gekogekogeko22 karma

Yes. The Stoics, the yogis, Buddhists, mystics in every religion and human potential movement all have a lot in common. The Wedge is my take on it, but we are all humans with same underlying biology. And we're all looking at the same stuff.

sonorousqueso12 karma

Haha so we ADHD peeps dont have a chance

gekogekogeko22 karma

I have ADHD, actually. I've found it to be a useful condition that helps my creativity. While it can make things challenging, I also see benefits.

notasouthafrican70 karma

Can you tell me about your series of Ayahuasca experiences and the wedge associated with them?

  1. Prior to Ayahuasca, had you experienced any other entheogens?
  2. What did you see/hear/experience
  3. How did it change your life? Do you still make the changes to this day?
  4. How exactly does the wedge tie into Aya (if I understand the concept of the wedge correctly)? Is it from the perspective of ego death and that actually nothing matters?

gekogekogeko175 karma

These are all very good questions and I don't think I can do justice to them in a reddit reply. Suffice it to say, It was a profound experience and not at all what I expected. I went into it wanting to connect with the universe--to have a really BIG experience--but instead, over ten days, the first two rituals were actually about my own shit. the plant ended up lecturing me about my addiction to video games. IT showed me how that addiction manifested, and recommended ways for me to kick it. I was disappointed by the trip. I wanted something bigger. The second time, I had no hallucination at all. But when it came time to purge I vomited up video games. Right there into the bottom of the dirty bucket. And after that the addiction was gone. I didn't turn games on for two years after the trip. When I ultimately did about a month ago I realized that I could take them or leave them. The third time I took Aya I met the universe. That's the super short answer.

jtljtljtljtl54 karma

That's because you are the universe experiencing itself. Your first experience was profound and exactly what you were looking for, you just didn't realize it at the time.

gekogekogeko28 karma

Yes. I love Alan Watts.

LookMaNoPride13 karma

Wow. You stopped right as it was getting good. Sounds you had your BIG experience.

MrMushyagi50 karma

Theres not much reason to bother trying to explain the big experience imo.

To the outsider, it can sound like the ravings of a lunatic.

To someone who has experienced it, it's just like "yeah, duh"

Edit: also, presumably he does explain it in the book...would take a lot of words to try to explain the experience

gekogekogeko24 karma

I do better in the book than in a reddit comment, but yes, it's a challenge to describe a psychedelic experience in words. These are things that are best experienced than told. But still we try.

Pdeedb63 karma

Did the psychologists just observe you and your wife peaking on MDMA or did they lead your experience with questions/music etc? Did you go in with a specific goal regarding your relationship?

With the ayahuasca trip - do you think you learned something new about how you operate in the world, and was it your first experience with psychedelics?

gekogekogeko154 karma

It started out with a cheese plate and them sitting in our house asking us standard therapy questions and ground rules for what we should expect. We drank the MDMA in a tea and they saw it start to kick in. They tried to guide the experience, but pretty soon my wife and I were leading the experience together, asking questions and having an extremely open conversation. The thing about MDMA is that it makes it almost biologically impossible to have a negative reaction to someone else's questions and comments. So we could get really deep without getting angry. If, for instance, one person says something provocative like "I hate your mother" then the other person won't just react, but will want to understand where you are coming from.

After the three hour session, the two psychologists said that it was like watching 8 months of couples therapy happen all at once. They were amazed.

Pdeedb29 karma

Thanks for the response! I think they used to use MDMA in therapy sessions back in the day (obviously a technical term) and having done something similar with a friend it's interesting that my experiences match up closely with yours. I'm curious whether you think such drugs, when used responsibly, could find their way into mainstream use?

gekogekogeko34 karma

Fun fact: My uncle was a pioneer in MDMA therapy in the 1970s. I don't know him well, but he was one of the founder of TM, too.

WhiteFlame4441 karma

Why are you searching for this wedge? Why does it matter? Will you accept the potential that what you're searching for doesn't exist or are you seeking to create the wedge through your search?

gekogekogeko31 karma

This is a great and ultimately existential question. I want to press my limits because I think it makes my life more full. I like to say that if life were a song then we can be sure it will end in a minor key. Which is to say, we're all going to die some time, and it's up to us to decide how we want to spend the time that we do have here on earth. I think part of that is taking on challenges that invigorate our nervous systems and make us feel alive. But there's no judgement against people who are on a different path. And to the final part of your question: yes. There are several things I tried (like nutropics, transcranial electric stim and a few other things) that didn't really speak to me.

RastyMess13 karma

Can pain be used as a wedge? I'm just thinking of times that I've pinched myself or bitten the inside of my cheek to maintain control of emotions in a high-stress situation.

gekogekogeko27 karma

Fascinating question. A lot of the things that I've done have involved some element of pain, but I wouldn't say that the pain is the goal. Biting your cheek during a stressful situation might help give you a physical release for the stress that you're under, but I wouldn't suggest chomping down too hard.

IndStudy9 karma

Whats one thing a person can do right now to increase the wedge?

gekogekogeko23 karma

If only because of my personal history with it, I really recommenced the Wim Hof method. The breathing protocols and cold showers are very quick, and easy to learn. The results are almost shockingly immediate as well. But if that doesn't appeal to you---try anything that is difficult, where you have an emotional reaction to that makes you want to avoid it (but not something actually dangerous like jumping into a fire). Getting over that anxiety is the first key to the wedge.

Ricer_164 karma

What'd you think of Wim Hof because on paper he seems like a crook but in reality the man is human Superman. Did you find any benefit in his trainings?

gekogekogeko4 karma

Yes. Meeting him changed my life. I thought he was fake, but he turned out to be real. But he's not super human. He just found some great ways to unlock our evolutionary potential. Anyone can learn his techniques.

ACRItoast4 karma

What is the most dangerous thing you've done in pursuit of The Wedge?

gekogekogeko5 karma

Probably asking my wife to come along with me for all these crazy shenanigans. Somehow we survived it all together.

But in terms of actual danger? Probably climbing the mountain with Wim. Both the US army and Dutch Mountaineering association predicted catastrophe.

jaap_null3 karma

His name?

Ben.

Ben Gesserit.

gekogekogeko3 karma

Lol. Fear is the mind killer.

Now where's my water?

TJ_Fox3 karma

I was seriously into this stuff during the '80s and I know how well it can work, when everything goes right. Have you ever read Rob Schultheis's book Bone Games?

gekogekogeko3 karma

That's super cool. What things were you trying in the '80s? I feel like there is a whole world of Wedge techniques that I didn't even touch on. And unfortunately now, I don't think I've heard of Bone Games, but I'll put it on the reading list.

teatimewithbatman13 karma

Did you by chance see hindus call this the power of the kundalini?

gekogekogeko3 karma

Kundalini is related, but very ritualized in how we understand it. I lived in India for 6 years and tried a lot of different things over there. But, certainly, everyone has been looking at the same physiology and mind body connection for a long time. And so we're all coming at the same physiology and drawing on each other.

purple-parrots3 karma

What made you pursue this way of life? Was there a clear turning point when you decided you were going to dedicate your life to this?

gekogekogeko4 karma

Yes, it was meeting Wim Hof the very first time. I was on a very different path before that and it changed my life. I'm still critical of some things that he and his group does, but I still have a very deep appreciation of the movement and practices.

Riji144 karma

I'm still critical of some things that he and his group does

Can I ask what some of those things might be?

gekogekogeko4 karma

I don't like that the group is run by Wim's son who doesn't practice the method and just about everyone who has worked with the organization has been alienated from it. I think the courses are too expensive. And Wim is being treated a like a guru rather than just the really interesting madman and door opener that he is.

Teh_Mongoose3 karma

Would you consider the Wedge a boon to stoicism?

gekogekogeko3 karma

Yes. They are compatible.

2dominate2 karma

That was fun to see you teaching Dr Oz the WHM. Do you have any unique tips that you like to share when showing people the method?

gekogekogeko3 karma

Oh man. Dr. Oz. It was fun to be on the show, but what we showed on TV wasn't a great depiction of the WHM. It takes at least 15 minutes to show it properly. MY tips are that you should focus on the sensations during the method, not the metrics--stop using a watch, and don't compare your results to other people's.

RaindropsInMyMind2 karma

Have you had any experience with the Wim Hof breathing method in regards to reducing physical pain? Any other experiences that might help with pain?

gekogekogeko4 karma

Pain is very psychological and the WHM helps. But I don't have chronic pain, so I can't give you a personal anecdote of how it has helped me in particular.

BreakingNews992 karma

What’s your diet consist of?

gekogekogeko6 karma

It's nothing special. I try to eat healthy. Mostly plants.

ChiefQuinby2 karma

Is this wedge the ability to foresee multiple possibilities from one reaction?

gekogekogeko5 karma

I've never thought of it that way, but yes, I think that is an apt description.

CharlieTrees9162 karma

Have you ever tried Ibogaine? Curious how Ayahuasca compares to it.

gekogekogeko2 karma

I have not. I have heard that it is hugely beneficial for combating addiction, but that experience doesn't call to me.

GennyGeo2 karma

When are you gonna be on the JRE podcast? Never is unfortunately not an answer sir

gekogekogeko3 karma

From your reddit post to Joe Rogan's eyeballs. I'd love to be on his show. But I'm not sure I'm famous enough for him.

bag_daddy2 karma

What is your opinion on Aubrey Marcus?

gekogekogeko6 karma

I honestly don't know enough about him, though I'd love to talk to him some time. The few podcasts I have listened to I've liked (like his one on ayahuasca). But I don't have enough information to have a real opinion.

TheRealSaucyPanda2 karma

What led you to begin your journey of exploration with the power of “The Wedge”?

gekogekogeko2 karma

It was after I met WIm in 2011 and discovered that I could control my body in ice water. Over the next 7 years or so, I did a lot of crazy things in the cold (most famously climbing up Kilimanjaro in a bathing suit). But I started writing this book because I wanted to see if I could apply the same principles to other stimuli.

sunshinewhy2 karma

Do you think on your pursuit of The Wedge, you discovered any other human truth ? Like meaning of life Et. Cetera

gekogekogeko3 karma

The conclusion of the book is titled " Death, Risk, and the Meaning of Life". And, I know that's a little over the top. But the short answer is that I think the meaning of life is to take on risks that energize us. Not things that will definitely hurt or kill us, but things where there's an edge and failure is definitely a possibility. It's only in situations like that where we really become full people.

arcalumis2 karma

What did your journeys tell you about yourself, did you gain any insight about the human condition?

Was there any enlightenment to find in the trippy things you tried?

gekogekogeko14 karma

I believe pretty strongly that the reason that we're alive in the first place is so that we can have experiences that matter. Life isn't supposed to be about getting a partner in highschool, getting through college, working a 40 hour work week, funding your retirement, having kids and dying comfortably in your bed when you're old. That's a fine life path, but it's not the only one that matters. I think instead we are alive so that we can take risks that challenge our abilities so that we grow into more interesting people. I certainly don't think I'm enlightened (I wrote a book once called "The Enlightenment Trap). But I do think that I'm on a very interesting path.

CieraDescoe6 karma

Don't you feel like these quotes are rather contradictory?

That's a fine life path, but it's not the only one that matters.

And

Life isn't supposed to be about [an ordinary life]

In the first, you're suggesting that an ordinary life - to sum up your statement - is worthwhile, but so is your life of unusual self-challenge. In the second quote, you imply that anyone who chooses am ordinary life chooses a sub-optimal life (at best). Is this truly a fair assessment? Do you see a path where people truly learn and grow and challenge themselves within a more typical path?

gekogekogeko2 karma

I see what you are saying, of course, but what I'm trying to communicate is that the default path that is presented to us in America isn't the only one that's worthwhile. I hope you're willing to forgive apparent contradictions. I'm responding to comments very quickly here and these are all first drafts.

maggiefiasco1 karma

I heard you on a recent Mysterious Universe podcast. I love those guys and your episode was really interesting. If you could collab with Benjamin and Aaron again on a new topic, what would it be?

gekogekogeko1 karma

Thanks! They're two of my favorite interviewers.

asubriples11 karma

How is "The Wedge" different from flow state?

gekogekogeko2 karma

You can get into a flow state using the Wedge. I have a chapter on flow where I talk about throwing kettlebells around to give you just enough danger to activate your nervous system and keep you focused. The wedge is about creating space between stimulus and response, but it's ALSO about removing the wedge so that your actions become automatic--and that's what a flowstate is.

FMRL_11 karma

where I engaged in a series of ayahuasca rituals where I wasn’t sure whether I was going to go mad or find transcendence.

Are you saying that you were unsure heading into the rituals, or while you were in them? Please elaborate on your takeaways from those experiences.

gekogekogeko1 karma

Yes. Ayahuasca was the big adventure at the end of the book. I was really apprehensive about it. I worried that I'd go crazy and do something stupid (like leave my wife). But that's not what happened. Instead I learned about certain addictive tendencies that I have and then, and I can't make this up, I eventually vomited those tendencies up. I also had visions of my entire family line going back to my great grandmother. It was like I WAS those people. Very very profound. IT's a long chapter though, and really hard to sum up in a reddit comment.

happybdaydickhead1 karma

Just finished your book “What Doesn’t Kill Us”. Are there any things you’ve learned since you wrote it that you would like to revise it with, given the chance?

gekogekogeko2 karma

Very good question. I think I'll leave WDKU as it is and instead move forward into books like "The Wedge". New science on BAT and breathing have come out since 2017 that made me rethink a few things, and I've updated those findings in The Wedge--in particular the chapter with Brian Mackenzie. All of the main points still stand, but the specifics are sometimes moving targets.

UnknownTendencies1 karma

Was it difficult to learn the Wim Hof method? It's difficult for me to learn. But I do know its all in the mind.

gekogekogeko2 karma

I found it pretty easy to learn. It really only takes ten minutes. But not every technique works for every person. And I don't think that it's a requirement. Find something that DOES speak to you. And don't sweat it if something popular that other people think is amazing doesn't work for you in the same way. Just find something that does.

EwanMcNugget1 karma

Tips on staying healthy and sane during Covid19 lockdown?

gekogekogeko2 karma

Find a physical outlet for your stress. Our autonomic nervous system evolved in harsh environments where physical stresses always could be answered with physical responses. We released adrenaline to give us energy and cortisol to dull our pain while we ran from lions (or whatever). Now we releases those same hormones to news of politics and quarantine, but the energy has no where else to go. So we need to find physical stresses in our own homes that match that to even out the stress. This is a huge topic, and I wrote a blog post about it a few days ago. https://www.scottcarney.com/blog/finding-a-wedge-to-control-anxiety-in-the-time-of-social-distancing

dan4203 karma

Physical outlet for tour stress... so pleasuring yourself. Got it.

gekogekogeko1 karma

Well, masturbation could be a kind of wedge technique now that I think about it.

gulagjammin1 karma

Have you ever Candy Flipped before?

gekogekogeko2 karma

no.

Wyvernkeeper1 karma

Hey Scott, heard about your work through the various interviews and discussions on Mysterious Universe.

Just wondering if you have any thoughts on Bill Hicks idea of 'mandatory' mushrooms?

If you're not familiar with the bit, essentially I'm wondering if you would agree that hallucinogenic experiences would be a beneficial right of passage for many people, assisting them with empathy, embracing nature, developing a spiritual vocabulary etc.

I haven't done psychdelics in well over a decade but the lessons I learned on them at a formative point of my life have stayed with me forever. I feel many people could benefit from similar experiences.

Also, in your opinion what aspects of research into consciousness and the otherworldly will become a big deal over the next few decades?

Edit: I may have misremembered, the 'mandatory' thing may have applied to marijuana not mushrooms, but how do you feel about the effects of psychedelics at formative ages generally.

gekogekogeko0 karma

I LOVE the MU guys. They do really well thought out interviews. And, they BOTH read my book. I don't think any psychedelic or drug should ever be mandatory. You really have to be called to these experiences, and use them at the right time in your life, and in the right set and setting. I think they can be hugely beneficial, but if a person isn't ready then they will have a negative experience.

RoseyOneOne1 karma

I'll have to check this out! I'm not familiar with the deeper elements of your writing but I wonder if you've read Bone Games by Rob Schultheis? He touches on the work of Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's concepts of 'Flow' and talks about his own quest to find this elusive innate ability he once felt climbing.

Perhaps all these things overlap or are part of the same deeper wiring built into us. It's super interesting that these abnormal or superhuman states are part of us.

gekogekogeko1 karma

You are the second person to mention Bone Games in this AMA. I guess I need to check it out.

loadedquestion0 karma

I have tapped into something like this “wedge” you speak of through periods in my life of extreme stress, sometimes while under the influence of mind altering substances so my question is this: was there a moment in your life where your tapped into this wedge-state with out realizing it that caused you to search for it from these different avenues?

gekogekogeko9 karma

For me, the place that it was most clear was the first time I climbed up a mountain in Poland with Wim Hof. At the time I was pretty used to warm weather--I'd been living in India and LA for more than a decade--and I ended up being on a mountain in 2 degrees F for about eight hours and I felt perfectly warm. It felt sort of like I was in a wetsuit even though I was pretty much only in a bathing suit--skin out in the cold.

But yes, I think the Wedge is in just about every human experience where there is stress in one form or another.

The way I see it, all of us start using the Wedge practically from birth when you look down at your body and don't have any control over it. Somehow over time and effort you learn to put your body under your control. It's difficult and confusing, but we all do it. It's just that as we get older we sort of get comfortable and stop learning about our bodies potential

cowboypants-2 karma

Are you as insufferable as you sound?

gekogekogeko9 karma

This is your second or third post with the same sentiment. It appears that I am to you at least.