Non-ordinary states Dear David, I’ve been reading your various websites nearly non-stop for two days now; terrific stuff. This is part of a six-month long binge of ravenous reading (mostly re-reading stuff from my formative years, from Buddhism and C.S. Lewis to Dostoevsky and Chomsky), trying new kinds of meditation, and generally searching and exploring. You might be interested to know that all of this was triggered by a psychedelic experience. This was, for me, the first of its kind and very intense, bordering on traumatic. If there’s anything I can say about the take-away, it is that the intense sense of realization I got of “getting it” has gradually distilled into ideas very similar to yours (much of it was probably there all along). That there is meaning; that I need to navigate towards it despite uncertainty, despite having no expectation of cosmic rewards or heroic deeds; and that ethics is closely tied to rejecting nihilism even in the face of uncertainty or terror. I do believe that these kind of non-ordinary states can be extremely beneficial, and done “right” are usually beneficial. I’ve seen people come out of similar experiences with eternalist ideas, but I think in many cases the differences boil down to the words we end up using to describe simply realizing (and/or choosing to believe) that Something Meaningful Exists. It seems that the rejection of nihilism and basic ethical behavior reside in our phenomenological core; as you write, it’s almost impossible to be a consistent nihilist (as in the German nihilist gang in Big Lebowski: “His girlfriend gave up her toe! She though we’d be getting million dollars! Iss not fair!”). Like for you, celebrating this fact is, to me, as good as it gets. But I also think that an eternalist may actually sincerely believe, and derive real comfort and inspiration from, his or her belief system. C.S. Lewis is one of my heroes, despite my being constitutionally unable to accept any of the external aspects of his belief system. (Do you happen to be familiar with his work?) Thanks for your work!