Listening to an episode of Sam Harris’s podcast featuring Roland Griffiths, Johns Hopkins neuroscientist researcher, on psychedelics revealed that much of their benefit sounds a lot like my guests talking about their experiences of nature. I think we don’t know how much we’re missing by paving over and cutting off as much as we do from nature.
I’d guess people before we cut ourselves off from raw, wild nature so much would never have guessed we could deprive ourselves from forests, beaches, and birdsong so effectively. As I’m typing these words, cars are driving by with noise engines blasting music you could hear from blocks away. How can we experience the sublime or transcendent under these conditions? I suggest we can’t.
By contrast, our ancestors generally lived a few minutes’ walk, maybe a couple hours, from solitude.
I play a couple clips from that podcast and compare their description of the effects of taking psychedelic drugs to simply experiencing nature, commenting on how much we’ve isolated ourselves from it, having paved over the most abundant parts.