December 27, 2020

Mental models

Psychedelic Santa; The dog that didn’t bark

A few things worth checking out: 12-27-2020

Read Time < 1 minute

Here are a few links worth checking out:



Santa Is a Psychedelic Mushroom (New York Times, December 21, 2017)

Although the article is from years ago, it’s a classic. It proposes that our modern story of Santa Claus came from the geographic Lapland region in northern Finland. The indigenous Sami people would take Amanita muscaria fungi in spiritual ceremony, which has ibotenic acid and muscimol psychoactive constituents. As the article notes, accounts described by Sami shamans resemble that of Santa. There sure are a lot of Christmas connections. National Public Radio’s Morning Edition also did a segment on what may have sent Santa and his reindeer flying. Content warning, though—assuming you want to preserve the story of a real-life Santa that comes to drop off presents on his reindeer-drawn sled each Christmas Eve, probably keep this one from the kids.



Netflix’s True-Crime Character Assassination (Netflix, 2020)

This is an  interesting opinion piece that highlights how documentaries can distort our view of reality, and specifically how omission of facts can deceive. But it isn’t just documentaries that do this. More broadly speaking, whenever the public is given “facts” about anything, there is always a lens through which the information is presented. So long as it is filtered by something, someone, somewhere—what is provided, and what is not, skews the way we think about the thing. The reality will never be fully known, or complete. Conclusions are made, making the best with the presented information, but the point is we should question our own interpretations, those of others, and keep an eye out for the dog that didn’t bark.

A new podcast will not be out tomorrow, but will resume the following week as usual. Wishing you happy holidays and a happy New Year.

– Peter

Disclaimer: This blog is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this blog or materials linked from this blog is at the user's own risk. The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard, or delay in obtaining, medical advice for any medical condition they may have, and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.
  1. As a teen I enjoyed Jimmy Hendrix and became “experienced.” In Jr High the primary book I read was A Separate Reality. With few restrictions my father once told me I think everyday is Christmas and my birthday. Yet on field day, with a little help from my friends, in 9th grade I ran about 7 races feeling no pain. I remember sitting under a tree after this and feeling like the Buddha. During high school I broke the state record in the high hurdles, and in college I once took mushrooms for track practice. So in 1980 I was very close to going to the Olympic Trials in the hurdles. I trained with Lee Calhoun at Yale ( who broke the world record in the hurdles, and previously won two gold metals ). Graduate school was at U of Chicago and we had real track meets three times per week. Not time trials. So I am training for the world record in sprints and hurdles now at age 63 and older. My goal is to break the record for the 100 meter hurdles soon. I will need all the help science can provide to improve my mind and body. God bless everyone, for going over hurdles in life ( the simple metaphor ). Thank you Dr Peter Attia.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Instagram icon Pinterest icon Google+ icon YouTube icon LinkedIn icon Contact icon