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

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