Resources for expanding your mind
August 3, 2016 5:09 PM   Subscribe

It's natural to get comfortable with your day to day reality, which includes routines and norms that we take for granted. How can I push those boundaries (without drugs)?

I'm looking for resources (books, websites, etc.) that will help me to look at reality from new perspectives. I guess one example would be Sartre's notion of "the absurdity of the world" when you look at an object and strip it of all it's stabilizing notions (A table then becomes a piece of wood that you slide your legs under, then eat dead pieces of plants and animals from its surface).

I also spend time pondering our relative position in the universe, since earth is always spinning and revolving around a sun that is moving with an arm of the milky way galaxy, which is also always moving through space.

I also question things like monogamy, crime and punishment, and religion.

I'm not looking for anything morbid, or ideas that would involve directly harming other people. I know this is a broad request, but I've left it like that on purpose. Thank you. :-)
posted by Cybria to Religion & Philosophy (9 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I think the easiest way to put this into practice is to make friends with people who have world views that are widely divergent from yours, people who have opinions you don't agree with, and people you don't like.

There's also a great book called Causing Death and Saving Lives by a British utilitarian philosopher, Jonathan Glover. The exercise of the book is to lay out arguments and discussion points surrounding things on a continuum from preventing birth by a birth control method that prevents conception, to birth control methods that take effect after conception, to allowing/preventing suicide, to allowing/preventing euthanasia, to questions around sustaining life at any cost, at various points in life, to capital punishment, to assassination, to war, etc. It helps set out arguments and analyses for you to create a cohesive and conscious life philosophy.
posted by janey47 at 5:17 PM on August 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

I enjoyed Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by neuroscientist David Eagleman, you might too.
posted by doift at 5:39 PM on August 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

Learn a new language.

Make friends with diverse people -- people from different cultures or countries, people with different religions or philosophies, people with different sexual orientations, etc.

Hang out in social settings where you are the oddball -- the only (your gender), the youngest, the oldest, etc.
posted by Michele in California at 5:51 PM on August 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Do things outside of your comfort zone - whatever that means for you. It could be solo travel, attending a religious service of which you are not a member, signing up for a class, volunteering, etc.

You could also take up solo or group meditation (either guided or zen). You can definitely get into an altered state via meditation without drugs :)
posted by ananci at 6:25 PM on August 3, 2016

Having young kids is like a constant exercise in exactly this. My children take very little for granted and seeing this amazing, absurd world through their eyes is a delight. And it seems like once a week I'm struck by the realization that if you take away our phones and houses and such we're all just primates...
posted by town of cats at 12:42 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I recommend the book Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 5:42 AM on August 4, 2016

Hang out with elderly people. Ask them questions. Listen.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:11 AM on August 4, 2016

Get High Now (without drugs)

Written by my neighbor. A quirky little volume with all manner of self-experiments in perception. This isn't for the philosophical side of your question, but the experiential one.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:12 AM on August 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

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