Everyone knows psychotropic drugs can expand your mind in incredible ways. But, sometimes, drugs aren't an option. For example, maybe you've had no luck smuggling the goods into a music festival, or you're trying to save some money post-festival.
Either way, there's another route to getting lit just as fast and effectively.
What drug alternative could I possibly be speaking of? Knowledge.
As corny as that sounds, gaining knowledge of the universe and theories of its inner workings will leave you seriously tripping. There's a long history of humans experimenting with drugs, but there's an even longer history of humans trying to figure sh*t out.
So join me and get high on knowledge with these mind-blowing, yet totally plausible philosophical theories.
"The Matrix" could be our reality.
So, you know how, in the movie, Keanu Reeves discovers he's less of a living, breathing man and more of a malevolent robot's science experiment? That could be our reality, in a nutshell.
British philosopher and Oxford professor Nick Bostrom arrived at that very idea and came up with a statistical argument to back it up.
With our limited technological abilities, we're able to build entire worlds online in the form of video games and simulations. Why not, then, should another, highly-evolved species be able to do the same with us as the game's subjects?
If it's inevitable we'll build our own highly complex simulations that can go on to build their own simulations and so on and so on, then it's statistically more probable we're living in a simulation than not.
One of the most grounded arguments to back this up comes from the fact there is a limit to how small something can be. In the same way there can't be anything smaller than a pixel on your computer screen, the smallest element we know of is the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin, or GZK limit.
German physicist Silas Beane believes these smallest elements in our universe are simply the ones and zeroes of our coded reality.
And you thought Coding 101 was hard.
Nothing exists except your mind.
This theory was made for narcissists, as it presumes nothing can be proven to exist outside the realm of our own consciousness. Once you get past the part about your mind being the center of the universe, it's actually a very simple idea.
How can we prove anything exists? If you've ever had a hyperrealistic dream or struggled through a dreamy, post-lunch stupor, then it's not hard to imagine our everyday existence is merely a fabrication of the mind.
The theory, called solipsism, proposes there is no foolproof way to verify our physical surroundings as real.
Simply touching something, for example, won't do. Just ask anyone who has taken LSD and experienced the most convincing hallucinations. You wouldn't suggest the dragon they rode to Mordor was real, would you? Or would you?
Everything we see is a shadow of the real thing.
If there were stoners in ancient Greece, then Plato had to have been the Bob Marley of fourth century BC. Basically, Plato theorized all the images we see and interact with are merely knockoffs of their ideal, perfect versions or "forms."
We're just cave people looking at shadows while the "real" world exists right outside.
You likely learned about the "Allegory of the Cave" in high school and have since forgotten how ridiculously dope it is. So, next time you're looking at your absolutely perfect Chihuahua baby, just try to imagine an even more perfect version of your Chihuahua floating in the ether somewhere.
There is only the now and nothing else.
Presentism presumes nothing beyond this present moment exists. That means your past -- including your awkward preteen years and every awful Tinder date you've been on -- doesn't exist any more than the Loch Ness Monster. That doesn't sound so bad, right?
Well, according to the theory, your future doesn't exist either. As famous Buddhism scholar Fyodor Shcherbatskoy puts it,
Everything past is unreal, everything future is unreal, everything imagined, absent, mental . . . is unreal. . . . Ultimately real is only the present moment of physical efficiency.
On the other hand, everything could be happening at once.
Past, present, future, simple past, continuous future -- you name it, it's happening. Right. Now.
Taking the opposite approach as presentism, eternalism is the idea that every event that has ever happened, along with every event that will ever happen, is already happening as you read this. It's just a matter of perspective and the angle from which you're viewing the layered, cyclical timeline of events.
According to this theory, Michael Jackson is both alive and dead; Kanye is formulating a tweet about butt stuff while enjoying butt stuff; Donald Trump is talking about dating his daughter and, at the same time, running our country.
Just kidding, that last part hasn't happened yet -- or has it?!
PS: Free will doesn't exist. So there's that.
Continue your drug-free, psychotropic journey by learning more about philosophy here. You'll be glad you did, and there's no hangover -- guaranteed.