Sam Harris
Spirituality Without Religion
I think that religion is the most dangerous and divisive ideology that we have ever produced. It is also the only ideology that is systematically protected from criticism, both from within and without.
I can think of no right more fundamental than the right to peacefully steward the contents of one’s own consciousness.
The crucial component of this was a loss of any feeling of self-concern. I was no longer looking at myself through my friend's eyes. I was no longer worried about what he was thinking about me.
The feeling that we call “I” is itself the product of thought.
The power of psychedelics, however, is that they often reveal, in the span of a few hours, depths of awe and understanding that can otherwise elude us for a lifetime.
It’s hard to really recommend psychedelics without serious caveats because some of them I think are probably neurotoxic.
Of all the solar systems in this universe that might sustain complex life, we find ourselves in this one. It took billions of years of evolution on this earth to produce the people we now are. The fact that you are you, the fact that you exist in this moment is a miracle of sorts. There's something fundamentally inexplicable about it. There's no amount of knowledge that seems adequate to dispel the mystery of our appearance here, and whatever you know, whatever you believe, whatever you have done or hope to do, you have this moment of conscious life to contemplate. You have this minute, this hour, this day, and it will never come again.