Mindfulness in a bottle: The Subtractive Nature of LSD

We’re using stable-diffusion to illustrate our posts, this image was generated via the prompt: “LSD a subtractive experience”

There are many types of psychedelic experiences. The altered states of consciousness these chemicals give us can affect our perceptions of the world in different ways. An additive experience would take what we are and add more onto it, but we’d never lose ourselves. A subtractive experience peels away the layers of self until you are left with only the immediate. We believe that LSD provides a subtractive experience, mindfulness in a bottle.

Mindfulness on Tap

While it is maybe possible to hold onto your self through an LSD trip, this will almost lead to a negative experience. Why? Because LSD is meant to be subtractive. The chemical wants to strip your ego away so you can really see and understand the universe.

It is subtractive in that it takes away your ego, the primary thing stopping you from truly experiencing the universe. It is also subtractive in how is changes your basic perception of things like space and time. When time no longer has meaning, the future no longer really exists. Instead you are free to focus completely on the experience at hand, you will be forced into a mindful state.

Another example of what stable-diffusion thinks about LSD

If you read through our last trip report you can see this effect in action. Aunty was able to better navigate the home we were in, and even cook a grilled cheese sandwich — because of her forced mindfulness. Every movement matters on LSD, every breath is another miracle. The tripper is experiencing the world moment-by-moment with no distractions.

WHat would an additive experience be like?

Psilocybin, the psychoactive molecule found in certain mushroom species provides a contrasting experience to LSD. When tripping on psilocybin we never seem to lose our selves the way we do on LSD. Maybe it’s the length of the experience, or the nature of the chemical, but we also seem to recognize things like self and time.

AI drew this while thinking about “Psilocybin as an additive experience”

Mushrooms tend to paint over the existing world, they paint the walls or the natural scenery with fantastic patterns. But they are still the walls, the space you are in still exists in time and you are moving through it. You can think about the future and make a plan. This is very difficult to do on LSD, plans evaporate in the same instant they are made. The future has no meaning, there is only the now.


We’re not writing this to say one is better than the other, or that any given experience has more merit than any other. The universe wants to experience everything. We know psychonaughts who refuse to touch LSD as it is not “natural”, which is a silly notion given it is derived from fungus in exactly the same way that Psilocybin is. Both experiences can give tremendous value in our opinion.

We simply find it interesting to think about the differences between the two and maybe why that happens. Thinking like this can help us to push the experience further and explore more of what is truly out there.

One last AI artwork, this time the prompt is: “LSD vs Shrooms, which is better?”






One response to “Mindfulness in a bottle: The Subtractive Nature of LSD”

  1. […] does any of this relate back to psychedelics? Psychedelics have a tendency to weaken or even strip the ego, the logical mind that tries to control us using these basic […]

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