How To Survive The Apocalypse

Leaping The Abyss Together.

How To Survive The Apocalypse
Audio Narration

[I have left Sapient Capital. I owe them so, so much and we part on the very best of terms. But it's time for me to really lean in to where I see the world going. You can read more about my decision to leave at the bottom].

Over the twenty year period from 1979-1999, professor of religious studies Chris Bache conducted 73 therapeutically-structured, massive-dose LSD sessions. This approach is, by his own admission…. not recommended. But he claimed that these experiences gave him deep insights into the structure of reality, and he wrote a fascinating book about it called LSD and the Mind of the Universe.

Bache relates how he experienced persistent warnings about an approaching global crisis.

The core vision of our future that has emerged in my sessions is that humanity is coming into a time of Great Awakening, a profound shift in the fundamental condition of the human psyche. But for there to be a Great Awakening, there must first take place a Great Death. We must be emptied of the old before the new can emerge. I have come to believe that the twenty-first century will be such a time. It will begin the dark night of our collective soul, a time of emptying, of intense anguish, of loss of control and breakdown. A global purification unto death that will last generations.

Visions of the imminent apocalypse are so common among psychonauts there’s even a word for it: “eschatothesia.”1 We don’t want to be like the Argentine goalkeeper Carlos Roa, who quit soccer to prepare for the end of the world in 1999. After his sheepish return from the mountains, he never quite restarted his career. As stock market commentator Art Cashin is fond of saying: “never bet on the end of the world, because it only happens once.”

That being said, this forecast of a systemic collapse fits with the model of a phase shift I’ve been exploring for the past few years. It’s also a highly plausible endpoint of the unfolding global metacrisis. Many of the deeply intuitive people I speak to are talking in terms of a cascading systems failure happening as soon as the next two years. The fact that so many different people are all having these visions when in altered states isn’t quite the source of comfort that some skeptics think it should be.

Lubomir Arsov’s haunting 13 minute animation “IN-SHADOW” remains one of the most mesmerizing (and occasionally heavy-handed) illustrations of the broken system we’re living in. His vision also anticipates the specific nature of our collapse and rebirth, while following this exact same phase shift structure. It’s worth watching.

I don’t believe in pessimism, let alone nihilism. And I’m definitely not a “prepper.” But I still found myself researching the best places to escape to in the continental United States. Apparently Oregon and Washington State have the best mix of temperate weather, arable land and low population density. I updated our go-bag.2 Which sounds stupid, until you consider that about $100 and 20 minutes on Amazon could possibly impact your family’s survival, even in a non-apocalyptic emergency. I also bought the updated S.A.S. Survival Handbook from my youth; a bush manual to teach you everything you don’t know when YouTube goes down and never comes back on again.

Even with a less than 1% chance of any of this coming to pass within my lifetime, or my children’s, it still seemed worth spending some time thinking about. Although it’s probably for the best that I’m not rich enough to buy a New Zealand doomsday bunker or even a farm in upstate New York.

I’m certainly not planning on retreating from society to wait for an end that may never come. So what should we do?

A New Map for Survivors

Today the voice of one crying out in the wilderness must necessarily strike a scientific tone if the ear of the multitude is to be reached.

- Carl Jung

For me, the clearest evidence that the dark night is ahead of us, not behind, is that we haven’t collectively transcended the disconnected mindset that’s been leading us directly into this global crisis.

An open question is if it’s possible to avoid, or at least soften, the dark night by helping people shift their mindset without the need for a crisis. If we can reduce individual or global unnecessary suffering, even a little, surely we must try.

That’s why it’s existentially important to try to build a scientific bridge to the other side of the crisis. This will probably require a new language. Specifically, we need to be able to articulate and explore the idea of a benign “attractor” outside of us.

I believe one way we experience these attractors is curiosity. I compressed my decade of work on the topic into a 5 minute presentation at Wall Street’s flagship Sohn conference this week. A quarter of a million views later, I feel like the idea may have resonated.

Whether or not “the big one” is imminent, death and rebirths are the hallmark of any growth process. The legendary psychiatrist Stanislav Grof pioneered the therapeutic usage of LSD. He later developed holotropic breathwork after LSD was made illegal. It was a common occurrence that participants suffered a death and rebirth related to the trauma of being born. This experience also mirrored the fractal structure of the hero’s journey.3 One of the most remarkable results was that every single person who experienced this rebirth adopted a spiritual worldview afterwards.4 Bache claimed a similar process of multiple agonizing deaths took him far beyond even the individual’s birth trauma, into directly experiencing the deep foundations of the universe. When he was asked to summarise what he’d learned across all of his sessions he responded with the longest sentence of all time:

That the universe is the manifest body of a Divine Being of unimaginable intelligence, compassion, clarity, and power, that we are all aspects of this Being, never separated from it for a moment, that we are growing ever more aware of this connection, that physical reality emerges out of Light and returns to Light continuously, that Light is our essential nature and our destiny, that all life moves as One, that reincarnation is true, that there is a deep logic and significance to the circumstances of our lives, that evolution of the whole, that our awareness continues in an ocean of time and a sea of bliss when we die, that we are loved beyond measure and that humanity is driving towards an evolutionary breakthrough that will change us and life on this planet at the deepest level.

I’m not sure if it makes it more or less credible that this message emerged from 73 massive doses of LSD. If it’s true, it’s obviously a transformationally inspirational message. But it’s one that most people are unlikely to take purely on faith. Especially those for whom spiritual buzzwords and random capitalization are kryptonite. They probably need intellectual permission to have the kinds of direct experience that make this reality a possibility.

A much more effective approach is to look at an exaggerated version of the Western mindset and challenge each of its key premises using cutting-edge science. That worldview might sound something like this:

“We exist due to a random accident of physics. We live in an dead box of material things. Reality is indifferent to our actions, so our goal should be to have as much pleasure as possible before we die forever. As we are all each entirely separate individuals, it is justifiable to exploit anything in our environment to achieve our goals.”

It’s pretty horrifying how close this seems to a consensus Western mindset, especially of those in positions of power.5 How much does its philosophy resonate with your company, boss or CEO? How much does it describe you?

It should be acknowledged that, at its best, Western materialism has brought us access to godlike technologies. The ideal outcome is simply more of a balance. The good news is that science is making exceptional progress at undermining most of the dominant, but inaccurate, beliefs. The open question is if we’re doing it fast enough.

So it’s down to each of us that are curious to research these ideas, discuss them, analyse them and then amplify them. I am regularly reminded of Einstein’s observation that you can’t solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them. The phase transition that’s ahead of us may look like a greater scientific acceptance of “love” as an emergent force and guide. The word apocalypse literally means an “uncovering” or “unveiling” in Greek. In this case it could be the reconnection to a highly beneficial creative force, rather than fiery doom.

A friend recently sent me a video of an elderly man doing a Tarot card forecast for the the entire United States in 2024. This is roughly a million miles away from anything I’d usually listen to. But I’ve learned to respect the pull of my curiosity. The reading forecasts an imminent, surprising pivot from a society in crisis to a one where those people who focus on love and kindness will thrive. Within the context of an attractor, if the internet goes down in the next big solar storm,6 I’d rather have access to an infinite intelligence through my heart, rather than the paltry memories in my head.

Either way, as long as we continue to view these topics as a kind of fluffy distraction from the real business of living our lives, we will have no hope either individually or as a species. And even if you don’t believe the end is nigh this time, there’s abundant evidence that this kind of mindset shift carries with it endless personal benefits.

We don’t need to concoct a new fantasy or religion. We don’t need more persuasive lies. We need to build a more accurate map of reality so effective people can thrive in chaotic times.

This will allow each individual to have the faith in what their own head and heart centered path is. And if all of us realigned with the system the entire paradigm would resolve spontaneously. While it’s obviously naive to expect everyone to do it, the butterfly effect shows us that the aligned individual can sometimes have a massively positive impact on the whole. Shifting your mindset might not just show you how to thrive, but it might show you what you need to do to help your tribe survive. Rather than being selfish, your differentiation in service of the whole then becomes the means by which an individual actually helps save the world.

  • Listen. What Myths Can Teach Us About the AI Arms Race- The Emerald's Josh Schrei on Hidden Forces (57 minute listen).
  • Why listen. It was immensely gratifying to see the [notionally-finance-related] podcast Hidden Forces amplify Josh's amazing perspectives. This remains another datapoint in favor of my long-term intuition that traditional wealth and finance is about to explode into these topics.

  • Listen. Individuation & The Ancient Wisdom of the Psyche- Erick Godsey on Third Eye Drops (2 hour 28 minute listen).
  • Why listen. This was one of the most interesting podcasts I’ve heard in a long time (thanks David Weinstein for flagging). Godsey recounts his experience of “incubation”, or spending five days immersed in pitch darkness. This wasn’t a practice I was aware of until Peter Kingsley revealed its central place at the heart of Ancient Greek mysticism. Given Kingsley and Jung’s roles as modern prophets, and Godsey’s evident appreciation of both, there was a lot to learn in this podcast.

  • Listen. Alex Komoroske on Infinite Loops: Complex Adaptivity All The Way Down (1 hour 27 minute listen).
  • Why listen. I got to know Alex after reading his remarkable essay about Saruman and Radagast. He’s an unusual kind of unicorn in that he operates at very high wattage, but while also understanding the Taoist subtleties of complex adaptive systems. It is my belief that the future will richly reward people who have this kind of balance.

Leaving Sapient Capital

This week was my last at Sapient. I am really sad to leave.

For those of you that have been following my personal story, you may recall Tom Pence and the team at Sapient pulled me out of a pretty dire personal trajectory in 2020. They gave me the freedom to develop my own voice, and a platform to explore the ideas I’ve found most meaningful. I am always stunned at how many people tell me my writing has impacted them. If that includes you, you ultimately have Sapient to thank for taking a chance on someone as bonkers as me.

But if you’ve been reading my work over the last few months, you will have noticed that the investing and wealth-focused content has dropped significantly. My interests have slowly been pulled in a broader direction. I am now captivated by the top-down and bottoms-up changes I can feel coming in the air.

Fate has an uncanny habit of putting you in a position to see if you follow your own advice. So as someone who talks about needing to respect the power of your own curiosity, it was always time to leave. I am so excited for you to join me in what’s coming next.

Sign up to join me on the next stage of the journey here:

  1. Literally “perception of the Eschaton; the end of the world.”See ’s recent article about how to “navigate the mystery without getting lost.

  2. A bag filled with resources you’d need in a general emergency or longer-term survival situation. This was one of my sources: an analysis of common items taken for the TV show Alone. But I’d love to know what other items will help city dwellers in an emergency.

  3. From Richard Tarnas’ Epilogue to the Passion of the Western Mind. “I should mention here that I lived for over ten years at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where I was the director of programs, and in the course of those years virtually every conceivable form of therapy and personal transformation, great and small, came through Esalen. In terms of therapeutic effectiveness, Grof's was by far the most powerful; there was no comparison. Yet the price was dear--in a sense the price was absolute: the reliving of one's birth was experienced in a context of profound existential and spiritual crisis, with great physical agony, unbearable constriction and pressure, extreme narrowing of mental horizons, a sense of hopeless alienation and the ultimate meaninglessness of life, a feeling of going irrevocably insane, and finally a shattering experiential encounter with death--with losing everything, physically, psychologically, intellectually, spiritually. Yet after integrating this long experiential sequence, subjects regularly reported experiencing a dramatic expansion of horizons, a radical change of perspective as to the nature of reality, a sense of sudden awakening, a feeling of being fundamentally reconnected to the universe, all accompanied by a profound sense of psychological healing and spiritual liberation. Later in these sessions and in subsequent ones, subjects reported having access to memories of prenatal intrauterine existence, which typically emerged in association with archetypal experiences of paradise, mystical union with nature or with the divine or with the Great Mother Goddess, dissolution of the ego in ecstatic unity with the universe, absorption into the transcendent One, and other forms of mystical unitive experience.”

  4. Source: LSD and the Mind of the Universe, Chris Bache

  5. I found this chart from Wahinkpe Topa quite an interesting comparison between “Dominant” and “Indigenous” worldviews.

  6. Cheery article I can’t quite bring myself to read yet.