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March 27, 2023

Mastering Microdosing & Yourselves with Dr. Jim Fadiman & Jordan Gruber

Mastering Microdosing & Yourselves with Dr. Jim Fadiman & Jordan Gruber

Have you ever wondered about micodosing psychedelic medicines? What is it and why is it all the rage right now?

Have you ever wondered about microdosing psychedelic medicines? What is microdosing and why is it all the rage right now? How do psychedelics used in therapy help us access our full potential by accepting all of our selves? On this episode of The Psychedelic Report, we’ll discuss all this and more with Dr. James Fadiman and Jordan Gruber, two leading experts on psychedelic psychotherapy and microdosing.


Dr. Dave Rabin:Welcome to the psychedelic Report, your single source of Truth for the psychedelic news. I'm your host, Dr. Dave Raven. I'm a neuroscientist and psychiatrist. Trained in Ketamine assisted psychotherapy, as well as M D M A assisted therapy. And now we'll hear from Jordan Gruber and Dr. Jim Fatman. Thank you so much, Jordan and Jim, it's such a pleasure to have you with me on the show.

Dr. Dave Rabin:We really appreciate you both taking the time to join us today. Jordan, I'd love to start, if you don't mind, by telling us a little bit about how you got into the. 

Jordan Gruber:Sure. I was very interested in consciousness. Going back to junior high school. I studied a lot of the research on si, on Parapsychology and Charlie Tart.

Jordan Gruber:I was reading by the time I was in college and I was always interested in that. And then in college I became a philosophy major because what else could I possibly do? And sometime when I was around 18, I[00:01:00]started smoking pot and certainly experie. Just marijuana is being very psychedelic that first time, cuz I was such a goodie two shoes before then, I didn't even know anyone in high school smoked.

Jordan Gruber:Like 75% of them did. I found out later, I was very straight arrow and in college I got involved with mysticism through marijuana I would say, and the philosophy courses. And I was being introduced to Jung and Wilhelm Reich and I was reading Als Huxley on my own and by around age 20 I had some access to L S D and had a couple of experiences.

Jordan Gruber:At that point I became a neo pagan as I were and had a couple of very powerful spiritual experiences. Then the first Pagan conference thing that I went to, Timothy Leary was there and I remember standing around a circle with Timothy Leary and this guy named Bill Eichman, who is the most advanced psychedelic user I've been.

Jordan Gruber:Very close friends with personally. And from there, it just kept going all the way through law school. I only practiced law for 51 weeks because it was[00:02:00]such a bad fit for me to be fighting other smart people with money. I just really hated it. And then I went over to Nosis Magazine and there was a lot about, it's a journal of the Western Estro traditions and the substances kept up in the background.

Jordan Gruber:As early as 1990, I had gone to a conference out here in California where I had moved to be with my wife here in Menlo Park about a mile and a half from where Jim lives, although we didn't know that. And at a psychedelics conference, I walked up to him and said, would you be my mentor? And Jim smiled and said, who are you?

Jordan Gruber:And what happened was Jim began to advise me a couple of years after that when I began. Bring the enlightenment.com website and community into fruition. Our biggest achievement being the first ever interview with Ken Wilbur, although we did have about 80 people writing blogs, but Jim was advising me on all that.

Jordan Gruber:And then our families became friends. Dorothy and Linda's one of my household members. And Jim and I became friends and we just stayed in touch as friends and sometimes close,[00:03:00]sometimes having lunch or dinner or going away together, actual friends, cuz we live so close. And just all the bonding. And sometime before the Psychedelic Explorers guide, Jim, knowing what I did professionally, asked me if I'd help with the checklists in the book, which I did.

Jordan Gruber:And then in 2015 he said, my wife and daughter have been bugging me about this book, about multiple personalities that you know, I'm supposed to write. Do you want to help? And there's a whole more in depth story with that, but we've just become. Closer and closer, and we collaborate really well together.

Jordan Gruber:It's just not all the time, always we agree on everything, but by and large, it's been probably the best collaborative working relationship of my life and it's nice that we're still in the thick of it. So I think that about sums it up. I've always been men's groups, psychedelics, consciousness, si, aliens, new ag channeled entities, lots of new age seminars.

Jordan Gruber:I've done all of that stuff and had some real therapy and at the end of the day, this is where I ended up. This is where I am now. 

Dr. Dave Rabin:I really appreciate that.[00:04:00]Thank you for sharing how you got here. My pleasure. Jim, would you mind sharing your 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:account as I listen to Jordan? I think all of our lives would be better described as a drunkard's walk, which is we wander here, we wander there, we were in one direction, and then eventually we say, this is what I intended all along.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So my story is so much simpler, which is I didn't know anything and had no interest in consciousness, except perhaps to learn how to better manipulate people, which suggests my kind of lack of moral dissenter. And then Dick Albert, my favorite teacher. I was an undergraduate in Paris where I was living post-college, and he said, the greatest thing in the world has happened to me and I wanna share it with you.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And I thought, well, that sounds okay. And then he took this little bottle out of his coat and said, try one of these. And I'm so straight, I'm not drinking coffee. Okay? And I look at him and he's in better mental shape than I'd ever seen him. So I thought, Let's go and a little[00:05:00]while later, what year was this again, if you don't mind?

Dr. Jim Fadiman:1961. Okay. I'm bringing the Jurassic Age in the Civil War 

Dr. Dave Rabin:and the pre rom das age of 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:David. This was Professor Richard Albert, still employed at Harvard much to their embarrassment, and that was a kind of bonding experience. That was what I'd now call a moderate dose of psilocybin, and it shook loose some of my rigidities and definitely made me more open to human closeness.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So a week later, without asking, I showed up where Dick and Tim and Aldis Huxley were presenting to the World Psychology Conference, their first kind of coming out party, and I just showed. And said, I'm here cuz we're bonded. So Dick and I had another session together, which deepened the bonding. Then I was off on my own and my beautiful lyrical time in Paris.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Living on as little as possible and feeling very self-important at writing a bad novel. My draft board said,[00:06:00]Hey, we have got a suggestion for you that you're gonna love. And I wrote back and said, my sudden interest in graduate school is intense . So rather than be drafted, I went to graduate school at Stanford and.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Off campus. There was a little teeny group called the International Foundation for Advanced Study, which was with government permission running a little psychedelic clinic. And I joined them a few weeks in. They said, would you like to have a session with us? I thought, okay, sure. More bonding, nice friends.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So they gave me a serious dose of L S D, probably 400 micrograms. And after a little bit of bonding, I realized I'd rather lie down and have eye shades and put on headphones. And whoever laid down there was a different guy that sat up. And I realized that Jim Fatman was a subset of a larger unity and that the[00:07:00]implications of that I am still working out, given that I managed through a number of devious methods to get through Stanford as a graduate student.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Keeping one step ahead of the draft board did Stanford's only dissertation on psychedelics. This is 65. This is 65. 

Dr. Dave Rabin:Oh wow. So this was really at the fourth of this was in the, yeah. I say what was happening at Stanford at the time. 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:We used stone tablets and scratched on them and killed wild animals with our bare hands in Menlo Park.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:It's hard to remember that far. It's important 

Dr. Dave Rabin:to note that I think at that time when you were at Stanford, it was really at the forefront to be presenting this kind of work as a thesis, not at the 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:forefront. I would've been promised by my dissertation advisor, an ex-president of the a p a, that if I did this dissertation, I would never get a job in psychology.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Wow. And on the whole, he was right. And thank God for that wonderful gift of not sinking into a very safe, lovely teaching job. So I[00:08:00]did the dissertation, and then we were doing a creativity study, which is, it may not surprise anyone in your audience anymore, but psychedelics have been used successfully to solve problems at the professionals, physics, microbiology, et cetera, science level.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And as we were working successfully with senior scientists, the total at that study was 48 problems, 44 solutions. Not bad. The government sent us a letter and the letter said, as of the receipt of this letter, your exemption for doing L S D research is. We had four guys in the next room lying on their backs with headphones and eye shades, and we were about to have them sit up and they could work on their technical problems.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So I looked at the letter and I looked at the rest of the little crew. I was very much the youngest, and I said, I think we got this letter tomorrow. And one by one they nodded. And so I[00:09:00]put the letter in the drawer. We went in and helped. Senior scientists, then I had to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So that's my origin story. A lot of different things happened. I guess now, 12 or 13 years ago, I started to look at microdosing, which seemed to me as dull and as unimportant as anything I'd ever looked at because I'd spent all these years looking at mystical experiences, transcendence. God speaking to you personally.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:I was charmed by the anacondas that eat people in ayahuasca, the big stuff, macro doses, high doses, blow your head off doses, realized that you're actually just a cellular organism connected to everything in the universe, and that you were never born and you won't die. Those kind of adventures. And here was microdosing where people say, yeah, I feel better and I'm sleeping better.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:I'm not as depressed. But something about that was curious. And here I was. I work in the top story[00:10:00]and all of a sudden there's this note said, go down to the sub-basement. There's things that you need to work on. So it's now 12 years later and I'm still in the basement and Jordan and I are working now on our second book, uh, which is about microdosing.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:It has become probably the fastest growing area of psychedelics cuz it's the safest. And there are miracles happening in this area, which I am still exploring. So I'm getting my mind blown again, just like my first start only, it's not my mind that just gets blown. It's in the more conventional sense of, it's like you've lived on the Dakota Flat prairies and all of a sudden you close your eyes and they pick you up and they drop you at the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:It's the same old earth, but boy, there's stuff there that you never imagined. And that's really what microdosing has become. So, 

Dr. Dave Rabin:Well, that's fascinating. I really appreciate you sharing your journey with us. It's an exciting one that has impacted so many[00:11:00]people, and I'm really glad to hear that both of you're working on a subsequent book on microdosing because there is just so much fertile ground there to explore.

Dr. Dave Rabin:Just for those who are not familiar with microdosing, what we're talking about is a form of dosing, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but at the sub-threshold level where you take a dose of a medicine that would normally be what we call psychoactive or x to our perception, and you dose at a level that is so low and so small that it's just barely noticeable that the medicine is on board or not noticeable at all.

Dr. Dave Rabin:There was 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:a book called A really Good. And it was a story of a woman taking microdosing for a month or so, major, major changes in her life. But the overall effect of a microdose is at the end of the day, if you've done it correctly, you say, oh yeah, I microdosed, I, I realize what a really good day I had.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:You 

Dr. Dave Rabin:didn't really notice it during the day. 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Not that much. Now, when people have severe symptoms or physical difficulties or pain, they notice it[00:12:00]much more. Why do you think that is? Well, microdosing seems to restore equilibrium to systems in your body or mind that are off kilter. Now, for some of us who say, I'm really tired and I just wish that my mother-in-law would stop calling, that's a little out of equilibrium.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:There are other people that say, I have been chronically depressed for 22 years. Other people say, I am in chronic pain. Those are major disequilibrium. Microdosing seems to work on restoring equilibrium of whatever system it is. A very simple one is women who have difficult periods, either emotional or physical difficulties.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:We have a lot of people who basically said, since I've been microdosing, my periods are normal, and we know when you're having your period, your hormones are going up and down in different order and different intensities, but the body is designed to do it right. The[00:13:00]body is designed so that your period is as comfortable as the rest of your month.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So microdosing simply restores that kind of comfort level kind of normalness. So it's hard to measure it if you're really in wonderful shape and in wonderful health. And what people talk about is a wonderful term enhanced wellness, where you start from wellness, there's not a lot of room to go up, but you notice it.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:That's why we call it a really good day. 

Dr. Dave Rabin:So I love that description, and I think we see this a lot in medicine. The amount of expected or anticipated shift in somebody's state mood, for instance, or energy, is always greater when or per and perceived to be much more noticeable when the balance is more off when people start.

Dr. Dave Rabin:So if you're more off balance when you start, then you have more. To balance and you notice that balancing effect more. We see this all the time,[00:14:00]however, we're in a very interesting age now where of medicine, where many people who are, as you said objectively, they are not diagnosed with any kind of illness, are trying to eek out another 1%, 2%, 5% of energy, mood, et cetera, and, and they think managing expectations for folks in those domains can be very challenging because they often expect whatever it is that they're doing as an intervention to be more noticeable than it is.

Dr. Dave Rabin:They think that oftentimes the magic is really happening at that. That barely noticeable, barely detectable level much of the time rather than when you're in a full-blown experience. I think that is often what allows many people to have the sustained benefit over time when they do use some of these medicines in a respectful and thoughtful way, or they do microdose according to that sub-threshold guideline where it's barely noticeable.

Dr. Dave Rabin:I appreciate your description of that. There was a really interesting publication that came out, I'm sure you're familiar with by[00:15:00]Joseph Rutman and Zach Walsh, and Pam and team and Paul Stamets about psilocybin microdosing in real world populations. I think this came out in 21, and this was a really interesting publication because up until this came out it was very difficult to quantify.

Dr. Dave Rabin:The outcomes from microdosing in larger populations. This study looked at over a thousand people over the course of quite a bit of time, and I was wondering what's your take on that? I think from many of our perspectives that manuscript was a great victory, a field, and starting to make some real headway on changing the way we do research on these tools in the real world.

Dr. Dave Rabin:I'd love to hear what you both think about that and where you see the work going from 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:here. I've been consulting with that group called Microdose Me. They've just published last week, their second paper. What are the changes in the microdosing group versus the control group? And the study size is at least 9,000, which handles the standard problem with commenting on[00:16:00]psychedelic studies when you use 12 people.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So they got a lot of people from 81 countries and the general result is, Was anticipated, which is the people microdosing improved in a number of areas more than the controller. It is a landmark study in that it's hard to deny that it's true for a lot of people. Now, the question will be raised, how do we know it's the microdose?

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And the answer is, it's called an observational study, which is like what human beings do with each other. When you say, how are you, you don't say, have you had a double blind with someone else just like you? So we're back to what is called citizen science, which is paying attention to real world evidence in real world situations, which not surprisingly often gives different results than people pre-selected and pre-screened in a laboratory study.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So the news is not news to the world[00:17:00]microdosing community. That's seems to be helpful. 

Dr. Dave Rabin:Is there a certain routine of use that tends to work the best for people? I know people do whatever it is they seem to feel like doing on the given day, but was there any ability to distinguish between which folks routines got the best outcomes?

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Actually, there's some interesting things in this study because the nice thing was when you have four or 5,000 people and there's like only 128 that do something unusual in psychedelic work, that's still a massive study. So one of the questions that was asked by this group is, what are you taking? And what are you taking with it?

Dr. Jim Fadiman:There is something now going on in the microdose world called stacking, and this is a term Paul Stamets. It's microdose of psilocybin containing Mushroom plus for Paul Lion's Main, which we know improves metal acuity and niacin, which Paul[00:18:00]points out helps open capillaries so that it's more easily absorbed.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:There's some other stacking possibilities. There's a company called Flow State Micro that uses four different mushrooms, also remarkable results and so forth. There's also, by the way, a return to a very ancient recipe, which is chocolate and a microdose. This was first used by the Aztec. . And although they didn't publish, they did tell the Jesuit in the early days of the conquest what life was like before the qui moved in and made life very difficult for everyone.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So we're really dealing with some very old systems here. And the general results from this new study is that it looks like stacking is beneficial, which is not surprising because you're taking this, the psychedelic in a mix of other substances, in this case, predominantly mushrooms that already have shown benefit.

Dr. Jim Fadiman: [00:19:00]So it is a boost to bringing the systems back into equilibrium. 

Dr. Dave Rabin:I think a lot of folks in the community have talked about these different combinations and stacks for a long time, and so it's really interesting to see that this is starting to play out in the evidence that's coming through from these large scale population studies.

Dr. Dave Rabin:If it really bodes well for the future of research because in addition to the victory of this work from this group showing the benefits are significant, they are also in a real world population that's representative of regular people, not in a lab population with people who are perhaps drug naive or not doing other things.

Dr. Dave Rabin:These people are doing all the other things they would normally be doing in their day-to-day lives. Some of them are doing more and some of them are doing less. So there's a normal distribution through the population that you get with nine to 13,000 participants that you don't get when you're looking at a small group in a lab 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:environment.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:No one has ever accused[00:20:00]college sophomores of being a representative sample of anything other than college sophomores. 

Jordan Gruber:Exactly. Yeah. Just two points. The history point, the foundation, when they gave Jim that dose, what's interesting is that it was particularly designed to transcend the ego, and they, as part of that we're inventing the way the modern living room is used in therapeutics hitting.

Jordan Gruber:So there was a lot going on at the foundation, including almost like retail therapy. Jim. People would come in off the streets and hear that there was some interesting work going on, and maybe they had some problems. They would come in and they would do some sessions. So in that sense, they were very much on the cutting edge, but there were many papers up until it became illegal on L S D.

Jordan Gruber:It was pretty heavily researched, so different levels of where they were at the cutting edge, a lot was going on. Then, just to go back to the definition of microdosing for a second, because I'm on a campaign, which is mainly with Jim, to try to get something that's canonical, which is that what's sub perceptual is any.

Jordan Gruber:Classical psychedelic effects, but there's really three factors. One is that you have none of[00:21:00]those. The other is that you're a hundred percent comfortable with that. You'll be able to have your ordinary day no matter what happens for me, can I give my cat insulin shots? And the third is that no one else in your world will know that you're on anything except you might be a little bit nicer and happier.

Jordan Gruber:So if you could put all those three together, you might feel a little bit of energy and you might feel happier. But if you're not seeing those psychedelic effects, you're still in the definitional green zone. So just wanted to put that out there. It's, I'm campaigning with Jim, but yeah. 

Dr. Dave Rabin:That's really helpful.

Dr. Dave Rabin:Thank you. I think it is good to distinguish between the typical effects we describe as psychedelic compared to the other effects that you may notice when you're microdosing or around somebody who might be microdosing or reading about it. Because I think these definitions are a little vague or dicey at this point.

Dr. Dave Rabin:A lot of people describe these techniques in very different ways, so I think it's really great that we're starting to come to agreement as a field on what these terms really mean. 

Jordan Gruber:And while we're at it,[00:22:00]just in terms of the different protocols that are out there, the Fattom and the stem, the Netherlands Institute of Microdosing, Jim wrote me an email and he said, final summary on protocols, and I thought it was gonna be like this.

Jordan Gruber:Amazing. It was one sentence, it was not too much, not too often, and not too long without a. . And so what that does for microdosing is it really captures the spirit of the law, and as long as you're sort of within that, then different people are gonna have different ways of doing it. I thought that was really brilliant when he emailed me that.

Dr. Dave Rabin:What advice would you give to folks who are interested in microdosing at this point? There's so many people out there who are doing it, but there's also so many people who have not yet tried it, who are reading about it, hearing about it, interested in it. What advice would you give to people who are new to this, who are interested in venturing it in this domain?

Dr. Dave Rabin:Sasha. 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Sasha Shogun had a comment, which is, if you're going to put something in your mouth, you should know something about it. So that's the kind of starting point, which is you[00:23:00]get information, it's better if you talk to people who've had more experience than you. There's a number of groups now that are doing coaching and it looks like, not surprisingly, if you're coached, you're more focused, you're paying attention to why you are taking it, and you're also being asked to notice more.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So that's more effective. They have much, much lower percentage of people who both stop or complain. The only problems we've seen in Microdosing, and there are a couple of areas which people do report, but most of the problems turn out to be people who have overdosed and they've overdosed. Cuz what they're looking for and what they imagine they should be getting is a little teeny high dose.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:So it isn't like a huge concert, but it's like a couple of musicians maybe, and the answer is no, that's not it. Correct. Microdosing isn't microdosing unless you screw up. That's fairly serious medical advice as I would say, which is know what you're doing or be with someone who[00:24:00]knows what you're doing.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:If you have any concerns, test it first on a weekend. What the people in Holland who have coached like 5,000 people say, start low and notice what dose works for you and stop at that. The goal in microdosing, unlike microdosing for a lot of people, is how little can you use and how seldom that's your goal.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And most people who microdose successfully, whatever their intentions are for a month or more, tend to use it less often than they did during that first month. So more and more people are saying, okay, I got the benefits I came in for, I'm out. So this is both non-addictive. People use it and then put away when they're not using it.

Jordan Gruber:The funny thing about this is it's another example of less is more just like Jim originally may have misinterpreted how much he thought Albert Hoffman was taking because he came out with those[00:25:00]first suggested dose ranges at maybe seven, 12 micrograms of L S D, or maybe it was. 10. I'd have to go back and look at exact history, but if he was doing what Hoffman was suggesting, two and a half or five times that people wouldn't have ever discovered all of these wide range of benefits.

Jordan Gruber:So it's not like homeopathic where there's literally sometimes not even one molecule as Jim has found out in like say one microgram of L S D, one 10th of a standard dose contains 1.54 quadrillion molecules of L S D. There's plenty for every cell in your body, which is maybe Wyatt resets systems and works on anti-inflammatory and headaches and periods and does all these things, but it is really a small amount.

Dr. Dave Rabin:Yeah, that's really interesting. And L S D is particularly fascinating historically because it is one of, one of the most potent medicines of any kind ever have been discovered at the time it was discovered. Now I think fentanyl as predicted by Leonard Picard is probably the most potent of all medicines.

Dr. Dave Rabin:And there are maybe some others. Unfortunately there are[00:26:00]more potent and more toxic. But L S D was one of the first that was actually active in that microgram range, which is just a tiny amount, uh, substance. 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Let me mention, since we're talking about the dark side of small with fentanyl, there was papers published by Mark Hayden in Canada where he found a couple of people who had overdosed with L S D.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:One of them, I believe it was a 50 times over there, was a 500 times over and there was a 5,000 times over. Okay. Wow. So we're looking at scary notions here. Think of any medication or anything pretty much you can think of that'll harm you. The people at the higher doses were out of it. For a number of days, they were not physically damaged and they recovered entirely.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And this is just to me fascinating. Two of those three people had long-term medicated, authenticated mental illness. Both of them recovered from their long-term mental illness after[00:27:00]this super high dose. I do not recommend super high doses for anyone, but it's nice to know that we're talking not only on the opposite end of fentanyl, but overdoses with L S D are not app.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:They're certainly more 

Dr. Dave Rabin:manageable. They won't stop you from breathing, that's for sure. No, that's for sure. So it is very interesting to think about the contrast there and how these medicines were, and I'm wondering if this is, this is a. Time to segue into your symphony of selves. Yep. So this is a wonderful book that the two of you have been working on for some time in published, I believe in 2020.

Dr. Dave Rabin:This is a very interesting take on the psyche and consciousness and how we see ourselves as self versus selves and a healing process. And I've always been curious to ask you, how did you cope with this idea and what led you to write this 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:book together? I've been exploring the idea for over 25 years.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:I'm not sure where it quite started. Perhaps it was, there's a lot of things out there in[00:28:00]western science. Someone named Freud came up with the idea that there are three major sections to the psyche that often don't talk to each other and don't like each other. There's the idea from Hinduism of shes of different levels of energy with different capacity.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:There are different questions. In Chinese medicine, there's shamanism. There's a lot of things out there that say maybe the single unified self isn't a good explanation. And so I was compiling articles and notes and cartoons, and at some point, Jordan and I got together and he offered to help me and I transferred this file drawer full of things to him.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And then a couple of weeks later, I found another file drawer and transferred that to him. And one of his first comments to me was, did you know that you have eight book outlines that you've written over the years? So it was fairly clear that I could like get that far. And so once Jordan joined me within a couple[00:29:00]of months, he was actually more knowledgeable than I was and really directed the way this book got written, particularly, there's just some fantastically interesting scholarship in it.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:All of it. Jordan's. So I brought in this thing and I didn't know quite what to do with it and it had a lot of lumps and it was interesting. And Jordan said, oh yeah, I know one of those. And that's part of a genius and it's part of a possibility and I know how to take it apart and we can share it and give it to other people.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Is that fair, Jordan? 

Jordan Gruber:Most of it? Yeah. I think it's all fair actually. But what I would say is that I remember I was aware of GIF cuz my friend Bill Eichman had brought her to my attention. I remember even being in law school, having a big fight with my girlfriend, who I'm still friends with now, even though I'm not with her.

Jordan Gruber:And I said, can't we just have a complete reset and pretend it was 15 minutes ago and go back to enjoy and being with each other in real time. Like I had moved to a better self. And she went, no, we just had this big fight. And I was like, that didn't work. And then the first time I ever saw Jim was in 19.[00:30:00] 

Jordan Gruber:89 or 90 at Forrest Gamble's mind center and he was given a talk on multiple cells and I don't think we talked them, but we went there and we watched it and there were many of the proto ideas. And yeah, Jim actually taught about this idea at Eslan and was also involved with the Psychosynthesis people.

Jordan Gruber:You taught for them at one point as Saio. Eventually he did come to me in 1985. Something I'm good at is chasing down every possible lead on something to a kind of an extreme degree, maybe not extreme, cuz we missed some things, post-modern things mainly cuz I don't know enough about that and neither just gem.

Jordan Gruber:And there were people we missed as we state in the second paragraph of the book. Not a new idea. This is a big topic. In the 1890s, there were people named Jean Martin Charco and Pier Janay and William James and they were all talking and some thought everybody had different parts or so. There's been a lot of people who had worked on this.

Jordan Gruber:There was GIF and we're both friends with Gene Houston as a modern person and as sa I just began collecting everything that I could find,[00:31:00]including all the modern authors, a voice dialogue people at the Gestalt. And Jim had, like he said, a couple of crates full of stuff. And what I do when I get a lot of information is I make a big mind map out of everything at different levels and eventually we.

Jordan Gruber:Entered into this thing where I would write a chapter, then Jim would edit, and I would go back and forth between us five, seven times. And then on the history stuff, it was all really there to see. And it took a little bit of sleuthing. One of my favorite things was finding an article by Pier from late 1880s that's in French.

Jordan Gruber:It's a magazine. And being able to translate it using Google Translate to see just exactly what he meant by a disaggregation or dissociation. And when you looked at the big history, it very quickly popped out that everybody is moving in the same direction, including Freud, who published his first paper ever on Anna o, where he thanked.

Jordan Gruber:Alfred Benet, who was in favor of cells and the two Janay. Then Freud had an abrupt U-turn when he got rid of the seduction hypothesis[00:32:00]and he said, no hypnosis isn't good. The cell stuff is all made up, and here's my theory to explain why people in Upperclass vie are doing bad things to each other that they're not really doing.

Jordan Gruber:They're just projecting. But actually, of course, they were doing those things and so much has come out in terms of trauma and how trauma is held onto by different selves. So we just wrote this book and Jim's is a little bit modest because he has impeccable anti theoretical instance. We didn't put together a theory and all of these people who talk about.

Jordan Gruber:The high self, the big self, the super self, and the one self or Roman maharshi's self. We went out of our way to go. What we're talking about is observational, pragmatic psychology. If I knew you well enough, Dave, I would suss out five or six or seven of the major selves that you move into and I would know when to call you Illinois not to, because you can see this hopping in everybody.

Jordan Gruber:Cause we say everyone has selves, they have inherent value. Sometimes they have their own agendas and you can't just get rid of them. Jung was a big advocate of realizing you can't just put that[00:33:00]ball under the pool. It'll pop back up. So, but Jim had framed it at one point as the assumption that we have or ought to be a single self.

Jordan Gruber:And that's incorrect. If you take that assumption away and you look at all of these different self-help and new wage psychologies, it's a little bit like with Copernicus when up until they put the sun in the middle, they were still able to explain the data they had with these crazy epicycles and how things must be revolving.

Jordan Gruber:But once you put the sun in the middle, it became really clear. What we're saying is, and it's actually a radical revolutionary statement, is that you don't have a super single self, although we can talk as Sam Harris did with Jim about what it means to go for that self or no selves on the orthogonal axis, but let's not talk about that.

Jordan Gruber:Let's just work with the selves that you already have in your day-to-day life and say that mental health is being in the right mind at the right time, and it's so radically different of an idea that even all of these other things like I f S and Psychosynthesis, they all come back to their being a single[00:34:00]self, and Jim has never been willing to buy that.

Jordan Gruber:And so it gives us a more radical perspective than literally any of the other people looking at it. And yet we also have a bigger net in terms of the research and what everybody else has said. And that's why we like the book. We think it's fair but radical. How was that, Jeff? It is indeed. That was wonderful , 

Dr. Dave Rabin:and it's a fantastic book and I love the figure that you created of my own heart to show the history and no ontology of the field and how many famous, well regarded a psychologist and psychiatrists and folks who studied consciousness since the 18 hundreds have been fascinated by this material.

Jordan Gruber:It's in black and white now, cuz the book had to be black and white. But when we simplified it to get it into this diagram, when we have a more complex color version, it wasn't as good. It was just too much information. So we still have that one in the drafts and you can go back and say, oh, he met with him in Paris and he actually taught him and they were his disciples.

Jordan Gruber:But[00:35:00]once we took all that way and just made it gray scale, I was like, oh look, you can't really dispute this. Maybe some scholar Freud will dispute it, but 

Dr. Dave Rabin:I think it's interesting to think about. This is in a lot of ways the Western ontology, the evolution of these concepts about multiple cells coexisting.

Dr. Dave Rabin:This goes back much further, of course, into ancient yoga culture, ancient shamanism. There's 

Jordan Gruber:still cultures today. And Jim's cousin is famously written a book about the monk. You don't have all, I think, eight or nine of yourselves or your parts in your body and working together. You will not be a healthy human being.

Jordan Gruber:You gotta go out there and do a soul retrieval, then you gotta go 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:do it. What we're looking at. And we like the term observational. We're simply trying to report on what people normally are doing, but don't have a vocabulary. My favorite is the easiest, which is have you ever quarreled with yourself? And everybody goes, yeah, I've done that.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:I say, who was the other person? And then there's this just momentary disconnect because[00:36:00]people have been brought up that there's only one of them, but here is their own behavior that they know full well. There's more than one and there's dozens of those. My favorite in English, cuz we see it in a lot of languages, is, I was beside myself.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:I just love that . Or things that are again, self-evident, which is, I don't wanna talk about this. Right. That doesn't mean I'm not gonna talk about it, but the person who just snarled at you is not the right one to talk about. And I think we have another term. I'm not in the mood, . Okay. What does that mean?

Dr. Jim Fadiman:It means that the person who you would like me to be isn't me at the moment. Mm-hmm. But hang in there. I'm perfectly aware that other person is there. So it's an, it's becomes a normal way of speaking. And when Jordan talked about how I got into writing this, one of my daughters, who's a professor of ethnobotany, said, dad, you just have to write this book because it makes it so much easier to[00:37:00]understand people.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And when your children gang up on you, it's worth noticing. 

Dr. Dave Rabin:You are listening to the psychedelic report to get on my vibe. Tune your Apollo of meditation and mindfulness. 

Jordan Gruber:And here's another daughter example. When my daughter had to decide which school she was gonna go to, she eventually went to Oberlin.

Jordan Gruber:She wrote me a letter and said, dad, you're a genius. There's part of me that wants to go to Manhattan and do this and that, but most of me really wants to go to Oberlin. And I was like, oh, thank you. I'm a genius. 

Dr. Dave Rabin:Finally. That's a great example too, and I think this is really interesting because many of us do use these phrases, right?

Dr. Dave Rabin:We use this terminology to allude to the fact that perhaps the part of me or the version or the self that I am right now is not the one that wants to be having this conversation or not the one that is ready for this experience right now. 

Jordan Gruber:The first time you are about to have a conversation that's gonna go really bad with someone who you really care for, and you[00:38:00]either walk away or really just allow a different self to come in, proactively shifting.

Jordan Gruber:It just changes so many dynamics and it's just so powerful. 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:I'm gonna give you an exciting exercise, please. Ready? When you're upset, count to 10. Now you say, oh, hey, I already know that. Of course you know that you were brought up with that because what happens when you count to 10, it gives yourselves a chance to pull the right one out.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And so we have to have ways to deal with the reality. The fact that we have this notion that there should be only one self. That's a notion, that's a theory. That's an explanation. It's not a very good one because it doesn't fit the. . So our book is not radical because we're simply returning to where psychology was until Freud[00:39:00]pushed it the other way.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:We're not radical cuz we're describing things that have been described and we have 10 or 15 different sciences where we have examples. What is radical is that it got lost and we started to have the notion that there's one badly designed and badly constructed self. And one of the problems, for instance, is who goes to therapy?

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Okay? Usually the one that goes to therapy really would like things to be better, but there's another part of the self. For instance, if you're an alcoholic, the alcoholic part rarely shows up in. The one who wakes up in the morning with a hangover and feels guilty that one goes to therapy. But it is not surprising.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:By the way, having done alcohol research quite a ways ago, psychotherapy is the least successful form of treatment for alcoholism. Doing nothing is better. 

Jordan Gruber:what? What works really well is Alcoholics Anonymous, where you have a whole bunch of[00:40:00]people and each one says, my name is Jordan Gruber and I'm an alcoholic, and they bring into the room the part of them that really has the problem to be witnessed and seen by other people who have the problem and they can make real progress.

Dr. Dave Rabin:That's absolutely the case and very interesting to note, and I think that the question that brings up for me is what is the difference between seeing the self as a single self with many parts versus seeing ourselves as many selves? or are they the same with 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:different terms? Basically what you're doing by saying I have many parts is you're begging the question, but you're doing it in a way that still allows you to say, this part is now dominant.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And so we use the term cells, which is stronger just to make it easier to see the distinction so you don't retreat back into the parts are really moods[00:41:00]or something that kind of glosses it over. There's a very popular growing therapy and it should be popular called parts therapy. Where people work on their parts and we like the term selves, it's a little more elegant, but since this isn't a theory, this is just observational any way that seems to be accurate when you test it against reality is a good term.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:We 

Dr. Dave Rabin:talk about this quite a bit in the psychedelic assisted psychotherapy framework where we use many different forms of psychotherapy for the moment. But one of the overarching themes is internal family systems by Dick Schwartz, which really looks at the self as an internal family of cells that I think is very much aligned with the way you describe the cells.

Dr. Dave Rabin:And I'm wondering is one of the major differences between looking at us at ourselves as multiple cells versus oneself with many parts is. If we apply the word selves, plural, then each[00:42:00]self is conscious, right? Right. Each self has a sense of its own agency, its own autonomy, its own desires and goals and wishes.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Yep. That's beautifully said. We definitely will quote you . That's an important distinction because when we have a term, you've lost your temper, which really means you found your temper. Right? . And so there you are screaming at your four-year-old and a part of you says, I am really better than this. But the other part says, no, I'm not

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And that part has integrity. That part has a history, that part has memories. That part has a value system. And so when you are in any given self, it feels as it should, like you. No one ever says, I feel like a part. It's obvious nonsense. A part is 

Dr. Dave Rabin:almost demeaning a little bit. It's not accurate. It's not.

Dr. Dave Rabin:That's a full 

Jordan Gruber: [00:43:00]representation's. Yeah. So this is the problem with seeing them systems that ultimately go back there to being a single self, including if FS and Dick Schwartz says, have a new book out called No Bad Parts. But if you go back to earlier IFS writings, they talk about how the self can get commingled with and degraded by different selves.

Jordan Gruber:This does get us to the Sam Harris thing, and let me just go through this quickly. When Sam Harris was interviewing Jim, Sam Harris came up with the idea of the orthogonal access. He was like, what about the people who want one self up here? However you look at that channeling it or becoming one with it.

Jordan Gruber:What about the Buddhist and the Daoists who want zero selves? What we're saying is that on this horizontal axis, where you go from people who have a lot of cells and don't know that they have them and they're not working well, To people who think they're one self, but of course they're not really all the way over to people who know they have selves and are orchestrating it.

Jordan Gruber:Wherever you are on this X axis and any work you're doing on those orthogonal axis, you're gonna be better off and the people in your life are gonna be better off and there's gonna be less virtual[00:44:00]bypassing and less. Weird stuff going on. And it may be that not all of yourselves are interested in doing this spiritual work and trying to achieve that one self or trying to have no selves at all.

Jordan Gruber:So it's a whole different level of inquiry. We're talking about the level of selves that you're always in one or another. There are some people who can be in two selves at once, but that's rare. You're in one of them or another. And to larger different degrees, you're neurochemistry and your body and everything changes to some degree.

Jordan Gruber:And so getting that, you're really moving into another self and we don't know where they come from. We talk about what everyone has said, but we don't know, and it doesn't really matter. What matters is not having that fight with your spouse or friend when you're about to do it. What matters is going, you're in the really lazy part of yourself and if you give into that nap, you're just kill your schedule for the day knowing that I've gotta feed and water and exercise the writing self, or he is not gonna sit in the chair for three or four hours anymore.

Jordan Gruber:I'm over 60. I don't have to do that. It's all of these things as being very real. ,[00:45:00]but it requires you to jettison as a first principle that there is some great super spiritual self that I just bonded with and opened up communications with. Everything would be better forever. Again, this is not what standard psychiatry or medicine or religion or all those guys want one self and we're going, yeah, but there really isn't much evidence and there's a lot of evidence that we do have these roughly equivalent level of selves that we go in and out of behaviorally every day, and we haven't even talked about selves in psychedelics, but it's really important to know about that in the psychedelic context 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:too.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:We have a whole lot of areas that we don't mess with because we don't see any evidence and we don't see how to make the distinctions. We don't talk about angels, we don't talk about evil spirits. We're not saying they don't exist. This is a practical book. I have a shelf at home as many of us do with a whole bunch of cookbook.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:and some of them are very specialized and very elegant, and I find that I keep coming back to a little beat up paperback by Jimmy Beard that says,[00:46:00]here's a simple way to cook whatever it is you just asked about. Oh, and here's a couple of easy variations that don't take any time. That's the kind of book that we've written, which is, this is a handy book if you want to make your life work better and be more harmonious.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And that's the feedback we get. The feedback we get is not, wow, what an incredible breakthrough you've done is. Wow. It's so much easier than it used to be. And I'm really glad you guys wrote this book so I can understand it better. That's it. It gives 

Jordan Gruber:me permission to be all of who I am. It lets me express my creative side, and also we don't really have a system.

Jordan Gruber:So compared to if fff, which is like a theoretical power tool that works for people who have certain kind of problems in group contact. In this trainings, we're just saying, no, just take seriously the idea that you have different selves, they're all very real and they're count, and you're gonna have to learn how to love and work with all of them as well as the different selves and the people.

Jordan Gruber:You know. That's a much simpler proposition, and it doesn't give exact[00:47:00]guidance, but we do talk about a lot of different ways that different people work with selves. 

Dr. Dave Rabin:Is it fair to say that from your perspective, asking an individual to strive for a single self. Is like striving for perfection. It's something that is impossible to achieve.

Dr. Dave Rabin:So it creates a lot of frustration and at the same time, acknowledging the multiple selves that coexist within us all the time is actually really just relieving to folks because it just allows them to, as you said, Jordan, really just embrace all the versions of 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:themselves that they are. Well, I would go even stronger as trying to be a single unified self is as if one would behave the same in every situation.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Mm-hmm. Now we do have a term for that, and it's not enlightened. It's called fanatic. Single-minded fanatic, right. Which is, how are you? How can I be fine? When the children in Indo-China are starving? I just asked how you were. Where are you going? Does it matter where I'm going? When[00:48:00]the children in Indo-China, et cetera, a fanatic is someone who treats all situations from an internal, single structure.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Okay, that's not healthy. So the goal is really to be in harmony. Jordan and I, by the way, fought over the word symphony. I resisted it for two years. He was a hundred percent because in a symphony the instruments are really different. The symphony and the violin are really different. But when things are going well, there is a unified, harmonious sound that fills us with pleasure.

Dr. Dave Rabin:And as soon as one of those seemingly different instrumentalists that's playing in the symphony plays a slightly at of tune or a slightly different rhythm, it sounds kind of terrible. And 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:what a conductor is listening for is where to keep that harmony at a maximum to keep the differences pure doing what they should do.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Well, he really[00:49:00]doesn't want the violin player to turn over his violin and start, who's the conductor 

Dr. Dave Rabin:then? 

Jordan Gruber:The conductor is not one of your ordinary cells that you move in and out of. That's about all we can say, and that's the point I like to think of the body as being a conductor. It's conducting all of these cells.

Jordan Gruber:Also, I like the idea of a soul. The Seed of the Soul was a great book. I can see that I have some sort of an auto poetic evolutionary dynamic that is whatever the Jordan ness is that holds all the different Jordans together. That's somehow my soul. And maybe that's the conductor, but the conductor isn't yet another homonculus within you that's always there and always watching and conducting.

Jordan Gruber:Even if you have that kind of watching self, you're not gonna be able to get to it and be in it and live your life. So again, it's just pragmatic day-to-day 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:living. That's why I didn't like the word symphony, cuz that's always the first question I know, which is orchestras. When the conductor who's been there a number of years dives, what they do is they do a[00:50:00]concert without the conductor.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:Hmm to demonstrate that they have learned to be a harmonious organism without a conductor. But that's a long way of saying your question is one that we get and I don't like it. And Jordan has a wonderfully more interesting answer. It's 

Dr. Dave Rabin:interesting to think about because perhaps it is, we are the symphony of selves after our conductor has died.

Dr. Dave Rabin:Yeah, that's lovely . And maybe the death of the conductor is in some ways like. 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:The growth of maturity. Yeah. Before being born. If I was still in the self-help business, I would immediately start working on the book, grow Up. Your Conductor has died. And one 

Jordan Gruber:of the most powerful means of working with sales that we've learned about since the book came out, it's this couple named Brian Hesp, Kaplan and Britain.

Jordan Gruber:And they use reverse psychology and humor to get epiphanies with sub cells, as they call it. Basically, you tell them[00:51:00]what you want, anything other than like curing cancer or world peace, that's what you want. And they each go for one minute where they say the most crazy, ridiculous, absurd and dramatic things, but with a twink on their eye and loving their heart.

Jordan Gruber:And when they're done, whatever self you've had that's been like running crazy and freaking out, it lasted itself. So they did that with me when my cat was diagnosed with diabetes and I was freaking out. And when I was done with them in literally two minutes of processing, I felt 80, 90% better because they got the part of me that was freaking out to realize it was over dominating and, and got up to tone down.

Jordan Gruber:So that's just one way of working with cells. . 

Dr. Dave Rabin:Yeah. That's really interesting. Humor is such a powerful coping mechanism and absurdity in the form of humor. I know Freud talked about that quite a bit as well. Maybe not in exactly the same as you just described Jordan, but just in the powerful nature of humor to transform emotion.

Dr. Dave Rabin:I think he had already disavowed the idea of multiple cells at that point. Nonetheless, humor is powerful at transitioning energy and emphasis between these different parts of ourselves. And I was wondering,[00:52:00]Thinking about some of the experiences that we have in the clinic, uh, particularly because I'm a trauma and addiction psychiatrist.

Dr. Dave Rabin:I work with many other trauma psychiatrists. We see with and without medicine, these radical transformations of people through their journeys with experiencing a coming together of selves. And one of the things that has always been challenging for people to understand, but Gabriel Maier talks about this quite a bit.

Dr. Dave Rabin:Maybe just to give an example, a young child around the age of four or five. Is singing at home and just feeling in a great mood, elated. They don't notice that they might be bothering anybody or singing really loud. They're just belting it out and singing to a tune that comes to them. And all of a sudden mom walks in and she's had a terribly rough day, and people have been yelling at them all day and they've been working hard, and so they turn to their child without thinking and say, shut up.

Dr. Dave Rabin:Your voice is[00:53:00]terrible. Please, for the love of God, stop singing. What does that do to the child's selves and how do they process that kind of traumatic insult in that moment? 

Dr. Jim Fadiman:One of the models that a lot of people find helpful is the notion that at that moment there is a splitting and that one of the cells deeply hurt, feels belittled and stupid.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:And the rest of the selves are not involved. So this one self takes it on. It may be that this child will, for instance, not sing again, but other than that will develop other skills or it can bleed into other selves. And again, it is extraordinary. I've maybe taught, I don't know, five, 6,000 people a system of quote affirmation saying positive things about oneself and finding those[00:54:00]single sentences once in a child's life in a perfectly nice, not quote.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:What we would think is a trauma-based household can have such an extraordinary. And so what you're dealing is, what happens at that moment is there's like a cyst in the system. There's something that closes over and doesn't circulate, which is why therapy is very valuable because as a 40 year old, if you can get back to that, you realize that it was your parents' problem.

Dr. Jim Fadiman:You sing fine and so forth. And we have again, and you have in your clinic, I'm sure, lots of breakthroughs where people realize they