april 21st, 2021

Episode #20


Do We Have More Than One Self?
Exploring Your Symphony of Selves with
James Fadiman and Jordan Gruber

Join Laura Dawn as she speaks with James Fadiman and Jordan Gruber about what it means to have more than one Self. In this episode we explore what they call “Healthy Multiplicity” or the “Healthy Selves Model”, indicating that knowing you actually have more than one Self isn’t a sign of pathology, but a sign of health and wellbeing.

The coping mechanisms that the traumatized self has developed to protect itself need to be honored, and to see if they’re still necessary. That’s why we are a little concerned when people talk about the best self or a core self because there are times when, what one might call a very peripheral self, is exactly who you wish to be for that amount of money.
James fadiman & Jordan Gruber


About This Episode:

In this episode, Laura Dawn features her conversation with both Dr. Jim Fadiman, author of an all-time classic The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide alongside Jordan Gruber, who both co-authored a new book called Your Symphony of Selves: Discover More Of Who You Are.

When you think about your Self, do you consider yourself to be one “Unified Self? Or is it possible that you have multiple selves? And if you did consider yourself to have more than one Self, would that be a sign of pathology or health? 

Adopting this notion that we have more than one Self is what Jim Fadima and Jordan Gruber call “healthy multiplicity”. This concept directly sits at odds with the prevailing notion that we only have one unified self, in the fields of health care and psychology. Jordan and Jim argue that embracing our multiplicity of Selves is actually a sign of health and wellbeing, not a sign of pathology. 

In this episode, we dive into what they call the “healthy selves model”  and explore questions like: how many Selves do we really have? Are all of our Selves an expression of ego? Can one of our Selves be “our higher self? What if we don’t like one of our Selves that seems to wreak havoc on our lives, should we give that self a back seat amongst our entourage of selves? Can one of our selves be a different age or even a different gender? How does this concept of multiple selves fit with shadow work or childhood trauma? Or working with psychedelics?

Core Themes

Explored in this episode:
  • Symphony of selves
  • Healthy multiplicity
  • Higher self
  • Childhood trauma
  • psychology
  • psychedelics

Links &

useful resources

Episode Transcript

Episode #20: James Fadiman & Jordan Gruber Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.

Duration: 1:22:01

[Intro]: My name is Laura Dawn, and you’re listening to episode number 20 of the psychedelic leadership podcast featuring my conversation with both Dr. Jim Fadiman, author of an all-time classic, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, alongside Jordan Gruber and they both co-authored a new book called Your Symphony of Selves: Discover More of Who You Are.

Snippet: We have a definition that goes something like selves, also called self-states, or recurring patterns of mind, body, chemistry, perception, beliefs, intentions, and behaviors in human beings to conclude.  First, the idea that mental health is being in the right mind at the right time has never been more valuable and true. These ideas have been around and a lot of different formulations in many cultures and many different groups but the basic idea that you are or ought to be a single unified self hasn’t been questioned for over 100 years.

The coping mechanisms that the traumatized self has developed to protect itself need to be honored, and to see if they’re still necessary. That’s why we are a little concerned when people talk about the best self or a core self because there are times what one might call a very peripheral self, is exactly who you wish to be for that amount of money.

Our basic theme is just that awareness heals and once you have an awareness of everyone telling me you’re crazy, if you think you have different cells we do because everybody does, including the healthiest people alive. We just think a lot of things become easier, and there are all sorts of implications for performance and longevity, and health. There are applications in every area of life because this is a core fundamental precept of psychology that we think is just inaccurate that there’s a single cell.

When you think about yourself, do you consider yourself to be one unified self or is it possible that you have multiple cells? And if you did consider yourself to have more than yourself would that be a sign of pathology or an indication of health? Adopting this notion that we have more than oneself is what Jordan and Jim call healthy multiplicity, and it directly sits at odds with the current prevailing notion in the fields of healthcare and psychology, that we have only one unified self. In this episode, we’re going to dive into what they call the healthy selves model described in their book Your Symphony of Selves, and explore questions like if we have more than ourselves how many selves do, we have and are all of ourselves an expression of ego? Can one of ourselves be our higher self? What if we don’t like one of ourselves that seems to wreak havoc on our lives? Should we give that self a backseat amongst our entourage of other selves? Can one of us be a different age or even a different gender than our other selves? And how does this concept of multiple selves fit in with Shadow Work or childhood trauma or working with psychedelics? 

This is what we’re going to talk about in this episode and so much more. So many of you are familiar with Jim Fadiman’s work, you’ve probably heard his name, he is a legendary figure in the psychedelic movement. As I said, he’s the author of the Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, a book that I read, so many years ago. He’s a professor of psychology, he taught at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology now Sofia University, which she helped to co-found, and you’ve also heard of the term micro-dosing, which is hitting the mainstream in such a big way. Now, that’s a term that Jim Fadiman coined, and he’s also known for the popular Fadiman protocol which he created, which became even more popular after Ayelet Waldman published her book called A Really Good Day: How Micro dosing Made a Mega Difference in my mood, my marriage, and my life, where she followed the Fadiman protocol and wrote about it in her book and how it completely transformed her life. 

So, we’re not going to talk about micro dosing in this episode, although I am planning on having Jim Fadiman back to record again, where we dive deep into all topics related to micro dosing, as well as the fascinating studies he conducted back in the 60s around psychedelics and creativity, which, as many of you know, is an area that I’m also currently studying. So, I talk about the Fadiman protocol in my free eight-day micro dosing course. If you haven’t yet signed up for that, you can find that on my website at liveryLaurade.com on the freebies tab, alongside my music playlist for psychedelic journeys and beyond one playlist of which I highly recommend for micro dosing morning flows.

And Jordan Gruber is also just such a brilliant mind and an excellent writer and he spearheaded this project, this book, your Symphony of Selves with Jim and it’s a book that I highly recommend reading. And I’ve just been so enjoying connecting with and getting to know both Jordan and Jim on Clubhouse over the past few months. So, for those of you who are on that platform, many of you are probably starting to hear the name Clubhouse pop up more and more, because it’s becoming such a popular platform. I host weekly rooms in the psychedelic clubhouse, primarily on Tuesday evenings between six and 8 pm PST, and I’ll include links to my clubhouse profile in the show notes. But it’s livefreelaurad, which is the same as my Instagram handle. And if you want to join in on the conversations I’m hosting around psychedelics and micro dosing, leadership, mindset, creativity, flow states, entrepreneurship, all the fun things, just check out my profile, and make sure to follow me and receive all the notifications for when I open up a room on the Clubhouse platform.

And so, before we dive in, I just want to let you guys know that I have just a few spots left for my three-month micro dosing mastermind program and I’ve been receiving a lot of applications for this program. And I’m taking the time to interview each person to make sure that I’m curating the right group for this particular cohort that starts in June and runs through until the end of August. And this is such a unique and special program primarily geared towards people who are either already in the psychedelic space. So, I have a few integration coaches, a few micro dosing coaches, guides, people in the plant medicine retreat space, and some entrepreneurs in the space as well. And I also have many transformational coaches who have slightly different offerings, but they’re all interested in potentially offering micro dosing to their clients. So, this is for people who want to go beyond the basics of micro dosing, who want to deepen their daily practice and cultivate a micro dosing practice to tap into flow states, unlock creativity and weave more ceremony into the fabric of our everyday lives.

And what makes this program so unique is that we’re also including five mastermind sessions, exploring a range of topics related to entrepreneurship, particularly around refining your core message, cultivating your thought leadership, expanding your offering, whether that’s coaching or online programs, and building a platform to extend your reach of positive influence. So, I’ll also be sharing my frameworks and content that weaves science with wisdom teachings because the foundation of so much of what I teach is rooted in Eastern philosophy. But I’m also taking a step back and showing people how I create my frameworks how I leverage my morning micro dosing practice, to cultivate mindsets that allow me to expand the boundaries of what I believe is possible, and how I work with psychedelics and sacred plant medicines to hold a vision for what I’m creating in my life and how I transmute that vision into reality. 

And so, I also have a lineup of some incredible guest speakers who will be joining us for the program, including Minesh Gern, who’s a Psychedelic Neuroscientist who I featured in episode number five. And so, this program is designed and created for people who want to explore how they can be of service on the plant medicine path, and come together to cultivate lifelong relationships and connections to other people who are also in the psychedelic space.  So, if you want to apply for the three-month micro dosing mastermind, you can find more information on my website livefreeLauraD.com And because I’m still going through applications and interviews, I’ll put an extension on the early bird discount, and I’ll be leaving you off with a song that I just love called the Inner Worlds by Gamma and I thought Inner Worlds was just an appropriate song for this episode as we explore our inner world of multiple selves. 

And I’ve had some potent psychedelic moments with an eye mask and noise-canceling headphones listening to this particular song. And so of course, it’s also included on one of my four music playlists for psychedelic journeys and beyond.  Without any further ado, here is my fascinating conversation exploring healthy multiplicity with both Jordan Wilbur and Jim Fadiman. 

Laura Dawn: Welcome Jordan Gruber, Jim Fadiman, it’s a pleasure to have you both on the podcast today. Thanks for joining me.

Jim Fadiman: It is a real pleasure.

Jordon Gruber: It is. We’ve been waiting for this for a few weeks now since we first got closer to Clubhouse. So, this is exciting for it to happen.

Laura Dawn: Yes, it’s been so nice connecting with both of you on Clubhouse and I’ve been appreciating your book, Your Symphony of Selves: Discover and Understand More of Who You Are. So, I’d love to just dive right in and maybe you could just lay out the basic premise, your perspective on multiple selves and maybe you can describe why this perspective is so beneficial.

Jim Fadiman: Well, the perspective of multiple selves is we’ve observed how people are, and how they are, have internal multiplicity. And the way we make this kind of screamingly obvious, is, have you ever argued with yourself? And everybody goes, Oh, yes, and then we say, who is the other person. And then there’s this kind of quiet moment where the theory that they only have oneself just didn’t work in this most basic moment. And so, when you start from there, you’ll begin to understand that what you are is an internal multiplicity and that one of the goals you have in this life is to have different selves, the different parts of you work harmoniously and that’s why we have a title called A Symphony of Cells. Because in a symphony, all the instruments or the groups of instruments are quite different but what they’ve learned is by cooperating, and listening to each other, and supporting each other, you have the magnificence of a symphony.

Laura Dawn: And so why is this such a radical notion? And how does this so fundamentally go against the common prevailing models in current psychology, which seems to point towards more of a unified self-model? 

Jordon Gruber: Well, it’s not that radical a notion is one of the things. This was the way that American psychology held the way things were until about 1910. So, we go back to William James, the father of American psychology, and he had this idea of social selves. And you had as many different social selves as you hung out with different people in different places and different things. And that’s pretty much how everybody thought about things until the idea got driven underground for various reasons that we may or may not touch, then you sort of only saw it in things like Sibyl, and cases of extreme what’s become called multiple personality disorder, and later dissociative identity disorder. But the whole time, there were always obvious things with a kid, you can’t teach them unless it’s a teachable moment, which means unless the part of them that is teachable, you can’t teach them. And, to conclude, first, the idea that mental health is being in the right mind at the right time, has never been more valuable and true.

So, these ideas have been around in a lot of different formulations in many cultures and with many different groups. But the basic idea that you are or ought to be a single unified self hasn’t been questioned for over 100 years. And, starting with Jim’s realizations, and then looking around, we came to see that if you just look at the people in your lives, that you know, and yourselves, you will realize you are not always the same person in the same self-state, the part of me that is going to hang out with my daughter’s friends, is not the same part of me that hangs out with my friends, or with people who are implying and so, we use nice terms like cell states to describe it scientifically. But fundamentally, people are inconsistent. And when you realize this is one of the reasons you can be more compassionate to everybody in your life and including yourself.

Laura Dawn: So, what do you think are the drawbacks then of the prevailing notion that we are one unified self, especially from the perspective of how we treat mental illness in the Western culture. Are these current models psychologically damaging, do you think?

Jim Fadiman: It’s limited, damaging is probably a little strong though I would go for it. But what we’re seeing is very simple, do you think inside yourself, and I’m now talking to everyone listening to us that you’re always consistent? And the answer is no. And in fact, there are times when you say to yourself, I can’t believe I did this. I don’t know what got, I’m just not this way. So, we notice when one of our other selves is doing something, if we are close to anyone, including children especially and we say, are they consistent, and you say, my children are well behaved, except I noticed when they’re with this particular friend, they get wild and crazy. Or they’re usually wild and crazy and exciting, and I’m so impressed with their adventurousness. But when they’re with certain people, they become like little church mice. And so, you’re used to seeing people switching into an appropriate self. And if you believe that’s pathology, then you’re believing that your natural attributes, your skillset, are somehow defective, somehow that you’re wrong for having normal capacities and of course can damage it.

Jordon Gruber: And the other way it’s damaging is just trying to shove people into being one thing, I mean, we get two different types of people, get a lot out of reading the book. One of them is someone who realized is this long-term pattern they’ve had with their wife or their partner, and even though they knew about parts, now, they sort of understand and the other person is, we have all sorts of people who say, my whole life everybody tried to stuff me into one box, into being one thing, and in high school they told me, I had to be just this thing, but I was this and this, and this, and this. And so, when the parts of you that you have been suppressing get to come out, it’s a huge relief, and they feel a lot better, and everything starts to work better, you can’t have the full life you’re capable of until you realize that you’ve got these cells, and they’re real, and you have to learn to work with all of them.

Laura Dawn: So, it seems like step number one is awareness; that awareness is key here and that simply acknowledging that we have multiple selves is in and of itself very beneficial. But going beyond that now, what are some of the ways that we can get to know our various selves a little bit better?

Jim Fadiman: Well, there are a few chapters that give you that. Well, we have some terms, one term that’s very popular in the culture now is called being triggered and that’s when you move from a socially acceptable self into something that you and maybe the other people don’t like. When you, for instance, have a family event, you say, don’t discuss religion with Uncle Albert because Uncle Albert has this perfectly lovely person who has a position on religion that the rest of the family disagrees with. And once Uncle Albert is triggered into that side of him, he can’t get out, he doesn’t have the skill to let go of that part and so everyone suffers and we all know that situation. So, the nice thing about discovering yourselves is, it’s more like saying, if I had cells, how would I explain to myself all these behaviors that I have now very complicated notions about? And the answer is, it’s much easier. One of the reasons that we did do this book, one of my children, in particular, kept saying, Dad, you got to do this book, it makes life easier. And so that’s fundamental, which is allowing what we see to be obvious to be acceptable, not the worry of self-discovery but the pleasure of self-discovery.

Laura Dawn: Yes, it’s so interesting. Why do you think that this concept of multiple selves has such a dark shadow cast over it? Like you said, for the past 100 years, it seems this has been used to point to pathology. So why do you think that is?

Jim Fadiman: Well, let’s go back a step, which is the negative term called Disassociation, which means, of course, the separation of individual selves sufficiently, so they’re not working well. The obvious word that that comes from is called Association and association is the way we normally are, which is the parts of us not only harmonious but understanding what’s the most useful self. So, if I am with my eight-pound dog, or I’m with a colleague who’s a neurophysiologist, I’m going to behave differently and I have to know the difference or else, my dog on the one hand will not accept me and the scientists will run out of the room. But we know better, we know how to move in and out of these different aspects of ourselves, and being conscious that is what’s going on just makes it easier.

Laura Dawn: And so how would you define that to be fundamentally different than just saying, well, we’re intelligent human beings, we are in a different situation and situations differ. So, we show up with adaptability towards situations and that more just allocating it to a mood or a behavioral change rather than a self or a personality.

Jim Fadiman: It’s more and it’s more literally, physiologically, there are shifts. When you move into different cells, you can feel in your own body, you have a different emotional state, we say my stomach tightened. Now we’re talking that’s not a mood that’s a shift in the way you are preparing your body to act. We have these stories, and they’re true of the 125-pound woman who looks out the window, and she sees that a car is rolling very slowly down the hill, and it’s about to roll over her child and we know she runs out, she picks up the bottom of the car, she pushes her child away with her foot and it’s over. And of course, that’s remarkable. And then the people from the local tabloids show up and they say, lady, would you mind picking up the car again, so we can do a photograph? And she says, Are you crazy? 

I’m a 135-pound woman, I can’t pick up the back of a car. See that’s a story which, if I tell it, it’s not considered unusual. But what you’re seeing is a shift that’s much more profound and much more useful. Biologically, any people, for instance, feel they have to dress for work and that’s including during this last year when working was at home, and there were lots of jokes about working in your pajamas. But for most people, they would get into their [inaudible 22:36] work clothes. So that could be their work and then at the end of the day, they would take off their clothes, and they would be their home person. We understand instinctively what we’re just making a little more visible.

Jordon Gruber: So also, Laura, Dawn, to answer your question, we have a definition that goes something like selves, also called cell states or recurring patterns of mind, body chemistry, perception, beliefs, intentions, and behaviors in human beings.  We are comprised of a set or constellation of these. So, most people, when they start feeling into it, even without having to name them or anything, they’ll go, yes, there are several general parts of who I am.  One of the authors that we learn from in England and read Accardo talks as these as majors. However, you want to cut it up, when you see the patterns, you get that there is something to the cells, that’s why we say each cell has its innate value, its agenda, you can’t just get rid of it, and it’s part of who you are. 

So, we do think that people do go through some pretty, extremely different self-states. I mean, another example that Jim likes to talk about, and so do I, is this patient in a mental institution who had the pathological type of mental personality, and in most of his personalities, if you drank orange juice, he would get terrible hives, but if he was 11 years old Timmy, he’d have no hives. [Inaudible 24:08] If he drank current, she says to me, I had no hives, and then they brought another one of the cells in to run the show to the front of the body as they say they need to get the hives again. And all this was reported by Dan Goleman in the New York Times.  So, we don’t dwell on this in the book, because we don’t want to sensationalize, this is like the movie Split. 

And people with different personalities have different superpowers. And we’re not saying it’s like that, but different eyeglass prescriptions, different brain scans. We think that part of what separates us when we don’t have the theory is that you can observe the different cells of someone in your life pretty easy once you start looking for it. So, there is a utility to thinking of them as patterns, even if other people like to think of them as sort of capacities that come online and offline and small minds. They get wheeled in and wheeled out that was the sort of thing that appealed to Sam Harris the other day, but we think there are these patterns and you sort of have a feeling for which the cells that show up the most often in your life are and maybe some that you’d like to see a little bit more often.

Laura Dawn: What was the name of the first author that you mentioned in the UK?

Jordon Gruber: Rita Carter wrote a book called The People We Are, we just sent her a copy of the book, we hope she likes it.

Laura Dawn: Cool. Thanks for stating that. What were you going to say, Jim?

Jim Fadiman: I was just taking a different example and I was wondering; do you speak any other language?

Laura Dawn: I grew up in Montreal, and my French could be better, buts it’s there.

Jim Fadiman: Montreal is wonderful because in Montreal, as you know, people will speak half of a sentence in French, and then they’ll do the rest in English. But if you go to a place where you either are speaking French or speaking English, what we know and there’s research is literally, you will have a different tonal pattern to your speech than your French will be, maybe faster, maybe slower, but a different pitch, but it will be as if a different personality is your French word. That makes sense to you.

Laura Dawn: Yes, it makes a lot of sense. And I guess for me, it’s just learning how to make this applicable for example, Shadow Work is such a popular topic right now, how do we apply this model to Shadow Work, for example?

Jordon Gruber: Well, it depends which level you’re speaking about the shadow on, if you’re talking about the big, scary union archetype that we all face on some existential numinous level that is always frightening. You need people like you who work with people on other levels. If you’re talking about, some of ourselves are still in the shadow, and therefore we’re not integrating them and we need to bring them out. We need to find out what they need and how to heal them. That’s sort of more of how we would think about it. And just to say about [inaudible 27:05] young very briefly, Jung wrote his doctoral dissertation on his cousin’s case of multiple personalities. And then he was very close with Freud. And he studied with Piaget, and Paris was a big player in this. But then when Freud kind of put the kibosh on the whole thing, [inaudible 27:21] you took it internally, both with his archetypes, including the shadow, and his idea of autonomous complexes. And if you read on the book about how [inaudible 27:29] Yang talks about autonomous complexes, they sound a lot like what we’re talking about cells, but he didn’t stay there or dwell on any of that.

Laura Dawn: Jim, do you have anything you want to add to that? 

Jim Fadiman: Well, I’m always a little concerned when people are saying that there are parts of themselves, that is defined negatively. Because I’m thinking of what it’s like in grammar school, if you’re the kid in the class that gets picked on, it’s very hard for you to have a very good self-concept. Because around you, you’re being treated as if you’re inferior. Now, it may be that it’s a racial issue, it may be a linguistic issue, maybe a social class issue, but you end up confused because, in some situations, you’re treated as one kind of person. And in a different situation, I’m remembering when my brother, my older brother, came back from college, and he was very happy and very successful in college. And after several days of being home, my parents accused him of being very selfish. And he came up to me in our room, and he said, with real tears in his eyes, he says, at school, no one thinks I’m selfish. I don’t know what’s going on. Why did they do that? 

And what was more than likely is the situation shifted, and the behaviors that my parents requested, were not coming through. And so instead of saying, here is a different way of behaving, because you’re now in college, and you’re learning about yourself, they gave him a label, the selfish person. And when we start labeling any of ourselves, we do them a disservice. And so, if Shadow Work is simply finding parts of yourself that if you think of the stage, being in the shadows, all that means is the house lights aren’t on you, but you’re still a full-scale character. You may be the lead. But if we consider a shadow, something disturbing or dirty or unworthy, then that part of you does that doesn’t support the whole system. The whole system is the whole person.

Laura Dawn: So, you say that there are three premises to this perspective, one that we all have selves two that different selves are truly different and inherently valuable, and that it’s easy to see beyond the self. So, looking at point number two different selves are truly different and inherently valuable. Looking at this through the lens of trauma, or the wound itself, you’re talking about this example of going to school and having these traumatic experiences. And let’s say that that cultivates an incredible self, let’s say, narcissistic, for example. So, how do we bring this into the model of, maybe there are parts of myself that are self-sabotaging, or that aren’t optimal or treating other people with kindness? How do we rectify these concepts?

Jim Fadiman: Well, there are possible, if I have a growth on the side of my foot called the Bunyan. That means walking is painful. Now, I didn’t just say the area around my Bunton. So, I get hit for that Bunyan, okay, and I go to a specialist. And similarly, if their selves are sabotaging, the whole house, that you get professional help. And but one of the things to keep in mind, and we often undersell the part of us that’s traumatized, is the coping mechanisms that the traumatized self has developed, to protect itself need to be honored, and to see if they’re still necessary. Okay, for instance, we let go of beliefs and attitudes throughout our life. When I was teaching people, kind of self-help system of affirmations. And I would say, can you change a basic belief? And a lot of them would say no because they’d had psychotherapy. And I would say, well, imagine, do you remember, who thought that when someone else put their tongue in your mouth, it was disgusting. And there would be this moment of recollection of when you were, 10, 11, 12. And then some older kids were already somewhat sexual. And you didn’t know what was going on. And then a couple of years later, you look back, and you saw that you had indeed let go of a lot of beliefs about the way people should behave.

So, one of the things that we see in therapy when we’re not trying to stuff everybody back into a little box that they don’t fit in is to see what does the traumatized part of the self has that is worth keeping. So, it can be helped and supported. But one that isn’t a trauma victim, one has a self, that’s a trauma victim. And that’s a very different attitude. It’s, again, think of a family and there’s one child who is very upset. You don’t say, well, we’ve got to get rid of all the children. You say, wait a moment, that’s not correct, let’s give the traumatized child extra help and support. So, for instance, one of the things you do is with a child who feels on load, and you give them a pet. And what happens is the pet loves them. And they, in turn, being loved and a lot of people recover. We have a whole [inaudible 33:46] we have systems in prisons, where you take, quote, hardcore criminal psychopaths, and you give them pets, and they end up being able to practice safely, the kinds of feelings that they haven’t had before, and the other parts of their selves might be just fine. And so, the healing gets faster when you know what you’re doing, and you’re not trying to heal a whole self when only one part is a problem.

Laura Dawn: But if you heal that self, wouldn’t you say that healing brings you back into sort of wholeness? Maybe the word wholeness isn’t the right word here, but if you’re healing that, isn’t that coming sort of back into alignment with your core self, it’s like this interesting juxtaposition of like, compartmentalizing another self. But what happens with the healing of that self and not you’re saying that that self that was once wounded is also growing up alongside you and evolving?

Jim Fadiman: I want Jordan to take this but I have an image that would make it easier if the violin player isn’t doing a good job and get some special help. So, the violin section works the orchestra doesn’t much into a single instrument.

Jordon Gruber: So, I wanted to say just a couple of things. First, one of the people in our book has a saying that if you have a problematic part of yourself, you’re not a bad dog, you just have a bad dog. And if you have a bad dog, and this is us, now, you’re not going to put it down. Because that doesn’t work, you’re going to find ways of working with it and loving it, you’re not going to put it in the shadow and turn off the lights and not feed it. Because that’s going to make it even crazier and vicious and young, and others have talked about if you try to push something like that, it will come back up. But when Jim said he wanted me to take it is, when you went back, Laura Dawn, and said, it has to be your core self, what we’re saying is that there isn’t necessarily a core self on that level. 

We’re saying that there is much different self that together creates sort of a symphony or a constellation of selves, whether or not you have a high self, or a single self, or a super-spiritual self, or sort of a lot of people are trying to get in touch with or whether you are more like the Buddhists who want ultimately no self or the Dallas to think you just go with the flow, that whole question of core self and a single self. That’s a Sam Harris put it is orthogonal to our inquiry, we’re just trying to do psychology and based on observation, say, everybody has these day-to-day pragmatic selves, when you know, it’s true, and you learn how to more easily shift into the right mind at the right time, your life gets a lot better. Now I would never try to talk anyone out of their connection with the high self, or let’s say, the mycelium mind, or whatever it is, I have experienced the goddess herself in a pagan ritual once, you know, I’ve had these numinous mystical experiences, but that’s not the level that my day-to-day selves operate. The guy who is almost late with paying the bill, it’s always due at the end of the month, and had to get that in before I finished this interview. He’s reliable, and sometimes he messes up. But you know, my high self, if I have one can help him, he’s got to jump in and remind us know it’s time for that. 

So, you know, whenever we see people talking about essential selves, our core selves, or, indeed a lot of the most powerful systems for working with selves available, like IFS, focus on a single self, which is sort of the beacon that you use to harmonize all yourselves and Gurdjieff says something like that as well. But what we seem to feel is out, as soon as people get focused on finding contacting being part of that high self or dissolving themselves to the point where what we’re talking about doesn’t make sense that they’ve kind of left the level of ordinary pragmatic, what’s going to be helpful.

Jim Fadiman: So, Laura, what we’re also saying, is almost all of your questions, deal with people who need some kind of therapeutic support. We’re actually, and that’s what most of the book is about the way people normally are, in normal situations, in healthy situations in highly creative situations, in superbly amazingly magnificent situations, and how understanding selves makes all that better. So yes, therapy is important, but for most people, and it’s tricky, because I’ve been a therapist, and I began to see that everyone should have therapy. But then when I was simply a professor, I noticed that actually, most of my students would never show up in therapy and never should. And why we call it observation. So, as we’re looking at the way the world is put together on the healthy side, and then to see perhaps, if that can help the therapist’s side as well. And we think it does, but it’s not central.

Jordon Gruber: Although it does offer some really valuable insights, like in the integration phase, right after psychedelics, or, you know, for the next weeks or months, knowing that someone has different selves and one of them might have gotten whacked out for whatever reason, then you can focus on that part and work with it. But it just makes things a lot easier.

Laura Dawn: Right. It’s almost like everyone can just take a deep breath and relax a little bit, okay, I’m not as crazy there’s not as big of a problem as everyone is sort of making it out to be.

Jordon Gruber: Well, that’s what the thing about talking out loud to yourself, you’re not supposed to because it’s a sign that you’re crazy. But first of all, nearly everybody and I mean everybody talks aloud to themselves. And second of all, if you talk aloud to yourself in other than the first person, it kind of tones down the amygdala and bumps up the neocortex and people are more effective and happier, less stressed out. So, it’s like, let’s take advantage of these built-in things.

Jim Fadiman: Let’s stay with talking to yourself for a moment. Because every once in a while, and I am a psychologist, but I’m not a great fan of contemporary psychology. But now and then there is this study, and one of the studies is that people who talk to themselves in the third person know, Jim, you have to get ready for this event with [inaudible 40:31] is it going to be visual? And do you need to kind of put on your podcast shirt? So, I’m talking to myself? Okay, now turns out to people who talk to the third person on almost every measure of mental health are superior, not enormously so but are doing better than people who don’t? So, what we’re seeing is you see, that’s why we call it an observation. Well, it’s very hard just to say, I’m talking to myself, but I only have myself. That’s crazy-making. 

Laura Dawn: Yes, and for people listening, who are a big fan of Brene Brown’s work, and I love the work that she does. And she also says that some of the most resilient people, use this one sentence daily, the story I’m telling myself is that the story, the narrative that I’m making up is XYZ. And it is one of the indications of what makes people very resilient. Which I find interesting. And I’ve read other studies around, peak performance and optimal performance and the self-talk that goes into that. So, that makes a lot of sense. I guess going back into the symphony aspect of things, if I have a lot of selves and how many selves are we talking about here? Is there a ballpark? What do you guys think? How many selves do you have, Jim?

Jim Fadiman: The actual number of selves is more than one. 

Laura Dawn: Are you naming yourselves like your other selves?

Jim Fadiman: No, I don’t, because they don’t like me to name them, they can name themselves.

Jordon Gruber: This studies on DID, Multiple Personality Disorder, most of those people ended up with eight to 15. But that’s the pathological system. I did an experiment with the guys in my men’s group, and I brought index cards, and we had them all kind of layout how many selves but they just kept going and going once they got started. And so, I think it changes and what’s important as you don’t have to know them by name, or it’s like, you come into the situation, it’s like, am I going to be the part of me that’s going to get annoyed at my wife for what I know she was going to do and she did it again? Or am I going to be the part of me that will have a much better day, if I let it go? It’s those kinds of real-time situations where it makes a difference.

Laura Dawn: Right. And would you say, though, that this symphony of all of themselves working together, then does it become a unified self?

Jordon Gruber: Well, sure, there’s no reason not to think of it like that. I mean, we talk about cultivating grounded centered presence. And, you know, I’ve always viewed myself as a pantheist, which means that divinity is both in or penetrated in every molecule of physical stuff, as well as transcendent. So, I think, you know, we’re the shockwave of the Big Bang intertangled on quantum and other levels. And so, it is just one on there’s a lot of different ways to experience that one. But that’s not the one you’re in when you’re being yourselves.

Jim Fadiman: Usually, when we talk about the kind of being in the right mind at the right time, we have a whole section of different metaphors. One is a team, but the one I’m thinking about is a jazz combo. And if you say well, who is the leader of this combo, and they look at each other, and they say, man, you don’t understand jazz. Because the leadership moves, because they function as a single, organized unit, honoring each of their selves, each of their special skills. And the drummer never goes over and pushes the pianist off the stool. Unless the jazz combo is going into decay and that’s one of the ways you will see it happen.

Laura Dawn: Yes, I’d be curious to know your thoughts if you think that embracing our multiple selves can lend itself to enhanced creativity. Like more looking at it from the angle of creative thinking or creative problem-solving. Can this model help us to further think outside the box?

Jordon Gruber: I’ll give you one quick example of the title of the book I very specifically got into a certain state of mind and sat in my chair and had the laptop in my lap and I went to sleep saying I want the part of me that’s capable of channeling the perfect title to give me the perfect title. And it did, you know, you can sort of invite those parts, you can make things and it’s just like the writer, part of me generally has to have coffee, and it has to work out and has to be fed, he’s not going to sit and do the kind of writing that part of me is good at and the rest of me is like, we don’t care, we can’t do that. No. So, you have to learn how to, it’s marshaling your forces, right? [Inaudible 45:38].

Jim Fadiman: It’s also understanding of my daughter, who is a professor was doing her morning run. And she also had a lot of papers coming in. And on the run, she thought I can’t possibly do those papers, I just don’t have the feeling, I don’t have the interest. I just don’t want to do it. And then she said to herself, the one of me that gets up early to get the run in isn’t the one that’s going to work on the paper. So, I don’t have to get so upset. And she understood that she was capable of moving into her professor self when that was appropriate. And that last sentence, when that’s appropriate. That’s what we’re calling mental health. So, that’s why we’re a little concerned when people talk about the best self or a core self. Because there are times when, what one might call a very peripheral self, is exactly who you wish to be for that amount of time.

Laura Dawn: But this kind of comes back to one of my earlier questions that I feel listeners might still be wondering about, so I’m going to press the issue deeper. So, are we saying that all selves are equal, what if I have an asshole self? That’s what people are, don’t bring that self forward. It’s not doing anything for anyone. Or the narcissistic self, or you know, so how are we addressing that? 

Jim Fadiman: Well, we’ve talked about a therapist as an outside person, but there’s nothing wrong with the other parts of you. Jordon just gave an example. He was saying, my wife does something which triggers me. Meaning puts me into a disagreeable self. And I turn on my wife, and the whole day is spoil for both of us. He knows that self, the event happens. And he says, you know that he’s kind of felt the trigger, but it hasn’t yet shot. Okay. So, what then happens is, he says to himself, hold on, deep breath, as children are all told how to change from one to another, it’s called count to 10. And while you’re counting, you get centered. And then what’s the correct self from that motion? And the correct self, in Jordan’s example, says, that’s a self that my wife has that I don’t like, she doesn’t like, and it isn’t probably going to change. So, what if I don’t get upset and let’s see what happens next?

Laura Dawn: So, you’re saying that people might have some selves. That we might just want to give them a backseat ride for the whole ride?

Jordon Gruber: Well, no, you can’t just push them away forever, that won’t work, you’re going to have to, we believe that awareness heals, just knowing that you have these different selves. Let’s say you have a blatant asshole cell floor; I haven’t seen it. But let’s say it’s true, you know it, you got to kind of work with it and figure out what sets it off and what it wants and what its real job is, there’s a lot of ways of working with parts of yourself, but the idea that you can just push it away, you know, it’s like the beach ball underneath the water. It’s going to pop up when you least want it. And that’s why Jim was talking about the labels in the book we talked about me having myself that I labeled as Larry the loser. Yes, it was vaped pens a lot but still was lacking. And that kind of negative label and making it feel shame and making it worse. We know that’s not the way we want to go. We have to love them up into the hole as our friend Kindler Stryker puts it, you know.

Jim Fadiman: Let me give you a therapeutic example. A friend of mine had a boyfriend, and she felt good about him. It was a good relationship. What she said to me is when we’re about to make love, I freak out. And I don’t want to freak out. I like being with him. I want to make love with him, but part of me gets very frightened. So, we did a little voice dialogue. We did a little looking at other things. And what she reported was she had a child in her who was very frightened by sexuality. Maybe had been abused, maybe just as children, or they don’t know what’s going on when grownups pile on top of each other and make a lot of strange noises. Okay. 

So, what she worked out, she spoke with her child. And her child said I don’t like this relationship because I get a fright. And they ended up with she would get in bed with her boyfriend, she would then take a stuffed animal, a small stuffed animal, and tuck it under one arm, because her child said that was great. And the child in a sense would be with the stuffed animal and she would make love with her boyfriend. This work being functional. See, we’re not saying well, why don’t we go back and have to analyze was this child abused? And all that. All that might be fine, but all she wanted to do was to make the child in her safe so that the adult could have an adult relationship. So, there turns out, there’s no particular rule of thumb that your other selves are your same age or your same-sex. Mostly they are but now then they aren’t.

Jordon Gruber: And they can be pre-verbal.

Laura Dawn: Yes, to speak to what you were saying, Jordan. And I know, I’m pulling apart the nuance here. But this is kind of where the juiciness is. Because it’s like, okay, we do parts work, we see this one aspect of ourselves. And then looking at, okay, what’s wounded here? Or what purpose is this self-trying to serve? How is it acting out? What needs to happen to bring that self into the light of awareness and love that self and ask ourselves, you know, are these behavioral tendencies that are acting from this self still necessary? You know, can we find a different way to, you know, meet our needs? And then if we’re doing that, from a place of love, can I still say, okay, I’m still going to lovingly with awareness, allow that self to take a backseat?

Jordon Gruber: Yes, sure, there are times when you don’t want to let it out. And you want to have even though they call them Odysseus agreements, were ahead of time, if something’s happening, you know, for example, sometimes in restaurants, people can’t see me because I put up shields my whole life. If it goes to a point where I start getting angry, and I’m going to be an asshole, I now just walk myself out. It’s not worth the adrenaline and the cornerstone of me being a dick, even if I’m right, and they didn’t see me for an hour and serve me. It’s just not worth it. So, I know, you know what this tells me that likes to be in other people’s faces and be righteous and arguing public. And I seldom let him out. Because it’s always bad for all of us. So, there are you have to, you know, you can be stern with certain parts of you. And you know, you don’t want to do things that, you know, we’re going to cause harm, but the idea of killing them, which they tried to do in the 70s, and 80s, with fusion therapy, the idea of, you know, putting that locking them up in a chamber forever, you know, in a dungeon you see in some of the TV programs and movies. That’s not who we want to be, we want to invoke them and invite them into the community of ourselves so that they can contribute what you know, they’re meant to contribute.

Laura Dawn: It almost seems like the most challenging part for people in this is probably learning how to apply self-compassion and self-kindness in navigating and traversing the landscape of multiple selves.

Jim Fadiman: Also, you don’t start at the hardest part. Don’t start at the beginning, which means don’t start with the hardest parts of yourself start with understanding there are parts. And what I’ve seen in a lot of people’s lives is once you start to recognize the parts of you that you are fond of, that you know how to use, like, how do you behave when a policeman comes to your car window? What’s the correct behavior, it may not be your normal behavior, what’s your correct behavior when you’re with your parents? Is that the same way you behave when you’re with your lover? These are all healthy selves. And what I’ve seen, and the image that comes to mind about these parts of us that are so difficult. 

Again, I have some dogs and they’re what we call rescues, which means they had some kind of childhood trauma that they ended up in the shelter. And I look at those stories of people who bring in dogs who have been, you know, really beaten and starved, and then they say, you know, it took six weeks for this dog to be willing to leave the house once it was inside. It took 10 weeks before I could pet this dog, and always, you’re seeing the dog, you know, lying on top of the owner at this point with its little paws around its neck. Because when you nourish the parts that are disturbed, they get better. You know, again, we all in our new age world talk about love. And in the psychedelic world, we talk about that love is probably the best way to describe the basic energetic form of the universe. But at the level of human beings, love is an acceptance. And it isn’t an acceptance that everything you do is correct. It’s that you are inherently capable of being a valued part of yourself, of your family, of your relationships with your tribe, and so forth.

Laura Dawn: Jordan, is there anything you want to add there? Yes, go ahead.

Jordon Gruber: Well, just what’s hard about this, it’s a couple of things is one is we have been told for 110 years that if you think you have more than yourself, you’re crazy. And it’s the exact opposite, it’s knowing you have selves and integrating them makes you as healthy as possible. So, you know the definition of having more than oneself is being mental pathology shows you that the whole system is off. And then the other thing is, that language reinforces it so much. So, that even if you start using the word like cells with an S, which I noticed you were doing a little bit, you feel a little weird, and you don’t know if you can get away with it.

 But I promise you, if you apply this perspective to the next 10 rooms on the clubhouse, you see that they’re talking about imposter syndrome and getting in contact with my eternal self. It’s like, it’s everywhere you go, if we put this idea in the center of our psychology, just like putting the earth, you know, out of the center in the sun of the center made science so much more understandable. Once you get this idea, and you start looking for it in yourself in the people, you know, in all of these rooms, you’ll see that there’s wide applicability. And again, the question of people who want the single self for no selves, that orthogonal thing, that’s fine, they can do whatever they want with that they still are going to be healthier and happier, more effective, if they know they have selves and they learn to work with them, and sort of go along with this idea.

Laura Dawn: Yes, so I guess one of the things I like about this is that I mean, similar to other models and conceptual frameworks, it offers a unique perceptual lens that we might be more inclined to pick up and view reality through, and just inviting people to pick up this lens with an attitude of curiosity. And just asking ourselves, you know, what’s here for me to learn from?

Jim Fadiman: Well, that’s, of course, the nice thing. And one of the things I’ve seen with psychedelics is when you have an important psychedelic experience, one of the ways we say it’s important is if you get past who you think you are. If I get out of the gym, Fadiman, I’m more I’m connected to more. And in fact, I’m not connected to more, there is more, and I’m part of it. But I want to meet the wave next to me. But if you look at the bottom of the wave, it’s attached to the ocean. And knowing you’re attached to the ocean, relaxes you in terms of how you’re supposed to form.

Laura Dawn: What do you think are the parallels or the connections you’re making between this concept of ego disillusion in the psychedelic experience, and this notion of multiple selves?

Jim Fadiman: See, the ego doesn’t dissolve at all. The ego threatens to dissolve because the ego realizes you’re about to discover that it’s just your ego. It’s not the deepest, most important connection you have. It’s the separator. It’s the thing that keeps you away from things. So, a psychedelic experience puts your ego into its proper place, and it rarely likes that. It’s kind of if you say to the spoiled child, it’s over. You’re not going to get spoiled. You’re going to eat what everybody eats, you’re going to sleep when everybody sleeps, and the spoiled child just has a screaming fit, because they realize that the game is about to become fair for everyone. 

Laura Dawn: Okay, so do you think that all of our different selves are expressions of ego-self, we could debate at length, what that even really means. But just like this notion of the higher self is popular especially in spiritual communities. So, is like oneself and expression. have higher selves better than another self? Or is this more of an egalitarian society going on within us?

Jordon Gruber: Well, I don’t even like the concept of ego myself, because it’s going back to this theory that Freud came up with when he got rid of the idea of selves and people doing weird things to each other and rejection of this abduction hypothesis. What I’m thinking about psychedelic experiences is that, yes, your ordinary, you will no longer often be in one of your ordinary selves and have an ordinary sense of self. You’re moving orthogonally on this, you know, I think Ken Wilber offered something useful, saying there are four different types of mystical visions. There’s, you know, one is there’s a natural experience when you’re one with everything. 

Another is that a daily experience when you’re in contact with or become a God, then there’s a unitary experience when you’re, again, one with everything, but it transcends nature. And then you go to the non-dual, which is supposedly above all of that, and I never thought Wilber is necessarily right, but having those different gradations, a different thing is happening to what we would call ego and each of those, so I think it’s clear that we’re not going to be on ordinaries constellation of selves. But when you’re coming down from any of this, knowing that you do have these selves and finding that one of them may have emerged that has been traumatized or needs a specific kind of help, that provides a huge opportunity.

Laura Dawn: Right? Like it really can be an effective roadmap for the actual psychedelic experience itself.

Jim Fadiman: No, the actual psychedelic experience. If ties, roadmaps, it doesn’t like roadmaps, it says How about we burn the roadmap, and we’ll follow the smoke.

Laura Dawn: I appreciate that. I do.

Jim Fadiman: So, one of the things I’ve said in the psychedelic explorer’s guide is, if your guide has an agenda, that’s not a good guide. That’s as if they’re going to say, I’m going to show you how being sexual with your guide is the highest possible trip. And we know that’s terrible. Okay, all of those are equally terrible. If your goal is to discover the way you and the universe are supposed to understand each other better.

Laura Dawn: Yeah, I also really like how you brought up archetypes in the book as well. And that got me thinking, you know, can I leverage my understanding around, for example, the visionary archetype, which is an archetype that I deeply resonate with? And can I shape one of my selves into more of the visionary archetype? And then draw upon that self to be more beneficial and more effective in certain situations and certain scenarios?

Jim Fadiman: Well, you just have to make sure that the self you want good mold is in agreement.

Jordon Gruber: Right. You might want to invite it rather than mold.

Laura Dawn: My gosh, this is hilarious. Okay, so maybe I should leave out some warm cookies and milk. I think my visionary self would appreciate that as an invitation.

Jim Fadiman: Let me finish the metaphor, and I’ll get off, which is students would come into counseling, and they would say, I’ve discovered that I don’t want to be what my parents have decided I was to be. And I would say something like, I’m on your side. And then I would say, do they love you? Or do they only love you if you’re going to become a doctor? And then I would look at the length of the pause. And sometimes it was very long, and they would have to decide if their parents just were making a doctor robot. Or they wanted what was best for their child who now it turned out had discovered Medieval French Literature. So, what we’re finding is observing the way it is, which is there ourselves makes therapy far easier for both parties. Because you’re not trying to disturb and distort, you’re trying only to heal and improve. You don’t go out if you’re gardening, you don’t go out and punch the carrots. Okay, you give them more fertilizer and more sun and more water you nourish them, and they will develop naturally into the best possible carrot, and turns out that looks like the way we are as well.

Laura Dawn: I love that. I remember the first time I heard my spiritual teacher or one of them Pema Chodron, she talks about this she’s like, when the puppy pees on the carpet, you don’t beat the puppy, you pet the puppy who loved the puppy. You train the puppy you didn’t say stay and no, but you don’t beat the puppy because then you’re going to make a vicious dog that’s not happy and that wants to attack you all the time. 

Jordon Gruber: Exactly.

Jim Fadiman: That was a good teacher.

Laura Dawn: I mean, it makes sense. It makes sense. Is there anything else that we feel like exploring here? Go ahead, Jim.

Jim Fadiman: Well, you’ve been asking about kind of examples. And what we’ve done with the book is that the middle of the book is maybe 1000 examples. Because the question people say as well if there are multiple selves, why don’t I see it? And the answer is if you go to neuroscience, psychology, religion, philosophy, popular music, movies, it’s there. Because it’s an is there, it should appear almost everywhere. Again, once you move from age 10 to age 13, you are amazed at how much of the world is interested in sexuality. And when you were 10, nothing in the world would seem to have that, because you didn’t, you couldn’t see it, our recommendation is to enjoy yourselves. And if you want a little bit of sensitizing, so, it’s easier for you to see, and care for, and to be more compassionate with both yourself and the people you love. That’s what the books about.

Laura Dawn: Jordan, did you have anything you wanted to add on that?

Jordon Gruber: Only the one example we didn’t use is a really good one. And that’s in the reason Alcoholics Anonymous is so effective compared to most psychotherapy is that when you go to an alcoholics group, the first thing he says, my name is Jordan Gruber, and I’m an alcoholic. And maybe you say, and I’m sober now for six years, but everyone else in the room also calls in the part of who they are, that is an alcoholic. So, the part of you that is an alcoholic, can be seen, observed, and help with a lot of good proven tech as to you know how to deal with that. If somebody just goes to therapy or a sent there by their partner, you know, they might resist even with the best therapist for quite a while even admitting they have a problem. It’s very different than consciously and willingly bringing that part of you into the room, so it can be healed. So, I think that’s, you know, our basic theme is just that awareness heals. And once you have an awareness as despite everyone telling you, you’re crazy, if you think you have different cells you do, because everybody does, including the healthiest people alive. We just think a lot of things become easier. And there are all sorts of implications for performance and longevity and health that we didn’t touch here. We wrote some of this up for Ben Greenfield. But you know, there are applications in every area of [inaudible 1:07:20] because this is a core fundamental precept of psychology that we think is just inaccurate that there’s a single self.

Laura Dawn: Well, interesting. Do we do have time to touch on the longevity aspects? How does this point towards performance and longevity?

Jordon Gruber: Yes, just really briefly. You know, the story that I talk about me is that I’ve been doing the same Taekwondo kicks for 40 years taught by a famous master and all that, when I practice for just a few days, my body changes and gets younger and I can do a cresting kick that goes about this far over my head. Otherwise, I’m turning 61 tomorrow. And you know, and I can, Ellen Langer in her book Counterclockwise talks about bringing a bunch of older men to a camp, where she makes it like it’s 1959. The music, the magazines, everything a week, or 10 days later, they’re all a lot healthier. So, you know, one of our fundamental premises is that selves arise, not just in traumatic abusive situations, but sometimes during the happiest and most blissful moments of your life. 

And you know, for me, it’s turning on a raft in the ocean for hours in a row is something I started doing at about age seven. And 10 years ago, we were on vacation, and I did it, and I got right back to that self. And it’s like, oh, this is a blissful part of me. And I’m sure I moved into a younger part. So, we talked about telomeres, we talked about thinking and you know, there’s neuroplasticity, and epigenetics, but the general idea that you can embody the younger parts of you, and that might involve more activity and dancing, or painting or finger painting, or whatever it is, or we should just try it’s not, you know, you’re going to feel younger and better, and it seems to somehow actually make you.

Laura Dawn: Okay, so I think this also points to how we can leverage our understanding of the power of Placebo. You know, so many people talk about Placebo from such a negative perspective. And really, this is more about talking about and pointing towards the power of our mind and how much our belief systems influence our reality, including our biology. And I’m familiar with the Counterclockwise studies that Ellen Langer did, and I find them interesting. And you also pointed out earlier in the interview, that one might have an allergy to orange juice, for example, and another self might not. And there’s been quite a lot of studies about, let’s just call it the power of placebo, which I’m sure with this recent article that came out saying that micro-dosing is quote-unquote, just a placebo. You’re probably pretty overhearing that word these days, Jim, so I hate to bring it up.

Jordon Gruber: I know he’s got a whole book to write about that, but we’re going to get there right away.

Jim Fadiman: Let me handle placebo in a positive sense, which is, we have what should be called the natural healing response. That’s what it is. It’s called a Placebo like, it’s something you don’t want. Because when you’re in pharmacology, and you’re trying to sell people, that if they take their pill, you’ll feel better. And it turns out, if you tell people, this will make you feel better, your natural healing response does a lot of the work. So, in laboratory experiments, you don’t like it. But in life, thank God, you are placebo natural healing responses, what your body is fundamentally only interested in 99% of it is interested in self-healing is a little teeny bit up here that has a lot of other interests. And a lot of the times, as you know, at some point, in that wonderful, long, wild dancing evening, your body says, you know, I’m not enjoying this at all. I’m really tired. And you say, no, I just want to stay a little while longer your body says, you want to stay a little while longer, you’ll pay for it.

Laura Dawn: Well, I’d love to get you on Jim again and talk more about the Placebo. But I hold it in very positive regard because I’m a big fan of Joe Dispenza’s work You Are the Placebo is such a great example. It’s such a great book. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with Bruce Lipton, Dr. Bruce Lipton’s work Biology of Belief. So, I don’t know if you know this, but Bruce, I interviewed him for this podcast, he came out of the psychedelic closet for the first time publicly ever on this show, saying that he wouldn’t have discovered what he did with epigenetics if it weren’t for his little season experiences.

Jim Fadiman: Well, just keep in mind, since psychedelics became illegal in the United States only, and only talking LSD, not mushrooms. 30 million people have had an important psychedelic experience since it was illegal. And there’s a study I’m particularly enjoying, which says, could it be that people who use psychedelics are different physically in some way than people who aren’t. And so, you can do this study, and you take US Census data, and your cake, we go 400,000 people in this group who have had psychedelics once in their life or more, and this group hasn’t. And it turns out this group healthier, physically healthier, in a dozen different ways.

Laura Dawn: Wow. Is there anything else that you guys want to include? Before we wrap up this conversation?

Jordon Gruber: I want to know how your core self feels about us saying that it’s not as realistic thinks it is.

Laura Dawn: I think I think my I think my core self needs a nap.

Jim Fadiman: Exactly.

Laura Dawn: Well, I appreciate it and I always love different frameworks and perspectives just to see what’s there. You know, what else can I learn about myself if I pick up this particular lens and look at reality from this perspective? So, I just really appreciate this and being bold, you know, it’s not easy to put out a framework that has been sort of contradicting conventional wisdom for the past 100 years. So, I commend you for that.

Jim Fadiman: Remember, we use the word conventional wisdom in two senses. One is, it’s wrong. That it makes more sense than contemporary science. And what we see if you look at the way the language is written, they would learn the languages, the languages feel filled with an understanding of selves. You know, again, I was beside myself is my favorite because I like the idea of sitting beside. Okay, so we’re simply returning people to normal awareness. And many cultures already. They look at our book, and they say, well, all that is so screamingly obvious, I’m not going to look at it, but in our culture, we need to recover our natural awareness. And that’s all we’re saying. You know, check it out. You know, look at some of the reviews on Amazon and see if it feels like you would like to you were comfortable with understanding yourself differently. If you’re not comfortable, then it isn’t the right time for you.

Laura Dawn: Thank you. I appreciate that. Jordan, anything you want to wrap up with?

Jordon Gruber: Well, just that there’s a reason why parts work in general and Silicon Valley coaching and psychedelics integration and different types of therapies, there’s a reason why there’s so much of it. And because it’s very effective, nothing will work until, you know, whoever is going to be the facilitator gets that person and invites them to go back to that part of themselves and talk. Well, we’re saying that that part of you is real. I know it’s a little bit of a mind if to say it’s real. And go that you have these different selves that are real and that there isn’t one, but just, you know, one super self-adjust and just try it. Just, you know, investigate and see if you hold the people in your life in a slightly different frame, if it’s easier to be compassionate towards them and towards yourselves.

Laura Dawn: Yes, it doesn’t hurt to open your mind and try a different perspective. And to explore, like, my mother would say, take the best and leave the rest. Whatever doesn’t work for you. Does it work for you? Great adopted, if not move on. So, I think that’s great. And I think the book is worth the read. So, for everyone listening to your Symphony of Selves: Discover and Understand More of Who You Are, it is worth picking up. Thank you so much, gentlemen. Thank you both for your time. It’s been a pleasure. 

Jordon Gruber: Alright. Take care. 

Jim Fadiman: And I’m one of your fans too. 

Laura Dawn: I’m one of your fans. I’m both of your fans. All right. Bye, guys. Aloha.

Jim Fadiman: All right. Bye-bye.

Jim Fadiman & Jordan Gruber


James Fadiman, Ph.D., did his undergraduate work at Harvard and his graduate work at Stanford, doing research with the Harvard Group, the West Coast Research Group in Menlo Park, and Ken Kesey. A former president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and a professor of psychology, he taught at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, now Sofia University, which he helped found in 1975. An international conference presenter, workshop leader, management consultant, and author of several books and textbooks, he lives in Menlo Park, California, with his filmmaker wife, Dorothy.

Jordan Gruber, J.D., M.A., Renaissance Wordsmith—writer, collaborative writer, ghostwriter, editor, and writing coach—has created and sculpted authoritative volumes in forensic law, financial services, psychology, and health and wellness. A graduate of Binghamton University and the University of Virginia School of Law, he founded the Enlightenment.Com website, where he brought the world the first-ever audio interview with Ken Wilber. He has recently co-authored Your Symphony of Selves (on healthy multiplicity) with James Fadiman, as well as The Bounce (on rebound exercise) with Joy Daniels. He lives in Menlo Park, California, with his wife and family.


Featured Music

Episode #20 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast features a song called
“Inner Worlds” by Yaima.


Curated Playlists for Psychedelic Journeys & Beyond

Sign up & receive your free playlists:


About Laura Dawn

Through her signature Mastermind Programs and Plant Medicine Retreats, Laura Dawn weaves together science with ancient wisdom. She teaches business and thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals how to mindfully explore psychedelics and sacred plant medicines as powerful visionary tools for inner transformation, fostering emotional resiliency and unlocking new depths to our creative potential.