Jaden Smith Opens Up About His Relationship With Psychedelics
Looking out over a sea of faces at a psychedelics conference hosted by Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Jaden Smith, acclaimed actor, musician, and ardent environmentalist, was struck by a sense of awe. “Wow, this is amazing,” he murmured, reflecting on the profound bond he’d nurtured with nature since childhood. He shared this transformative journey with Natalie Ginsberg, director of policy and advocacy at MAPS, revealing the crucial role that psychedelics have played in shaping his world.
Psychedelics And The Environment
Smith traced his environmental consciousness back to his tender years, his profound kinship with the ocean anchoring him. “I always knew that I was connected with the ocean,” he shared, eyes sparkling with a childlike fascination even as he addressed the grim environmental realities triggered by human activities.
As his connection with nature matured, psychedelics wove themselves into his narrative. He conveyed how psychedelics illuminated an even deeper layer of nature’s splendor. “I discovered psychedelics and realized just the effects that it had on me, I realized, wow, this is that deeper, deeper, deeper layer of a connection with nature that I didn’t know was possible,” he revealed. This epiphany nudged him to use his celebrity as a platform to spread the word about the power of psychedelics.
To Smith, the psychedelic experience is not just deeply personal; it’s potentially transformative on a global scale, potentially catalyzing a shift towards sustainability. He recounted a story from the 1960s about a biologist who, under the influence of LSD, visualized the world as a whole and saw the possibility of unity. Smith stated, “Ever since then, I feel like psychedelics and sustainability and the environmental movement have always kind of been an intersection.”
His experiences with plant medicine ignited a new depth of empathy for the environment. He fondly recalled a moment at the beach where he felt overwhelming concern for a bee, showcasing how psychedelics can amplify our emotional connection with nature.
Psychedelics And Creativity
Psychedelics, however, aren’t just about fostering empathy. They’ve been a vital part of Smith’s creative journey. His collective, Misfits, serves to “raise the consciousness of humanity through art and science,” and has left an indelible mark on music, clothing, social media and even community gatherings. A noteworthy example was a Misfits event in Chicago where attendees watched the mushroom-centric documentary “Fantastic Fungi,” sparking enlightening discussions.
For Smith, fashion isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s an influential medium of expression. “Fashion is really powerful because of all the different places that it gets experienced,” he noted, expressing his belief that by embedding positive messages into clothing, it could subtly influence the collective consciousness.
As Smith delved deeper into the conversation, he drew parallels between his work with Just Water and the core principles of sustainability that psychedelics had helped him appreciate. “Hey, this sustainable water is like a thing that we should be trying to perfect, you know, and we want multiple people working on those types of things because we want everybody to try to perfect it and make the most sustainable version of it,” he elaborated.
Just as Just Water’s revolutionary approach to packaging water in paper instead of plastic mirrored the advent of electric cars, Smith’s connection with nature, his love for surfing, and his environmentalism ultimately led to his philanthropic pursuits. He said, “That really led into just a deep, deep layer of me just wanting to dive more into my philanthropic works.”
My First Psychedelic Experience
Smith then retraced his steps back to his first psychedelic experience, which marked a turning point in his understanding of nature and self. “I felt like I fully was connected with nature and with a tree, specifically one specific tree that I felt like… I just had an indescribable experience with the tree.” This transformative event paved the way for his philanthropic endeavors and further nurtured his creativity.
Elaborating on the profound impact of psychedelics on creativity, Smith drew an analogy. He likened a creative idea to a car perched on a hilltop, waiting for the push of psychedelics to set it rolling. “You have a car on the top of a hill and if you just push it a little bit and then you run in front of and you stop it, you’ll be able to stop it. But if you push it from the top of the hill and you try to stop it when it’s at the bottom of the hill, you won’t be able to stop it.” This momentum, once it begins, has the potential to shape reality.
Smith stressed the importance of introspection and self-awareness, stating that psychedelics have the capacity to induce a meditative state. This introspective aspect often seeps into his music and designs, providing glimpses into his inner self.
As the conversation neared its conclusion, Smith discussed the importance of safe and intentional spaces for psychedelic experiences, a lesson he learned from his first experiences. He envisions such spaces as places where one can have a “spiritual epiphany,” irrespective of the physical location, be it a hilltop or a beach, provided it’s accompanied by the right music and companionship.
“Whether it was me that was having a difficult time, whether there was someone else that was having a difficult time, you always want to have that support group of people around you,” Smith articulated with conviction.
The duo (Smith and Ginsberg) emphasized the importance of ‘set’ and ‘setting’ in the context of psychedelic experiences. “The set, the setting is so important…it’s the physical set, the setting, but it’s also the mental, the mindset,” Smith stated. A reassuring team is indispensable during these experiences, particularly during challenging or novel ones.
While addressing the need for restraint and care during psychedelic experiences, Smith cautioned against impulsive behaviors. “And the biggest thing that we do not do is, ‘Oh, I took a little bit, but I don’t feel anything, so I’m going to take a little bit more.’ No, we don’t do that.” Ginsberg nodded in agreement, underlining the difference between recreational and therapeutic use of psychedelics.
Smith highlighted the potential of psychedelics in mental health treatment and expressed hope for the future of our planet, the psychedelic movement, and sustainability, rooted in his deep understanding of our interconnectedness with nature. “I just think that nature has so much of the keys and the secrets that we’re looking for and the solutions that we’re looking for,” he opined.
On a personal note, Smith shared the profound impact of psychedelics on his relationships with his siblings. “That level of love and empathy that I can feel for them inside of experiences, outside of experiences, has really been something that’s profound and beautiful.” He emphasized the lasting effects of these experiences, far beyond the immediate influence of the substances.
Smith also spoke about how psychedelics have assisted him in dealing with the glare of fame. The experiences provided him with unique perspectives and helped him navigate ego dissolution, which he identified as a major boon in his life. “That is a deep, beautiful realization that has really helped me in my life,” he shared.
In his final remarks, Smith expressed admiration for the psychedelic community, sharing his enthusiasm for being part of a society increasingly looking inward and towards nature for answers.
Smith and Ginsberg’s conversation offered an enriching exploration of psychedelic experiences, highlighting the importance of mindset, setting, community, and respect for nature. Their insights served to illuminate the transformative journeys that psychedelics can facilitate.