Posted by: Edward | August 8, 2008

Set, Setting and Dosage

The phrase, ‘set, setting and dosage’ originally comes from the psychological studies of psychedelic substances by researchers such as Timothy Leary. Dosage refers to the need to carefully calibrate the amount of the substance to the person taking it in order to achieve desired effects. Setting is making sure the dosage is taken in the appropriate environment to enable acceptable responses. Set is the mental frame that the participants approach the experience with to create the intended results. One of the keys of reality hacking is the awareness that these concepts can be applied to more than just substances.

Of the three set is by foar the most important. How you approach an experience does the most for determining how it goes for you. With a negative mindset you can make the most exciting or pleasurable experience miserable. I knew a guy that no matter how good of a time he had by the time he got back to his home or hotel room he had convinced himself that it had been horrible. If you listened to him too much you’d get convinced that you’d had a bad time as well. If, however, you approach a situation certain that it will go well for you and even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned that you will learn from it, then the lion’s share of situations will go better for you and you will learn from them. There are always variation beyond positive and negative and finding the best mindset for a situation will unlock wondrous experiences that the wrong perspective could never see.

Setting, while not as important as set, is still a powerful consideration. Setting includes the awareness that there is a time and a place for everything. If this is not the time or place for something then you should not do it. If the time and place are right then you’d be a fool not to do it. The setting also encompasses the sights, sounds, and smells in the environment. What props are available in the space is also a factor. Ritual magic is largely concentrated on the setting of the work.

Dosage is less important in non-substance work but should still be thought about. Basically if you bear in mind that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If what you are doing is exercising there definitely is both too little exercise and an amount that is overdoing it.

You can put these three concepts together and apply them to anything. For example, for jogging you can find the best mindset for you to jog in, an appropriate space and an optimal distance to run. Another example is in your work life. You can adopt the best mindset for work, find the most appropriate environment and make sure you work enough to provide for you needs but not so much that it harms your health or quality of life.

These three concepts are one of the simplest tools for fine tuning your experience of life. Pick an aspect of your life and think about it in these terms and write down in your hacking log changes you can make to the set setting and dosage that will improve that aspect of your life.

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  1. […] post by fenris23 and software by Elliott […]

  2. I use set, setting and dosage as a tarot spread when I’m trying to figure out how to approach any given situation. Although I use the words motive, mood, and monster for alliteration giggles…

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