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Do psychedelics give access to a universal, mystical experience of reality, or is that just a culture-bound illusion?

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https://aeon.co/essays/is-psychedelics-research-closer-to-theology-than-to-science


“Silicon Valley billionaires are putting their blockchain millions into funding psychedelics research, and corporates are preparing for a juicy new market. The counterculture has gone mainstream. Turn on, tune in, sell out. ”

“Perennialists tend to rank religions and mystical experiences hierarchically. All religions are one, but some are more one than others. Unitive non-dual experiences are more true, while dualist experiences (ie, personal encounters with God or a spirit) are less true. Accordingly, Buddhism, Hindu mysticism and Taoism are more true, while Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Shamanism are less true. The psychedelic research at Johns Hopkins follows this theological ranking. It uses the Hood Mysticism Scale to rate people’s psychedelic experiences – unitive experiences are scored as higher and more ‘complete’ than dualist experiences.”

“Western spiritual tourists can have a culturally naive idea that their experience of ayahuasca is the same as indigenous people’s experience, that everyone goes to the same Magic Kingdom where we all meet the same entity: Mama Ayahuasca.”

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680 – The Endless (2017)

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The Endless is a 2017 American science fiction horror film directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and written by Benson. The film stars Benson, Moorhead, Callie HernandezTate EllingtonLew Temple and James Jordan. The Endless is a partial sequel to the Benson and Moorhead’s earlier film, Resolution  as it  shares the same creative universe and some plot points.

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665 – The Botany of Desire (2009 documentary )

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The Botany of Desire is a two-hour program broadcast by PBS based on The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World is a 2001 nonfiction book by journalist Michael Pollan. Pollan presents case studies that mirror four types of human desires that are reflected in the way that we selectively grow, breed, and genetically engineer our plants. The tulip, beauty; marijuana, intoxication; the apple, sweetness; and the potato, control.

The stories range from the true story of Johnny Appleseed to Pollan’s first-hand research with sophisticated marijuana hybrids in Amsterdam to the paradigm-shifting possibilities of genetically engineered potatoes. Pollan also discusses the limitations of monoculture agriculture: specifically, the adoption in Ireland of a single breed of potato (the Lumper) made the Irish vulnerable to a fungus to which it had no resistance, resulting in the Irish Potato Famine. The Peruvians from whom the Irish had gotten the potato grew hundreds of varieties, so their exposure to any given pest was slight.

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Michael Pollan on twitter 

662 – Blueberry (2004)

spacetime coordinates: Wild West in the 1870sblueberry0403Blueberry (French: Blueberry: L’expérience secrète) is a 2004 French acid western directed by Jan Kounen. It is an adaptation of the Franco-Belgian comic book series Blueberry, illustrated by Jean Giraud (better known as Moebius) and scripted by Jean-Michel Charlier. However, the film has little in common with the source material. The film starred Vincent Cassel as the title character along with Michael Madsen and Juliette Lewis. Although the film is a French production, the film is in English to match the story’s setting in America’s Wild West in the 1870s.

Jean Giraud, the illustrator of the original Blueberry comics, appears in a cameo role in the film, while Geoffrey Lewis, who had appeared in several spaghetti Westerns and his daughter Juliette Lewis play a father and daughter in the movie.blueberry-promoThe movie features several elaborate psychedelic 3D computer graphics sequences as a means of portraying Blueberry’s shamanic experiences from his point of view. Jan Kounen, the director of the film, drew upon his extensive first hand knowledge of ayahuasca rituals in order to design the visuals for these sequences, Kounen having undergone the ceremony at least a hundred times  with Shipibo language speakers in Peru. An authentic Shipibo ayahuasca guide appears in the film and performs a sacred chant.

The film has managed to build a reputation as a cult success and as a trip filmTetsuo Nagata‘s cinematography is also referred to as ‘sublime’. Tripzine noted the film has “the best, most accurate, most lovingly crafted shamanic rituals and psychedelic visuals ever created for home viewing”, and praised Blueberry’s uniqueness among westerns for having a climax that revolved around shamanic ritual rather than a gun battle. (wiki)

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612 – Davi Kopenawa, Bruce Albert, Alison Dundy – The falling sky – words of a Yanomami shaman

The Falling Sky is a remarkable first-person account of the life story and cosmo-ecological thought of Davi Kopenawa, shaman and spokesman for the Yanomami of the Brazilian Amazon. Representing a people whose very existence is in jeopardy, Davi Kopenawa paints an unforgettable picture of Yanomami culture, past and present, in the heart of the rainforest–a world where ancient indigenous knowledge and shamanic traditions cope with the global geopolitics of an insatiable natural resources extraction industry.the-falling-sky-1In richly evocative language, Kopenawa recounts his initiation and experience as a shaman, as well as his first encounters with outsiders: government officials, missionaries, road workers, cattle ranchers, and gold prospectors. He vividly describes the ensuing cultural repression, environmental devastation, and deaths resulting from epidemics and violence. To counter these threats, Davi Kopenawa became a global ambassador for his endangered people. The Falling Sky follows him from his native village in the Northern Amazon to Brazilian cities and finally on transatlantic flights bound for European and American capitals. These travels constitute a shamanic critique of Western industrial society, whose endless material greed, mass violence, and ecological blindness contrast sharply with Yanomami cultural values.

Bruce Albert, a close friend since the 1970s, superbly captures Kopenawa’s intense, poetic voice. This collaborative work provides a unique reading experience that is at the same time a coming-of-age story, a historical account, and a shamanic philosophy, but most of all an impassioned plea to respect native rights and preserve the Amazon rainforest. (amazon)

“When I come back from a trip among the white people, the dizziness leaves my eyes after a while and my thought be-comes clear again. I no longer hear cars, machines, or airplanes. I only lend an ear to the tooro toads and krouma frogs that call the rain in the forest. I only hear the rustling of the leaves in the wind and the rumbling of the thunders in the sky. The ignorant words of the city politicians gradually vanish in the quiet of my sleep. I become calm again by going to hunt and making my spirits dance.

The forest is very beautiful to see. It is cool and aromatic. When you move through it to hunt or travel, you feel joyful and your mind is slow-paced. You listen to the chirping of the cicadas in the distance, or the cries of the curassows and the agami herons, and the clamor of the spider monkeys in the trees. Your worries are eased. Your thoughts can then follow one another without getting obscured.”