Tag Archives | Psychedelics
Among the many talented visionary artists of today, one name rises to the top of nearly every list: Alex Grey. He and his wife Allyson (who is also a painter) relentlessly travel the world, headlining large-scale festivals, consciousness parties and packed gallery shows. At their most recent appearance in Sao Paulo, Brazil, they painted before an audience of 25,000. Quite famously, the two of them (together for more than 37 years) are more adamant than Johnny Cash about wearing only black in public and private.
Watkins Review listed Alex as one of the top 20 “Most Spiritually Influential Living People” the last two years running, and the band Tool, “America’s #1 cult band,” featured Alex’s art on their most recent platinum album, winning a grammy for its unusual packaging. Grey’s work features a rare alchemy of science and spirituality, where anatomically precise human bodies interweave with profound kaleidoscopic mystical experiences.… Read the rest
Could LSD push the brains of our brightest scientists and thinkers to a higher level? The Morning News on the government funded institute which, right before it was shut down, demonstrated just this:
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It was the summer of ’66. At the International Foundation for Advanced Study, an inconspicuously named facility dedicated to psychedelic drug research, an architect and three senior scientists donned eyeshades and earphones, sank into comfy couches, and waited for their government-approved dose of LSD to kick in.
The couched volunteers had each brought along three highly technical problems from their respective fields that they’d been unable to solve for months. In two hours, when the LSD became fully active, they were going to remove the eyeshades and earphones, and attempt to find some solutions…Over the course of the preceding year, IFAS researchers had dosed a total of 22 other men for the creativity study.
Here’s the clincher. The LSD absolutely…helped them solve their complex, seemingly intractable problems.
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“The face looking back at me in the mirror is a snarl of bloody, cracked skin, oozing a foul-smelling yellow liquid that trickles unchecked down its cheeks. The eyes are lifeless and defeated after months of agony. All features are frozen in place by the knowledge that the slightest twitch of the mouth or arch of an eyebrow is enough to split the skin open once more.
I consider the daunting tasks ahead of me: putting on clothes, walking downstairs, eating breakfast and returning to my room for another session of mindless daytime TV. I sigh and look down at the floor, littered with layers of dead skin. No matter how much I vacuum it’s impossible to keep it clean.
As I do every morning, I inspect my body, hoping to find any evidence that this torture will end. My neck and chest are as diseased as my face. My arms and hands, also throbbing and bruised-purple like my face, are getting worse.
How use of psychedelic drugs can ease the difficulty of facing the most harrowing stage of life. The New York Times points towards a more enlightened future:
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The power of psychedelics to mitigate mortality’s sting is not just the obsession of one lone researcher. Dr. John Halpern, head of the Laboratory for Integrative Psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont Mass., a psychiatric training hospital for Harvard Medical School, used MDMA — also known as ecstasy — in an effort to ease end-of-life anxieties in two patients with Stage 4 cancer.
Grob’s setup — the eyeshades, the objects, the mystical music, the floral aromas and flowing fabrics — was drawn from the work of Stanislav Grof, a psychiatrist born in Prague and a father of the study of psychedelic medicine for the dying. In the mid-’60s — before words like “acid” and “bong” and “Deadhead” transformed the American landscape, at a time when psychedelics were not illegal because most people didn’t know what they were and thus had no urge to ingest them — Grof began giving the drug to cancer patients at the Spring Grove State Hospital near Baltimore and documenting their effects.
So what do you think, psychonauts? Pretty interesting article from Adam Halberstadt and Mark Geyer in Scientific American:
What would you see if you could look inside a hallucinating brain? Despite decades of scientific investigation, we still lack a clear understanding of how hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), mescaline, and psilocybin (the main active ingredient in magic mushrooms) work in the brain. Modern science has demonstrated that hallucinogens activate receptors for serotonin, one of the brain’s key chemical messengers. Specifically, of the 15 different serotonin receptors, the 2A subtype (5-HT2A), seems to be the one that produces profound alterations of thought and perception.
It is uncertain, however, why activation of the 5-HT2A receptor by hallucinogens produces psychedelic effects, but many scientists believe that the effects are linked to increases in brain activity. Although it is not known why this activation would lead to profound alterations of consciousness, one speculation is that an increase in the spontaneous firing of certain types of brain cells leads to altered sensory and perceptual processing, uncontrolled memory retrieval, and the projection of mental “noise” into the mind’s eye…
Read More: Scientific American