Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Search for a Truth Serum

The following is excerpted from Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hoffman and His Discovery of LSD by Dieter Hagenbach and Lucius Werthm├╝ller, the authoritative biography of Albert Hofmann released through Synergetic Press.

As individuals they may be anything. In their institutional role they are monsters because the institution is monstrous. 
Noam Chomsky

Dividing the World
The capitulation of the German army on May 7, 1945, marked the end of the Second World War in Europe, but behind the scenes, the Cold War had already begun. As soon as it became clear that Germany would be liberated by the Allied Forces from the west and by Russia from the east, the division of Europe into East and West on an ideological and political level loomed ahead. No longer did armies face each other, but occupation forces that defended their political and economic systems. The partition ran through the middle of Europe and corresponded to the territories and countries the victorious powers had conquered and pacified. The Iron Curtain divided Western Europe from the Soviet Union’s satellite states of the Eastern Bloc. In 1949, the western part of Germany became the Federal Republic of Germany and the eastern part the German Democratic Republic.

Diplomatic relations were strained by escalating mistrust that triggered a massive arms race. The top priority of the two superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union, became the stockpiling of atomic weapons. By the mid-1950s, the world faced the threat of atomic overkill. For the first time in its history, humankind was in a position to annihilate itself many times over with one blow. Generals and leaders justified this mutual nuclear threat with the concept of a balance of terror, and businesses profited from the meteoric growth of the arms industry. 

Planned economies and real socialism ruled in the communist East and modern consumerism in the West. The automobile, refrigerator, and television offered unlimited mobility, abundance, and entertainment. Advertising and marketing served the desires of a mass society geared to immediate satisfaction. A majority of citizens were influenced and intimidated by the bogeyman orchestrated by the media and politicians; gradually, some of the younger population began to show discontent with the increasingly shallow culture and political manipulation of the economy. They saw through the discrepancy between superficial gratification and the deadly seriousness of the situation...
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Cosmic Egg

...a journey through other realities leading to a familiar place...
Cosmic Egg by Matt Read 

The Deep

The Deep by PES
( visit PES here )

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Amelymeloptical Illusion

Amelymeloptical illusion by Lindzee
( ...and don't miss the other spinning wonders on Colossal... )

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Inner Life of a Cell

Harvard University/XVIVO animation of the microscopic world of a cell.... There's something psychedelic going on down there......!!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Psychedelic Wisdom with Dennis McKenna

“Nobody can have your psychedelic experience for you; you just have to screw your courage up and raise the cup to your lips or smoke the pipe or whatever it is and face what’s in there.” - Dennis McKenna

Celebrity ethnobotanist and ethnopharmacologist Dennis McKenna and his late brother, Terence, began their lifelong curiosity-driven quest for exotic hallucinogens in Amazonian jungles in 1971. Terence, a leading authority on shamanism who was known as the “Timothy Leary of the ‘90s,” chronicled the so-called “experiment at La Chorrera" in his book True Hallucinations (Harper San Francisco, 1993), and Dennis tells the full story in his newly published memoir, The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss: My Life with Terence McKenna (North Star Press 2012).

Zoe Helene interviewed Dennis during a visit to the "Glass Flowers" exhibit at Harvard Natural History Museum.

You first saw these glass flowers (lifelike botanical models made entirely of glass) in 1974?
I saw them in ‘74 when I first made a pilgrimage to visit R.E. Schultes at Harvard, so the glass flowers became emblematic of my visit to Schultes. I made a point to go see them on every subsequent visit.
Schultes looms large in your book. Why is he so important?
R. E. Schultes is a god, in fact. Andrew Weil and Wade Davis were two of his notable students. He’s sometimes called the Father of Ethnobotany, and he was the director of the Harvard Botanical Museum for many years. Schultes was known mainly as the world’s expert on hallucinogenic plants, but he was also known for his expertise on rubber and orchids. He spent thirteen or fourteen years continuously in the Amazon.
In his field research, didn’t he conduct bio-assays—trying plant remedies on himself?
Oh yes, he tried them. But he was very quiet when he was at Harvard—very straight-laced. He studied ayahuasca from his earliest days in the Amazon, in the ‘30s and ‘40s and he claimed that he tried all these things, but all he’d ever say was that he “saw colors.”
Tell me about your own research with ayahuasca?
I went through a lot of different phases with my scientific and professional ambitions to make ayahuasca an object of study. The chemistry, pharmacology and ethnobotany of ayahuasca was the focus of my doctoral research and ever since has never been far from my scientific interests. For a long time I wrote proposals and lobbied to do an IND (Investigational New Drug Application), which you have to do if you want to do an FDA-approved protocol to conduct clinical investigations of a new medicine.
Unfortunately, the FDA makes it ten times harder to study botanical drugs than to study pharmaceutical drugs. The problem is quality control because you have to be able to quantify the doses and all that. Ayahuasca is doubly difficult because not only is it a botanical preparation, but it contains DMT, a Schedule I controlled substance...
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