“Leon” is a young Brazilian man who has long struggled with depression. He keeps an anonymous blog, in Portuguese, where he describes the challenge of living with a mental illness that affects some 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Ayahuasca, a Peruvian hallucinogen, is on people’s minds these days, in part with Michael Pollan’s best-selling book How to Change Your Mind.1 I’d been meaning to try it and my opportunity came up recently.
I was told to bring to the ritual ceremony a question to ask the “medicine.” Most people bring personal questions but since my life is feeling about as good as can be these days, I didn’t have one.
So instead I brought one related to my work as a psycho-proctologist, probing the nature of total jerk behavior and how to undermine it—in other words, how do you undermine people who will stop at nothing to undermine anyone who disagrees with them?
Such people can show up for any cause or no cause at all, since the cause is just window dressing. I had read Pollan’s book and did not find credible his subtle implication that the medicine exposes us to some absolute truth that it knows, a truth that he suggested was that we can and should become somehow egoless as though ego just gets in the way. I trust that that’s what he took away from his experiences. Half my time goes into work on the origin and nature of living beings, so the idea that one can become selfless doesn’t fly with me. We become selfless at death. In the meantime, even under the influence of the medicine, we are still here.
When I mentioned my critique of Pollan to a friend, she thought I was overly dismissive and began to talk as though she hoped I’d learn my lesson from the medicine. That annoyed me, too.
The ceremony I attended did not imply an ego-liberating message from the medicine or for that matter, any message. It was agnostic about what you might glean from the medicine. I liked that right away.
Research presented at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting in San Francisco last weekend is illuminating the rapid advance of psychedelic science. New findings are adding to a growing mountain of evidence that psychedelics could be effective at treating a range of psychological problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and social anxiety.
â€œLeonâ€ is a young Brazilian man who has long struggled with depression. He keeps an anonymous blog, in Portuguese, where he describes the challenge of living with a mental illness that affects some 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
White people love to try drugs from other cultures. Just think of the scene in Zoolander when Hansel recounts a story to Derek about hallucinating that he’s falling off a mountain, and suddenly remembers he’s been “smoking peyote for six straight days.” Other iconic white guys in cinema have famously partaken: Tony Soprano, the stars of “Young Guns.” Ben Stiller experiments with ayahuasca in While We’re Young in an attempt to spice up his love life with his wife. There are enough examples of these scenes to say there is a trope in television and film of sending a reserved character on a spiritual awakening by having them experiment with psychedelic drugs. In other cases, it is a way to solidify a character’s New Age kookiness, as in the case of Hansel or Lily Tomlin’s character in Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie.” But while these scenes can be humorous, they also normalize and publicize the use of drugs that white people arguably don’t have a right to.
If you boil the two plants Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis long enough, you’ll end up with the powerful brew ayahuasca. But, I don’t recommend you make it yourself, nor drink it along, unless you really known what you’re doing. It’s not something to approach lightly. When consumed, it usually creates extraordinary experiences of visions, intense emotions and possibly vomiting.
Brazil Is Giving Its Prisoners One of the World’s Most Powerful Psychedelics as Part of the Rehabilitation Process
Some of Brazil's violent offenders are being offered the opportunity for radical rehabilitation via the powerful psychedelic experience of the ayahuasca ceremony.
Ayahuasca Can Help Cure Depression, Alcoholism: Study
Ayahuasca, a psychedelic traditionally brewed in South America, has shown in a study to improve people's general sense of wellbeing and may offer a treatment for alcoholism and depression. According to the study conducted by a team from Exeter University and University College London, the Amazonian brew contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT) — a psychedelic drug illegal in the U.S. and U.K. — and could improve your sense...
You Won't Believe Which Middle East Theocracy Takes an Enlightened Line on Entheogens and Psychedelics!
In a move barely noticed in the West, more than three years ago, Iran's Grand Ayatollah Rohani issued a formal legal ruling—a fatwa—declaring that the use of entheogens and psychedelics was permissible (á¸¥alÄl) for Shi'i Muslims for purposes of treatment and spiritual growth.
New research suggests that psychedelic use is associated with a lesser likelihood of criminal behavior. The finding opens the door to further research on the use of classical psychedelics such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD and mescaline (peyote), in treatments aimed at reducing such behavior.