From Neurons to Nirvana: The Great Medicines. A documentary film & interactive ebook on the resurgence of Psychedelics as Medicine.
A documentary feature film and interactive ebook on the resurgence of psychedelics as medicine. I have been shooting this film for the past 3 years, the financing of the work has been unconventional and dependent on the community, on crowd funding, and on small investments of some visionary individuals— now I need your help. Find below additional clips and much more information about the film. Please do leave a comment or question if you have any. Thanks so much for your interest!
(Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) who have
graciously helped out on this project is a 501(c)(3) organization that
ability to offer U.S. tax deductions to backers living in the United
States! I'll be doing this for every donation at and over $250.
Dr. Michael Mithoefer, directed the ground breaking MDMA research — featured in The Oprah Magazine, March 2011 : "Can a Single Pill Heal Your Past", draft clip also includes Dr. Julie Holland, NYU School of Medicine, Author of "Ecstasy: The Complete Guide"
"Only people who have recovered the ability for mutual self-care and have learned to combine it with dependence on the application of contemporary technology will be ready to limit the industrial mode of production in other major areas as well." I. Illich "Medical Nemesis
I am quoting the social critic Ivan Illich because his take on health is thoroughly holistic yet neither romantic nor imaginary. He is not promoting an aboriginal past that is preferred to the present, nor a utopia of scientific perfectionism. He places health as the matrix of our communal life, that it is the purview of our interdependence and our respect for life — our own and others — that allows for the full potency of life to be realized.
The Great Medicines is about this manner of awareness.
Senator Robert Kennedy, 1966, speaking on the medical value of psychedelics:
“I think we have given too much emphasis and so much attention to the fact that it can be dangerous and that it can hurt an individual who uses it…that perhaps to some extent we have lost sight of the fact that it can be very, very helpful in our society, if used properly.”
FROM NEURONS TO NIRVANA: THE GREAT MEDICINES is a feature documentary, in progress, which has shot interviews with some of the world’s foremost researchers, writers, and pioneers in psychedelic psychotherapy. These radical healers and dissenters are using everything from ancient concoctions to newly created designer molecules to the once demonized psychedelic drugs of the '60s, as essential medicines, and firmly believe that they should be available for therapeutic use.
With your help the film (120 minute festival film, plus broadcast version, plus an interactive ebook) will be completed by mid-2012. The film is being created by one individual and some great musicians, — this is not backed by a government grant or a broadcaster or by any one else but you. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns @ firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM NEURONS TO NIRVANA: THE GREAT MEDICINES is poised to tap into a phenomenon which has only recently touched the mainstream media. What's new is that these drugs and therapies are not being presented as dangerous or irresponsible, but as rational and valuable additions to our psycho-pharmacopoeia:
- CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke about the value of 'magic mushrooms' for end-of-life anxiety, and interviewed Iraq war PTSD veterans who testified to the efficacy of therapy enhanced by Ecstasy/MDMA.
double-page spread in The Economist magazine recently stated, "Ecstasy may be good for those who
can´t get over something truly horrible."
Oprah Magazine published this year (2011) a quite
positive review of the groundbreaking MDMA research work of Dr. Michael
Mithoefer (featured in my film).
But the story is much bigger. Outside the research centers, a growing population is embarking on psychic adventures, using all manner of exotic substances, natural and synthetic, illegal and not-yet-illegal. Experimenters and clients of licensed therapists and shamans are using traditional plant medicines and underground drugs, not as escape routes or as addictive crutches, but in a quest for transformation, mental health, creativity, intellectual and spiritual enhancement, and insight.
FROM NEURONS TO NIRVANA: THE GREAT MEDICINES introduces a vibrant spectrum of characters who champion psychoactive drugs as medicines and as enhancers.
Noted contributors include:
Rick Doblin, Ph.D., president and founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
He co-founded Earth Metabolic Design Laboratories in 1984 to support psychedelic research and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in 1986 with the goal of making MDMA (or Ecstasy) an FDA-approved medicine. He subsequently obtained a psychology degree from New College of Florida in 1987 and earned a doctorate in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in 2001. Doblin has also served on the board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws since 1996.
Amanda Feilding, Countess of Wemyss, whose Beckley Foundation to Further Consciousness has supported research in this field;
Dr. Michael Mithoefer, who conducted the groundbreaking, successful post-traumatic stress disorder trials with MDMA;
Andrew Feldmar, the Vancouver-based psychotherapist conducting the first such Canadian study;
Dr. Dennis McKenna, author, ethnopharmacologist, expert on DMT and ayahuasca;
Soi Bari, a North American psychotherapist and ayahuasquero healer who works with the medicine ayahuasca, a powerful decoction of psychoactive plants originating from the Amazon;
Dr. Gábor Máté,
the award-winning author and expert on addictions; Wade Davis, an "Explorer-in-Residence" with the National Geographic Society; and many others — known and unknown — in the circle of radiance that is the Great Medicines.
OUR GOAL FOR THE FILM
We want this film to reach as many people as possible. It is a crucial film that will challenge the drug war messengers with resounding blasts of scientific fact and plain common sense, love and light, and with the why-and-how of these powerful psychotropic substances. We are making a feature festival theatrical version, a broadcast version, and an ipad version. It is information that people need now.
Philosophical and health issues have always, and will always, if presented in an accessible guise, be of central interest to a society in change. The political, theological, cultural, historical and contemporary issues surrounding the questions posed by psychedelics touches the very fabric of society and is of thus a central concern to civilization — especially a world civilization only just finding out that it is a world civilization.
Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Every month tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, art, film, technology, design, food, and other creative fields. Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires.WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T REACH OUT GOAL
If we don't raise our goal, we don't get anything. Donors pledge the amounts, but don't actually pay until the goal is reached and the funding deadline has passed. We want to avoid this so please spread the word.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The more people who participate, the more chance we have of getting the story out. Email this Kickstarter link and let your friends, support groups, and co-workers know about the film and this campaign.
SOCIAL MEDIA SITE:
- Wikipedia / Psychedelic Therapy
- MAPS/ Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
The Beckley Foundation — Consciousness and Drug Policy Research
Heffter Research Institute
WHAT THE FUNDS WILL BE USED FOR:
- Additional interviews in the U.S. and in Canada.
- Finishing the musical score and licensing songs
- Additional computer graphics for film
- Licensing the rights to archival footage
- Finishing the sound design, sound editing and sound mix
- Finishing picture elements
- On-line editing and mastering
- Marketing budget
- Kickstarter.com and Amazon monetary processing fee of 10%
- If I exceed my funding goals — additional funds will be directed to an Ipad E-Book, multimedia version of the film.
If you like what you see in the trailer and on the website, please consider pre-ordering your copy today.
The Special Edition DVD / Blu-Ray HD
The Special Edition will have everything as in the regular edition DVD, as well as additional interviews and full imagistic video/sound loops.
The Digital Download Pre-order
We're taking digital pre-orders for the film! (Please note that this will include only the main film itself and not any of the extra / special features, which will be included on the Special Edition DVD.) All donations over $35 will receive a link for a digital download.
The Release Plans
Our goal is to release the regular edition DVD, the digital download, and the DVD educational version/license by early to mid-2012.
The Special Edition will be released in late 2012. Those who pledge at this level will also receive a digital copy when the digital version / regular edition DVD is released.
SOME OF THE KEY INDIVIDUALS IN THE FILM
Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., is a Professor of Behavioral Biology, Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His principal research focus in both clinical and preclinical laboratories has been on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs. His research has been largely supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and he is author of more than 300 journal articles and book chapters. He is the lead investigator of the psilocybin research project at Johns Hopkins, which includes studies of psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in healthy volunteers and cancer patients, and a pilot study of psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation. He has been a consultant to the National Institutes of Health, and to numerous pharmaceutical companies in the development of new psychotropic drugs. Dr. Griffiths is also currently a member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Dependence for the World Health Organization and a member of the Board of Directors of the Heffter Research Institute.
Wade Davis, Ph.D., has been described as "a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet, and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” An ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University.
Currently an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, his work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, from the Arctic to Africa, from Australia to Mongolia, and from Polynesia to New Guinea, living for extended periods among indigenous communities, learning and recording their complex rituals and customs and their uses of plants as food, medicine, and psychotropic agents.
Davis is the author of 14 books including The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), One River (1996), The Clouded Leopard (1999), Light at the Edge of the World (2001), and The Lost Amazon (2004). In 2009 he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures, Canada’s most prestigious intellectual forum, which were published as The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World (2009).
His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series produced for the National Geographic Channel. He is one of 20 Honorary Members of the Explorers Club, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an Honorary Member and Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. In 2009 he received the Gold Medal from the RCGS for his contributions to the fields of anthropology and conservation, and he is the 2011 recipient of the Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers Club. In fall 2011, Knopf will publish his latest book, Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest.
Stephen Ross, M.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and an Assistant Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Medicine at the NYU College of Dentistry. He is the Clinical Director of the NYU Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction, and the Associate Director for Addiction Fellowship Training at the NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Ross has received 9 teaching awards related to education of medical students and psychiatry residents, locally at NYU and nationally. His research interests revolve around exploring novel diagnostic and treatment approaches to opioid, alcohol, and stimulant use disorders. His other addiction research interests include approaches to treating addicted adolescents and interventions that have a more broad-based public health impact. Dr Ross is an expert in psycho-oncology and is studying novel pharmacologic-psychosocial approaches to treating psychological distress associated with advanced or terminal cancer. He is the Principal Investigator of the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project. Dr. Ross receives his research funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Heffter Research Institute.
Dr. Duncan Grady has studied and experienced Native ceremony for many years. He has a doctorate degree in Divinity specific to Creation Spirituality. He was raised in the Siksika/Sauk Blackfeet tradition. He uses various ceremonies/rituals taught by his people to bring concepts into direct experience. Duncan is also a Buddhist practitioner and brings Buddhist practices into his native tradition. He has taught spiritual practices at UCS/Naropa University and has taught throughout North America and Europe. He currently teaches at a college in British Columbia, Canada and works as a psychotherapist and hospice trainer using western and non-western approaches to health, well-being and death.
Dr. Gábor Máté is a Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction. In this position, he has written several best-selling books - Scattered Minds and When the Body Says No have been translated into nine languages– and has become a regular columnist for the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail.
Kathleen (Kat) Harrison, ethnobotanist, studies the historic and current web of relationships between plants and human cultures. For over thirty years she has examined the folk uses of plants and mushrooms in ritual, medicine, materials, food, and art, with a special emphasis on the beliefs and practices that illustrate indigenous peoples’ recognition of nature and its animating forces. She specializes in leading tropical field courses in ethnobotany. With her colleague Dennis McKenna, she teaches an annual course in Hawaii for the University of Minnesota, and an annual pharmacognosy course in the Peruvian Amazon. She currently teaches for Goddard College, California School of Herbal Studies, and various other academic programs. She also teaches botanical illustration, to help people 'learn to see' nature.
Kathleen has over thirty-five years of recurrent fieldwork experience in Latin America and has helped establish ethnobotanical teaching gardens in Peru, Costa Rica and Hawaii. For sixteen years she has participated in a reciprocal learning relationship with Mazatec indigenous healers and their families, in the mountains of Mexico. In one thread of her field research, she seeks to elucidate the roles that psychedelic species play between nature, culture and spirit.
Since 1986, she has been Project Director of Botanical Dimensions—a non-profit organization devoted to preserving medicinal and shamanic plants, habitat, and plant knowledge. In this role, she is currently managing a digital herbarium project in the Peruvian Amazon. She is based in northern California and Hawaii.
Jeremy Narby, Ph.D., is an anthropologist and writer. Narby grew up in Canada and Switzerland, studied history at the University of Canterbury, and received a doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University. He spent several years living with the Ashaninca in the Peruvian Amazon cataloging indigenous uses of rainforest resources to help combat ecological destruction. He has sponsored an expedition to the rainforest for biologists and other scientists to examine indigenous knowledge systems and the utility of Ayahuasca in gaining knowledge. Since 1989, Narby has been working as the Amazonian projects director for the Swiss NGO, Nouvelle Planète. He is the author of several books, including: The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge (1995); Shamans Through Time: 500 Years on the Path to Knowledge (2001) edited by Narby and Francis Huxley; Intelligence in Nature (2005); and, Psychotropic Mind: The World According to Ayahuasca, Iboga, and Shamanism (2010).
David E. Nichols, Ph.D., is the Robert C. and Charlotte P. Anderson Distinguished Chair in Pharmacology, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Purdue University, and an adjunct Professor of Pharmacology at Indiana University School of Medicine. He is also the founding President, Co-Founder and Director of Preclinical Research for the Heffter Research Institute. The focus of his graduate training, beginning in 1969, and of much of his research subsequent to receiving his doctorate in 1973, has been the investigation of the relationship between molecular structure and the action of psychedelic agents and other substances that modify behavioral states. He is considered by most pharmacologists to be the top authority on the medicinal chemistry of hallucinogenic agents, and has published nearly 300 scientific articles and book chapters. His research has been continuously funded by government agencies for more than two decades. He consults for the pharmaceutical industry and has served on numerous committees and government research review groups. Widely published in the scientific literature and internationally recognized for his research on centrally active drugs, Dr. Nichols has studied all of the major classes of psychedelic agents.
Dr. Dennis J. McKenna For the last twenty-five years, Dennis McKenna has pursued the interdisciplinary study of ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He is co-author, with his brother Terence, of The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching (Seabury Press, 1975; Citadel Press, 1991), a philosophical and metaphysical exploration of the ontological implications of psychedelic drugs which resulted from the two brothers' early investigations of Amazonian hallucinogens in 1971. He received his doctorate in 1984 from the University of British Columbia. His doctoral research focused on ethnopharmacological investigations of the botany, chemistry, and pharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two orally-active tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. Following the completion of his doctorate, Dr. McKenna received post-doctoral research fellowships in the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health, and in the Department of Neurology, Stanford University School of Medicine. He is a founding board member and Vice-President of the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit scientific organization dedicated to the investigation of therapeutic applications for psychedelic plants and compounds. He has conducted extensive ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brasilian Amazon. He has served as invited speaker at numerous scientific congresses, seminars, and symposia. Dr. McKenna is author or co-author of over 35 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. His publications have appeared in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, European Journal of Pharmacology, Brain Research, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurochemistry, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Economic Botany, and elsewhere.
Dr. Julie Holland, M.D., is an attending psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital and is on the faculty of the NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Holland has discussed Ecstasy in the Lancet, Harper’s, and the Washington Post. She has been interviewed for the ABC Australian TV show Catalyst, CNN’s Paula Zahn, ABC Good Morning America, NBC’s Today show and others. She is the editor of “Ecstasy: The Complete Guide”.
Amanda Feilding, Countess Wemyss, is a British artist and scientific director. She founded and directs a charitable trust, The Beckley Foundation, which does fundamental academic & scientific research in the field of human consciousness. The Foundation also organizes seminars of leading world experts in the regulation of psychoactive substances on a global basis. She grew up at Beckley Park, a 14th century great Tudor house outside Oxford.
Charles S. Grob, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine and Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, has been conducting studies on the effects of psilocybin on anxiety in cancer patients, and was lead researcher on the first U.S. government approved study with MDMA. Dr. Grob is also the principal investigator of an international biomedical psychiatric research project in the Brazilian Amazon of the psychedelic, ayahuasca.
Dr. Michael Winkelman received his B.A. from Rice University (1976), a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine (1985), and a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Practice from the University of Arizona (2002). He served as the Head of Sociocultural Anthropology and is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. He also teaches in the Human Health Program on the ASU Polytechnic Campus. Dr. Winkelman is past-president of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness and the founding president of the Anthropology of Religion Section of the American Anthropological Association.
Michael Mithoefer, M.D., is a psychiatrist who practices in Charleston, S.C. (USA), where he divides his time between clinical research and his outpatient clinical practice specializing in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with an emphasis on experiential methods of psychotherapy. Along with his wife, Annie, he conducts MAPS-sponsored research into MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. He is board certified in Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine.
Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D., psychiatrist, consciousness researcher. Acclaimed author, founder of the International Transpersonal Association. Psychedelic pioneer. “Vision 97 Prize Laureate 2007,” Prague.
Bob Jesse is convenor of the Council on Spiritual Practices, which aims to shift modernity's awareness and practices with respect to primary religious experience (www.csp.org/PRE). CSP also encourages people to imagine and develop social contexts to contain such experiences and help them yield lasting benefit. Through CSP, Bob and his colleagues initiated a study, conducted at Johns Hopkins and reported around the world, of the psycho-spiritual effects of psilocybin in healthy volunteers (www.csp.org/psilocybin). This expands the emphasis in hallucinogen research beyond the medical treatment of ill people to include the betterment of well people, contributing to a science of pro-social development.
Vanja Palmers, Dharma Heir in the lineage of the late Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi, Soto Zen tradition. Zen practitioner and teacher for over 30 years, has established a number of Zen centers in Switzerland. Advocate of the use of psychedelics for spiritual advancement.
Dr. Peter Oehen, M.D., Zurich. Pioneer MDMA therapist and researcher.
Daniel Pinchbeck is an author and advocate of the use of psychedelic substances such as LSD, Psilocybin mushrooms, and peyote for enriching people's intellectual, psychological and spiritual beliefs through the psychedelic experience.
Dr. David Healy completed an M.D. in neuroscience and studied psychiatry during a clinical research fellowship at Cambridge University Clinical School. He is the author of over 10 books on psychopharmacology, the pharmaceutical industry, and mental health and is internationally known for his critical and oft-cited work on Prozac, other SSRIs, and suicide.
Manuel Schoch is a Swiss mystic and spiritual healer, best known for developing the healing method of “time therapy.” After studying psychology in Switzerland and England, Schoch refined his psychic abilities, including the ability to read the human aura, with the Irish healer Bob Moore. He established his own practice in 1971, and in 1974 he helped found the HiHo-Collective, which was well known in the 1970s for its anti-psychiatric views.
Ralph Metzner is a psychologist, writer and researcher, who participated in psychedelic research at Harvard University in the early 1960s with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass). Dr. Metzner is a psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he was formerly the Academic Dean and Academic Vice-President.
Alexander T. Shulgin, Ph.D., is an American pharmacologist, chemist and drug developer of Russian descent. Shulgin is credited with the popularizing of MDMA in the late 1970s and early 1980s, especially for psychopharmaceutical use and the treatment of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In subsequent years, Shulgin discovered, synthesized, and bioassayed over 230 psychoactive compounds. In 1991 and 1997, he and his wife Ann Shulgin authored the books PiHKAL and TiHKAL on the topic of psychoactive drugs. Shulgin discovered many noteworthy phenethylamines including the 2C* family of which 2C-T-2, 2C-T-7, 2C-E, 2C-I, and 2C-B are most well known. Additionally, Shulgin performed seminal work into the descriptive synthesis of compounds based on the organic compound tryptamine.
Steve Beyer,University Of Wisconsin–Madison, Ph.D., Buddhist Studies (1969);
University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D. (1981); Saybrook Graduate
School and Research Center, Ph.D., Psychology (2005)
Author of three books on Buddhism and the Tibetan language, he most recently completed "Singing to the Plants", his book on shamanism, sorcery and the plant medicines of the Upper Amazon.
Neal M. Goldsmith, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice, specializing in psychospiritual development – seeing “neurosis” as the natural unfolding of human maturation. Dr. Goldsmith’s psychotherapy training includes Imago Relationship Therapy, Psychosynthesis, yoga psychology, regressive psychotherapies, Rogerian client-centered counseling, and other humanistic, transpersonal and eastern traditions. He is also an applied research psychologist and strategic planner working with institutions such as Princeton University, AT&T, American Express, and Gartner to foster innovation and change.
Chris Bennett is widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the history of cannabis, having written dozens of articles for Cannabis Culture, High Times, and other magazines as well as three books dealing with the subject: Green Gold, the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion (Access Unlimited, 1995); Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible (Forbidden Fruit Publishing, 2001); and, Cannabis and the Soma Solution (TrineDay, 2010).
Bennett has identified evidence for a religious role for cannabis in a variety of ancient and modern religions, such as Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and Taoism, but his work regarding evidence in the Bible around the use of cannabis by both the ancient Jews and Christians has received the most attention.
Anders Sandberg is a Swedish neuroscientist and futurist. He holds a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from Stockholm University and has studied computer models of human memory at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He has also been scientific producer for the neuroscience exhibition "Se Hjarnan!" ("Behold the Brain!"), organized by Swedish Traveling Exhibitions, the Swedish Research Council and the Knowledge Foundation. Between 1996 and 2000 he was chairman of the Swedish Transhumanist Association and is the co-founder of the think tank, Eudoxa.
William A. Richards, Ph.D., is a psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bayview Medical Center. His graduate degrees include a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, a Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) from Andover-Newton Theological School, and a Ph.D. from Catholic University. Richards also studied with Abraham Maslow at Brandeis University and with Hanscarl Leuner at Georg-August University in Goettingen, Germany, where his involvement with psilocybin research originated in 1963. From 1967 to 1977, Richards pursued psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. His research included protocols designed to investigate psychedelics as a treatment for alcoholism, severe neuroses, narcotic addiction, and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer, and also their use in the training of religious and mental-health professionals. He helped design and served as the primary guide in the Johns Hopkins research that demonstrated the positive correlation between psilocybin and mystical experiences (see Griffiths, et al. 2006).
Opening image— Kali Puja at Naihati, a town in West Bengal, India, by Piyal Kundu.
I am. That is one person. Just me. With the help of you. Oh and some incredibly talented musicians.
Ok so who am I to make this film? I am a man who has recognized for many a long year that our society needs to adopt radical (the term means to go to the root of) solutions to some of the social and real problems we are faced with. I have been involved in yoga and buddhism for over 30 years and I have been a filmmaker for 20 years. I am committed to what is called Karma Yoga, that is the yoga of service to humanity. This work is part of that service.
We know that psychedelics are making a comeback when The New York Times and Scientific American say so: “Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In. John Tierney reports on how doctors at schools like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, UCLA and NYU are testing the potential of psilocybin and other hallucinogens for treating depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism—and for inducing spiritual experiences.” Scientific American, April 16, 2010; New York Times, April 11, 2010.
This film, shot in High Definition video, is an in-depth analysis of psychedelic drugs in light of current scientific, medical and cultural knowledge, and on the validity of psychedelics as adjuncts to therapy, as crucial but neglected taboo medicines, and as technologies of consciousness.
In the last few years, psychedelics have been given new respectability in science and in therapy. Universities in Zurich, at Harvard, at the University of California, at Johns Hopkins, are conducting human trials with psychedelics to treat a number of afflictions from post-traumatic stress disorder, cluster headaches, addictions, to end-of-life anxiety issues. The FDA, in April of 2010, approved a phase two trial of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder. All of the patients in this trial will be U.S. army vets from the war in Iraq, suffering from PTSD.
The taboo against these drugs is closely aligned with society's fear of the ecstatic state: a state of mind that loosens the self from the roles assigned to us by society and by language. Psychedelics are 'threatening drugs' not because of harmful physical side effects, of which they have remarkably very few, but because they can so thoroughly throw into question the edifice of self-identity and starkly confront the nature of consciousness itself.
This film is unique as it covers the full spectrum of substances - from LSD to MDMA to ayahuasca to marijuana, etc. It is also unique in that it is about the science of how these drugs affect the neurological system and how these effects are related directly to how we understand the world around us, how they experientially affect consciousness, and what that means for our understanding of ourselves and our relationship with others.
Leading scientific researchers from Johns Hopkins University, New York University, UCLA, and investigators and academics in Europe are interviewed, as well as traditionally trained curanderos and shamans.
I've titled the film "From Neurons to Nirvana: The Great Medicines" because I intend to focus on the radical healing potential of these substances: that these substances, if used properly and within a therapeutic set and setting, can permit the full, innate potential of human and social health to be realized.
These substances have been considered "foods of the gods" and as "Great Medicines" by traditional societies around the world for literally tens of thousands of years.
The term 'The Great Medicines' also refers to Tibetan Buddhism: that the intent to become enlightened is The Great Medicine.
The film is being created and visualized by an award-winning media artist and filmmaker, whose work has shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland, and many other venues.
The film is an essay on the subject matter, a highly informative but also highly visual and auditory original piece that will mirror the heightened consciousness of the entheogenic experience. The film itself will be edited, effected and constructed in a manner that will, at times, induce a "mind manifesting" (i.e., psychedelic) state while not collapsing into any manner of cliché.
I'm asking for your help because this film is too important not to be made, and because the gatekeepers of the media, the broadcasters, aren't willing to take seriously the issue of these medicines.
Independent thinking and active citizenry taking responsibility for their own health and the health of their own society, using the tools considered by the State as forbidden and criminal, is a defiant act — who is going to fund this but you?
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Phase Transition Initiator: Once the film is completed, the Special Edition dvd or blu-ray disk (all interview materials included) mailed to you eta: mid 2012 + special imagistic image loops for continuous ecstatic play on your monitor + a free copy of my film Aldous Huxley: The Gravity of Light + iphone versions of the show. Invitation to festival screenings as a producer. Your name listed in the credit thank you.Estimated delivery:
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Soul Vine Traveller: Once the film is completed, the Special Edition dvd or blu-ray disk (all interview materials included) mailed to you eta: mid 2012 — my perpetual thanks. + special imagistic image loops for continuous ecstatic play on your monitor + a free copy of my film Aldous Huxley: The Gravity of Light + iphone versions of the show + an exclusive audio clip of Aldous Huxley recorded in the 1930's about the human condition- nowhere else available. Guidance and advice for travelling to Peru and participating in an ayahuasca ceremony. Invitation to festival screenings as a producer.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10,000 or moreYou selected
Enlightener: Assisting in the renaissance of the mind, helping us get out of the truly dark ages of consciousness research and encouraging the appropriate use of these powerful medicines. Exclusive downloads during the production phase of the film + a signed dvd/blu-ray mailed to your place eta: early/mid 2012 + iphone versions of the show + special imagistic image loops for continuous ecstatic play on your monitor + an exclusive audio clip of Aldous Huxley recorded in the 1930's about the human condition- nowhere else available + & a free copy of my film Aldous Huxley: The Gravity of Light. Guidance and advice for travelling to Peru and participating in an ayahuasca ceremony. I will also write, shoot, and edit a 3 minute visual sequence especially for you! Skype calls and discussions. Co-production credit. Invitation to festival screenings as a producer.Estimated delivery:
- (60 days)