The fine folks of Breaking Convention, a multidisciplinary conference on psychedelic consciousness held annually in Britain for the last four years, have kindly uploaded a bunch of videos from this year’s instalment (held just a couple of weeks ago) that I’m sure many Grailers will be interested in.
I’ve embedded two of the videos in this post. Above, Rupert Sheldrake on “Psychedelic Experience And Morphic Resonance”:
When people take psychedelic drugs, these drugs have a variety of effects on their brain activity. These effects are similar to those in people who have taken the same drugs in the past. According to the hypothesis of morphic resonance, similar patterns of activity in the past resonate with similar patterns in the present. This opens up the possibility that psychedelic experience includes a resonance from people in the past who have taken the same drugs. This may set up a kind of collective memory for each kind of psychedelic experience. Present experiences may tap into this collective memory and in turn contribute to it. This hypothesis is experimentally testable.
And below is Dennis McKenna’s talk, “Is DMT A Neurotransmitter For The Gaian Brain?”.
The possible functions of endogenous DMT as a neurotransmitter or regulatory neurohormone in mammalian physiology are incompletely understood, and a matter of controversy. Its ubiquity in nature, however, suggests it may function at the biospheric level as a messenger molecule. The planetary ecosystem – sometimes romantically likened to Gaia, the feminine Mother of all life in Greek mythology – is a complex homeostatic system that is regulated and stabilised by complex feedback loops and symbiosis. These processes operate via signal transduction, the exchange of information mediated by molecular messengers. Neurotransmitters are one of many kinds of signal-transducing molecules in the body, but in ecosystems, photosynthetic plants produce a vast array of secondary products that mediate their interactions with virtually all organisms in the environment, including humans. In this talk I will suggest that DMT and the ‘family’ of related tryptamines – may specifically target the big-brained primates to trigger cognitive evolution.
These are just two of the talks available – you can check out everything posted so far (30+ videos!) over at the Breaking Convention YouTube channel – and it might be worth subscribing so that you know when new videos are posted.
Massive thanks to the Breaking Convention peeps for doing this, it gladdens the heart of this Antipodean stuck on the other side of the planet.