Psychedelics

#44: Buddhist Geeks with Vincent Horn

This week is a special week for me because I sit down with Vincent Horn, the host and founder of the podcast Buddhist Geeks, which was the first show, along with Waking Up with Sam Harris, that turned me onto podcasting. Buddhist Geeks has a keen interest in several of the topics that we like to explore on this show and most recently Vince’s interests have focused on the relationship between meditation and psychedelics. Vince and I spoke about our personal thoughts on the connection between entheogens and contemplative practices, as well as some of the challenges around having this conversation.

We also discuss Vince’s evolving relationship with Buddhism and why he now says that he keeps one foot within the circle of Buddhism and one foot outside the tradition. Vince is also deeply interested in the intersection of ancient wisdom and modernity, hence why I had such a great time speaking with him.

Enjoy.

Guest Bio:

Vincent Horn is part of a new generation of teachers translating age-old wisdom into 21st century code. A computer engineering dropout turned modern monk, Vincent spent his 20s co-founding the ground-breaking Buddhist Geeks project while doing a full year of silent meditation practice on retreat. Vincent began teaching in 2010 and since then has been authorized in both the pragmatic dharma lineage of Kenneth Folk and by Trudy Goodman Kornfield, whose contemplative training is in the Insight Meditation and Zen traditions.  Vince is one of the co-founders of Meditate.io, which is dedicated to offering deep practice opportunities for independent learners.  Vincent has been called a “power player of the mindfulness movement” by Wired magazine and was honored to be featured in Wired UK’s “Smart List: 50 people who will change the world.” He lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his teaching & life partner Emily and their son Zander.

#30: Spiritual Evolution from an Indigenous Reality with Mary Porter

In this conversation I speak wth Mary Porter, founder of the Looking Glass Peyote Church of Oregon, about a number of topics:
  • Nature & Spirituality
  • What we can learn from working with plant medicines like peyote, san pedro and mushrooms
  • Why psychedelics are not for everyone
  • Differences between a conventional Western worldview and indigenous perspective
  • Reconnecting to Nature
  • Spiritual maturity & personal responsibility
Guest Bio:
Mary Porter is the co-founder and director of the Looking Glass Peyote Church in Oregon. Mary is a descendant of the Nez Perce; Yakama, Wasco tribes, and is the co-founder of Looking Glass Peyote Church of Oregon. Mary is a Chaplin and former Sergeant at Arms for Northwest Veterans Motorcycle Association. Recognized by the Peyote People in Texas as a non Tribal-4/4th, full blood American Indian with intact knowledge of her ancestral descendancy that spans 50,000 years, a history that has been maintained orally and recently verified scientifically.  
Looking Glass Church is a bona fide 501c Church. They are connected with the good faith practice of the religious belief that the Earth is our Mother and we are all part of nature, therefore, we are all subject to Natural Law and the unchanging moral principals regarded as a basis for all human conduct.
Links:

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#028: Buddhism and Psychedelics in America with Dr. Douglas Osto

Scholar of of Indian Buddhism Dr. Douglas Osto talks about the intersection between Buddhism & Psychedelics in his most recent book Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America. 
Guest bio:
Doug Osto grew up in the woods of Redding, Connecticut. He has studied and practiced Buddhism for over thirty years, and has advanced degrees in theological studies, Asian languages, and the study of religion from Harvard University, the University of Washington, and the University of London. 
He is the author of Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America (Columbia UP, 2016), Modern Samkhya: Ancient Spirituality for the Contemporary Atheist (2016), and Power, Wealth and Women in Indian Mahayana Buddhism: The Gandavyuha-sutra (Routledge, 2008). 
Currently, he teaches Asian philosophies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Links:

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#027: What Fredrich Nietzsche Can Teach Us about Today with Peter Sjostedt-H

In this episode I spoke with philosopher Peter Sjostedt-H about the work of Fredrich Nietzsche. Peter tells us why the great German philosopher Fredrick Nietzsche is still relevant to our own era.

Peter and I discuss he following topics including:

  • Why Fredrich Nietzsche is considered one of the precursors to modern psychology
  • Why Nietzsche’s writings are often thought of as prophetic
  • The implications of Nietzsche’s ideas for our contemporary age (particularly in the Patreon Bonus section where we get more into politics)
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • How psychedelics have influenced Peter’s perspective as a philosopher of mind

Guest Bio:

Peter Sjöstedt-H is an Anglo-Scandinavian philosopher of mind and a metaphysician who specialises in the thought of Whitehead, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, with special regard to panpsychism and altered states of sentience. Peter received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in Continental Philosophy from the University of Warwick, where he was awarded a first-class distinction for his dissertation on Kant and Schelling in relation to ‘intellectual intuition’.

He subsequently became a Philosophy Lecturer in London for six years but is now engaged in his PhD at Exeter University where he also teaches philosophy modules and writing skills. Peter is the author of Noumenautics and an inspiration behind the inhuman philosopher Marvel Superhero, Karnak.

In the words of futurist, philosopher and pop star Alexander Bard: ‘One of our favourite contemporary philosophers, Peter Sjöstedt-H…think a psychedelic Nietzsche’.

Links:

Personal Website for Peter Sjostedt-H

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#022: Mitch Schultz, Director of DMT The Spirit Molecule

Guest bio: Mitch Schultz is the documentary filmaker behind “DMT: The Spirit Molecule” and “Ayahuasca: Drink the Jungle.”

Mitch Schultz began his life journey in Memphis, Tennessee and has since called Texas, Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Europe, and Peru home. Guided by his lifelong love of storytelling, Mitch has cultivated a multi-disciplinary expertise in motion pictures, interactive media, and culture hacking.

He earned his Bachelor of Science primarily focused on media production, communication theory, and information mapping at the University of Texas at Austin. Soon after, Mitch completed his Masters of Fine Arts at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He was a researcher at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at Tisch. Mitch continues to foster his growth within the academic community by speaking at universities and conferences worldwide.

Schultz has also worked as a branding consultant for VisionLab, the progressive HD cable channel dedicated to experimental video art. Following the successful launch of VisionLab, he shifted into independent film production as Director of Development for Ghost Robot, where he outlined the company’s expansion from film into other platforms, including art, fashion, gaming, and music.

Currently, Mitch is developing a project that utilizes the potential of blockchain technologies to transform the media landscape.
Mitch and I touched on a number of topics including:
  • Mitch’s early childhood paranormal experiences
  • Making of “DMT: The Spirit Molecule”
  • Changing landscape of the psychedelic research scene
  • DMT experience vs. Ayahuasca
  • Healing trauma and addiction through psychedelic medicine
  • Cultural differences on aging and death
  • Competing explanations for the nature of consciousness
  • Blockchain & cryptocurrencies
Showlinks: 

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#018: Ajna Light Technology founder Guy Harriman

Guest Bio:
Guy Harriman is an engineer, Buddhist meditator and inventor of consciousness hacking technologies. Guy worked for many years in Silicon Valley, including for Steve Jobs at NEXT.
In 2008 Guy moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand and built lannayoga.com Healing Center.
Guy is the inventor of the spiritual tool called the Ajna Light. It is a unique device which
helps people on their own inner journey, no matter what their path is. Since Guy
designed the first prototype in 2014, as of 2017 it is estimated that over 10,000 people have
been on the Ajna Light.
Shownotes:

0:00-7:40: Opening Remarks

7:40-:11:00: Guy’s move from the UK to Silicon Valley

11:00-14:58: Working with Steve Jobs

14:58-21:21: The genesis of Guy’s interests in contemplative practices

21:21-24:55: What Steve Jobs taught Guy about living life passionately

24:55-28:10: Shifting from Silicon Valley to Thailand

28:10-31:23: Right View & Body-Mind Practices

31:23-36:55: How to integrate Yogic and Taoist Systems and Practices

36:55-40:00: Reconciling Different Schools of Buddhist Thought

40:00-43:40: Developing the Pyra Light

43:40-48:04: Healing the Body-Mind Right in the West

48:04-52:00: The Promises and Perils of Virtual Reality for the Humanity

52:00-56:05: Becoming a Buddhist Monk

56:05-1:12:33: Inventing Consciousness Exploration Technologies

1:12:33-1:14:15: Closing Remarks. How to follow Guy and his technologies

Links:
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#014: Talking Psychedelics with Dennis McKenna, PhD

Guest Bio:

The professional and personal interests of Dennis McKenna, Ph.D are centered on the interdisciplinary study of ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He received his Doctorate in 1984 from the University of British Columbia, where 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. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute and serves on the advisory board of non-profit organizations in the fields of ethnobotany and botanical medicines. At the Heffter Research Institute, he continues his focus on the therapeutic uses of psychoactive medicines derived from nature and used in indigenous ethnomedical practices.

Shownotes:

  • Comparative consideration of psychedelics and their respective benefits and challenges
  • Ayahuasca
  • Scientific knowledge and its limitations
  • Fundamental differences between Eastern and Western modes of thought
  • Organized religion and its problems
  • and more…

Links:

How to connect with Dennis: https://hackingtheself.org/2017/12/05/this-weeks-guest-dennis-mckenna-phd/

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#013: Listening to Ayahuasca with Rachel Harris

Guest Bio: Psychologist Rachel Harris, PhD is the author of Listening to Ayahuasca: New Hope for Depression, Addiction, PTSD and Anxiety. She was in private practice for thirty-five years working with people interested in psychospiritual development. During a decade working in research, Rachel received a National Institutes of Health New Investigator’s Award and published more than forty scientific studies in peer-reviewed journals. She has also consulted to Fortune 500 companies and the United Nations.

Links:

Website

Facebook

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#011: Rational Mysticism with John Horgan

This week on Hacking Consciousness: science writer John Horgan on his book Rational Mysticism. We explore the following topics:

  • what science and reason can help us to understand about the nature of consciousness
  • the limits of scientific knowledge
  • the idea of enlightenment
  • the value and drawbacks of using psychedelics to understand the mind
  • and more…

Guest Bio:

John Horgan is a veteran science journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. He writes the “Cross-check” blog for Scientific American (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/). His books include The End of Science, The Undiscovered Mind, Rational Mysticism and The End of War. He is now completing a book on the mind-body problem.​

Horgan’s work has been covered by print, radio, and television media, including The New York Times, PBS, BBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His awards include the Science Journalism Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of Science Writers Science-in-Society Award.

Where to Find John:

Twitter

Website

Scientific American

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#010: The Psychedelic Gospels with Dr. Jerry Brown

In this episode I speak with Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., co-author of The Psychedelic Gospels. Jerry is an anthropologist, author, and activist. From 1972 to 2014, he served as founding professor of anthropology at Florida International University in Miami, where he taught a course on “Hallucinogens and Culture.”

Guest Bio:

In this episode I speak with Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., co-author of The Psychedelic Gospels. Jerry is an anthropologist, author, and activist. From 1972 to 2014, he served as founding professor of anthropology at Florida International University in Miami, where he taught a course on “Hallucinogens and Culture.”

Julie M. Brown is an integrative psychotherapist, who conducts research on the role of sacred plants in religion.

Shownotes:

0:00-4:15: Welcome and introductory remarks.

4:15-12:15: Jerry’s background and backstory to writing the book

12:15-24:15: The evidence for psychedelic mushrooms in Christian art

24:15-37:20: Role of psychedelics in religions

37:20-48:10: Considering the evidence for psychedelic use by Jesus and his disciples

48:10-59:20: The esoteric vs. exoteric sides of religion; why psychedelics can facilitate

                         mystical experiences

59:20-1:00:02: How to get in touch with Jerry

Links:

Psychedelic Gospels

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