Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines" makes "the case"


The documentary “Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines”, by Oliver Hockenhull (69 minutes, 2013), summarizes the case for removing society’s legally prohibitionist treatment of mind-altering substances. 
  
One of the most telling arguments occurs early in the film, when someone says that anti-drug laws were enforced in a climate that drafted young men to fight in Vietnam.  The idea was that exposure to substances could make them less interested in the cultural values which allowed others to use them to support the goals (like obliterating a supposed enemy in war) set up by others. 

Many substances function as “serotonin agonists”, as well as enable the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters.  Most mind-altering substances lesson the role of the cerebral cortex in regulating values and behavior.  They may make people less “careful”, but they allow people to become more empathetic to others and share common sense of identity. 
One idea associated with the substances is “There is no ‘they’”, an idea in my own novel (where people trained in support learn there is no “they” to back them up on the job).  That is, there is no “other”.
  
The film documents a “Good Friday Experiment” (or Marsh Chapel Experiment), such as written up here by the Council on Spiritual Practices, link
  
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta appears in the film, and explains his change of position on marijuana since 2009.
  
Toward the end of the film, there are views of what looks like ideas of Heaven, as achieved in meditation. 
  
The substances discussed most in the film are psilocybin and MDMA.  The point is made that that most illegal substances don’t have patents, and that government policy tends to encourage “corporate drugs”. 
  
  
The official site is here  (Gravitas Ventures). 
   
When I was in the Army in 1969, some buddies just said “I hadn’t experienced.” 
  
I watched the film on Netflix Instant, but it can be rented from YouTube for $3.99. For "opposing viewpoints", see CNN's report "Deadly High" on my TV Blog Dec. 7.  

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