This richly illustrated documentary is poised to tap into a phenomenon which has only recently and superficially touched the mainstream media. November 2008, CNNʼs Dr. Sanjay Gupta talked of Iraq War PTSD veterans who testified to the efficacy of therapy enhanced by MDMA.
A December 18, 2008 headline on a double-page spread in The Economist stated, “Ecstasy may be good for those who can’t get over something truly horrible.” Even Fox Network ran with a (misleading) headline stating that LSD might ‘extend the life of terminal ill patients’. What’s new is that the use of these drugs is not being presented as harmful or as mind candy, but as a rational and valuable addition to therapeutic practice.
Critically acclaimed filmmaker Oliver Hockenhull employs state of the art HD image processing and the techniques of montage — combining fresh interviews, dynamic animations, engaging and imaginative CGI, motion graphic illustrations, brief text insertions, archival news clips, and punctuation of b roll footage — with a nod to the work of the brilliant and popular BBC documentarist Adam Curtis. The audience will be introduced to the hard science, the neurophysiology and neurochemistry of the psychedelics, the subjective experiences associated with their use, and their medical, social and spiritual significance. We will have a master Zen monk talking about Satori and psychedelics; an acclaimed neurologist informing us about the effects of MDMA on the amygdala gland; social anthropologists will talk about the politics of the visionary state; and MDs will reflect on the economies of health as they relate to psychedelics as compared to the antidepressants offered up by the major pharmaceutical corporations.
Our entire society is under constant, ever-increasing stress. Trauma is prevalent and the old standbys of family and social order, for many at least, are inadequate; the system is in chaotic flux and only the level at the heart of the self, the self which is life itself can right the imbalances. As Dr. Dennis McKenna states in one of the interviews "We now can study transcendental experience, transpersonal experience using pharmacological tools. I think that is a huge accomplishment, a huge break from how it has always been."
Human nature is of a technological nature, we are the tool building animals and we only survive because of our reliance on tools, on technologies. The film proposes that psychedelics are banned technologies that have been shuttered aside, marginalized and made disreputable by their misuse and abuse yes— but mostly by blatant ignorance and hubris. As an example of the ludicrous, DMT, dimethyltryptamine, a very powerful psychedelic, which is endogenous to the human body (it is speculated that DMT plays a role in mediating the visual effects of dreaming) is illegal. Thus we are all drug mules walking around with a Schedule I controlled substance inside our own bodies! Because of this ignorance and fear these technologies have been left to languish in the underground and are refused entry into polite society, no corporation can make a dollar on them — the patents have expired and they are taboo. However prohibition on these non addictive drugs, these mind manifesting enhancers is a law against our own nature for we naturally desire and even desperately need to feel the fullness of the ecstatic state, the disappearance of the bounds that constrict us in our ego I, and to fully experience the condition of grace, the condition of being grateful for life.
As we face upsetting economic, social and cultural changes globally and locally, should we not be using every technological advancement to our best advantage?
Why wouldn’t we ?
These questions are explored in 'From Neurons To Nirvana : The Great Medicines' !
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