November 2007


Tom Shroder has written an excellent comprehensive article titled ‘The Peace Drug‘. Published in the Washington Post it focuses on MDMA therapy for PTSD.

Donna Kilgore laughs, a high-pitched sound that contains both thrill and anxiety. That she feels anything at all, anything other than the weighty, oppressive numbness that has filled her for 11 years, is enough in itself to make her giddy.

But there is something more at work inside her, something growing from the little white capsule she swallowed just minutes ago. She’s subject No. 1 in a historic experiment, the first U.S. government-sanctioned research in two decades into the potential of psychedelic drugs to treat psychiatric disorders. This 2004 session in the office of a Charleston, S.C., psychiatrist is being recorded on audio cassettes, which Donna will later hand to a journalist.

The tape reveals her reaction as she listens to the gentle piano music playing in her headphones. Behind her eyelids, movies begin to unreel. She tries to say what she sees: Cars careening down the wrong side of the road. Vivid images of her oldest daughter, then all three of her children. She’s overcome with an all-consuming love, a love she thought she’d lost forever.

“Now I feel all warm and fuzzy,” she announces. “I’m not nervous anymore.”

“What level of distress do you feel right now?” a deeply mellow voice beside her asks.

Donna answers with a giggle. “I don’t think I got the placebo,” she says.

Fourteen years ago, Donna Kilgore was raped.

Read The Peace Drug

UPDATE: Tom Shroder, the editor of the magazine will be fielding questions and comments about this article Monday at noon here.

LONDON, Nov. 21 — The British government struggled on Wednesday to explain its loss of computer discs containing detailed personal information on 25 million Britons, including an unknown number of bank account identifiers, in what analysts described as potentially the most significant privacy breach of the digital era.

Via The New York Times

tdy_lauer_taserboy_071101300w.jpgA lot of attention was focused on Andrew Meyer, now better known as the ‘Don’t Tase Me, Bro’ student, after he was tasered at a John Kerry talk. A discussion ensued on this very site about Andrew Meyer’s credibility, many referring to him as a prankster and claiming that the entire incident was premeditated. Well, Andrew appeared on the Today Show to dispel some myths. And apologize.

TODAYshow.com:  Was your arrest planned?  Did you ask anyone to tape you at the John Kerry event?

Meyer: My arrest was absolutely not planned. You would have to be a fool to intentionally get arrested and incur the cost of cleaning up this mess legally (ask my lawyer, it wasn’t cheap).

 TODAYshow.com:  A lot has been made of your Web site, particularly a video of your friend (which has been incorrectly reported as you) standing  on the side of the road holding a sign, “Harry Dies,” after the release of the last Harry Potter book. Is your site in any way connected to what you were trying to accomplish at the Kerry event? 

Meyer: It’s funny you should mention “Harry Dies,” because that more than anything else epitomizes how my character has been misconstrued by the media. “Harry Dies” is a video two friends of mine shot on the day the seventh Harry Potter book was released. They are standing on a busy street corner holding a sign that says, “Harry Dies.” I am not in this video. I did not shoot this video. All I did was post it on my Web site. And yet this, according to the media, is the smoking gun that proves I am a “well-known prankster” and my questions to Senator Kerry were not serious. There are no other cited instances of me pulling a practical joke.

My Web site was and is intended to be a forum for me to express myself, but I was not looking to promote it in any way by attending the Kerry forum. I did plan to post the video of me asking Kerry questions on my website, the same way I posted the videos of  Validus and Quigley & the St.Pete Players, a couple of local bands I had filmed. I did not, however, have a pocket full of business cards ready to pass out after the event. If I were promoting my Web site, passing out my card is exactly what I would have done. A police officer did find one of my business cards, which read “TheAndrewMeyer.com.” I was using it as a bookmark for “Armed Madhouse.”

TODAYshow.com:  What is your biggest criticism of the media in covering your story?

Meyer: I haven’t seen any mainstream news outlet once dissect the questions I asked the Senator. Everything is about me personally or the taser. This is the type of tabloid journalism prevalent in America today. When my story is over, they won’t start covering Blackwater or Ron Paul. It’ll be Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, business as usual.

…I wish I had maintained my composure. The next time I will.

Read more

 

picture-2-98.jpgAs a follow up to the previous posts pertaining to Andrew Myer, I have decided to report two pieces of news

Policemen have recently tasered a man from the UK while he was in a coma.

Mr Gaubert said he was on his way to meet friends when he suffered a hypoglycaemic fit on the bus which left him slumped on his seat clutching his rucksack. Armed police were called to the bus depot in Headingley and when he failed to respond to their challenges he was shot with the Taser.

He said as this was happening, another officer was pointing a real gun at his head. He was restrained and eventually came round in the police van. He said it was only then that the officers realised it was a medical emergency, despite him wearing a medical tag round his neck to warn of his condition, and took him to hospital.

Via BBC

In another peice of news, a Polish man died after being tasered in a Vancouver Airport. He was obviousy behaving innapropriately, throwing a chair and attempting to break various things around him. There’s a video circulating online of the entire incident including his death. Apparently, he was stuck in the airport for 10 hours with no one assisting him. The police spoke to him for no longer than 24 seconds and they began to taser him.

The disturbing video is viewable here

wpf_large.jpgHere’s an article about the Rising Researches panel to be presented at the Basel World Psychedelic Forum in March 2008. The focus is on the resurgence of psychedelic research occurring around the world and the new crop of academic researchers their work. Included is an interview with Tom Roberts who has taught the ‘Foundations of Psychedelic Studies’ course at Northern Illinois University for 25 years.

Can you describe the Rising Researchers as a group? What is the range of topics and disciplines that they cover?

Whooo-eee! They are all over the map. There are 26 accepted proposals, though some have more than one author. In this list I am considering only the first authors – 21 males. There’s a cluster of five Ayahuasca studies; two or more on biological-medical, salvia, drug policy, biology-pharmacology, end-of-life psychotherapy, addiction and misuse, and clinical uses; along with a scattering of other topics from language to law. The research spans many countries, including Canada; the United States; Mexico; Brazil; England; Czech Republic; Finland; and Spain.

Via Teleomorph

southlandtalesgn1.jpgAs Donnie Darko fans sit in anticipation, many wonder how Richard Kelly will pull off his second major film. So far the reviews and comments by critics have been pretty poor. Adjectives such as confusing, complex, disappointing, dense, too ambitious, have been used to describe the movie. One question that no one seems to be asking (probably due to being ill informed) is “what are the disadvantages of releasing three comic books as the prequel to a film”? Yes, although Southland Tales won’t be released till November 14th, the first half of its story has been available in graphic novel form for quite some time. It’s unsurprising a film would appear incoherent if you unaware the first half of its story.

I admit that I love what I’ve read so far. Staying true to form, Richard Kelly uses the themes of time travel, parrallel dimensions, and meta-realities to create an experience you may actually have to think about. Characters in the graphic novels are playing the roles of actors as a the comic turns into a screen-play and back. The comic book even alludes to the fact that one the characters is actually writing the plot of the movie. Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles anybody? It took me several readings to get a grasp on what is actually going on. Add social-political critique and conspiracy theories into the mix and you’ve got yourself quite the story. Try to fit the continuation of such a plot in the time span of a single film and have it appeal to the average viewer, that’s a challenge.

The film is ambitious indeed and it seemed to have an aggressive marketing plan that might have not come to fruition. Many of the characters from Southland Tales have myspace profiles and websites such as Krysta Now . Even one of the main corporations in the story have a promotional flash video for their car. The site for the Donnie Darko film featured an interactive game where more information about the plot was revealed. It looks like Richard Kelly was intending to do the same with Southland Tales, but to my knowledge the sites haven’t been updated since their creation.

If this wasn’t confusing enough, the film is a dark comedy and satire which is almost kitsch in its presentation. Not until I reflected on the trailers did I realize what was going on. Perhaps this will sound like a bad excuse to some, but the incredible cheesiness in the film may actually be intentional. An amnesiac action movie star is trying to save the world and a porn star is assisting him on his mission. Doesn’t exactly sound like the plot of the most serious film.

It wasn’t the critics that made Donnie Darko a cult classic, but the fans. So, I would encourage people to give the movie a chance. And if you want the full experience, read the Southland Tales prequal to get an idea of what’s going on.

And finally… a trailer:

chuang-tzu_1.jpg “If a man follows the mind given him and makes it his teacher, then who can be without a teacher? Why must you comprehend the process of change and form your mind on that basis before you can have a teacher? Even an idiot has his teacher. But to fail to abide by this mind and still insist upon your rights and wrongs – this is like saying that you set off for Yueh today and got there yesterday.”

-Chuang Tzu

From Salem-News.com

“A major move by one of the nation’s top medical groups, they are backing medical marijuana and they want the federal government to leave doctors alone.

(WASHINGTON, D.C. ) – In a unanimous vote, the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association has approved a strongly worded statement supporting legal protection for patients using medical marijuana with their doctor’s recommendation.

“This is a very large and important medical organization, it isn’t some fringe group,” said Bruce Mirken from the Marijuana Policy Project.

He told Salem-News.com, “This move debunks a lot of the nonsense from some of the anti-medical marijuana groups. They have been aggressively using false information tactics. These groups allege that there are various links between mental illness and marijuana, ignoring the fact that it is well documented that medical marijuana can be therapeutic”.

Read more

“There is no secret that the American public and the public of every society on the face of the Earth is willing to consume crap. They are willing to consume crap from their cupboards and pantries and they consume crap on television. But they are very particular about which is which, and they don’t want to see them conflated. They don’t want the purity of their ‘tele-crap’ to be adulterated by merchandising of the fast food crap.”

Bob Garfield – Advertising Age

From the documentary The Persuaders

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Here is some art by patients undergoing LSD psychotherapy with Stanislav Grof. These images are featured in his book ‘LSD Psychotherapy‘.Via Mindhacks

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Stanislav Grof: People who are experientially connected with the transpersonal dimensions have a tendency to appreciate existence and feel reverence for all creation. One of the most remarkable consequences of various forms of transpersonal experience is the spontaneous emergence and development of genuine humanitarian and ecological interests, and the need to take part in activities aimed at peaceful coexistence and well-being of humanity. This is based on an almost cellular understanding that any boundaries in the Cosmos are relative and arbitrary, and that each of us is, in the last analysis, identical and commeasurable with the entire fabric of existence. As a result of these experiences, individuals tend to develop feelings that they are planetary citizens and members of the human family before belonging to a particular country or a specific racial, social, ideological, political, or religious group. It seems obvious that transformation of this kind could significantly increase our chances of survival if it could occur on a sufficiently large scale.

It seems that we are involved in a dramatic race for time which has no parallel in human history. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of humanity and the fate of life on our planet. If we continue using the old strategies that have caused the current global crisis, and which are in their consequences destructive and self-destructive, it might lead to annihilation of modern civilization and possibly even the human species. However, if a sufficient number of people undergoes a process of inner psychospiritual transformation and attain a higher level of awareness, we might in the future reach a situation where we will deserve the name which we have so proudly given to our species: Homo sapiens sapiens.

Read on at Reality Sandwich

This excellent magazine features articles by: Erik Davis, Douglas Rushkoff, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Daniel Pinchbeck, The Yes Men, and many more

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