Originally Posted on: July 17, 2008 10:11 AM, by Mo
In the January 4th, 1961 episode of One Step Beyond, director and presenter John Newland ingests psilocybin under laboratory conditions, to investigate whether or not the hallucinogenic mushroom can enhance his abilities of extra-sensory perception.
The programme was apparently inspired by a 1959 book called The Sacred Mushroom, by parapsychologist Andrija Puharich, who is known for taking the spoon-bending fraudster Uri Geller to the United States for investigation.
In the first part of the programme (embedded below), Newland, Puharich and others travel to Mexico to collect mushroom samples. They then return to Puharich’s lab in Palo Alto, where Newland’s ESP abilities are tested before and after ingestion of several mushroom stems.
The programme is of historical interest, as it was made some years before the widespread use of LSD led researchers to stop conducting psychedelic research. It therefore includes a brief mention of the potential therapeutic effects of psilocybin for psychiatric patients.
“And then, oddly enough, the first sound we hear as the chemical in the mushroom takes effect is… laughter.”
This video is a lot of fun and introduced me to Andrija Puharich, who wrote The Sacred Mushroom: Key to the Door of Eternity (1959). UCLA research psychologist Barbara Brown (who invented biofeedback), also makes the trip down to Mexico. But it is most fascinating to see the show’s host, John Newland in an on-camera lab setting, have his extrasensory perception skills tested under the influence of mushrooms. Really makes me wonder where we might be now if science had continued to have access to these substances.
But I wonder if Thelma Moss ever met John Newland through Barbara Brown who was also at UCLA. I found one clip on the net that connects Moss and Brown… “In Prague I was warmly and hospitably received by Dr. Rejdak, who is perhaps the most active parapsychologist in Czechoslovakia. In the company of two other Ameri cans, Dr. Thelma Moss and Dr. Barbara Brown, we were shown films of recent experiments in the telepathic trans mission of taste impression on a hypnotic subject. I’m not sure why I’m even curious but somehow it’s interesting. Another connection to this whole cast of characters is Uri Geller. As mentioned above, Andrija Puharich was responsible for bringing Uri Geller to the US for experiments. You can easily find Uri connections to Thelma Moss and Barbara Brown.
While browsing Uri Geller’s site I noticed this in his sidebar: are your eyes attracted to 11.11? But we’ll save that for another day.
[Update 9/8/2010 A paper Danny co-authored, “Income’s Influence on Happiness” has just been released.]
… the bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? Daniel Kahneman KNOWS that the first thought that entered your head was $.10–even if you’re a Computer Science major at MIT. But that’s the wrong answer.
Daniel Gilbert’s “Stumbling On Happiness” led me to Nicholas Taleb’s “Fooled By Randomness“. Both books cite the work of Danny Kahneman. I blogged a bit about him here. I have been rummaging around the internet looking for whatever I can find on Danny and his work and have come up with some excellent content. But let me give you a taste of the sort of fascinating facts you’ll hear in Danny’s lectures first.
In a study Danny (I don’t know him personally but after listening to all these lectures, I feel as though I do. He could no doubt name the cognitive bias this suggests) mentions in one of his talks, people are asked how much pleasure they derive from their car. They are then asked enough questions about the car to determine its blue book (resale) value. It turns out that there IS a correlation between the amount of pleasure the subject reported and the dollar value of the car. i.e. Yes, that late model BMW in the garage DOES give you more pleasure than my 20 year old Honda would. BUT! They then go on to ask the subject if they find their commute to work pleasurable, and guess what?– nobody does!. It turns out that the ONLY time people derive pleasure from their car is when they are THINKING about it.
With Amos Tversky (Kahneman’s longtime research partner, with whom he would have shared the Nobel prize had Tversky not died in 1996) and others, Kahneman established a cognitive basis for common human errors using heuristics and biases (Kahneman & Tversky, 1973, Kahneman, Slovic & Tversky, 1982), and developed Prospect theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). He was awarded the 2002 the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in Prospect theory.
- anchoring and adjustment -describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor,” on one trait or piece of information when making decisions.
- availability heuristic -where people base their prediction of the frequency of an event or the proportion within a population based on how easily an example can be brought to mind.
- conjunction fallacy -when it is assumed that specific conditions are more probable than a general condition that contains the specific condition. (i.e. You think you’re MORE likely to die in an air disaster brought on by a terrorist event, than you are to die in ANY kind of air disaster).
- framing (economics) -reversals of preference when the same problem is presented in different ways. (10% fat vs. 90% fat-free!)
- loss aversion -the tendency for people strongly to prefer avoiding losses than acquiring gains. (Why New Yorkers stay in New York for the culture, and Angelenos stay in LA for the weather!!).
- peak-end rule – we judge our past experiences almost entirely on how they were at their peak (pleasant or unpleasant) and how they ended.
- prospect theory -how people make choices in situations where they have to decide between alternatives that involve risk.
- reference class forecasting -predicts the outcome of a planned action based on actual outcomes in a reference class of similar actions.
- simulation heuristic – people determine the likelihood of an event based on how easy it is to picture mentally. (Why we buy lottery tickets.)
- status quo bias -in other words, people like things to stay relatively the same.
Media – Most of these lectures have a fairly long-winded intro. Skip ahead if you don’t need the background info.
Explorations of the Mind – Well-Being: Living and Thinking About It Real Player Version.
(Actually worked better on Ye Olde Mac with a slower DSL connection).
The Wonders and the Flaws of Intuitive Thinking. (Real Player) Princeton Assembly for the Class of 2008.
Download Conversation With History – Intuition and Rationality mp3.
Download “Explorations of the Mind – Intuition: The Marvels and the Flaws” mp3.
Nobel Prize Lecture (Windows Media or Real Player)
Update March 2009- Kahneman and Taleb on the same stage discus the crash.
Update April 2009- Excellent Kahneman article at Haaretz.com.
Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory
Update March 2010. From the February 2010 Ted talks.
this AM 30 Azid_Tao, 00,070 a.L. ( after LSDNATOM) . Saint Hofmann created LSD in Nov., 1938, so why not have this be the cusp of the change over of Epoch’s? The most recent 10,000 year era ends and the New Epoch we are in starts with 00,001 for 1939? FERMI does the first nuclear pile in Dec. 1942. Hofmann discovers the effects of Azid_Tao in April , 1943….
and from the NYTimes this AM
Albert Hofmann, the Father of LSD, Dies at 102
PARIS – Albert Hofmann, the mystical Swiss chemist who gave the world LSD, the most powerful psychotropic substance known, died Tuesday at his hilltop home near Basel, Switzerland. He was 102.
The cause was a heart attack, said Rick Doblin, founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a California-based group that in 2005 republished Dr. Hofmann’s 1979 book “LSD: My Problem Child.”
Dr. Hofmann first synthesized the compound lysergic acid diethylamide in 1938 but did not discover its psychopharmacological effects until five years later, when he accidentally ingested the substance that became known to the 1960s counterculture as acid.
He then took LSD hundreds of times, but regarded it as a powerful and potentially dangerous psychotropic drug that demanded respect. More important to him than the pleasures of the psychedelic experience was the drug’s value as a revelatory aid for contemplating and understanding what he saw as humanity’s oneness with nature. That perception, of union, which came to Dr. Hofmann as almost a religious epiphany while still a child, directed much of his personal and professional life.
Dr. Hofmann was born in Baden, a spa town in northern Switzerland, on Jan. 11, 1906, the eldest of four children. His father, who had no higher education, was a toolmaker in a local factory, and the family lived in a rented apartment. But Dr. Hofmann spent much of his childhood outdoors.
He would wander the hills above the town and play around the ruins of a Hapsburg castle, the Stein. “It was a real paradise up there,” he said in an interview in 2006. “We had no money, but I had a wonderful childhood.”
It was during one of his ambles that he had his epiphany.
“It happened on a May morning – I have forgotten the year – but I can still point to the exact spot where it occurred, on a forest path on Martinsberg above Baden,” he wrote in “LSD: My Problem Child.” “As I strolled through the freshly greened woods filled with bird song and lit up by the morning sun, all at once everything appeared in an uncommonly clear light.
“It shone with the most beautiful radiance, speaking to the heart, as though it wanted to encompass me in its majesty. I was filled with an indescribable sensation of joy, oneness and blissful security.”
Though Dr. Hofmann’s father was a Roman Catholic and his mother a Protestant, Dr. Hofmann, from an early age, felt that organized religion missed the point. When he was 7 or 8, he recalled, he spoke to a friend about whether Jesus was divine. “I said that I didn’t believe, but that there must be a God because there is the world and someone made the world,” he said. “I had this very deep connection with nature.”
Dr. Hofmann went on to study chemistry at Zurich University because, he said, he wanted to explore the natural world at the level where energy and elements combine to create life. He earned his Ph.D. there in 1929, when he was just 23. He then took a job with Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, attracted by a program there that sought to synthesize pharmacological compounds from medicinally important plants.
It was during his work on the ergot fungus, which grows in rye kernels, that he stumbled on LSD, accidentally ingesting a trace of the compound one Friday afternoon in April 1943. Soon he experienced an altered state of consciousness similar to the one he had experienced as a child.
On the following Monday, he deliberately swallowed a dose of LSD and rode his bicycle home as the effects of the drug overwhelmed him. That day, April 19, later became memorialized by LSD enthusiasts as “bicycle day.”
Dr. Hofmann’s work produced other important drugs, including methergine, used to treat postpartum hemorrhaging, the leading cause of death from childbirth. But it was LSD that shaped both his career and his spiritual quest.
“Through my LSD experience and my new picture of reality, I became aware of the wonder of creation, the magnificence of nature and of the animal and plant kingdom,” Dr. Hofmann told the psychiatrist Stanislav Grof during an interview in 1984. “I became very sensitive to what will happen to all this and all of us.”
Dr. Hofmann became an impassioned advocate for the environment and argued that LSD, besides being a valuable tool for psychiatry, could be used to awaken a deeper awareness of mankind’s place in nature and help curb society’s ultimately self-destructive degradation of the natural world.
But he was also disturbed by the cavalier use of LSD as a drug for entertainment, arguing that it should be treated in the way that primitive societies treat psychoactive sacred plants, which are ingested with care and spiritual intent.
After his discovery of LSD’s properties, Dr. Hofmann spent years researching sacred plants. With his friend R. Gordon Wasson, he participated in psychedelic rituals with Mazatec shamans in southern Mexico. He succeeded in synthesizing the active compounds in the Psilocybe mexicana mushroom, which he named psilocybin and psilocin. He also isolated the active compound in morning glory seeds, which the Mazatec also used as an intoxicant, and found that its chemical structure was close to that of LSD.
During the psychedelic era, Dr. Hofmann struck up friendships with such outsize personalities as Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg and Aldous Huxley, who, nearing death in 1963, asked his wife for an injection of LSD to help him through the final painful throes of throat cancer.
Yet despite his involvement with psychoactive compounds, Dr. Hofmann remained moored in his Swiss chemist identity. He stayed with Sandoz as head of the research department for natural medicines until his retirement in 1971. He wrote more than 100 scientific articles and was the author or co-author of a number of books
He and his wife, Anita, who died recently, reared four children in Basel. A son died of alcoholism at 53. Survivors include several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Though Dr. Hofmann called LSD “medicine for the soul,” by 2006 his hallucinogenic days were long behind him, he said in the interview that year.
“I know LSD; I don’t need to take it anymore,” he said, adding. “Maybe when I die, like Aldous Huxley.”
But he said LSD had not affected his understanding of death. In death, he said, “I go back to where I came from, to where I was before I was born, that’s all.”
Fri, 11 April 2008
Quick download link see also MaxFreakOut link to talks http://www.thegrowreport.com/Forums/forumdisplay.php?f=39
Ken Wark gave a mind-blowin’ talk yesterday at UCLA! Hopefullly, video/audio should be available from D!MA archives. A Wonderful flow of jargon, tags, andnew categories! Someday we will have tags here on our WordPress app! Wark mentioned WordPress more than once.See a piece here from his new book due out laterfrom Sit
Sunday, April 13
The Guy Debord that is best known is the one who is the author of The Society of the Spectacle, but in many ways it is not quite a representative text. Lately there has also been a revival of Debord the film maker, but here I want to think about Debord is a slightly different light. So I will discuss not so much his writing or his films, and still less his biography, but a game. Beside being a writer, a film maker, an editor, and a first rate professional of no profession, he was also, of all things, a game designer.http://totality.tv/2008/4/13/game
THEORY PROFESSOR CANDIDATE
April 22, 2008, 12:30 pm »
McKenzie Wark is the author of Gamer Theory (Harvard UP), A Hacker Manifesto (Harvard UP), and various other things.
Mind Hacks is a collection of probes into the moment-by-moment workings of our brain with a view to understanding ourselves a little better and learning a little more, in a very real sense, about what makes us tick. It’s by Tom Stafford and Matt Webb, and published by O’Reilly.
And from the Mind Hacks Blog: In 1997, BBC science programme Horizon broadcast a legendary edition on the use of psychedelic drugs in medicine. Luckily, it’s been uploaded to Google Video and you can now watch the whole thing online. Read more…