ALL In The Head
Stone Mountain Bonzi
The Placebo Effect
Along with rising fuel costs, reality tv shows, government out of touch with it's people that hired them, unemployment rates and businesses going under, the FDA excepting and pushing more drugs loaded with killing side-effects rather than natural herbal remidies, something stronger (and less annoying) is also increasing: The placebo effect.
It's actually become more difficult for pharmaceutical companies to even introduce new drugs onto the market because of how strong the placebo effect is and how well drug-less herbal remedies work.
In fact, from 2001 to 2008, the percentage of new drugs that could NOT make it past clinical trials against placebos, increased by 30%, if not more!
Now, this says a lot about the power of our minds. Scientists are still baffled by this and I'm not sure why this is happening either, but it's clear that the mind's ability to control the body is getting stronger every year.
The really cool, far-out, totally awesome thing is; that you can induce this placebo effect yourself. Yes, there is a way to put mind over matter to good use. And all it takes is belief.
Mental, physical, and spiritual, are all entwined to give you health, rejuvenation, and all the energy to do the things you want to do. All you have to do is open your eyes to the power of your mind. Remember the lyrics: 'free your mind and the rest will follow?' (can't recall the name of the song, who sang it or who wrote it)
I often think ....
....of the conversation I had with my uncle Dr. Bill Dolph. Though it was many years ago it still resonates in my cranium as strongly as if we had talked yesterday. When I hear anything or see anything on TV about the brain I always venture back to that moment, to that conversation in the back yard of my grandparents house.
The whole conversation isn't vivid nor is the reason we were even on the subject, but a few choice sentences still sticks to me like my first horizontal experience between two sheets.
"You know, we can attach a few electrodes to certain parts of your brain and have you think you are drinking a glass of iced tea," Bill told me, drinking his tea.
"Wow," I commented.
"Not only that; it will quench your thirst."
"Are you shitin me?"
Now, fast forward ....
....to about a year ago; I came across an article, that showed itself to me, concerning drug addiction. According to the doctor who wrote it, after many positive results from many of his patience, he is able to cure addiction with the hallucinogenic drug Ibogaine.
What exactly is Ibogaine?
-At least three thousand years ago in the forests of Africa, humankind discovered the Eboga plant and declared it sacred. The plant contained an important medication now called Ibogaine.
Today in Europe and the United States Ibogaine is being tested for its ability to interrupt addiction not only to heroin or cocaine, but also to Methadone, alcohol and nicotine. Yet, in Central West Africa (Gabon, Cameron, Zaire and the Congo), Eboga has become widely used in African religions and as a medicine. The Republic of Gabon is the center of the Bwiti religion and the Mbiri medical societies each of whom use Ibogaine containing plants for healing purposes, including psychotherapy.
The earliest reports of Eboga reached Europe in the second half of the eighteenth century. The plant was officially named Tabernanthe iboga in 1889 and Ibogaine was first purified from the plant in 1901. In the early 1900s the French recommended it to treat certain heart and nervous conditions. But, medical interest in Ibogaine seemed to vanish and then in the 1930s it was recommended for use a stimulant and renamed Lamberene after location of Dr. Schweitzer's hospital in Gabon, Africa.
The 1960s was a time of drug experimentation. Research on Ibogaine was also being conducted by nineteen year old, Howard Lotsof. Lotsof tested drugs on himself and took notes on others who were also using drugs. Lotsof's drug experimentation resulted in his becoming a heroin and cocaine addict, but then as if by a miracle, continuing his research, this middle class Jewish junkie obtained a dose of Africa's sacred drug and was cured of his addiction.
Lotsof reported he felt no withdrawal from the heroin and thirty-seven hours later when he left his house he realized that he was no longer a narcotic addict. His entire relationship with heroin and cocaine had changed. While prior to his treatment with Ibogaine, he viewed heroin and cocaine as drugs that gave him comfort, he now viewed them as drugs that represented death. Lotsof made the choice to live.
Well Hey, you silly savage, you can't perform miracles !
~Shamans have been performing this ritual for eons, and doing quite well at it, at least until the missionaries arrived, with their 'better' ideas. And their diseases. Just like the pills they peddle; with their help always comes the side-affect, which is more dangerous then the ailment itself.
For some of you I may sound like the author Jay Grifiths, in her book Wild - An Elemental Journey. I guess after reading it a few times and seeing it as more of a essay, and at the most extreme a text book; it would become apparent to you. Her ideals and honesty, after indulging, are a bit hard to shake. They are the gateway to further understanding and truth, if you can bypass the side-affect of being pissed-off right along with her.
If you haven't the pleasure of reading her, or rather 'tripping' with her:
Now, looking at the title, you might think WILD would be about wildlife, but it's not - it's a blend of true adventure and travelogue which follows the author's journeys into the world's wildest places and his encounters with the peoples who inhabit them, from the Amazon to the Arctic. It's also a personal journey as Griffiths struggles with his own depression and loss - and as such comes from a visitor who is not your typical adventure traveler, but a cultural investigator. Fascinating, dramatic, moving - and packed with insights on the changing wild places of the Earth.
A Father of Psychedelic Culture
By Dale Rangzen - Monday, May 17 2010
Ralph Metzner is co-author of the new book Birth of a Psychedelic Culture and one of the original researchers of LSD at Harvard.I recently told a younger friend of mine that during the early nineteen sixties LSD was not only legal, but it was also considered to be a very valuable therapeutic tool whose uses were studied by some of the brightest young minds of the day. At first he didn't believe me and accused me of having dipped my finger once too often into the sacred nectar. I wasn't surprised by his response, but it reminded me how polarized any discussion of consciousness altering substances has become in our society.
The sixties weren't that long ago chronologically speaking, but for all intents and purposes the early Harvard experiments with psychedelics undertaken by Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert and Ralph Metzner seem as if they took place a thousand years ago. The idea that a university would fund and encourage such research seems to belong to another era entirely. For those who came of age in post-sixties North American society, the only news they've read about psychedelics has been bad news.
Birth of a Psychedelic Culture, the new book by Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert aka Ram Dass goes a long way to setting the record straight and couldn't have come out at a better time.
Metzner states, "We wanted to do this book because we had not told those stories from our perspective. Leary has told those stories from his perspective in several books, most notably Flashbacks and High Priest, and there have been two other biographies that came out (recently), one of them is a hatchet job."
Indeed, most writing about the era has failed to capture the essence of what really went on during the early psychedelic experiments. Most accounts fall roughly into two camps - they're either cautionary tales about "a time when (people) lost their way - or rose colored idealistic rants that depict a time when all was 'groovy'. Of course, the truth lies somewhere in between these extremes, and both Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert take great care in communicating the sincerity and seriousness with which they began their research.
Many people today don't have any sense of what North American society was like in the nineteen fifties. As young men coming of age in the post war era, there is no way that Metzner and Alpert could have had any idea of what they were about to embark upon when they started experimenting with psilocybin and LSD. For many, the arrival of these substances was the inevitable counterpoint to the cultural malaise, and certainly nothing else could have blown the lid off our collective ennui like acid did. But, Metzner and Alpert reinforce the idea that - at least in the beginning - these drugs weren't considered as recreational catalysts, rather their effects were studied in laboratory conditions to see if they could be used as a way of addressing everything from alcoholism to violent recidivism amongst prisoners doing hard time in jail.
As time passed, Leary, Metzner and Alpert began to realize that the uses of these substances went far beyond the clinical and they began to do experiments with members of various religious and artistic communities to see what effects they would have on spiritual belief and creativity.
The golden era of psychedelic research didn't last long. Eventually, both Harvard's fear of repercussions as more and more students began experimenting with psychedelics, and the concerns of the larger culture as news of their properties began to spread, put a kibosh on their sanctioned use. The story of Leary and Alpert's fall from grace as they were ingloriously turfed from Harvard is well known. It marked the end of academic privilege as far as psychedelics were concerned, and opened up their use to the larger culture.
Richard Alpert remembers, "People like Aldous Huxley wanted to calm Tim down, because he wanted psychedelics to be available only to intellectuals. Then there were doctors who wanted it available only to doctors. I think Tim just recognized these plants were placed by God for everybody. I don't think the sixties would be the sixties without Tim."
The authors of Birth go on to tell how - free of the constrictions of Harvard's rigid environment - the counterculture or hippie movement really began to flower. As Metzner and Alpert take the reader through the Millbrook community experiment and through their initial voyages to India where they found cultural references to support a psychedelic viewpoint, the story becomes one of a search for personal and collective freedom in a society that was not ready for its implications.
Reading through their account, the reader is struck by the innocence and idealism of the main protagonists. They had no guides or context for their research, and rather than the idealistic buffoons or drug victims the press has often portrayed them as, they come across as fearless if somewhat naïve warriors on their own roads less traveled.
The distance of years has certainly given Metzner and Alpert perspective to tell their story. If the book had been written in the sixties it may have been a brash manifesto; if it had been written in the eighties it could have taken the form of a revisionist cautionary tale, but today as each of the authors approaches his twilight years and is the beneficiary of nearly a half century of reflection about these events, it's possible for them to offer well considered and true reflections.
In addition to their reflections, there are many anecdotes and short interviews with some of Leary, Alpert, and Metzner's associates and experimental subjects. Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, RD Laing, Charles Mingus, Maynard Ferguson and William Burroughs all make appearances as their own reflections on the early days of the psychedelic movement help give perspective to the main story.
Birth of a Psychedelic Culture offers a mature and expansive look at one of the most important cultural and scientific developments of the twentieth century. Some have called Acid 'God in a pill' while others have called it 'the most dangerous substance ever invented.'
Whatever one's own perspective, it must be admitted that subsequent developments in computers and technology, the adoption and development of certain therapeutic models as well as interest in yoga and eastern religion may not have manifested in the way they have if it was not for the introduction of psychedelics. Every bit as important as the moon landing that took place during the last year of the sixties; psychedelics and their implications are just beginning to be understood. Birth of a Psychedelic Culture is an essential book and a riveting read. It'll be a very long time before the release of a better book about this era.
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