The science of psychedelics and exceptional human experience
The traditional use of psychoactive plants and fungi for spiritual and shamanic rituals has occurred for thousands of years, whereas the Western scientific research of these substances has only been explored in the last 100 years, and prohibition stalled the last 50 years of this.
Now that scientific research is resuming, what do psychedelics tell us about the weirder side of human consciousness, and what can be learned from the traditional shamanic practices with these substances?
Dr David Luke is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich where he teaches an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience.
His research focuses on trans-personal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including five books, most recently Neurotransmissions: Essays on Psychedelics (2015) and Talking with the Spirits: Ethnographies from Between the Worlds (2014).
He has studied techniques of consciousness alteration from South America to India, from the perspective of scientists, shamans and Shivaites, but increasingly has more questions than answers.
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