Sunday, February 28, 2010

MIT: Expand Your Mind

Expand Your Mind: Getting a Grasp on Consciousness
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Running Time: 1:44:28

Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin
Christof Koch
Patricia Churchland
Ira Flatow

About the Lecture

At some point, these panelists suggest, the issue of defining consciousness may just disappear. Suggests Christof Koch: “Let’s treat consciousness as an empirical problem to be tackled by the biological sciences.”

Koch makes distinctions between different kinds of consciousness: sleep and its varied stages; awareness of sounds, sights and smells; levels of arousal. All these different states are properties “of complex adaptive networks with massive feedback shaped by natural selection.” And there are many behaviors that occur without consciousness. “When we talk, we don’t know what we’re going to say,” says Koch. His research has focused on finding “neural correlates of consciousness.” In one experiment with patients whose brains were implanted with 100 electrodes, he flashed pictures of Jennifer Aniston and the Sydney Opera House. While the patients could not remember what they’d seen, neurons responded selectively to these images. Studies like this, with even more sensitive tools, may some day help develop an information-based theory of consciousness, Koch says.

Mental phenomena are nothing but phenomena of the physical brain, says Patricia Churchland. It’s “an illusion of the brain” to think that we have a “nonphysical soul that does our feeling.” But how the brain creates constructs of itself and things in the world remains a major puzzle. For instance, how does a brain “habitually represent goals, plans and projects -- things that don’t yet exist?” And what about the huge amount of spontaneous activity in the brain that occurs while we’re resting? We don’t understand how the “organization of a motor response is achieved,” nor how these responses are integrated across sensory systems together with memory. Churchland anticipates a fundamental shift in looking at the brain that will merge philosophical and neurobiological issues.

In his day, Alexander Shulgin explored consciousness through “the art of chemistry.” He synthesized a version of mescaline and invented other psychedelic drugs, experimenting on himself, before the era of government and university regulations. “Each material had to be learned, as a new meeting…. The beauty of the final results, finding out what the effects were, was that you couldn’t be wrong.” If he reported visual enhancements, and recall of memories, his data was “always a winner,” because it was mostly a matter of subjective experience. Shulgin rues the laws and propaganda against psychedelic drugs, because he believes these drugs would serve as a useful “probe to look at the function of mind.”


Friday, February 26, 2010

Lab analysis of JWH-018 & JWH-073 effect on brain

Kansas lab looked at synthetic marijuana's effect on brain
Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Marijuana, K2 and other synthetic marijuana variants contain active chemicals that cause psychoactive effects when consumed. They are part of a class of compounds known as cannabinoids. The cannabinoid in marijuana is the naturally occurring delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The Johnson County Crime Lab in Kansas has identified two synthetic cannabinoids in K2: JWH-018 and JWH-073.

Cannabinoids act by binding to two types of nerve receptors known as CB1 and CB2. Both receptors are linked to proteins that regulate neurotransmission. ¦  Jashin Lin

COLUMBIA — A legal substance that mimics the effects of marijuana is responsible for some hospitalizations across the country but has not proven to be a significant presence in mid-Missouri.

K2, a substance that state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, wants to ban in Missouri, is a “non-issue” in Columbia, said Jessie Haden, Columbia Police public information officer. The Columbia police have not received reports of incidents involving the legal substance.

K2 is a combination of plant materials and two synthetic cannabinoids, according to Jeremiah Morris, a forensic scientist for the Johnson County Criminalistics Laboratory in Mission, Kan. The laboratory, an arm of the Johnson County Sheriff's Department,  ran an analysis on K2 in October 2009 after noticing an increase in use in Johnson County.

“They found K2 to contain lab-produced drugs that act on the same part of the brain as marijuana,” Morris said.

But the compounds in K2 are three to five times more potent than THC found in marijuana. Morris compared the effects of K2's compounds to a lock-and-key mechanism in which the lock is a receptor site of the brain and the key is the drug's compounds. The "keys" in K2 compounds are keys that fit the brain's "lock" better than those in marijuana.

The psychoactive drug can cause users to experience rapidly increased heart rates, loss of consciousness, paranoia and, occasionally, psychotic episodes. One hospitalized user claimed he could see his heart beating out of his chest. Individuals have different reactions to the drug, though users do not have to smoke excessively to experience potentially harmful symptoms, Morris said.

K2 compounds were produced in a laboratory at Clemson University in 1995 by a group of research students working under professor John Huffman, who was trying to explore how drug substances latch on to receptor sites in the brain. Morris said he believes that manufacturers of K2 created and sold the substance for drug use by studying Huffman’s research, published in 1998.

Morris said there has been little scientific research exploring the toxicity of K2 in the United States, but hospitalization cases have appeared in Florida, Maine and Arkansas, in addition to St. Louis, Springfield and Kansas City.

Scientific studies on K2 compounds were done using a drug called Spice that emerged in Germany in 2008. It was made up of plant materials and the same compounds as K2 and caused psychotic episodes that resulted in increased hospitalizations and accidents, Morris said.

These studies showed that those who ingest K2 compounds exhibit typical drug dependency signs, withdrawal symptoms and addictive behaviors associated with other drug use. Morris said that K2 and Spice are basically the same product with different names.

“We’re seeing exactly what Germany saw in 2008 and 2009,” Morris said.

Morris said that as people have begun to smoke K2 instead of marijuana, calls to poison control centers and emergency rooms have increased.

Though K2 has psychoactive properties, it is currently legal in Missouri and federally. Schaefer and other legislators hope to change this.

The House Public Safety Committee unanimously voted to pass a bill that, among other things, would make one of the ingredients in K2 illegal.

The bill's next step is passage by the House Rules Committee. It could then go to a vote of the whole body.

Kim Dude, assistant director of the MU Wellness Resource Center said the center has no plans to incorporate K2 into their educational programs until more information is found about the drug.

“The noise is from the media; it’s not from the students,” Dude said. “I think a lot of people are unaware.”

Also see: Bouncing Bear Botanicals Raided

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Secret Life of Plants

Published in 1973, The Secret Life of Plants was written by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. It is described as "A fascinating account of the physical, emotional, and spiritual relations between plants and man." Essentially, the subject of the book is the idea that plants may be sentient, despite their lack of a nervous system and a brain. This sentience is observed primarily through changes in the plant's conductivity, as through a polygraph, as pioneered by Cleve Backster. The book also contains a summary of Goethe's theory of plant metamorphosis. That said, this book is about much more than just plants; it delves quite deeply into such topics as the aura, psychophysics, orgone, radionics, kirlian photography, magnetism/magnetotropism, bioelectrics, dowsing, and the history of science. It was the basis for the 1979 documentary of the same name, with a soundtrack specially recorded by Stevie Wonder called Journey through the Secret Life of Plants.

Psychobotany: psycho (from the Greek psyche meaning mind or soul); botany (the study of plants).

Psychobotany attempts to cultivate a cultural terrain that includes a wide array of efforts at human/plant communication. Artists, scientists, subcultures, religions, activists, and visionaries all share plots in the field of Psychobotany. Combining elements of scientific truth, spiritual beliefs, aesthetic savvy, and social expression, Psychobotany is a fertile ground where the diverse cultural roots of human/plant communication can take hold.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Alan Watts: The Alchemy of LSD


FROM: The Psychedelic Salon Podcast 213 – “The Alchemy of LSD”

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Guest speaker: Alan Watts


[NOTE: All quotations are by Alan Watts]

"So we have to think again and try and find out, think deeply, what is fundamentally taboo in this culture and perhaps in other cultures as well. What information, in other words, would really let the cat out of the bag and give away the show?"

"But you see, the trouble about deep secrets is they can’t be repressed indefinitely."

"And we don’t even think that we had anything personally to do with the fact that our fathers once had an evil gleam in their eyes, but that evil gleam was you … coming on."

“And so underneath the opposition, or the polarity, between self and other or between any other pair of opposites you can think of there is something in common.”

“This is the description of anxiety: Anxiety is the fear that one of a pair of opposites might cancel the other … forever."

"So one of the problems of the various chemicals which can change the human mind in certain ways so that it becomes apparent that inside and outside go together is that they do rather give the show away. And people who take these chemicals and see through the human game cannot be trusted."

"What you do is what the universe does, and what the universe does is also what you do."

"When you are told, from childhood, that you are expected and commanded to behave in a way that will be acceptable only if you do it voluntarily you remain permanently mixed-up."

"You can’t have pleasure in life without skill, but it isn’t an unpleasant task to learn a skill."

"It’s very bad form if an actor always acts the same way. That’s what’s called a Star, as distinct from an actor. A real actor can become anything."

"LSD is simply an exploratory instrument, like a microscope or a telescope, except this one’s inside you instead of outside you. And according to your capacity and knowledge, you can use a microscope or a telescope to advantage. So in the same way, according to your capacity and your knowledge you can use an interior instrument to your advantage … or just for kicks!"

"The thing that we’ve learned from history is nobody ever learns from history."

"Any law which in a way tries to enforce by the power of the state its private morals, or your own business in looking after your own nervous system, is in a fact an unenforceable law. And all unenforceable laws lead to blackmail and public demoralization."

"The rule for all terrors is head straight into them. … Whenever confronted with a ghost, walk straight into it, and it will disappear."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Critical Thinking and Logic Mp3

I wanted to share a few recent podcast episodes that feature an enormous wealth of knowledge on improving ones ability to think, learn, de-program, use logic, the Trivium, Hegelian dialectics, Philosophy, free thinking and more with out trying to sell you anything! I believe any and every one can benefit their mind by simply from listening these podcasts. Thank you Jan Irvin, Dr. Michael Labossiere, Lisa Arbercheski, Richard Grove, Paul Verge and everyone else who help make these recordings possible!

If you find these useful, please support these podcasts & websites

Peace Revolution Peace Revolution episode 002: The Million Dollar Education
Download: MP3
Tragedy and Hope Magazine & website

Gorgias  by Plato 386 B.C.E.
The Republic by Plato 380 B.C.E.
Phaedrus by Plato 370 B.C.E.
The Art of Rhetoric by Aristotle 322 B.C.E.
The Metalogicon: A 12th Century Defense of the Trivium by John of Salisbury 1159 C.E.
Utopia by Sir Thomas More 1516
The Last Will and Testament of Cecil J. Rhodes by William T. Stead
Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann 1921
Propaganda by Edward Bernays 1928
The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph 1937
The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers, Oxford 1947
Great Books of the Western World edited by Dr. Robert M. Hutchins
The Reece Committee Report by Norman A. Dodd, Carroll Reece 1954
Tragedy and Hope, a History of the World in Our Time by Carroll Quigley 1966
The Hidden Agenda: How the Foundations controlling Education are also creating a World Government - An Interview with Norman Dodd (Transcript and Video) by G. Edward Griffin 1981
Dumbing us Down by John Taylor Gatto 1992
Outcome-Based Education by Ron Sunseri 1994
The Underground History of Education by John Taylor Gatto 2001
(you can also read The Underground History of Education on his site)
The Trivium Study Guide
by Gene Odening 2009
Gnostic Media Podcasts 49, 50, and several recent podcasts
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations: Shaping the Moral, Spiritual, Cultural, Political, and Economic Decline of the United States of America by Dr. John Coleman 1991

Michael Labossiere Gnostic Media Podcast #62
Download: Mp3

What would happen if everyone in society received an immunization against all of today's media and political propaganda? Is there a simple, logical process to arm ourselves against such attempts at mind manipulation and control? What if you had the ability to quickly and easily break down words and sentences to identify lies and untruths and propaganda? What do grammar and rhetoric have to do with logic and critical thinking, or, for that matter, marketing, PR and propaganda spin, and more importantly, exactly how can they help you? If someone presents evidence of a claim, do you have a mental duty to study it before you attack it? How can we make our minds sharper? Is it possible to level the playing field against corporate and government propaganda by creating a critical thinking meme? Today we launch the critical thinking meme into society and I ask for your help to spread it, to share today's talk with all you know: friends, co-workers, family, business associates and school mates. If you want to help make an immediate change in your own and other people's lives for the better, today's show is one of the primary ways to do it. We're going to continue our study of the trivium with Dr. Michael Labossiere who is here to discuss logical fallacies. Micheal will be back in the next week or two to also discuss the subject and predicate. This show is being released on Monday, January 25, 2010. My interview with Michael Labossiere was recorded on January 09, 2010. Michael LaBossiere is a guy from Maine who went to school in Ohio and ended up in Florida. Professionally he is a philosophy professor at Florida A&M University. He started teaching there in the Fall of 1993 and greatly enjoy his choice of careers. He teaches a wide variety of classes that range from Aesthetics (theories of art and beauty) to Theory of Knowledge. His first philosophy book, What Don't You Know? hit the shelves in the spring of 2008. He also blogs for The Philosophers' Magazine and has numerous academic publications.

Philosophy blog:
The Philosophers' Magazine Blog: 

Gene Odening on the gnostic media podcast

Podcast #49: The Trivium
Download: Mp3

Podcast #50: The Quadrivium
Download: Mp3