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Kitchen Chemists & Capitalism: Questioning Psychedelic Dogma and the Exceptionalism of Ayahuasca Options
 
SnozzleBerry
#1 Posted : 5/14/2016 4:24:53 AM

omnia sunt communia!

Moderator | Skills: Growing (plants/mushrooms), Research, Extraction troubleshooting, Harmalas, Revolution (theory/practice)

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Here's my talk from the 2015 Visionary Convergence in LA:



Enjoy!

Quote:
The psychedelic resurgence has crafted and perpetuated a number of memes that have subsequently become embedded in the fabric of public psychedelic discourse. These ideas are frequently treated as truisms with little to no discussion about their validity or legitimacy. Despite a lack of structural analysis, notions of utilizing psychedelics to effect “paradigm shifts” are a dime a dozen, while direct action appears largely absent.

As certain self-styled experts proclaim that ayahuasca should never be drunk without a “shaman,” insist that only whole plant “medicines” are legitimate, and push for new psychedelic markets—all while ignoring the implications of commodifying these plants and experiences within the contexts of capitalism and industrialization– public discourse about what these compounds and experiences have to offer is shrinking. Meanwhile, thousands of people grow and extract their own psychedelics, brew their own ayahuasca, and eschew many of the attitudes fast becoming the “mainstream” ideologies of the so-called “psychedelic community.”

Examining this growing rift necessitates questioning claims to power, modalities of engagement, and processes of commodification. If one of the most empowering aspects of psychedelic experiences is their ability to shift perspectives, then why does so much of the prevalent psychedelic discourse reflect the dominant cultures from which it originates?
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Good quality Syrian rue (Peganum harmala) for an incredible price!
 
roninsina
#2 Posted : 5/14/2016 9:16:22 AM

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Excellent work, SnozzleBerry! I find it profoundly important to remind people that this stuff is very real (hyper-real) and can help us find some tenable solutions to the problems that could end our species. We can't let them steal it from us and repackage it to sell back, while robbing all the magic, as has happened with our food, our sexuality, our spiritual beliefs, etc, etc.

Oh, I also liked the "war is a Racket" quote on your powerpoint presentation. I've been meaning to post a link to that, for some time.

For those who haven't read it; it can be digested in a single sitting.

http://www.ratical.org/r...e/CAH/warisaracket.html
"We sit in a circle and suppose,
while the secret sits in the middle and knows." Robert Frost

 
Lichen
#3 Posted : 5/14/2016 9:46:53 AM

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Very, very cool Snozz - you are extremely articulate.
I am a piece of knowledge-retaining computer code imitating an imaginary organic being.
 
Jees
#4 Posted : 5/14/2016 11:14:45 AM

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Psychedelics-ism is not immune by default for the typical human conditions.
I've trapped myself doing so, and people here in the nexus, I think its a natural evolution.
But the growing goes on and putting mirrors up to each other helps so well.
This talk is one of them mirrors Thumbs up


Disclaimer: all my posts are fiction.
 
RAM
#5 Posted : 5/15/2016 5:29:48 AM

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Thank you very much for this talk Snozz. Recently, I considered making a post to discuss problems surrounding commodification of marijuana (an intensely troubling and real problem) and more broadly, psychedelic experiences. I made a post about concerns with psychedelic drug culture first, as I think the standardization of particular elements in psychedelic culture is a problematic step toward commodification. It appears that your talk beat me to making my next post!

First I'd like to address your plan for fighting back against commodification. Thank you for the solution of growing and extracting our own entheogenic compounds! Doing this would eliminate marketplaces for drugs which is another unfortuante step toward commodificaiton. Monetary exchanges attract state attention and regulation for taxation purposes which we do not desire, and they lead to "dealers" standardizing doses to sell, as if one could put a price tag on a psychedelic experience.

I am personally horrible with botany, chemistry, and science in general, so I think a small modification I would make to the decommodification process is having small groups/communities of people work together to grow and extract compounds, as well as pass on entheogenic knowledge that might not be able to be found elsewhere. As I am an idealist, I like to imagine small psychedelic collectives that collaboratively grow and equally distribute entheogens to members. This could only occur feasibly with psychedelic deregulation however, and it's hard to say how far off that is!

I also really respect your focus on critical analysis. For me, that has always been a very important part of tripping, and I am at the point now where I specifically set intentions to be more critical of elements in both society and my personal life before trips and meditations. It is quite scary when psychedelic users start to become delusional, and that is what originally drove me from /r/psychonaut on Reddit and brought me to the Nexus. I am averse to objective claims, especially ones surrounding subjective experiences, so I prefer to converse with those who are willing to admit they are wrong about something and change their views.

Regarding the stated concerns about ecocide, how do you recommend addressing it? I live in the US, and while it is quite possible to live a sustainable lifestyle, it is extremely expensive and requires endless research. My career goal is to make sustainability more accessible to everyone through the use of finance as I believe investing in our future is the one of the only ways to actually motivate people to care about it. What things can average, middle-class folks do to alleviate consequences of capitalistic industrialization?

And out of personal curiosity, what was your major area of study in college?
"Think for yourself and question authority." - Leary

"To step out of ideology - it hurts. It's a painful experience. You must force yourself to do it." - Žižek
 
ganesh
#6 Posted : 5/15/2016 9:18:56 AM

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Thank you Snozzelberry for that speech. I found it jam packed with information and very interesting. I think that on the topic of Ayahuasca's supposed sacredness, commodification, etc, and the so called need of a Shaman, that you bought up some interesting perspectives.

Firstly i don't know where these ideas that it's disrespectful to Ayahuasca to extract it come from, because even boiling it is an extraction. But i do think it's disrespectful to humanity and plant life in general to pick it from the Amazon to the point that it's almost starting to become difficult to source, largely because Ayahuasca supply, and 'tourism', is making big bucks these days: Now THAT is screwed up, and Ron Wheelock himself said Ayahuasca is a cash crop!


Secondly, I think there are a lot of people who like to 'experiment' with Ayahuasca, and it's these kind of people who are likely to 'extract' it, and drink it alone. I think that's fine if they protect themselves, know what they are doing, and that good intention is the simplest form of respect for the plants. I also think that these 'self experimenters', don't need a Curandero, because for their purposes it is their intention to experiment alone, and see what it can offer them as an experience or 'trip', than anything else.

However, i don't think a 'solo drinker' can perform, or is even looking for the experience of Jungle style healing, whereby a trained Curandero is looking from an outside perspective into a person, and diagnosing their illness, and able to manipulate. I don't think a person can do this alone, just like a person, for example, cannot perform a heart transplant on themselves, alone!

So i think solo drinking is it's own experience, and when one thinks of Ayahuasca as a 'tool', one can understand that a solo drinker is using it for that passive 'trip type' experience into energetic realms,(although vastly limited by their lack of ability to manipulate that tool like a Curandero knows how to)
In contrast, the Curandero has trained to be able to use it for other purposes, including diagnosis, manipulating, and learning from plant spirits. Therefore, because of this i think it's reasonable to state that if a person who has done basic research and has sufficient understanding wants the solo drinking experience and 'fireworks', that they don't need a Curandero, but if they are seeking the diagnosis or healing (as they typically perform in healing centres), then they DO need a Curandero.
More imaginative mutterings of nonsense from the old elephant!
 
Chan
#7 Posted : 5/15/2016 12:08:42 PM

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Exactly, Ganesh, first and foremost it's a technology, capable of generating certain processes, if skilfully manipulated. You might not care for those processes, let alone study how to initiate them, but in the geographic area of origin, many people do. And unsurprisingly, many outsiders are curious about this aspect, which is radically alien to our own dominant ontologies. Also, a fair proportion of people are probably unsuited in a variety of ways for diving into a full-on experience, without some kind of guidance/supervision or vetting, even.

As Jees implied, the commodification, slebs, and snake-oil salesmen have always been around, in pretty much every field, and will likely continue for some time to come. There's dirty stains dyed deep in all our DNA. Cheats, liars and fornicators all of us, at some point, just some more than others... You can bake your own sourdough, from the finest ingredients, if you want, but the great majority are content with mass-produced bright white crap, having neither the time nor the inclination to bake their own...sorry Roninsina! Same with beer, so extraction will never be a mass-participation activity, sadly, and commercial opportunities will inevitably arise to satisfy whatever demand arises over time.

The whole thing boils down to being active versus being passive, in any field you like. Weirdly, I continually get the impression that some clever rich men would much prefer we choose the latter over the former... So, just beat the people you meet with tiny sticks, metaphorically if possible, until the pennies start to drop, and perhaps, like spores, we will slowly begin to give rise to a magical mycelial network...Thumbs up

Oh, believe no-one, and question everything too!
“I sometimes marvel at how far I’ve come - blissful, even, in the knowledge that I am slowly becoming a well-evolved human being - only to have the illusion shattered by an episode of bad behaviour that contradicts the new and reinforces the old. At these junctures of self-reflection, I ask the question: “are all my years of hard work unraveling before my eyes, or am I just having an episode?” For the sake of personal growth and the pursuit of equanimity, I choose the latter and accept that, on this journey of evolution, I may not encounter just one bad day, but a group of many.”
― B.G. Bowers

 
ganesh
#8 Posted : 5/15/2016 12:49:44 PM

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Chan wrote:

As Jees implied, the commodification, slebs, and snake-oil salesmen have always been around, in pretty much every field, and will likely continue for some time to come. There's dirty stains dyed deep in all our DNA. Cheats, liars and fornicators all of us, at some point, just some more than others...


Correct, Chan.

I think the biggest issue lies within the commercialization of Ayahuasca. It is being pushed into the mainstream in an unhealthy manner, and i feel is being taken by people who have little care for understanding the bare basics of it. Many of these people are simply ticking a box on 'stuff to do', and rather than do some research, put all their faith in others. This is a mistake in my opinion: Ayahuasca is not something to take lightly.

It's like a tourist who allows others to take over full responsability of his trip and decide upon his itinery. As a result, the tourist never learns how to become self reliant and remains dependant on others, and possible dangers. This is where the cheats and snake oil sales people come in.

However, through education, people can learn the traditional employment of Ayahuasca, and also see the trend of modern day 'solo drinkers' . They can then see how the tool that is Ayahuasca, is being used in different ways for different goals, and make an educated decision about the subject, should they wish to delve deeper into the enormous potential of these healing plants.


More imaginative mutterings of nonsense from the old elephant!
 
roninsina
#9 Posted : 5/16/2016 9:37:39 AM

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Chan wrote:


As Jees implied, the commodification, slebs, and snake-oil salesmen have always been around, in pretty much every field, and will likely continue for some time to come. There's dirty stains dyed deep in all our DNA. Cheats, liars and fornicators all of us, at some point, just some more than others... You can bake your own sourdough, from the finest ingredients, if you want, but the great majority are content with mass-produced bright white crap, having neither the time nor the inclination to bake their own...sorry Roninsina! Same with beer, so extraction will never be a mass-participation activity, sadly, and commercial opportunities will inevitably arise to satisfy whatever demand arises over time.


!


Not sure I'm smart enough to understand why I was supposed to be offended. I always enjoy reading your point of view, Chan.

I would say that I spent a few weeks with a highly respected maestro, some years ago. He had suffered some PTSD from serving as a young helicopter crewman in the Peruvian army, and spent ten years living an ascetic life in the jungle, drinking ayahuasca. His training was as a solo drinker, yet all of the curandero's of the area deferred to him. And I would also say, while he was a very powerful and knowledgeable man, he also knew when to lay on the bullshit (wear the jaguar fez and the monkey teeth bracelet) to squeeze somebody for a little cash to feed his family.

On the subject of extraction: back then, I found the idea of using harsh industrial chemicals to destroy everything the plant was, except for some chemical that only had the crude, brute force of the experience, and none of the soul, to be absolutely deplorable. I considered it a profound misconception of what ayahuasca was. I also could not imagine a neophyte justifying the danger of drinking without guidance.

Sixteen years later; all of these ideas seem rather undeveloped. But I certainly won't fault someone else for being in the same kind of space that made me feel that way, back then.

As far as there being enough for the masses without industrialization? Everyone in my teacher's village had the option to participate in ceremonies. Even with an invitation, most shook their heads no, with no small amount of trepidation in their eyes. Though it was required to participate at least once if you wanted to learn any of the Shipibo artistic disciplines; there just isn't any equivalent in modern industrialized culture. Even plant medicine is considered a fringe practice to most. An argument over commercial production of strong teacher plants & their extracts feels, to me, like turf a battle over who gets to manufacture base jumping suits - there's just not a huge demand. I would contend, however, that if there are incompetent, self-aggrandizing jackasses out there, trying to palm off faulty base jumping suits at hugely inflated prices, and leading people to believe they can't sew one for themselves; those who are affected should be alerted. Anyway, I think that's enough of that silly analogy.
"We sit in a circle and suppose,
while the secret sits in the middle and knows." Robert Frost

 
3rdI
#10 Posted : 5/16/2016 10:05:01 AM

veni, vidi, spici


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you're a credit to yourself and to the psychedelic comunity Snozz, Bravo old chapThumbs up

INHALE, SURVIVE, ADAPT

it's all in your mind, but what's your mind???

fool of the year

 
Chan
#11 Posted : 5/16/2016 10:20:25 AM

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roninsina wrote:

Not sure I'm smart enough to understand why I was supposed to be offended. I always enjoy reading your point of view, Chan.


Absolutely no offence was intended, Roninsina, just a cheerful nod to some sad shared awareness, about "repackaging" and commercialism etc. Likewise, I always find your posts, and experiences, very well put. The stuff about the trepidation in the villagers' eyes ties in well with the ethnobot literature reports of brujería (sorcery), showing that far from it being all "love'n'light" deep in the forest...the same predictable power-plays operate there as here, only using different means. See also Pablo Amaringo talking about the perpetual "arms race," compelling him to acquire hyperspatial fighter jets etc...!

Stephan Beyer's "Singing With The Plants," a detailed study of mestizo shamanism, deals with the various flip-sides at great length, and I learned a great deal from it. Not least that there are some "dangerous spirits" (or "noxious substances" in Western terminology) that you probably don't want arriving through the mail, just in time for your Saturday night session, without some kind of training in their proper use...

Extractions definitely have their place, but as a firm evangelist for the power of the purge, I wonder whether people who simply use extractions to try and side-step that part, whilst still claiming to be partaking of "ayahuasca" are actually missing out on a key aspect of the whole experience. It ought (some times at least) to be visceral, and not just a kind of warm botanically-driven VR experience, IME Wink
“I sometimes marvel at how far I’ve come - blissful, even, in the knowledge that I am slowly becoming a well-evolved human being - only to have the illusion shattered by an episode of bad behaviour that contradicts the new and reinforces the old. At these junctures of self-reflection, I ask the question: “are all my years of hard work unraveling before my eyes, or am I just having an episode?” For the sake of personal growth and the pursuit of equanimity, I choose the latter and accept that, on this journey of evolution, I may not encounter just one bad day, but a group of many.”
― B.G. Bowers

 
ganesh
#12 Posted : 5/16/2016 11:10:35 AM

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It's interesting to see how Ayahuasca has actually become part of Capitalism, in the way that it has been turned into a Cash crop, making some retreats and vendors lots of money.

At the same time it has covertly been a trojan horse, which has in it's effects from assimilation, made people question that very Capitalism based model!
More imaginative mutterings of nonsense from the old elephant!
 
inaniel
#13 Posted : 5/16/2016 6:11:42 PM

mas alla del mar


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great talk Thumbs up


who was the first psychedelic celebrity you mentioned?
 
jamie
#14 Posted : 5/16/2016 11:22:59 PM

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your a bloody gem, Snozz.

Side note..do you happen to have a link to that clip with Ott?

"if you're worried if you're loved, you need therapy..if you're ready to be light even though everyone hates you, you're ready for yoga"
- David Deida
 
spractral
#15 Posted : 5/19/2016 5:53:28 AM

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That was wicked serious snozz, nice job dude..

Energized fractal f***yeah frequency baby jeebus capitalism approved
 
 
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