How to Change Your Mind | Official Trailer | Netflix

Netflix • Jun 16, 2022 Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney and New York Times best-selling author Michael Pollan present this documentary series event in four parts, each focused on a different mind-altering substance: LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and mescaline. With Pollan as our guide, we journey to the frontiers of the new psychedelic renaissance – and look back at almost-forgotten historical context – to explore the potential of these substances to heal and change minds as well as culture. How to Change Your Mind is directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Alison Ellwood and two-time Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Lucy Walker.

Anton Chekov on drinking vodka and redeeming the past

“We just philosophize, complain of boredom, or drink vodka. It’s so clear, you see, that if we’re to begin living in the present, we must first of all redeem our past and then be done with it forever..”
― Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (January 29, 1860 – July 15, 1904) was a Russian playwright and short-story writer. His career as a playwright produced four classics, and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Wikipedia

Born: January 29, 1860, Taganrog, Russia

Died: July 15, 1904

Psychonautics with Mike Jay

New Thinking Allowed with Jeffrey Mishlove • May 16, 2024 Mike Jay is a freelance journalist and cultural historian. He is author of many books including Psychonauts: Drugs and the Making of the Modern Mind; Emperors of Dreams: Drugs in the Nineteenth Century; High Society: The Central Role of Mind-Altering Drugs in History, Science and Culture; Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic; This Way Madness Lies: The Asylum and Beyond; and The Influencing Machine: James Tilly and the Air Loom. His website is https://mikejay.net/ Here he focuses on the long history, within western science, of researchers exploring the effects and effectiveness of different drugs through self-experimentation. 00:00:00 Introduction 00:02:08 The Royal Society 00:09:53 A microscope into the mind 00:14:13 Sir Humphry Davy and nitrous oxide 00:18:32 William James 00:29:16 The romantics 00:36:57 Sigmund Freud and cocaine 00:39:56 Aldous Huxley and psychedelics 00:48:20 Leary, Alpert, Metzner and The Psychedelic Experience 00:50:30 Carl Jung and active imagination 00:52:53 The psychedelic renaissance 01:00:47 Conclusion Edited subtitles for this video are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish. New Thinking Allowed host, Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, is author of The Roots of Consciousness, Psi Development Systems, and The PK Man. Between 1986 and 2002 he hosted and co-produced the original Thinking Allowed public television series. He is the recipient of the only doctoral diploma in “parapsychology” ever awarded by an accredited university (University of California, Berkeley, 1980). He is also the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 Bigelow Institute essay competition regarding the best evidence for survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death. (Recorded on April 18, 2024)

IN MIDNIGHT INTERVIEW, DRACULA SEES BRIGHT FUTURE FOR DEMOCRACY

‘Democracy and Vampires Have a Lot in Common,’ Says 600-Year-Old Romanian Count  

What does the world’s most famous vampire think about the future of democracy? Columnist Joe Mathews finds out in an exclusive interview with Dracula. Photo from the film Dracula (1931). Courtesy of Universal Studios via Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.

by JOE MATHEWS | MAY 14, 2024 (ZocaloPublicSquare.org)

I emailed Dracula’s people because I was heading to Romania, for a global democracy forum that I help lead.

While I’m in Bucharest, I asked, could I take the train up to Transylvania and spend a day chopping it up with the Count? After all, he’s been around for 600 years and has seen many, many dark times for governance and democracy.

In reply, I got a cryptic text telling me to arrive by midnight at an address in Beachwood Canyon, high in the Hollywood Hills above L.A. The place was invisible from the street, and so dark I had to turn on my iPhone flashlight to find the door.

But then, at my knock, the world’s most famous vampire opened the door. He ushered me to a chair in a room lit only by fireplace.

Dracula: Welcome to my castle in the air. Now, can my servant Renfield get you something to drink? Want to join me for a pint of O-negative?

Me: Thanks, but I’m fine, Count.

Dracula: Please, call me Vlad. And suit yourself (pouring blood into a glass). I need a drink from a stiff before discussing democracy these days.

Me: I hoped we’d be meeting in Eastern Europe and talking about June’s European elections and rising authoritarianism there. What are you doing in L.A.?

Dracula: Romania will always be home, but many decades ago, I realized that Hollywood would never stop calling. I used to stay with my friend Bela Lugosi, right down the street, but he got tired of the LAPD knocking on the door asking for me every time some teenage girl got a hickey. So, I had this place built. It’s small for a castle, but I never went and had a family like Gomez Addams.

It’s more than paid for itself. To date, more than 80 films have been made about me. Yes, those Netflix execs—who suck more blood in a half-hour pitch meeting than I have in my whole existence—don’t pay well. But it’s amazing how much work my fellow vampires at CAA can get me for uncredited script doctoring and story consulting.

I advised the cast during the New Orleans shoot of Renfield, a 2023 comedy with Nicholas Cage playing me. Nick and I hit it off. I’m not saying he’s a vampire—I respect his privacy—but I will say he didn’t have to do much to get into character.

Me: Do you see the story of Dracula having an impact on how the world runs?

D: Sometimes I worry I have too much impact. Porphyria—which they call the vampire disease, because you have trouble with sunlight and sometimes must retreat into darkness—used to be considered rare. Now, with everyone up half the night on their screens, people are becoming more like me.

Despair has its own calms, I suppose. And I enjoy a long night. But the fact that we’re so atomized makes democracy and self-government quite difficult.

AI means that humans can stay alive digitally long after our human bodies are dust. We are all vampires now. Which means that humans need to take a much longer view and build more flexible institutions.

Me: Vlad, you’ve been around longer than anyone living. In human form, you lived as the ruthless ruler of Wallachia in the 1400s, famous for your cruelty toward your enemies. Then, vampires became an obsession in the 1700s, and you emerged publicly in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula, and have been famous ever since. In all that time, what has changed the most in how humans govern themselves?

D: What’s changing the most is the very nature of what it means to be human. And that’s changed self-government and everything else.

We not only live longer, but we never go away. I died in 1476, yet I’m still around, sort of human. AI means that humans can stay alive digitally long after our human bodies are dust. We are all vampires now.

Which means that humans need to take a much longer view and build more flexible institutions. Because humans and vampires alike are changing so fast. Look at me. I started as this figure of fear—of violence, of disease. I was the bad, undead guy. But now in popular culture, I’m the cool Gothic mainstay, an outsider. Just look at how I’m portrayed by younger, better-looking actors.

The secret of my success is flexibility: I don’t fit into categories or labels. I’m good and I’m bad, real and unreal, dead and alive. And this makes me emblematic of what the British literary historian Nick Groom, in The Vampire: A New History, calls our “vampirocene era… in which the human race has the transformed the world, but in doing so has also lost its primacy.”

Me: Vampirocene? So, you’re saying the world is getting better?

D: It’s definitely more open, inclusive and democratic. I know that sounds strange—Dracula, optimist. But that’s only because so many people are still thinking too short-term.

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Look at Romania. Just two generations ago, we were ruled by a far crueler villain than I ever was, Nicolae Ceaușescu, a communist dictator who built a society nearly as totalitarian as North Korea. But we learn from failure, not from success. Now Romania is in the European Union and the eurozone, and we have a real democracy, despite the pressures coming from that other Vlad, who impaled far more people than I ever did, running Russia.

Me: Aren’t you worried about potential right-wing gains in June’s European elections?

D: Sure. The world seems full of good men—but there are monsters in it.

There are always people trying to scapegoat democracy for our problems. There are always tyrants trying to kill off democracy.

Just like there are always people who hate vampires. Some hate us so much that, like that Buffy chick, they seek to slay us.

But no matter how hard they try to kill us, we vampires keep coming back, because people want us. Take Interview with the Vampire—it was a book, then a movie, and now it’s a TV show, all huge hits!  The same thing is true of democracy. Look at Turkey—its national government goes theocratic and authoritarian, and yet its cities respond by becoming more democratic.

Democracy and vampires have a lot in common.

Me: Do you really think that vampires can inspire a more democratic world?

D:  If an undead guy with a story as ugly and bloody as mine can still bring magic into the universe, then I’m quite sure that the living can collectively recognize that knowledge is stronger than memory, and conquer Earth’s scariest problems together.

JOE MATHEWSis columnist for Zocalo Public Square, founder-publisher of Democracy Local, and a leader of the 2024 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, in Bucharest, Romania.

Matthieu Ricard on mindfulness

“In the freshness of the present moment, past is gone, future is not yet born and, if one remains in pure mindfulness and freedom, disturbing thoughts arise and go without leaving a trace.”

Matthieu Ricard (b.1946)
French Buddhist Monk
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR DAILY REFLECTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE SCHOOL OF PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY

Weekly Invitational Translation

Translation is a 5-step process of “straight thinking in the abstract” comparing and contrasting what you think is the truth with what you can syllogistically and axiomatically prove is the truth.

The claims in a Translation may seem outrageous, but they are always (or should always be) based on self-evident syllogistic reasoning. Here is one Translation from this week. 

1)    Truth is that which is so.  That which is not truth is not so.  Therefore Truth is all that is.  Truth being all is therefore total, therefore whole, therefore complete, therefore full.  I think therefore I am.  Since I am and since Truth is all that is, therefore I, being, am Truth.  Since I, being, am Truth, therefore I have all the attributes of Truth.  Therefore I, being, am total, whole, complete, full.  Since I, being, am Truth and since I am mind/consciousness, therefore Truth is Mind/Consciousness.

2)    Experience is the best teacher.

Word-tracking:
experience:  peril, to test, try out, something that happens
happen:  to take place, to occur, to exist, to be
best:  comparison of good, better than all the others.
teach:  to show, to guide, to show through experience, to make visible.  

3)    Truth being Mind/Consciousness is therefore knowing, understanding, knowledge, things made visible.  Truth being all, therefore Truth is all-knowing, all-understanding, all-knowledge, all-things made visible, all-seeing.  Truth being one, cannot be better than all the others ’cause there are no others, therefore Truth is the only good.  Truth being all that is is therefore all that occurs, all that happens, all that is experienced.  Therefore Truth is the only experience.  

4)    Truth is all-knowing, all-understanding, all-knowledge, all-things made visible, all-seeing.  
        Truth is the only good.
        Truth is the only experience.  

5)    I, being, know that Truth is the only good, the only experience.

For information about Translation or other Prosperos classes go to: https://www.theprosperos.org/teaching

Word-Built World: alastor

Illustration: Anu Garg + AI

A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg

alastor

PRONUNCIATION:

(uh-LAS-tuhr) 

MEANING:

noun: An avenger.

ETYMOLOGY:

After Alastor, a deity or spirit of vengeance in Greek mythology. The name is apparently from Greek a- (not) + lathein (to forget), alluding to this deity’s role in ensuring that the members of a family remember acts of vengeance and commit fresh crimes, thus perpetuating the cycle of bloodshed (think Romeo & Juliet’s families). Earliest documented use: 1603.

Elon Musk’s Neighbors Fed Up With Eyesore Yard Covered In Broken-Down Cybertrucks

Published Yesterday (TheOnion.com)

Image for article titled Elon Musk’s Neighbors Fed Up With Eyesore Yard Covered In Broken-Down Cybertrucks

BOCA CHICA, TX—Accusing the billionaire tech mogul of dragging down property values, neighbors of Elon Musk told reporters Thursday they were fed up with his eyesore yard covered in broken-down Cybertrucks. “I don’t know if the guy who lives there is sick or has fallen on hard times or what, but I’m sorry—that yard looks like absolute shit,” said Alaina Barett, who was one of several neighbors who had called 311 in response to the mess strewn over Musk’s front lawn, complaining that the ramshackle Tesla trucks were a public health hazard due to the multiple families of rats, opossums, and hornets that had taken up residence inside the vehicles. “You can tell those things haven’t run in a very, very, very long time. Occasionally you’ll see him out in the yard trying to work on one, but most of the time it just starts sparking. I don’t understand why he doesn’t just haul all that junk away. They’ve got to be worth at least something at the scrapyard.” At press time, Musk had been fined $250 by his neighborhood’s HOA.

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