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Beyond Thinking

   2012    Culture
We live our lives pursuing happiness 'out there' as if it is a commodity. We have become slaves to our own desires and craving. Happiness isn't something that can be pursued or purchased like a cheap suit. This is Maya, illusion, the endless play of form. In the Buddhist tradition, Samsara, or the endless cycle of suffering is perpetuated by the craving of pleasure and aversion to pain. Freud referred to this as the "pleasure principle." Everything we do is an attempt to create pleasure, to gain something that we want, or to push away something that is undesirable that we don't want. Even a simple organism like the paramecium does this. It is called response to stimulus. Unlike a paramecium, humans have more choice. We are free to think, and that is the heart of the problem. It is the thinking about what we want that has gotten out of control. The dilemma of modern society is that we seek to understand the world, not in terms of archaic inner consciousness, but by quantifying and qualifying what we perceive to be the external world by using scientific means and thought. Thinking has only led to more thinking and more questions. We seek to know the innermost forces which create the world and guide its course. But we conceive of this essence as outside of ourselves, not as a living thing, intrinsic to our own nature. It was the famous psychiatrist Carl Jung who said, "one who looks outside dreams, one who looks inside awakes." It is not wrong to desire to be awake, to be happy. What is wrong is to look for happiness outside when it can only be found inside.
Series: Inner Worlds Outer Worlds

Chapter 1 LSD

   2022    Medicine
This highly anticipated psychedelic docuseries showcases what these substances teaches people about consciousness, dying, addiction, depression and transcendence. Filmmaker Alex Gibney and best-selling author Michael Pollan present it 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.
The first chapter is a great introduction to the topic of LSD, from its 1943 origins to today's microdosing trend, for those who don’t already know a lot about the subject, and a fun and entertaining refresher on LSD for even experts in the field. The show takes us on a journey through the history of the powerful compound, from its discovery and its early medical use, to secret CIA mind-control studies, the counterculture and its banning, and finally to our current renaissance. It includes amazing clips of LSD’s inventor Albert Hofmann and powerful personal testimonies of individuals who have healed their suffering through LSD.
Series: How to Change Your Mind

Chapter 2 Psilocybin

   2022    Medicine
Magic mushrooms, long considered sacred by the Indigenous Mazatec in Mexico, become the subject of scientific studies measuring the intense effects of its Psilocybin and its potential therapeutic use.
In the second episode, we are introduced to Ben, who’s battled with crippling Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) his entire life. When he had his firstborn, Ben’s life became full of panic attacks regarding his son’s safety, and he knew something had to change. Ben signed up for a psilocybin-assisted therapy clinical trial which was testing whether the psychedelic could help people with severe OCD. In the session under the influence of psilocybin, Ben felt decomposed and eventually grew into a tree. While living as a tree, he saw his human self, playing with his child. Though this sounds scary, from Ben’s perspective, it was beautiful. He was one with the universe, seeing himself in the ultimate third-person perspective. Finally, he saw how it could be different if he didn’t let his OCD control him. And several months out, all the symptoms disappeared.
Ben’s story is one of many told in this series, which gives hope that help is right around the corner for the millions who suffer —often in silence— with debilitating mental disorders. But Michael Pollan’s work is showcasing the success stories. Often, even in the most successful trials, psychedelic-assisted therapy only helps up to a third of people enter remission. More frequently, patients are helped —sometimes substantially— but they still suffer with their illnesses and some people aren’t helped at all.
Series: How to Change Your Mind

Chapter 4: Mescaline

   2022    Medicine
The last episode explores Mescaline, the psychoactive molecule in San Pedro and peyote cacti, a sacred medicine that Native Americans have had to fight for the right to use. At the Indigenous practices there's always an elder, someone who knows the territory very well, who's presiding. There's usually a group, a community is involved, There's always an intention, a purpose to what you're doing, and you're treating it as sacred, in order to achieve altered states of consciousness, which contribute to worship in various ways, or celebration or healing.
But maybe all this is not so new to Western culture after all. In the old Greek histories of Eleusis, people who were initiated there got the drink, the kykeon, and then they had the illumination. The precise recipe is a mystery, but we know that the kykeon was a psychoactive brew that was used at the Eleusinian mysteries, a sacred annual ritual of enlightenment practiced by some of the world's greatest minds including Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. So why did this ritual come to an end more than 1,000 years ago? Was the possibility of illumination or achieving a higher consciousness considered threatening to the powers that be? Have the drug wars been merely an extension of that fear?
Psychedelics has a major part in how we can heal as a community, how we can heal as a city, and how we can heal as a country. The current renaissance of psychedelics could not come at a better time as the world confronts a crisis in mental health. But psychedelics have much to offer. The psychedelic experience changes the mind in ways that will help scientists better understand how it works. All these altered states allow us to probe what is the greatest mystery in all of nature. The emergence from mere matter of something as miraculous as consciousness. But an even bigger question is whether psychedelics might help us address the environmental crisis of how we think about our place in nature. One of the greatest gifts of psychedelics is how they reanimate the natural world, allowing us to perceive the subject, the spirit of all species, not just our own. And to feel a deeper sense of interconnectedness with nature.
Series: How to Change Your Mind

Fantastic Fungi

   2019    Nature
The film is a descriptive time-lapse journey about the magical, mysterious and medicinal world of fungi and their power to heal, sustain an contribute to the regeneration of life on Earth that began 3.5 billion years ago.
Imagine an organism that feeds you, heals you, reveals secrets of the universe and could help save the planet. You'll see it through the eyes of mycologists, like renowned Paul Stamets, about the unlimited potential of fungi in the fields of food, medicine, expanding consciousness, bioremediation, neurogenesis and treating end-of-life anxiety.

Is There Life After Death

   2011    Science
Everyone from the most simple-minded to the deepest thinking has pondered a question that strikes at the core of our existence: Is there life after death? What happens to the soul after we die? People who have had near-death experiences claim to have visited the other side before getting yanked back into consciousness. Now, some of the brightest minds in science are trying to understand how life can persist beyond the physical and what will it look like. It might be a quantum state based on the fundamental laws of the universe. Ultimately, it is a journey that struggles to decode the most complicated instrument in the universe: the human brain.
Series: Through the Wormhole
The Crime of the Century

The Crime of the Century

2021  Medicine
Tiger

Tiger

2020  History
The Story of Us

The Story of Us

2018  Culture
Strangest Things

Strangest Things

2021  History
100 Foot Wave

100 Foot Wave

2021  Culture
Building Giants

Building Giants

2019  Technology