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Who Will We Be

   2015    Medicine
In ‘Who will we be?’ Dr. David Eagleman journeys into the future, and asks what’s next for the human brain, and for our species. We stand at a major turning point, one where we might take control of our own development. We face a future of uncharted possibilities in which our relationship with our own body, our relationship with the world, the very basic nature of who we are is set to be transformed. For thousands of generations, humans have lived the same life cycle over and over. We are born, we control a fragile body, we experience a limited reality, and we die. But science and technology are giving us tools to transcend that evolutionary story. Our brains don't have to remain as we have inherited them. We are capable of extending our reality, of inhabiting new bodies, and possibly shedding our physical forms altogether. And we are discovering the tools to shape our own destiny. Who we become is up to us.
Series: The Brain with David Eagleman

The Search for Intelligent Life on Earth

   2020    Nature
Episode 7 focuses specifically on first contact and the search for intelligent life in the vastness of the cosmos. Are humans ready to make first contact with other intelligent beings? Is our technology even sophisticated enough to detect communication signals from another world? Who are we to search for alien intelligence when we can't even recognize or respect the consciousness all around us, or even beneath our feet.
Neil deGrasse Tyson reveals the hidden underground network that is a collaboration of four kingdoms of life, and a true first contact story between humans and beings who communicate in a symbolic language and have maintained a representative democracy for many tens of millions of years.
Series: Cosmos: Possible Worlds

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

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
Prehistoric Planet

Prehistoric Planet

2022  Science
Leaving Neverland

Leaving Neverland

2019  Culture
Rome

Rome

  History
Earth from Space

Earth from Space

2019  Nature
Minimalism

Minimalism

2015  Culture
Oceans

Oceans

2009  Nature
How to Grow a Planet

How to Grow a Planet

2012  Science