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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

Chapter 3: MDMA

   2022    Medicine
Championed by both therapists and ravers, ecstasy stands out as the first psychedelic likely to become legalized, thanks to passionate advocates.
The episode about 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), is focused on Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) clinical trials treating Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Series: How to Change Your Mind

Doubt

   2022    Nature
Even as the science grew more certain, the oil industry continued to block action to tackle climate change in the new millennium. In a revelatory interview, Christine Todd Whitman, George W. Bush's former environment chief, tells the story of how the industry successfully lobbied President Bush to reverse course on his campaign promise to regulate carbon emissions.
Tensions grew between two of the world's biggest oil companies, ExxonMobil and BP, after the latter publicly called for action to tackle climate change. The election of Barack Obama provided hope for supporters of climate action, but the billionaire Koch brothers made an effort to block the new president's attempts to pass climate change legislation, and climate denialism became the mainstream position of the Republican Party. A lawyer who worked for Koch brothers through this period speaks on camera for the first time.
Series: Big Oil vs The World

Delay

   2022    Culture
The last chapter explains how the 2010s became another lost decade in the fight against climate change – as the move to natural gas delayed a transition to more renewable sources of energy.
Engineer Tony Ingraffea, in the 1980s, helped develop a new technique for extracting gas and oil from shale rock, which ultimately became known as 'Fracking'. It was to unleash vast new reserves of fossil fuels and was promoted as a cleaner energy source. But Ingraffea explains how he later came to regret his work when he realized that gas could be even worse for climate change than coal and oil.
Dar-Lon Chang, a former ExxonMobil engineer, speaks for the first time on camera alleging that as the company increased its natural gas operations, it was not sufficiently monitoring methane leaks that were contributing to climate change. Now, after a year of unprecedented wildfires, drought and other climate-related disasters, multiple lawsuits are being brought in US courts in efforts to hold Big Oil legally accountable for the climate crisis.
Series: Big Oil vs The World
Evolution

Evolution

2004  Science
Eden: Untamed Planet

Eden: Untamed Planet

2021  Nature
Pets: Wild at Heart

Pets: Wild at Heart

2015  Nature
Art of Spain

Art of Spain

2008  Art
Out of the Cradle

Out of the Cradle

2019  History
Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist

2007  Culture
The Mind of a Chef

The Mind of a Chef

2017  Culture