Friday, July 10, 2009

Paradigm shift in brain-mind sciences : implications of enaction for personal ethics and society

This is the outline of a conference I had proposed for Reboot Now conference in 2008 (cancelled)

From solid reality to flexible intersubjectivity

In modern enactive cognitive science worldview, we are "moving from a world seen as a collection of objects to a world seen as a communion of subjects". That is to say scientists no longer believe that the world out there exists independently of us, rather, the self and the world are co-determining each other. Enactive cognitive science was born thanks to chilean scientists Francesco Varela & Umberto Maturana, it emphasizes the importance of autonomy in living beings. The concept of intersubjectivity, central to the enactive theory, radically modifies the status given to what we usually experience as and call "reality". Reason and emotion are no longer kept apart in this holistic approach.

Synchronization and resonance

Modern oscillatory theories of consciousness apply both at the individual and collective level, meaning that small local actions can have a tremendous impact on the global situation. Thus, man is no longer seen as a useless doll on the lower scale of the pyramid, unable of making things change but rather as a powerful enacter, part of a spheric net, who can spread social, political and ecological change through localised, synchronised, action. When carefully prepared, positive intended actions take place they can lead to alledgely "magical" results. "Highly advanced technology is indistinguishible form magic" : what have been thought by anthropologists to be primitive, naive, rituals are actually shamanic technologies, using carefuly designed procedures to unlock the potential non-ordinary possibilities of our brain-minds. By using entrainment techniques they achieve states of collective unification with high empathy. The importance of these "non-egocentric modes of consciousness" has been put forward recently by consciousness researchers.

Art, Science, Spirituality : the distinction's only in your head

This new scientific approach thus allows building bridges between ancient traditions's knowledge and modern science, between science, art and spirituality. It has led to various fruitful gathering between western scientists and tibetan scientists for instance. Nowadays, a growing number of techniques derived from eastern traditions are used by modern physicians and are scientifically shown to be very effective (eg Mindfulness based therapies). There is no contradiction between ancient wisdom and modern knowledge, they can work in a mutually enlightning fashion. Recent results show that the practive of meditation can be beneficial for a wide range of individuals. Scientists studying the mind are being ecouraged to practice meditation in order to get a first person, phenomenological, point of view that can be confronted to 'objective' knowledge. In Varela's view of a forthcoming "visionary science", there is room for Intuition and Emotion alongside Reason.

Towards a planetary consciousness

Therefore, Science regains ethics and thus has something to say about society and politics. Too often science is used to validate a posteriori economic or ecological choices, actually dictated by the politico-industrial complex. By expanding collectively our field of awareness, we can experience a new cognitive liberty. On a practical level, this leads to the emergence of autonomous collective spaces dedicated to art, mind and sustainable alternative action (ecology, politics...). Within these special moments in space and time, exemplified by Gathering of the Tribes, Reboot Now, Convergence, etc.., hierarchy and ego-games fade away so as to achieve higher purposes, in a synergetic manner. People do become the change they want to see in the world and enter the global cosmic Glass Bead Game of human consciousness, following the way of the heart.

Trance and the Embodied Mind

This is the title from a conference that I gave at Boom 2008 in the liminal village on August 12th


Modern cognitive science and shamanism will be used jointly to understand how trance techniques can alters one consciousness and what are the personal (body, mind, spiritual) and collective (social, legal, ethical) implications.


What is Trance ? What happens into our mind-body when we go into trance ?
The presentation will start by introducing the basics of sensory perception and conscious experience in the light of enactive science. We will then move on to examining altered states of consciousness and realize that the doorway to these non-ordinary realms lies in a specific use of trance. Trance systematically induces various modifications in the mind-body. This will be further discussed in the context of shamanic rituals. To what extend can this also apply to psychedelic festivals seen as modern rituals, as some researchers have recently suggested ? Trance can be a powerful catalyzer : a healing tool for personal and social harmony but also a hypnotic weapon for mass propaganda. Ethical issues and guidelines for a safe use of trance will be discussed. The future of human consciousness lies in the development of a loving, compassionate and responsible attitude, through a greater awareness of the link between the world and ourselves.There are various ways for a wise and educated use of trance to support a positive shift in society and individuals.
(audio-visual content will be used as a non-verbal mean to illustrate key points)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On the mechanism of Ibogaine addiction therapy - REM like state

In the early 1960s, ibogaine was accidentally discovered to cause sudden and complete interruption of heroin addiction without withdrawal within 24 hours(Goutarel, n.d.; Alper, 2001; Krupitsky et al., 2002; Freedlander, n.d.)

From : Alper, K. R. (2001). Ibogaine: a review. ALKALOIDS-NEW YORK-ACADEMIC PRESS-, 56, 2-38.

The French chemist Robert Goutarel (14) hypothesized that ibogaine treatment
involves a state with functional aspects shared by the brain states of REM sleep,
Goutarel suggested that a REM-like
state may be induced by ibogaine, which corresponds to a window of heightened
neural plasticity, during which there may be weakening of the pathological
linkages between cues and representations of the drug incentive and the motivational
states with which they have become paired (14). Analogous to the
reconsolidation of learned information that is thought to occur during the REM
state (192,193), Goutarel theorized that the pathological learning of addiction was
modified during ibogaine treatment. He appears to have based his theoretical
formulation mainly on reports of the phenomenological experiences of awake
ibogaine-treated subjects that share features in common with dreams. Goutarel’s
hypothesis is speculative, but nonetheless has an interesting apparent consistency
with the literature on the relationship of learning and addiction and the
physiologic function of the REM EEG state with regard to the consolidation of
learned information.
There is some evidence that may be viewed as consistent with Goutarel’s
hypothesis. Goutarel’s belief in a relationship of the ibogaine-treated EEG state
to that of REM is supported by studies in animals treated with ibogaine that report
an apparently activated or desynchronized EEG state consistent with arousal,
vigilance, or REM sleep (90,191). The observation that ibogaine enhanced an
atropine-sensitive theta frequency rhythm (191) suggests the possible
involvement of ascending cholinergic input, which is an essential determinant of
EEG desynchronization during REM sleep (192). The possible reconsolidation of
learned information due to heightened plasticity during both the REM and
ibogaine-induced desynchronized EEG states is suggested by the observation that
EEG dyssynchrony is associated with an increased facilitation of Hebbian
covariance (194), which is believed to be an important determinant of the neural
plasticity involved in consolidation of learning and memory. Also, with regard to
a possible analogy of the REM and ibogaine induced brain states, some ibogaine
treatment guides have anecdotally mentioned that they have observed REM-like
eye movements in awake patients during treatments (195,196).

Video Log

Audio-Visual Performance Xperiments : Part A Audio-visual jockey from ikar on Vimeo.

Teratone Vision Audio-Video workshop @ trip bubble lab.

::AV Mixing
Edirol V4 Video Mixer + Gemini DJ Audio Mixer
Alternate solo configuration with AV Mixer Demo

::AV Vinyl Timeline Control, Pitch & Scratch
Technics MkII Turntables + MsPinky IWS

::AV FX's
Legacy kaos pad with linked Audio & Video mapping

VJ Ikar + VJ Soyouth
Sony & Dell Dualcore laptops, Edirol & M-Audio Asio Soundcards, Novation Remote25 Controller

Expect some upgrade in the months to come ;-)

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