Club Imaginal with Danny Nemu on Ayahuasca: Taboos from the Jungle to the Lab
25 February – 18:30 @ Marwood Coffee Shop & Studios: 52 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AF
“Anthropologists spend years amongst indigenous tribes studying their cultures, yet biomedics, psychiatrists and psychologists have almost completely avoided investigating the traditional taboos and techniques that have guided ayahuasca use for centuries. When I had my brain scanned on psilocybin courtesy of the Home Office, I clicked buttons when pictures of smudges looked like objects, but the brainwave profile of initiates on psychedelics voicing their prayers and songs of power have not been studied. Data on sexual and other dietas or even the menstrual cycle are not taken in psychological studies.
“This talk will consider how academic taboos continue to function today, by comparing modern ayahuasca science with 19th century investigations into Chinese herbalism and mesmeric amputation. We will also explore the tension in history between dominant scientific institutions and the visionary and revelatory state of the ‘Eureka moment’ which drives innovation and intellectual progress.”
Bio: Danny’s background is in the history and philosophy of medicine. He first encountered the Santo Daime ayahuasca tradition in Japan, and followed the trail back to the Brazilian Amazon to study it as a medicine at its roots. The sandfly that gave him the bacterial parasite leishmaniasis helped this endeavour along a great deal. The dietas took eight months, 10 kilos, one wife and a pair of rose-tinted spectacles, and left him with a deep respect for the complexity and intelligence of the natural world.