Peyote Research and a New World View

Peyote Research and a New World View
Thursday, February 5th

A presentation to Poetry Science Talks
New York City
John H. Halpern, M.D.

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

How did people use “hallucinogens” before they were seen as drugs? Do these ancient substances provide answers for a post-modern age? What can native use of peyote offer to alcoholics and the dying? It is probably impossible to conduct dispassionate research on psychedelics, so how does the research influence the researcher and how can the researcher influence the research? What are the Heisenbergian methodological implications of getting involved?

For February, we are pleased to have researcher, psychiatrist and scholar, John Halpern, as our session producer. John is a top performing Harvard psychiatry professor who early on decided to devote his medical career to a reconsideration of the clinical uses of psychedelic chemicals and plants. Over the past ten years, John has begun to change the medical community’s perceptions about psychedelics research and practice and, in conducting his research, has been profoundly changed himself.

PRESENTATION: “Peyote Research and a New World View”

“This is a different sort of lecture for me. I will still report general scientific findings from a multi-year study with Native Americans who have histories of exclusive use of mescaline-containing peyote (versus comparisons who had either a history of alcoholism or no drug/alcohol abuse history). Yet, this lecture will also touch on how working on projects involving psychedelics can shape the investigator and reveal a ‘new world view.’ With a foot in two very different doors of perception, the demands of this work sometimes pull in opposite directions as if I am supposed to be some cultural wishbone. While the inherent rewards of conducting and completing novel, I hope important research are obvious, the less scientific/personal side can reveal a special value and healing from walking through the heart of peyote. Time will be reserved for questions about my work and any hallucinogen-related interests of the audience.”

PRESENTER: John H. Halpern, M.D.

“John H. Halpern, M.D. is Associate Director of Substance Abuse Research at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center of McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA and is Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. A current recipient of a National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Career Development Award, Dr. Halpern is engaged in full-time research on the clinical effects of hallucinogens. Recently completed, ongoing, or in development research projects include neuropsychological assessments of members of the Native American Church, similar projects with ‘pure’ MDMA users and with members of an Ayahuasca-using religion, and assessing the psychotherapeutic value of MDMA for the terminally ill. Dr. Halpern is Board-Certified in General Psychiatry and maintains a small private practice. He also works as a forensic expert witness and as an industry consultant on the development of medications for the treatment of drug abuse/addiction. Recreational fun includes Ashtanga yoga, travel, and camping off to hot springs in the wild.”


We hope you will join us next Thursday, February 5th, for the next in our continuing series of out-of-box discussions and good fellowship at the very accommodating East Village home of Wandsqueen (AKA, Karen Wendy Gilbert):

– As usual, we will meet for a light dinner between 7:00 and 8:15PM and then begin the presentation and discussion, running to 10:30 or so.
– A $10 contribution will be collected to help defray expenses.
– We rotate leadership each month, so at the end of the evening, we solicit a “producer” for our next meeting.


Here is the original “mission statement” (loosely defined) for our PST discussion group/salon:

– Ideas, analyses and solutions regarding the…
– Development, implementation, diffusion, use and positive and negative impacts of…
– New ideas, new technologies and new ways of interacting as a culture.

We have evolved since we crafted that statement (as you’ll see in the topic list below), but generally our intent is still quite similar. Here is a list of PST/CHT meeting topics (CHT stands for Carriage House Talks, an earlier venue/name):

  • Monist Philosophy (Neal Goldsmith, [05/06/04])
  • Integral Psychology (Scott Gremmel, [04/08/04])
  • Post-Modern Physics 201 (Karen “Wandsqueen” Gilbert [03/04/04])
  • Peyote Research and a New World View (John Halpern, [02/05/04])
  • Finnegans Wake: A Turn of the Collideorscape (Chip Benjamin, 01/08/04)
  • Post-Modern Physics 101 (Richard Alan Miller, 12/11/03)
  • Why Do Living Things Get Old and Die? (Josh Mittledorf, 11/06/03)
  • Rage (Michael Eigen, 10/02/03)
  • A Shaman, a Peruvian and a Bunch of New Yorkers: Adventures of an Urban Warrior in the Amazon (Jackie Bobrowsky, 09/11/03)
  • Lost Cabaret OR Katandogastrophic (Gerd Stern, 07/10/03)
  • Democracy, Liberty, Freedom (Ed Rosenfeld, 06/05/03)
  • Stories: Being, Knowing, Doing (Liz Rymland, 05/1/03)
  • ReView (Ed Rosenfeld, 04/3/03)
  • Integral Medicine (Scott Gremmel, 03/13/03)
  • Healing (Neal Goldsmith, 02/06/03)
  • Fugue States (Lizbeth Rymland, 01/09/03)
  • Slowness: An Economy of Differential Rates of Being (Karen Wandsqueen Gilbert, 11/05/02)
  • Who Is I?: Toward a New Mythology (Carleton Schade, 10/10/02)
  • Season Opener, 2002-03: What We Are About (09/12/02)
  • Blogs, Personal Journalism and the Free Internet (Dan Sieradski, 07/11/02)
  • The Stupid Network (David Isenberg, 06/06/02)
  • Innovation in an Online Corporation (IBM’s WorldJam) (Mike Wing, 05/02/02)
  • Collage: Digital/Analog (Gerd Stern, 04/11/02)
  • Tomorrow: Sustainable Technology for Spaceship Earth (Carleton Schade, 03/07/02)
  • The Core Group (Art Kleiner, 02/07/02)
  • bin Laden, Kaczynski and the Borgification of Humanity (Neal M. Goldsmith, 12/06/01?)
  • MK-ULTRA (Ed Rosenfeld, 11/06/01)
  • Technology Futures (Dave Sarlin, 10/11/01)
  • The Omnicompetent Communicator (Thatcher Drew, 09/06/01)
  • Democracy and Technology (Bernd Hendricks, 07/05/01)
  • Acceleration in Novelty (Ed Rosenfeld, Scott Campbell, (06/07/01)
  • The Carriage House Talks
  • First Meeting (04/05/01)

Our passion is for transformative ideas – and implications for action – that arise out of these topics, with their themes of technology, consciousness, business, media, social organization, mythology, environment, ontology, communication, healing… themes of a “poetry science.”

We look forward to seeing you at the Poetry Science Talks, the (USUALLY) first Thursday of every month!

Best regards,

— Neal and Ed

Neal M. Goldsmith, Ph.D.
438 12th Street, PH-A
Brooklyn, NY 11215-5190
+1-718-369-9100/1502 (tel/fax)
+1-347-743-1110 (cell)

Ed Rosenfeld 360 Central Park West, 7F
New York, NY 10025-6572
+1-212-222-1123 (tel/fax)

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