Discover more from Breaking Convention’s Newsletter
Talks and meetings galore!
Lots of discussions for your attention
Thank you so much for all the feedback on BC2023 that we’ve received in the last few weeks. Overwhelmingly positive, we know that we can do even better next time! If you attended this year, expect to receive a short survey from us soon, to give you the opportunity to tell us what you noticed could be improved, as well as what really worked for you.
Friday evening’s special performance by Vincent Moon (reviewed by Devon & Cornwall film) was a highlight, for the audience and for Vincent himself. He writes; “It’s Vincent Moon here, still buzzing from this marvellous gathering. I love love love playing with such a community, the feedback is always so exciting, it’s really a family there. Here’s the entire sound recording of my performance. It’s quite a trip, I like it a lot!”
Another of our friends attending BC this year was Kate Kifa, part of the organising team behind the recent Ukrainian conference on Psychedelic Assisted Therapy, the first such event for Ukraine. We extend our deepest hopes that those damaged by the traumas of the conflict in that land are able to access effective treatments.
A YouTube recording of the whole day’s talks can be found here.
All 120+ talks from our own conference were recorded, and the many videos will be online soon; the team needed a bit of a break after organising the event, but are back in the office now and keen to share these with you all! They will be uploaded to our YouTube channel and will be free to watch for everyone (subscribe to receive notifications).
The next landmark event of the year is of course Psychedelic Science, held this year in sunny Denver, Colorado. This epic gathering will see thousands of people interested in what psychedelics can do congregate together for a week of intense interactions. The main conference itself is three days (21-23 June)—preceded by two days of workshops—and many other social meetup events will take place on the two weekends either side of these dates. I hope to see some of our readers there, find me in the crowds if you can!
We are still debating the question of whether to hold BC in 2024, or wait till 2025 in our usual biennial style. This is just one of the questions we’ll be featuring in our survey; please do respond as we value your feedback and comments. Breaking Convention is a community, the visible manifestation of a widespread network of diverse individuals and organisations, the fruiting body of our communal mycelial activities. We only exist because of the continued support of hundreds of people throughout the years, and the collective need for what we offer. Watch this space for news of our Supporters Club, coming soon! Opportunities for you to be involved in ‘promoting and supporting research on psychedelic substances and the dissemination, and assistance in the dissemination, of the useful results of such research’, one of our charity’s main aims and objectives.
On behalf of the Breaking Convention team
A few of the BC2023 delegates
Photo credit Theo Moye, with thanks to the University of Exeter
Our irregular social salon, BC’s Tuesday Talks, returns on 6th June at our usual venue, 91 Living Room! Starting with a joint presentation with Psychedelic Press, come and hear about Alan Piper’s much praised book, Bicycle Day and Other Essays. Ticket price includes a hardback copy of the book for you take home with you! https://buytickets.at/breakingconvention/926185
Then, June 16th sees the launch party of The Bigger Picture, a book authored by one of our directors, Alexander Beiner.
‘Psychedelics have hit the mainstream as powerful new mental health treatments. But as clinicians explore what these molecules can do for our individual minds, The Bigger Picture goes further to illuminate how psychedelics can help us find new ways to make sense of and come through the crises we face around the world.'
Tickets are £5, which includes a glass of wine.
The evening features a talk, as well as drinks reception and afterparty, and will be held at the fabulous October Gallery. More details here: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/alexanderbeiner/928588
Norma Lotsof is an 85-year-old woman who has dedicated her life to finding a cure for drug addiction alongside her late husband, Howard Lotsof. Howard is widely recognized as a beloved trailblazing researcher who pioneered the use of Ibogaine as a novel modern medicinal approach to treating substance addiction. If any of you have been touched by Ibogaine or have relatives that have been, or if you feel called to support the elders of the psychedelic movement, please consider supporting this fundraiser for this truly wonderful woman. Norma and Howard Lotsof (the man who discovered Ibogaine’s addiction interrupting properties) spent their lives advocating for ibogaine treatments for addicts and are responsible for transforming many peoples lives. Right now, Norma needs our support. https://www.gofundme.com/f/norma-lotsof
Two days ago, a talk about Imperial College’s DMTx trials featuring the accounts of a few of the participants (including several BC speakers) was livestreamed. Already with nearly 10k views, you can watch it here:
In 2022, Breaking Convention held a one day event, Worlds Collide. In this concise and intelligent interview by Keridwen Cornelius, three researchers who spoke at the event discuss the possibilities and problems arising as psychedelic plant medicines, held sacred by many Indigenous communities, move into the global mental health and tourism industries.
Note: The footage from Worlds Collide has proven somewhat tricky to edit, however we are currently working on it with renewed enthusiasm.
Cadell Last interviews Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes about his work and thoughts on Metaphysics in Psychedelic Therapy. A fascinating and accessible in-depth discussion!
Join Rhodri Karim on the second episode of the PsyCare UK Welfare & Harm Reduction podcast: Anya Ermakova: 5-MeO-DMT and the Psychopolitics of the Sonoran Desert Toad. join us as we explore the phenomenology and rising popularity of 5-MeO-DMT, a short-acting psychedelic with unique properties, and the bootleggers who are pushing the sonoran desert toad to the brink... anya also goes into depth in her journey to becoming a psychedelic researcher, and finding community through working in the field with PsyCare.
Adventures Through The Mind: James Jesso interviews Laurel Anne Sugden
We loved this deeply informed, emotionally rich, and considered discussion about San Pedro cacti.
This episode explores the mescaline-containing cactus known as San Pedro, otherwise known as Huachuma.
Our guest is Laurel Anne Sugden of The Huachuma Collective
We discuss the objective side of things, that is habitat, history, sustainability, poaching, pollination, propagation, fruits, flowers, and alkaloids. However, we also explore what we might, for lack of better language, call the subjective side of San Pedro; we explore “who is San Pedro”, the qualities of experience it catalyzes, and what it asks of us and offers us in perspective, healing, and relationship.
We also explore the impact anthropocentrism has on our capacity to be in relationship with sacred plants, safe preparation methods of cactus powder, the subjectivity of ethics, why it takes more than breaking the ego to make us wise, and a deconstruction of the modern fascination of “hyperspace entities” and aliens, among a handful of other topics throughout the flow of the conversation.
Cognitive liberty and the psychedelic humanities
Osiris González Romero
Frontiers in Psychology, 4th May 2023
Abstract: This research aims to conceptualize cognitive liberty and the psychedelic humanities by examining their constitutive elements. The importance of this study lies in the fact that it is widespread to talk about psychedelic science nowadays, but there is a significant gap in the research. For instance, the role and importance of the humanities need to be acknowledged. Regarding cognitive liberty, this research considers that people have the right to use or refrain from using emerging neurotechnologies and psychedelics. People’s freedom of choice vis-à-vis these technologies must be protected, in particular with regard to coercive and non-consensual uses. Firstly, an analysis will be carried out of the constitutive elements of cognitive liberty, especially within the context of a philosophical approach. Secondly, this research will address some arguments for the philosophical uses of psychedelics. Finally, this paper will discuss the scope and significance of psychedelic humanities as a vein of research. Cognitive liberty is a crucial concept for the psychedelic humanities, likely to broaden our understanding of consciousness studies and reflect on ethical and social issues related to scientific research. Cognitive liberty is an update of freedom of thought according to the challenges of the 21st century. In addition, this paper will highlight the possible philosophical uses of psychedelic substances to broaden the research scope since, at present, the ritual and therapeutic uses of psychedelics have the most significant legitimacy. Recognition of philosophical uses demonstrates that learning from non-clinical uses of psychedelics is possible. The psychedelic humanities represent an underexplored avenue of research that can contribute to a better understanding of the interplay between science and culture.