October 3-16, 2023
David Abram, Cultural Ecologist and Geophilosopher
Ede Frecska, Psychiatrist
Alexandre Tannous, Ethnomusicologist and Sound Therapist
Dale Millard, Naturalist
Luis Eduardo Luna, Anthropologist
David Abram is a cultural ecologist and geophilosopher, the author of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World and Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. Described as “revolutionary” by the Los Angeles Times, as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, David’s work has been catalytic for the emergence of several new disciplines, including the steadily growing field of ecopsychology. His essays on the cultural causes and consequences of environmental disarray are published in numerous magazines, scholarly journals, and anthologies. A recipient of the international Lannan Literary Award, as well as fellowships from the Rockefeller and the Watson Foundations, David recently held the international Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and Ecology at the University of Oslo. Dr. Abram’s work engages the ecological depths of the imagination, exploring the ways in which sensory perception, language, and wonder inform the relation between the human body and the breathing earth. His philosophical craft is informed by his fieldwork with indigenous peoples in southeast Asia and the Americas, as well as by the European tradition of phenomenology.
David was the first contemporary philosopher to advocate for a reappraisal of “animism” as a complexly nuanced and uniquely viable worldview, one which roots human cognition in the dynamic sentience of the body while affirming the ongoing entanglement of our bodily experience with the uncanny intelligence of other animals, each of whom encounters the same world that we perceive yet from an outrageously different angle and perspective. A close student of traditional ecological knowledge systems (TEK) of diverse indigenous peoples, David’s work also articulates the entwinement of human subjectivity with the varied sensitivities of the plants upon which we depend, as well as with the agency and dynamism of the particular places, or bioregions, that surround and sustain our communities. In recent years Dr. Abram’s work has come to be associated with a broad movement loosely termed “New Materialism,” due to his espousal of a radically transformed sense of matter and materiality. A Distinguished Fellow of Schumacher College in England, David is founder and creative director of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE). He lives with his family in the foothills of the southern Rockies.
Lectures by David Abram
Lectures and Interviews with David on You
Ede Frecska received his medical degree in 1977 from the Semmelweis University in Hungary. He then earned qualifications as certified psychologist from the Department of Psychology at Lorand Eotvos University in Budapest. Dr. Frecska completed his residency training in Psychiatry both in Hungary (1986), and in the United States (1992). He is a qualified psychopharmacologist (1987) of international merit with 17 years of clinical and research experience in the United States, where he reached the rank of Associate Professorship. During his academic years, Dr. Frecska’s studies were devoted to research on schizophrenia and affective illness. In his recent research he is engaged in studies on psychointegrator drugs, especially on the physiological effects of DMT in acute and chronic cellular stress like hypoxia. His theoretical work focuses on the interface between cognitive neuroscience and quantum brain dynamics. He is specifically interested in the mechanism of initiation ceremonies and healing rituals. He published more than 100 scientific papers and book chapters on these topics. Dr. Frecska is a member of several professional organizations (APA, ECNP, CINP), and has received grants and awards from a variety of sources (NARSAD, NIAA).
Ede Frecska is a co-author with Rick Strassman, Slawek Wojtowicz and Luis Eduardo Luna of Inner Paths to Outer Space and has chapters in Ervin Laszlo’s books (The New Science and Spirituality Reader and A New Map of Reality). A recent study lead by him, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, proves that ayahuasca increases creativity and another one in Frontiers in Neuroscience that DMT has neuroprotective effect in hypoxia.
Lectures by Ede Frecska
Lectures and Interviews with Ede Frecska on Youtube
Alexander Tannous is as an ethnomusicologist, sound therapist and sound researcher who holds four degrees in music, and with years of experience performing, composing, conducting, teaching and lecturing about music.
He has been investigating the therapeutic and esoteric properties of sound from three different perspectives – Western scientific, Eastern philosophical, and shamanic societal beliefs – to gain a deeper understanding of how, and to what extent, sound has been used to affect human consciousness. This search has led him to the intersection of art, science, philosophy and spirituality.
The material he transmits about sound is based on a multidisciplinary research conducted over 22 years: observations he made during his fieldwork in over 40 countries, scientific studies, personal experiences, and data collected from thousands of people he has worked with doing sound therapy. This has led him to a deeper understanding of how sound reveals and unlocks hidden powers we have within us to promote profound inner transformation and healing.
Inspired by his findings, he designed a protocol of an integrated experience he calls “Sound Meditation” in which he shares the findings from his research, raising an awareness to how a specifically designed sound can have the ability to help us to disconnect from habitual patterns while judiciously listening to the specific overtone-rich instruments he plays. He employs a phenomenological approach to study the effects of sound, using a method that empowers the participants to engage actively with tools that enhance their experience, using the consciousness-altering properties of sound to heighten self-awareness, to connect to the higher self, to fine-tune self-observation and self-enquiry.
Lectures by Alexandre Tannous
Alexandre will give us a talk and an analysis on Beethoven and his 9th Symphony. This includes the impact of the loss of his hearing on creativity, musical output, psyche, and therefore caused him to singlehandedly start the Romantic Period in music. He will also address the enormous influence that Beethoven’s emerging new style had on younger, contemporary composer (e.g. Berlioz, Schubert, Schumann, Bruckner, Wagner, Brahms, Liszt, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Dvorak, etc.).
In this lecture Alexandre will present examples of how and why mystics, tribal societies, and religions have used sound, and how the latter have capitalized on its power.
Alexandre will offer a full sound meditation, an integrated practice combining a shamanic ceremonial setting with an Eastern emphasis on breathing exercises and visualization. Specific musical instruments played during the meditation allow participants to use sound as a therapeutic tool enabling them to disconnect from discursive thinking and delve into a transcendental state.
Lectures and Interviews with Alexandre on Youtube
Dale Millard is Dale Millard is a naturalist and biodiversity explorer, with diverse interests and experience in fields ranging from herpetology to ethnobotany.
His interest in the study of snake venoms for drug development later led to study of the chemistry and use of plant medicines. Dale has lived and travelled in Indonesia, Brazil and African countries and has worked with traditional healers in these areas, documenting their use of medicinal plants.
He has maintained a lifelong interest in the healing role of entheogens and continues to document their use in poorly explored regions of the world.
Dale has a special interest in the cultivation of medicinal plants and mushrooms and has taught numerous workshops relating to agro forestry and plant based primary healthcare. He is a contributing author of the books Ethnobotanical search for Psychoactive Drugs. ESPD 50 and ESPD55 published through Synergetic Press.
He currently works as an ethnobotanist and advisor for Neuromindbiopharma, a biotech company doing research into novel psychoactive and plant compounds to develop new medicines.