Processing Reality

ABSTRACT: In his new book, John Buchanan relates five key events that gave rise to urgent questions concerning the meaning of life and the nature of reality. Psychedelic experiences played a particularly significant role for both of these areas. After pursuing many avenues of thought, Stanislav Grof’s transpersonal psychology and Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy proved the richest resources for yielding answers to these questions. Exactly how this is so furnishes the material for John’s book, and some of the most important features of these theories will be explored in his lecture.

BIOGRAPHY: John Buchanan received his master’s degree in humanistic/transpersonal psychology from West Georgia College, and his doctorate from the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory University. He has been trained and certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner by Stan and Christina Grof. Buchanan has contributed a number of book chapters on his continuing interests in process philosophy and transpersonal psychology, and in 2020 was co-editor on Rethinking Consciousness: Extraordinary Challenges for Contemporary Science. His most recent work, Processing Reality: Finding Meaning in Death, Psychedelics, and Sobriety, will come out in summer 2022. Dr. Buchanan also serves as president of the Helios Foundation.


Conceptual Slipstreams and How to Navigate Them 

ABSTRACT: This conference conjures pairs of concepts that urge my attention: on my left, alchemical imagination and hermetic magic, and to my right, psychedelic experience and indigenous consciousness. Suspension of both belief and disbelief about this lovely pairing of pairs is in order. As even the most sincere conceptual efforts by the likes of McKenna, Harding, Cassirer, Jung, Whitehead, and others present both vehicles and barriers, some speculative play is requisite for waymaking in the slipstreams they create.

BIOGRAPHY:   Farzad Mahootian is a Clinical Associate Professor of Global Liberal Studies at New York University. He has an interdisciplinary background (PhD Philosophy, MS Chemistry) focusing on the intermingled histories of philosophy and chemistry. Research interests include process philosophy, alchemy, nonlinear dynamics, biomimesis, artificial intelligence, and the psychedelic imagination of technoscience fiction. Recent publications: “Jung and Whitehead: An Interplay of Psychological and Philosophical Perspectives on Intuition and Rationality,” with Tara-Marie Linné (2014);  “Metaphor in chemistry: an examination of chemical metaphor” (2015); “Kant, Cassirer, and the Idea of Chemical Element” (2021).


Decolonizing the Self – A chronicle of the discovery of Amerindian animistic epistemology by a western-educated mestizo from the Colombian Amazon

ABSTRACT: Like most Latin Americans, I am a mestizo, a mixture of Amerindian and European, which theoretically would suppose the interiorization of a dual cultural heritage. This is not what happens in most cases – the educational system and the cultural values of Latin American society stressing a European worldview, ignoring in its totality indigenous ways of relating to the world at large. An encounter in 1971 with yajé, a psychotropic beverage used by some indigenous ethnic groups of the Colombian and Ecuadorian Amazon, gave me an experiential confrontation with a completely different epistemology, triggering a process of re-examination of the ontological premises I had taken for granted. This is thus a rendering of my own journey to fully incorporate a mestizo identity open to multiple ways of acquiring knowledge.

BIOGRAPHY:   Luis Eduardo Luna was born in Florencia, Caquetá, in the Colombian Amazon. After studies of philosophy and theology with the Piarist Fathers in Bogotá and Spain, he left the order to study Latin American Literature at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. In 1971 he met Terence McKenna with whom he took yajé, a psychoactive preparation used by several indigenous ethnic groups of the Amazon. He obtained an interdisciplinary M.A. and then a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion and taught Latin American literature at Oslo University. His dissertation examined the use of  “plant teachers” such as ayahuasca, among the mestizo population of the Peruvian Amazon. Luis Luna was named 2002 Doctor of Humane Letters by St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York. He has published several books and numerous papers on shamanism in the Amazon. In 2011 he retired from the Hanken School of Management in Helsinki and founded the Wasiwaska Research Center for the Study of Psychointegrator Plants, Visionary Art, and Consciousness, Florianópolis, Brazil (