Posts in Musical therapy
Kanye West and the five elements of creative genius

I went to see a publisher the other day, who said they had a project for me. The project turned out to be a series called ‘Great Philosophers’. Could I suggest any great living philosophers to write about, other than myself obviously? ‘How about a book about Kanye West?’ They laughed. Pause. ‘No, really. Make a series of little books about great cultural influencers. I’ll do one on Kanye West.’

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Integrating ayahuasca into western healthcare (part 2)

Here is part 2 of my interview with pioneering researcher Milan Scheidegger, who works in the psychedelics lab at University of Zurich. You can read part 1 here. In this half of the interview, we discuss how to translate aspects of indigenous ayahuasca rituals - such as the shaman or sacred plant songs - into the context of western healthcare. We also discuss Milan's plans to establish a psychedelic healing clinic in Switzerland.

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Integrating ayahuasca into western healthcare: an interview with Milan Scheidegger

Milan Scheidegger is one of the most interesting young researchers in psychedelics, because he integrates several different perspectives. He's a clinical psychiatrist at the University of Zurich, who's spent a decade studying the effect of psychedelics on subjects in a laboratory, and on a meditation retreat.

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On pop stars' alter-egos

In the early years of psychology, there was no hotter topic than multiple selves and their existence in the subconscious. Pioneering psychologists like Jean-Marie Charcot, William James, Frederic Myers, Theodore Flournoy, Pierre Janet and Sigmund Freud were all fascinated by how other selves could exist within the same personality, and come out in moments of trance or subliminal consciousness.

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The Dancing Cure

Philosophy is a story told mainly by male intellectuals, nerds, thoughtful sedentry types. The hero of that story is the intellect, and the villain of that story is often the body, just as you’d expect. If accountants told the story of the human race, the hero of the story would be accountancy.

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Is pop music bad for your soul?

Today I'm going to a seminar at Queen Mary, University of London, on music and well-being. It's one of the best things about being a sort-of-academic - you get to hang out for a day with experts in a field. Today, that includes Roger Scruton, who is the British philosopher I most respect, although I have a love-hate relationship with his work.

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The Age of Love: acid house as a charismatic religious uprising

At the moment I'm researching the cultural practices of ecstasy in the 20th century, which has given me the excuse to read some fine books on the history of pop music. The latest is Matthew Collin’s Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House, first published way back in 1997 and since updated. It's a bravura piece of historical journalism.

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