Professor Richard Doyle is Liberal Arts Research Professor at Penn State University, where he has taught since 1994. Ever since reading the work of futurist Alvin Toffler at age 12, Doyle has been on a scholarly and personal quest to understand the effects of information technologies on the evolution of human culture. After completing a PhD at UC Berkeley and a post doctoral fellowship at MIT, he has received grants from the National Science Foundation and written a trilogy of scholarly books on the effects of information technologies on human evolution and the effects of language on consciousness. His latest, Darwin’s Pharmacy: Sex, Plants & The Evolution of the Noosphere, focuses on the co-evolution of humans with psychedelic plants such as psilocybin, cannabis and ayahuasca. Doyle’s talk will focus on the idea that plants such as cannabis, psilocybin and ayahuasca – a mixture of plants prepared in the Upper Amazon for shamanic healing – are best thought of not as “drugs” but as living technologies for investigating the long neglected subjective experience of human beings, a very real but seldom explored domain “beyond thought”. Drawing on his own experience of being healed of severe life long asthma with the help of his teacher Norma Panduro and ayahuasca, Doyle calls ayahuasca a “starship grade self aware technology” for exploring the estimated fifty trillion neuronal connections of the human mind, connections best explored in the silence of a mind guided beyond thought. With the help of recent work on the science of meditation, Doyle will take the audience on a journey of “ecstatic signification” where words alone can be powerful and even shamanic technologies for exploring the domain beyond thought.
Hologram from Ayahuasca: Plant Technologies Beyond Thought