EXPANDED CINEMA – JOURNAL 10


Psychedelics as an Expression

Psychedelics substances have been around for thousands and thousand of years. It has been stated in books and critical reviews that ancient civilizations like the Mayas, the Incas and the Egyptians used mind altering substances in order to expand their minds and reach a higher level of supreme consciousness. If this is accurate, what is the purpose of taking the mind to a higher level? why humans have and feel the need to expand their mind? My purpose on this comparative analysis is to compare the films Holy Mountain and The acid trip and lightshows as well as the use of psychedelics substances throughout the history of mankind and the achievement of this altered state of mind.

My goal is to inform and explain how the human brain is able to acquired knowledge in a superior level that is applied to everyday life and interactions by the use of mind expanding substances.

Psychedelics substances are well known to produce an altered state of mind on the human brain and without a doubt affect the way we behave in society. The beauty of mind altering substances is they can take the brain to higher level by increasing serotonin or stimulating the chemical receptors. There are many different kinds of psychedelics, from LSD, Mushrooms and MDMA.  These substances have different effects on the human brain but their purpose is to serve as a stimulant for mind expansion. LSD also refers to as Acid, emerged in the 1970’s with the so well known hippie culture. Hippies were big thinkers that shared and promoted love, peace, unity and respect for mankind. This movement experimented with LSD and were able to take the mind to a different level of conciseness.

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Normally what happens on an Acid trip involves incredible revelations and hallucinations that will lead to epiphanies and the encounter of a different world. LSD produces a very intense feeling of euphoria that can take the user to stages of rage, joy, happiness and even death due to an extreme disconnect from reality. Hallucinations on LSD normally take the user to a good or bad trip. When people have good trips, it has been referred to as a good experience that reveals some type of new ideas and revelations into a brand new journey. A bad trip is completely the opposite, taking the user to a world of scary characters and fear.

The casualties of death under the influence of this drug have been reported as well, since the user gets a sense of disconnection from the real world and is often under the impression that they are able to fly, execute super powers, jump off buildings, among some other irrational behaviour.

MDMA on the other hand produces feelings of euphoria, empathy, happiness and well being. The substance is a mood/mind altering drug that works by effecting the chemical level of serotonin in our brains, a neurotransmitter naturally present in the brain which can alter our emotions. It also adversely affects blood pressure and pulse rate. The user opens up and connects with other people easier and everyone seems to be on the same level. While under the influence of MDMA also known by the street name of Ecstasy and Dove, the user is able to take the mind to al level that is connected purely by the use of the brain. Mind over matters is the outcome a user will encounter while playing with the subconscious mind on this altered state.

MDMA is well known to be use in underground raves and music events. MDMA was patented in 1913 by the German chemical company Merck supposedly to be sold as a diet pill. The US army experimented with MDMA in 1953 during World War II. The Nazi soldiers also experimented with the substance and were given pure MDMA before going into war against enemy lines. The feeling the substance produces at its peak is the one of complete awareness and euphoria. MDMA was also used in underground therapy in the 1980’s in the United States among couples and within the gay community and it was reported to have broke down barriers between people and helped healed buried emotions. The substance was also distributed in small venues over the counter across the country and it was cheap, it was legal and it felt amazing. the use of MDMA was later banned by the united States government in the late 1980’s and was scheduled as a category one controlled substance with no medical purpose.

MDMA emerged back once again in the late 1990’s as a form of pill called Ecstasy. Ecstasy was a strong tablet mixed with amphetamines and pure MDMA. The ecstasy epidemic quickly took over all the night clubs around the world and everyone was taking their minds to the next level. By using this psychedelic substance people were discovering a higher level of expansion and realizing the truth about who were are, what we do here, what is our purpose in life, while setting themselves goals to achieve and overcoming fears.

The film Holy Mountain explored the directors views in politics, mind control, economy, religion, world control, drugs, sex and homosexuality. The film explored the use of psychedelics by stating that it can open up the human mind, obviously this use has to be measured and not abused. As stated previously, mind altering drugs like LSD and MDMA can alter the mind to a higher level and will make the user realize a reality that is in front of them but they just do not necessarily see it under normal circumstances. This is exactly what director Alejandro Jodorowsky was trying to achieve with the overall content of the film.

the film shows that having an open mind and going against the establishment is not a bad thing. It makes you different than others since the human race does not necessarily has to follow the same pattern the standard society does. the pattern of waking up at five in the morning, having breakfast wit the entire family before getting behind the wheel to go to work downtown. Take for instance the everyday routine millions and millions of people follow around the world. They are told to attend church, work a job that is from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon, get married, have children and vote. I feel like humans are  and have been brainwashed for so many years in order to believe that this is what we have to do in order to feel like we have accomplish our goal in life.

To most people this may seem like a normal and standard way of life, but what happens when the other half of the population does not want to follow the guidelines that everyone else does? Are we breaking the law by being different or thinking in a different way? Are we supposed to be judged by others because we are using mind altering substances that are leading us to think, realize, act and execute our own way of life in the opposite direction? The answer to all these questions depend on the way everyone decides to live and manage their life. Psychedelics have played a huge role in changing the way people think about life. Many users who have expanded their minds do not go to church, do not get married, do not have children, do not vote and our aware that our society is rule and controlled by others who know the truth of the world we live in. when I refer to the truth, I am referring to the fact that when most people take their mind to a higher level by the use of a substance they may think on a different way.

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Thoughts and ideas become stronger and users are able to connect key factors in life with other facts and myths. Let’s take for example the idea that we are not the only ones in the universe. Is the government hiding this truth from us? Is it possible there are other civilizations outside our galaxy? Believe it or not, by the use of mind altering substances we are able to discover new theories and apply them towards reality. As a matter of a fact when our brains are altered into a higher or advanced level, our thinking is more accurate and our ideas are more clear. letting your mind reveal critical thinking is the whole point of psychedelics. We are able to express what we really want formalize and share these ideas with others.

In the Acid Trip and Light-Shows we can see mid expansion at its best. I mean, people went into a location and took LSD; after 20-45 minutes they started to feel the effects and enter into the acid trip and it was all recorded on video. The irony is that it shows how they reacted and interacted with each other while under the influence of the substance. It shows people dressing up like animals, having sex, but there is no music involved. This movement that originated back in the 1970’s has influenced the way we think and view life. Many topics and subjects were placed on the table while the hippie movement took control of an entire nation, followed by the world. The ideas and thoughts regarding religion, politics and the economy were an eye opener for thousands of followers who joined the movement. By using LSD they encountered another way of thinking that created rebellious groups who fought their ideas against government and wanted to impose peace and equality for every individual in the planet. LSD was used at the famous Woodstock music festival, were this massive group had massive sessions of mid expansion while been surrounded by nature, other people’s energy and the sounds of music.

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Reading the article regarding the film: “Cremaster (1)” from artist Mathew Barney was a complete eye opener. True, it can get confusing since it involves lots of graphic scenes and eccentric sounds; there is hardly any dialogue involved and it has several flashbacks. However, the beauty of it hides behind and deep inside the film. To see the opening scene is taking place in a remote land where mystical creatures live and to have a mis-en-scene to a modern New York, was just mind blowing. The nature of the article about the film feels kind of like an acid trip. There is so much going on and the feature changes from one scene to the other one without any previous advise. The content engages in so many different ideas at once that leads your mind to believe you are inside of someone else’s world.

On the reading “My Mind Split Open: Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable (2)”, I can see the matter of the underground art. Andy Warhol created a movement that influenced artists and came up with a new mind set and trends for the years to come. Similar to when people expanded their mind by the use of psychedelics; this reading fascinated me since it shows how Andy opened other people’s minds through his work. His idea of intermedia art form was so unique and stated a challenging question that was embed in my mind after I went over the reading. Are we controlling and creating this type of art, or is the art controlling us? That is one question that raises several answers in modern society. By the use of art we are creating and expressing ourselves to the world. We are becoming leaders and innovators and taking control of the planet we live in, we are exploring and expanding ideas and letting others know who we really are as filmmakers, underground artists, musicians and performers. A lot of artists just like Andy have experimented with mind altering substances in order to open up and find new ways to approach their art and creations.

Another connection I would like to make is with the article of “Rhetorics of Expansion (3).” I can certainly connect the fact that we as a world, as a human race, as a community, we have evolved and advanced in every aspect of technology. I will not state that people have developed their ideas for the improvement of architecture under the influence of mind altering substances, although it could be possible a lot of designers, web developers, architects and artists in general at one point have experimented with a controlled substance. The article states how technology has improved our way of living and how we showed progress as the years went by. One irony I would like to point out is the following, let us take for example industrialized nations like Germany and holland were MDMA is legal. Why is this mind altering substance illegal in Canada and the United States but legal in some Europe countries? True, the government is more open in european countries and they have legalized many other mind altering substances like Marijuana and Mushrooms. Is there legalization actually helping the population open up and expand their minds in order to have a better quality of life? Is the use of substances like MDMA, actually making these countries more advanced and open to other subjects other nations do not dare to talk about. Taboo subjects like homosexuality, sex, pornography, drugs are all legal in most of these countries but yet illegal in the res of the world.

Do these governments find the need to show and feed their citizens mind altering substances so the nations will become more open in order to advanced and progress in every single aspect? The answer could sound like a conspiracy. I foremost believe every government decides to place regulations for a reason. If the citizens of a nation knows how to handle mind altering substances and do not over use them, by all means this is beneficial when it comes to improving and gathering new ideas for changes in the arts, entertainment, economical and cultural fields.

Another reading that I can relate to how psychedelics can influence the artistic mind is “Art and the Moving Image (4),” after reading the article and getting to know the descriptions made by the author regarding the fact when people go to a movie theatre or an art gallery and are completely blown away by the moving or still images, I can determined for example that a lot of the animated graphics that you will see in a three dimensional film are first of all created with the use of a computer generated program, but before this takes into place there is some time of mind expansion in order to come up with theses ideas. I am referring to mind expansion in a normal level not with the use of psychedelics. Creative art does not always have to involve the use of mind altering substances. A lot of artists are able to come up with their own sketches, drawings and character animations without having to use psychedelic substances. Others on the other hand like artist and creator of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll was actually on some type of psychedelic substance at the time, it is not sure if it was LSD or opium when he had the vision of the animated film. He expanded the mind by the use of the substance and was later able to create one of the most amazing and iconic animated features of all time.

I can come to the conclusion that mind altering substances have played a crucial impact in modern and ancient society. these substances have been around for ages and even though they may be harmful if the user abuses them, they also have a positive purpose if people are aware on how to use them in order to expand the mind. Mind expansion of any kind not only opens the subconscious mind to a higher level but also makes people realize ideas, thoughts and connect important information that could be in front of them but they just do not see on a normal state. This analysis is not meant to induce anyone into taking any substances but instead is written to explain some history, use, achievements and dangers of the use of psychedelics as an expression. Psychedelics as an expression shows that mind altering substances can trigger effects on the human brain that will accelerate our way of thinking and will let us open up to a more creative side and project new ideas for the world of tomorrow.

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Felipe Medina – Founder of Felsite

Works Cited

1. “Matthew Barney: The Cremaster Cycle,” SolomonR .Guggenheim Museum, NewYork, February 21–June 11, 2003.

2. Ingrid Superstar, “Movie Party at the Factory: A Trip and a Half,” one page typed manuscript, dated 26 March 1966, Time Capsule -7, Warhol Archives (punctuation slightly altered)

3. “Rhetorics of Expansion” Multiscreen Cinema and the ’64 World’s Fair. Chapter one. page 4

4. “Art and the Moving Image” Siting Cinema Andrew V. Uroskie. Getting Framed. Page 386

 

Written by Felipe Medina for the “Expanded Cinema” course at Concordia University in Montreal.

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