Dennis McKenna’s research has focused on the interdisciplinary study of Amazonian ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He has conducted extensive ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brasilian Amazon. His doctoral research (University of British Columbia,1984) focused on the ethnopharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, and was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of ayahuasca used by the UDV, a Brazilian religious group. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota.
TITLE: Waking up the Monkeys: Plant Teachers and the Rediscovery of Nature, Dennis J. McKenna, Ph.D., Heffter Research Institute, CEO, Symbio Life Sciences
The human species is an anomaly in nature. Our brains are among the most complex objects in the known universe and because of this our brains have made us highly linguistic, immensely creative, enormously clever; but not very wise. This has created problems, for us as a species and for the planet we share. We have become alienated from Nature and regard it as something that exists only for us to exploit, rather than to nurture. We are now witnessing the consequences of this. This talk will explore how human evolution has been greatly influenced at critical historical and evolutionary crossroads by ‘plant teachers,’ psychedelic plants and fungi. These plants are trying to wake us up. Nothing less than a shift in human consciousness can save us now, and the plant teachers are the catalysts that can bring it about. It is imperative that we overcome our alienation from Nature and rediscover our proper role with the rest of life on Earth, before it’s too late.
Dennis touched on this topic in a recent interview with Guardian.