Torsten Passie

Torsten Passie

Torsten Passie M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Goethe-University Franfurt/Main, Germany (Visiting Scientist)
Hannover Medical School, Germany (affiliate)

Studied philosophy and sociology at Leibniz University Hannover and medicine at Hannover Medical School. Medical dissertation on existentialistic psychiatry. Education at Zürich Psychiatric University Clinic and the office of Prof. Hanscarl Leuner (1921-1996), the leading European authority on psychedelics and psycholytic therapy. During the 1997-2010 period scientist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist at Hannover Medical School, where he lead the Laboratory for Consciousness and Neurocognition. Professorship thesis about „Psychophysical correlates of altered states of consciousness“. Research studies on the psychophysiology of altered states of consciousness, including clinical studies with breathwork, cannabis, MDMA, laughing gas, ketamine and psilocybin. Special expertise on ecstatic states, addictions, the pharmacology of psychedelic substances and psycholytic therapy. Discovery of 2-Bromo- LSD, a non-hallucinogenic congener of LSD, for the treatment of cluster headache in 2008. From 2012 to 2015 visiting professor at the Department of Psychiatry of Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA).

The disappearance of dreams, trances and ecstasies in western cultural history

There is an astonishing abstinence for ecstatic states as well as a resistance against psychedelics in our culture. How can we explain this deep-reaching resistance? This lecture will give a broad and in-depth overview of the history of ecstatic states, how they were handled in the past and how our actual habit against them developed over the course of history. In the very early times these states were look at as they come directly from the gods, later a sceptical view was taking place and from the middle ages on these states were demonized and even thought of as deception and evil.

The lecture overviews a time span of more than 5.000 years and will include the major steps of cultural development as well as the evolution of thought from the earliest philosophers to the thinkers of the church and the modern era. It is hoped that after the lecture the recipient will understand were the appropriate cultural and thinking habits as well as the resistance is coming from and that there will be no easy way out of this.