In this presentation Dr. med. Andrea Jungaberle will draw both from here experience as a doctor in critical care as well as the existing scientific findings in order to create a concise picture on how altered states of consciousness and especially the psychedelic experience can help us come to terms with our own existential limitation and mortality.
Modern technology has deepened the trench between individual experience and professionalized processes around the essential turning points in life. From antibiotics over hip replacements to brain surgery: Modern clinical medicine almost seems to be working miracles. But just almost. At the end of the day, the essential questions are still the same as they have been in preceding millennia. We all come to face death, the inevitability of our own end and the loss of our loved ones. Our culture has outsourced the physical processes of birth and death to hospitals and nursing homes. These and other essential experiences no longer naturally come to us as we turn into adults. Many people live their lives without ever really coming face to face with the realization that they, too, are dying bit by bit every day and are eventually headed towards individual extinction.
In this cultural paradigm of negligence concerning death, age and disease, many people are thoroughly unprepared when they face a fatal disease, tumour or accident. Since the essential questions “How do I want to grow old and die? “ and “How can I cope with the existential fear of dying?“ are never asked, there are no answers when they are desperately needed. People often feel alone, desolate and in despair in the face of disease and death.
Psychedelics have often shown their ability to allow us a glimpse beyond the curtain of taboo and fear to do with death and dying. They allow for changes in perspective and help to adjust and clarify what is really important for the individual. The altered states of consciousness surrounding the use of psychedelics have been described similarly to those accompanying (conscious) death processes. Several of the very successful contemporary scientific studies on classic psychedelics like LSD and Psilocybin have been conducted with patients suffering from anxiety to do with terminal illness – often leading to patients reporting a growing sense of calm and lessened fearfulness concerning their immanent deaths.
Dr. Andrea Jungaberle will attempt to bridge the apparent gap between academic medicine and holistic approaches on death with a special emphasis on the psychedelic state and its possible learnings.