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Journal Club #21 - Ayahuasca Insightfulness

22/04/2022, Online

by Paloma David

1 min

Ayahuasca Insightfulness explores the perceived attainment of knowledge during or as a product of ayahuasca experiences. In other words, its noetic qualities.
It analyses anonymous ‘trip reports’ using narrative research and qualitative analysis software to determine the types of knowledge attained. The main types of insights examined relate first to personal insights and self-understanding and second to metaphysical and philosophical ideations.
Being sensitive to the cultural setting of the accounts allowed the research to contextualize the meaning-making processes of the practitioners involved as highly dependent on their cultural background. This meant the knowledge claims were not of a universal order but rather a product of complex cultural dialogue. Hence, the project broadened the classic psychedelic notion of “setting” to include cultural dynamics in tandem with environmental factors.
On a philosophical side, Ayahuasca Insightfulness explores how psychedelic claims of knowledge are separate from factual truths yet valuable for the practitioners involved. This allows discussing the contrast between claiming the visions’ content is factually correct and claiming the visions acquire essential meaning for those who partake in the brew.

Paloma David was born in Bogotá, Colombia. While pursuing her bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology at the National University of Colombia she encountered the perplexing ayahuasca (yagé) tradition in her home country. Marveled by the mystery of the effects of the brew in human consciousness as well as the puzzling ritual around it, she decided to continue her studies by pursuing a Research Master’s in Religious Studies at the University of Amsterdam.

Paloma has conducted fieldwork research on the contemporary uses of ayahuasca in rainforests, capital cities, and digital settings, as she is characterized by her qualitative research skills. Her interests include psychedelic research, the promising therapeutic use of these substances, the current use of psychedelics in Europe and Latin America, and of course, ayahuasca.

She is currently the Head of Research and Development at the Amsterdam Psychedelic Research Association.

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