The Power of Psychedelics

Dr. Michiel van Elk
Wednesday, February 15 2023, 12:40 PM - 1:20 PM
Blauwe Zaal, Auditorium
Price: Free (Student) Free (Others)

Welcome to the wondrous world of drugs in which, for example, Dutch artists Ronnie Flex and Lil’ Kleine rap about MDMA and Goldband sings about ‘witte was’. In recent years, psychedelics such as MDMA, ayahuasca and LSD have gained popularity. And not just in the recreational circuit - there is more attention to these drugs in science as well. There are applications in mental health care to combat depression or death anxiety, for example, and also in the clinical treatment of addiction. Should we step away from the adage ‘drugs are bad’ and be more open to the usefulness of psychedelics?

Neuroscientist Michiel van Elk researches these “wonder” drugs. He was skeptical at first; raised within the Pentecostal church, he long preferred to stay far away from drugs. But something piqued his interest. In his religious psychology classes, he told students about Walter Pahnke's Good Friday experiment in which a group of students were administered psychedelics in a church and had a mystical experience. And how can you properly speak about a mystical experience if you have never experienced it yourself?

Can psychedelics change your life? Does micro-dosing with LSD really make you more creative? Is ayahuasca the solution to depression and addiction? And does MDMA help process trauma? In this lecture and in his book A Sober Look at Psychedelics, Michiel van Elk explains, among other things, how a single substance can change our experience of the world; he shows how psychedelics work in our brains and who might be better off not using these substances.

Dr. Michiel van Elk is associate professor at Leiden University, where he conducts psychological and neuroscientific research on psychedelics. Das Mag published his book Een nuchtere kijk op psychedelica, about what science can teach us about mind control.

Want to submerge in a visual trip without taking drugs?
This evening, on Wednesday 15 February, the music documentary Moonage Daydream screens in Filmhuis De Zwarte Doos, right here on campus. An audiovisual space travel that not only sheds light on David Bowie's enigmatic, impressive inheritance, but also serves as a guide to learn that  'it is OK to be weird'. 

Ticket reservation recommended
To be assured of a seat, we recommend reserving a ticket (black "order" button).

SG & USE registration 
Please register your participation immediately upon arrival when attending the program. You can register by scanning your student card before the start of the program at the venue.

More information about SG & USE can be found here.


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