Are You Having A Laugh? Humour And The Psychedelic Experience

Lifestyle & Culture

Oli Genn Bash delivers a talk at Breaking Convention 2017 on the revolutionary act of humor. He takes a look into the history and importance of comedy, laughter and humour and how the psychedelic experience relates to this.

“Laughter is universal, and if you haven’t laughed when doing a psychedelic trip – you’ve been doing it all wrong!”

And let’s face it, cannabis is great at inducing spontaneous outbursts of laughter.

“My talk on the connection between humour and the psychedelic experience was inspired by my postgraduate research, where I looked at both mystical experiences and humour – more specifically stand-up comedy – as forms of resistance. This led me to focus almost exclusively on the work of the late American comedian Bill Hicks for my thesis, where I managed to combine the themes of the psychedelic experience and stand-up comedy. Humour can provide an opportunity to step outside of ourselves and dissolve preconceived ideas about the world. It is a useful tool within psychedelic or mystical experiences, and can help to ground people in certain instances by not taking things too seriously. We may get so far down the rabbit hole that the only thing left to do is laugh!’

Oli touches on thought processes on psychedelics like Liberty Caps, the seasonal and native mushroom to Britain which has recently been shown in studies, to help patients process negative thought processes in a better way. He then plays a clip of the late comedian Bill Hicks speaking about a psychedelic experience on “what Terrance Makenna describes as a heroic dose of mushrooms, 5 dried grams” to which the audience “Ooooohs” at, in a yikesy kind of tone. The experience he describes is not actually all that humorous but the medium which he is describing it through allows him to be a little bit more raw and honest, and still be taken more seriously than if he was saying it not as a comedian.  Let’s face it, any “sane” person talking about “God reigning down gifts of forgiveness” after admitting they have taking a huge dose of shrooms is going to get laughed at anyway.

Breaking Convention is a conference on psychedelic research with over 100 speakers over three days at London’s Greenwich University. Dr Ben Sessa one of the founders of the conference is a leading expert in the field of psychedelic research, studying the effects of LSD, Psilocybin and MDMA in a clinical setting for psychotheraputic uses. Tickets are over £150 each with the money raised being used to fund the research they are carrying out. This is a great form of activism in itself and a brilliant way of spreading knowledge, building bonds and raising funds to achieve the communities goals. It would be nice to see the cannabis community in the UK pull together like this for similar reasons!

You can follow Breaking Convention on Facebook here, and for more of Oli Genn Bash’s talks visit The Psychoactive Hub group.

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