This week I was interested to see my favorite movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, mentioned in this week’s reading as a form of neuroculture in today’s society. The film follows the journey of a man (Joel) who undergoes a medical procedure that erases all memories of his previous girlfriend. The drugs he takes allows him to escape reality and cleanse himself of the pain of heartbreak.
Movie poster for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
There are many neurocultural products that have perplexed the human mind in recent history. In the document titled “Neuroculture” by Giovanni Frazzetto and Suzanne Anker they stated, “neuroscience knowledge partakes in our daily lives, social practices and intellectual discourse.” Popular films such as Inception, Interstellar and The Matrix have examined the neurological state of the human mind and its ability to go past its conventional limits to understand our lives on a deeper level.
One way in which people have tried to escape reality and experience an existential existence is by the use of LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide). LSD, first discovered by Albert Hofmann, is a drug known for its psychedelic and mind altering effects. When introduced in the 60’s it was said to be a generalized remedy and many people wanted to test this theory. Timothy Leary, a professor at Harvard, created a club known as the Harvard Psychedelic Club and with the help of students, tested the effects of LSD trips on prison inmates. Throughout his trials, he experienced no negative effects on the prisoners, showing that in correct doses it was effective in reducing violent tendencies.
Psychedelic effects of LSD
Even some of the most famous artists and musicians have used LSD for creative inspiration in their paintings and music. Ray Charles, the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Steve Jobs have all been known to experiment with its effects.
The Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds refers to LSD
In recent times, the public’s opinion on LSD has changed greatly because of the psychotic effects it has had on people, such as Ted Kaczynski the infamous unabomber. However, through art and film, psychedelic experiences are still being studied and further understood. Nevertheless LSD has played a pivotal role in influencing the creation of popular culture.
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Frazzetto, Giovanni, and Suzanne Anker. Neuroculture. N.p.: Macmillan Publishers Limited, Nov. 2009. Pdf.
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Kasser, Tim. "Lucy in the Mind of Lennon: An Empirical Analysis of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - The Psych Report." The Psych Report. N.p., 10 Mar. 2014. Web. 17 July 2016.
GiGiandLex. "The Beatles - Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." YouTube. YouTube, 23 Aug. 2008. Web. 17 July 2016.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. N.d. Schmoeville, 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 17 July 2016.
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