Luis Eduardo Luna
Track: Shamanism and Its Potential for Modern Man
Animism, sacred plants, and evolutionary cognitive science: towards the closure of a philosophical and emotional gap.
Animistic conceptions still flourish in some areas of the world. They were probably the spiritual foundation of many cultures in the past. Physicalism, on the other hand, has become the philosophical foundation of our time, with dire consequences in terms of the exploitation and commoditization of nature, and humans' "disenchantment" of the modern world. Pragmatically, this is not working. A radical inspection of our own presuppositions is sorely needed, hand in hand with a reexamination of alternative cosmological approaches in the present and the past. This has to be simultaneously informed by contemporary philosophical reflections on vegetal and animal life, and by current human and non-human research on perceptual and neural mechanism by evolutionary cognitive scientists. Since purely rational arguments do not seem enough any longer, emotionally charged experiences with altered states of consciousness, mediated by sacred plants and substances and other techniques, may put us in deeper contact with our ourselves, give us a wider sense of responsibility, unleash creativity, and create bonding beyond the human realm.
Luis Eduardo Luna has a Ph.D. from the Department of Comparative Religion Stockholm University (1989) and was named 2002 Doctor of Humane Letters by St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York. He retired in 2011 from the Department of Modern Language and Communication at the Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki. He was an Assistant Professor in Anthropology (1994-1998) at the Department of Anthropology of Santa Catarina Federal University (UFSC) in Florianópolis, Brazil. Dr. Luna is the author of Vegetalismo: Shamanism among the Mestizo Population of the Peruvian Amazon (1986), a co-author with Pablo Amaringo of Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman (1991), and co-author with Slawek Wojtowicz, Rick Strassman and Ede Frecska of Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys Through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies (2008). He is also a co-editor with Steven White of Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine (2000, enlarged second edition 2016). Dr. Luna has been a curator of art exhibits in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. He is the Director of Wasiwaska, Research Center for the Study of Psychointegrator Plants, Visionary Art and Consciousness, Florianópolis, Brazil.