Essay: Ecstasy – Expedition to an Unknown Land in Spektrum der Wissenschaft Spezial: Rituale. Was unser Leben zusammenhält

Ecstasy derives from the Greek and means something like “being outside oneself” and “stepping out,” which means a temporary shifting of the personal coordinate system. This holds the chance of a new perspective, but also the danger of losing oneself. The general characteristics of altered states of waking consciousness include changes in self-, world-, and time-perception, especially emotionalization, intensification of visual and auditory experience, bodily perceptions, and intensified experience of meaning. As a rule, in such states the experience shifts away from the ego-like controlled, to the intoxicating being carried in a stream of fragmentary inner events. It is precisely this passive “being carried” that can have a seductive and “habituating” quality for unstable people.

Essay: Henrik Jungaberle and Rolf Verres on Rituals of Intoxication in Heidelberg University’s Ruperto Carola

To mark the launch of the research project “Ritual Dynamics and Salutogenesis in the Use and Misuse of Psychoactive Substances”, Henrik Jungaberle and Rolf Verres have written an essay on “Rituals of Intoxication”. In a brief cultural history, the tension between culture and medicine becomes visible. The topic was researched from 2002-20213 in a Collaborative Research Area of the German Research Foundation at Heidelberg University Hospital.

Medicine of Interactions – What modern Medicine could learn from its historical Encounter with “Animal Magnetism”

Whoever deals with the person, work and history of Franz Anton Mesmer is confronted with the difficulty of facing a personality whose many facets make it difficult to force him into a uniform image. Mesmer seems to evade this attempt to grasp him light-footedly, like one of his much-vaunted fluids.
Franz Anton Mesmer gave impulses for the most diverse disciplines and topoi. Examples are the development of anesthesia, psychiatry, psychosomatics, hypnotism and psycho-therapy. – For the sociological formation of the latter, his unintended influence should not be underestimated. Beyond that, however, his teachings had an effect in the fields of parapsy-chology, spiritualism, which returned to Europe via America, spiritual healing, stage hypno-sis, and in an extensive way in the history of literature, especially German Romanticism.
What can medicine learn from its encounter with “animal magnetism”? How would it react to esoteric and metaphysial theories that evolve around an otherwise “rational” and effective therapy TODAY?a