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The Great Humbling S3E4: 'Do shrooms!'

The Great Humbling

Release Date: 04/21/2021

The Great Humbling S4E6: 'Nice to meet you' show art The Great Humbling S4E6: 'Nice to meet you'

The Great Humbling

After twenty-nine episodes recorded through screens and cameras, Ed and Dougald find themselves meeting for the first time and sit down for a conversation beside the mill pond in Loddon, in the garden of the Mill of Impermanence. We hear the unlikely tale of how Dougald found Ed’s fiftieth birthday present, a copy of Uriah Heep’s fifth album, , while en route to a holiday in Great Yarmouth. A chain of serendipitous events leads to the unavoidable conclusion that Yarmouth is the spiritual home of the Great ‘Umbling. This leads to a discussion of ‘serendipity’, the term , and...

The Great Humbling S4E5: 'Belief' show art The Great Humbling S4E5: 'Belief'

The Great Humbling

Dougald poses a big question for this episode: what do we believe in? Ed responds playfully and paradoxically with ‘self-delusion’, citing Robert Trivers work on self-deceit that includes gay pornography and erection-o-meters. And lasers. Here's .  Dougald talks about the formative influence of spending the first two-and-a-bit years of his life in the grounds of a theological college and what happened when he told his Sunday school teacher that he didn't find Hell 'a particularly helpful concept’.  Does it matter more what we believe, or what our beliefs make us do?...

The Great Humbling S4E4: 'Are we going to talk about Ukraine?' show art The Great Humbling S4E4: 'Are we going to talk about Ukraine?'

The Great Humbling

We started this podcast in the early weeks of the pandemic, talking about the stories circling around it. A crisis had come out of the corner of almost everyone's field of vision and became, within weeks, the only thing in the news. Two years on, something similar has happened, so we arrived at this episode wondering whether or not to talk about Ukraine. Dougald remembers Ivan Illich's short text, 'The Right to Dignified Silence' (in ), written in support of West German campaigners  who refused to enter into a reasoned argument about nuclear weapons, choosing instead to express...

The Great Humbling S4E3: The Great Humbling S4E3: "Remapping Lava"

The Great Humbling

We’ve been listening back to , almost two years ago, in the early weeks of the time of Covid. Maybe it’s the influence of revisiting those early episodes, or maybe it has to do with Dougald turning up to our January recording with a glass of bubbly in hand, but we find ourselves ranging freely – and at some length – in this conversation we’re calling ‘Remapping Lava’. Before we get onto the main theme of the discussion, we bring back the tradition of asking each other what we’ve been reading or listening to lately that’s got us thinking. Ed talks about , the new novel...

The Great Humbling S4E2: The Great Humbling S4E2: "The Commonplace"

The Great Humbling

Dougald and Ed discuss the idea of 'the commonplace' - that which we hold 'in common'. What can a Scandinavian hotel breakfast 'smorgasbord' tell us about our understanding of the commons beyond resources? Can David Graeber shed light on the role of the commons in human cultural history? And where might we find a new commonplace to have and to hold the conversations, and nurture the ideas and practices that really matter?

The Great Humbling S4E1: 'Confessions' show art The Great Humbling S4E1: 'Confessions'

The Great Humbling

The Great Humbling is back for a fourth series of conversations between Dougald Hine and Ed Gillespie, now as part of the wider patchwork of Homeward Bound. Our theme for this first episode is confessions, but we start by looking back over the summer that’s gone.

The Great Humbling S3E8: 'Now...breathe!' show art The Great Humbling S3E8: 'Now...breathe!'

The Great Humbling

We wrap up series 3 with some ruminations and reflections on the breathing space post-lockdown, what becomes visible beyond hope, how the dark forests of the internet are perhaps the place to be, and we explore cancel culture and the literature of white liberalism...

The Great Humbling S3E7: 'Get on your knees!' show art The Great Humbling S3E7: 'Get on your knees!'

The Great Humbling

Dougald and Ed sink to their knees on the prayer mat, digging into the biological, behavioural, spiritual and political of 'taking the knee' and exploring the absence of blessings, prayer, libations and offerings. Is there a place for 'speaking to the friend' beyond the theology of organised religiion? This episode does not contain Madonna or Bon Jovi

The Great Humbling S3E6: 'Small yourself up!' show art The Great Humbling S3E6: 'Small yourself up!'

The Great Humbling

From Jamaican buses, via Antarctica to policing our own privileges and contributions, this is an adventure through the ways in which our perceptions and attitudes towards scale (and speed) can spin us into awkward and uncomfortable spaces and situations. How do we hold our heads and hearts in the multiple layers of expectation and experience?

The Great Humbling S3E5: 'See Double!' show art The Great Humbling S3E5: 'See Double!'

The Great Humbling

The one where Dougald and Ed explore 'double vision' via the usual unlikely mix of Thundercats, William Blake, Karl Polanyi, Jay Griffiths, Vanessa Andreotti and Robert Frost - how do we maintain our layered consciousness, how does one become an 'accidental futurist' and what might a 'double movement' for the future feel like?

More Episodes

Dougald shares Lucille Clifton’s poem ‘Blessing the boats’

And this week’s instruction is – ‘Do Shrooms!’

Ed introduces one of the inspirations for the episode Merlin Sheldrake’s book, ‘Entangled Life - How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures’

Dougald talks about his fly agaric birthday cake. For his fifth birthday.

And then references Alan Garner’s book Strandloper and a collection of talks and essays called The Voice That Thunders before sharing the story of how he knows and first met the author.

Ed does his etymology thing relating how pioneering psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond asked Aldous Huxley in 1956 to suggest a word to describe the therapeutic use of hallucinogens, Huxley proposed ‘phanerothyme’ - from Greek for ‘manifest’ and ‘spirit’, writing...

“To make this mundane world sublime,

Take half a gram of phanerothyme”

To which Osmond replied:

“To fathom Hell or soar angelic,

Just take a pinch of psychedelic”

Psychedelics…Greek ‘mind manifesting’ or ‘soul revealing’

‘Entheogens’ - from the Greek ‘to be made full of the divine’ – a term coined in 1979 by a group of mythologists and ethnobotanists

Ed introduces Michael Pollan’s ‘How to change your mind’...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Change_Your_Mind

And mentions the John Hopkins Psilocybin Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5KWf8H2pM0tlVd7niMtqeU?si=_P3Xi61wQrmrWcU__M8Lgg curated by researchers to accompany the experiences of their subjects in their research on treating severe depression

We talk about David Abram and sleight of hand magic – how it confounded expectations, ends up sharpening senses - seeing the world as it actually is, not how we expect it to be!

‘Could it be there is another ground on which to plant our feet?’

Relaxing the ego’s trigger-happy command of reactions to people and events. Freed from its tyranny, maddening reflexivity and pinched conception of one’s self-interest - into an ability to exist amid doubts and mysteries without automatically, instinctively reaching for certainty…

Transcend our subjectivity - to widen its circle so far that it takes in everything - ourselves, others and the whole of nature...

Dougald talks about Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s book The Mushroom at the End of the World

Ed talks about his personal experiences...from picking mushrooms on the military firing ranges in the Brecon Beacons, to the sublime and the ridiculous

Dougald recalls meeting Vinay Gupta for the first time who asked ‘you’ve done a lot of acid, haven’t you?’

We speculate about whether mushrooms ‘have an agenda’

Dougald talks about his personal experience and references a fascinating essay by the philosopher Justin E. H. Smith about agrarian shamanism in early modern Europe:


Ed refers to Jonathan Haidt - American Social Psychologist’s ‘The Righteous Mind - Why good people disagree over politics and religion’ and the cultivation of the ‘hive mind’

Ed quotes David Graeber: “the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.”

Dougald concludes with ‘getting ‘far out’ is the easy part, it’s finding your way home that’s hard