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***See below for a complete topic breakdown.***
Conflict-resolution is complex.
Human dynamics in moments of conflict, mixed with both narratives of antagonistic othering and whatever actual power differentials are present in those dynamics, are far from simple processes to address and resolve. The lenses through which we conceptualize ourselves, the other, the pattern of interaction between us, the process of addressing conflicts that are present, and the content those conflicts surround, can differ dramatically. The greater the differences between all those lenses and the less we possess the capacity to recognize and hold those differences collabratively, the more complicated the complexity of conflict becomes and the more difficult resolution will be.
This complexity is present in one-on-one human interactions but also exists on larger scales too. They can exist between whole groups of people, whole cultures at conflict, perpetuated and concretized over time. Even to the point where conflict with a particular other is a foundational element of one’s cultural identity. How then do we move towards conflict resolution? How do we move towards peace-making in such a context?
Furthermore, what if the reality of that conflict exists within very real political injustice? A militarized conflict where there is on-the-ground violence, death, and displacement? Where there is a clear power differential that favors one side of the conflict over the other? Where peacebuilding means addressing a political and social injustice that profits one side over the other? Now we are into some serious, life-and-death complexity.
This is the kind of complexity that exists between Palestinians and Isarlies, whose conflicts—especially around The West Bank—have resulted in acts of war, death, and destruction. Even recently.
It is in the context of the complexity of this conflict that we enter into the topic of this podcast episode: joint-space ayahuasca ceremonies and conflict resolution in the West Bank. Or, in other words, groups of Israelis and Palestinians experiencing conflict resolution while drinking ayahuasca together.
To explore this topic, we invite Antwan Saca and Leor Roseman to the show.
Leor Roseman is a postdoc at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College London, where he also received his PhD and MRes; under the supervision of Dr Robin Carhart-Harris and Prof David Nutt. His research interests are diverse and cover neuroscientific, phenomenological, therapeutic, and psychosocial aspects of psychedelic use.
Currently, Leor is investigating relational processes and group dynamics in psychedelic rituals. His main line of research is examining the potential of psychedelics for peacebuilding. While his research is currently focused on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he and his collaborators are hoping to develop an approach that is applicable in other contexts as well.
Antwan Saca was born in Jerusalem to a Christian family from the city of Bethlehem. He has spent his adult life working towards the dream of peace and justice in the Holy Land, believing that healing the pain of the past is a prerequisite for healthy relations between nations and—ultimately—peace.
Antwan graduated from the Arab American University of Jenin with a BA in Public Law. He is the Director of Palestinian Programs at Seeds Of Peace and an associate for Leader’s Quest. He spent five years at the Holy Land Trust serving also as director of programs, where he experienced community-healing approaches that strengthened his interest in non-violent compassionate activism.
He has also previously worked as Programme Coordinator at the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, and as a research assistant for urbanization and geopolitical monitoring at the Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem. He was also a youth leader and a member of the One Voice movement.
Together, Antwan and Leor are two of the authors of the research paper Relational Processes in Ayahuasca Groups of Palestinians and Israelis and are on the show to talk about that research and the complexities of conflict and conflict-resolution it explores.
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Timestamps available on YouTube
- Introducing the complexity of this topic
- Why Leor and Antwan were called to doing this research
- The dynamics in joint-space ayahuasca ceremonies with Israelis and Palestinians
- Facing the elephant in the room
- The role of cultural identities in the perpetuation of conflict
- The power dynamic on the west bank is more than just a cultural narrative
- The limitations of apolitical, individualistic “inner spirituality” narratives
- The vital importance of anger in facing injustice
- The challenge of integrating ayahuasca ceremonies (and conflict-resolution experiences) in the West Bank
- Communitas: can it change an unjust political reality or does it keep that reality as it is through evading it?
- Learning new ways of engaging the challenge of an unjust political reality that help encourage actual change
- The danger of these ayahuasca ceremonies and conflict-resolution in the West Bank.
- Drug stigma and the emergence of ayahuasca in Middle Eastern countries
- Movements towards using local plants in Middle Eastern Ayahuasca brews
- The different kinds of experiences reported
- Unity-based connection (and criticism of the “individual spirituality” of perennial philosophy)
- Recognition and difference-based connection
- Conflict-related revelation
- Awe and Silence
- Paraverbal qualities of language
- Delivery of conflict-related revelation and the need to ‘share the message’
- Journalism and the complexity of reporting on ayahuasca ceremonies and conflict resolution in the West Bank