WHAT IS NORMAL? PART 2: A Healthy Humanity - Panel Discussion & Q&A

  • Tue 8th Jun 2021, 7pm – 9pm UK time (UTC +01:00)
  • Online
community society mental health psychedelic science psychedelic science & mental health
Hosted by The Psychedelic Society
Activity Psychedelic Science & Mental Health
Enquiries to mags@psychedelicsociety.org.uk
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“The new normal” became an overused phrase in the first lockdown, describing a post-pandemic world in which we might have learnt from the unprecedented challenges and experiences shared across the globe. None of us expected our version of normality to be shaken in this way - but was our way of life ever “normal” to begin with? The past year has shone a spotlight on many of our tired and archaic socio-economic systems and structures, giving us a chance to pause and reflect on the state of humanity as a whole. 

As human-beings we originally lived in tribal communities and had a deep knowledge of our environment, with an inherent connection with nature, and the people around us. To what extent have we lost touch with the way we evolved and become wrapped up in a capitalist world rife with inequality, driven by money and individualistic goals? The rapid rise of technology in recent decades has shaped us into a very different kind of society to that in which our species evolved to exist.

How might we use this pivotal moment in history as an opportunity to make changes to the way we live our lives that would enable us to reconnect with what feels true and purposeful for the human race? If we choose to challenge what went before and learn from our ancestral past, what could a lifestyle that is more attuned to our basic needs look like?

In this panel discussion, we explore the systems that have been and continue to be challenged: a mental health system in crisis; a wonderfully diverse yet divided society of people who have forgotten the power of human connection, who are unable to understand and treat their own mental distress; a lonely society desperate to find meaning in the world.  How do we create a healthier humanity?


Wendy Grant

Wendy Grant is a Team Leader at Race Reflections, providing training and content to rethink inequality, injustice and oppression. Originally from South Africa, Wendy has lived through the transition from Apartheid to the birth of democratic South Africa. It is this foundational experience that has fuelled her passion for anti-racism work. As an experienced Social Worker, she has worked with vulnerable and marginalised individuals and groups at grassroots level. She has also worked with a range of national and local organisations in South Africa and the UK including with religious groups, within the non-government sector, in education, in mental health and in family justice. Wendy is a skilled facilitator and trainer. She has held leadership roles as a Public Education and Training Manager in South Africa and as a Child Protection Chair in London. Wendy’s quest for ongoing learning, change and greater understanding of the macro/global environment led her to recently complete a Master’s in International Relations at the University of Sussex. She is interested in the connections between the micro and macro in relation to racial inequality, justice and oppression in a way that is accessible beyond academia. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, carnivals and soca.

James Barnes

James Barnes is a psychotherapist and writer based in Exeter, UK, who has a background in relational psychoanalysis and philosophy. He has worked in mental health for almost two decades in the UK, as well as in the US and Mexico. James has lived experience of mental health services and has recently returned to the UK to help facilitate a paradigm shift in the understanding and treatment of emotional/psychological distress. He has a particular interest in working on the philosophical and conceptual foundations of this shift and is currently in the process of writing a book for Confer on the relational psyche and its distress. Website: https://www.jamesbarnes52.com/ Twitter: @psychgeist52 

Marc Aziz Michael

Marc Aziz Michael teaches Sociology at the American University in Beirut. Concurrently, he is training as a Group Analyst at the Institute of Group Analysis in London, and as an apprentice Nima within the Bwitist tradition in Ntoum, Gabon. His therapeutic practice focuses on non-substance based altered states of consciousness for groups and individuals, within a mixed analytic-spiritual framework. Marc’s research is centered on the history and power of small groups, and spans economic sociology, gender studies, social theory, public health, and dream studies. He is currently finishing a book about the history of commercial banking as a tool of social and political control. 

Zoe Timimi

Zoe Timimi is currently completing an MSc in International Political Economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, having graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2019 with a BA in Human, Social and Political Sciences (specialising in Sociology). Before her MSc, she worked as a Social Researcher at the National Centre for Social Research, London. She has completed research on beliefs and practice around mental health in secondary schools which is being published in the Journal of Philosophy of Education later this year. In addition, Zoe has worked on academic and creative projects focusing on critical mental health, which include co-producing ‘Lost in Lockdown: You are not Alone’, a video that explores and critiques dominant narratives around mental health in lockdown. Zoe’s other topics of academic interest span critical (particularly feminist) views on the economy, the crisis of care under capitalism and the social relations fostered under the neoliberal capitalist political-economic system. 


This will be a 2 hour event with a Q&A session, giving the opportunity for the audience to ask their own questions. The event will be recorded and ticket purchasers will be sent the recording within a week of the event.

If you would like to attend this event but are unable to afford the ticket price, please do get in touch with us directly at mags@psychedelicsociety.org.uk. At the Psychedelic Society, we believe that everyone should be able to access our events regardless of employment or health circumstances, so we will do our best to accommodate where we can.


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