27```Last days in London
The last two to three weeks of London were more than hectic for me, but in the best way possible, honestly. Somehow several of my closest friends from college and high school came to visit, so I took out a lot of time from my already busy schedule to be with them. I also “sacrificed” a lot of my time for game art and other “work,” in order to walk around by myself, think, and journal (I wrote 80+ pages for a little more than two weeks!)
Overall, I felt inner peace a lot more often than before. Because of my friends’ presence (many physically, others through skype/phone calls). Because of the insights I gained from a whole day of intense philosophizing/reflecting that I wrote about in update #26.
I felt much more grounded in my life, and when sadness, loneliness, lack of confidence, insecurity, etc., arose, I accepted them more. I know they are still informative in the end, that they are not all bad unless I make them be that way. I was seeing how the different kinds of negative emotions I had in November or earlier this year, while really painful at the moment, did help me recognize what I appreciate or value much more quickly when they come into my life now, and I started to feel more grateful for both the “bad” and the “good” experiences I had, because they all helped me grow. And with that brief but beautiful romantic encounter I mentioned in update #25, I recognized that a huge part of its beauty was largely a result of my growth from my past frustrations with communicating myself.
So, I’ve been in the light, but I’m appreciating the shadow more too!
I got more materials for the documentary! The last bits in London... I interviewed chemist & BBC broadcaster Andrea Sella and neuroscientist Karl Friston (who’s been predicted to win a Nobel Prize soon), and did individual shoots with my friends Tinya and Elin.
Andrea is really interested in addressing “taboo” topics in science education. Something I found really cool was that, even though his personal work has nothing to do with psychedelics, he suggested that psychedelics could be a great entry point for truly interdisciplinary intellectual exchange: what if a psychedelic research centre bridges neuroscience, psychiatry, philosophy, chemistry, anthropology, religion, and the arts?
Karl has 230k+ citations, according to Google Scholar, but mostly because of his “day job”: brain imaging. His “night job,” which is where his deepest passion lies, is the Free Energy Principle. He and Robin Carhart-Harris published a paper a few months ago that merged their theories into what they called REBUS, RElaxed Beliefs Under pSychedelics). So I asked him to introduce The Free Energy Principle to the audience, and explain how psychedelics work in that model.
link to a Wired article about Karl
For the shoot with Tinya, current president of UCL’s psychedelic society, we went to a park, a cemetery, and a botanical garden, because she loves these kinds of places. They were all really beautiful too! We just wandered around and chatted about her story with psychedelics and how this semester of running the society has been.
Elin came to visit for a few days (which I’m so so so grateful for) and during a night class, I just decided to skip my game class for a day two days later, to just hang out with her and shoot something for the documentary. I rented equipment last minute. We hung out in the city for a whole day. For some parts of it, I put up the camera and Elin just spitted out whatever she wanted to say about psychedelics and running Princeton’s psychonautics club.
Because of the documentary, my friends visiting, and a ton of self reflection I felt I badly needed, I didn’t put a lot of time into my second game art project. My game art teacher postponed the deadline for us, but I’ve got a whole loads of other things to do in Beijing, I am not quite sure how much more progress I’ll make before I turn in the final product.... But here are screenshots of what I have for now!
While I am not super happy with what I have for this project, just reflecting on how much I’ve learned in the past 12 weeks in game art makes me incredibly grateful. I got way more out of this course (though I am still, shamelessly, the most behind person in my class all the time because I don’t stay after class to do work...) than I could have possibly imagined. And I’m not done with learning game art yet! The softwares are so so powerful, and we only got to taste a small fraction of what they could do. I definitely want to keep practicing and making art with them, hopefully integrating my environments into VR at some point!