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Seminar Spotlight - David Presti

“Among the most profound questions we can ask are certainly these: who are we as conscious human beings, and how do we relate to everything else we think we know about the universe? There are many approaches to these questions, and I come at them from the perspective of contemporary science."

“As a college student in the US Midwest, I studied physics, chemistry, and mathematics. I also read books on philosophy, including many by Alan Watts, who wrote lovingly of Esalen. I hadn’t yet been west of the Rocky Mountains, but when it came time for graduate school, I wanted to go to California.

“In graduate school at Caltech, I studied astrophysics, then switched to molecular biology in order to learn about living organisms and be better prepared to somehow pursue the scientific study of consciousness. From doing microbial molecular biology, I transitioned into neurobiology, then experimental and clinical psychology. During the 1990s, I worked as a clinician at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Francisco, treating drug and alcohol addiction and war-related post-traumatic stress.

“For twenty-two years I have been on the faculty at the University of California in Berkeley, and for the last fifteen years I have been teaching workshops at Esalen on the science related to mind and consciousness. I believe that a deeper understanding of the nature of mind will provide additional evidence for vast interconnectivities in the natural world, and that this will contribute to greater compassion and respect among humans. It is a privilege and delight to continue the exploration of these issues in the nurturing educational and transformative environment of Esalen.”

See Psychedelic Medicines and the Mind, February 22–24.


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