The Trip Report by Beckley Waves
The Trip Report
#22 Bruce Damer: Catalyzing Scientific and Creative Breakthroughs

#22 Bruce Damer: Catalyzing Scientific and Creative Breakthroughs

Welcome back to The Trip Report Podcast, a production of Beckley Waves, a Psychedelic Venture Studio.

Today, we have the privilege of speaking with Bruce Damer, a distinguished astrobiologist from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

He is also the Director and Chief Scientist at the BIOTA Institute and the co-founder and president of the Center for MINDS, which stands for the Multidisciplinary Investigation Into Novel Discoveries & Solutions.

Bruce is most well known for the Hot Spring Hypothesis for an Origin of Life. This groundbreaking theory challenges the conventional belief that life on Earth began in the oceans, suggesting instead that it emerged from hot springs. 

Important for our conversation today and for the work that the Center for MINDS is initiating, the hot spring hypothesis came to Bruce during an Ayahuasca ceremony.

The Center for MINDS is a non-profit organization co-founded by Bruce and colleagues to investigate the potential of psychedelics and mindfulness practices to catalyze states of creativity for innovative problem-solving in science, engineering, leadership, design, and other fields. MINDS is sponsoring the research and development of new protocols, facilitating public discourse, and supporting community education, with the goal of finding solutions to some of humanity's greatest challenges.

This project is inspired by research that was abruptly halted in the 1960s—which was studying the use of mescaline for promoting technical breakthroughs—along with Bruce’s own experience with the hot spring hypothesis.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • Bruce’s introduction to psilocybin from none other than Terrence Mckenna;

  • How his Ayahuasca and breath work experiences revealed to him the biochemistry of the origin of life;

  • The Center for MINDS origin story;

  • The practice of set, setting, and set up—where set up is the crucial ingredient for creative breakthrough;

  • The research programs and community building he is spearheading with the Center for MINDS; 

  • Endotripping: a term Bruce coined to describe the exploration of the mind without drugs; 

  • And much more.

And now, I bring you my conversation with Bruce Damer.


Listen to the episode on Substack, Spotify, Google or Apple.


Theme music by MANCHO Sounds, Mixed and Mastered by Rollin Weary

The Trip Report by Beckley Waves
The Trip Report
The Trip Report is a podcast and newsletter about the business, science, and policy developments of the evolving psychedelic field. While the main organizing theme is psychedelics, it is really about the many different domains that are converging to bring about this field and the assembly of what many believe to be a “New Paradigm” in science, medicine, and our understanding of the human experience. Our goal is to foster an educated and informed psychedelic ecosystem, and to do that, we will feature in-depth conversations with scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and stakeholders at the forefront of the psychedelic renaissance.