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Warning: not for the intellectual dullard! This can be a challenging work at times. Lilly uses technical terms which may be new to the reader. BUT, for those willing to take time to understand what Lilly is writing, the reward is equal to the effort.
It is good to see this work back in print, although I prefer the layout/design of the old , out of print, paperback edition (the publisher of this new edition, Ronin, has a habit of designing most of their books in an irritating manner, as if assuming the reader is too "stoned" to read small print). Also, this edition has been edited and I prefer the original but I am sure that many will find this new edition more "reader friendly". These objections aside, Ronin has done a service in providing this work.
The contents: Lilly presents an interesting model of neurology, human bio-computer, and posits an interesting statement near the beggining of this book, "We may be nothing but our programs". Not that Lilly is a mechanist, as he had recorded greater experiences of quantum-esque with greater clarity than most "mystics".
I would especially recommend this book to those interested in LSD, transpersonal psychology, neurology, and "human potential". Therapists might find much useful information here. I read this as an undergraduate and it's effects are still experienced at times.
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[...]. I originally read this great book in 1974, under its original title and highly recommend that edition (or 1987), or even the original paper (Always Go To the Source!). Lilly could write in very clear and concise prose, albeit 'scientific' in aspect, but this edition is really a travesty. I know how good he was, and detected something 'wrong' with this edition right away. Only later did I realize that Doctor (Beverly) Potter had butchered it and added chapters, and changed meanings (and terms), and NO, did NOT make it clear what was changed and/or edited, and poorly at that (inside cover says "translated by" -- translated, my butt -- this is one of the only books I've ever marked up with a pen because it was so poorly edited). You're still going to get something out of it, maybe, if you can get past the cute watermark illustrations and the "New Age" synthesis (lousy cover art too, DocP), which is why I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 (and out of deference to the great John Cunningham Lilly). But why drink urine when the beer is just a click away? Not this edition, please. Poor Lilly must be spinning in alternity -- trust me, he would not have approved. Do your homework. As for Doc Potter, she specializes in "Job Burnout" therapy. If you ask me, too late. How did she get the rights (shame on Ronin Publishing)? That's what I want to know. Again, go to the originals if at all possible. I'm giving this copy away -- to the jailhouse (can't hurt). But the earlier (authentic, J.C. Lilly himself) editions are priceless, which is why I remembered them after 30-plus years and wanted to read them again. This one just don't cut the mustard. It cuts the cheese.
Lilly was one of the greatest scientists and pioneers on the limits of human possibility of modern times but after his death a collective amnesia has descended and his is now almost forgotten.
Lilly was a generation (or more) ahead of his time. He is almost single-handedly responsible for the great interest in dolphins (which led to the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the USA and helped to found the animal rights movement). In 1958 he noted that the brains of elephants and cetaceans were larger than ours, that we should not abuse them and that it was one our most important projects to communicate with them. He invented sensory isolation tanks (at NIMH in 1954) and used them extensively with and without powerful psychoactive drugs at a time when it was thought that either the brain would shut down or one would go insane if external stimuli were eliminated.
He created methods for implanting electrodes in mammal brains and was planning to do it to himself. He was one of the first to make serious use of computers in bioscience research and created the hardware and software to make the first attempts to communicate with dolphins. He self experimented with dangerous physiological investigations in high altitude medicine for the military during WW2, took LSD with dolphins and movie stars, submitted himself to the rigors of Arica training, and taught classes at Esalen.
He was the first one to investigate the bizarre psychedelic ketamine, and his results (published in the two last chapters of his book `The Scientist`) are still the best data on the dose/effect relation of any psychedelic on one person. And all this happened before most of us were born!Read more ›
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