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The Center of the Cyclone: An Autobiography of Inner Space Hardcover – March 20, 1985


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Julian Press (March 20, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 051752760X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517527603
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,401,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By rareoopdvds VINE VOICE on November 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
An autobiography of Inner Space is indeed what is happening here. Dolphin researcher turned consciousness explorer reaches heights that Timothy Leary so much admired about him. The book journeys from his youth to his research days at the dolphin labs and his scientific and personal discoveries and relays them to the reader in such humbleness that one cant help but to empathize and rejoice in his discoveries. Once his dolphin research was abolished, he took it upon himself to turn to neurology and neurological drugs, i.e. LSD-25, or as they called it "Pure Sandoz." It is here where his naieve approach to drugs really comes out in his writing, as he was not afraid of them, but also had never tried them (LSD in particular). Lilly read everrything he could on LSD before trying it (study before trial, similar to magic and all forms of initiation. Today with psychedelic drugs illegalized almost everywhere in the world (a conspiracy if you ask me), Lilly never condones this method (drugs) to attain self knowledge. Lilly in his deep moments of self reflection and depression understood that it could be achieved through other means without drugs. From here, is where he finalizes his journey. A marvelous book, unfortunately now its out of print, however, if you should find a copy, it would be worth your while to pick it up. I am also assuming you are somewhat familiar with John Lilly, either through Professor Leary or Robert Anton Wilson, in which it will not be a waste of a purchase.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Through the course of this book, Dr. Lilly describes and explains his experiences, with and without drugs, which led to the formulation of the statement which is it's core: "In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true within limits to be found experimentally and experientially. These beliefs are limits to be transcended." One creates one's own truth and may or may not subject it to tests which may or may not confirm it, so that even one's objectivity is subjective. Awareness of this constant state of things allows one to observe one's own behavior, as well as that of others, with greater empathy and understanding of the process by which one chooses to believe
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Al Link and Pala Copeland on April 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is Lilly's map of inner space explored during his famous LSD experiments in the sensory deprivation isolation tank that he invented. He gives detailed descriptions of various levels of consciousness on a scale including both positive and negative states. The Hollywood movie Altered States, directed by Ken Russell and starring William Hurt, was based on this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Featherless Biped on January 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
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!

He had courage, honesty and integrity that is rare anywhere and almost nonexistent in science.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Mathiesen on March 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the story of Dr. John C. Lilly's move from dolphin research to "inner space" research. We read of the strange places we can go to in our head.

The first third of the book concentrates on Lilly's experiments with LSD. The relatively detailed first hand accounts of what a hallucinogenic trip can be like makes fascinating reading for those of us who have never experienced such a brain state. These chapters definitely made the book truly memorable for me and are written in a very engaging style that reveals Lilly's own enthusiasm for the material.

In the mid section Lilly describes his experiences at the Esalen Institute both as a participant and lecturer. This includes sessions with the Gestalt Therapist Fritz Perl and the psycho-masseuse Ida Rolfing. These were truly 'happening' experiences in the sixties, but may be more familiar to twenty first century readers.

The final third of the book covers Lilly's experiences with mystical, physical exercises in an esoteric "school" in Chile. Much time is devoted to describing different psychological "states" classified according to Gurdjeiff's system. I found this section of the book a chore to read, but the events and information were obviously very important to Lilly.
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