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Darwin's Pharmacy: Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noosphere (In Vivo) Paperback – May 16, 2011
New from Tom Wolfe
The maestro storyteller and reporter provocatively argues that what we think we know about speech and human evolution is wrong. Learn more
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"This is a book for all readers who have ever wondered whether dreams are another form of wakened consciousness. Doyle expands wonder from dreams to ecodelic states and the possibilities of communication about these states via language."―Stanley Shostak, University of Pittsburgh
Top Customer Reviews
Penn State English professor Richard Doyle's book is a mind-stretching achievement, that views the literature on psychedelic drugs and plants through the eyes of evolutionary theory, and how our interaction with these mind-altering plants effects their selection in evolution, and ours, by symbiotically increasing one another's reproductive success.
Doyle synergistically combines a Darwinian perspective with what is known about psychedelic states of consciousness, and fruitfully builds upon the work of great thinkers and pioneers in the field of psychedelic research--such as Aldous Huxley, Terence McKenna, Timothy Leary, John Lilly, and Rick Strassman--taking us into whole new realms of thought.
Doyle's primary thesis is that psychedelic plants and human beings have been influencing one another's evolution over time, often in surprising ways. With their mind-amplifying powers, psychedelic plants seduce us into interacting with them. We help to propagate them, and they intensify "a crucial component of sexual selection in humans: discourse." That is, they give us a lot to talk about, and, according to Doyle, psychedelic plants are also helping us to engage our minds with the "noosphere," what the late French paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin called the thinking layer of our planet.
So many novel and thought-provoking ideas are playfully explored and masterfully blended in this unique volume, that I can barely summarize them here.Read more ›
I found the passages on linguistics (as well as 'sound/icaro as guide') especially poignant. As was everything he had to say about perception and skepticism. I'm going to remind myself to share this idea from the book next time I am challenged: in the search for truth, it's not always most efficacious to be skeptical of the experiences, but rather of our limited framework of interpretation.
The fact that you are in academia also gives me hope on a personal level because I am a young professor-in-residence/life coach/psychonaut teaching in the Honors College at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but often wonder if I will (be able to) stay in an academic environment long... seeing how with each journey I take, I find it harder and harder to hide myself in my purest form, and I fear that form is not scholarly-friendly! (i.e. I recently wrote a blog about a "mystical" experience... some of my students stumbled upon it and enjoyed it, however, I'm not so sure the Dean would.)
Anyway, you are fantastic, and thank you again for such a great collection of thoughts and realities.
All the best,
This book belongs in the library of every evolutionary biologist, philosopher, technologist, and psychonaut, or any combination thereof.
I'd like to second her comment, and to go further and say - don't even think of reading the book - at least on the first time through - from a purely "linear" standpoint. From the start, let the words wash over you, not in a regressive way, but joining them, joining the undulating, rhythmic, at times dense and at other times scintillatingly simple prose.
journey with the oscillating, vibrating rhythms, relax and float downstream (or upstream if that is your predilection).
Find your hands in this waking dream-book and remember to breathe - remember to turn inward, to spark that "turning about in the deepest seat of one's being" as the Lankavatara Sutra has it; to find the rich kingdom within, the Divine spark which is ever-present.
Thanks, Professor Doyle!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As an exploration of ideas and revolutionary concepts this book is brilliant, arguably the work of genius. Read morePublished 15 months ago by David Bruce Leonard
Great read! Unique and empowering logical and philosophical perspectives that really expand your mind and leave room to create your own ideas. Read morePublished on November 12, 2013 by Miskintin
Doyle's work is cogent, well-researched, and far-reaching in its implications. It's simply a "must read" for anyone in rhetoric studies.Published on March 9, 2013 by BRAD LUCAS
A Note on Darwin's Pharmacy:
"May we give true voice/ To the statements of Thy creatures [ . . . Read more