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Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures Paperback – November 1, 2000
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Editor Hayes' "brief cultural history of tripping" contains 50 personal accounts of psychedelic drug use both by such names as sf author Robert Charles Wilson and, mostly, by first-name-only regular folks. Hayes' purpose is to delineate the place in contemporary cultural history of psychedelic substances and the urge to ingest them. "The fact is that human beings will always want to suspend everyday reality . . and they will always be at least curious about alternate states of consciousness," he says, citing historical antecedents. The reminiscences recall using the likes of LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, and the range of experiences reported is panoramic and includes much rumination. The concluding conversation with "shamanologist," lecturer, and author Terrence McKenna, "arguably, the most eloquent . . . spokesman for the psychedelic experience and the plant kingdom from which it emanates," is entirely fitting. For seriously treating what is often characterized as nihilistic and destructive entertainment, the book deserves its place in the literature of psychoactive substances. Mike Tribby
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“A magnificent collection." – Alexander Shulgin, godfather of MDMA
"Hayes is such a bristling and intelligent writer that one almost wishes that he had written the whole book himself. The free flow of ideas about these verboten substances and their anthropological/psychological possibilities is exhilarating." – The Oxford American
"A sensitive and responsible approach to documenting profound experiences with 'drugs.' The results of this informal research are both informative and highly moving." – The Lancet
“Intriguing. The narratives are informative, cautionary, hilarious and spooky. The uninitiated may recoil from stories of visions of goat-devils, the moon as an alien flashlight, and nude escapades at Burning Man, but those in on the book's implicit wink will find like-minded stories of drug-induced bliss and abject terror." – San Francisco Chronicle
"Readers will find a sequence of first-person narratives (a form at least as old as The Canterbury Tales) that presents, in kaleidoscopic fashion, the last thirty years as refracted through the prism of a drug experience." – The Chronicle of Higher Education
“We can theorize about psychedelics till the cow patties come home, but there's nothing as poignant, perplexing, and funny as a well-told trip report. Charles Hayes has gathered together some great ones. Tripping is instructive, hilarious and -- let's face it -- enticing. I loved it.” – R.U. Sirius, Mondo 2000
"A classic in the growing body of contemporary psychedelic literature. For the experienced, Tripping is a harvest of inspiring moments and a reminiscence of one's own deeply shape-shifting journeys. For the uninitiated, it is a profound glimpse into the hidden world of the subconscious and a provocation for wider acceptance of the usefulness of psychedelic states." – Allan Badiner, Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics
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If you're interested in the subject, you won't regret getting your hands on this. I was hooked from Chapter 1.
For some, the psychedelic experience was hallucinogenic (for me, like "Jack", I "never had the ultimate experience of seeing things that weren't there and not knowing the difference"--though I did once hear ghostly voices talking to me through walls). And/or it was mythic, with ancient gods and goddesses; spiritual, religious; creative. And/or eye-opening, with what had formerly been abstract now so REAL, in the moment: an existential awakening. And then there were those in this collection who focused on LSD, and psychedelics, as a catalyst that in retrospect changed their lives.
Having been through my own psychedelic era (as a bandanna-wearing hippie), I suspect that many of the contributors, rewriting these pieces, might have a more nuanced reaction now; or years from now. One more grounded, if admittedly more prosaic. (I admit, however, that my absorption in the subject, which led to my own book, affected my critique of this one.) But four stars is still pretty good, if we have to measure things, and more to the point: I'm glad this book was published, because it's good to know there are so many who sought and seek (or reside within) what I think of as spiritual reality, even as I spend my post-psychedelic life defining and redefining what that means.
I Think, Therefore Who Am I?