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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 fascinating journey through the wonders and terrors of psychedelic life." -- Elle, Nov. 2000
...the best collection of psychedelic traveler's tales that I have read in a long, long time. -- Jay Stevens, author of Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream
This courageous book ...will captivate, inspire, caution and educate. -- Rick Doblin, founder, Multidisplincary Association for Psychedlic Studies
This terrifically engaging compendium ...avoids all of the expected ...cliches. ...a group of highly literate...testimonies... -- Publishers Weekly, September 11, 2000
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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?