Forthcoming: Mike Jay’s High Society

14 08 2010

I enjoy the work of science history writer Mike Jay and this book has been begging to be written so I am really looking forward to this one:

(Click image for Amazon link)

An illustrated cultural history of drug use from its roots in animal intoxication to its future in designer neurochemicals

• Featuring artwork from the upcoming High Society exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London, one of the world’s greatest medical history collections

• Explores the roles drugs play in different cultures as medicines, religious sacraments, status symbols, and coveted trade goods

• Reveals how drugs drove the global trade and cultural exchange that made the modern world

• Examines the causes of drug prohibitions a century ago and the current “war on drugs”

Every society is a high society. Every day people drink coffee on European terraces and kava in Pacific villages; chew betel nut in Indonesian markets and coca leaf on Andean mountainsides; swallow ecstasy tablets in the clubs of Amsterdam and opium pills in the deserts of Rajastan; smoke hashish in Himalayan temples and tobacco and marijuana in every nation on earth.

Exploring the spectrum of drug use throughout history–from its roots in animal intoxication to its future in designer neurochemicals–High Society paints vivid portraits of the roles drugs play in different cultures as medicines, religious sacraments, status symbols, and coveted trade goods. From the botanicals of the classical world through the mind-bending self-experiments of 18th- and 19th-century scientists to the synthetic molecules that have transformed our understanding of the brain, Mike Jay reveals how drugs such as tobacco, tea, and opium drove the global trade and cultural exchange that created the modern world and examines the forces that led to the prohibition of opium and cocaine a century ago and the “war on drugs” that rages today.



Technomad: Global Raving Countercultures

23 11 2009

New book from editor of Dancecult, Graham St. John just published:

Technomad: Global Raving Countercultures

Graham is also planning to publish a book about psytrance next year.

John Horgan reviews Benny Shannon’s ‘Antipodes of the Mind’

20 07 2009

Science writer John Horgan reviews Benny Shanon’s highly regarded book about ayahuasca and psychology, Antipodes of the Mind:


Dale Pendell on Burning Man, the Green Man, Dionysian Anarchism

10 10 2007

Esteemed poet of plants and philosopher of history, Dale Pendell, shares some insights about the true nature of humanity and history, and some very wise proposals for Burning Man, LLC.

Green Flames: Thoughts on Burning Man, the Green Man, and Dionysian Anarchism, with Four Proposals

(If you are a burner of any sort, or if you are just curious about the event, I highly recommend Dale Pendell’s recent book, Inspired Madness: The Gifts of Burning Man. Awesome prose mixed with piercing intellect and possessed by the pantheon of playa spirits.)

Book ‘Shroom’ falsley called "rigorous"

15 06 2007

This post is from Michael Hoffman ( I whole-heartedly agree. I, also, was upset when this general audience book came out attempting to debunk decades or scholarly research:

Talks of Letcher’s “findings”:

I also spoke with a modernity-focused psychedelics researcher who also bought into Letcher’s illusion of rigor. I’m starting to agree with Jan Irvin that the shortcomings of Letcher’s book could cause some harm and serve as the biggest setback to the field of entheogen scholarship since Wasson’s dismissal of the Plaincourault fresco as Amanita and Wasson’s complete failure to consider entheogens throughout the Bible & Christian history.

Anyone who hasn’t read much entheogen scholarship, and hasn’t made that their main focus, is likely to come away from Letcher’s book with the mis-impression that the entheogen theory of religion has been proven baseless. Letcher needs to publish corrections and clarifications to reduce the harm that his half-informed, abridged “popular audience” book has done
to the field of entheogen scholarship.

We need more issues of Entheos magazine to dispel the pernicious illusion that the entheogen theory of religious origins = the mushroom theory as popularized using Wasson/Allegro/McKenna, and the illusion that Letcher’s book treated all the evidence and arguments for the entheogen or mushroom theory of religious origins & history. Shroom is a biased treatment: it waves aside much evidence, carelessly treats the existing evidence, and waffles on which hypothesis it is purporting to refute.

The popular version of the mushroom theory of religion that is based on
Wasson/Allegro/McKenna has flaws, but neither is Shroom correct. Letcher is not a general entheogen scholar; he researched the popular Wasson/Allegro/McKenna mushroom theory in isolation. The resulting biased, distorted picture and treatment demonstrates why authors must be cautious when writing a book about only a single visionary plant. Authors need to do all their homework across the overall field, to contribute valid studies in the subfields.

Demonstrates Shroom is not rigorous as it needs to be: – high-level
analysis of the situation and state of the field; categorizes Letcher’s view
within a typology of competing paradigms – relevant book excerpts – my Amazon review

— Michael Hoffman,


7 06 2007

…get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you’re o-kay.
Money, its a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.

Just saw an awesome new doc about money. Done in a very interesting way. Loads of good quotes. 45 minutes; If you saw America: Freedom To Fascism, or you know about monetary reform, then you know most of the stuff from the first half… but the second half is enthralling:

(takes a few seconds to start)

and for all you e-lluminati, enjoy this 1 hr Alex Jones interview of Aaron Russo (The Rose, Trading Places, Freedom To Fascism). Icluding attempts made by Rockerfellers to recruit Russo:

For the full scoop on the Federal Reserve and the situation on the planet, read The Creature From Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin. This book will change everything about the way you see the world. Completely and utterly mind-blowing!