books

A Holistic Worldview

       
 

Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi
The Systems View of Life
A Unifying Vision
510 pages, Hardcover, eBook
Cambridge University Press

 

One of the key insights of the systems approach has been the realization that the network is a pattern that is common to all life. Wherever we see life, we see networks.
Fritjof Capra

Over the past thirty years, a new systemic conception of life has emerged at the forefront of science. New emphasis has been given to complexity, networks, and patterns of organisation leading to a novel kind of ‘systemic’ thinking. This volume integrates the ideas, models, and theories underlying the systems view of life into a single coherent framework. Taking a broad sweep through history and across scientific disciplines, the authors examine the appearance of key concepts such as autopoiesis, dissipative structures, social networks, and a systemic understanding of evolution. The implications of the systems view of life for health care, management, and our global ecological and economic crises are also discussed. Written primarily for undergraduates, it is also essential reading for graduate students and researchers interested in understanding the new systemic conception of life and its implications for a broad range of professions – from economics and politics to medicine, psychology and law. (provided)
25 july 14

A magisterial study of the scientific basis for an integrated worldview grounded in the wholeness that generations of one-eyed reductionists could not see. The authors succeed brilliantly!
David W. Orr

Conversations around the Vine of the Soul

       
 

Rak Razam
The Ayahuasca Sessions
Conversations with Amazonian Curanderos and Western Shamans
312 pages, Paperback, eBook
North Atlantic Books

 

When the counterculture embraced LSD in the Sixties, it opened the mind; Ecstasy unblocked the heart for the rave culture of the nineties; and now the jungle medicine Ayahuasca is standing ready to rebalance the soul for a new generation of seekers in the new millennium.
Rak Razam

A great read for seekers and thrill-seekers interested in ayahuasca tourism, entheogens, and counterculture studies, this companion volume to the author’s memoir Aya Awakenings collects in-depth interviews with native Amazonian curanderos (healers) and Western shamans traveling the “gringo trail” in the jungles of Central and South America in search of a direct encounter with ayahuasca’s multidimensional reality.
In areas of Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, the traditional herbal brew known as ayahuasca or yajé is legally used to heal physical ailments and to cleanse and purify the spirit by connecting it to the web of life; Sting and Tori Amos have admitted sampling it in Latin America, as has Paul Simon, who chronicled the experience in his song “Spirit Voices.” Australian journalist Rak Razam documents the thriving business of 21st century Amazonian hallucinogenic shamanism from multiple perspectives, revealing the stark differences between indigenous and foreign approaches as well as the commonalities. (provided)
17 july 14

A memorable and deeply personal journey into the hearts and minds of those who carry on the shamanic traditions of ayahuasca.
Rick Doblin

The Medium and the Message

       
 

Adam J. Rock, Ed.
The Survival Hypothesis
Essays on Mediumship
320 pages, Softcover, eBook, illustrated
McFarland

 

The issue of post-mortem survival is supremely relevant to us all because on our consensual space-time reality the human encounter with death is, of course, a certainty.
Adam J. Rock

Contemporary parapsychology tends to be preoccupied with ESP (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition) and psychokinesis. In contrast, this cutting-edge anthology assembles an international team of experts from the fields of psychology, parapsychology, philosophy, anthropology and neuroscience to examine critically what is referred to as the survival hypothesis: the tentative statement or prediction that some aspect of our personhood (e.g., consciousness) persists subsequent to the death of the physical body.
The appraisal of the survival hypothesis will be restricted to the phenomenon of mediumship; that is, humans who ostensibly communicate with the deceased. The book has been divided into four main sections: Explanation and Belief; Culture, Psychopathology and Psychotherapy; Empirical Approaches; The Present and Future. The issue of postmortem survival is supremely relevant to us all because the human encounter with death is, of course, a certainty. (provided)

Zero, zip, nada, zilch

       

 

Jeremy Webb, Ed.
Nothing
Surprising Insights Everywhere from Zero to Oblivion
256 pages, Paperback, e-Book
The Experiment

 

Nothing becomes a lens through which we can explore the universe around us and even what it is to be human. It reveals past attitudes and present thinking.
Jeremy Webb

It turns out that almost nothing is as curious – or as enlightening – as, well, nothing. What is nothingness? Where can it be found? The writers of the world’s top-selling science magazine investigate – from the big bang, dark energy, and the void to superconductors, vestigial organs, hypnosis, and the placebo effect – and discover that understanding nothing may be the key to understanding everything:
– What came before the big bang, and will our universe end?
– How might cooling matter down almost to absolute zero help solve our energy crisis?
– How can someone suffer from a false diagnosis as though it were true?
– Does nothingness even exist? Recent experiments suggest that squeezing a perfect vacuum somehow creates light.
– Why is it unfair to accuse sloths – animals who do nothing – of being lazy?
– And more …
Contributors Paul Davies, Jo Marchant, and Ian Stewart, along with two former editors of Nature and 16 other leading writers and scientists, marshal up-to-the minute research to make one of the most perplexing realms in science dazzlingly clear. Prepare to be amazed at how much more there is to nothing than you ever realized. (provided) 4 july 14

Plant Biochemistry in Human Brain Expansion

       
 

Tony Wright and Graham Gynn
Return to the Brain of Eden
Restoring the Connection between Neurochemistry and Consciousness
Foreword by Dennis J. McKenna
304 pages, Paperback, 14 b&w illustrations
Inner Traditions

 

The accelerating expansion of the neo-cortex was due to a runaway feedback mechanism driven by our own hormone system in combination with the complex plant bio-chemistry provided by our diet. What has been overlooked is the profound effects of flooding our brains 24/7 for thousands of generations with this highly advanced molecular engineering formula.
Tony Wright

Over a period of a million years the human brain expanded at an increasingly rapid rate, and then, 200,000 years ago, the expansion abruptly stopped. Modern science has overlooked this in order to maintain that we are at the pinnacle of our evolution. However, the halt in brain expansion explains not only recently uncovered anomalies within the human brain but also the global traditions of an earthly paradise lost and of humanity’s degeneration from our original state of perpetual wonder and joy.
Drawing on more than 20 years of research, authors Tony Wright and Graham Gynn explore how our modern brains are performing far below their potential and how we can unlock our higher abilities and return to the euphoria of Eden. They explain how for millions of years early forest-dwelling humans were primarily consuming the hormone-rich sex organs of plants – fruit – each containing a highly complex biochemical cocktail evolved to influence DNA transcription, rapid brain development, and elevated neural and pineal gland activity. Citing recent neurological and psychological studies, the authors explain how the loss of our symbiotic fruit-based diet led to a progressive neurodegenerative condition characterized by aggressive behaviors, a fearful perception of the world, and the suppression of higher artistic, mathematical, and spiritual abilities. (provided) 1 july 14

Hail Eris!

       
 

Adam Gorightly
Historia Discordia
The Origins of the Discordian Society
294 pages, Paperback
RVP Press

 

Nobody is excluded from the Discordian Society for reasons of race, religion, politics, sex, celibacy, being a cabbage, or anything else like that. Every sentient being is an Honorary Discordian. We accept you, totally whoever or whatever you are. This leads to an inevitable objection, which helpfully leads right into the center of Discordian metaphysics.
Robert Anton Wilson


The most extensive collection in print documenting the Discordian Society’s wild and wooly legacy, Historia Discordia features the unique worldview and wit of such illuminated iconoclasts as Robert Anton Wilson and Discordian founders Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley.
Chronicling Discordianism’s halcyon days, Historia Discordia presents a fun and freewheeling romp through rare photos, holy tracts, art collages, and fnords, many of which appear for the first time in print. (provided) 23 june 14

Like communication-god Thoth with his yammering ape, like the all-important noise that Count Korzybski assures us must accompany our every signal, no harmony is possible without an acknowledgement and understanding of discord. Born from the bowling-alley epiphanies of Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley, its disruptive teachings disseminated through the incendiary writings of Robert Anton Wilson and other Eristic luminaries, the Discordian Society has unexpectedly become a landmark of gleefully aggressive sanity in a chaotic and incoherent world. Through this book, we can all involve ourselves in their gloriously constructive quarrel.
Alan Moore

Our Quest for Understanding

       
 

Marcelo Gleiser
The Island of Knowledge
The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning
368 pages, Hardcover
Basic Books

 

Science is based on measurements and observations. And the notion that we can actually come up and have a theory that explains everything assumes that we can know everything … And since we cannot measure all there is to measure, since our tools have limitations, we are definitely limited in how much we can know of the world.
Marcelo Gleiser

To be human is to want to know, but what we are able to observe is only a tiny portion of what’s “out there.” In The Island of Knowledge, physicist Marcelo Gleiser traces our search for answers to the most fundamental questions of existence. In so doing, he reaches a provocative conclusion: science, the main tool we use to find answers, is fundamentally limited.
These limits to our knowledge arise both from our tools of exploration and from the nature of physical reality: the speed of light, the uncertainty principle, the impossibility of seeing beyond the cosmic horizon, the incompleteness theorem, and our own limitations as an intelligent species. Recognizing limits in this way, Gleiser argues, is not a deterrent to progress or a surrendering to religion. Rather, it frees us to question the meaning and nature of the universe while affirming the central role of life and ourselves in it. Science can and must go on, but recognizing its limits reveals its true mission: to know the universe is to know ourselves.
Telling the dramatic story of our quest for understanding, The Island of Knowledge offers a highly original exploration of the ideas of some of the greatest thinkers in history, from Plato to Einstein, and how they affect us today. An authoritative, broad-ranging intellectual history of our search for knowledge and meaning, The Island of Knowledge is a unique view of what it means to be human in a universe filled with mystery. (provided) 19 june 14

Psychoactive Testimonies

       
 

Ralph Metzner, Ed.
The Ayahuasca Experience
A Sourcebook on the Sacred Vine of Spirits
272 pages, Paperback, 13 b&w illustrations
Park Street Press

 

The fact that Westerners will seek out a foul-tasting jungle medicine, in a faraway environment and culture, a medicine that frequently leads to violent purging and can include terrifying visions, is a remarkable paradox, and yet the overwhelming majority of people who try it find in it the deepest spiritual realizations of their life as well as profoundly healing changes.
Ralph Metzner

Widely recognized by anthropologists as the most powerful and widespread shamanic hallucinogen, ayahuasca has been used for healing and divination for thousands of years by native Indian and mestizo shamans in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. Made from the Amazonian vine Banisteriopsis caapi and the DMT-laden leaf of Psychotria viridis, ayahuasca is regarded as the embodiment of intelligent plant beings who can offer spiritual teachings and healing knowledge to those who respectfully engage with them. Many Western-trained physicians and psychologists now acknowledge that ayahuasca allows access to spiritual dimensions of consciousness, otherworldly realms and beings, and visionary experiences indistinguishable from classic religious mysticism.
With contributions from leading psychoactive scholars Dennis McKenna, Charles Grob, and J. C. Calloway, on the ethnopharmacology, psychology, phytochemistry, and neuropharmacology of ayahuasca, Ralph Metzner provides a comprehensive exploration of the chemical, biological, psychological, and experiential dimensions of this Amazonian hallucinogen. He includes more than 20 firsthand accounts from people who have participated in ayahuasca rituals and experienced major life changes as a result. He details the scientific discovery of ayahuasca’s sophisticated psychoactive delivery system in the brain and body as well as the deep psychological impact of this potent entheogen. He concludes with his own findings on ayahuasca, including its applications in medicine and psychology, and compares the worldview revealed by ayahuasca visions to that of modern cultures. (provided) 13 june 14

Our Virtuoso Ability

Mark Turner
The Origin of Ideas
Blending, Creativity, and the Human Spark
304 pages Hardcover, eBook
Oxford University Press

The human mind can be thought of as a bubble chamber of mental spaces where new mental spaces are being formed all the time out of old ones. This process whereby a novel mental space might emerge “out of old” configurations of previously set-up mental spaces is a “conceptual integration” or “conceptual blending.
Mark Turner

Why are we so innovative? Where do new ideas come from? Why are human beings so exceptionally good at innovation, leaving other species mentally in the dust? How can we hold onto new ideas once they are formed? This book explores the claim that the human spark, the source of innovation and the origin of ideas, was an advance that occurred in a particular kind of mental operation, which Turner calls blending. Blending is our ability to take two ideas or more and create a new idea from the “blend.” And what is so fascinating is how human beings are able to engage in blending almost without effort and usually unconsciously. It appears to be second nature to us, how we live and breathe in the course of processing information and ideas.
Human beings are profoundly different from all other species in this ability. While many species can do what we cannot – fly, run amazingly fast, see in the dark – only human beings can innovate. Beginning somewhere in the Paleolithic Age, everything changed in the course of human events. Before that, we were a bunch of large mammals. After that, we were poised to take over the world. Turner makes the controversial and provocative claim that what made human advances possible was the ability to engage in the virtuosity of blending, which is everywhere apparent in our cultural record – in our creations and innovations – it is the origin of our ideas.
Turner’s theory of blending is featured in Jonah Lehrer’s bestselling book, Imagine, and this book will be the first to lay out this theory in detail for a lay audience and academics tackling the nature of the human brain and the fascinating puzzle of what it means to be human. (provided) 6 june 14

Supernatural Communication

Jack Hunter and David Luke
Talking With the Spirits
Ethnographies from Between the Worlds
366 pages, Paperback
Daily Grail Publishing

Mediumship is a pursuit that locates itself at the awkward to get the crevices and junctions of life, offerings a service somewhere between spiritual guidance bereavement counselling, paranormal insight, life coaching, fortune telling, healing activity, religious practice and performance spectacle.
David Luke & Jack Hunter

Talking With the Spirits is a cross-cultural survey of contemporary spirit mediumship. The diverse contributions to this volume cover a wide-range of ethnographic contexts, from Spiritualist séances in the United Kingdom to self-mortification rituals in Singapore and Taiwan, from psychedelic spirit incorporation in the Amazonian rainforest, to psychic readings in online social spaces, and more. By taking a broad perspective the book highlights both the variety of culturally specific manifestations of spirit communication, and key cross-cultural features suggestive of underlying core-processes and experiences. Rather than attempting to reduce or dismiss such experiences, the authors featured in this collection take the experiences of their informants seriously and explore their effects at personal, social and cultural levels. (provided) 27 May 14

Long Lifes of Gaia

Rachel Sussman
The Oldest Living Things in the World
With Essays by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Carl Zimmer
304 pages, 124 color plates, 4 infographics,
Hardcover, eBook
University of Chicago Press

It’s difficult to stay in Deep Time – we are constantly drawn back to the surface. This vast timescale is held in tension with the shallow time inherent to photography. What does it mean to capture a multi-millennial lifespan in 1/60th of a second? Or for that matter, to be an organism in my 30s bearing witness to organisms that precede human history and will hopefully survive us well into future generations?
Rachel Sussman

The Oldest Living Things in the World is an epic journey through time and space. Over the past decade, artist Rachel Sussman has researched, worked with biologists, and traveled the world to photograph continuously living organisms that are 2,000 years old and older. Spanning from Antarctica to Greenland, the Mojave Desert to the Australian Outback, the result is a stunning and unique visual collection of ancient organisms unlike anything that has been created in the arts or sciences before, insightfully and accessibly narrated by Sussman along the way.
Her work is both timeless and timely, and spans disciplines, continents, and millennia. It is underscored by an innate environmentalism and driven by Sussman’s relentless curiosity. She begins at “year zero,” and looks back from there, photographing the past in the present. These ancient individuals live on every continent and range from Greenlandic lichens that grow only one centimeter a century, to unique desert shrubs in Africa and South America, a predatory fungus in Oregon, Caribbean brain coral, to an 80,000-year-old colony of aspen in Utah. Sussman journeyed to Antarctica to photograph 5,500-year-old moss; Australia for stromatolites, primeval organisms tied to the oxygenation of the planet and the beginnings of life on Earth; and to Tasmania to capture a 43,600-year-old self-propagating shrub that’s the last individual of its kind. Her portraits reveal the living history of our planet – and what we stand to lose in the future. These ancient survivors have weathered millennia in some of the world’s most extreme environments, yet climate change and human encroachment have put many of them in danger. Two of her subjects have already met with untimely deaths by human hands.
Alongside the photographs, Sussman relays fascinating – and sometimes harrowing – tales of her global adventures tracking down her subjects and shares insights from the scientists who research them. The oldest living things in the world are a record and celebration of the past, a call to action in the present, and a barometer of our future. (provided) 21 May 14

Longevity means continuity. Long-lived people connect generations for us. Really long-lived organisms, like the ones Sussman has magnificently collected photographically, connect millennia. They put all of human history in living context. And as Sussman shows, they are everywhere on Earth. This book embodies the Long Now and the Big Here.
Stewart Brand

A Case for Cognitive Liberty

       
 

Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Clancy Cavnar (Eds)
Prohibition, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights
Regulating Traditional Drug Use
254 pages, Hardcover, eBook
Springer

 

While the international community has advanced significantly in elaborating treaties, and recognizing and trying to implement human rights based on the concept of human dignity, the drug control system is understood by its supporters as a hermetic system, apart from any influence from human rights laws.
Luciana Boiteux, Luciana P. Chernicharo, Camila S. Alves

This book addresses the use and regulation of traditional drugs such as peyote, ayahuasca, coca leaf, cannabis, khat and Salvia divinorum. The uses of these substances can often be found at the intersection of diverse areas of life, including politics, medicine, shamanism, religion, aesthetics, knowledge transmission, socialization, and celebration. The collection analyzes how some of these psychoactive plants have been progressively incorporated and regulated in developed Western societies by both national legislation and by the United Nations Drug Conventions. It focuses mainly, but not only, on the debates in court cases around the world involving the claim of religious use and the legal definitions of “religion.” It further touches upon issues of human rights and cognitive liberty as they relate to the consumption of drugs. While this collection emphasizes certain uses of psychoactive substances in different cultures and historical periods, it is also useful for thinking about the consumption of drugs in general in contemporary societies. The cultural and informal controls discussed here represent alternatives to the current merely prohibitionist policies, which are linked to the spread of illicit and violent markets. By addressing the disputes involved in the regulation of traditional drug use, this volume reflects on notions such as origin, place, authenticity, and tradition, thereby relating drug policy to broader social science debates. (provided) 14 May14

A Radical Theory

       
 

Max Tegmark
Our Mathematical Universe
My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality
432 pages, Hardcover, eBook
Alfred A. Knopf

 

If I get a parking ticket, there is always a parallel universe where I didn’t. On the other hand, there is yet another universe where my car was stolen.
Max Tegmark

Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not only helps us grasp his often mind-boggling theories, but he also shares with us some of the often surprising triumphs and disappointments that have shaped his life as a scientist. Fascinating from first to last – this is a book that has already prompted the attention and admiration of some of the most prominent scientists and mathematicians. (provided) 7 May 14

If Dr. Tegmark is correct, this represents a paradigm shift in the relationship between physics and mathematics, forcing us to rewrite our textbooks. A must read for anyone deeply concerned about our universe.
Michio Kaku

Max Tegmark leads his readers, clearly and accessibly, right to the frontiers of speculative cosmology – and indeed far beyond.
Martin Rees

Phenomenon of Shamanism

       
 

Fulvio Gosso and Peter Webster
The Dream on the Rock
Visions of Prehistory
138 pages, Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
State University of New York Press

 

It is certain that the anthropological phenomenon called shamanism existed from the earliest of times, and spread to the four corners of the world. Philosophical and religious aspects of shamanism permeated ensuing and highly complex systems such as Taoism and Tantra, and the esoteric currents of contemporary world religions.
Fulvio Gosso and Peter Webster

The Dream on the Rock takes an interdisciplinary approach to contextualizing and historicizing the phenomenon of shamanism from the Neolithic Age until the beginning of the Iron Age. Fulvio Gosso and Peter Webster argue that rock art and other ancient materials provide a glimpse of the fundamental role played by nonordinary states of consciousness in our social and evolutionary prehistory. Ultimately, the authors offer a comprehensive exploration of shamanism, religion, and the origins of human consciousness, along with evidence that hallucinogenic plants may have played a key role in this process. (provided) 1 May 14

This study establishes the use of psychoactive sacraments as the primordial experience that stimulated the evolution of human consciousness and its sense of the divine. It also documents the developing history of this shamanic event through an examination of cave and rock art worldwide, not only in paintings and engravings, but in the strange phenomenon of cup-marks carved in stone in the Alpine region, which may have played a role in the ritual use of the psychoactive Amanita muscaria mushroom. It is the first book to examine the full range of evidence and to place central Europe also in this context.
Carl A. P. Ruck

Accelerated Evolution

       
 

James Lovelock
A Rough Ride to the Future
208 pages, Hardcover, eBook
Allen Lane

 

Evolution is a tightly coupled dance, with life and the material environment as partners. From the dance emerges the entity Gaia.
James Lovelock

James Lovelock, who has been hailed as ‘the man who conceived the first wholly new way of looking at life on earth since Charles Darwin’ (Independent) and ‘the most profound scientific thinker of our time’ (Literary Review) continues, in his 95th year, to be the great scientific visionary of our age. This book introduces two new Lovelockian ideas. The first is that three hundred years ago, when Thomas Newcomen invented the steam engine, he was unknowingly beginning what Lovelock calls ‘accelerated evolution’, a process which is bringing about change on our planet roughly a million times faster than Darwinian evolution. The second is that as part of this process, humanity has the capacity to become the intelligent part of Gaia, the self-regulating Earth system whose discovery Lovelock first announced nearly 50 years ago. In addition, Lovelock gives here his reflections on how scientific advances are made, and his own remarkable life as a lone scientist.
The contribution of human beings to our planet is, Lovelock contends, similar to that of the early photosynthesizers around 3.4 billion years ago, which made the Earth’s atmosphere what it was until very recently. By our domination and our invention, we are now changing the atmosphere again. There is little that can be done about this, but instead of feeling guilty about it we should recognise what is happening, prepare for change, and ensure that we survive as a species so we can contribute to – perhaps even guide – the next evolution of Gaia. The road will be rough, but if we are smart enough life will continue on Earth in some form far into the future. (provided) 25 Apr 14

A New Model of Humor

       
 

Scott Weems
Ha!
The Science of When We Laugh and Why
256 pages, Hardcover, e-Book
Basic Books

 

When the brain is given conflicting goals or information, it uses that conflict to generate novel solutions, sometimes producing ideas that have never been thought of before. Humor succeeds because we take joy in this process, which is why a bored mind is a humorless mind. We take pleasure in working through the confusion, and we laugh when we’ve come up with a solution.
Scott Weems

Humor, like pornography, is famously difficult to define. We know it when we see it, but is there a way to figure out what we really find funny – and why?
In this fascinating investigation into the science of humor and laughter, cognitive neuroscientist Scott Weems uncovers what’s happening in our heads when we giggle, guffaw, or double over with laughter. While we typically think of humor in terms of jokes or comic timing, in Ha! Weems proposes a provocative new model. Humor arises from inner conflict in the brain, he argues, and is part of a larger desire to comprehend a complex world. Showing that the delight that comes with “getting” a punchline is closely related to the joy that accompanies the insight to solve a difficult problem, Weems explores why surprise is such an important element in humor, why computers are terrible at recognizing what’s funny, and why it takes so long for a tragedy to become acceptable comedic fodder. From the role of insult jokes to the benefit of laughing for our immune system, Ha! reveals why humor is so idiosyncratic, and why how-to books alone will never help us become funnier people.
Packed with the latest research, illuminating anecdotes, and even a few jokes, Ha! lifts the curtain on this most human of qualities. From the origins of humor in our brains to its life on the standup comedy circuit, this book offers a delightful tour of why humor is so important to our daily lives. (provided) 18 Apr 14

An Insider’s Account

       
 

Alan Shoemaker
Ayahuasca Medicine
The Shamanic World of Amazonian Sacred Plant Healing
168 pages, Paperback, 8-page color insert
Park Street Press

 

Ayahuasca and the other sacred power plants heighten our awareness, opening the doors to the spiritual plane of existence. They guide us to our center where within each of us sleeps an internal doctor, i.e. “the healer within”, which once activated allows us to heal ourselves.
Alan Shoemaker

For more than twenty years American-born Alan Shoemaker has apprenticed and worked with shamans in Ecuador and Peru, learning the traditional methods of ayahuasca preparation, the ceremonial rituals for its use, and how to commune with the healing spirit of this sacred plant as well as the spirit of the San Pedro cactus and other sacred plant allies. Now a recognized and practicing ayahuasquero, or ayahuasca shaman, in Peru, he offers an insider’s account of the ayahuasca tradition and of its use for expanding consciousness and achieving healing through access to other dimensions of being.
Shoemaker details his training and his own curandero practice using ayahuasca medicine, tobacco purges, psychedelic mushrooms, and other visionary plants. He discusses the different traditions of his two foremost teachers and mentors, Don Juan in the Peruvian Amazon, an ayahuasquero, and Valentin in Ecuador, a San Pedro shaman. He reveals the indispensable role played by icaros, the healing songs of the plant shaman, and offers firsthand accounts of miraculous healing resulting from ayahuasca’s ability to reveal the cause of an illness, including how he healed his mother from liver cancer. (provided) 11 Apr 14

Ayahuasca Medicine is a highly readable collection of incredible stories about miraculous healings and life with indigenous healers sure to entice anyone with an interest in ayahuasca and other psychoactive plants used in Latin America. Cautionary advice admixes with infectious enthusiasm for the topic, and provides a valuable contribution to the literature on practical applications of psychedelic plants’ effects.
Rick Strassman

Advent of a New Paradigm

       
 

Ervin Laszlo
The Self-Actualizing Cosmos
The Akasha Revolution in Science and Human Consciousness
208 pages, Paperback, 29 b&w illustrations
Inner Traditions

 

We are beginning to see the entire universe as a holographically interlinked network of energy and information, organically whole and self referential at all scales of its existence. We, and all things in the universe, are non-locally connected with each other and with all other things in ways that are unfettered by the hitherto known limitations of space and time.
Ervin Laszlo

Science evolves through alternating phases of “normal science” and radical shifts that create scientific revolutions. We saw this at the turn of the 20th century, when science shifted from a Newtonian worldview to Einstein’s relativity paradigm, and again with the shift to the quantum paradigm. Now, as we recognize the nonlocal interconnection of all things in space and time, we find our scientific worldview shifting once again.
With contributions by physicists Paul A. LaViolette and Peter Jakubowski, pioneering systems scientist Ervin Laszlo explores the genesis of the current revolution in scientific thought and the latest findings in support of the Akashic field. He explains how the burgeoning Akasha paradigm returns our way of thinking to an integral consciousness, a nonlinear mode of understanding that enables us to accept the reality of nonlocal interconnection throughout the world. This new inclusive way of understanding reaffirms the age-old instinctive comprehension of deep connections among people, societies, and nature, and it integrates and transcends classical religious and scientific paradigms.
Providing examples from cutting-edge science of quantum-resonance-based interactions among all living systems, Laszlo shows the cosmos of the Akasha to be a self-actualizing, self-organizing whole, where each part is in coherence with all others and all parts together create the conditions for the emergence of life and consciousness. The advent of the Akasha paradigm marks a new stage in science’s understanding of the fundamental nature of the world and offers unique guidance for contemporary efforts to create a peaceful and sustainable world. (provided) 7 Apr 14

The modern idea of a mindless, purposeless, directionless universe will take its place as a morbid relic in the history of ideas. It is being replaced by the vision expressed in The Self-Actualizing Cosmos. This important book restores hope and meaning and shows that the cosmos is a friendlier home than we have recently taken it to be.
Larry Dossey

Global Visionary Developments

       
 

Juliana Birnbaum, Louis Fox, Eds
Sustainable (R)Evolution
Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide
Foreword by Paul Hawken
368 pages, Paperback, eBook, color illustrations throughout
North Atlantic Books

 

One of the most important things about permaculture is that it is founded on a series of principles that can be applied to any circumstance – agriculture, urban design, or the art of living. The core of the principles is the working relationships and connections between all things.
Juliana Birnbaum

Urban gardeners. Native seed-saving collectives. Ecovillage developments. What is the connection between these seemingly disparate groups? The ecological design system of permaculture is the common thread that weaves them into a powerful, potentially revolutionary – or revolutionary – movement.
Permaculture is a philosophy based on common ethics of sustainable cultures throughout history that have designed settlements according to nature’s patterns and lived within its bounds. As a movement that has been building momentum for the past 40 years, it now is taking form as a growing network of sites developed with the intention of regenerating local ecologies and economies. Permaculture strategies can be used by individuals, groups, or nations to address basic human needs such as food, water, energy, and housing. As a species, humans are being called forth to evolve, using our collective intelligence to meet the challenges of the future. Yet if we are to survive our collective planetary crisis, we need to revisit history, integrating successful systems from sustainable cultures. To boldly confront our position on the brink of the earth’s carrying capacity and make changes that incorporate the wisdom of the past is truly revolutionary.
Sustainable (R)Evolution features the work of a worldwide network of visionaries, including journalists, activists, indigenous leaders and permaculturists such as David Holmgren, Vandana Shiva, Charles Eisenstein, Starhawk, Erik Assadourian, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Albert Bates, and Geoff Lawton. This beautifully photographed collection of profiles, interviews, and essays features 60 innovative community-based projects in diverse climates across the planet. Edited by anthropologist Juliana Birnbaum and award-winning activist filmmaker Louis Fox, it can be read as an informal ethnography of an international culture that is modeling solutions on the cutting edge of social and environmental change. The research presented in the book frames the permaculture movement as a significant ally to marginalized groups, such as the urban poor and native communities resisting the pressures of globalization. Sustainable Revolution uplifts and inspires with its amazing array of dynamic activists and thriving, vibrant communities. (provided) 1 Apr 14

Maximizing the Good

       
 

Alex Pentland
Social Physics – How Good Ideas Spread
The Lessons from a New Science
320 pages, Hardcover
USD 27.95 | GBP 16.88 | EUR 20.30
CHF 32.40
Penguin

 

Put another way, social physics is about how human behavior is driven by the exchange of ideas – how people cooperate to discover, select, and learn strategies and coordinate their actions – rather than how markets are driven by the exchange of money … We’re going to reinvent what it means to have a human society.
Alex Pentland

If the Big Data revolution has a presiding genius, it is MIT’s Alex “Sandy” Pentland. Over years of groundbreaking experiments, he has distilled remarkable discoveries significant enough to become the bedrock of a whole new scientific field: social physics. Humans have more in common with bees than we like to admit: We’re social creatures first and foremost. Our most important habits of action – and most basic notions of common sense – are wired into us through our coordination in social groups. Social physics is about idea flow, the way human social networks spread ideas and transform those ideas into behaviors.
Thanks to the millions of digital bread crumbs people leave behind via smartphones, GPS devices, and the Internet, the amount of new information we have about human activity is truly profound. Until now, sociologists have depended on limited data sets and surveys that tell us how people say they think and behave, rather than what they actually do. As a result, we’ve been stuck with the same stale social structures – classes, markets – and a focus on individual actors, data snapshots, and steady states. Pentland shows that, in fact, humans respond much more powerfully to social incentives that involve rewarding others and strengthening the ties that bind than incentives that involve only their own economic self-interest.
Pentland and his teams have found that they can study patterns of information exchange in a social network without any knowledge of the actual content of the information and predict with stunning accuracy how productive and effective that network is, whether it’s a business or an entire city. We can maximize a group’s collective intelligence to improve performance and use social incentives to create new organizations and guide them through disruptive change in a way that maximizes the good. At every level of interaction, from small groups to large cities, social networks can be tuned to increase exploration and engagement, thus vastly improving idea flow.
Social Physics will change the way we think about how we learn and how our social groups work – and can be made to work better, at every level of society. Pentland leads readers to the edge of the most important revolution in the study of social behavior in a generation, an entirely new way to look at life itself. (provided) 26 Mar 14

Stimulants Around the World

       
 

Richard J. Miller
Drugged
The Science and Culture Behind Psychotropic Drugs
384 pages, Hardcover
USD 39.95 | GBP 25.99 | EUR 31.20
CHF 47.90
Oxford University Press

 

Morphine is the most significant chemical substance mankind has ever encountered. … Whatever advances are made in medicine, nothing could really be more important than that. … And yet, when it comes to mind-altering substances, morphine is only a cc or two in a vast river that flows through human civilization, ranging LSD to a morning cup of tea.
Richard J. Miller

In his new book, Miller takes readers on an eye-opening tour of psychotropic drugs, describing the various kinds, how they were discovered and developed, and how they have played multiple roles in virtually every culture. The vast scope of chemicals that cross the blood-brain barrier boggle the very brain they reach: cannabis and cocaine, antipsychotics and antidepressants, alcohol, amphetamines, and Ecstasy-and much more. Literate and wide-ranging, Miller weaves together science and history, telling the story of the undercover theft of 20,000 tea plants from China by a British spy, for example, the European discovery of coffee and chocolate, and how Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the famous man of letters, first isolated the alkaloid we now know as caffeine. Miller explains what scientists know – and don’t – about the impact of each drug on the brain, down to the details of neurotransmitters and their receptors. He clarifies the differences between morphine and heroin, mescaline and LSD, and other similar substances. Drugged brims with surprises, revealing the fact that antidepressant drugs evolved from the rocket fuel that shot V2 rockets into London during World War II, highlighting the role of hallucinogens in the history of religion, and asking whether Prozac can help depressed cats. (provided)
19 Mar 14

Finding Our True Nature

       
 

Joseph Chilton Pearce
Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg
Split Minds and Meta-Realities
Foreword by Thom Hartmann
208 pages, Paperback, New Edition
USD 14.95 | GBP 12.99 | EUR 11.95
CHF 17.40
Park Street Press

 

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
Joseph Chilton Pearce

In this classic follow-up to his bestselling The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Joseph Chilton Pearce explains the process of acculturation and the mechanisms that create our self-limiting “cosmic egg” of consensus reality.
Laying the groundwork for his later classic Magical Child, Pearce shows that we go through early childhood connecting with the world through our senses. With the development of language and the process of acculturation not only do our direct experiences of the world become much less vivid but our innate states of nonordinary consciousness become suppressed. Trapped in a specific cultural context – a “cosmic egg” – we are no longer able to have or even recognize mystical experiences not mediated by the limitations of our culture. Motivated primarily by a fear of death, our enculturation literally splits our minds and prevents us from living fully in the present.
Drawing from Carlos Castaneda’s writings about Don Juan and the sense of “body-knowing,” Pearce explores the varieties of nonordinary consciousness that can help us return to the unencumbered consciousness of our infancy. He shows that just as we each create our own cosmic egg of reality through cultural conditioning, we also innately create a “crack” in that egg. Ultimately certain shifts in our biological development take place to offset acculturation, leaving an avenue of return to our primary state. Pearce examines the creation of the “egg” itself and ways to discover its inherent cracks to restore wholeness to our minds, release us from our fear of death, and reestablish our ability to create our own realities through imagination and biological transcendence. (provided) 13 Mar 14

21st Century Hallucinogenic Shamanism

       
 

Rak Razam
Aya Awakenings
A Shamanic Odyssey
Foreword by Dennis J. McKenna
512 pages, Paperback
USD 26.95 | GBP 16.50 | EUR 19.60
CHF 30.90
North Atlantic Books

 

What science cannot explain is the psychic effect of this “mother of all plants” the sense of the numinous and the spiritual world it reportedly opens up. Those who drink say that each ayahuasca journey is unique. They say that the spirit of the vine comes alive, it guides and teaches, and on the other side nothing is ever the same.
Rak Razam

Experiential journalist Rak Razam sets out to document the thriving business of 21st-century hallucinogenic shamanism starting with a trip to the annual Amazonian Shaman Conference in Iquitos, Peru, where he meets a motley crew of “spiritual tourists,” rogue scientists, black magicians, and indigenous and Western healers and guides, all in town to partake of the ritual – and the medicine – of ayahuasca, “the vine of the soul.” Combining his personal story with the history of Amazonian shamanism, Razam takes the reader along on an entertaining, enlightening adventure.
In areas of Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, the traditional herbal brew known as ayahuasca or yajé is legally used to heal physical ailments and to cleanse and purify the spirit by connecting it to the web of life. Sting and Tori Amos have admitted sampling it in Latin America, as has Paul Simon, who chronicled the experience in his song “Spirit Voices.” Aya Awakenings works as a cautionary tale, a travelogue, and a memoir, but primarily acts as a portal through which readers are able to gain more information about the perils and the promise of spiritual reconnection through ayahuasca. (provided) 5 Mar 14

Secrets of the Living Brain

       
 

Michio Kaku
The Future of the Mind
The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind
400 pages, Hardcover
USD 28.95 | GBP 16.00 | EUR 14.49
CHF 33.50
Doubleday Penguin

 

One of the deepest experiences a scientist can have, almost approaching a religious awakening, is to realize that we are children of the stars, and that our minds are capable of understanding the universal laws that they obey.
Michio Kaku

For the first time in history, the secrets of the living brain are being revealed by a battery of high tech brain scans devised by physicists. Now what was once solely the province of science fiction has become a startling reality. Recording memories, telepathy, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis are not only possible; they already exist.
The Future of the Mind gives us an authoritative and compelling look at the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world – all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics. One day we might have a “smart pill” that can enhance our cognition; be able to upload our brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; send thoughts and emotions around the world on a “brain-net”; control computers and robots with our mind; push the very limits of immortality; and perhaps even send our consciousness across the universe.
Michio Kaku takes us on a grand tour of what the future might hold, giving us not only a solid sense of how the brain functions but also how these technologies will change our daily lives. He even presents a radically new way to think about “consciousness” and applies it to provide fresh insight into mental illness, artificial intelligence and alien consciousness.
With Kaku’s deep understanding of modern science and keen eye for future developments, The Future of the Mind is a scientific tour de force – an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience. (provided) 25 Feb 14

Nature's Transformative Potential

       
 

Ralph Metzner
The Toad and the Jaguar
A Field Report of Underground Research
on a Visionary Medicine
Bufo alvarius and 5-methoxy-dimethyltryptamine
Forewords by Stanislav Grof
and Charles Grob
92 pages, Paperback
USD 15.00 | GBP 18.00 | EUR 15.95
CHF 22.90
Green Earth Foundation and Regent Press

 

These are experiential realms, where descriptive words and images of necessity give way to indescribable awe and wonder.

In this monograph, I relate findings from more than 30 years of experiences and observations with this substance, in various user groups and individuals, both in the US and in Europe. I use the term underground in referring to the explorations with these substances, in the sense that they were hidden – out of respect for the restrictions and prohibitions of mainstream culture.
These are ethnographic field reports: first-hand observations from an underground sub-culture, accompanied by the experiences of a selected number of participant-observers. It is important to recognize that in research with these and other so-called psychedelic or entheogenic substances, one cannot limit the observations and reflections solely to their physical and psychological effects. As most of the people cited here emphasize, the experiences with these substances at times can go far beyond their physical and psychological effects into the deepest and highest dimensions of our existence, both the cosmic and the spiritual. RM 19 Feb 14

A Golden Thread

       
 

John Perlin
Let It Shine
The 6 000-Year Story of Solar Energy
544 pages, Hardcover
USD 29.95 | GBP 17.30 | EUR 21.70
CHF 34.50
New World Library

 

By combining the oldest and the newest solar technologies – architecture and photovoltaics – the autonomous house becomes possible. Its development could do away with power lines altogether just as cell phones have gone wireless and in the process, eliminate the central power plants they connect to which would reduce the danger of radioactive fallout and global warming and their consequences that threaten the well-being of all things both big and small including us.
John Perlin

Even as concern over climate change and energy security fuel a boom in solar technology, many still think of solar as a twentieth-century wonder. Few realize that the first photovoltaic array appeared on a New York City rooftop in 1884, or that brilliant engineers in France were using solar power in the 1860s to run steam engines, or that in 1901 an ostrich farmer in Southern California used a single solar engine to irrigate three hundred acres of citrus trees. Fewer still know that during the Renaissance Galileo and his contemporaries planned the construction of sun-focusing mirrors as the ultimate weapon to burn enemy fleets and towns, that Leonardo da Vinci planned to make his fortune by building half-mile-long mirrors to heat water, or that the Bronze Age Chinese used hand-sized solar-concentrating mirrors to light fires the way we use matches and lighters today.
In this definitive history of solar technology, John Perlin tells a story that goes back more than six thousand years to when the Stone Age Chinese built their homes to make maximum use of the sun’s energy in winter. The book profiles the fascinating characters who made the solar revolution possible, revealing a group of unknown pioneers, like Gustav Vorherr, who opened up the first school of solar architecture in the 1820s, as well as solar advocates known for other accomplishments, such as Socrates, who 2 500 years ago gave a detailed discourse on designing passive solar homes.
This unique and compelling compendium of humankind’s solar ideas tells the fascinating story of how our predecessors throughout time, again and again, have applied the sun to better their lives – and how we can too. (provided)
13 Feb 14

Shaping Your Reality

       
 

Laurent Huguelit
The Shamanic Path to Quantum Consciousness
The Eight Circuits of Creative Power
176 pages, 27 b&w illustrations
USD 16.95 | GBP 10.20 | EUR 12.30
CHF 19.50
Bear & Company

 

The real revolution – or the real change in paradigm – will be a creative revolution. In the not-too-distant future we will no longer be able to unravel reality without understanding at the same time that we are participating simultaneously in its creation and that our beliefs are the basic cosmological building blocks forming the structure of what we call “real.”
Laurent Huguelit

First outlined by Timothy Leary and later expanded by Robert Anton Wilson, the eight-circuit model of consciousness explains how the soul is multidimensional and functions on eight distinct interconnected planes that form the eight circuits of conscious awareness. Each circuit is connected to certain behaviors and personality traits – the second circuit, for example, is connected to emotional consciousness, such as intuition, feelings of courage, or, in its unbalanced state, aggression and domination, and the eighth circuit, the creative circuit of quantum consciousness, is related to limitless perception, understanding, and action that extends far beyond the limits of planet Earth.
Laurent Huguelit explains how these eight levels of awareness are interconnected through feedback loops, forming a cybernetic mapping of the soul. He explores the underactive, overactive, and balanced states of each circuit, offering many psychological profiles as examples. He reveals how activating a circuit that has been neglected can help bring another into balance. Connecting this model of conscious evolution to shamanism – the oldest consciousness science known to man – the author explains how to balance and upgrade your own circuits through shamanic techniques. He reveals how to reconnect with source energy by deprogramming trauma from your childhood that can affect your circuits. With access to this unlimited energy you can activate your innate creative power to manifest your desires and shape reality.
Uniting shamanism and the law of attraction with advanced concepts of modern psychology, quantum physics, and the Akashic field theory of Ervin Laszlo, Laurent Huguelit offers a practical map of human consciousness and the development of the soul as well as a vision for the cybernetic future of shamanism. (provided) 7 Feb 14

A one of a kind Anthology

       
 

Rick Doblin and Brad Burge (Eds)
Manifesting Minds
A Review of Psychedelics in Science, Medicine, Sex, and Spirituality
304 pages, Paperback
USD 19.95 | GBP 17.99 | EUR 14.50
CHF 22.90
Evolver Editions
North Atlantic Books

 

Featuring essays and interviews with Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, Ram Dass, Albert Hofmann, Alexander (Sasha) Shulgin, Daniel Pinchbeck, Tim Robbins, Arne Naess, and electronic musician Simon Posford, as well as groundbreaking research and personal accounts, this one-of-a-kind anthology is a “best of” collection of articles and essays published by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Topics include the healing use of marijuana and psychedelics–including MDMA, ibogaine, LSD, and ayahuasca – for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and drug addiction, as well as positive effects of these substances in the realm of the arts, family, spirituality, ecology, and technology. Entheo Radio (provided) 29 Jan 14

As psychedelics move from taboo subject to trendy topic, and as mainstream media outlets excitedly cover new psychedelic research, this collection of serious and highly readable articles is an especially wonderful gift. This is a must-have anthology for its amazing diversity and valuable content.
James Fadiman

The Truth About Trust

       
 

David DeSteno
The Truth About Trust
How It Determines Success in Life, Love, Learning, and More
304 pages, Hardcover
USD 25.95 | GBP 15.70 | EUR 18.65
CHF 29.90
Hudson Street Press

 

How do you know whether you can trust someone? If you’ve never met someone before, can you accurately assess her or his trustworthiness? Are you trustworthy yourself? These questions hold great import, as the decision to cooperate with or trust another holds the potential not only for great communal benefit but also for great asymmetric loss.
David DeSteno

Can I trust you? It’s the question that strikes at the heart of human existence. Whether we’re talking about business partnerships, romantic relationships, child-parent bonds, or the brave new world of virtual interaction, trust, when correctly placed, is what makes our world spin and lives flourish.
Renowned psychologist David DeSteno brings together the latest research from diverse fields, including psychology, economics, biology, and robotics, to create a compelling narrative about the forces that have shaped the human mind’s propensities to trust. He shows us how trust influences us at every level, from how we learn, to how we love, to how we spend, to how we take care of our own health and well-being. Using cuttingedge research from his own lab, he also unlocks, for the first time, the cues that allow us to read the trustworthiness of others accurately. (provided) 23 Jan 14

Forest monks and mountain meditators

       
 

Charles S. Fisher
Meditation in the Wild
Buddhism’s Origin in the Heart of Nature
Foreword by Wade Davis
363 pages, Paperback
GBP 12.99 | USD 22.95 | EUR 16.95
CHF 24.90
Changemakers Books

 

Buddhism is indissociable from the realization that nature is the mind’s greatest teacher. Just as Renaissance scientists found they had to study nature directly, and not depend too much on ancient texts, so the Buddhist contemplator can return to nature.
Charles S. Fisher

Meditation in the Wild takes the reader on an adventure with the Buddhist forest monks and hermits of the last 2500 years. Walking into jungles and living on mountain sides, their encounters with nature teach us about the meaning of life and death, our struggles with our own minds and how we treat each other. Sitting with tigers, biting insects and bamboo shoots they looked on life compassionately. They remind us of who we are and what we have become. (provided) 17 Jan 14

This is an exciting portrait of how the Buddha and meditators since his time have gone back into raw nature to try to understand themselves and humanity’s place in the world. It draws upon history, poetry, and art to give a feeling of what it must have been like to go off into the woods to meditate.
Jack Kornfield

Charles Fisher’s timely book affirms how mindfulness is inseparable from a heightened awareness of the sublime and fragile environment of which we are inextricably tied through every breath we take.
Stephen Batchelor

Essays in Anthrozoology

       
 

Marc Bekoff
Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed
The Fascinating Science of Animal Intelligence, Emotions, Friendship, and Conservation
380 pages, Paperback
USD 15.95 | GBP 9.85 | EUR 11.60
CHF 18.40
New World Library

 

When animals express their feelings they pour out like water from a spout. Animals’ emotions are raw, unfiltered, and uncontrolled. Their joy is the purest and most contagious of joys and their grief the deepest and most devastating. Their passions bring us to our knees in delight and sorrow.
Marc Bekoff

In 2009, Marc Bekoff was asked to write on animal emotions for Psychology Today. Some 500 popular, jargon-free essays later, the field of anthrozoology – the study of human-animal relationships – has grown exponentially, as have scientific data showing how smart and emotional nonhuman animals are. Here Bekoff offers selected essays that showcase the fascinating cognitive abilities of other animals as well as their empathy, compassion, grief, humor, joy, and love. Humpback whales protect gray whales from orca attacks, combat dogs and other animals suffer from PTSD, and chickens, rats, and mice display empathy. This collection is both an updated sequel to Bekoff ’s popular book The Emotional Lives of Animals and a call to begin the important work of “rewilding” ourselves and changing the way we treat other animals. www.marcbekoff.com (provided) 9 Jan 14

From Separation to Interbeing

       
 

Charles Eisenstein
The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible
288 pages, Paperback
USD 19.95 | GBP 17.90 | EUR 14.50
CHF 22.90
North Atlantic Books

 

Is it too much to ask, to live in a world where our human gifts go toward the benefit of all? Where our daily activities contribute to the healing of the biosphere and the well-being of other people?
Charles Eisenstein

In a time of social and ecological crisis, what can we as individuals do to make the world a better place? This inspirational and thought-provoking book serves as an empowering antidote to the cynicism, frustration, paralysis, and overwhelm so many of us are feeling, replacing it with a grounding reminder of what’s true: we are all connected, and our small, personal choices bear unsuspected transformational power. By fully embracing and practicing this principle of interconnectedness – called interbeing – we become more effective agents of change and have a stronger positive influence on the world.
Throughout the book, Eisenstein relates real-life stories showing how small, individual acts of courage, kindness, and self-trust can change our culture’s guiding narrative of separation, which, he shows, has generated the present planetary crisis. He brings to conscious awareness a deep wisdom we all innately know: until we get our selves in order, any action we take – no matter how good our intentions – will ultimately be wrongheaded and wronghearted. Above all, Eisenstein invites us to embrace a radically different understanding of cause and effect, sounding a clarion call to surrender our old worldview of separation, so that we can finally create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
With chapters covering separation, interbeing, despair, hope, pain, pleasure, consciousness, and many more, the book invites us to let the old Story of Separation fall away so that we can stand firmly in a Story of Interbeing. (provided) 1 Jan 14

It is rare to find, in such digestible portions, so rich a feast for mind and heart.
Joanna Macy

Transforming Our Brains

       
 

Rick Hanson
Hardwiring Happiness
The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence
304 pages, Hardcover
USD 26.00 | GBP 18.50 | EUR 18.50
CHF 29.90
Harmony Books

 

The takeaway point is to be both careful with the mental activities one indulges in past the point of usefulness, and hopeful about how – with the insights of modern brain science informed by the hard-won lessons of the contemplative traditions – you truly can use your mind to change your mind for the better … with ripples fanning out to benefit everyone else whose life you touch.
Rick Hanson

Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of being appreciated? Because your brain evolved to learn quickly from bad experiences but slowly from the good ones. You can change this.
Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures full of happiness, love, confidence, and peace. Dr. Hanson’s four steps build strengths into your brain – balancing its ancient negativity bias – making contentment and a powerful sense of resilience the new normal. In mere minutes each day, we can transform our brains into refuges and power centers of calm and happiness. (provided) 27 Dec 13

The cultivation of happiness is one of the most important skills anyone can ever learn. Luckily, it’s not hard when we know the way to water and nourish these wholesome seeds, which are already there in our consciousness. This book offers simple, accessible, practical steps for touching the peace and joy that are every person’s birthright.
Thich Nhat Hanh

A Look Through the "Third Eye"

       


 

Anthony Peake
The Infinite Mindfield
The Quest to Find the Gateway to Higher Consciousness
Foreword by Mitch Schultz
256 pages, Paperback
GBP 10.99 | USD 19.95 | EUR 13.90
CHF 29.90
Watkins Publishing

 

The eye that was opened for me … looks inward, not outward. It has long been known as the “Third Eye and it is a very physical structure at the center of the brain. Physiologists and neurologists know it as the pineal gland … This small, obscure gland really is the most important organ in the body, an organ that may facilitate man’s next great evolutionary step.
Anthony Peake

For thousands of years, voyagers of inner space – spiritual seekers, shamans and mystics – have returned from their inner travels reporting another level of reality that is more real than the one we inhabit in waking life. Others have claimed that under the influence of mysterious substances, known as entheogens, the everyday human mind can be given glimpses of this multidimensional realm of existence. Using information from the cutting edge of modern science, Peake presents a startling new hypothesis that these “inner worlds” are as real, or possibly even more real, than the “reality” we experience in waking life.
As his starting point, Peake examines the widespread historical belief that the mid-brain’s pine-cone shaped pineal gland activates the “third eye” described by mystics and seers. Through careful analysis of ancient religious texts and artifacts, he gives evidence that the spiritual properties of the pineal gland have been embedded in myths and cultures across the globe. Peake then shows that it is through this small organ that we experience lucid dreaming, out-of-body experiences, hypnagogic imagery, near-death experiences, astral travel and the kundalini experience.
The book ends with the conclusion that all living beings are one unitary consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. This book is genuinely revolutionary and will cause both interest and controversy in equal measure. Its science is watertight as is its logic. (provided) 23 Dec 13

Archetypical Dynamics of the Mind

       
 

Scott J. Hill
Confrontation with the Unconscious
Jungian Depth Psychology and Psychedelic Experience
252 pages, Paperback
GBP 17.95 | USD 20.95 | EUR 21.30
CHF 26.60
Muswell Hill Press

 

In view of C.G. Jung’s radically inquisitive approach to the psyce, his extraordinary personal confrontations with the unconscious, and his mystical sensibility, it’s not surprising that people turn to his work for insights into their psychedelic experiences.
Scott J. Hill

Carl Gustav Jung pioneered the transformative potential of the deep unconscious. Psychedelic substances provide direct and powerful access to this inner world. How, then, might Jungian psychology help us to better understand the nature of psychedelic experiences? And how might psychedelics assist the movement toward psychological transformation described by Jung?
Jungian depth psychology and psychedelic psychotherapy are both concerned with coming to terms with unconscious drives, complexes, and symbolic images. Unaware of significant evidence for the safe clinical use of psychedelic drugs, Jung himself remained wary of psychedelics and staunchly opposed their therapeutic use. His bias has prevented Jungians from objectively considering the benefits as well as the risks of using psychedelics for psychological healing and growth.
Confrontation with the Unconscious intertwines psychedelic research, personal accounts of psychedelic experiences, and C. G. Jung’s work on trauma, the shadow, psychosis, and psychospiritual transformation – including Jung’s own “confrontation with the unconscious” – to show the relevance of Jung’s penetrating insights to the work of Stanislav Grof, Ann Shulgin, Ronald Sandison, Margot Cutner, among other psychedelic and transpersonal researchers, and to demonstrate the great value of Jung’s penetrating insights for understanding difficult psychedelic experiences and promoting safe and effective psychedelic exploration and psychotherapy. (provided) 17 Dec 13

Scott Hill’s brilliant book presents a sophisticated analysis of how psychedelic experiences may be understood from the standpoint of Jung’s archetypal psychology.
Ralph Metzner

Life Transforming

       
 

Amy L. Lansky
Active Consciousness
Awakening the Power Within
322 pages, Paperback
USD 18.95 | GBP 13.75 | EUR 15.80
CHF 21.90
R.L.Ranch Press

 

Throughout the ages, mystic and sages have taught us that by engaging in a process of self-development, we can learn to cast our hopes and dreams before us, and in response, the hidden hands and small voices of another realm – or of a deeper part of ourselves – jump in to guide us. We only need to learn to feel them and listen to them.
Amy L. Lansky

Can you create the future of your dreams? Are paranormal abilities like seeing into the future or affecting objects with your mind really possible? And how do energetic systems of healing – like homeopathy and hands-on healing – actually work?
In this exciting book, computer scientist Amy Lansky, author of the best-selling book on homeopathy, Impossible Cure takes you on a voyage of discovery to your inner Self. Get ready for an exploration of the esoteric, grounded in an intriguing model of reality based on higher dimensions in space.
Comprehensive, yet at the same time accessible and personal, this book invites you to not only learn about these mysterious subjects, but to develop the power of active consciousness for yourself. By including a series of exercises and experiments in meditation and self-inquiry, Active Consciousness provides an experience that will transform your life and help you evolve to a new level of awareness. Video: When You Have the Right Vibe, It’s Not a Coincidence: Synchronicity, Energy Healing, and the Key To Transforming Our World. (provided) 13 Dec 13

Preserving a Sacred Legacy

       
 

Jonathon Miller Weisberger
Rainforest Medicine
Preserving Indigenous Science and Biodiversity in the Upper Amazon
Foreword by Daniel Pinchbeck
Illustrated by Pablo Amaringo, Thomas Wang and Agustin Payaguaje
432 pages, Paperback
32 Color, 19 b|w Illustrations
USD 19.95 | GBP 17.99 | EUR 15.95
CHF 25.65
North Atlantic Books

 

All the great time-tested traditions of the Earth urge us to think beyond our own needs. They inspire us to consider the needs of others, human and nonhuman, present and future, as if they were our very own needs – which from an Oneness perspective, they are –, and to act upon this. Protecting what’s left of Earth’s great tropical rainforests and striving to record and understand the collective wisdom of the region’s people is among the most valuable legacies we can leave to the future.
Jonathon Miller Weisberger


Chronicling the practices, legends, and wisdom of the vanishing traditions of the upper Amazon, this book reveals the area’s indigenous peoples’ approach to living in harmony with the natural world. Rainforest Medicine features in-depth essays on plant-based medicine and indigenous science from four distinct Amazonian societies: deep forest and urban, lowland rainforest and mountain.
The book is illustrated with unique botanical and cultural drawings by Secoya elder and traditional healer Agustin Payaguaje and horticulturalist Thomas Y. Wang as well as by the author himself. Payaguaje shares his sincere imaginal view into the spiritual life of the Secoya; plates of petroglyphs from the sacred valley of Cotundo relate to an ancient language, and other illustrations show traditional Secoya ayahuasca symbols and indigenous origin myths. Two color sections showcase photos of the plants and people of the region, and include plates of previously unpublished full-color paintings by Pablo Cesar Amaringo (1938-2009), an acclaimed Peruvian artist renowned for his intricate, colorful depictions of his visions from drinking the entheogenic plant brew, ayahuasca.
Today the once-dense mysterious rainforest realms are under assault as the indiscriminate colonial frontier of resource extraction moves across the region; as the forest disappears, the traditional human legacy of sustainable utilization of this rich ecosystem is also being buried under modern realities. With over 20 years experience of ground-level environmental and cultural conservation, author Jonathon Miller Weisberger’s commitment to preserving the fascinating, unfathomably precious relics of the indigenous legacy shines through. Chief among these treasures is the “shimmering” “golden” plant-medicine science of ayahuasca or yajé, a rainforest vine that was popularized in the 1950s by Western travelers such as William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. It has been sampled, reviled, and celebrated by outsiders ever since.
Currently sought after by many in the industrialized West for its powerful psychotropic and life-transforming effects, this sacred brew is often imbibed by visitors to the upper Amazon and curious seekers in faraway venues, sometimes with little to no working knowledge of its principles and precepts. Perceiving that there is an evident need for in-depth information on ayahuasca if it is to be used beyond its traditional context for healing and spiritual illumination in the future, Miller Weisberger focuses on the fundamental knowledge and practices that guide the use of ayahuasca in indigenous cultures. Weaving first-person narrative with anthropological and ethnobotanical information, Rainforest Medicine aims to preserve both the record and ongoing reality of ayahuasca’s unique tradition and, of course, the priceless forest that gave birth to these sacred vines. Featuring words from Amazonian shamans – the living torchbearers of these sophisticated spiritual practices – the book stands as testimony to this sacred plant medicine’s power in shaping and healing individuals, communities, and nature alike. (provided) 5 Dec 13

Expansion Of Our Perception

       
 

Larry Dossey
One Mind
How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters
384 pages
Hardcover USD 26.95
Paperback GBP 12.99 EUR 15.90 | CHF 24.90
Hay House

 

Although One Mind events are endlessly varied, they have this in common: they involve unbounded, extended awareness.
Larry Dossey

Imagine a united consciousness, an awareness of which all of our minds are a part and a potential way out of the division, greed, and destruction that threaten to engulf our world.
In the 20th century, we were introduced to several subdivisions of the mind: the conscious, unconscious, subconscious, preconscious, and so on. But what we didn’t know was that there was another level of consciousness, an all-encompassing, infinite dimension of shared intelligence: the One Mind. This universal consciousness connects all of us through space and time. Even now, as you read these words, you are participating in the One Mind.
Emerging studies have shown that the One Mind isn’t just an idea; it’s a reality. In this book, Larry Dossey shares compelling research that supports the One Mind concept.
These cases include experiences of:
– Shared thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations with a distant individual
– Communication between humans and sentient nonhumans, such as pets
– Large groups of animals-flocks, schools, herds-behaving in highly coordinated ways
– Acquisition of previously unknown knowledge from a person who has died
– Hidden or lost objects found through mental means alone
– Direct contact with a transcendent domain through near-death experiences
Through engaging stories, fascinating case studies, and brilliant insights from great thinkers throughout history, One Mind explores the outer reaches of human consciousness. In it, you will discover a new way to interpret the great mysteries of our experience and learn how to develop the empathy necessary to engender more love, peace, and collective awareness. The result is a rich new understanding of what it means to be human and a renewed hope that we can successfully confront the challenges we face at this crossroads in human history. (provided) 1 Dec 13

There is no more powerful idea than knowing and feeling our oneness to inspire the cooperation we so urgently need to create sustainability and humaneness in our world.
Ervin Laszlo

Upward Spiral of Life

       
 

William McDonough and Michael Braungart
The Upcycle
Beyond Sustainability – Designing for Abundance
256 pages, Paperback
USD 16.70 | GBP 12.49
North Point Press

 

The Upcycle is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, one of the most consequential ecological manifestoes of our time. Now, drawing on the lessons gained from 10 years of putting the Cradle to Cradle concept into practice with businesses, governments, and ordinary people, William McDonough and Michael Braungart envision the next step in the solution to our ecological crisis: We don’t just use or reuse resources with greater effectiveness, we actually improve the world as we live, create, and build.
For McDonough and Braungart, the questions of resource scarcity and sustainability are questions of design. They are practical-minded visionaries: They envision beneficial designs of products, buildings, and business practices – and they show us these ideas being put to use around the world as everyday objects like chairs, cars, and factories are being reimagined not just to sustain life on the planet but to grow it. It is an eye-opening, inspiring tour of our green future as it unfolds in front of us.
The Upcycle is as ambitious as such classics as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring – but its mission is very different. McDonough and Braungart want to turn on its head our very understanding of the human role on earth: Instead of protecting the planet from human impact, why not redesign our activity to improve the environment? We can have a beneficial footprint. Abundance for all. The goal is within our reach. (provided) 27 Nov 13

Asking how a cherry tree would design an energy-efficient building is only one of the creative ‘practices’ that McDonough and Braungart spread before their readers. This book will give you renewed hope that, indeed, ‘it is darkest before the dawn.
Carl Pope, Sierra Club

A Psychedelic Encyclopedia

       

 

Patrick Lundborg
Psychedelia
An Ancient Culture, A Modern Way Of Life
520 pages, 16-page color inlay, Paperback
Lysergia

 

Today, you can go and see a movie like Avatar, parts of which are completely drenched in psychedelic ideas – there was even an ayahuasca drug ritual in that movie, though it was left out of the final cut. The commercially biggest movie of all time looks like it was made by someone who has been smoking DMT for several years – that’s good proof that psychedelic culture not only lives, but may in fact be expanding.
Patrick Lundborg

A larger number of people are exploring psychedelic states of mind in the world today than at any other point in history. Their shared experiences form the outline of a vast underground culture, whose steady influence upon society can be traced across thousands of years, back to Amerindian plant drug cults and the psychedelic celebrations in ancient Greece that gave birth to our Western society.
But the full scope of this psychedelic culture, and its many expressions in the past, have remained poorly understood or even unknown. Psychedelia has usually been taken as a metaphor, or a symptom of something else, even though its true nature is singular and unparalleled.
Psychedelia by Patrick Lundborg is the first ever book to present psychedelic culture in its full complexity and range. Out of a colorful history that spans 3500 years emerges a philosophy and way of life that is as dazzling and rich as the psychedelic experience itself.
As this book shows, psychedelia is a living underground culture, engaged in constant dialogue with its mainstream counterpart. Psychedelia’s creative, visionary presence in art, rock music and pop culture is thoroughly examined, highlighting many unique and at times unknown works and traditions, from William Blake to Philip K Dick, from Eden Ahbez to Shpongle, from Haight-Ashbury to the beaches of Goa.
The 20th century’s misguided attempts to reduce psychedelia into a branch of psychology or religion are given a critical, sometimes controversial look. A case is made for psychedelic philosophy, a fresh, unprejudiced model to replace the failed interpretations of the past.
In the third millenium, psychedelic culture may be standing on the brink of a mystery greater than anything encountered in the past. This mystery comes forth in chapters on ayahuasca and DMT, and has reverberations far outside the realms of psychedelia, cutting into vital questions of consciousness and evolution.
Most of all, psychedelia is a celebration of life, in the here and now and in the deep realms of inner-space. The final chapters of Psychedelia discuss the challenges and rewards of the psychedelic experience, as mastered by shamans and teachers from various entheogenic cultures. (provided) 23 Nov 13

The Science of Awareness

       

 

Michael S. A. Graziano
Consciousness and the Social Brain
288 pages, Hardback
USD 23.95 | GBP 19.99 | EUR 19.95
CHF 26.75
Oxford University Press

 

We depend on each other to lift ourselves up. Suffering is craving is fear is delusion clinging to selfhood, clinging to objects, clinging to the trivia that we think makes us happy. Clinging to superficialities. Clinging to the covering that separates us from each other. Strip off all that delusion, and we take a step forward toward each other and a step toward enlightenment.
Michael S. A. Graziano

What is consciousness and how can a brain, a mere collection of neurons, create it? In Consciousness and the Social Brain, Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano lays out an audacious new theory to account for the deepest mystery of them all. The human brain has evolved a complex circuitry that allows it to be socially intelligent. This social machinery has only just begun to be studied in detail. One function of this circuitry is to attribute awareness to others: to compute that person Y is aware of thing X. In Graziano’s theory, the machinery that attributes awareness to others also attributes it to oneself. Damage that machinery and you disrupt your own awareness. Graziano discusses the science, the evidence, the philosophy, and the surprising implications of this new theory. (provided) 21 Nov 13

Orchestrating how our personal awareness jives with the stuff we think about has eluded us all. Graziano has a plausible and rich theory about how it all articulates without giving away the store, and he explains it vividly.
Michael S. Gazzaniga

Environmental Economics

       
 

Tony Juniper
What Has Nature Ever Done for Us?
How Money Really Does Grow on Trees
Foreword by HRH the Prince of Wales
USD 9.99 | GBP 6.99 | EUR 12.00
CHF 19.90
Synergetic Press
Profile Books

 

Nature gives us everything, and it gives us life. The destruction of nature will ultimately lead to our own destruction. We are ignoring the very thing that is truly our life support system. When nature suffers, we do too because without nature we have no life. … It’s a simple truth that nature is good for you.
Tony Juniper

In What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? British environmentalist Tony Juniper points out that we think everything nature does for us – providing water, pollinating plants, generating oxygen, recycling miracles in the soil and much more – is free, but it isn’t. Its economic value can, and has been, measured. And upon realizing what that value truly is we would stop treating our natural systems in a destructive manner. For example, in 2005 Hurricane Katrina cost the $ 81 billion and the damage still remains. If the land around the levees hadn’t been redeveloped for shipping and aquaculture, at an estimated value of $100,000 to $450,000 per square mile of natural mangroves, then it is believed, much of the damage caused to the city would not have occurred.
During recent years, environmental debate worldwide has been dominated by climate change, carbon emissions and the greenhouse effect. But a number of academic, technical, political, business and NGO initiatives indicate the emergence of a new wave of environmental attention focused on “natural capital,” “ecosystem services” and “biodiversity,” things nature does for us.
What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? contains impactful stories imparting warnings about this and other unfortunate occurrences such as a rabies epidemic that followed the disappearance of India’s vultures (drugs administered to cattle killed the birds, leaving uneaten carcasses that led to an explosion of wild dogs), as well as promising and enlightening tales of how birds protect fruit harvests, coral reefs shield coasts from storms, and rain forests absorb billions of tons of carbon released from automobiles and power stations. As a result of its immediacy, Tony Juniper’s book will entirely change the way you think about life, the planet and the economy. Tony Juniper at TEDxExeter. (provided) 17 Nov 13

Clarion call for a new dynamic

       
 

Julian Rose
In Defence of Life
Essays on a Radical Reworking of Green Wisdom
172 pages, Paperback
GBP 11.95 | USD 19.95 | EUR 13.90
CHF 22.90
Earth Books

 

Our total health, involving our body, heart and mind, is the link in the cycle of existence that holistically connecxts everything within this universe. … A harmonious heart and an inspired mind in all of us will help to create a healthy society. Act now to ensure a brighter future for our children and the survival of the Earth.
Julian Rose

Julian Rose presents a penetrating series of essays calling for urgent action to overcome the perilous state of our planet, at the local as well as global level. He both guides and challenges his readers to share with him a journey through the matrix-maze, and to come out at the other end a more aware and more self-assured human being.
Drawing upon his life experiences as a farmer, campaigner, artist and social entrepreneur, Julian brings to our consciousness a way to break through the destructive patterns of our consumer-obsessed society and discover a simpler and more fulfilling way forward.
Using essays exploring a wide range of pressing planetary concerns, he calls upon his readers to utilise the largely untapped power of their deeper instincts in coming to the aid of a severely depleted global environment and in striving for the amelioration of mankind’s perilous human condition. (provided) 13 Nov 13

The 'Other'

       
 

Angela Voss and William Rowlandson, Eds
Daimonic Imagination
Uncanny Intelligence
455 pages, Hardcover
USD 92.99 | GBP 54.99 | EUR 69.50
CHF 104.90
Cambridge Scholars Publishing

 

Often a purely material explanation is pitted against a naive assumption of other-worldly agency, without acknowledging that there may be another way of looking altogether. I would suggest that empirical methods of evaluation are inadequate for assessing the liminal nature of these manifestations … for fathoming their extra-ordinary, numinous, and often seemingly intelligent activity.
Angela Voss

From the artistic genius to the tarot reader, a sense of communication with another order of reality is commonly affirmed; this ‘other’ may be termed god, angel, spirit, muse, daimon or alien, or it may be seen as an aspect of the human imagination or the ‘unconscious’ in a psychological sense. This volume of essays celebrates the daimonic presence in a diversity of manifestations, presenting new insights into inspired creativity and human beings’ relationship with mysterious and numinous dimensions of reality. In art and literature, many visual and poetic forms have been given to the daimonic intelligence, and in the realm of new age practices, encounters with spirit beings are facilitated through an increasing variety of methods including shamanism, hypnotherapy, mediumship and psychedelics. The contributors to this book are not concerned with ‘proving’ or ‘disproving’ the existence of such beings. Rather, they paint a broad canvas with many colours, evoking the daimon through the perspectives of history, literature, encounter and performance, and showing how it informs, and has always informed, human experience. (provided) 7 Nov 13

A Theory of Cognitive Modes

       
 

Stephen Kosslyn and G. Wayne Miller
Top Brain, Bottom Brain
Surprising Insights into How You Think
240 pages, Hardcover
USD 25.00 | GBP 16.99 | EUR 19.99
CHF 24.90
Simon & Schuster

 

The left brain|right brain difference seems to be a natural law. Except that it isn’t. There is a better way to understand the functioning of the brain, based on another, ordinarily overlooked anatomical division – between its top and bottom parts.
Stephen Kosslyn, G. Wayne Miller

In this groundbreaking contribution to the literature on human personality, a celebrated psychologist and an award-winning author offer a novel way to learn about how each of us thinks. For the past fifty years, popular culture has led us to believe in the left brain vs. right brain theory of personality types. It would be an illuminating theory if it did not have one major drawback: It is simply not supported by science. In contrast, the Top Brain, Bottom Brain theory is based on solid research that has stayed within the confines of labs all over the world – until now.
With cowriter G. Wayne Miller, Stephen M. Kosslyn, PhD, a leader in the field of cognitive neuroscience, explains this exciting new theory for the first time. Kosslyn and Miller describe how the top and bottom parts of the brain work together, summarizing extensive research with ease and accessibility. In doing so, they introduce us to four modes of thought: Mover, Perceiver, Stimulator, and Adaptor.
These ways of thinking and behaving shape your personality, and with the scientifically developed test provided in the book, you’ll quickly be able to determine which mode best defines your dominant way of thinking. Once you’ve identified your dominant cognitive mode, you can reflect on the many possible practical applications from the way you conduct business to your relationships to your voyage of personal discovery. (provided) 1 Nov 11

Our Unity With All Life

       
 

Charles Duits
Peyote Dreams
Journeys in the Land of Illumination
160 pages, Paperback
USD 16.95 | GBP 10.50 | EUR 13.90
CHF 19.40
Park Street Press

 

Peyote Dreams is a classic psychospiritual narrative that, in many respects, fits perfectly into the pharmacographical mode of the 1960s, with its emphasis on healing and the revelation of a deeper ontological and spiritual reality. Although first published in the late 1960s, Duits mainly casts himself within the context of two writers concerned with peyote/mescaline from the previous decade (when he also began his own experiments): Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) and Henri Michaux (1899-1984). Interestingly, however, while the previous two are deemed by Duits to be worthy counter-points to his own discourse, his text is in fact very in-tune with the work of other writers from the 1960s in the English-speaking world. This is largely because the question of whether or not the peyote cactus, or its hallucinogenic alkaloid mescaline, had the power for ontological revelation was still an open one (within the minds of white, western writers) in the 1950s. While in the 1960s it was less a question of ‘could they?’ in popular works, this became a given, but rather a question of the nature of the ontological revelation.

In 1956, Duits was visited by an old friend who brought with him some powdered peyote and who urged Duits to partake, and to read Huxley’s The Doors of Perception (1954). However, Duits refused to begin with because he believed, “Whether peyote was harmless or not, whether or not it was addictive, its use implied a denial of reality” (Duits 15). He believed that by taking peyote there would be a distortion of reality, he writes that he would have preferred to live than to dream, and a rift grew between him and his friend. However, simultaneously, Duits was in a state of crisis, wherein “I no longer knew how to live, believe, and love.” This existential crisis, if you will, was all-consuming, and eventually he saw taking peyote as a version of suicide – a suicide he undertook in August 1956. In terms of healing, which increasingly became one of the primary objectives of the medicinal discourse on hallucinogens within the psychiatrically-mediated research, Duits was a perfect case, one who detested himself. Once he began taking peyote though, the healing and revelationary processes of the psychospiritual narrative come into flow:

I had spent thirty years sleeping. Now I was shaking off the glamour of night; I got up. Phantoms, morbid imaginings, “the transparencies and thickenings of the dream,” as Victor Hugo said, all that was wild and nebulous had dissipated. I was finally free, truly free; I was the master of my body and my mind; I no longer feared death. (Duits 16)

This moment of awakening associated with taking hallucinogens was very acute with Duits and he proceeded to have over 200 sessions with the plant, exploring meanings both philosophical and religious, and coming to understandings concerning the nature of his self. One of the major concerns of his tract is to overcome what he believed to be the missive of Western dualism. He argues that, on peyote, the intellect, which lies at the heart of Western dualism, is put on the back seat. The nature of opposition is gleaned through a new perspective of unity wherein there is not the destruction of one part of the opposition (i.e. evil), but a unity between all. This also rests on his attitude to mind that is geared toward the individualized intellect in the West, thus creating the illusion of separation and opposition – the effect of peyote, he claims, is to reveal this by undergoing a transformation in consciousness. Illumination, he concludes, is the meaning of one’s life.

In ordinary life, the strange is always localized. You can point at it with your finger and say it is here or there. On the other hand, for the person who has taken a consciousness-expander, the strange is everywhere. Sensations, emotions, and thoughts all have a slightly indescribable difference. You see more, you understand more, but most importantly, you see and understand differently. Rather than the object, it is the way you look at things that undergoes transformation. (Duits 10)

Duits’ text involves the counterpoints of numerous other pharmacographers, from the aforementioned mescaline writers to the opium writers such as Charles Baudelaire and Thomas de Quincy. While, on the one hand, he sees their works as generally inadequate for various reasons, on the other, he is self-consciously creating a dialectical process. This is interesting because it begins to paint a picture of the beginnings of a self-conscious tradition of pharmacographers. Although, Baudelaire translated de Quincy, he was still in a tradition that examined the object or efficacy of a drug, but was not so concerned with any traditional form of drug writing per se. The self-conscious drug writer perhaps began with the American Beat tradition in the 1940s and 1950s, but with the popular 1960s explosion everyone suddenly became aware of this cross-disciplined (also polydrug approach in many respects) writing genre. Duits firmly places himself in this tradition, whilst simultaneously trying to elevate himself above it – trying to put forth a discourse that is more ontologically valid than previous ones. This, as already mentioned, was an important feature of drug writing during the mid-Twentieth century – ontological revelation – and it spills out into the very discourse of the writing tradition itself.

There is much to be enjoyed from Charles Duits excellent use of language in Peyote Dreams: Journeys in the Land of Illumination. His use of philosophical ideas intermingled with the peyote landscape demonstrates a deep learning on his behalf, and a lucid writing skill at communicating them. For the New Age reader the book could well provide a host of engaging spiritual ideas, and Duits distrust of the mainstream Western traditions certainly key in with modern spiritual notions about a Western society devoid of its soul. For the cultural historian, it is key pharmacographical exemplifier from the period, and it is great to have a new English language edition available. 23 Oct 13

Rob Dickins, Psychedelic Press UK

Universal Life Force

       
 

David Wilcock
The Synchronicity Key
The Hidden Intelligence Guiding the Universe and You
464 pages, Hardcover
USD 29.95 | GBP 18.90 | EUR 22.00
CHF 28.40
Dutton Adult

 

Perhaps the single most basic realization to make is that we live in a loving Universe. If we are all One Being, then it is foolish for us to hate anyone, as we are only hating ourselves.
David Wilcock

With The Source Field Investigations, David Wilcock joined Graham Hancock and Lynne McTaggart as a leading writer exploring the intersection of ancient mysteries and new science. He used cutting-edge alternative science to delve into the mysteries behind the 2012 prophecies, and readers embraced his findings. In his new book, Wilcock embarks on an astonishing investigation into what lies beyond those prophecies – finding proof that everything in our lives is not only connected, it all influences everything else.
Using history, astrology, and synchronicity theory as well as concepts such as fractals, spiritual geometry, quantum physics, and other new research, Wilcock shows that there is a hidden architecture within time, guiding individuals and nations through a system of enlightenment Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Historical events occur in shockingly precise, repeating cycles of time as a result. Once we understand and identify the hidden laws governing the fates of individuals and nations through seemingly random “synchronicity,” we are left with a remarkable blueprint of how best to lead our lives spiritually in the future. (provided) 11 Oct 13

Digital Transformation

       
 

Clive Thompson
Smarter Than You Think
How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better
352 pages, Hardcover
USD 28.00 | GBP 20.00 | EUR 20.70
CHF 32.40
Penguin Press

 

At their best, today’s digital tools help us see more, retain more, communicate more. At their worst, they leave us prey to the manipulation of the toolmakers. But on balance, I’d argue, what is happening is deeply positive. This book is about the transformation.

Clive Thompson

It’s undeniable: technology is changing the way we think. But is it for the better? Amid a chorus of doomsayers, Clive Thompson votes “yes”. The Internet age, he argues, has produced bold new forms of human cognition, worthy of both celebration and investigation. We learn more and retain the information longer, write and think with global audiences, and even gain an ESP-like awareness of the world around us. This deeply-reported book dives into the stories and science that document this transformation.
In Smarter Than You Think, Thompson documents how every technological innovation – from the printing press to the telegraph – has provoked the very same anxieties that plague us today. We panic that life will never be the same, that our attentions are eroding, that culture is being trivialized. But as in the past, we adapt –learning to use the new and retaining what’s good of the old.
Thompson introduces us to a cast of extraordinary characters who augment their minds in inventive ways. There’s the aging millionaire who digitally records his every waking moment, giving him instant recall of events and ideas going back decades. There are the courageous Chinese students who mounted an online movement that shut down a $1.6 billion toxic copper plant. There are experts and there are amateurs, including a global set of gamers who took a puzzle that had baffled HIV scientists for a decade – and solved it collaboratively in only one month.
But Smarter Than You Think isn’t just about pioneers, nor is it simply concerned with the world we inhabit today. It’s about our future. How are computers improving our memory? How will our social “sixth sense” change the way we learn? Which tools are boosting our intelligence – and which ones are hindering our progress? Smarter Than You Think embraces and interrogates this transformation, offering a provocative vision of our shifting cognitive landscape. (provided) 1 Oct 13

The Wisdom of Being Idle

       
 

Andrew Smart
Autopilot
The Art & Science of Doing Nothing
148 pages, Paperback
USD 16.00 | GBP 11.00
Or Books

 

While it is important to engage the brain in complicated tasks, it may be equally important for learning and memory to let your brain rest … Be idle.
Andrew Smart

Andrew Smart wants you to sit and do nothing much more often – and he has the science to explain why.
At every turn we’re pushed to do more, faster and more efficiently: that drumbeat resounds throughout our wage-slave society. Multitasking is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity. Books such as Getting Things Done, The One Minute Manager, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People regularly top the bestseller lists, and have spawned a considerable industry.
But Andrew Smart argues that slackers may have the last laugh. The latest neuroscience shows that the “culture of effectiveness” is not only ineffective, it can be harmful to your well-being. He makes a compelling case – backed by science – that filling life with activity at work and at home actually hurts your brain.
A survivor of corporate-mandated “Six Sigma” training to improve efficiency, Smart has channeled a self-described “loathing” of the time-management industry into a witty, informative and wide-ranging book that draws on the most recent research into brain power. Use it to explain to bosses, family, and friends why you need to relax – right now. (provided) 27 Sep 13

You Are Non-Dualistic

       
 

Karstein Bjastad
The Naked Truth
Seven Keys for Experiencing Who You Are
A Practical Guide
121 pages, Paperback
GBP 9.99 | USD 16.95 | EUR 12.60
CHF 19.40
O-Books

 

We all move towards a common goal … the goal of knowing and experiencing ourselves in truth; the one truth of the reality that we all are.
Karstein Bjastad

Many people face resistance when they contemplate exploring a non-dualistic spiritual teaching. For many a non-dualistic spiritual teaching radiates complexity and mysticism. One of my aims is to show you that non-dualistic spirituality is not complex, nor does it call for an abnormal life. You can practice non-dualistic spirituality and still live a normal life. And there are side benefits along the way.
The Naked Truth takes the reader on a journey through key non-dualistic spiritual principles, culminating in the teaching of a powerful tool for achieving the goal of non-dualistic spirituality – the experience of your true self. The practical guide demystifies non-dualistic spirituality and is written in straightforward everyday language. Practical exercises are provided throughout the book to help the reader assimilate the information. (provided) 23 Sep 13

Psychoactive Plants and Chemicals

       
 

Eds Cameron Adams, David Luke et al
Breaking Convention
Essays on Psychedelic Consciousness
299 pages, Paperback
UK: Strange Attractor Press
USA: North Atlantic Press 

 

The psychedelic experience breaks down our cultural constructions of reality and changes our perspectives. Psychedelic thinking is the integration of the insights gained from psychedelic experiences with our everyday life … vital aspects of the human condition and quite possibly our very survival.
The editors

In 2011, at the University of Kent in Canterbury, hundreds of people gathered for one of the most memorable events that I’ve ever attended – Breaking Convention: A Multidisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. Presenters gave talks from across the range of academic studies, including archaeology, history, literature, philosophy, medicine, anthropology, law and politics, with the united aim of raising the awareness and sharing information about psychedelics. As a result, a book of the same name was published to coincide with the equally memorable 2013 Breaking Convention.

The authors of this book represent the vanguard of the second golden era of psychedelic research. It is our hope that this volume will motivate a new generation of thinkers to stand up to the taboo that has been placed on psychedelics and bring these plants and chemicals into the light of reasoned discussion

The twenty-one essays that are included in Breaking Convention reflect the great diversity that psychedelic studies has now become. No longer simply the preserve of psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and psychopharmacologists, psychedelics reflect a multitude of disciplines in both the sciences and humanities, with various methodologies and perspectives constantly being developed and reinterpreted. Suffice to say, however, the grand medical vision is still very much there, exemplified in this collection by MAPS founder Rick Doblin’s contribution Bold Visions. In this essay he outlines the ways in which psychedelics could be better integrated into a future society, resting on the premise that attitudes should be shifted from fear to hope. Elsewhere, Dr. Ben Sessa’s chapter, The MDMA debate, is a transcription of the debate that occurred at the conference, and which touches upon its ‘hope’ for treating various disorders, such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Facing forwards is no more important than facing backwards and learning from our past. This collection puts together some intriguing essays about the history of psychedelic substances (or perhaps I should say ‘psychoactive’ for times when the word had yet to be coined.) The historian Mike Jay’s chapter, “A Train of Delightful Visions”: Early Scientific Encounters with Psychedelics, and Ffion Reynolds’ Tracing Neolithic Worldviews: Shamanism, Irish Passage Tomb Art and Altered States of Consciousness, both help to contextualise our current understanding in terms of those held and developed in the past. And the psychedelic era is well catered for with chapters from myself, Andy Roberts and Jonathan Hobbs, looking at literature, the vilification of LSD and military interest in psychedelics respectively.
Breaking Convention, as a collection, moves through time and genre seamlessly. From the prehistoric, through enlightenment and the golden era of psychedelia, to the illegality that psychedelics now dwell within. This new space, however, has created a multitude of approaches that, seemingly, all aim at correcting this ridiculous legal situation with the weight of their broad academic and logical arguments. As Amanda Feilding wrote: “Let half a century of repression give way to a new era where common sense, rationality and scientific evidence join to bring about a safer, healthier and more humane world.” There is a great sense throughout the book that this is an epoch-turning time, whether or not it is remains to be seen, but it certainly feels like it, and certainly reads as if it should be. Yet, a degree of self-criticism is also needed, as Andy Letcher notes in Deceptive Cadences: A Hermeneutic Approach to the Problem of Meaning and the Psychedelic Experience:

The risk is that by forgetting we have no choice but to use metaphor, we confuse the metaphor, the representation, for the thing itself. It therefore behoves all of us – writers, artists, scholars, enthusiasts and naysayers alike – to avoid cliché, to think more carefully about the metaphors we use, and thereby to render the psychedelic mysterium in ever more nuanced and exacting ways

This self-awareness, something that in itself is inextricably linked to the psychedelic experience, seems to me to be of the greatest importance in the face of the fear and bigotry that psychedelics are often met with in society. Broadly speaking, this is the great effect of psychedelics becoming so multidisciplinary, for each discipline has the eyes of all the others to help shape themselves, to evolve and grow.
There are too many amazing chapters to mention them all in this review – not least David Luke and William Rowlandson discussing parapsychology and mysticism respectively – but I can’t recommend this collection enough. It perhaps appears slightly bias of me to say this, not least because I have a chapter included, but it is the finest, most thought-provoking collection of essays on psychedelics to have appeared in recent years – offering both new and insightful work in an intelligible and highly readable fashion. 11 Sep 13

Rob Dickins, Psychedelic Press UK

Mind-Stretching Thought Experiments

       
 

Daniel C. Dennett
Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking
512 pages, Hardcover
USD 28.95 | GBP 20.00 | EUR 23.50
CHF 32.90
W. W. Norton & Company

 

When we understand consciousness – when there is no more mystery – consciousness will be different, but there will still be beauty, and more room than ever for awe.
Daniel Dennett

Over a storied career, Daniel C. Dennett has engaged questions about science and the workings of the mind. His answers have combined rigorous argument with strong empirical grounding. And a lot of fun.
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking offers seventy-seven of Dennett’s most successful “imagination-extenders and focus-holders” meant to guide you through some of life’s most treacherous subject matter: evolution, meaning, mind, and free will. With patience and wit, Dennett deftly deploys his thinking tools to gain traction on these thorny issues while offering readers insight into how and why each tool was built.
Alongside well-known favorites like Occam’s Razor and reductio ad absurdum lie thrilling descriptions of Dennett’s own creations: Trapped in the Robot Control Room, Beware of the Prime Mammal, and The Wandering Two-Bitser. Ranging across disciplines as diverse as psychology, biology, computer science, and physics, Dennett’s tools embrace in equal measure light-heartedness and accessibility as they welcome uninitiated and seasoned readers alike. As always, his goal remains to teach you how to “think reliably and even gracefully about really hard questions.”
A sweeping work of intellectual seriousness that’s also studded with impish delights, Intuition Pumps offers intrepid thinkers – in all walks of life – delicious opportunities to explore their pet ideas with new powers. (provided) 1 Sep 13

Essential Teachings

       
 

Ram Dass
With Rameshwar Dass
Polishing the Mirror
How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart
161 pages, Hardcover
USD 21.95 | GBP 13.55 | EUR 16.20
CHF 25.40
Sounds True

 

The thinking mind is what is busy. You have to stay in your heart. You have to be in your heart. Be in your heart. The rest is up here in your head where you are doing, doing, doing. Down here in your heart you can witness your doing and then we can witness our doing together.
Ram Dass

Sometimes illumination occurs spontaneously or, as Ram Dass experienced, in a heart-wrenching moment of opening. More commonly, it happens when we polish the mirror of the heart with daily practice – and see beyond the illusion of our transient thoughts and emotions to the vast and luminous landscape of our true nature.
For five decades, Ram Dass has explored the depths of consciousness and love and brought them to life as service to others. With Polishing the Mirror, he gathers together his essential teachings for living in the eternal present, here and now.
Readers will find within these pages a rich combination of perennial wisdom, humor, teaching stories, and detailed guidance on Ram Dass’ own spiritual practices, including:
– Bhakti Yoga – opening our hearts to unconditional love
– Practices for living, aging, dying, and embracing the natural flow of life
– Karma Yoga – how selfless service can profoundly transform us
– Working with fear and suffering as a path to grace and freedom
– Step-by-step guidance in devotional chant, meditation and mantra practice, and much more.
For those new to Ram Dass’ teachings, and for those to whom they are old friends, here is this vanguard spiritual explorer’s complete guide to discovering who we are and why we are here, and how to become beacons of unconditional love. www.ramdass.org. (provided) 28 Aug 13
 

This book is a blessing! Simply reading it will open your heart and bring you to mysterious, spacious, loving freedom. Ram Dass is one of the great sages of our time who can make us laugh, cry, and awaken.
Jack Kornfield

An Evolutionary Perspective

       
 

John A. Rush, Editor
Entheogens and the Development of Culture
The Anthropology and Neurobiology of Ecstatic Experience
672 pages, Paperback
USD 27.95 | GBP 24.99 | EUR 22.99
CHF 32.40
North Atlantic Books

 

Explaining the roles of the external sources of altered consciousness at the core of many spiritual traditions must address the relationships of the variety of agents and activities that provoke them to the brain systems that are activated.
John A. Rush

Entheogens and the Development of Culture makes the radical proposition that mind-altering substances have played a major part not only in cultural development but also in human brain development. Researchers suggest that we have purposely enhanced receptor sites in the brain, especially those for dopamine and serotonin, through the use of plants and fungi over a long period of time. The trade-off for lowered functioning and potential drug abuse has been more creative thinking – or a leap in consciousness. Experiments in entheogen use led to the development of primitive medicine, in which certain mind-altering plants and fungi were imbibed to still fatigue, pain, or depression, while others were taken to promote hunger and libido. Our ancestors selected for our neural hardware, and our propensity for seeking altered forms of consciousness as a survival strategy may be intimately bound to our decision-making processes going back to the dawn of time.
Fourteen essays by a wide range of contributors – including founding president of the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology of Religion section Michael Winkelman, PhD; Carl A. P. Ruck, PhD, Boston University professor of classics and an authority on the ecstatic rituals of the god Dionysus; and world-renowned botanist Dr. Gaston Guzma, member of the Colombian National Academy of Sciences and expert on hallucinogenic mushrooms – demonstrate that altering consciousness continues to be an important part of human experience today. Anthropologists, cultural historians, and anyone interested in the effects of mind-altering substances on the human mind and soul will find this book deeply informative and inspiring. (provided) 13 Aug 13

Man in Balance with Nature

       
 

Bill Pfeiffer
Wild Earth, Wild Soul
A Manual for an Ecstatic Culture
338 pages, Paperback
GBP 11.99 | USD 20.95 | EUR 17.99
CHF 24.40
Moon Books

 

The growing desire to create a new, living culture – one that is ecstatic – is a response to the tremendous environmental and social pressure we are all experiencing. That pressure makes the vision of a life lived in balance with the rest of nature ever more compelling.
Bill Pfeiffer

What if by listening to the land, tapping into ancestral memories, and really connecting with our brothers and sisters we could “see” a lasting, healthy culture right in front of us? What if we decided to band together in small groups and practice time-tested cultural ingredients that made us feel good and raised our consciousness? This is the inspiration behind Wild Earth, Wild Soul – where we help each other to break out of domestication and isolation and create the kind of world we want to live in.
Humankind has the capacity and know-how to create Earth-honoring cultures in a new way for new times. Through tapping into ancestral memories, taking what’s best from the human potential movement, and collaborating with present day indigenous peoples we can find our way home. Practicing the key ingredients of a lasting culture is an ecstatic way to live. This book shows you how. (provided)
1 Aug 13

Bill Pfeiffer is a pioneer in bringing the technologies of Reunion to our wounded Western culture. This book was a blessing for me, both for its clear, vibrant articulation of basic principles of shamanic and ecological healing, and for its practical transmission of how to create powerful experiences for others.
Charles Eisenstein

Knowing that a shift in consciousness at the personal level is essential, Bill Pfeiffer has developed workshops to bring us back to our true nature as conscious members of the sacred living body of Earth. It is good news for us all that Bill has chosen to share his approach and his methods in this manual. I’ve known Bill for twenty years and would trust him with my life.
Joanna Macy

Cognitive Liberties

       
 

Daniel Waterman
Casey William Hardison, Editor
Entheogens, Society & Law
Towards a Politics of Consciousness, Autonomy & Responsibility
496 pages, Paperback
GBP 15.99 | EUR 19.99 | USD 23.99
CHF 28.90
Melrose Books

 

Entheogens, Society & Law takes a major step towards a comprehensive understanding of the human condition, elucidating how empathy, meaning and purpose emerge from three intersecting areas of human life: biology, consciousness and culture. The term entheogen designates a class of psychoactive plant and substance uses that have played, and continue to play, an important role as catalysts of experiences of the divine, sacred or numinous, as well as in divination, healing and, more recently, psychotherapy. The authors expand on these ideas, borrowing from a wide range of disciplines pharmacology, neurology, consciousness research, psychology, semiotics, theology and mythology and immersing the reader in a radical and empowering exegesis of influential cultural myths such as that of Original Sin.
The resulting insights have practical and ethical implications in many areas of contemporary society, including education, mental health, human rights and law. Much of the literature on psychedelics and altered states of consciousness remains firmly entrenched in the dualistic logic of prohibition discourse.
Unfortunately, this detracts from its ability to engage with the broader existential, ethical and humanitarian questions that, the authors argue, any bona fide religious or therapeutic tradition needs to address. With its focus on ethics, Entheogens, Society & Law pursues a pragmatic inquiry guided by one paramount question: how can individuals take responsibility for their own lives and wrest power and authority from institutions that deprive them of the very liberties, e.g. to explore consciousness and alter mental functioning, upon which the exercise of responsibility is premised? This question leads to a critical examination of contemporary discourses on emergent technologies of the self, human rights, the common good – and the extents of state interference with the self-defining choices of sovereign individuals.
The theoretical questions raised by the meta-analysis presented here propose the possibility, if not necessity, of addressing the crises of modernity, including problems surrounding drug use, as a series of contingencies generated by the competing interests of individual s search for a meaningful existence and powerful institutions exercising hegemonic control over what we can and cannot do towards that ends. This ethical inquiry exposes the faulty premises of exercises of authority and power by demonstrating the central role of human consciousness in the generation of values that ultimately define us and determine what we become. This places discussion on the nature of mind-altering substances at the heart of contemporary discourses on human rights, offering empowering and inspiring insights into the future of humanity. (provided) 27 Jul 13

A well-reasoned, impassioned, call for a re-examination of the role psychedelics may play in our contemporary society. Focusing on philosophical and legal perspectives, Waterman’s book also provides a broad overview of these drugs’ use in our and non-industrial cultures.
Rick Strassman

Forays into the natural world

       
 

George Monbiot
Feral
Searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding
336 pages, Hardcover
GBP 20.00 | EUR 23.00 | USD 25.60
CHF 21.90
Allen Lane

 

Rewilding offers a positive environmentalism. Environmentalists have long known what they are against; now we can explain what we are for.
George Monbiot

In Feral, George Monbiot, one of the world’s most celebrated radical thinkers, and the author of Captive State, Heat, The Age of Consent and Amazon Watershed, follows his own hunger for new environmental experiences, in a riveting tale of possibility and travel with wildlife and wild people.
This is a book that explodes with wonder and delight. Making use of some remarkable scientific discoveries, which transform our understanding of how natural systems work, George Monbiot explores a new, positive environmentalism, which shows how damaged ecosystems on land and at sea can be restored, and how this restoration can revitalise and enrich our own lives.
Challenging his own ecological boredom, Monbiot weaves together a beautiful and riveting tale of wild places, wildlife and wild people. Roaming the hills of Britain and the forests of Europe, kayaking off the coast of Wales with dolphins and seabirds, he seeks out the places which still possess something of the untamed spirit he would like to resurrect. He meets people trying to restore lost forests and bring back missing species, such as wolves, lynx, wolverines, wild boar and gray whales. This process of rewilding, Monbiot argues, offers an alternative to a silent spring: the chance of a raucous summer, in which ecological processes resume and humans draw closer to the natural world. (provided) 23 Jul 13

George Monbiot is always original – both in the intelligence of his opinions and the depth and rigour of his research. In this unusual book he presents a persuasive argument for a new future for the planet, one in which we consciously progress from just conserving nature to actively rebuilding it.
Brian Eno

A dazzling command of science and a relentless faith in people.
Naomi Klein

Deep Transformation

       
 

Ervin Laszlo, Kingsley L. Dennis
Dawn of the Akashic Age
New Consciousness, Quantum Resonance, and the Future of the World
224 pages, Paperback
USD 14.95 | GBP 12.99 | EUR 11.95
CHF 17.40
Inner Traditions

 

We are beginning to see the entire universe as a holographically interlinked network of energy and information, organically whole and self referential at all scales of its existence. We, and all things in the universe, are non-locally connected with each other and with all other things in ways that are unfettered by the hitherto known limitations of space and time.
Ervin Laszlo

The world is changing. The transition from the mechanistic worldview to one that recognizes the interconnectedness of all life is upon us. It is the dawning of the Akashic Age. The Akashic field that connects the universe is now recognized by cutting-edge science. What we know about communication, energy, and consciousness is rapidly evolving in tandem with the new quantum worldview. Many adults are consciously evolving to meet the transitional challenges at hand, while today’s youth have arrived already hard-wired with the new consciousness. Rising from the ashes of the old systems, this Phoenix generation of radical change agents is seeding our evolution and spiritual transformation, a process that will continue over the next few decades.
Authors Ervin Laszlo and Kingsley Dennis look at the chief engine of the coming changes – the growing global understanding of nonlocality – and the development of practical applications for it. They examine how the new values and new consciousness taking hold will reorganize society from top-down hierarchies into grassroots networks like those revealed through quantum physics’ understanding of energy and information waves and experienced daily by millions through social media.
With contributions from visionary thinkers such as futurist John L. Petersen, media activist Duane Elgin, systems scientist Alexander Laszlo, and spiritual economist Charles Eisenstein, this book explores the future of education, spirituality, the media, economics, food, and planetary citizenship as well as the expansion of consciousness necessary to reach that future. (provided) 17 Jul 13

In this remarkable book Laszlo and Dennis have done nothing less than draw the blueprint for a planetary society. The Akashic Age is the logical successor to both the Industrial Revolution and the Information Era, because it is based on a paradigm of connectedness not separation, of sustainability not exploitation, and of transformation not inertia. It serves as a healthy antidote to the doom and gloom found in most other books about humankind’s future and warns that a positive transition and a better world will require deliberate effort, conscious deliberation, and hard work. Given the alternatives, readers of Dawn of the Akashic Age may decide that the required love and labor will be worth it.
Stanley Krippner

Towards a Futique Mind

       
 

David Jay Brown
The New Science of Psychedelics
At the Nexus of Culture, Consciousness, and Spirituality
352 pages, Paperback
USD 18.95 | GBP 15.99 | EUR 14.50
CHF 21.90
Park Street Press 

 

For as long as humanity has existed, we have used psychedelics to raise our levels of consciousness and seek healing – first in the form of visionary plants such as cannabis and now with the addition of human-created psychedelics such as LSD and MDMA. These substances have inspired spiritual awakenings, artistic and literary works, technological and scientific innovation, and even political revolutions. But what does the future hold for humanity–and can psychedelics help take us there?
Sharing insights from his discussions with luminaries such as Terence McKenna, Edgar Mitchell, Candace Pert, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Jerry Garcia, Albert Hofmann, Annie Sprinkle, and Rupert Sheldrake, author David Jay Brown explores the revelations brought about through his psychedelic experiences and his work with visionaries of the psychedelic and scientific communities. He investigates the role of psychedelics in lucid dreaming, time travel, sex and pleasure enhancement, morphic field theory, the survival of consciousness after death, encounters with nonhuman beings, and the interface between science and spirituality. Examining the ability of psychedelic drugs to incite creativity, neurogenesis, and the evolution of consciousness, he explains that they are messengers from the plant world designed to help elevate our awareness and sense of interconnectedness.
Revealing not only what psychedelics can teach us about ourselves and the world around us, Brown also shows how they are preparing humanity for a future of enlightened minds and worlds beyond our solar system. (provided) 5 Jul 13

This is a simply splendid book! David Jay Brown is a leading-edge activist, explorer, and philosopher who has blended an astounding number of personal experiences as well as commentaries from amazing people into a narrative that goes well beyond other books about psychedelics. He reevaluates not only the well-known areas of healing, psychotherapy, creativity, and spirituality but also extends his wise deliberations and deep explorations into areas that most of us still shy away from – freely discussing alien encounters, psychedelic sex, mixing and matching various substances, parapsychology, consciousness after death, and more – drawing on his own extensive voyages and exploration for telling examples. He is unafraid to explore the dark sides of his own personality as well as his joys as needed to illuminate challenging aspects of the multifaceted psychedelic universe.
James Fadiman

David Jay Brown’s book is a persuasive and necessary argument as we collectively move toward the mainstreaming of psychedelics and face the unique survival challenges of the twenty-first century. This is an outstanding book to read and share widely.
Rick Doblin

If your taste is for paradigm busting, you’ll find lots of food for thought in The New Science of Psychedelics. On the menu are parapsychology, unexplained phenomena, strange powers, scientific mysteries, confounding conventional science, odd animal behavior, morphic fields, the Gaia hypothesis, alien beings, entities, forbidden knowledge, kundalini, survival after death, and more.
Thomas B. Roberts

Debunking the Myths

       
 

Daniel Bergner
What Do Women Want?
Adventures in the Science of Female Desire
224 pages, Hardcover
USD 25.99 | GBP 15.45 | EUR 18.90
CHF 29.90
Ecco

 

We’re so quick to ridicule and regulate lust, probably because the forces of eros often make us uncomfortable about ourselves. We can handle desire, so long as it’s moderated. When lust gets out of control, we leap to purge it from our presence. It’s as though we’re trying purge our own psyches, rid ourselves of our own powerful longings, make sure our own desires don’t overtake us.
Daniel Bergner

When it comes to sex, common wisdom holds that men roam while women crave closeness and commitment. But in this provocative, headline-making book, Daniel Bergner turns everything we thought we knew about women’s arousal and desire inside out. Drawing on extensive research and interviews with renowned behavioral scientists, sexologists, psychologists, and everyday women, he forces us to reconsider long-held notions about female sexuality.
This bold and captivating journey into the world of female desire explores answers to such thought-provoking questions as: Are women perhaps the less monogamous sex? What effect do intimacy and emotional connection really have on lust? What is the role of narcissism – the desire to be desired – in female sexuality? Are political gains for women (“No means no”) detrimental in the bedroom? And is the hunt for a “female Viagra” anything but a search for the cure for monogamy?
Bergner goes behind the scenes of some of the most groundbreaking experiments on sexuality today and confronts us with controversial, sometimes uncomfortable findings. Profoundly insightful and brilliantly illuminating. (provided) 1 Jul 13

Being Human in Real Time

       
 

Douglas Rushkoff
Present Shock
When Everything Happens Now
256 pages, Hardcover
USD 26.95 | GBP 19.99 | EUR 20.50
CHF 30.90
Current Hardcover

 

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, explains media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, but we don’t seem to have any time in which to live it. Instead we remain poised and frozen, overwhelmed by an always-on, live-streamed reality that our human bodies and minds can never truly in­habit. And our failure to do so has had wide-ranging effects on every aspect of our lives.
People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, compile knowledge, and con­nect with anyone, at anytime. We strove for an instanta­neous network where time and space could be compressed.
Well, the future’s arrived. We live in a continuous now en­abled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technologi­cal shift. Yet this “now” is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.
Rushkoff weaves together seemingly disparate events and trends into a rich, nuanced portrait of how life in the eternal present has affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture. He explains how the rise of zombie apocalypse fiction signals our intense desire for an ending; how the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street form two sides of the same post-narrative coin; how corporate investing in the future has been replaced by futile efforts to game the stock market in real time; why social networks make people anxious and email can feel like an assault. He examines how the tragedy of 9/11 disconnected an entire generation from a sense of history, and delves into why conspiracy theories actually comfort us.
As both individuals and communities, we have a choice. We can struggle through the onslaught of information and play an eternal game of catch-up. Or we can choose to live in the present: favor eye contact over texting; quality over speed; and human quirks over digital perfection. Rushkoff offers hope for anyone seeking to transcend the false now. (provided)

Manifesting Clarity

       
 

Philip Shepherd
New Self, New World
Recovering Our Senses in the Twenty-First Century
Foreword by Andrew Harvey
512 pages, Paperback
USD 19.95 | GBP 17.99 | EUR 15.30
CHF 22.90
North Atlantic Books

 

I believe that humanity can survive the crises that are mounting around us – but that our ability to make it will depend on us forging a new kind of clarity.
Philip Shepherd

New Self, New World challenges the primary story of what it means to be human, the random and materialistic lifestyle that author Philip Shepherd calls our “shattered reality.” This reality encourages us to live in our heads, self-absorbed in our own anxieties. Drawing on diverse sources and inspiration, New Self, New World reveals that our state of head-consciousness falsely teaches us to see the body as something we possess and to try to take care of it without ever really learning how to inhabit it. Shepherd articulates his vision of a world in which each of us enjoys a direct, unmediated experience of being alive. He petitions against the futile pursuit of the “known self” and instead reveals the simple grace of just being present. In compelling prose, Shepherd asks us to surrender to the reality of “what is” that enables us to reunite with our own being. Each chapter is accompanied by exercises meant to bring Shepherd’s vision into daily life, what the author calls a practice that “facilitates the voluntary sabotage of long-standing patterns.” New Self, New World is at once a philosophical primer, a spiritual handbook, and a roaming inquiry into human history. http://philipshepherd.com (provided) 23 Jun 13

You Can Be Anyone This Time Around

       
 

R.U. Sirius
Timothy Leary’s Trip Thru Time
Free download
please consider buying it, though, especially if you like it:
http://www.timothyleary.org

 

Timothy Leary is one of the most famous 1960s icons, both for his advocacy of LSD, and his visions of a future where humanity is liberated from outdated morality. And now, you can learn about the man’s inner life in a fascinating new biography.
The short book Timothy Leary’s Trip Thru Time manages to be both witty and thought-provoking. Sirius is known for his subversive futurist writing, including as editor of the legendary digital culture magazine Mondo 2000. He was also a friend of Leary’s, and appreciates the goofy side of the famous man as well as his more philosophical work.
Organized as a kind of oddball timeline, the book takes us from Leary’s troubled attempts to live outside the mainstream – during the 1940s and 50s while he earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology – through his rise to countercultural stardom in the 60s and 70s. And if you want to know where the idea to “tune in, turn on, and drop out” really came from, you shouldn’t miss this book.

Sirius (aka Ken Goffman) begins by introducing the surprisingly complicated guy behind the madcap persona:
“When I first met Timothy Leary in 1980, he told me “credibility is overrated. I want to be incredible.”
Nevertheless, there’s a great temptation, in writing up Leary’s life, to perform an intervention against the popular caricature of him as the sort of madcap, slightly brain-fried acid doctor who brought bedlam to middle class America, and to, instead, make him as credible as possible. And he was, frequently, credible … insightful … erudite … scholarly … well informed … culturally sophisticated – an intellectual’s intellectual. He was a renaissance man – conversant in nearly all of the sciences; in everything to do with psychology; in literature and the arts, history, sociology and popular culture. He was an inveterate theorist and a sometimes fierce combatant in the cultural and political discourses of his time (and not just those related to drugs). By being very selective, one could do a fairly impressive job of dressing him up in academic tweeds. But were he around to participate in that, at some point, he would shuck it off. He would kick off his metaphorical shoes and light out for the territories like the fictional character he most identified with – Huck Finn.
Leary’s life and work subverts – and intentionally so – any attempt to get the adjudicators of serious intellectual credibility to give him another look. After all, more than anything else, he longed to extract the giant stick from their collective rectums, leaving them bereft and … laughing.
And so, we have ahead of us, in this book, several Timothy Learys (Leary claimed their were 24 of him). (provided) 17 Jun 13

 

A New Mind-Set

       
 

Marc Bekoff (Ed.)
Ignoring Nature No More
The Case for Compassionate Conservation
456 pages, Softcover
USD 40.00 | GBP 28.00 | EUR 32.90
CHF 44.90 
University of Chicago Press

 

We can always add more compassion to the world. Ultimately, I believe compassion for animals will make for more compassion among people, weaving more empathy, respect, dignity, and love into all our lives.
Marc Bekoff

For far too long humans have been ignoring nature. As the most dominant, overproducing, overconsuming, big-brained, big-footed, arrogant, and invasive species ever known, we are wrecking the planet at an unprecedented rate. And while science is important to our understanding of the impact we have on our environment, it alone does not hold the answers to the current crisis, nor does it get people to act. In Ignoring Nature No More, Marc Bekoff and a host of renowned contributors argue that we need a new mind-set about nature, one that centers on empathy, compassion, and being proactive.
This collection of diverse essays is the first book devoted to compassionate conservation, a growing global movement that translates discussions and concerns about the well-being of individuals, species, populations, and ecosystems into action. Written by leading scholars in a host of disciplines, including biology, psychology, sociology, social work, economics, political science, and philosophy, as well as by locals doing fieldwork in their own countries, the essays combine the most creative aspects of the current science of animal conservation with analyses of important psychological and sociocultural issues that encourage or vex stewardship. The contributors tackle topics including the costs and benefits of conservation, behavioral biology, media coverage of animal welfare, conservation psychology, and scales of conservation from the local to the global. Taken together, the essays make a strong case for why we must replace our habits of domination and exploitation with compassionate conservation if we are to make the world a better place for nonhuman and human animals alike. (provided) 7 Jun 13

"Greatest Living Genius"

       
 

Dieter Hagenbach and Lucius Werthmüller
Mystic Chemist
The Life of Albert Hofmann
and His Discovery of LSD
Foreword by Stanislav Grof
408 pages, 440 photos and illustrations,
8″ x 10″
Hardcover USD 49.95 | GBP 43.00
EUR 41.99 | CHF 54.90
Softcover USD 38.95 | GBP 34.00
EUR 31.99 | CHF 44.90
Synergetic Press

 

Future generations will see Albert Hofmann as one the most important figures of the twentieth century; a Promethean visionary who helped chart a new trajectory for the evolution of the human species.
Stanislav Grof

Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann first experienced its remarkable effects during a self-experiment with Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in 1943 at Sandoz Laboratories in Basel. It changed his life deeply, as it also has the lives of millions of people all around the world. His bicycle ride during this first LSD trip became legendary.
Mystic Chemist is the authoritative biography on the most famous chemist of the 20th century. The authors, close friends of Hofmann, take us on a journey through the 20th century from his mystical childhood experiences with nature; to his chemistry studies with Nobel Prize winner Paul Karrer in Zurich through his discoveries of both LSD and psilocybin at Sandoz; to his adventurous expeditions and his many years of retirement devoted to philosophy of nature and an active and rich social life to the age of 102.
The book also reveals a thorough and eventful history of the impact of LSD on science, society and culture and the ensuing struggles between advocates and opponents, many of which persist today. This invaluable survey covers all the key stages: the revolution in clinical therapy; the youth movement of the sixties; innovations in computer technologies; to the birth of a new science of consciousness and much more.
Albert Hofmann was voted “greatest living genius” in 2007 by the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. (provided) More

Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life.
Steve Jobs

There is much to learn from this book and from Albert’s example.
Rick Doblin, MAPS

The authors of this biography have done a marvelous job of pulling together documentation and commentary, not only about Hofmann and LSD but also the socio-cultural and political upheavals of the 1960s, during which LSD and all mind-expanding drugs played an enormous role – and were made illegal. The story of LSD and its potential role in society is however far from over, as Hofmann himself also thought. Please read this book and stay tuned.
Ralph Metzner

The best compendium of the birth and transformative effect of one of the greatest discoveries ever made.
Alex Grey

Much more interesting than a conventional biography, this book is a grand sweep of how his affected civilization. That they chose to highlight how his work affected vast areas of world culture makes this a reference book as well as a history of one very long and valued life. Hofmann’s influence, direct and indirect, embedded in a fully described cultural context has never been better reported. The book is also packed with images that added immeasurably to this reader’s understanding of how much of what I value and respect worldwide has been touched and enhanced by Albert Hofman’s contributions, and his philosophical/scientific/mystical orientation. The book and it is like entering a cavern filled with stacks of silks, and baskets of jewels. A must own and read and reread book.
James Fadiman

A fitting tribute to one of the greatest innovators of the 20th century. In addition to its meticulous coverage of Albert Hofmann’s 100 years on this planet, the authors have given their readers a marvelous panoply of LSD’s impact on art, biochemistry, psychotherapy, and spirituality. Indeed, it is a book of wonders.
Stanley Krippner

What a gift to humanity, history, and seekers of truth! … Deepest congratulations on transmitting an extraordinarily complete account of one of the greatest men I ever knew and whose presence was a direct manifestation of brilliant function, profound being, and illuminated understanding.
John Allen, Global Ecotechnics Corporation

This book is more than a superb biography of Albert Hofmann, it’s the story of LSD and pretty much covers everything of importance in the scientific, social, spiritual and artistic realms that resulted from his epochal discovery.
Michael Horowitz

The Power of Ideas

       
 

Ramez Naam
The Infinite Resource
The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet
364 pages, Hardcover, 28 graphs and maps
USD 29.95 | GBP 19.50 | EUR 24.99 | CHF 34.40
University Press of New England

 

The most valuable resource on earth is not oil, gold, water or land. Instead, our capacity for expanding human knowledge is our greatest resource, and the key to overcoming the very real resource scarcity and enormous environmental challenges we face.
Ramez Naam

Climate change. Finite fossil fuels. Fresh water depletion. Rising commodity prices. Ocean acidification. Overpopulation. Deforestation. Feeding the world’s billions. We’re beset by an array of natural resource and environmental challenges. They pose a tremendous risk to human prosperity, to world peace, and to the planet itself.
Yet, if we act, these problems are addressable. Throughout history we’ve overcome similar problems, but only when we’ve focused our energies on innovation. For the most valuable resource we have isn’t oil, water, gold, or land – it’s our stockpile of useful ideas, and our continually growing capacity to expand them.
In this remarkable book, Ramez Naam charts a course to supercharge innovation – by changing the rules of our economy – that can lead the whole world to greater wealth and human well-being, even as we dodge looming resource crunches and environmental disasters and reduce our impact on the planet. (provided) 23 May 13

This book contains a plan – probably the only plan – to save the world. Ramez Naam is unwilling to minimize the challenges that face us, but equally unwilling to sermonize or catastrophize. The Infinite Resource is an intelligent and responsible analysis, presented in lively prose; it should be required reading for all global thinkers and leaders.
Steven Pinker

Back to the Future

       
 

Nicolas Langlitz
Neuropsychedelia
The Revival of Hallucinogen Research since the Decade of the Brain
336 pages, paperback, b|w illustrations
USD 29.95 | GBP 19.95 | EUR 22.95 | CHF 36.90
University of California Press

 

Whether or not LSD research and therapy will return to society, the discoveries that psychedelics made possible have revolutionary implications for our understanding of the psyche, human nature, and the nature of reality.
Stanislav Grof

Neuropsychedelia examines the revival of psychedelic science since the “Decade of the Brain.” After the breakdown of this previously prospering area of psychopharmacology, and in the wake of clashes between counterculture and establishment in the late 1960s, a new generation of hallucinogen researchers used the hype around the neurosciences in the 1990s to bring psychedelics back into the mainstream of science and society. This book is based on anthropological fieldwork and philosophical reflections on life and work in two laboratories that have played key roles in this development: a human lab in Switzerland and an animal lab in California. It sheds light on the central transnational axis of the resurgence connecting American psychedelic culture with the home country of LSD. In the borderland of science and religion, Neuropsychedelia explores the tensions between the use of hallucinogens to model psychoses and to evoke spiritual experiences in laboratory settings. Its protagonists, including the anthropologist himself, struggle to find a place for the mystical under conditions of late-modern materialism. (provided) 13 May 13

The Universe is Us

       

 

Peter Fairfield
Deep Happy
How to Get There and Always Find Your Way Back
248 pages, Paperback
USD 16.95 | EUR 13.99 | CHF 19.40
Weiser Books

 

Just like the great seas and oceans that are unaffected by huge and raging storms on the surface just a few feet above, we can experience the ebb and flow of conflicting and difficult events of the world outside of us, yet still connect to the stillness, peace, and happiness in the deep and essential parts of us.
Peter Fairfield

Everyone wants to be happy. But somehow our happiness is transient, depending on whatís happening in our lives. There is a deeper happiness that can only be found in the present moment.
Deep Happy is based on quantum physics and the belief that we are intimately and infinitely connected to the larger universe.
Spiritual and transformational healer Peter Fairfield offers tools and practices to achieve everyday happiness. He distills more than 40 years of healing, research, and personal experience into this profound and practical volume.
The stories and exercises in Deep Happy show readers how to understand and communicate with a deeper intrinsic reality to achieve lasting happiness:
– The more singular our request, the easier it is for the universe to respond.
– Positive and negative expectations can cancel each other out.
– The universe hears the heart most easily.
– Remember that the universe is us.
– The separation we feel is an illusion we have created in our own head.
A fascinating and provocative look at the deepest workings of the biological, quantum, and sacred reality of who we are. Fairfield shows how anyone can drop beneath the normal noise of everyday life to experience deep and profound happiness. (provided) 1 May 13

 

The Sequel

       
 

Michael Harner
Cave and Cosmos
Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality
312 pages, Paperback
USD 19.95 | EUR 15.00 | CHF 22.90
North Atlantic Books

 

Shamanic enlightenment is the literal ability to lighten the darkness, to see in that darkness what others cannot perceive. This may, in fact, be the most ancient meaning of “enlightenment.”

Michael Harner

In 1980, Michael Harner blazed the trail for the worldwide revival of shamanism with his seminal classic The Way of the Shaman. In this long-awaited sequel, he provides new evidence of the reality of heavens.
Drawing from a lifetime of personal shamanic experiences and more than 2,500 reports of Westerners’ experiences during shamanic ascension, Harner highlights the striking similarities between their discoveries, indicating that the heavens and spirits they’ve encountered do indeed exist. He also provides instructions on his innovative core-shamanism techniques, so that readers too can ascend to heavenly realms, seek spirit teachers, and return later at will for additional healing and advice.
Written by the leading authority on shamanism, Cave and Cosmos is a must-read not only for those interested in shamanism, but also for those interested in spirituality, comparative religion, near-death experiences, healing, consciousness, anthropology, and the nature of reality. (provided) 19 Apr 13 |

Cave and Cosmos is a treasure trove of information on core shamanism and is bound to become a classic in the global renaissance of shamanism that Michael Harner initiated with his earlier The Way of the Shaman.
Stanislav Grof

Remedies of the Love Goddess

       
 

Christian Rätsch, Claudia Müller-Ebeling
The Encyclopedia of Aphrodisiacs
Psychoactive Substances for Use in Sexual Practices
736 pages, Hardcover Book, full color throughout
USD 125.00 | EUR 91.99 | CHF 136.30
Park Street Press

 

An aphrodisiac – like an entheogen – is defined by culture. The word aphrodisiac, which is derived from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, literally means “an agent of the love goddess.”
Christian Rätsch, Claudia Müller-Ebeling

The culmination of more than 30 years of cultural, anthropological and scientific research, this encyclopaedia examines the botany, pharmacology, history, preparation, dosage and practical use of more than 400 erotically stimulating substances from antiquity to the present day. From plants and animals that enhance fertility and virility, like celery, snails or oysters, to substances that induce arousal, like ephedra, opium or cannabis, the encyclopaedia is richly illustrated with more than 800 colour photographs – many of which are from the authors’ extensive fieldwork around the world. Exploring individual, medicinal and ritual use through historic and contemporary artwork, personal accounts and literature as well as ayurvedic, tantric, shamanic and European folklore practices and recent pharmacological research, the authors look at the revolving cycle of acceptance and condemnation of aphrodisiacs, the qualities that incur the label of aphrodisiac, the role of mind and setting and the different ways aphrodisiacs stimulate desire – either physically, through the senses and vital organs or mentally, through heightened awareness and altered consciousness. This comprehensive guide reveals these “remedies of the love goddess” as holy remedies whose proper use can help reestablish harmony with oneself, one’s partner, and the universe. (provided) 7 Apr 13

An elegant, unsentimental, and extraordinary book. From photographs of African fertility dances to full tantrik instructions, from French phallic ancient stone monuments to a discussion of pheromones, this is the best of its kind I’ve seen. Highly recommended.
Yellow Silk

The Way of Compassion

       
 

Barbara L. Fredrickson
Love 2.0
How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become
256 pages, Hardcover
USD 25.95 | EUR 18.95 | CHF 29.90
Hudson Street Press

 

The boundaries between you and not-you – what lies beyond your skin – relax and become more permeable. While infused with love you see fewer distinctions between you and others. Indeed, your ability to see others – really see them, wholeheartedly – springs open. Love can even give you a palpable sense of oneness and connection, a transcendence that makes you feel part of something far larger than yourself.
Barbara L. Fredrickson

We all know love matters, but in this groundbreaking book positive emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson shows us how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives.
Using research from her own lab, Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connection between people – even strangers. She demonstrates that our capacity for experiencing love can be measured and strengthened in ways that improve our health and longevity. Finally, she introduces us to informal and formal practices to unlock love in our lives, generate compassion, and even self-soothe.
Rare in its scope and ambitious in its message, Love 2.0 will reinvent how you look at and experience our most powerful emotion. (provided) 25 Mar 13

Flesh of the Gods

       
 

R. Gordon Wasson
The Wondrous Mushroom
Mycolatry in Mesoamerica
248 pages, paperback
USD 24.95 | EUR 20.99 | CHF 28.90
City Lights

 

Was it not probable that, long ago, long before the beginnings of written history, our ancestors had worshiped a divine mushroom? This would explain the aura of the supernatural in which all fungi seem to be bathed.
R. Gordon Wasson

In 1957 Life magazine created a sensation by publishing an article about the experiences of a JP Morgan executive who took mind-altering mushrooms with a shaman woman in Mexico. The story captured the imagination of a generation, inspiring waves of intellectuals, artists and seekers to travel in search of the mushrooms and the indigenous healer, Maria Sabina. Today, Gordon Wasson is credited with having triggered the psychedelic revolution and his influence lives on through the growing community of people who study indigenous spirituality, sacred plants and their role in personal transformation. In celebration of Wasson’s pioneering work, we present a reprint of his classic, The Wondrous Mushroom, an in-depth study of shamanic realities, mushrooms, and traditions connecting contemporary practices to pre-Conquest art, architecture and culture. The book begins with Wasson’s first experiences taking mushrooms, going into a wealth of details about sacred indigenous ceremonies, culture and practices. The Wondrous Mushroom unveils a lifetime of studies, personal experiences and reflections on shamanism, culture, community well-being, healing and spiritual strength. Long out of print, this new edition is a must-have for anyone interested in the history of psychedelics. (provided) 13 Mar 13

From now on any comprehensive study of Ancient Mexican civilization must start from (and with) your discoveries.
Octavio Paz

Agents of Ourselves

       
 

Richard Swinburne
Mind, Brain, and Free Will
242 pages, paperback
GBP 18.99 | EUR 25.00 | CHF 35.40
Oxford University Press

 

This book argues for substance dualism (of soul and body) and libertarian free will. It begins with full discussions of the underlying philosophical issues (such as the criteria of identity of events and substances, and the nature of metaphysical possibility) and the underlying epistemological issues (such as when scientists are justified in believing subjects’ reports about their conscious events). Armed with results of this kind, it then argues that pure mental events (including conscious events) are distinct from physical events and that these interact with each other. Recent neuroscience (such as Libet’s experiments) has no tendency whatever to show that they do not interact, and no scientific work in the future could show that. It is then argued that, to be precise, it is not mental events which cause our brain events, but we ourselves are agents who cause these. The argument is made that since it is metaphysically possible that each of us could acquire a new brain, or continue to exist without a brain, we are essentially pure mental substances (souls). Our brain events and conscious events are so different from each other that it would not be possible to establish a scientific theory which would make it possible to predict what each of us would do in situations of making moral decisions. Hence, since it seems to us that we make our decisions independently of the causes acting on us (agent causation), we ought so to believe. It follows that we are morally responsible for our moral decisions. (provided) 1 Mar 13

Emerging Uses of Psychedelics

       
 

Thomas B. Roberts
The Psychedelic Future of the Mind
How Entheogens Are Enhancing Cognition, Boosting Intelligence, and Raising Values
288 pages, paperback, 10 b&w illustrations
USD 18.95 | EUR 18.90 | CHF 21.90
Park Street Press

 

A particularly interesting instance of psychedelic-assisted problem solving comes from Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis and it exemplifies a different kind of multistate intelligence when he invented the Polymerase Chain Reaction Technique.
Thomas B. Roberts

As psychedelic psychotherapy gains recognition through research at universities and medical establishments such as the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute and Bellevue Hospital, the other beneficial uses of psychedelics are beginning to be recognized and researched as well – from enhancing problem-solving and increasing motivation to boosting the immune system and deepening moral and ethical values.
Exploring the bright future of psychedelics, Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D., reveals how new uses for entheogens will enrich individuals as well as society as a whole. With contributions from Charles Grob, M.D., and Roger N. Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., the book explains how psychedelics can raise individual and business attitudes away from self-centeredness, improve daily life with strengthened feelings of meaningfulness and spirituality, and help us understand and redesign the human mind, leading to the possibility of a neurosingularity – a time when future brains surpass our current ones. Roberts envisions a future where you will seek psychedelic therapy not only for psychological reasons but also for personal growth, creative problem solving, improved brain function, and heightened spiritual awareness.
Our psychedelic future is on the  – future that harnesses the full potential of mind and spirit – and Thomas Roberts outlines a path to reach it. (provided) 19 Feb 13

With the psychedelic renaissance now in full flower, this book provides timely insight into the many reasons that we should work to mainstream nonordinary states of consciousness for a range of beneficial uses and the practical ways we can do so.
Rick Doblin

From Cosmos to Cell

       
 

Neil Shubin
The Universe Within
Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People
225 pages, hardcover, b|w illustrations
USD 25.95 | EUR 15.95 | CHF 24.90
Pantheon

 

The world is filled with puzzles, all kinds of interesting questions and it’s our challenge to figure them out. It’s not just like this static file cabinet of things that human beings know. It’s ever expanding.
Neil Shubin

The answer to a scientific mystery story as big as the world itself: How have astronomical events that took place millions of years ago created the unique qualities of the human species?
In his last book (the best-selling Your Inner Fish), Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human anatomy – our hands, our jaws – and the structures in the fish that first took over land 375 million years ago.
Now in The Universe Within, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, Shubin takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we look the way we do. Starting once again with fossils, he turns his gaze skyward, showing us how the entirety of the universe’s fourteen-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. As he moves from our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system) through the workings of our eyes, Shubin makes clear how the evolution of the cosmos has profoundly marked our own bodies. (provided) 7 Feb 13

A Visionary Icon

       
 

Daniel Moler
Machine Elves 101
Or, Why Terence McKenna Matters
45 pages, e-book
USD 2.99
Reality Sandwich Singles

 

We are caged by our cultural programming. Culture is a mass hallucination, and when you step outside the mass hallucination you see it for what it’s worth.
Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna is an underground legend. Join a conversation with the key words psychedelic, entheogen, DMT, ayahuasca, mushroom, shamanism, or 2012, and his name is bound to crop up. Saunter into the middle of a Burning Man Festival and you’ll find shrines built in his honor. But on Main Street, USA, they’ve never heard of him. Who is the man the Village Voice dubbed the “Copernicus of consciousness?”
Machine Elves 101 covers all the high points of the McKenna story: the experiment at La Chorrea, the pioneering magic mushroom cultivation of the 70s, The Invisible Landscape, the Palenque Entheobotany Seminars, visitations by the Machine Elves while on DMT, the Stoned Ape hypothesis, The Timewave Zero theory, and The Archaic Revival. Also included is an exclusive interview with Dennis McKenna, Terence’s frequent collaborator, who candidly discusses his brother’s legacy. Machine Elves 101 offers the first comprehensive introduction to the life and work of this visionary icon. (provided) 28 Jan 13

Visionary Dance Culture

       
 

Graham St John
Global Tribe
Technology, Spirituality & Psytrance
400 pages, Paperback, b|w photos
GBP 19.99 | USD 29.95 | EUR 25.99 | CHF 37.90
equinox

 

Psyculture has emerged from a tradition in which the cultural exile is ascendant, the estranged figure who had chosen his|her departure from global risk, outlawed practice, existential despair, spiritual disenchantment, cognitive dissonance.
Graham St John

Born from extensive international research, Global Tribe documents a little understood global dance culture that has mushroomed all over the world since its beginnings in diverse psychedelic music scenes flourishing in Goa, India, in the 1970s and 1980s. From small parties to major international events such as Portugal’s Boom Festival, the paramount expression of this movement has been the festival. Via first-hand accounts of the scenes, festivals and music of psychedelic trance (psytrance) in Australia, Israel, Italy, the UK, the US, Germany, Turkey and other places, the author explores this transnational movement with attention to its diverse aesthetic roots, national translations and internal controversies. As a thoroughly engaging multi-sited ethnography and an intimate examination of the digital, chemical, cyber and media assemblage of psytrance, Global Tribe studies the integrated role of technology and spirituality in the formation of this visionary arts movement. The book demonstrates how the event-culture of psytrance accommodates rites of risk and consciousness, a complex circumstance demanding revision of existing approaches to ritual, music and culture. www.edgecentral.net (provided) 23 Jan 13

From the esoteric traveler jams of Goa to the liminal zones of Boom and Burning Man, Graham St John guides us through the cosmic carnival of global psytrance with an intoxicating blend of deep research, empathic ethnography, and edge-dancing cultural analysis. This is the definitive book on what has become, from the perspective of planetary spiritual culture, the most resonant music scene of our transhuman century.
Erik Davis

Developing Talent, Realizing Vision

       
 

Ralph Metzner
The Six Pathways of Destiny
146 pages, Paperback
USD 20.00 | EUR 15.95 | CHF 22.90
Regent Press

 

The guidance that emerges from considering the relative strengths of talents and interests in the different pathways ist hat you develop your strongest talents for mastery in your fields. and you may pursue your other interests for wholeness and balance.
Ralph Metzner

Each of us, as a human soul, incarnates by choice with a purpose, an intention or vision for this life – what we came here to do and to be. The soul chooses one or more of six great archetypal pathways in which to develop its talents and realize its vision – Healer/Peacemaker, Explorer/Scientist, Warrior/Guardian, Artist/Musician, Teacher/Historian, Builder/Organizer. For each of the six pathways, the work we do in society has its characteristic disciplines that are to be first learned and then practiced. Each of the pathways is not only a career or a profession, our work in the world, each is also at a deeper level a pathway for manifesting our soul’s destiny. greenearthfound.org (provided) 13 Jan 13

Ecstasy's Therapeutic Potential

       
 

Torsten Passie, MD
Healing with Entactogens
Therapist and Patient Perspectives on MDMA-Assisted Group Psychotherapy
Foreword by Ralph Metzner
90 pages, Paperback
USD 12.95
MAPS

 

This booklet explores MDMA and other entactogens as pharmacological adjuncts to group psychotherapy. It presents intimate insights into entactogenic experiences from first-hand accounts of clients who participated in group therapy sessions, and crucial background on the neurobiological and psychospiritual components of those experiences.
The word “entactogen” refers to compounds that “produce a touching within,” and is derived from the roots en (Greek: within), tact’s (Latin: touch), and gen (Greek: produce. Entactogen is used to describe a class of psychoactive substances that decrease anxiety; increase trust, self-acceptance, and openness; and allow easier access to memories, providing fertile ground for transformative healing.
Therapists used entactogens such as MDMA in their practice before it was criminalized in 1985. Since that time, much effort has taken place to conduct government-approved scientific research into MDMA’s therapeutic potential, which has recently been demonstrated in placebo-controlled studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder. www.maps.org (provided) 1 Jan 13

MDMA takes away the feelings of self-hatred and condemnation which are the biggest obstacles to insight.
Ann Shulgin

More Than Magic

       
 

Jean Houston
The Wizard of Us
Transformational Lessons from Oz
224 pages, Hardcover
USD 24.00 | EUR 18.99 | CHF 27.90
Simon & Schuster

 

The fork in the road can be frightening – for the hero doesn’t know what lies ahead – but by choosing which way on the path she will go, Dorothy also enters the stage that shows an open willingness to undergo major life change and personal transformation.
Jean Houston

In The Wizard of Us, discover the powerful, unique skills and qualities of Dorothy, the Wizard, and the other archetypes of mind, heart, and courage that live within each of us. With specific, easy-to-follow exercises and incredible “aha” insights, you’ll begin to expand your thinking, open your heart, and build the courage to truly connect with your own Hero’s Journey. This thoughtful, layered guide offers new understanding of the human condition, the importance of myth, and the critical nature of our role and how we can participate in the creation of a better world. The Wizard not only calls us forth but he has called forth the journey itself. It’s time to uncover your inner hero and become the essential human you were always meant to be.
Answer the call to transform yourself and your world. The beloved story The Wizard of Oz has the power to reveal the Hero’s Journey that awaits each of us. Through a mythic lens, discover how Dorothy’s adventure in a magical land inspires our lives today, offering valuable tools to guide us through our challenging times. Where you will learn to thrive rather than merely to survive. Through interpreting the deeper messages within The Wizard of Oz, visionary leader and teacher Jean Houston leads you along the Hero’s Journey that awaits each of us. On this profound adventure of self-discovery and awakened potential, Houston’s lessons propel you into greater self-understanding and a connection to the larger world story as you explore Oz like never before. (provided) 27 Dec 12

Jean Houston’s mind should be considered a national treasure.
Buckminster Fuller

Interconnectedness of All Things

       
 

Alex Grey with Allyson Grey
Net of Being
208 pages, Hardcover, 10.50 x 13.50, full color throughout
USD 26.95 | EUR 31.35 | CHF 44.90
Inner Traditions

 

Love, consciousness, and creativity are the highest refinements of the cosmic evolutionary force.
Alex Grey

Revealing the interwoven energies of body and soul, love and spirit that illuminate the core of each being, Alex Grey’s mystic paintings articulate the realms of consciousness encountered during visits to entheogenic heaven worlds. His painting Net of Being – inspired by a blazing vision of an infinite grid of Godheads during an ayahuasca journey – has reached millions as the cover and interior of the band Tool’s Grammy award – winning triple-platinum album, 10,000 Days. Net of Being is one of many images Grey has created that have resulted in a chain reaction of uses – from apparel and jewelry to tattoos and music videos – embedding these iconic works into our culture’s living Net of Being.
The book explores how the mystical experience expressed in Alex Grey’s work opens a new understanding of our shared consciousness and unveils the deep influence art can have on cultural evolution. The narrative progresses through a successive expansion of identity – from the self, to self and beloved, to self and community, world spirit, and cosmic consciousness, where bodies are transparent to galactic energies. Presenting over 200 images, including many never-before-reproduced paintings as well as masterworks such as St. Albert and the LSD Revelation Revolution and Godself, the book also documents performance art, live-painting on stage throughout the world, and the “social sculpture” called CoSM, Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, that Grey cofounded with his wife and creative collaborator, artist Allyson Grey. www.alexgrey.com/net.html (provided) 21 Dec 12

Alex Grey’s artworks bring together the tangible outer worlds investigated by scientists – full of molecules, bodies and stars – and the intangible visionary inner worlds – full of light, shadow and spiritual beings – known mainly to mystics.
Albert Hofmann

Alex’s work, like all great transcendental art, is not merely symbolic or imaginary: it is a direct invitation to recognize and realize a deeper dimension of our very own being.
Ken Wilber

Advaita Vedanta for the 21st Century

       
 

Douwe Tiemersma
Non-Duality
The groundless openness
240 pages, Paperback
GBP 12.99 | USD 22.95 | EUR 17.99 | CHF 26.40
Mantra Books

 

Non-duality forms the essence of every spiritual and mystical truth.
Douwe Tiemersma

The renowned teacher of Advaita Vedanta gives an extended and precise exposé of the various forms and aspects of non-duality in a question-answer style. It contains introductions and talks arranged in a systematic order, offering a thorough insight into non-duality and showing viable ways for its realization. (provided) 17 Dec 12

This is an excursion through the world of nonduality. Douwe Tiemersma steers you through alleys of advaita, into Nisargadatta’s room, from question mark to question mark, to the corners and turns of his spiritual biography, and into the experiences of witness-being and self-being.
Jerry Katz

Psychology of Atomic Phenomena

       
 

Robert G. Jahn and Brenda J. Dunne
Quirks of the Quantum Mind
274 pages, Paperback
USD 17.95 | GBP 12.50 | EUR 17.95 | CHF 20.90
ICRL Press

 

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
Max Planck

This book does not offer a quantum mechanical ‘explanation’ of human consciousness. Rather, it proposes something far more radical: namely, that quantum mechanics, like any other model of human representation, is both a reflection and a product of the mind, is fundamentally intuitive, and describes a reality of which we are an integral component. In a certain sense, it might be viewed as a textbook on the psychology of atomic phenomena. An extensive Appendix presents quotations from the philosophical writings of many of the patriarchs of modern physics, indicating that the role of consciousness in physical reality was central to their thinking as they hammered out the mechanics that would change the face of 20th-century science.
Quirks of the Quantum Mind is an expanded version of the 1986 PEAR technical note titled “On the Quantum Mechanics of Consciousness, with Application to Anomalous Phenomena” that was published under the same title in abbreviated form in Foundations of Physics. icrl.org (provided) 5 Dec 12

A Lifelong Relationship

       
 

Dennis McKenna
The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss
My Life with Terence McKenna
Foreword by Luis Eduardo Luna
320 pages, Softcover, b|w photos
USD 19.99
Autographed Softcover
USD 39.95
Autographed Hardcover
USD 79.95
eBook USD 9.99 | EUR 8.00
Polaris Publications, Barnes & Noble

 

Terence became the spokesman for the alien dimensions accessed through psychedelics, the philosopher of the unspeakable, a beloved and sometimes reviled bard of the outer limits of human experience. By choice and inclination, I remained in the background, pursuing a career in science.
Dennis McKenna

When Dennis asked me to write a foreword for this book, I was surprised and delighted. It had never occurred to me that such a book would require any foreword at all. Dennis is a well-respected researcher and thinker, and many of us have read his scientific papers or listened with pleasure to his interdisciplinary lectures, which combine ethnobotany, psychopharmacology, history, and philosophical reflections. But this is not an academic book. It is the long-awaited account of his lifelong relationship with his older brother Terence, the great raconteur of wide-reaching philosophical and eschatological ideas. In other words, what we have here is the privilege of going behind the curtains and peering into the private lives of these two extraordinary brothers, the poet and the scientist, the public figure and the more retiring originator of ideas, one who haunts us from the invisible yet pervasive World Wide Web (his words still fresh and even more relevant twelve years after his death), the other still with us, wise, and with an acute sense of humor. Like his brother, Dennis is a teacher from whom we still have much to learn.
Luis Eduardo Luna (From the Foreword)
 

After the generous foreword by Luis Eduardo Luna with an ending so sad it moved me to tears, it soon became clear that Dennis McKenna could not have written a biography of the Terence McKenna we knew and loved by abstracting the role he played in his brother’s life. Dennis had to be true to himself, not only as an important participant but also as the hero of his own movie with its scientific achievements, mainly in the realm of ayahuasca research. Moreover, it was Dennis who suffered – or enjoyed – one of the core events of the McKenna saga, the “psychotic breakdown“ – or shamanic initiation – in La Chorrera (Colombia) in 1971. Terence helped him through it, showing great faith and a strong spirit, as he so eloquently reports in True Hallucinations, the most readable of his books. “To date“, I am tempted to say, but Terence is no more. He left us in the year 2000, without finding out whether the other mainstay of his extraordinary intellectual life, Timewave Zero, had been able to forecast important collective changes in accordance with the end of the 13th baktun of the Mayan Calendar, on 12.21.12.

In Chapter II, Dennis hones in on his number one subject: telling the tale of where Terence and Dennis McKenna hail from, their family background, where they grew up, what values they lived by, what the parents and the relatives were like, who their local friends and rivals were and many other wonderful idiosyncracies. Family man Dennis speaks of his parents and his great aunts and uncles with much affection but Terence rather mistrusted his folks, though one of his ancient aunts helped take care of him while he was dying, at age fifty-three. He called her “the old battle ax“, and I believe it was a term of endearment. Terence and his kid brother grew up in Paonia, the Latin name of the peony, settled in the 1880s and incorporated in 1902 in Western Colorado, a five-hour drive away from Denver. Fruit, coal and climate formed the economic underpinnings of Paonia and of the entire North Fork Valley of the Gunnison River. When Terence and Dennis were growing up, its population numbered about a thousand souls; the total population has almost doubled since, and the demographics of the town have changed markedly. Since the Rainbow Gathering of 1992, a good number of New Agers and members of the psychedelic community have settled there; some came in honor of Terence, but most put down roots because it was and remains a nice place to live, the perfect small town in which to raise children and enjoy the good life.

Despite the bullying Dennis experienced for a while at the hands of his brother, as they matured into adulthood they became the best of friends. Dennis may have resented Terence more than the other way round, but the latter had a cruel streak, like those unreservedly admired often do. Dennis was the younger of the two by four years, and while he looked up to his brother, like little brothers do, he also hated Terence. They were Mama’s boys, especially Terence who disliked his father intensely for disciplining him over something he had done when he was too young to know better. Like so many fathers, Joe McKenna was often absent, flying all over Colorado in a small plane that played a big role in the life of the McKenna family. With it, they had some of their best times together, regularly flying to popular as well as more obscure destinations for weekends and vacations.

The McKenna brothers enjoyed a well-protected childhood typical of the 1950s. Their mother was home when they came home, their father whenever he could, and despite their many conflicts he stuck with his boys all his life, no matter how difficult, esoteric or hard to understand they proved to be. Their early years came to an end as Terence managed to get permission to finish high school in California; he had already become too hard to handle back home. Dennis desperately wanted to follow suit but had to continue living in pastoral Paonia for another few years, while Terence was studying in Berkeley. Terence liked to collect things, a habit that stemmed from his interest in fossils, in those days still easy to find in the deserts and mountains close to Paonia. He had a minute handwriting and categorized his finds with great accuracy, a trait that won him a job mounting butterfly specimens further down the line – another somewhat cruel pursuit. Thus he financed the first of his many travels. When butterfly collecting no longer provided the necessary funds, he turned to hashish smuggling, a relatively easy business at the end of the sixties when security was low. One of the parcels he sent from abroad got caught, however, meaning Terence felt he could not enter the USA for a while. This is why he didn’t make it back to Paonia in time for his mother’s untimely death, a sad fact that haunted him for the rest of his life.

Of the interests the brothers shared, consciousness expansion with psychedelics was the foremost. Throughout their lives, they experimented and researched The Invisible Landscape (the title of their common book) of the mind and the otherworld, including shamanism, DMT or ayahuasca, the I Ching and the DNA double helix. Both eventually settled down, Dennis with a wife and daughter Caitlin, Terence with a wife and two kids, Finn and Klea. Dennis is still with his family; Terence went through a painful divorce in the nineties.

While he liked to smoke dope like nobody’s business, Terence consumed psychedelics less frequently after the initial years. Like Timothy Leary or Albert Hofmann, he was much too busy doing other things to find the time. Dennis indulged more often but, as an accredited scientist working for NIMH and other renowned laboratories, he had an intact reputation whereas his psychotropically more abstinent brother was definitely the wilder of the two for as far as the world was concerned. It is no secret that the two McKenna brothers started the mushroom craze of the eighties and nineties by developing and then publishing a simple method for cultivation that put mushrooms within reach of millions, thus originating the biggest turn-on since Leary exhorted a generation to ‘turn on, tune in and drop out’ with LSD. Only this time it wasn’t flaunted in anyone’s face. And when shrooming didn’t seem opportune any longer, because too many people knew about him and it, Terence turned his books, talks and tapes, and speaking fees into a modest living that kept him and his family going and traveling.

He had always suffered from migraines; after his divorce, they got worse, and this, together with other setbacks contributed to a dark period in Terence’s life. In 1999, after suffering a seizure, he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most malignant and aggressive type of brain tumor known. He tried all he could: laser surgery, chemotherapy, alternative medicine, a risky operation, but it was to no avail. And so, this book ends the same as it began, in sadness and with tears. Of course there is much more, but since I have always deplored that to review a book you have to give away part of its story, enough is enough. Thank you, Dennis, for writing this eloquent, outspoken and moving account of two lives that have deeply influenced so many of ours.
Susanne G. Seiler

http://www.brotherhoodofthescreamingabyss.com/ 1 Dec 12

Life-changing Visions

       
 

Oliver Sacks
Hallucinations
352 pages, Hardcover
USD 26.95 | EUR 21.20 | CHF 30.90
Knopf

 

When I came to work with my ‘Awakenings’ patients, some of these patients had extraordinary sensory experiences – of time stopping, of motion being split up, into a series of separate stills. Which I think is almost unimaginable, but I had experienced that myself on LSD and I knew what they were talking about, and I knew how confounding it was.
Oliver Sacks

Have you ever seen something that wasn’t really there? Heard someone call your name in an empty house? Sensed someone following you and turned around to find nothing?
Hallucinations don’t belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. People with migraines may see shimmering arcs of light or tiny, Lilliputian figures of animals and people. People with failing eyesight, paradoxically, may become immersed in a hallucinatory visual world. Hallucinations can be brought on by a simple fever or even the act of waking or falling asleep, when people have visions ranging from luminous blobs of color to beautifully detailed faces or terrifying ogres. Those who are bereaved may receive comforting “visits” from the departed. In some conditions, hallucinations can lead to religious epiphanies or even the feeling of leaving one’s own body.
Humans have always sought such life-changing visions, and for thousands of years have used hallucinogenic compounds to achieve them. As a young doctor in California in the 1960s, Oliver Sacks had both a personal and a professional interest in psychedelics. These, along with his early migraine experiences, launched a lifelong investigation into the varieties of hallucinatory experience.
Here, with his usual elegance, curiosity, and compassion, Dr. Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture’s folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all, a vital part of the human condition. www.oliversacks.com (provided) 28 Nov 12

Deep Green Ethics

       
 

Emma Restall Orr
The Wakeful World
Animism, Mind and the Self in Nature
304 pages, Paperback
GBP 11.99 | USD 20.95 | EUR 15.90 | CHF 22.90
Moon Books

 

Creativity, peace and harmony are achieved through consideration, consultation and dialogue, where there is wakeful respect, without prejudice or assumption.
Emma Restall Orr

Over the past few hundred years, animism has been dismissed as a primitive, naïve and irrational perspective, irrelevant within the civilised West. In The Wakeful World, Emma Restall Orr argues that this is based on the misrepresentation, drawn in crayon, that each tree and stone has its own immortal soul.
Taking the reader on a philosophical adventure, Restall Orr explores the heritage of Western thought with precision, enthusiasm and sensitivity, considering how soul, spirit, mind and consciousness have been understood through millennia. Challenging the prevailing worldviews of materialism and dualism, she presents animism as a radically different, yet mature and coherent philosophy.
Providing deep green ethics with a wholly rational metaphysical foundation, The Wakeful World is a compelling view of the nature of existence and the experience of reality, giving solid ground for the now necessary journey to a sustainable world.
www.emmarestallorr.org/index.html (provided) 19 Nov 12

Healing Agents

       
 

David Jay Brown
Psychedelic Drug Research
A Comprehensive Review
45 pages, e-book
USD 2.99
Reality Sandwich Singles

 

Psychedelic drugs affect all mental functions: perception, emotion, cognition, body awareness and one’s sense of self. Unlike every other class of drugs, psychedelic drug effects depend heavily on the environment and expectations of the subject, which is why combining them with psychotherapy is so vital.
David Jay Brown

Long demonized, ridiculed, or ignored by the mainstream media, psychedelic drugs are finally seeing the light of day, and new scientific research is confirming the results of older studies, which suggest that these unusual substances have a myriad of useful medical applications. After eighteen years of no clinical studies with psychedelic drugs, there is now an explosion of research occurring all over the world on drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, MDMA, ibogaine and ketamine.
How might psychedelics be used as healing agents? Psychedelic Drug Research offers a definitive summary of the scientific investigations that have taken place since starting anew in 1990. (provided) 13 Nov 12

A Hidden World

       
 

David George Haskell
The Forest Unseen
A Year’s Watch in Nature
USD 25.95 | EUR 12.55 | CHF 18.40
288 pages, Hardback
Viking Adult

 

You can live a perfectly happy life never having heard of Shakespeare, but your life is in some ways a little diminished, because there’s such beauty there. And I think the same is true of nature.
David George Haskell

In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature’s path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.
Each of this book’s short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands – sometimes millions – of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.
Written with remarkable grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity. Haskell is a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards. (provided) 1 Nov 11

Wholeness Through the Heart

       
 

Joseph Chilton Pearce
The Heart-Mind Matrix
How the Heart Can Teach the Mind New Ways to Think
224 pages, Paperback, 13 b&w illustrations
USD 16.95 | EUR 13.30 | CHF 19.40
Park Street Press

 

The minute you are opened up to the heart, you are intimately related and a part of and one with everything.We find that immediately the heart integrates the brain structure, so that that which we’re thinking, that which we’re feeling, and that which we’re acting are a single integrated whole.
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Expanding the revolutionary theories of mind explored in the bestselling The Crack in the Cosmic Egg and The Biology of Transcendence, Joseph Chilton Pearce explains how the heart provides the balancing intelligence to the brain’s calculating intellect, an innate system of emotional-mental coherence lost generations ago through a breakdown of the nurturing culture of our ancestors. By severing ourselves from our heart intelligence, we are left with our selfish, survival-oriented reptilian brains, which create and reinforce “strange loops” between potential and actual reality, leading to our modern world’s endless cycle of self-inflicted disasters and societal crises. Pearce explains that in order to break these cycles and transcend a life focused solely on surviving the results of our own reactive patterns, we must reconnect with the compassionate intelligence of the heart.
Offering a rich variety of evidence, Pearce explores neurological research, lost and enduring nurturing cultures, personal experiences, and accounts from the lives and writings of modern sages such as Jane Goodall, Maria Montessori, and Rudolf Steiner. He shows that by activating the original matrix of the Heart-Mind – the engine of our spiritual evolution and our innate connection to the universe – we can teach our brains new ways to think, amend our destructive behavior loops, and enter into a future of peace, spiritual connection, and conscious evolution. (provided) 29 Oct 12

Facts from Experts

       

 

Jonathan P. Caulkins, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer and Mark A.R. Kleiman
Marijuana Legalization
What Everyone Needs to Know
288 pages, Paperback
USD 16.95 | GBP 10.99 | EUR 14.60 | CHF 15.90
Oxford University Press

 

Marijuana ist the most commonly used illegal drug in the world; various forms of the drug have been used for thousands of years for their medical, socail, and aestethic effects.
Jonathan P. Caulkins, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer Mark A.R. Kleiman

Marijuana is forbidden by international treaties and by national and local laws across the globe. But those laws are under challenge in several countries. In the U.S., there is no short-term prospect for changes in federal law, but sixteen states allow medical use and recent initiatives to legalize production and non-medical use garnered more than 40% support in four states. California’s Proposition 19 nearly passed in 2010, and multiple states are expected to consider similar measures in the years to come.
The debate and media coverage surrounding Proposition 19 reflected profound confusion, both about the current state of the world and about the likely effects of changes in the law. In addition, not all supporters of “legalization” agree on what it is they want to legalize: Just using marijuana? Growing it? Selling it? Advertising it? If sales are to be legal, what regulations and taxes should apply? Different forms of legalization might have very different results.
Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know will provide readers with a non-partisan primer about the topic, covering everything from the risks and benefits of using marijuana, to describing the current laws around the drug in the U.S. and abroad. The authors discuss the likely costs and benefits of legalization at the state and national levels and walk readers through the “middle ground” of policy options between prohibition and commercialized production. The authors also consider how marijuana legalization could personally impact parents, heavy users, medical users, drug traffickers, and employers. marijuanalegalization.info (provided) 23 Oct 12

This is probably the best writing about marijuana legalization that has ever been done.
Drug WarRant.com

 

In Search of the Nature of Reality

       
 

Daniel Pinchbeck and Ken Jordan, Eds
Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness
Liminal Zones, Psychic Science, and the Hidden Dimensions of the Mind
384 pages, Paperback
USD 18.95 | EUR 14.95 | CHF 21.90
Evolver Editions

 

As human consciousness evolves in an accelerated spiral, we are being compelled to realize that our minds are manifesting reality to an ever-increasing extent.
Daniel Pinchbeck

A diverse group of authors journey into the fringes of human consciousness, tackling psychic and paranormal phenomena, lucid dreaming, synchronistic encounters, and more. Collected from the online magazine Reality Sandwich, these essays explore regions of the mind often traversed by shamans, mystics, and visionary artists; adjacent and contiguous to our normal waking state, these realms may be encountered in dreams or out-of-body experiences, accessed through meditation or plant medicines, and marked by psychic phenomena and uncanny synchronicities. From demons encountered in sleep paralysis visions to psychic research conducted by the CIA, the seemingly disparate topics covered here congeal to form a larger picture of what these extraordinary states of consciousness might have to tell us about the nature of reality itself. (provided) 11 Oct 12

A Fresh View of the Universe

       
 

Howard Bloom
The God Problem
How A Godless Cosmos Creates
712 pages, Hardcover
USD 28.00 | EUR 21.65 | CHF 32.40
Prometheus Books

 

God’s war crimes, Aristotle’s sneaky tricks, Einstein’s pajamas, information theory’s blind spot, Stephen Wolfram’s new kind of science, and six monkeys at six typewriters getting it wrong. What do these have to do with the birth of a universe and with your need for meaning? Everything, as you’re about to see.
How does the cosmos do something it has long been thought only gods could achieve? How does an inanimate universe generate stunning new forms and unbelievable new powers without a creator? How does the cosmos create? That’s the central question of The God Problem.
And The God Problem finds clues in strange places. Why A does not equal A. Why one plus one does not equal two. How the Greeks used kickballs to reinvent the universe. And the reason that Polish-born Benoît Mandelbrot – the father of fractal geometry – rebelled against his uncle.
In The God Problem you’ll take a scientific expedition into the secret heart of a cosmos you’ve never seen. Not just any cosmos. An electrifyingly inventive cosmos. An obsessive-compulsive cosmos. A driven, ambitious cosmos. A cosmos of colossal shocks. A cosmos of screaming, stunning surprise. A cosmos that breaks five of science’s most sacred laws. Yes, five.
And you’ll be rewarded with author Howard Bloom’s provocative new theory of the beginning, middle, and end of the universe – the Bloom toroidal model, also known as the big bagel theory – which explains two of the biggest mysteries in physics: dark energy and why, if antimatter and matter are created in equal amounts, there is so little antimatter in this universe.
The God Problem will pull you in with the irresistible attraction of a black hole and spit you out again enlightened with the force of a big bang. Be prepared to have your mind blown. (provided) 1 Oct 12

It's All Alive, It's All Connected

       
 

Kenny Ausubel
Dreaming the Future
Reimagining Civilization in the Age of Nature
Foreword by David W. Orr
240 pages, Paperback
USD 17.95 | EUR 13.95 | CHF 20.90
Chelsea Green

 

The greatest discovery of the past century was not in nuclear physics, or biology, or computer science. It was, rather, the discovery – or more accurately the rediscovery of an ancient premonition – that we are part of a vast web of life, one large evolving system that has many of the characteristics of a living organism.
Kenny Ausubel

The world is entering a period of great change. The environment is collapsing. Social disruption abounds. All around, it seems, societies are experiencing breakdown –even collapse.
Out of this chaos, however, comes the opportunity to avoid a complete breakdown and instead foster a breakthrough. It is time, argues award-winning social entrepreneur, author, journalist, and filmmaker Kenny Ausubel, to reimagine our future and our connection to each other, and to nature.
In Dreaming the Future, Ausubel tracks the big ideas, metatrends, and game-changing developments of our time being led by some of the world’s greatest thinkers.
As more communities take the initiative to shape their own future and become more resilient, Ausubel shows how it’s possible to emerge from a world where corporations are citizens, the gap between rich and poor is cavernous, and biodiversity and the climate are under assault – and create a world where people take their cues from nature and focus on justice, equity, diversity, democracy, and peace.
Ausubel is a cofounder of Bioneers, an organization that serves as a hatchery and breeding ground for innovation – an organization that foreword author David W. Orr describes as “one part global salon … one part catalytic organization.”
In a similar catalyst fashion, Dreaming the Future offers readers engaging, and at times humorous, essays that even people steeped in the realities of a world gone wrong and the struggles to right it will find refreshing and provocative. (provided) 26 Sep 12

This valuable book underscores that many of the solutions so desperately needed today have already been discovered by nature. Dreaming the Future is much more than a dream: this is a blueprint for survival.
Paul Stamet

Without doubt, Kenny Ausubel has one of the most glorious minds on the planet. Herein he has crafted a dazzling treasury of essays on the destiny of humanity and its place on earth, a rosary of startling truths. Read this for its brilliance, but read it also to find joy in the intricate reimagination of what it means to be a human being at this parlous moment in civilization.
Paul Hawken

A Long and Winding Story

       
 

Martin A. Lee
Smoke Signals
A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific
528 pages, Hardcover
USD 28.00 | EUR 23.95 | CHF 36.30
Scribner

 

The marijuana story is actually many stories, all woven into one grand epic about a remarkable plant that befriended our ancestors, altered their consciousness, and forever changed the world in which we live.
Martin A. Lee

Martin A. Lee traces the dramatic social history of marijuana from its origins to its emergence in the 1960s as a defining force in a culture war that has never ceased. Lee describes how the illicit marijuana subculture overcame government opposition and morphed into a dynamic, multibillion-dollar industry.
In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Similar laws have followed in more than a dozen other states, but not without antagonistic responses from federal, state, and local law enforcement. Lee, an award-winning investigative journalist, draws attention to underreported scientific breakthroughs that are reshaping the therapeutic landscape. By mining the plant’s rich pharmacopoeia, medical researchers have developed promising treatments for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, chronic pain, and many other conditions that are beyond the reach of conventional cures.
Colorful, illuminating, and at times irreverent, this is a fascinating read for recreational users and patients, students and doctors, musicians and accountants, Baby Boomers and their kids, and anyone who has ever wondered about the secret life of this ubiquitous herb.

Smoking a doobie isn’t the worst thing a person could do … and Lee backs that thought up with social history aplenty, ranging from neolithic experiments down to the Kerouac-ian consumers of the Beat Era.
Kirkus Reviews

An Emboldening Green Journey

       
 

Andrew Balmford
Wild Hope
On the Front Lines of Conservation Success
264 pages, Hardcover, 20 halftones
USD 26.00 | EUR 23.35 | CHF 31.30
University of Chicago Press

 

I think most people nowadays have got the message. They know that the natural world is in grave trouble, and that something must be done … This book, however, is about good news. About conservation’s successes. About places where a combination of graft, wit, and luck are starting to turn the losses around.
Andrew Balmford

Tropical deforestation. The collapse of fisheries. Unprecedented levels of species extinction. Faced with the plethora of gloom-and-doom headlines about the natural world, we might think that environmental disaster is inevitable. But is there any good news about the environment? Yes, there is, answers Andrew Balmford in Wild Hope, and he offers several powerful stories of successful conservation to prove it. This tragedy is still avoidable, and there are many reasons for hope if we find inspiration in stories of effective environmental recovery.
Wild Hope is organized geographically, with each chapter taking readers to extraordinary places to meet conservation’s heroes and foot soldiers – and to discover the new ideas they are generating about how to make conservation work on our hungry and crowded planet. The journey starts in the floodplains of Assam, where dedicated rangers and exceptionally tolerant villagers have together helped bring Indian rhinos back from the brink of extinction. In the pine forests of the Carolinas, we learn why plantation owners came to resent rare woodpeckers – and what persuaded them to change their minds. In South Africa, Balmford investigates how invading alien plants have been drinking the country dry, and how the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest conservation program is now simultaneously restoring the rivers, saving species, and creating tens of thousands of jobs. The conservation problems Balmford encounters are as diverse as the people and their actions, but together they offer common themes and specific lessons on how to win the battle of conservation – and the one essential ingredient, Balmford shows, is most definitely hope.
Wild Hope, though optimistic, is a clear-eyed view of the difficulties and challenges of conservation. Balmford is fully aware of failed conservation efforts and systematic flaws that make conservation difficult, but he offers here innovative solutions and powerful stories of citizens, governments, and corporations coming together to implement them. A global tour of people and programs working for the planet, Wild Hope is an emboldening green journey. (provided) 12 Sep 12

A Legacy for Our Future

       
 

Stanislav Grof
Healing Our Deepest Wounds
The Holotropic Paradigm Shift
276 pages, Paperback,
80 b|w illustrations

USD 19.95 | EUR 16.99 | CHF 22.90
Stream of Experience Productions

 

After more than fifty years of intensive study of holotropic states of consciousness, I have come to the conclusion that the theoretical concepts and practical approaches developed by transpersonal psychology, a discipline that is trying to integrate spirituality with the new paradigm emerging in Western science, could help alleviate the crisis we are all facing.
Stanislav Grof

Dr. Grof’s consciousness research over the last five decades has shown that the deepest roots of trauma often lie in experiences from birth or in events from human history that have not yet been resolved and are still active in the collective unconscious. This unresolved personal or collective history then expresses through an individual or group that has some connection to the earlier events. Traditional therapeutic approaches, which focus only on events in the personal biography or tranquilizing medications do not access or heal these deeper wounds in the human psyche. From a more general perspective, Dr. Grof examines the broad problems of violence and greed in society and finds that the widespread fear and aggression between individuals and groups may also originate in large part from the unconscious acting-out of unresolved historical traumas from the collective unconscious.
The message of Dr. Grof and this book is, however, a hopeful one: there are approaches to therapy which utilize a specific non-ordinary state of consciousness which enables individuals, with support, to access and heal these deeper levels of trauma from the personal and collective unconscious. He has named this state of consciousness Holotropic, a composite word which means “oriented” toward wholeness or “moving in the direction of wholeness” (from the Greek holos = whole and trepo, trepein = moving toward or in the direction of something). Dr. Grof describes various approaches to achieving this Holotropic state and using it for healing, with his focus on Holotropic Breathwork, which he developed with his partner Christina, and psychedelic therapy, which he pioneered in the 1950s and which is now experiencing a renaissance of clinical research for treatment of addictions and PTSD. (provided) 1 Sep 12

Psychospiritual Narrative

       
 

Hillary S. Webb
Yanantin and Masintin in the Andean World
Complementary Dualism in Modern Peru
224 pages, Paperback
USD 29.95 | EUR 27.70 | CHF 34.40
University of New Mexico Press

  Shamanism teaches us that if we give energy to our vision, the result will be a remarkable change. A shape-shift. And so the work that a lot of people are doing is about channeling energy into that vision so that the actions will follow and the change will occur on the physical level of reality.
Hillary S. Webb

Yanantin and Masintin in the Andean World is an eloquently written autoethnography in which researcher Hillary S. Webb seeks to understand the indigenous Andean concept of yanantin or “complementary opposites.” One of the most well-known and defining characteristics of indigenous Andean thought, yanantin is an adherence to a philosophical model based on the belief that the polarities of existence (such as male/ female, dark/light, inner/outer) are interdependent and essential parts of a harmonious whole.
Webb embarks on a personal journey of understanding the yanantin worldview of complementary duality through participant observation and reflection on her individual experience. Her investigation is a thoughtful, careful, and rich analysis of the variety of ways in which cultures make meaning of the world around them, and how deeply attached we become to our own culturally imposed meaning-making strategies. 23 Aug 12

Reconnecting With Nature

       
 

Kingsley L. Dennis
The Struggle for Your Mind
Conscious Evolution and the Battle to Control How We Think
272 pages, Paperback
USD 18.95 | EUR 15.60 | CHF 21.90
Inner Traditions

 

We will learn to be more connected, communicative, and to appreciate our relationship with the natural world. In doing so we will begin to participate in co-creating a more sustainable, equitable and meaningful future for us all. This will be the birthing of a new narrative for the next stage of human civilization.
Kingsley L. Dennis

Within society there exists a silent war. The battlefield is our everyday lives: our education, our work, our leisure, our emotional and spiritual well-being, and our thinking and perceptions. Our very sense of “reality” is deliberately engineered to work against conscious evolution and preserve social norms. In short, we are all part of a war of consciousness. And the opportunity is at hand for us to win.
Assessing the ways modern societies limit consciousness and keep humanity obedient and distracted from their inner lives, Kingsley Dennis presents an eye-opening investigation of the way our minds have been programmed to preserve incumbent power structures and their rules. He exposes the tactics employed for thousands of years by the elite to control our minds, including misinformation and propaganda, debt systems, consumerism, religious doctrine, scientific authority, economic “uncertainties,” fear of terrorist attacks and armageddon, distraction through entertainment and technology, as well as the false belief that we are separate from Nature and the Divine. Despite these obstacles, humanity is awakening to culture’s imposed limits on perception through an accelerating rise in collective empathy and awareness.
Exploring the biology of consciousness, Dennis reveals the emerging mechanisms for neurogenetic evolution within the brains of gifted individuals, psychics, and visionaries and the coming increases in solar and magnetic energies that will activate them within all of us.
Explaining how we can free up mental and emotional energy to break through the barriers inhibiting conscious evolution, he shows that by taking back our minds and changing the way we think, we can restore our connection with Nature and the Divine and lead humanity into a new age of harmony and awareness. (provided) 13 Aug 12

Lost Mysteries Revealed

       
 

Earl Lee
From the Bodies of the Gods
Psychoactive Plants and the Cults of the Dead
256 pages, Paperback, 13 b&w illustrations
USD 16.95 | GBP 14.99 | EUR 13.90 | CHF 19.40
Park Street Press

 

Come, I will show you the Word and the mysteriesof the Word, and I will give you understanding of them by means of images familiar to you.
Clement of Alexandria

Long before the beginnings of civilization, humans have been sacrificed and their flesh used to produce sacred foods and oils for use in religious rites. Originating with the sacred harvest of hallucinogenic mushrooms from the corpses of shamans and other holy men, these acts of ritual cannibalism and visionary intoxication are part of the history of all cultures, including Judeo-Christian ones, and provided a way to commune with the dead. These practices continued openly into the Dark Ages, when they were suppressed and adapted into the worship of saintly bones – or continued in secret by a few “heretical” sects, such as the Cathars and the Knights Templar. While little known today, these rites remain deeply embedded in the symbolism, theology, and sacraments of modern religion and bring a much more literal meaning to the church’s “Holy Communion” or symbolic consumption of the body and blood of Christ.
Documenting the sacrificial, cannibalistic, and psychoactive sacramental practices associated with the Cult of the Dead from the prehistoric Minoans on Crete to the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews and onward to early and medieval Christian sects, Earl Lee shows how these religious rites influenced the development of Western religion. In particular, he reveals how Christianity originated with Jesus’s effort to restore the sacred rites of Moses, including the Marzeah, or Feast for the Dead. Examining the connections between these rites and the mysterious funeral of Father Saunière in Rennes-le-Château, the author explains why the prehistoric Cult of the Dead has held such power over Western civilization, so much so that its echoes are still heard today in our literature, film, and arts. (provided) 1 Aug 12

From Origin to Now

       
 

Chris Stringer
Lone Survivors
How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth
336 pages, Hardcover, b&w illustrations
USD 28.00 | EUR 19.25 | CHF 32.40
Henry Holt and Co.
Times Books

 

Scientists are able to look at our deep history by studying our DNA. … DNA gives us a key to the past which is independent of the fossil evidence. It’s another way of reconstructing our history.
Chris Stringer

In this groundbreaking and engaging work of science, world-renowned paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer sets out a new theory of humanity’s origin, challenging both the multiregionalists (who hold that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) and his own “out of Africa” theory, which maintains that humans emerged rapidly in one small part of Africa and then spread to replace all other humans within and outside the continent. Stringer’s new theory, based on archeological and genetic evidence, holds that distinct humans coexisted and competed across the African continent – exchanging genes, tools, ideas, and behavioral strategies.
Stringer draws on analyses of old and new fossils from around the world, DNA studies of Neanderthals (using the full genome map) and other species, and recent archeological digs to unveil his new theory. He shows how the most sensational recent fossil findings fit with his model, and he questions previous concepts (including his own) of modernity and how it evolved.
Lone Survivors will be the definitive account of who and what we were, and will change perceptions about our origins and about what it means to be human. (provided) 28 Jul 12

Essential Introduction

       
 

Dennis Waite
Advaita
86 pages, Paperback
GBP 6.99 | USD 12.95 | EUR 10.55 | CHF 14.90
Mantra Books

 

The world has always existed because effectively there is no world – there is only name and form of the non-dual Brahman.
Dennis Waite

In his book Dennis Waite does a great service in presenting the teachings of traditional Advaita, whilst also shining a comparitive light on its various modern incarnations. The word ‘Advaita’ is often bandied about by people who really have no knowledge whatsoever of the traditional teachings of Advaita. Many have not even bothered to read any of the essential scriptures, written many hundreds of years ago, and yet they will rush to buy the latest book written by an author purporting to be writing about Advaita, but who has probably also not read any of the traditional teachings or had any contact with a traditional teacher.
We are living in an age where concentration levels are low, and instant results are demanded, in every area of life. This extends into the field of self-enquiry, and we want our gurus to tell us that enlightenment is available immediately, and not only that it is available immediately, but that we are already enlightened – and, indeed, some of our teachers do actually say this. Of course, it is all very gratifying to be told that one is already enlightened, but it is not adequately explained why one then continues to suffer and feel emotional ups and downs.
Dennis Waite patiently explains the methods of the traditional Advaita teachings, highlighting key differences with their modern counterparts. He argues well for more consideration to be given to the traditional teachings of Advaita, and his knowledge and understanding of the subject is very impressive. If you are new to Self-Enquiry, Advaita or Non-duality, and wish to gain a broader view of the subject, then this is the perfect book. Yes, do read the books advocating instant enlightenment, but also take the opportunity to get closer to the original source of the teachings, find out what they are about, who the key writers and teachers were, what the main scriptures are and have the subtle philosophical points explained clearly. www.advaita.org.uk 19 Jul 12
Roy Whenary

A rational, scientific, humane overview

       
 

David Nutt
Drugs – Without the Hot Air
Minimising the Harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs
320 pages, Paperback
GBP 12.99 | EUR 14.90 | CHF 22.90
UIT Cambridge

 

I’m not recommending anyone taking any drugs. I’m just suggesting we need to have a more scientific rational approach to drugs and vilifying drugs like psilocybin whilst at the same time actively promoting much more dangerous drugs like alcohol is totally stupid scientifically.
David Nutt

Sacked by the government from the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, for “political interference”, Prof David Nutt examines the flaws in drugs policy: eg horse-riding is more dangerous than taking ecstasy! He quantifies and compares the harms – medical, social, financial – of legal and illegal drugs, and explores how to minimize them.
Prof David Nutt was appointed chairman of the UK Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), in 2008. In 2009 he published an editorial in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, comparing the harms caused by horse-riding with the effect of taking ecstasy. As a result of this and other comments on the harms caused by legal and illegal drugs, he was sacked by the then Home Secretary. In Drugs – without the hot air Prof Nutt explains that all drugs are harmful, from tobacco to heroin. But not all drugs harm equally: the reader can make an informed decision regarding their own and their children’s lifestyle. This book, born out of the controversy when he was sacked by HM Government, shows the deep rift between the Government’s need to appear tough on drugs on the one hand, and a rational evidence-based approach to drugs legislation and treatment. Prof Nutt shows how the overall harms of a drug can be quantified, addressing issues ranging from direct danger of death, through to environmental, financial and family factors, to a give a true indication of the overall effect of a drug.
He explains in depth how the common drugs – from heroin and cocaine, to alcohol and tobacco – affect us, and why we take them. Then, working from the facts, he recommends how society ought to address drugs and drug-taking, to minimize the harms at every level. (provided) 5 Jul 12

Talking With the Vegetable World

       
 

Daniel Chamovitz
What a Plant Knows
A Field Guide to the Senses
192 pages, Hardcover, 28 b|w illustrations
USD 23.00 | EUR 16.95 | CHF 26.40
A Scientific American Book
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 

Plants are immobile. They need to see where their food is. They need to feel the weather, and they need to smell danger. And then they need to be able to integrate all of this very dynamic and changing information. Just because we don’t see plants moving doesn’t mean that there’s not a very rich and dynamic world going on inside the plant.
Daniel Chamovitz

How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut? Can it actually feel an insect’s tiny, spindly legs? And how do cherry blossoms know when to bloom? Can they actually remember the weather?
For centuries we have collectively marveled at plant diversity and form – from Charles Darwin’s early fascination with stems to Seymour Krelborn’s distorted doting in Little Shop of Horrors. But now, in What a Plant Knows, the renowned biologist Daniel Chamovitz presents an intriguing and scrupulous look at how plants themselves experience the world – from the colors they see to the schedules they keep. Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, he takes us into the inner lives of plants and draws parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. Chamovitz shows how plants know up from down, how they know when a neighbor has been infested by a group of hungry beetles, and whether they appreciate the Led Zeppelin you’ve been playing for them or if they’re more partial to the melodic riffs of Bach. Covering touch, sound, smell, sight, and even memory, Chamovitz encourages us all to consider whether plants might even be aware of their surroundings.
A rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb, What a Plant Knows offers us a greater understanding of science and our place in nature. (provided) 27 Jun 12

Holistic Anthropology

       
 

Sean Leneghan
The Varieties of Ecstasy Experience
An Exploration of Person, Mind and Body in Sydney’s Club Culture
296 pages, Paperback
EUR 79.00 | CHF 104.90
Lambert Academic Publishing

 

MDMA, it was beginning to be apparent, could be all things to all people.
Alexander Shulgin

This is a phenomenologically grounded ethnographic study of the life-world of ecstasy users in the socio-cultural contexts of raving and clubs in Sydney, Australia. The thesis espouses existential-phenomenology as a framework for describing and understanding these experiences. The author: “I argue against and reject the widespread mechanistic-materialist paradigms that inform bio-medical and bio-psychological interpretations of drug-use and non-ordinary states of consciousness. As an alternative to these dominant reductionist perspectives I draw on a holistic organismic approach and the application of phenomenology to ethnographic field research. More specifically, my exploration of the experiences of ecstasy is based upon a dialogal phenomenology which enabled me to generate a processual morphology of the varieties of ecstasy experience and the users’ mode of being-in-the-world. Through this endeavour I also argue for a phenomenological foundation of the study of drug-use and non-ordinary states of consciousness in general”. (provided) 13 Jun 12

The Laws of Gaia

       
 

John Michael Greer
Mystery Teachings From the Living Earth
An Introduction to Spiritual Ecology
140 pages, Paperback
USD 16.95 | EUR 12.95 | CHF 22.50
Weiser Books

 

It is not going to far to call the mystery teachings an ecology of the spirit, just as the science of ecology could well be called the mystery teachings of nature.
John Michael Greer

The authentic teachings of the mystery schools offer a profoundly different way of making sense of the universe and our place in it. In Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth, ecologist and Druid initiate John Michael Greer offers an introduction to the core teachings of the mysteries through the mirror of the natural world.
Using examples from nature as a touchstone, Greer takes readers on journey into the seven laws of the mystery traditions:
The Law of Wholeness, the Law of Flow, the Law of Balance, the Law of Limits, the Law of Cause and Effect, the Law of Planes, the Law of Evolution.
Greer explains each law, offering meditation, an affirmation, and a theme for reflection, to show how the seven laws can bring meaning and power into our everyday lives.
Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth reveals one of the great secrets of the mysteries that the laws of nature are also the laws of spirit. Here is an excerpt of the book: An Ecology of Spirit. (provided) 5 Jun 12

The Language of Psychedelia

       
 

Norman Hathaway, Dan Nadel
Electrical Banana
Foreword by Paul McCartney

208 pages, Paperback, 150 illustrations
USD 39.95 | GBP 27.00 | EUR 26.95 | CHF 44.90
Damiani

 

LSD sessions had reportedly provoked extraordinary aesthetic experiences and granted new insights into the essence of the creative process. Artists were influenced in their creative work in unconventional ways. A particular type of art developed that has become known as psychedelic art.
Albert Hofmann

From advertising and fashion to music and film, the psychedelic aesthetic defined the look of the 1960s. And yet neither the true scope of psychedelic art nor its key practitioners have ever been the subject of a thorough overview. Electrical Banana is the first definitive examination of the international language of psychedelia, focusing on the most important practitioners in their respective fields. Compiling hundreds of unseen images plus exclusive interviews and essays, it revises and expands the common perception of psychedelic art, revealing it to be more innovative, compelling and revolutionary than is usually acknowledged. Electrical Banana documents the great virtuosos of psychedelic art: men and women whose work combines avant-garde design with highly sophisticated image-making. Launching a million Day-glo dreams, the artists include: Marijke Koger, the Dutch artist responsible for dressing the Beatles; Mati Klarwein, who painted the cover for Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew; Keiichi Tanaami, the Japanese master of psychedelic posters; Heinz Edelmann, the German illustrator and designer of the Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine; Tadanori Yokoo, whose prints, books and fabrics defined the 1960s in Japan; Dudley Edwards, a painter, car decorator and graphic artist on the London rock scene; and the enigmatic Australian Martin Sharp, whose work for Cream and underground magazines made him a hippie household name in Europe. Electrical Banana features a lengthy historical essay and interviews with all of the artists. (provided) 26 May 12

A New Science of Morality

       

 

Paul J. Zak
The Moral Molecule
The Source of Love and Prosperity
256 pages, Hardcover
GBP 8.83 | USD 15.50 | EUR 20.90 | CHF 30.90
Dutton

 

Oxytocin connects us to other people; oxytocin makes us feel what other people feel. And it’s easy to cause people’s brains to release oxytocin. Let me show you. Come here. Give me a hug.
Paul Zak

What if there was a substance that could make us generous and loving, without which we become cruel and greedy? In his new book The Moral Molecule, neuroeconomist Paul Zak introduces us to oxytocin, a brain chemical that triggers compassion.
With a team of researchers, Zak took blood from thousands of test subject from all walks of life in a variety of circumstances. When Zak artificially boosted levels of oxytocin, people were more caring, more giving and less likely to cheat. He also found that merely acting in a trusting manner triggered the body’s own production of oxytocin, creating what Zak refers as the ultimate virtuous cycle.
But the discovery of the “moral molecule” doesn’t mean that philosophers and theologians are out of business but only that any conversation about virtue and free will must take brain chemistry and physiology into consideration.
Given Zak’s discovery, would it be moral to chemically alter people to make them more loving and generous? What is the role of religion and philosophy in our lives if we are governed more by chemistry and less by our own will? www.moralmolecule.com (provided) 21 May 12

Sensual revelations

       

 

Diana Richardson
Tantric Love Letters
On Sex & Affairs of the Heart
212 pages, Paperback
GBP 12.99 | USD 22.95 | EUR 17.75 | CHF 24.90
O-Books

 

Human sexual design is very precise and carries a deep intelligence in its roots; and sex has a higher potential beyond its reproductive or fun and entertainment function.
Diana Richardson

She is an expert on sex and affairs of the heart. Thirty years ago while living in India Diana Richardson began a tantric enquiry into the deeper nature of sex and love. These innocent steps turned out to be life-changing and the result is that today she is an authority on human sexuality.
Her basic insight is that ‘how’ you have sex has a direct impact on the quality of your life. Sex ‘with awareness’ is an empowering force that brings self assurance and clarity, balances mood swings, enhances creativity, and significantly elevates the vibration of love within and around you.
Tantric Love Letters is a unique, interesting, insightful and informative collection of correspondence. These authentic letter exchanges will support and encourage people who have already embarked on a sexual enquiry. And inspire others to start right away. (provided) 13 May 12

Transforming psychedelic insights into enduring change

       
 

Thomas B. Roberts, Ed.
Spiritual Growth with Entheogens
Psychoactive Sacramentals and Human Transformation
Foreword by Roger Walsh
Introduction by Brother David Steindl-Rast
320 pages, Paperback
USD 18.95 | GBP 15.99 | EUR 14.35 | CHF 21.90
Park Street Press

 

If we can encounter God through a sunrise seen from a mountaintop, why not through a mushroom prayerfully ingested.
Brother David Steindl-Rast

More than 25 spiritual leaders, scientists, and psychedelic visionaries examine how we can return to the primary spiritual encounters at the basis of all religions through the guided use of entheogens. With contributions by Albert Hofmann, Huston Smith, Stanislav Grof, Charles Tart, Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, Frances Vaughan, Myron Stolaroff, and many others, this book explores protocols for ceremonial use of psychedelics, the challenges of transforming entheogenic insights into enduring change, psychoactive sacraments in the Bible, myths surrounding the use of LSD, and the transformative ayahuasca rituals of Santo Daime. It also includes personal accounts of Walter Pahnke’s Good Friday Experiment as well as a 25-year follow-up with its participants. Dispelling fears of inauthentic spirituality, addiction, and ill-prepared encounters with the holy, this book reveals the potential of entheogens as catalysts for spiritual development, a path through which faith can directly encounter God’s power, and the beginning of a new religious era based on personal spiritual experience. (provided) 5 May 12

Free Your Mind

       
 

Sam Harris
Free Will
96 pages, Paperback
USD 9.99 | EUR 8.95 | CHF 12.90
Free Press

 

As a man believes, so he will act.
Sam Harris

A belief in free will touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality – as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement – without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion.
In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human mind does not undermine morality or diminish the importance of social and political freedom, but it can and should change the way we think about some of the most important questions in life. (provided) 27 Apr 12

If he is right, the book will radically change the way we view ourselves as human beings.
V.S. Ramachandran

Where Nature Meets Nurture

       
 

Sebastian Seung
Connectome
How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are
384 pages, Hardcover
USD 27.00 | EUR 22.99 | CHF 37.90
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

 

Technologies will become so powerful that we will use them to know ourselves by deconstructing and reconstructing our own brains.
Sebastian Seung

We know that each of us is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, our uniqueness resides. Is it in our genes? The structure of our brains? Our genome may determine our eye color and even aspects of our personality. But our friendships, failures, and passions also shape who we are. The question is: how?
Sebastian Seung, a dynamic professor at MIT, is on a quest to discover the biological basis of identity. He believes it lies in the pattern of connections between the brain’s neurons, which change slowly over time as we learn and grow. The connectome, as it’s called, is where our genetic inheritance intersects with our life experience. It’s where nature meets nurture.
Seung introduces us to the dedicated researchers who are mapping the brain’s connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It is a monumental undertaking – the scientific equivalent of climbing Mount Everest – but if they succeed, it could reveal the basis of personality, intelligence, memory, and perhaps even mental disorders. Many scientists speculate that people with anorexia, autism, and schizophrenia are “wired differently,” but nobody knows for sure. The brain’s wiring has never been clearly seen.
In sparklingly clear prose, Seung reveals the amazing technological advances that will soon help us map connectomes. He also examines the evidence that these maps will someday allow humans to “upload” their minds into computers, achieving a kind of immortality.
Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story, told with great passion and authority. It presents a daring scientific and technological vision for at last understanding what makes us who we are. Welcome to the future of neuroscience. (provided) 21 Apr 12

An Investigation of Sustainability

       

 

Tim Flannery
Here on Earth
A Twin Biography of the Planet and the Human Race
336 pages, Paperback
GBP 9.99 | EUR 12.25 | CHF 13.40
Penguin

 

O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in’t!
William Shakespeare

What is our place on Earth? Are humans destined to become a footnote in history, or will we become stronger and wiser, and conquer our environmental problems?
In this extraordinary story of our planet and our place upon it, Here on Earth discovers the remarkable source of all life and how it has developed into the wonder around us today. From ant-colonies to zinc mining, Tim Flannery takes us on a journey around the world and from the top of the food-chain to the very chemicals of which we are made, and explores how the fate of humanity is in our own hands. (provided) 17 Apr 12

The Final Spiritual Adventure

       
 

Ptolemy Tompkins
The Modern Book of the Dead
A Revolutionary Perspective on Death, the Soul, and What Really Happens in the Life to Come
304 pages, Hardcover
USD 26.00 | EUR 21.90 | CHF 29.90
Atria Books

 

There is no fundamental difference between the preparation for death and the practice of dying, and spiritual practice leading to enlightenment.
Stanislav Grof

What happens to us after we die? It’s a question people have been asking since the dawn of time, and entire civilizations have been shaped by the ways in which they’ve answered it. All the world’s religions offer their own perspectives on what happens to us after death, and even in the modern world, where the existence of the soul is so often questioned, channeling and near-death experiences have kept those ancient questions alive all the same. So it is that in today’s largely secular society, thousands still continue to turn to ancient texts like the Tibetan and Egyptian Books of the Dead for consolation and inspiration.
Like the world’s other great sacred works, these Books of the Dead offer wisdom, hope, and comfort. But because they’re so old, the material they present needs to be seen within a modern context in order to be truly useful. If “What happens to the soul at death?” remains perhaps the single most important question we can ask, then whatever answer we find should incorporate not just ancient wisdom, but also the fruits of modern experience. The Modern Book of the Dead does just that.
Author Ptolemy Tompkins grew up in a family where questions about the shape and fate of the human soul were discussed on a daily basis, and he has explored those concepts in his critically acclaimed books The Divine Life of Animals and Paradise Fever. But as he explains in his boldly unconventional new book, it was only with his father’s death that he began to think about death in a genuinely concrete way—as something that really and truly will happen to each one of us.
Part memoir, part history of ideas of the afterlife, and part road map to what might truly await each of us when we leave our bodies behind, The Modern Book of the Dead is a wise and courageous book that approaches the question of the afterlife in a refreshingly intimate manner. Weaving together philosophy, science, stories of near-death experiences, and theology, the author comes to one amazing and uplifting truth: that somehow, human consciousness lives on after death. Both inspiring and intimate, this is a modern meditation that allows the reader to think about death in an all-new way. http://ptolemytompkins.net (provided) 9 Apr 12

The Spiritual Use of Psychedelics

       
 

Robert Forte, Ed.
Entheogens and the Future of Religion
With contributions by Albert Hofmann, R. Gordon Wasson, Jack Kornfield, Terence McKenna, Ann and Alexander Shulgin, Rick Strassman, and others
256 pages, new edition, Paperback
USD 16.95 | EUR 12.95 | CHF 19.50
Park Street Press

 

Let it be known
there is a fountain
that was not made
by the hands of man.
Hunter/Garcia

We live in a time when a great many voices are calling for a spiritual renewal to address the problems that face humanity, yet the way of entheogens – one of the oldest and most widespread means of attaining a religious experience – is forbidden, surrounded by controversy and misunderstanding. Widely employed in traditional shamanic societies, entheogens figure prominently in the origins of religion and their use continues today throughout the world. They alter consciousness in such a profound way that, depending on the set and setting, they can produce the ultimate human experiences: union with God or revelation of other mystical realities.
With contributions by Albert Hofmann, Terence McKenna, Ann and Alexander Shulgin, Thomas Riedlinger, Dale Pendell, and Rick Strassman as well as interviews with R. Gordon Wasson and Jack Kornfield, this book explores ancient and modern uses of psychedelic drugs, emphasizing the complementary relationship between science and mystical experience and the importance of psychedelics to the future of religion and society. Revealing the mystical-religious possibilities of substances such as psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, and LSD, this book exposes the vital need for developing an organized spiritual context for their use in order to fully realize their transformative and sacred value. Stressing the importance of academic and religious freedom, the authors call for a revival of scientific and religious inquiry into entheogens so they may be used safely and legally by those seeking to cultivate their spiritual awareness. (provided) 5 Apr 12

Surprising and Enlightening

       
 

John Brockman, Ed.
This Will Make You Smarter
New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking
448 pages, Paperback
USD 15.99 | EUR 12.35 | CHF 19.90
Harper Perennial

 

Set up a situation that presents you with something slightly beyond your reach.
Brian Eno

What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman posed to the world’s most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.
Daniel Kahneman on the “focusing illusion” • Jonah Lehrer on controlling attention • Richard Dawkins on experimentation • Aubrey De Grey on conquering our fear of the unknown • Martin Seligman on the ingredients of well-being • Nicholas Carr on managing “cognitive load” • Steven Pinker on win-win negotiating • Daniel C. Dennett on benefiting from cycles • Jaron Lanier on resisting delusion • Frank Wilczek on the brain’s hidden layers • Clay Shirky on the “80/20 rule” • Daniel Goleman on understanding our connection to the natural world • V.S. Ramachandran on paradigm shifts • Matt Ridley on tapping collective intelligence • John McWhorter on path dependence • Lisa Randall on effective theorizing • Brian Eno on “ecological vision” • Richard Thaler on rooting out false concepts • J. Craig Venter on the multiple possible origins of life • Helen Fisher on temperament • Sam Harris on the flow of thought • Lawrence Krauss on living with uncertainty. (provided) 29 Mar 12

A New Look At Our Existence

       
 

Lawrence M. Krauss
A Universe from Nothing
Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing
Afterword by Richard Dawkins
224 pages, Hardcover
USD 19.99 | EUR 14.95 | CHF 21.20
Free Press

 

The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust.
Lawrence M. Krauss

Where did the universe com from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And finally, why is there something rather than nothing?
Lawrence Krauss’s provocative answers to these and other timeless questions in a wildly popular lecture now on YouTube have attracted almost a million viewers. The last of these questions in particular has been at the center of religious and philosophical debates about the existence of God, and it’s the supposed counterargument to anyone who questions the need for God. As Krauss argues, scientists have, however, historically focused on other, more pressing issues – such as figuring out how the universe actually functions, which can ultimately help us to improve the quality of our lives.
Now, in a cosmological story that rivets as it enlightens, pioneering theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss explains the groundbreaking new scientific advances that turn the most basic philosophical questions on their heads. One of the few prominent scientists today to have actively crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss reveals that modern science is addressing the question of why there is something rather than nothing, with surprising and fascinating results. The staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories are all described accessibly in A Universe from Nothing, and they suggest that not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing.
With his characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations, Krauss takes us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved – and the implications for how it’s going to end. It will provoke, challenge, and delight readers as it looks at the most basic underpinnings of existence in a whole new way. And this knowledge that our universe will be quite different in the future from today has profound implications and directly affects how we live in the present. As Richard Dawkins has described it: This could potentially be the most important scientific book with implications for supernaturalism since Darwin.
A fascinating antidote to outmoded philosophical and religious thinking, A Universe from Nothing is a provocative, game-changing entry into the debate about the existence of God and everything that exists. “Forget Jesus,” Krauss has argued, “the stars died so you could be born.” (provided)
25 Mar 12

Inventiveness and Cooperation

       
 

Mark Pagel
Wired for Culture
Origins of the Human Social Mind
432 pages, Hardcover
USD 29.95 | GBP 23.00 | EUR 25.70 | CHF 36.90
Allen Lane

 

Just as we have highly conserved genes, we have highly conserved words. Language shows a truly remarkable fidelity.
Mark Pagel

A unique trait of the human species is that our personalities, lifestyles, and worldviews are shaped by an accident of birth – namely, the culture into which we are born. It is our cultures and not our genes that determine which foods we eat, which languages we speak, which people we love and marry, and which people we kill in war. But how did our species develop a mind that is hardwired for culture – and why?
Evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel tracks this intriguing question through the last 80’000 years of human evolution, revealing how an innate propensity to contribute and conform to the culture of our birth not only enabled human survival and progress in the past but also continues to influence our behavior today. Shedding light on our species’ defining attributes – from art, morality, and altruism to self-interest, deception, and prejudice – Wired for Culture offers surprising new insights into what it means to be human. (provided) 21 Mar 12

Relax, spend, eat, drink and covet

       
 

Simon Laham
The Joy of Sin
The Psychology of the Seven Daedlies
256 pages, Paperback
GBP 18.99 | EUR 10.95 | CHF 19.90
Constable

 

Commit the oldest sins the newest kind of ways.
William Shakespeare

Using modern psychological science, a great deal of research, historical anecdotes and an eloquent turn of phrase, the author contends that the ‘seven deadly sins’ not only feel good, but are also good for you. From gluttony to greed, to envy and lust, even the deadliest of sins can make you smart, successful and happy. For example, anger can breed perseverance, sloth: hopefulness, greed: happiness and envy can actually bolster one’s self-esteem. Based on many studies, the author tells us why the greedy are happy, the slothful are smart, gluttons are social butterflies and how anger can make you a fearsome negotiator.
The simplistic labelling of the seven deadly sins as ‘sins’ or as uniformly wrong does nothing but breed contempt for ‘sinners’ and stifle sophisticated discussion. Sin rails against this simplicity. Each chapter will cover an array of fascinating psychological research that demonstrates just how interesting and complex the seven deadly sins are. So the basic message of Sin: relax, spend, eat, drink and generally covet – you’ll be better off for it. http://www.simonlaham.com/ (provided) 11 Mar 12

Ancient Paths to Ignite Realization

       
 

Scott Teitsworth
Krishna in the Sky with Diamonds
The Bhagavad Gita as Psychedelic Guide
192 pages, Paperback
USD 16.95 | EUR 12.95 | CHF 19.50
Park Street Press

 

Krisna said: Behold, Arjuna, my forms, by hundreds and thousands, various in kind, divine, and of varied colors and shapes.
Bhagavad Gita

Known as a text of liberation and enlightenment and praised not only by Indians but also by prominent modern thinkers such as Aldous Huxley and Albert Einstein, the Bhagavad Gita is one of the most commented-upon books of all time, yet one aspect has never before been examined: Arjuna’s psychedelic soma experience with his guru Krishna.
Drawing upon his many years as a student of Nitya Chaitanya Yati, whose teacher was Gita scholar Nataraja Guru, preeminent disciple of Narayana Guru, Scott Teitsworth explains how the Bhagavad Gita, through the story of the hero Arjuna and his guru Krishna, provides complete guidelines for the spiritual use of entheogens, from prior mental preparations to the integration of profound visionary insights into everyday consciousness. Examining Chapter XI of the Bhagavad Gita verse by verse, he illuminates Arjuna’s complex revelatory experience and exposes Krishna’s role as the ultimate spiritual guide – facets of the Gita evident to anyone with psychedelic experience yet long suppressed in favor of paths to enlightenment through service or meditation. He shows that psychedelics are indeed “gateway drugs” in that they stimulate open exploration of the mind and the meaning of life. Uncovering new depths to this revered manual of spiritual instruction, Teitsworth reveals psychedelic experience to be an essential and ancient path to ignite realization in the prepared student, turn theory into direct experience, and bring the written teachings to life. (provided) 1 Mar 12

The Feel Good Algorithm

       
 

Shimon Edelman
The Happiness of Pursuit
What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good Life
256 pages, Hardcover
USD 25.99 | EUR 20.15 | CHF 29.90
Basic Books

 

When fishing for happiness, catch and release. Remember these seven words – they are the keys to being happy.

So says Shimon Edelman, an expert on psychology and the mind. In The Happiness of Pursuit, Edelman offers a fundamental understanding of pleasure and joy via the brain. Using the concept of the mind as a computing device, he unpacks how the human brain is highly active, involved in patterned networks, and constantly learning from experience. As our brains predict the future through pursuit of experience, we are rewarded both in real time and in the long run. Essentially, as Edelman discovers, it’s the journey, rather than the destination, that matters. The idea that cognition is computation – the brain is a machine – is nothing new of course. But, as Edelman argues, the mind is actually a bundle of ongoing computations, essentially, the brain being one of many possible substrates that can support them. Edelman makes the case for these claims by constructing a conceptual toolbox that offers readers a glimpse of the computations underlying the mind’s faculties: perception, motivation and emotions, action, memory, thinking, social cognition, learning and language. It is this collection of tools that enables us to discover how and why happiness happens. An informative, accessible, and witty tour of the mind, The Happiness of Pursuit offers insights to a thorough understanding of what minds are, how they relate to each other and to the world, and how we can make the best of it all. (provided) 21 Feb 12

Building Resilient Communities

       
 

Starhawk
The Empowerment Manual
A Guide for Collaborative Groups
304 pages, Paperback
USD 24.95 | EUR 19.99 | CHF 25.90
New Society Publishers

 

To choose the positive future, we need the imagination, the commitment and passion that can never be commanded but can only be unleashed in groups of equals. Those groups need to work.
Starhawk

A Transition Town group involved in preparations for peak oil and climate change; an intentional community, founded with the highest ideals; a nonprofit dedicated to social change – millions of such voluntary groups exist around the world. These collaborative organizations have the unique potential to harness their members’ ideals, passions, skills, and knowledge – if they can succeed in getting along together.
The Empowerment Manual is a comprehensive guide for groups seeking to organize with shared power and bottom-up leadership to foster vision, trust, accountability and responsibility.
Drawing on four decades of experience, Starhawk shows how collaborative groups can generate the cooperation, efficacy and commitment critical to success. Her extensive exploration of group process is woven together with the story of RootBound – a fictional ecovillage mired in conflict – and roundedout with a series ofreal-life case studies. The included exercises and facilitator’s toolbox show how to establish the necessary structures, ground rules and healthy norms. The Empowerment Manual is required reading for anyone who wants to help their group avoid disagreement and disillusionment and become a wellspring of creativity and innovation. http://www.starhawk.org (provided) 13 Feb 12 |

Strong, sustained leadership at the grassroots is more essential by the minute, given the failure of political and corporate power-holders to stop trashing our world. True social change is a collaborative art. Here’s a trove of tips, guidelines, deft strategies, and open secrets that will speed and ease our capacity to work together. It comes to us with Starhawk’s signature blend of vast experience, wit, and love for life.
Joanna Macy

Freer, more interesting, and funnier

       
 

Rupert Sheldrake
The Science Delusion
Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry
400 pages, Paperback
GPB 11.90
Coronet

 

There’s a certain kind of scepticism that can’t bear uncertainty.
Rupert Sheldrake

The science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality. The fundamental questions are answered, leaving only the details to be filled in. In this book, Dr Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world`s most innovative scientists, shows that science is being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The sciences would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun.
According to the dogmas of science, all reality is material or physical. The world is a machine, made up of dead matter. Nature is purposeless. Consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain. Free will is an illusion. God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls.
But should science be a belief-system, or a method of enquiry? Sheldrake shows that the materialist ideology is moribund; under its sway, increasingly expensive research is reaping diminishing returns.
In the sceptical spirit of true science, Sheldrake turns the ten fundamental dogmas of materialism into exciting questions, and shows how all of them open up startling new possibilities. The Science Delusion will radically change your view of what is possible. and give you new hope for the world. www.sheldrake.org (provided) Mary Midgley’s review in the Guardian. 5 Feb 12

And the trance goes on ...


     

 

Tom Rom and Pascal Querner
Goa
20 Years of Psychedelic Trance
280 pages, Hardcover, over 650 color photos, DVD
EUR 49.80
Nachtschatten

 

Goa is not a place, it’s a state of mind!
Goa Gil

This unique book about the Goatrance movement is an anthology of the international Goa and Psytrance generation. It is the first book that describes the scene as a whole. The articles are written by 41 insiders of the international Psytrance scene from five continents. The pictures originate from some of the best photographers globally. The book highlights the evolution of the scene in the last 20 years and looks ahead into the future. The book comes along with a DVD and a poster, together as deluxe version, and both book and DVD will also be available separately. Both products are contemporary documents of a generation and photographic and filmic masterpieces. (provided) 27 Jan 12

The Process of Evolution

       

 

Simon G. Powell
Darwin’s Unfinished Business
The Self-Organizing Intelligence of Nature
Foreword by Dorion Sagan
304 pages, Paperback
USD 19.95 | EUR 14.95 | CHF 22.90
Park Street Press

 

I speak about universal evolution and teleological evolution; because I think the process of evolution reflects the wisdom of nature. I see the need for wisdom to become operative. We need to try to put all of these things together in what I call evolutionary philosophy of our time.
Jonas Salk

Darwin’s theory of evolution is undoubtedly one of the most important scientific ideas of the modern age, explaining the existence of both life and consciousness without recourse to divine intervention. Yet how do we interpret evolution? How do we evaluate the ability of Nature to engineer something as exquisite as the genetic code or the human brain? Could it be that evolution is an intelligent process? Is Nature smart? According to most scientists, the answer is no. While humanity may be intelligent and purposeful, the natural processes that crafted us are deemed to be devoid of such attributes.
In a radical move away from orthodoxy, Simon G. Powell extends Darwin’s vision by showing that evolution is not just about the survival of the fittest but rather the survival of clever and sensible behavior. Revealing the importance of the context in which things evolve, he explores the intelligent learning process behind natural selection. Rich with examples of the incredibly complex plants, animals, insects, and marine life designed by Nature – from the carnivorous Venus flytrap and the fungus-farming leafcutter ant to the symbiotic microbes found inside the common cow – he shows Nature as a whole to be a system of self-organizing intelligence in which life and consciousness were always destined to emerge. Examining the origins of life and the failure of artificial intelligence to compete with natural intelligence, he explains how our scientifically narrow-minded views on intelligence are now acting as a barrier to our own evolution. As Darwin’s unfinished business comes to light and Nature’s intelligence is embraced, we learn that Nature’s agenda is not simply the replication of genetic matter but of expanding consciousness. By working with Nature’s creative and innovative powers instead of against them, we can address today’s social and environmental challenges with a new green science of evolution. (provided) 23 Jan 12

Physical Processes – Conscious Experience

       

 

Terrence W. Deacon
Incomplete Nature
How Mind Emerged from Matter
624 pages, Hardcover
USD 29.95
W.W. Norton & Company

 

Thirty spokes converged at the wheel’s hub to an empty space that makes it useful. Clay is shaped into a vessel, to take advantage of the emptiness it surrounds.Doors and windows are cut into walls of a room so that it can serve some function. Though we must work with what is there, use comes from what is not there.
Tao Te Ching

As physicists work toward completing a theory of the universe and biologists unravel the molecular complexity of life, a glaring incompleteness in this scientific vision becomes apparent. The “Theory of Everything” that appears to be emerging includes everything but us: the feelings, meanings, consciousness, and purposes that make us (and many of our animal cousins) what we are. These most immediate and incontrovertible phenomena are left unexplained by the natural sciences because they lack the physical properties-such as mass, momentum, charge, and location-that are assumed to be necessary for something to have physical consequences in the world. This is an unacceptable omission. We need a “theory of everything” that does not leave it absurd that we exist.
Incomplete Nature begins by accepting what other theories try to deny: that, although mental contents do indeed lack these material-energetic properties, they are still entirely products of physical processes and have an unprecedented kind of causal power that is unlike anything that physics and chemistry alone have so far explained. Paradoxically, it is the intrinsic incompleteness of these semiotic and teleological phenomena that is the source of their unique form of physical influence in the world. Incomplete Nature meticulously traces the emergence of this special causal capacity from simple thermodynamics to self-organizing dynamics to living and mental dynamics, and it demonstrates how specific absences (or constraints) play the critical causal role in the organization of physical processes that generate these properties.
The book’s radically challenging conclusion is that we are made of these specific absenses-such stuff as dreams are made on-and that what is not immediately present can be as physically potent as that which is. It offers a figure/background shift that shows how even meanings and values can be understood as legitimate components of the physical world. (provided) 19 Jan 12

Vine of the Soul, Cord of the Universe

       

 

Beatriz C. Labate, Henrik Jungaberle (Eds)
The Internationalization of Ayahuasca
Intercultural Studies on Ritual, Play and Theatre, Vol. 16

448 pages, Paperback
EUR 44.90 | CHF 59.90
LIT Verlag

 

One thing is certain: Both indigenous and mestizo shamans consider people like the Shipibo-Conibo, the Tukano, the Kamsá, and the Huitoto as the equivalents to universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and the Sorbonne; they are the highest reference in matters of knowledge. In this sense, ayahuasca-based shamanism is an essentially indigenous phenomenon. It belongs to the indigenous people of Western Amazonia, who hold the keys to a way of knowing that they have practiced without interruption for at least five thousand years. In comparison, the universities of the Western world are less than nine hundred years old.”

Jeremy Narby

The book is composed of 27 articles and is divided in three parts: “Ayahuasca in South America and the world”, “About medical, psychological and pharmacological Issues: is the use of ayahuasca safe?” and “The expansion of the use of Ayahuasca and the establishment of a global debate on ethics and legalization”. The book brings together the work of scholars from different countries and academic disciplines to offer a comprehensive view of the globalization of this Amazonian brew. It presents a rich array of reflections on the complex implications of this expansion, ranging from health, spiritual and human rights impacts on individuals, to legal and policy impacts on governments. As ayahuasca drinking becomes an increasingly established practice beyond the Amazon in the early 21st century, Labate and Jungaberle have put together a collection that is an unprecedented contribution to a growing field of research.
It is a must-read for people interested in the present and future of ayahuasca, as well as in spirituality, ethnobotany, social science theory, contemporary religious and ritual studies, therapeutic potentials of psychedelics, and international drug policy.

(Kenneth W. Tupper, Ph.D.) 7 Jan 12

This is a fascinating compilation of medical, psychological and sociological papers on the spread of ayahuasca use … in Brazil and in several European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands), as well as the USA. … Highly recommended for serious students of this subject.
Ralph Metzner

Mind Your Mind

       

 

David DiSalvo
What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite
309 pages, Paperback
USD 19.00 | EUR 14.99 | CHF 21.90
Prometheus Books

 

The brain is a superb miracle of errors, and no one, except the brainless, is exempt.”
David DiSalvo

Why do we routinely choose options that don’t meet our short-term needs and undermine our long-term goals? Why do we willingly expose ourselves to temptations that undercut our hard-fought progress to overcome addictions? Why are we prone to assigning meaning to statistically common coincidences? Why do we insist we’re right even when evidence contradicts us?

In What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, science writer David DiSalvo reveals a remarkable paradox: what your brain wants is frequently not what your brain needs. In fact, much of what makes our brains “happy” leads to errors, biases, and distortions, which make getting out of our own way extremely difficult. DiSalvo’s search includes forays into evolutionary and social psychology, cognitive science, neurology, and even marketing and economics – as well as interviews with many of the top thinkers in psychology and neuroscience today.
From this research-based platform, DiSalvo draws out insights that we can use to identify our brains’ foibles and turn our awareness into edifying action. Ultimately, DiSalvo argues, the research does not serve up ready-made answers, but provides us with actionable clues for overcoming the plight of our advanced brains and, consequently, living more fulfilled lives. (provided) 28 Dec 11

Evolution of Culture

       
 

David Deutsch
The Beginning of Infinity
Explanations That Transform the World
496 pages, Hardcover
USD 30.00 | EUR 21.20 | CHF 39.90
Viking

 

Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life’s mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe. They have unlimited scope and power to cause change, and the quest to improve them is the basic regulating principle not only of science but of all successful human endeavor. This stream of ever improving explanations has infinite reach, according to Deutsch: we are subject only to the laws of physics, and they impose no upper boundary to what we can eventually understand, control, and achieve.

In his previous book, The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch describe the four deepest strands of existing knowledge – the theories of evolution, quantum physics, knowledge, and computation-arguing jointly they reveal a unified fabric of reality. In this new book, he applies that worldview to a wide range of issues and unsolved problems, from creativity and free will to the origin and future of the human species. Filled with startling new conclusions about human choice, optimism, scientific explanation, and the evolution of culture, The Beginning of Infinity is a groundbreaking book that will become a classic of its kind. http://beginningofinfinity.com/ (provided) 23 Dec 11

The Neverending Story

       
 

Marc Seifer
Where Does Mind End?
A Radical History of Consciousness and the Awakened Self
Foreword by Uri Geller
384 pages, Paperback, 30 b&w illustrations
USD 18.95 | GBP 15.99 | EUR 14.35 | CHF 21.90
Park Street Press

 

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?” he asked. “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1870

 

The culmination of 30 years of research, Where Does Mind End? takes you on an inward journey through the psyche – exploring the highest states of consciousness; the insights and theories of ancient and modern philosophers, psychologists, and mystics; the power of dreams, chi energy, tarot, and kundalini yoga; and proof of telepathy and other facets of parapsychology – to explain the mystery of consciousness and construct a comprehensive model of mind and its nearly infinite possibilities.

Starting with the ancients and early philosophers such as Zoroaster, Aristotle, Descartes, and Leibniz, the author examines models of mind that take into account divine and teleological components, the problem and goal of self-understanding, the mind/body conundrum, and holographic paradigms. Seifer then moves to modern times to explain the full range of Freud’s psychoanalytic model of mind, exploring such ideas as the ego, superego, and id; the unconscious; creativity; and self-actualization. Using Freud’s psychoanalytical model as framework, he reveals an overarching theory of mind and consciousness that incorporates such diverse concepts as Jung’s collective psyche; ESP; the Kabbalah; Gurdjieff’s ideas on behaviorism and the will; the philosophies of Wilhelm Reich, P.D. Ouspensky, and Nikola Tesla; the personality redevelopment strategies of Tony Robbins; and the Dalai Lama’s and Rudolf Steiner’s ideas on the highest states of consciousness. Recasting psychology as a vehicle not for mental health but for higher consciousness, he shows that by casting off the mechanical mental operation of day-to-day life, we naturally attain the self-integration to which traditional psychology has long aspired. By entering the true path to fulfillment of the soul’s will, we help the planet by transforming ourselves and raising our energy to a higher realm. (provided) 19 Dec 11

Empowerment, Revolution, and the Universal Right to be Free

       

 

Alan Clements
A Future to Believe In 
108 Reflections that Could Transform the World
268 pages, Paperback 
USD 23.95 
World Dharma Publications

 

We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands. 
Carl Sagan 
 

In his new book, Alan Clements weaves the wisdom of hundreds of the world’s most creative and courageous thinkers – artists, activists, scientists, and risk-takers – in with his own most compelling life-lessons, questions, and discoveries, from his forty-year long pursuit of truth and freedom – an epic journey of world travel, spiritual exploration, scholarly study and political activism, that has taken him from the sacredness of monastic silence deep into the dark heart of war zones. An iconoclastic blend of radical cultural commentary, edgy political punditry and provocative life-inquiry, this field guide for revolutionaries, and a model for a new society, is designed to liberate the human spirit – igniting gutsy transformation in one’s daily life and nonviolent political change around the world. Burma’s Nobel Peace laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, with whom Clements co-authored the acclaimed book of conversations, The Voice of Hope, calls this global movement a revolution of the spirit or the awakening of a new language of freedom. By fearlessly fusing timeless spiritual values with nonviolent political actions, we can unite and cocreate a future to believe in. www.worlddharma.com (provided) 5 Dec 11

 

This book is the music of wisdom, a dance with the finest places of the human heart. You will want to keep this timeless treasure within reach, so you can open it to any page, and let a paragraph or a line ignite you again to the truth of your own being. 
Joanna Macy
 

Alan Clements has put together an enchanting treasury of dharma jewels – inspired reflections and compassionate insights on life and freedom – in the cosmos, on Earth, in human society and above all in the human heart. The short pieces in this book will be cherished and savored for their soul-stirring beauty. 
Ralph Metzner

Possible Human

       
 

Michael S. Gazzaniga 
Who’s in Charge? 
Free Will and the Science of the Brain
272 pages, Hardcover 
USD 31.99 
HarperCollins

 

I am convinced that we must commit ourselves to the view that a universal ethics is possible, and that we ought to seek to understand it and define it.
Michael S. Gazzaniga

 

The father of cognitive neuroscience and author of Human offers a provocative argument against the common belief that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes and we are therefore not responsible for our actions A powerful orthodoxy in the study of the brain has taken hold in recent years: Since physical laws govern the physical world and our own brains are part of that world, physical laws therefore govern our behavior and even our conscious selves. Free will is meaningless, goes the mantra; we live in a “determined” world. Not so, argues the renowned neuroscientist Michael S. Gazzaniga in this thoughtful, provocative book based on his Gifford Lectures – one of the foremost lecture series in the world dealing with religion, science, and philosophy. Who’s in Charge? proposes that the mind, which is somehow generated by the physical processes of the brain, “constrains” the brain just as cars are constrained by the traffic they create. Writing with what Steven Pinker has called “his trademark wit and lack of pretension,” Gazzaniga shows how determinism immeasurably weakens our views of human responsibility; it allows a murderer to argue, in effect, “It wasn’t me who did it – it was my brain.” Gazzaniga convincingly argues that even given the latest insights into the physical mechanisms of the mind, there is an undeniable human reality: We are responsible agents who should be held accountable for our actions, because responsibility is found in how people interact, not in brains. An extraordinary book that ranges across neuroscience, psychology, ethics, and the law with a light touch but profound implications, Who’s in Charge? is a lasting contribution from one of the leading thinkers of our time. (provided) 25 Nov 11

Next wave of science writing

       

 

Future Science
Cutting-edge essays from the new generation of scientists 
Edited by Max Brockman 
272 pages, Paperback 
GBP 9.99
Oxford University Press

 

The creation of an infinite space probably actually happens – in fact, an infinite number of times. 
Anthony Aguirre 

 

The next wave of science writing is here. Editor Max Brockman has talent-spotted 19 young scientists, working on leading-edge research across a wide range of fields. Nearly half of them are women, and all of them are great communicators: their passion and excitement makes this collection a wonderfully invigorating read. We hear from an astrobiologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena about the possibilities for life elsewhere in the solar system (and the universe); from the director of Yale’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory about why we keep making the same mistakes; from a Cambridge lab about DNA synthesis; from the Tanzanian savannah about what lies behind attractiveness; we hear about how to breed plants to withstand disease, about ways to extract significance from the Internet’s enormous datasets, about oceanography, neuroscience, microbiology, and evolutionary psychology. (provided) 15 Nov 11

 

I would have killed for books like this when I was a student! 
Brian Eno

A next level of human evolution

       

 

Steve Fuller
Humanity 2.0
What it Means to be Human Past, Present and Future 
280 pages, Paperback
GBP 19.99 | EUR 19.95 | CHF 34.90 
Palgrave Macmillan

 

It is because humanity has never known where it was going that it has been able to find its way. 
Oscar Wilde

 

Social thinkers in all fields are faced with one unavoidable question: what does it mean to be ‘human’ in the 21st century? As definitions between what is ‘animal’ and what is ‘human’ break down, and as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and nano- and bio- technologies develop, accepted notions of humanity are rapidly evolving. Humanity 2.0 is an ambitious and groundbreaking book, offering a sweeping overview of key historical, philosophical and theological moments that have shaped our understandings of humanity. Tackling head on the twin taboos that have always hovered over the scientific study of humanity – race and religion – Steve Fuller argues thar far from disappearing, they are being reinvented. Fuller argues that these new developmentswill force us to decide which features of our current way of life – not least our bodies – are truly needed to remain human, and concludes with a consideration of these changes for ethical and social values more broadly. (zvg) 1 Nov 11

Web of Life

       

 

Massimo Citro 
The Basic Code of the Universe 
The Science of the Invisible in Physics, Medicine, and Spirituality
Foreword by Ervin Laszlo 
288 pages, Hardcover, 40 b&w illustrations 
USD 24.95 | EUR 18.55 | CHF 32.50 
Park Street Press

 

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature. 
Joseph Campbell

DNA dictates the physical features of an organism. But what dictates how something grows – from the division of cells in a human being to the fractal patterns of a crystal? Massimo Citro reveals that behind the complex world of Nature lies a basic code, a universal information field – also known as the Akashic field, which records all that was, is, and will be – that directs not only physical development and behavior but also energetic communication and interactions among all living and non-living things. The author examines research on consciousness, quantum physics, animal and plant intelligence, the power of intention, emotional fields, Kirlian photography, and the effects of thoughts, emotions, and music on water. Linking the work of Ervin Laszlo on the Akashic field, Rupert Sheldrake on morphogenetic fields, Richard Gerber on vibrational medicine, and Masaru Emoto on the memory of water, Citro shows how the universal information field connects every person, plant, animal, and mineral – a concept long known by shamans and expounded by perennial wisdom. Putting this science of the invisible to practical use, he explains his revolutionary system of vibrational medicine, known as TFF, which uses the information field to obtain the benefits of natural substances and medications in their “pure” informational form, offering side-effect-free remedies for health and well-being. (zvg) 11 Oct 11

Inspiring Wisdom

       

 

LD Thompson
The Message
A Guide to Being Human
236 pages, Paperback 
USD 16.95 | EUR 12.99 | CHF 21.90
Divine Arts

 

You are here to learn what it is to be wholly and completely One with the Source of all.
Solano

For decades LD, a teacher, filmmaker and Life Purpose Counselor, has traveled the globe and influenced thousands of individuals to reconnect with their own internal Benevolent Teacher. In the tradition of a Spiritual Classic, The Message embodies that journey and elevates the dialogue around living a centered and fulfilled life. Its premise: Your life has been designed by your Soul. The more you listen to your Soul and act on its values and urgings, the more graceful and joyous your life becomes. With powerful recommendations on how to achieve greater awareness of your Soul’s curriculum and insightful reflections on the process, The Message is an indispensable source of wisdom for seasoned spiritual practitioners and new seekers alike. (zvg) 3 Oct 11

Singing to the Plants

       
 

Stephan V. Beyer
Singing to the Plants 
A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon 
530 pages, Hardcover 
USD 45.00 
University of New Mexico Press

 

This eloquently written compendium presents us with an encompassing anthropological view of the ayahuasca cult as practiced in a certain region of the Peruvian Amazon today, including personal, cultural, regional, religious, ethical, ethno-botanical, medicinal, zoological, botanical, legal and sociological aspects. Stephan Beyer spent many years undergoing a formal shamanic apprenticeship with two main teachers, one male, one female, becoming an adept in the process. In a first, theoretical part of the book, we meet these widely esteemed mentors, learn what healing with the sacred plant medicine involves and what effects it has – what it can do and what it does not do – followed by a general discussion of shamanism and of various kinds of magic. Shamans are performers and have often been called tricksters, talking, cajoling or even bullying us into better organization of self, as the author empathically explains. In the mythical otherworld visited by these healers, adventures are traced, visions followed, spirits encountered, remissions engendered and lost souls retrieved. The Amazonian province of the soul has its own flavor and is peopled by many entities unknown to us. That makes it attractive and repulsive at the same time, a fascinating foundation for inner fermentation.
A second part of the book is dedicated to the actual medicine. Ayahuasca or yagé is commonly a mix of two plants – the vine itself and the small-leaved chacruna (Psychotria viridis) but may contain other ingredients, giving rise to individual potions with special effects. Working with any of these brews makes it imperative to know the plants one is about to consume in order to enjoy their beneficial effects or avoid them where deadly. Like in Chinese or medieval European medicine, we are talking correspondances, Acquiring this knowledge the traditional way – essentially fasting and roughing it – Stephan gradually acquaints himself with many different plants, naming and describing them again for us in his plant and animal Vademecum at the end of the book (Appendices A and B).
Chapter by chapter, the world of the mestizo shaman unfolds: we learn about magical sounds, ways of harming and healing, sucking & blowing doctoring, spirits, magic stones and darts, shamanic herbalism, ending up with an overflowing cup of ingredients to bring to the – shorter – second part of the book: the practice of ayahuasca ingestion and its effects.
As anyone acquainted with the medicine will readily confirm, drinking it usually leads to a thorough purge in the form of vomiting and/or diarrhea. That actually sounds worse than it is, since one is wretched with a noble aim in mind. To get well it is necessary to clean out the old and make room for the new. Themareación produced by the “vine of the spirit”, i.e. the mental and physical state it induces, may be compared to the effects of the two most popular natural entheogens of the Americas, peyote and San Pedro, except stronger. As usual, dosage is of vital importance. Part III discusses the history and ritual context of Ayahuasca use, taking us into the deep jungle. When exactly it all began, we do not know but it seems safe to assume that the indigenous tribes were familiar with the practice millennia before it reached the white man or even the man of mixed blood. In fact, it took the rubber boom of the late 19th century to bring these ritual healing ceremonies to the fore in order to produce the cults of Santo Daimé, Barquinha or the more individualized healing sessions of the mestizos living on the river banks of the no longer virgin forests. Unfortunately, the shamanic tradition as still encountered not too long ago seems to be disappearing. Like in many other cultures, the young do not want to take upon themselves the hardships of learning the old way, and many consider the healing practices of their elders as outdated. Money rules instead. 
This brings us to the present (Part IV), with ayahuasca tourists trampling herd-like along the old river paths in hope of finding a way out of their mental malaise and back home. Some are in serious physical trouble and, just like their local counterparts, could not be helped or healed by Western medicine. That’s the lure. Is this globalized stream of well-intentioned Westerners making things better or worse by being there? And what does the law say, for that matter? The author takes a thorough look at the legal situation of ayahuasca and wonders what the future will bring. Fortunately, he is a reporter more than an advocate, making his dense book a captivating read. Not to mention the admiration one feels in the presence of such vast knowledge! And: this would not be a scholarly piece of work if it didn’t reveal its sources and give us an index as a beacon for recognition and return. www.singingtotheplants.com. 29 Sep 11 
Susanne G. Seiler

Your Story, Your World

       
 

Timothy D. Wilson 
Redirect
The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change 
288 pages, Hardcover 
USD 25.99 | EUR 18.99 | CHF 30.90
Little, Brown and Company

 

Above all, when someone proposes a way to make you happier or more tolerant of others, turn you into a better parent, or help your children avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs, ask politely: “But does it work?” 
Timothy D. Wilson 

We tell ourselves stories to make sense of the world. These stories ultimately determine if we will lead healthy, productive lives or get into trouble. In Redirect, Timothy Wilson, “one of the most brilliant, creative, and respected psychologists of his generation” proposes a radical new view – that although these narratives can be extremely hard to change, they can change surprisingly quickly if tweaked in the right way. Why might some sex education programs result in more teen pregnancies? Why might that self-help book have left you distinctly unhappier? Wilson blows the whistle on failed attempts to solve a broad range of problems and presents new solutions that work. Wilson’s theories in Redirect have been tested scientifically and found to have real results, towards both personal meaning and happiness and social progress. (zvg) 21Sep11 

This glorious book shimmers with insights – an instant classic that will be discussed and quoted for generations. One of the great psychologists of our time, Timothy Wilson has distilled the field’s wisdom and shown us how to use it to change ourselves and the world. This may well be the single most important psychology book ever written. Not to be missed! 
Daniel Gilbert

Gaia's Supermind

       
 

Jose Argüelles 
Manifesto for the Noosphere 
The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness 
216 pages, Paperback
USD 14.95 | EUR 10.99 | CHF 17.50
Evolver Editions 
North Atlantic Books

 

Gaia’s main problems are not industrialization, ozone depletion, overpopulation, or resource depletion. Gaia’s main problem is the lack of mutual understanding and mutual agreement in the noosphere about how to proceed with those problems. We cannot rein in industry if we cannot reach mutual understanding and mutual agreement based on a worldcentric moral perspective concerning the global commons. And we reach the worldcentric moral perspective through a difficult and laborious process of interior growth and transcendence. 
Ken Wilber 

The noosphere, identified in the early twentieth century as intrinsic to the next stage of human and terrestrial evolution, is defined as the Earth’s “mental sphere” or stratum of human thought. Manifesto for the Noosphere, the final work by renowned author José Argüelles, predicts that the noosphere will be fully accessed on December 21, 2012 – but warns that we will only successfully make this evolutionary jump through an act of collective consciousness among humans on Earth. The ascension to the noosphere or Supermind (using the terminology of Sri Aurobindo), Argüelles says, will be an unprecedented “mind shift” that mirrors the emergence of life itself on the planet. Manifesto for the Noosphere is intended to inform and prepare humanity for the nature and magnitude of this shift. Argüelles brings in the Mayan long-count calendar, radical theories on the nature of time, advanced states of consciousness, and the possible intervention of galactic intelligence. He carefully details the role of the noosphere in relation to other planetary strata (hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere) as well as the history and nature of the biosphere-noosphere transition and the intermediary phases of the technosphere and cybersphere. (zvg)
13 Sep 11

Manifesto for the Noosphere is not only a work of genius but a vital guide to making the shift from the biosphere to the noosphere, the next stage in the evolution of Earth consciousness. He integrates the work of Teilhard de Chardin, Sri Aurobindo, and the Mayans with Russia scientists’ “cosmism,” looking at issues of planetary and universal evolution as a function of the emergence of “living intellectual matter,” synchronized by cosmic mind. This is a work of immense importance and encouragement for us all.” 
Barbara Marx Hubbard

Enhancer of Consciousness

       
 

Simon G. Powell 
The Psilocybin Solution
The Role of Sacred Mushrooms in the Quest for Meaning 
Foreword by Graham Hancock 
288 pages, Paperback 
USD 18.95 | GBP 15.99 | EUR 14.95 | CHF 24.90 
Park Street Press

 

Simon Powell’s thoughtful book about what he has learned from his visionary experiences with psychoactive mushrooms and his reflections on the biosphere. The Psilocybin Solution presents the best argument that I’ve ever read about the possibility of teleology operating in evolution, and of a higher intelligence organizing the natural world. Reading this book helped me to rethink many of my beliefs about the nature of reality, consciousness, and information. Exploding with eye-opening insights and jaw-dropping revelations about the evolution of life, I found it difficult to put this thought-provoking book down.
The ideas in The Psilocybin Solution are so rich and compelling, and every sentence is so eloquently written, that it is simply a joy to read and contemplate. This is truly a marvelous achievement, as writing this book – i.e., explaining the psychedelic experience, the evolutionof life, consciousness, and the nature of reality – was certainly an ambitious undertaking.
Powell does a masterful job at translating the grand and mysterious language of Nature into mere English symbols, and artistically articulating the shamanic voice of the Other. I think that anyone who is interested in the evolution of life and consciousness will find this book utterly fascinating.www.thepsilocybinsolution.com. 1 Sep 11
David Jay Brown

Those interested in consciousness and its modification will gain from reading it. The author’s intrepid speculations, centering on information as the fundamental stuff of the universe, are clearly signposted. The writing is lucid and a joy to behold. An important contribution. 
Jeremy Narby

Back for the Future

       
 

Sharon Levy 
Once and Future Giants
What Ice Age Extinctions Tell Us About the Fate of Earth’s Largest Animals 
280 pages, Hardback 
USD 24.95 | CHF 24.90 | EUR 18.99
Oxford University Press

 

Until about 13,000 years ago, North America was home to a menagerie of massive mammals. Mammoths, camels, and lions walked the ground that has become Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles and foraged on the marsh land now buried beneath Chicago’s streets. Then, just as the first humans reached the Americas, these Ice Age giants vanished forever. In Once and Future Giants, science writer Sharon Levy digs through the evidence surrounding Pleistocene large animal (“megafauna”) extinction events worldwide, showing that understanding this history – and our part in it – is crucial for protecting the elephants, polar bears, and other great creatures at risk today. These surviving relatives of the Ice Age beasts now face an intensified replay of that great die-off, as our species usurps the planet’s last wild places while driving a warming trend more extreme than any in mammalian history. Inspired by a passion for the lost Pleistocene giants, some scientists advocate bringing elephants and cheetahs to the Great Plains as stand-ins for their extinct native brethren. By reintroducing big browsers and carnivores to North America, they argue, we could rescue some of the planet’s most endangered animals while restoring healthy prairie ecosystems. Critics, including biologists enmeshed in the struggle to restore native species like the gray wolf and the bison, see the proposal as a dangerous distraction from more realistic and legitimate conservation efforts. Deftly navigating competing theories and emerging evidence, Once and Future Giants examines the extent of human influence on megafauna extinctions past and present, and explores innovative conservation efforts around the globe. The key to modern-day conservation, Levy suggests, may lie fossilized right under our feet. (zvg) 24 Aug 11

Harmonic Balancing

       
 

Jonathan Goldman and Andi Goldman 
Chakra Frequencies
Tantra of Sound 
208 pages, Paperback, 19 b&w illustrations, 60-minute CD 
USD 18.95 | EUR 14.95 | CHF 24.90
Destiny Books

 

As both ancient spiritual masters and modern quantum physicists acknowledge, the universe is vibration. Through sound and its ability to communicate with our chakras and subtle body, we can tap into the vibration of the universe for greater harmony and stronger relationships; physical, emotional, and spiritual healing; expanded consciousness; and planetary oneness.
In this step-by-step guide, sound healing pioneer Jonathan Goldman and his wife, holistic psychotherapist Andi Goldman, reveal specific ways the voice can resonate the physical and subtle bodies, including 7 powerful chanted Bija Mantras and sacred vowel sounds to balance and align the chakras. Providing exercises with breath, tone, mantras, and seed sounds, the authors show how to practice sound healing either individually or with a partner to strengthen relationships, reach deeper emotional levels, enhance communication, reduce stress, achieve inner balance, and create harmony with those around you as well as the whole planet. The accompanying 60-minute CD offers correct pronunciation and examples of the Bija Mantras, sacred vowels, seed sounds, and vocal exercises in the book as well as recordings of Pythagorean tuning forks, crystal bowls, Tibetan singing bowls, and Tibetan bells, providing the perfect backdrop for beginning a personal or partnered healing sound practice. (zvg) 17 Aug 11

Europe's Entheogenic Past

       
 

Carl Ruck, Mark Alwin Hoffman, José Alfredo González Celdrán 
Mushrooms, Myth & Mithras
The Drug Cult that Civilized Europe 
290 pages, Paperback, b|w and color illustrations 
USD 23.95 
City Lights Books

 

Anthropological evidence has long suggested that psychedelic plants have played important roles in indigenous communities for thousands of years, but most scholarship does not address their larger sphere of influence on western culture. In their groundbreaking new book, Mushrooms, Myths & Mithras, classics scholar Carl Ruck and friends reveal compelling evidence suggesting that psychedelic mushroom use was equally influential in early Europe, where it was central to initiation ceremonies for the Roman elite. Through art and archeology, we discover that Nero was the first Emperor to be initiated by secret “magical dinners,” and that most of his successors embraced the ritual ahttp://www.kurzweilai.net/the-compass-of-pleasurend its sacramental use of the psychedelic mushroom as a source of spiritual transcendence. The secret religion was officially banned after Roman Conversion, but aspects of its practices were assimilated or co-opted by Christianity, and have influenced many subsequent secret societies, including the Freemasons. Mushrooms, Myths & Mithras is a fascinating historical exploration of a powerful force kept hidden behind the scenes for thousands of years. (zvg) 11 Aug 11 

An important book – by far the most comprehensive account of this thunderingly neglected topic that I have seen. 
Huston Smith

(R)evolution in Art

       
 

Ken Johnson 
Are You Experienced?
How Psychedelic Consciousness Transformed Modern Art 
232 pages, Hardcover, 150 colour illustrations, 10 b|w illustrations 
USD 49.95 | GBP 35.00 
Prestel

 

Art changed in a big way in the 1960s; it was no longer something just to look at and appreciate for its aesthetic qualities. The traditional ideal of connoisseurship was out; art as consciousnessaltering experience was in. Boundaries between conventional media such as paintings and sculpture stretched and dissolved. Hierarchical distinctions between high and low culture became irrelevant. Weird new forms proliferated. Would art have developed as it did in the past fifty years, would it be the way it is now, if psychedelics and psychedelic culture had not been so popular? To answer that question, Ken Johnson, the veteran art critic of The New York Times, has examined a broad array of art of the past half century, from Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty to Pipilotti Rist’s recent swooningly trippy video installation at the Museum of Modern Art and Richard Serra’s warped, spiraling mazes of inches-thick Corten steel, looking not just for obvious signs of psychedelic style but for an underlying psychedelic ethos animating the art. Extensively illustrated in color, Johnson’s pioneering study may change the way we see contemporary art. (zvg) 1 Aug 11

... just want to have fun

       
 

David J. Linden
The Compass of Pleasure 
How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good
240 pages
USD 26.95 Hardcover 
USD 12.99 eBook 
Viking

 

Whether eating, taking drugs, engaging in sex, or doing good deeds, the pursuit of pleasure is a central drive of the human animal. In his new book Johns Hopkins neuroscientist David J. Linden explains how pleasure affects us at the most fundamental level: in our brain.
As he did in his award-winning book, The Accidental Mind, Linden combines cutting-edge science with entertaining anecdotes to illuminate the source of the behaviors that can lead us to ecstasy but that can easily become compulsive. Why are drugs like nicotine and heroin addictive while LSD is not? Why has the search for safe appetite suppressants been such a disappointment? The Compass of Pleasure concludes with a provocative consideration of pleasure in the future, when it may be possible to activate our pleasure circuits at will and in entirely novel patterns. (zvg) 29 July 11

Consciousness? Consciousness!

       
 

Stuart Hameroff, Sir Roger Penrose 
Consciousness in the Universe
Quantum Physics, Evolution, Brain & Mind 
900 pages, Hardcover 
USD 100.00
Cosmology Science Publishers

 

Is consciousness an epiphenomenal happenstance of this particular universe? Or does the very concept of a universe depend upon its presence? Does consciousness merely perceive reality, or does reality depend upon it? Did consciousness simply emerge as an effect of evolution? Or was it, in some sense, always “out there” in the world? These questions and more, are addressed in this exceptional work. The text is divided into 14 sections with 70+ chapters: Cosmology of Consciousness, Brain and Mind, What is Consciousness, Consciousness and Thought, The Neuroanatomy of the Unconscious, Remote Consciousness, Self-Consciousness – Dissociated, Shared, Near Death Consciousness, Dreams, Hallucinations & Altered States of Consciousness, Origins & Evolution of Consciousness, Paleolithic Consciousness: Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon, Spirituality, Sexuality, Animal and Artificial Consciousness, Quantum Physics and Consciousness, Consciousness and ExtraTerrestrials, Consciousness and the Universe. (zvg) 25 July 11

Psychedelic Art From the Amazon

       
 

Howard G. Charing, Peter Cloudsley, Pablo Amaringo 
The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo 
192 pages, hardcover, large format, 48 color plates and 12 color photographs 
USD 28.00 | EUR 29.99 
Inner Traditions

 

Recognized as one of the world’s great visionary artists, Pablo Amaringo was renowned for his intricate, colorful paintings inspired by his shamanic visions. A master communicator of the ayahuasca experience – where snakes, jaguars, subterranean beings, celestial palaces, aliens, and spacecraft all converge – Amaringo’s art presents a doorway to the transcendent worlds of ayahuasca intended for contemplation, meditation, and inspiration.
Illustrating the evolution of his intricate and colorful art, this book contains 47 full-color reproductions of Amaringo’s latest works with detailed explorations of the rich Amazonian mythology underlying each painting. Through their longstanding relationship with Amaringo, coauthors Charing and Cloudsley are able to share the personal stories behind his visions and experiences with Amazonian people and folklore, capturing Amaringo’s powerful ecological and spiritual message through his art and words. With contributions by Graham Hancock, Jeremy Narby, Robert Venosa, Dennis McKenna, Stephan Beyer, and Jan Kounen, this book brings the ayahuasca experience to life as we travel on Amaringo’s visionary brush and palette. (zvg) 17 July 11

Beyond "Neuroculture"

       
 

Raymond Tallis
Aping Mankind 
Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity
400 pages, Hardcover 
GBP 20.00 
Acumen

 

In a devastating critique Raymond Tallis exposes the exaggerated claims made for the ability of neuroscience and evolutionary theory to explain human consciousness, behaviour, culture and society. 
While readily acknowledging the astounding progress neuroscience has made in helping us understand how the brain works, Tallis directs his guns at neuroscience’s dark companion – “Neuromania” as he describes it – the belief that brain activity is not merely a necessary but a sufficient condition for human consciousness and that consequently our everyday behaviour can be entirely understood in neural terms. With the formidable acuity and precision of both clinician and philosopher, Tallis dismantles the idea that “we are our brains”, which has given rise to a plethora of neuro-prefixed pseudo-disciplines laying claim to explain everything from art and literature to criminality and religious belief, and shows it to be confused and fallacious, and an abuse of the prestige of science, one that sidesteps a whole range of mind-body problems. 
The belief that human beings can be understood essentially in biological terms is a serious obstacle, argues Tallis, to clear thinking about what human beings are and what they might become. To explain everyday behaviour in Darwinian terms and to identify human consciousness with the activity of the evolved brain denies human uniqueness, and by minimising the differences between us and our nearest animal kin, misrepresents what we are, offering a grotesquely simplified and degrading account of humanity. We are, shows Tallis, infinitely more interesting and complex than we appear in the mirror of biologism. (zvg) 13 July 11

Partners in Evolution

       
 

Richard M. Doyle
Darwin’s Pharmacy
Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noosphere 
368 pages, Paperback, 9 illustrations
USD 35.00 | EUR 58.95 
University of Washington Press

 

Are humans unwitting partners in evolution with psychedelic plants? Darwin’s Pharmacy shows they are by weaving the evolutionary theory of sexual selection and the study of rhetoric together with the science and literature of psychedelic drugs. Long suppressed as components of the human tool kit, psychedelic plants can be usefully modeled as “eloquence adjuncts” that intensify a crucial component of sexual selection in humans: discourse.
Psychedelic plants seduce us to interact with them, building an ongoing interdependence: rhetoric as evolutionary mechanism. In doing so, they engage our awareness of the noosphere, or thinking stratum of the earth. The realization that the human organism is part of an interconnected ecosystem is an apprehension of immanence that could ultimately benefit the planet and its inhabitants. To explore the rhetoric of the psychedelic experience and its significance to evolution, Doyle takes his readers on an epic journey through the writings of William Burroughs and Kary Mullis, the work of ethnobotanists and anthropologists, and anonymous trip reports. The results offer surprising insights into evolutionary theory, the war on drugs, the internet, and the nature of human consciousness itself. (zvg) 25 June 11

Creative Process

       
 

David Kaiser 
How the Hippies Saved Physics
Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival 
372 pages, Hardcover, 46 b|w illustrations 
USD 26.95
W.W. Norton & Company

 

Today, quantum information theory is among the most exciting scientific frontiers, attracting billions of dollars in funding and thousands of talented researchers. But as MIT physicist and historian David Kaiser reveals, this cutting-edge field has a surprisingly psychedelic past. How the Hippies Saved Physics introduces us to a band of freewheeling physicists who defied the imperative to “shut up and calculate” and helped to rejuvenate modern physics. For physicists, the 1970s were a time of stagnation. Jobs became scarce, and conformity was encouraged, sometimes stifling exploration of the mysteries of the physical world. Dissatisfied, underemployed, and eternally curious, an eccentric group of physicists in Berkeley, California, banded together to throw off the constraints of the physics mainstream and explore the wilder side of science. Dubbing themselves the “Fundamental Fysiks Group,” they pursued an audacious, speculative approach to physics. They studied quantum entanglement and Bell’s Theorem through the lens of Eastern mysticism and psychic mind-reading, discussing the latest research while lounging in hot tubs. Some even dabbled with LSD to enhance their creativity. Unlikely as it may seem, these iconoclasts spun modern physics in a new direction, forcing mainstream physicists to pay attention to the strange but exciting underpinnings of quantum theory. A lively, entertaining story that illuminates the relationship between creativity and scientific progress, How the Hippies Saved Physics takes us to a time when only the unlikeliest heroes could break the science world out of its rut. (zvg) 21 June 11

Safe Trips, Happy Landings

       
 

James Fadiman 
The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide
Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys 
352 pages, Paperback 
USD 18.95 
Park Street Press

 

With the publication of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, James Fadiman has inaugurated a new era of spiritual and practical exploration of inner space. Mind you, he didn’t invent or even rediscover the spiritual use of entheogens, nor the psychotherapeutic exploration of psychoactive plants and chemicals, but this guidebook represents a bold re-emergence of an ancient healing practice.
Fadiman, a co-founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and author most recently of an undergraduate psychology textbook and The Other Side of Haight: A Novel, is a champion of psychedelic guiding. He’s been around since the giddy big bang of psychedelic culture, and now, gladly, and with hope, turns the keys to guided journeys over to the grandchildren of that distant revolution. There’s plenty by and about him on the web, if you’re curious.
Fadiman gets right to the guided session instruction without disclaimers and apologies – a courteous gesture considering we’ve waited for more than a generation already. The guidebook is replete with suggestions for both guide and voyager regarding everything from music, food and lighting to finer aesthetic points. The six aspects of the well-conceived voyage are set and setting (which you knew), but also: substance, sitter, session, and situation. The six stages of a voyaging session are all simple and easily spelled out, as well, but this is rather like saying most of the paintings in the Louvre are made with canvas, brushes and paint: within Fadiman’s simple protocol exists a universe of possibilities.
Not all these possibilities are happy ones, naturally, so there is plenty of material on what can go wrong, and how to recover. Some chapters, contributed in part by other writers, speak to the experiences of pioneering elders and suggest how voyaging can address healing, creativity, problem solving and everyday life. Other chapters bring history, science and future directions for research and experimentation into context.
No single volume could hope to address all the issues, and especially the practical concerns, of the myriad combinatorial nodes of the Six S’s, so The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide wisely points out to the Web for other resources, and to a dedicated wiki, to which you, too, may contribute.
As noted, this topic has been around for a while; the World Health Organization published Ataractic and Hallucinogenic Drugs in Psychiatry in 1958! The 60s saw several widely read personal narratives of voyaging, a handful of guidebooks, quite a bit of science, and a larger number of rants, both pro and con, religious and secular, erudite and fulminating. The intervening decades brought hundreds of books about hallucinogens, cannabis and other drugs in religious, cultural, medical and literary contexts, but relatively few had practical advice or spiritual use in mind, although you could read between the lines, and many did.
The “How I Tripped Good” genre is alive and well – scarce copies of such books by folks who tripped to death fetch handsome prices – as is the perennially larger “How I Fucked Up Getting Fucked Up” school, which are quickly remaindered. But, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide belongs to an altogether higher order of endeavor, puns happily winked at. Truly destined to be a classic. Don’t leave everyday reality without it.
Chris Mays, Erowid


I’ve been waiting years for someone with the proper qualifications to come along and write this book. Hands down, this is the very best guide that exists on how to prepare for a safe and therapeutic psychedelic journey, with positive psychological transformation as one’s goal. It is the most important book written on the subject since The Psychedelic Experience – Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, and Ralph Metzner’s classic adaptation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which was published in 1964.

Before psychologist James Fadiman’s book, this was a subject that desperately needed attention by someone who really understands what psychedelics can do to (and for) the human mind Fadiman reviews the necessary precautions and proper techniques for a beneficial journey in a straightforward manner. Drawing from his own personal experience as a psychedelic researcher, he presents the fascinating results
from his clinical studies into how psychedelics can enhance creativity and improve problemsolving abilities, in the context of a clearlyexplained guidebook.
The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide can be used as a training and reference manual by professionals in the blossoming field of psychedelic psychotherapy research, as well as by outlaw shamans who defy government regulations to engage in illegal forms of self-exploration. Anyone interested in the subject for educational purposes will find this book hard to put down. This comprehensive volume is simply overflowing with rare, valuable, and well-organized information about how to get the most from a psychedelic experience. Invaluable for dispelling the many myths and misconceptions associated with this controversial subject, this jam-packed volume provides essential guidelines for the conduct of psychedelic sessions, and presents little-known techniques for using sub-perceptual doses to improve mental functioning, along with new information from surveys, clinical studies, group sessions, and personal anecdotes. This book is absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in the subject. 1 Jun 11
David Jay Brown

Based on more than forty years of the author’s experience in the field and presented in a clear, easily understandable style, this book is a breath of fresh air, dispelling the mis-information that has been disseminated over many decades by sensation-hunting journalists and fear-based antidrug propaganda. The publication of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide could not be more timely; it coincides with a major renaissance of interest in psychedelic research worldwide. The information that it provides will thus be useful not only for the hundreds of thousands of people involved in self-experimentation but also for the new generation of psychedelic researchers. 
Stanislav Grof

System Gaia

       
 

Tim Lenton and Andrew Watson
Revolutions that Made the Earth
440 pages, Hardcover, 80 b|w line and halftone illustrations 
GBP 29.95 
Oxford University Press

 

The Earth that sustains us today was born out of a few remarkable, near-catastrophic revolutions, started by biological innovations and marked by global environmental consequences. The revolutions have certain features in common, such as an increase in complexity, energy utilization, and information processing by life. This book describes these revolutions, showing the fundamental interdependence of the evolution of life and its non-living environment. We would not exist unless these upheavals had led eventually to ‘successful’ outcomes – meaning that after each one, at length, a new stable world emerged. 
The current planet-reshaping activities of our species may be the start of another great Earth system revolution, but there is no guarantee that this one will be successful. The book explains what a successful transition through it might look like, if we are wise enough to steer such a course. 
This book places humanity in context as part of the Earth system, using a new scientific synthesis to illustrate our debt to the deep past and our potential for the future. (zvg) 28 May 11

Welcome to the Future

       
 

Jim Blascovich, Jeremy Bailenson 
Infinite Reality
Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution 
304 pages, Hardcover 
USD 27.99 
William Morrow

 

The coming explosion of immersive digital technology, combined with recent progress in unlocking how the mind works, will soon revolutionize our lives in ways only science fiction has imagined. In Infinite Reality, Jeremy Bailenson (Stanford University) and Jim Blascovich (University of California, Santa Barbara) – two of virtual reality’s pioneering authorities whose pathbreaking research has mapped how our brain behaves in digital worlds – take us on a mind-bending journey through the virtual universe. 
Infinite Reality explores what emerging computer technologies and their radical applications will mean for the future of human life and society. Along the way, Bailenson and Blascovich examine the timeless philosophical questions of the self and “reality” that arise through the digital experience; explain how virtual reality’s latest and future forms – including immersive video games and social-networking sites – will soon be seamlessly integrated into our lives; show the many surprising practical applications of virtual reality, from education and medicine to sex and warfare; and probe further-off possibilities like “total personality downloads” that would allow your great-great-grandchildren to have a conversation with “you” a century or more after your death. 
Equally fascinating, farsighted, and profound, Infinite Reality is an essential guide to our virtual future, where the experience of being human will be deeply transformed. (zvg) 16 May 11 

Enough with speculation about our digital future. Infinite Reality is the straight dope on what is and isn’t happening to us right now, from two of the only scientists working on the boundaries between real life and its virtual extensions. 
Douglas Rushkoff

A Most Human Development

       
 

Brian Christian 
The Most Human Human 
A Defence of Humanity in the Age of the Computer
320 pages, Hardcover 
GBP 18.99 
Viking

 

For the first time in history, we are interacting with computers so sophisticated that we think they’re human beings. This is a remarkable feat of human ingenuity, but what does it say about our humanity? Are we really no better at being human than the machines we’ve created? 
Computers are now so adept at behaving like humans that they are on the brink of passing the Turing Test, the widely accepted threshold at which a machine can be said to be ‘thinking’ or ‘intelligent’. In this brilliantly witty and inspiring investigation, Brian Christian explores first-hand the urgent moral and practical implications of this remarkable development. And in an era when so much digital communication is metaphorically – but also quite literally – a Turing Test, he explores how to be the most human humans that we can be.
Drawing on science, philosophy, literature and the arts, and touching on aspects of life as diverse as language, work, school, chess, speed-dating, art, video games, psychiatry and the law, The Most Human Human shows that far from being a threat to our humanity, computers provide a better means than ever before of understanding what it is. (zvg) 5 May 11

Changing our Lifes

       
 

Alex Steffen, Ed. 
Worldchanging
A User’s Guide for the 21st Century 
Revised and Updated Edition
600 pages, Paperback, 300 4-color illustrations 
USD 24.95
Abrams

 

Five years after the initial publication of Worldchanging, the landscape of environmentalism and sustainability has changed dramatically. The average reader is now well-versed – even inundated – with green lifestyle advice. In 2011, green is the starting point, not the destination. This second edition of the bestselling book is extensively revised to include the latest trends, technologies, and solutions in sustainable living. More than 160 new entries include up-to-the-minute information on the locavore movement, carbon-neutral homes, novel transportation solutions, the growing trend of ecotourism, the concept of food justice, and much more. Additional new sections focus on the role of cities as the catalyst for change in our society. With 50 percent new content, this overhauled edition incorporates the most recent studies and projects being implemented worldwide. The result is a guided tour through the most exciting new tools, models, and ideas for building a better future. (zvg) 25 Apr 11

Who lives longest – and why

       
 

Howard S. Friedman, Leslie R. Martin 
The Longevity Project 
Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study 
272 pages, Hardcover 
USD 25.95 
Penguin

 

We have been told that the key to longevity involves obsessing over what we eat, how much we stress, and how fast we run. Based on the most extensive study of longevity ever conducted, The Longevity Project exposes what really impacts our lifespan-including friends, family, personality, and work. 
Gathering new information and using modern statistics to study participants across eight decades, Dr. Howard Friedman and Dr. Leslie Martin bust myths about achieving health and long life. For example, people do not die from working long hours at a challenging job- many who worked the hardest lived the longest. Getting and staying married is not the magic ticket to long life, especially if you’re a woman. And it’s not the happy-go-lucky ones who thrive-it’s the prudent and persistent who flourish through the years. 
With questionnaires that help you determine where you are heading on the longevity spectrum and advice about how to stay healthy, this book changes the conversation about living a long, healthy life. (zvg) 17 Apr 11 

A compelling and objective assessment of character traits associated with longevity. Only a handful of studies in this field last long enough to give meaningful results, and even fewer remain significant after their primary investigators have passed away. Friedman and Martin have resurrected a remarkable achievement with surprising conclusions. I learned a lot from this book. 
Andrew Weil

The Way We Live

       
 

David Brooks
The Social Animal 
The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement 
448 pages, Hardcover 
USD 27.00 
Random House

 

With unequaled insight and brio, David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bobos in Paradise, has long explored and explained the way we live. Now, with the intellectual curiosity and emotional wisdom that make his columns among the most read in the nation, Brooks turns to the building blocks of human flourishing in a multilayered, profoundly illuminating work grounded in everyday life. This is the story of how success happens. It is told through the lives of one composite American couple, Harold and Erica – how they grow, push forward, are pulled back, fail, and succeed. Distilling a vast array of information into these two vividly realized characters, Brooks illustrates a fundamental new understanding of human nature. A scientific revolution has occurred – we have learned more about the human brain in the last thirty years than we had in the previous three thousand. The unconscious mind, it turns out, is most of the mind – not a dark, vestigial place but a creative and enchanted one, where most of the brain’s work gets done. This is the realm of emotions, intuitions, biases, longings, genetic predispositions, personality traits, and social norms: the realm where character is formed and where our most important life decisions are made. The natural habitat of The Social Animal. 
Drawing on a wealth of current research from numerous disciplines, Brooks takes Harold and Erica from infancy to school; from the “odyssey years” that have come to define young adulthood to the high walls of poverty; from the nature of attachment, love, and commitment, to the nature of effective leadership. He reveals the deeply social aspect of our very minds and exposes the bias in modern culture that overemphasizes rationalism, individualism, and IQ. Along the way, he demolishes conventional definitions of success while looking toward a culture based on trust and humility.
The Social Animal is a moving and nuanced intellectual adventure, a story of achievement and a defense of progress. Impossible to put down, it is an essential book for our time, one that will have broad social impact and will change the way we see ourselves and the world. (zvg) 5 Apr 11

A Chemical Labor of Love

       
 

Alexander Shulgin, Tania Manning and Paul Daley 
The Shulgin Index 
Vol. I – Psychedelic Phenethylamines and Related Compounds
811 pages, Hardcover
USD 85.00 
Transform Press

 

The Shulgin Index is the latest work by Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, the world’s most prolific explorer of the chemistry and effects of the psychedelic drugs. The Index is a comprehensive survey of the known psychedelics, and will be presented in two volumes: I. Psychedelic Phenethylamines and Related Compounds, and II. Psychedelic Tryptamines and Related Compounds. The first volume presents a structure-oriented survey of psychedelic phenethylamines, amphetamines, phenylpiperazines, and others. 
There are 126 main compounds with detailed physical properties, synthesis and analytical chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacological properties and legal status. Fully referenced with over 2’000 citations. An invaluable source for researchers, physicians, chemists, and law enforcement. www.transformpress.com (zvg) 28 Mar 11

The Power of Touch

       
 

Michael Chorost 
World Wide Mind
The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet 
256 pages, Hardcover 
USD 26.00 
Free Press

 

What if digital communication felt as real as being touched? This question led Michael Chorost to explore profound new ideas triggered by lab research around the world, and the result is the book you now hold. Marvelous and momentous, World Wide Mind takes mind-to-mind communication out of the realm of science fiction and reveals how we are on the verge of a radical new understanding of human interaction. 
Chorost himself has computers in his head that enable him to hear: two cochlear implants. Drawing on that experience, he proposes that our Paleolithic bodies and our Pentium chips could be physically merged, and he explores the technologies that could do it. He visits engineers building wearable computers that allow people to be online every waking moment, and scientists working on implanted chips that would let paralysis victims communicate. Entirely new neural interfaces are being developed that let computers read and alter neural activity in unprecedented detail. But we all know how addictive the Internet is. Chorost explains the addiction: he details the biochemistry of what makes you hunger to touch your iPhone and check your email. He proposes how we could design a mind-to-mind technology that would let us reconnect with our bodies and enhance our relationships. With such technologies, we could achieve a collective consciousness – a World Wide Mind. And it would be humankind’s next evolutionary step.
With daring and sensitivity, Chorost writes about how he learned how to enhance his own relationships by attending workshops teaching the power of touch. He learned how to bring technology and communication together to find true love, and his story shows how we can master technology to make ourselves more human rather than less. 
World Wide Mind offers a new understanding of how we communicate, what we need to connect fully with one another, and how our addiction to email and texting can be countered with technologies that put us – literally – in each other’s minds. (zvg) 25 Mar 11

Ecosystems

       
 

Arnold H. Taylor
The Dance of Air and Sea 
How Oceans, Weather, and Life Link Together 
288 pages, Hardback 
USD 29.95 | EUR 21.40 
Oxford University Press

 

How can tiny plankton in the sea just off Western Europe be affected by changes in the Gulf Stream four thousand miles away, on the other side of the North Atlantic Ocean? How can a slight rise in the temperature of the surface of the Pacific Ocean have a devastating impact on amphibian life in Costa Rica? How can the temperature of the equatorial Pacific Ocean help predict the yields of maize far away in Zimbabwe? 
In The Dance of Air and Sea , oceanographer Arnold Taylor illuminates the extraordinarily vast and powerful forces driving the world’s ecosphere, revealing the astonishing ways that the atmosphere and oceans interact, and revealing how ecosystems in water and on land respond to changes in weather. Ranging through the fields of oceanography, meteorology, and ecology, Taylor sheds light on the immense variations of the atmosphere which can span a whole ocean, the best known of which is the El Nino cycle of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, a colossal see-saw in which atmospheric pressure rising over Australia mirrors a fall thousands of miles away in Tahiti. And as he explores this remarkable dance of sea and air, Taylor conveys the enormous power of these forces – for instance, the Gulf Stream carries as heat the energy of about 20 million power stations – and he tells colorful stories of the many scientists working in this field, such as the two researchers who used the records of an annual gambling pool in Alaska (the Nenana Ice Classic) to track the local effects of global warming. 
Packed with engaging anecdotes, this mind-boggling account of the enormous forces at work around the globe also highlights how understanding these forces will enhance our ability to tackle global warming. (zvg) 21 Mar 11

Revising Our Worldview

       
 

Robert G. Jahn and Brenda J. Dunne 
Consciousness and the Source of Reality 
The PEAR Odyssey
398 pages, Softcover 
USD 19.95 
ICRL Press

 

When Robert G. Jahn and Brenda J. Dunne first embarked on their exotic scholarly journey more than three decades ago, their aspirations were little higher than to attempt replication of some previously asserted anomalous results that might conceivably impact future engineering practice, either negatively or positively, and to pursue those ramifications to some appropriate extent. But as they followed that tortuous research path deeper into its metaphysical forest, it became clear that far more fundamental epistemological issues were at stake, and far stranger phenomenological creatures were on the prowl, than they had originally envisaged, and that a substantially broader range of intellectual and cultural perspectives would be required to pursue that trek productively. This text is their attempt to record some of the tactics developed, experiences encountered, and understanding acquired on this mist-shrouded exploration, in the hope that their preservation in this format will encourage and enable deeper future scholarly penetrations into the ultimate Source of Reality. (zvg) 17 Mar 11

The Ability of Science

       
 

Peter Atkins
On Being 
A Scientist’s Exploration of the Great Questions of Existence 
152 pages, Hardcover 
GBP 10.99 | USD 19.95
Oxford University Press

 

Peter Atkins is the shining exception to the rule that scientists make poor writers. A Fellow at Oxford and a leading chemist, he has won admiration for his precise, lucid, and yet rigorous explanations of science. Now he turns to the greatest – and most controversial – questions of human existence. Can the scientific method tell us anything of value about birth, death, the origin of reality – and its end? Are these questions best left to faith?
In On Being, Atkins makes a provocative contribution to the great debate between religion and science. Atkins makes his position clear from the very first sentence: “The scientific method can shed light on every and any concept, even those that have troubled humans since the earliest stirrings of consciousness,” he writes. He takes a materialist approach to the great questions of being that have inspired myth and religion, seeking to “dispel their mystery without diminishing their grandeur.” In placing scientific knowledge in such cosmic perspective, he takes us on an often dizzying tour of existence. For example, he argues that “the substrate of existence is nothing at all.” The total electrical charge of the universe, among other things, must be nothing – zero – he writes, or else the universe would have blasted itself apart. “Charge was not created at the creation: electrical Nothing separated into equal and opposite charges.” He explores breathtaking questions – asking the purpose of the universe – with wit and learning, touching on Sanskrit scriptures and John Updike along the way. 

“If absolutely and unreservedly everything is an aspect of the physical, material world, then I do not see how it can be closed to scientific investigation,” Atkins writes. “The scientific method is the only means of discovering the nature of reality.” (zvg) 9 Mar 11 

Here on Earth

       
 

Tim Flannery 
Here on Earth 
A new beginning 
336 pages, Paperback 
GBP 14.99
Allen Lane

 

Sometimes it’s hard to be an optimist. In an ever more crowded and complex world, new challenges continue to confront us. It would be tempting to give up hope. Tim Flannery is here to offer us a change of perspective. And he is here to inspire us. He invites us to consider again our place on earth, what it really means to be alive. Here on Earth is a revolutionary dual biography of the planet and of our species. Flannery reimagines the history of earth, from its earliest origins as a chaotic ball of elemental dust and gases to the teeming landscape we currently call home. It is a remarkable story. How did life first emerge here? What forces have shaped it? Why did humans come to dominate? And when did we start to have an impact? More importantly, how has this changed us as a species? The awesome hand of nature has never been better portrayed than in this book. Nor, remarkably, the transformative power of ideas. From the most intense competition for survival, cooperation has emerged. The challenge we now face is to sustain our fragile hold on life. Our fate is in our own hands. But first we have to realise who we are. (provided) 5 Mar 11 

In the league of the all-time great explorers. 
Sir David Attenbourough

The Life Cycle of the Human Soul

       
 

Ralph Metzner 
The Life Cycle of the Human Soul 
Incarnation – Conception – Birth Death – Hereafter – Reincarnation 
144 pages, Paperback 
USD 25.00 
Regent Press

 

In the last fifty years in the West, there have been a number of pioneering new approaches for accessing realms of consciousness that are traditionally considered the deepest spiritual mysteries. In this book I discuss the experience of birth and of prenatal life, the unconscious psychic imprints of the conception event, the soul’s choosing of a human incarnation and the connection with familial ancestors. I also discuss the experience of death of the physical body and the soul’s life in the intermediate realms before choosing rebirth into another life. I draw on empirical observations from psychedelic experiences, meditation, shamanic journeys, near-death experiences, deep altered state hypnotherapy, states induced by special breathing practices and findings from the experiential practices of my alchemical divination workshops. (zvg) 25 Feb 11

Unknown Huichol

       
 

Jay Courtney Fikes 
Unknown Huichol 
Shamans and Immortals, Allies against Chaos 
232 pages, Hardcover 
USD 65.00 
AltaMira Press

 

The culmination of 34 years of ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, this book offers ground-breaking insights into fundamental principles of Huichol shamanism and ritual. The scope and length of Fikes’s research, combined with the depth of his participation with four Huichol shamans, enable him to convey with empathy details of shamanic initiation, methods for diagnosis and treatment of illness, and motives for performing funeral, deer and peyote hunting, and maize-cultivating rituals. (zvg) 21 Feb 11 

This invaluable book offers an alternative interpretation on what it means to be human. Jay Fikes unites his experiences as an aspiring shaman with his dedication to scholarly accuracy; he presents the Huichol religion from a perspective unfettered by modern, Western, science-vectored assumptions. His book integrates sympathetic and discerning interpretation of nuances in Huichol shamanic initiation, myth, ritual, and pilgrimage, creating an insightful portrait of a people whose annual cycle of rituals and pilgrimages have, until recently, sustained their harmonious relation with nature and with their divine ancestors. Fikes’s book will become a landmark in comparative religion. 
Huston Smith

The Tell-Tale Brain

       
 

V. S. Ramachandran 
The Tell-Tale Brain 
A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human 
384 pages, Hardcover 
USD 26.95 
W. W. Norton & Company

 

V. S. Ramachandran is at the forefront of his field-so much so that Richard Dawkins dubbed him the “Marco Polo of neuroscience.” Now, in a major new work, Ramachandran sets his sights on the mystery of human uniqueness. Taking us to the frontiers of neurology, he reveals what baffling and extreme case studies can teach us about normal brain function and how it evolved. Synesthesia becomes a window into the brain mechanisms that make some of us more creative than others. And autism – for which Ramachandran opens a new direction for treatment – gives us a glimpse of the aspect of being human that we understand least: self-awareness. Ramachandran tackles the most exciting and controversial topics in neurology with a storyteller’s eye for compelling case studies and a researcher’s flair for new approaches to age-old questions. Tracing the strange links between neurology and behavior, this book unveils a wealth of clues into the deepest mysteries of the human brain. (zvg) 17 Feb 11

Animal Rights

       
 

Paul Waldau
Animal Rights 
What Everyone Needs to Know 
256 pages, Paperback 
GBP 10.99 | USD 16.95 
Oxford University Press

 

In this compelling volume in the What Everyone Needs to Know series, Paul Waldau expertly navigates the many heated debates surrounding the complex and controversial animal rights movement. 
Organized around a series of probing questions, this timely resource offers the most complete, even-handed survey of the animal rights movement available. The book covers the full spectrum of issues, beginning with a clear, highly instructive definition of animal rights. Waldau looks at the different concerns surrounding companion animals, wild animals, research animals, work animals, and animals used for food, provides a no-nonsense assessment of the treatment of animals, and addresses the philosophical and legal arguments that form the basis of animal rights. Along the way, readers will gain insight into the history of animal protection-as well as the political and social realities facing animals today – and become familiar with a range of hot-button topics, from animal cognition and autonomy, to attempts to balance animal cruelty versus utility. Chronicled here are many key figures and organizations responsible for moving the animal rights movement forward, as well as legislation and public policy that have been carried out around the world in the name of animal rights and animal protection. The final chapter of this indispensable volume looks ahead to the future of animal rights, and delivers an animal protection mandate for citizens, scientists, governments, and other stakeholders. 
With its multidisciplinary, non-ideological focus and all-inclusive coverage, Animal Rights represents the definitive survey of the animal rights movement – one that will engage every reader and student of animal rights, animal law, and environmental ethics. (zvg) 13 Feb 11

Opening the Portals of Heaven

       
 

Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Gustavo Pacheco
Opening the Portals of Heaven 
Brazilian Ayahuasca Music 
Brazilian Studies, Vol. 4 
120 pages, Paperback 
EUR 19.90 D | 20.50 A | CHF 31.90 
Lit Verlag

 

This book highlights the theme of music in the ayahuasca religions of Santo Daime (both the Cefluris and Alto Santo groups) and the União do Vegetal (UDV). Although most studies of the ayahuasca religions recognize the centrality of music in their rituals, the study of the music itself has generally been secondary to other themes, rather than the central focus that it is here. A rich cultural manifestation, ayahuasca music reveals multiple connections with Brazilian religiosity and with the musical expression of the Northeast and Amazonia, and has been one of the principal elements highlighted by recent efforts to designate ayahuasca as immaterial cultural heritage of the Brazilian nation. The book explores the key role that music plays in the everyday life of these religions, in the production of religious meanings, and in the construction of the bodies and the subjectivity of adepts. Through a description of each group’s musicality and a comparison among them, the authors seek to understand these groups’ ethos. This book represents an important contribution to an area of study that is still little explored in Brazil: the use of music in ritual and religious contexts. (zvg) 9 Feb 11

What Technology Wants

       
 

Kevin Kelly 
What Technology Wants 
416 pages, Hardcover 
USD 27.95 | eBook Adobe 14.99 | ePub 14.99 
Viking

 

This provocative book introduces a brand-new view of technology. It suggests that technology as a whole is not a jumble of wires and metal but a living, evolving organism that has its own unconscious needs and tendencies. Kevin Kelly looks out through the eyes of this global technological system to discover “what it wants.” He uses vivid examples from the past to trace technology’s long course and then follows a dozen trajectories of technology into the near future to project where technology is headed. This new theory of technology offers three practical lessons: By listening to what technology wants we can better prepare ourselves and our children for the inevitable technologies to come. By adopting the principles of pro-action and engagement, we can steer technologies into their best roles. And by aligning ourselves with the long-term imperatives of this near-living system, we can capture its full gifts. Written in intelligent and accessible language, this is a fascinating, innovative, and optimistic look at how humanity and technology join to produce increasing opportunities in the world and how technology can give our lives greater meaning. (zvg) 5 Feb 11

Be Love Now

       
 

Ram Dass with Rameshwar Das 
Be Love Now
The Path of the Heart 
336 pages, Hardcover 
USD 27.99, Softcover 21.99
HarperOne

 

In 1970, Ram Dass’ Be Here Now became the counter-culture bible for thousands of young people seeking enlightenment in the midst of the darkness of Vietnam. It was a pioneering bridge, written in colloquial language, from the psychedelic 60s to eastern spirituality, and over the years has sold (and continues to sell) more than two million copies.
Be Love Now is the third book in a spiritual trilogy that started with Be Here Now followed by Still Here – a four-decade pilgrimage across cultures and spiritual traditions. 
As an iconic guru for the Boomer generation, Ram Dass has lectured and led retreats all over the world. In Be Love Now, Ram Dass shows us the way to unconditional spiritual love through personal anecdotes, deep insights, and stories. Ram Dass tracks the stages of his own awakening, translating states of consciousness as he so ably does, starting with his days as Harvard psychologist and psychedelic in-venturer and continuing through his encounter with his guru, his struggles, and perspectives on his visionary experiences. 
With wry humor Ram Dass takes us through pitfalls on the path and paints a view of what an actual state of enlightenment might be like. He explores his experiences with other teachers such as Swami Muktananda, the founder of Siddha Yoga, and John of God, the contemporary Brazilian healer. The different stages of realization, death and reincarnation are all brought into the context of spiritual evolution. (zvg) 1 Feb 11

Psychedelic Healing

       
 

Neal M. Goldsmith 
Psychedelic Healing 
The Promise of Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development 
256 pages, Paperback, 10 b&w illustrations 
USD 16.95 
Healing Arts Press

 

Banned after promising research in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, the use of psychedelics as therapeutic catalysts is now being rediscovered at prestigious medical schools, such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, NYU, and UCLA. Through clinical trials to assess their use, entheogens have been found to ease anxiety in the dying, interrupt the hold of addictive drugs, cure post-traumatic stress disorder, and treat other deep-seated emotional disturbances. To date, results have been positive, and the idea of psychedelics as powerful psychiatric – and spiritual – medicines is now beginning to be accepted by the medical community. Exploring the latest cutting-edge research on psychedelics, along with their use in indigenous cultures throughout history for rites of passage and shamanic rituals, Neal Goldsmith reveals that the curative effect of entheogens comes not from a chemical effect on the body but rather by triggering a peak or spiritual experience. He provides guidelines for working with entheogens, groundbreaking analyses of the concept – and the process – of change in psychotherapy, and, ultimately, his own story of psychedelic healing. Examining the tribal roots of this knowledge, Goldsmith shows that by combining ancient wisdom and modern research, we can unlock the emotional, mental, and spiritual healing powers of these unique and powerful tools, providing an integral medicine for postmodern society. www.nealgoldsmith.com (zvg) 28 Jan 11

Becoming Animal

       
 

David Abram
Becoming Animal
An Earthly Cosmology 
336 pages, Hardcover 
USD 26.95 
Pantheon

 

David Abram’s first book, The Spell of the Sensuous – hailed as “revolutionary” by the Los Angeles Times, as “daring and truly original” by Science—has become a classic of environmental literature. Now Abram returns with a startling exploration of our human entanglement with the rest of nature.
As the climate veers toward catastrophe, the innumerable losses cascading through the biosphere make vividly evident the need for a metamorphosis in our relation to the living land. For too long we’ve inured ourselves to the wild intelligence of our muscled flesh, taking our primary truths from technologies that hold the living world at a distance. This book subverts that distance, drawing readers ever deeper into their animal senses in order to explore, from within, the elemental kinship between the body and the breathing Earth. 
The shapeshifting of ravens, the erotic nature of gravity, the eloquence of thunder, the pleasures of being edible: all have their place in Abram’s investigation. He shows that from the awakened perspective of the human animal, awareness (or mind) is not an exclusive possession of our species but a lucid quality of the biosphere itself a quality in which we, along with the oaks and the spiders, steadily participate. With the audacity of its vision and the luminosity of its prose, Becoming Animal sets a new benchmark for the human appraisal of our place in the whole. (zvg) 19 Jan 11

Nomad Codes

       
 

Erik Davis 
Nomad Codes
Adventures in Modern Esoterica 
352 pages, Paperback 
USD 17.95
Yeti Publishing

 

Erik Davis is a unique writer with a devoted following. His breakthrough work, Techgnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information was both successful and widely influential, and was followed by the acclaimed The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape Nomad Codes collects his major essays and journalistic work of the last decade, many of them drawn from the Village Voice, Wired, Salon, and Slate. Essay subjects include: H.P. Lovecraft, The Technofreak Legacy of Golden Goa; Tantric psychedelia, the Klingon language, UFO Epistemology, and My Date with a Burmese Tranvestite Spirit Medium. www.techgnosis.com (zvg) 1111

Mavericks of the Mind

       
 

Mavericks of the Mind 
Conversations with Terence McKenna, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Laura Huxley, Robert Anton Wilson, Rupert Sheldrake, Colin Wilson, Oscar Janiger, and others … 
by David Jay Brown & Rebecca McClen Novick 
2nd Edition, New and Expanded Interviews 
407 pages, Paperback 
USD 22.95 
MAPS

 

Loaded with new material – a new introduction, additional interviews, as well as new photos and artwork – the second edition of Mavericks of the Mind also includes the transcripts from the events that brought together interviewees from the book to debate philosophical topics in roundtable discussions. This stimulating collection features in-depth conversations with accomplished thinkers, such as Terence McKenna, Laura Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, Rupert Sheldrake, Riane Eisler, and Robert Anton Wilson. The interviews explore such fascinating topics as the frontiers of consciousness exploration, how psychedelics effect creativity, the relationship between science and spirituality, lucid dreaming, quantum physics, morphic field theory, interspecies communication, chaos theory, and time travel. (zvg) 11111 

When it was first published, Mavericks of the Mind was more than a breath of fresh air – it was a hurricane of ideas and visions perfectly tuned to the time. This 21st century expansion pack will ensure that these maverick spirits – many of whom have now passed on – will continue to channel the mindscape beyond the bend. 
Erik Davis

High Society

       
 

Mike Jay 
High Society 
The Central Role of Mind-Altering Drugs in History, Science, and Culture
192 pages, Paperback, 150 color and b&w illustrations 
USD 19.95 
Park Street Press

 

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. (zvg) 7 Jan 11

The Lazy Man's Life

       
 

The Lazy Man’s Life
The Life and Times of Thaddeus Golas
From the Great Depression to the Rise and Fall of the Hippie Revolution
Compiled and edited by Sylvain Despretz 
540 Pages, Paperback, color photos 
USD 19.95 
Seed Center

 

Thaddeus Golas’ autobiography is pulled from his diaries, emails and letters – it is the account of his life, in his own words. The Lazy Man’s Life is not a book of metaphysics, but it covers much of the story of the journey from the Great Depression to the psychedelic ’60s. It is a historical account of the birth of the philosophy movement in America; a parade of the era’s greatest players: Timothy Leary, Baba Ram Dass, Steven Gaskin, Allen Ginsberg, and all the rest. It features original poems by Thaddeus Golas, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of The Lazy Mans Guide to Enlightenment, and some definitive answers to the questions: “Was the book channeled?” and “was Thaddeus Golas a mere typist for higher consciousness?” 
The Lazy Mans Life will leave you feeling like an expert on the psychedelic and metaphysical ’60s. http://www.evenlazier.com/(zvg) 29 Dec 10

Notes From the Edge of Time

       
 

Daniel Pinchbeck 
Notes From the Edge of Times 
193 pages, Hardcover 
USD 23.95 
Tarcher|Penguin

 

Whether or not you believe that something will occur in 2012 or that we stand on the precipice of great spiritual, ecological and financial change, there’s no denying the fact that a growing number of people are tuning in to these possibilities – and that author Daniel Pinchbeck has become a leading voice for this cultural movement. Often referred to as a Timothy Leary for our current age, Pinchbeck is known for examining current issues from an intelligent and countercultural perspective. In Pinchbeck’s highly anticipated new book, Notes From the Edge Times, he explores the “edge realms,” touching upon topics ranging from the financial collapse to our need for a new media paradigm to the meaning of 2012. In the process, he challenges readers to consider some pressing questions: 
* At a time when war has become a ‘permanent social relation,’ and the planet’s life support systems are in jeopardy,” can we really cut ourselves off from political and societal involvement? 
* Does our monetary system require a fundamental redesign? 
* How can the millions of us who currently practice disciplines such as Buddhism, yoga and Shamanism apply our spiritual ideals in a social movement? 
* Can we overcome deeply ingrained cultural stereotypes to spark a new sexual revolution defined by self-awareness and acceptance? 
Provocative and unflinching, Notes From the Edge of Times not only critically examines the state of modern society; it offers a way forward in this transitional time. (zvg) 21 Dec 10

Ecomysticism

       
 

Carl von Essen
Ecomysticism
The Profound Experience of Nature as Spiritual Guide 
288 pages, Paperback, 8 b&w illustrations 
USD 18.00 
Bear & Company

 

Many have been struck by a majestic moment in nature – a sole illuminated flower in a shady grove, an owl swooping silently across a wooded path, or an infinitely starry sky – and found themselves in a state of expanded awareness so profound they can feel the interconnectedness of all life. These trance-like moments of clarity, unity, and wonder often incite a call to protect and preserve the earth – to support Nature as she supports us. Termed “nature mysticism,” people from all cultures have described such experiences. However, the ever-increasing urbanization of the world’s population is threatening this ancient connection as well as the earth itself. In Ecomysticism, Carl von Essen explores nature mysticism through the recorded experiences of outdoor enthusiasts as well as scientific studies in biology, psychology, and neuroscience. Citing consciousness scholar William James and a variety of well-known nature lovers such as Ansel Adams, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, von Essen shows how the spiritual transcendence from an encounter in nature – like other mystical experiences – is healing the Nature Deficit Disorder of our psyches and bodies, leading to an expansion of our worldview and a clearer understanding of our self and of our natural world. Offering a solid bridge between spiritual practice and environmental activism, von Essen’s spiritual ecology reveals how only through a renewal of humanity’s spiritual connection to nature can we effect true environmental healing. (zvg) 17 Dec 10

Self Comes to Mind

       
 

António R. Damásio 
Self Comes to Mind
Constructing the Conscious Brain 
384 pages, Hardcover 
USD 28.95 
Pantheon

 

Antonio Damasio has spent the past thirty years studying and writing about how the brain operates, and his work has garnered acclaim for its singular melding of the scientific and the humanistic. In Self Comes to Mind, he goes against the long-standing idea that consciousness is somehow separate from the body, presenting compelling new scientific evidence that consciousness – what we think of as a mind with a selfis – begin with a biological process created by a living organism. Besides the three traditional perspectives used to study the mind (the introspective, the behavioral, and the neurological), Damasio introduces an evolutionary perspective that entails a radical change in the way the history of conscious minds is viewed and told. He also advances a radical hypothesis regarding the origins and varieties of feelings, which is central to his framework for the biological construction of consciousness: feelings are grounded in a near fusion of body and brain networks, and first emerge from the historically old and humble brain stem rather than from the modern cerebral cortex. 
Damasio suggests that the brain’s development of a human self becomes a challenge to nature’s indifference and opens the way for the appearance of culture, a radical break in the course of evolution and the source of a new level of life regulation – sociocultural homeostasis. He leaves no doubt that the blueprint for the work-in-progress he calls sociocultural homeostasis is the genetically well-established basic homeostasis, the curator of value that has been present in simple life-forms for billions of years. Self Comes to Mind is a groundbreaking journey into the neurobiological foundations of mind and self. (zvg) 5 Dec 10

White Hand Society

       
 

Peter Conners 
White Hand Society
The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary & Allen Ginsberg 
308 pages, Paperback 
USD 16.95 
City Lights Books

 

In 1960 Timothy Leary was not yet famous – or infamous – and Allen Ginsberg was both. Leary, eager to expand his experiments at the Harvard Psilocybin Project to include accomplished artists and writers, knew that Ginsberg held the key to bohemia’s elite. Ginsberg, fresh from his first experience with hallucinogenic mushrooms in Mexico, was eager to promote the spiritual possibilities of psychedelic use. Thus, “America’s most conspicuous beatnik” was recruited as Ambassador of Psilocybin under the auspices of an Ivy League professor, and together they launched the psychedelic revolution and turned on the hippie generation. White Hand Society weaves a fascinating and entertaining tale of the life, times and friendship of these two larger-than-life figures and the incredible impact their relationship had on America. Peter Conners has gathered hundreds of pages of letters, documents, studies, FBI files, and other primary resources that shed new light on their relationship, and a veritable who’s who of artists and cultural figures appear along the way, including Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Thelonious Monk, Willem de Kooning, and Barney Rosset. The story of the “psychedelic partnership” of two of the most famous, charismatic and controversial members of America’s counterculture brings together a multitude of major figures from politics, the arts, and the intersection of intellectual life and outlaw culture in a way that sheds new light on the dawn of the 1960s. (zvg) 1 Dec 10

Sleights of Mind

       
 

Stephen L. Macknik, Susana Martinez-Conde, with Sandra Blakeslee 
Sleights of Mind 
What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions 
304 pages, Hardcover, 20 b&w illustrations 
USD 26.00 | GBP 12.99 
Henry Holt

 

Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, the founders of the exciting new discipline of neuromagic, have convinced some of the world’s greatest magicians to allow scientists to study their techniques for tricking the brain. This book is the result of the authors’ yearlong, world-wide exploration of magic and how its principles apply to our behavior. Magic tricks fool us because humans have hardwired processes of attention and awareness that are hackable – a good magician uses your mind’s own intrinsic properties against you in a form of mental jujitsu.
Now magic can reveal how our brains work in everyday situations. For instance, if you’ve ever bought an expensive item you’d sworn you’d never buy, the salesperson was probably a master at creating the “illusion of choice,” a core technique of magic. The implications of neuromagic go beyond illuminating our behavior; early research points to new approaches for everything from the diagnosis of autism to marketing techniques and education. Sleights of Mind makes neuroscience fun and accessible by unveiling the key connections between magic and the mind. (zvg) 25 Nov 10

The Acid Diaries

       
 

Christopher Gray 
The Acid Diaries
A Psychonaut’s Guide to the History and Use of LSD 
288 pages, Paperback 
USD 16.95 
Park Street Press

 

Toward the end of his fifties, Christopher Gray took, for the first time in years, a 100-microgram acid trip. So extraordinary, and to his surprise so enjoyable, were the effects that he began to take the same dose in the same way – quietly and on his own – once every two to three weeks. In The Acid Diaries, Gray details his experimentation with LSD over a period of three years and shares the startling realization that his visions were weaving an ongoing story from trip to trip, revealing an underlying reality of personal and spiritual truths. Following the theories of Stanislav Grof and offering quotes from others’ experiences that parallel his own–including those of Aldous Huxley, Albert Hofmann, and Gordon Wasson–he shows that trips progress through three stages: the first dealing with personal issues and pre-birth consciousness; the second with ego-loss, often with supernatural overtones; and the third with sacred, spiritual, and even apocalyptic themes. Pairing his experiences with an exploration of psychedelic use throughout history, including the ergot-spawned mass hallucinations that were common through the Middle Ages and the early use of LSD for therapeutic purposes, Gray offers readers a greater understanding and appreciation for the potential value of LSD not merely for transpersonal growth but also for spiritual development. (zvg) 21 Nov 10 

Read this book. 
Nick Sand

The World I Dream Of

       
 

Curt Butz 
The World I Dream Of 
294 pages, Paperback 
GBP 12.95 | USD 24.95 
O Books

 

What is it we, as a human race, desire in the world? What dreams do we have to shape our future? Over 100 artists, activists, authors, educators, speakers, environmentalists, scientists, young entrepreneurs, visionaries, and Elders were asked for the following: A written description of your perfect world, or your dream world. This can be one sentence or many pages; a poem or researched essay. Your dream world can be as fantastic and marvelous as you want it to be. There are no rules, no right or wrong descriptions, only the world of your imagination and the world of your dreams. (zvg) 13 Nov 10

Ayahuasca, Ritual and Religion in Brazil

       
 

Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Edward MacRae, Eds
Ayahuasca, Ritual and Religion in Brazil 
236 pages, Paperback 
GBP 16.99 | USD 25.00 | EUR 20.30
Equinox

 

Ayahuasca, Ritual and Religion in Brazil examines the emergence of religious groups in the Brazilian Amazon who constitute their systems of ritual, myth and principles around the use of a psychoactive brew known by diverse names, one of which is the Quechua term ‘ayahuasca’. Although the study of these religious movements has seen much development in recent decades there are still few publications in English, especially in the area of anthropology. This collection, containing many articles previously published only in Portuguese, explains the research conducted in Brazil. It shows a representative sample of the main types of approaches that have been used and also offers an overview of the historical development of this field of research in Brazil, especially from the perspective of the human sciences. 
This volume makes explicit what the study of the ayahuasca religions can contribute to classical and contemporary issues in anthropology. It presents a varied set of ethnographic approaches employed in the initial mapping of this phenomenon, establishing its historical and cultural origins. It also provides a basis to develop future work on these religions, both in their original contexts and in their expansion throughout Brazil and the world.www.bialabate.net (zvg) 9 Nov 10

Program or be Programmed

       
 

Douglas Rushkoff
Program or be Programmed
Ten Commands for a Digital Age 
148 pages, Paperback 
USD 16.00 | Ebook 10.00 | Print + Ebook 20.00 
OR Books

 

The debate over whether the Net is good or bad for us fills the airwaves and the blogosphere. But for all the heat of claim and counter-claim, the argument is essentially beside the point: it’s here; it’s everywhere. The real question is, do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it? “Choose the former,” writes Rushkoff, “and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make.” In ten chapters, composed of ten “commands” accompanied by original illustrations from comic artist Leland Purvis, Rushkoff provides cyberenthusiasts and technophobes alike with the guidelines to navigate this new universe.
In this spirited, accessible poetics of new media, Rushkoff picks up where Marshall McLuhan left off, helping readers come to recognize programming as the new literacy of the digital age – and as a template through which to see beyond social conventions and power structures that have vexed us for centuries. This is a friendly little book with a big and actionable message.www.rushkoff.com (zvg) 5 Nov 10

Douglas Rushkoff is one of the great thinkers – and writers – of our time.
Timothy Leary

Shamanism

       
 

Michael Winkelman
Shamanism 
A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing Revised 2nd Edition 
309 pages Hardcover 
USD 54.95 | GBP 37.95
Praeger

 

Shamanistic practices involve ancient traditions that have been found in similar cultures around the world. The roots of shamanism in practices of healing, prophesy, group leadership, art, and mythology reflect neuropsychological basese that underlie the often surprising effectiveness of its practice. 
What does the brain do during “soul journeys”? How do shamans alter consciousness and why is this important for healing? Are shamans different from other kinds of healers? Is there a connection between the rituals performed by chimpanzees and traditional shamanistic practices? 
All of these questions—and many more—are answered in Shamanism, A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing. This text contains crosscultural examinations of the nature of shamanism, biological perspectives on alterations of consciousness, mechanisms of shamanistic healing, as well as the evolutionary origins of shamanism. It presents the shamanic paradigm within a biopsychosocial framework for explaining successful human evolution through group rituals. In the final chapter, the author compares shamanistic rituals with chimpanzee displays to identify homologies that point to the ritual dynamics of our ancient hominid ancestors. (zvg) 1 Nov 10

The Planet in a Pebble

       
 

Jan Zalasiewicz
The Planet in a Pebble
A Journey into Earth’s Deep History 
256 pages, Hardcover, b|w illustrations 
USD 27.95 | GBP 16.99
Oxford University Press

 

This is the story of a single pebble, whose history carries us into abyssal depths of time, and across the farthest reaches of space. Indeed, starting from this tiny, common speck, Jan Zalasiewicz offers readers a stimulating tour that begins with the Universe’s dramatic birth in the unimaginable violence of the Big Bang and explores the construction of the Solar System and the origins of our own planet. Zalasiewicz shows the almost incredible complexity present in the apparently mundane pebble, starting with the astonishing number of atoms in each. We learn that many events in the Earth’s ancient past can be deciphered from a pebble: volcanic eruptions; the lives and deaths of extinct animals and plants; the alien nature of long-vanished oceans; and even the creations of fool’s gold and oil deep underground. Zalasiewicz also demonstrates how geologists reach deep into the Earth’s past by forensic analysis of even the tiniest amounts of mineral matter. The pebble may be small, and ordinary, but it is also an eloquent part of our Earth’s extraordinary, never-ending story. (zvg) 25 Oct 10

The Pot Book

       
 

Julie Holland, Ed. 
The Pot Book 
A Complete Guide to Cannabis 
576 pages, Paperback, 7 b&w illustrations 
USD 19.95 
Park Street Press

 

Encompassing the broad spectrum of marijuana knowledge from stoner customs to scientific research, this book investigates the top ten myths of marijuana; its physiological and psychological effects; its risks; why joints are better than water pipes and other harm-reduction tips for users; how humanity and cannabis have co-evolved for millennia; the brain’s cannabis-based neurochemistry; the complex politics of cannabis law; its potential medicinal uses for cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses; its role in creativity, business, and spirituality; and the complicated world of pot and parenting. As legalization becomes a reality, this book candidly offers necessary facts and authoritative opinions in a society full of marijuana myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes. Julie Holland discusses The Pot Book. (zvg) 21 Oct 10

Dr. Holland’s brilliant compendium of marijuana facts and cultural insights from the best medical minds and scientific researchers, while acknowledging the potential for abuse, makes a compelling case for cannabis as the most ancient, benign, and uplifting inebriant/sacrament/medicine humanity has ever known. Just say Know. 
Alex and Allyson Grey

GreenSpirit

       
 

Marian Van Eyk McCain 
GreenSpirit
Path to a New Consciousness 
293 pages, Paperback
GBP 11.99 | USD 24.95 
O Books

 

Only by understanding the Universe as a vast, holistic system and Earth as a unit within it can we help restore balance to that unit. Only by placing Earth and its ecosystems – about which we now understand so much – at the centre of all our thinking can we avert ecological disaster. Only by bringing our thinking back into balance with feeling, intuition and awareness and by grounding ourselves in a sense of the sacred in all things can we achieve a new level of consciousness. Green spirituality is the key to a new, twenty-first century consciousness. And this book is the most comprehensive ever written on green spirituality. (zvg) 17 Oct 10

A valuable guide to some of the deepest thinking on the connections between ecology and spirituality. Never before have so many important ideas on these subjects been assembled between the covers of a single book. 
Rupert Sheldrake

Radiant Minds

       
 

Jean Millay, Ed. 
Radiant Minds 
Scientists Explore the Dimensions of Consciousness 
630 pages, Paperback 
USD 25.00

 

Over the last century, scientists have agreed that there were just 4 Fundamental Forces: Gravity, Electromagnetism, and the Weak and the Strong Nuclear forces. New research has proposed a 5th one. It is described in this new book, which is a collection of research papers by over 50 prominent scientists. The wealth of information leading up to this 5th Force becomes a fascinating read as the author of each chapter approaches the subject from a different discipline – i.e., physics, astrophysics, mathematics, medicine, brain chemistry, brain electricity, anthropology, psychology, engineering, computer science, teaching, remote viewing, metaphysics, art and music. While many living scientists will dispute this idea, it is important to remember that life comes from life. Scientists may modify cells in a test tube, but they have to start with something that is already alive, even if it is only a small cell. Scientists also have assumed that to find life on other planets, those planets have to include water, the essence of the life we experience. However, we find that life has its own agenda, since organisms on earth can exist living on sulfur (in the deep Atlantic ridge) and bacteria can exist living on arsenic in Mono Lake, California. Life may be ubiquitous throughout the universe, as this 5th Fundamental Force of Life and its Consciousness chooses its own path; its own combination of chemical exchanges with its environment. (zvg) 9 Oct 10

Invasive Plant Medicine

       
 

Timothy Lee Scott
Invasive Plant Medicine 
The Ecological Benefits and Healing Abilities of Invasives 
384, pages, Paperback, 16-page color insert and 35 b&w illustrations
USD 19.95 
Healing Arts Press

 

Most of the invasive plant species under attack for disruption of local ecosystems in the United States and Europe are from Asia, where they play an important role in traditional healing. In opposition to the loud chorus of those clamoring for the eradication of all these plants that, to the casual observer, appear to be a threat to native flora, Timothy Scott shows how these opportunistic plants are restoring health to Earth’s ecosystems. Far less a threat to the environment than the cocktails of toxic pesticides used to control them, these invasive plants perform an essential ecological function that serves to heal both the land on which they grow and the human beings who live upon it. These plants remove toxic residues in the soil, providing detoxification properties that can help heal individuals.
Invasive Plant Medicine demonstrates how these “invasives” restore natural balance and biodiversity to the environment and examines the powerful healing properties offered by 25 of the most common invasive plants growing in North America and Europe. Each plant examined includes a detailed description of its physiological actions and uses in traditional healing practices; tips on harvesting, preparation, and dosage; contraindications; and any possible side effects. This is the first book to explore invasive plants not only for their profound medical benefits but also with a deep ecological perspective that reveals how plant intelligence allows them to flourish wherever they grow. (zvg) 5 Oct 10

Cannabis Trips

       
 

Bill Weinberg 
Cannabis Trips 
A global guide that leaves no turn unstoned 
128 pages, Paperback, 175 pictures, full colour throughout
GBP 9.99 | USD 16.95
Crombie Jardine, UK 
Running Press, USA

 

Cannabis trips are a global phenomenon which invite debate and controversy yet reside contentedly at the heart of our rock, pop, and counter culture. People have been enjoying the high since the start of history. Stoners congregate where the good times roll, and the best places to get stoned offer a wide-ranging trip: expect to find palm trees, jaw-dropping mountain scenery, exceptional club life, vibrant café cultures, and stunning night skies.
Cannabis Trips journeys to the key destinations of cannabis culture around the globe. Cannabis culture carries its own conventions and rituals, and shapes the character of communities where it has become a gourmet staple. 
This book looks at how the culture expresses itself in different locations, advises on the local preferences and legal niceties, and addresses the safety issues. From Amsterdam coffee shops to the Mardi Grass festival of Nimbin in Australia, Cannabis Trips offers a global review and travel guide for 25 of the highest places on the planet. 
Bill Weinberg is a New York-based print and radio journalist who covers human rights and ecological issues all over the world. Bill was the news editor and editorat-large at High Times magazine, sponsors of Amsterdam’s legendary Cannabis Cup, for ten years. (zvg) 1 Oct 10

The Pharmacology of LSD

       
 

Annelie Hintzen, Torsten Passie 
The Pharmacology of LSD
A critical review 
150 pages, Paperback 
USD 55.00 | GBP 29.95 
Oxford University Press, USA 
The Beckley Foundation Press, UK

 

LSD has a controversial and extraordinary reputation, due to the special effects it can induce on human consciousness. Its experimental use lead to some groundbreaking discoveries about the brain and the deeper layers of the human psyche. After its application in neuroscience, and as a tool within psychotherapy, it was increasingly used by laymen for producing euphoria and religious experiences. Today, there is a resurgence of interest in LSD, including its possible uses in psychotherapy and for the treatment of some headache disorders.
This book represents the first ever comprehensive review of the psychological and pharmacological effects of LSD. It draws on data from more than 3000 experimental and clinical studies, with many more referenced. 
The Pharmacology of LSD provides a unique and valuable resource for anyone interested in better understanding this controversial hallucinogenic drug – including brain scientists, psychopharmacologists, addiction researchers, and psychiatrists. (zvg) 28 Sep 10

Returning to Sacred World

       
 

Stephen Gray
Returning to Sacred World
Spiritual Toolkit for the Emerging Reality 
335 pages, Paperback 
GBP 11.99 | USD 20.95
O Books

 

Returning to Sacred World clearly and eloquently explains our spiritual predicament in this time of crisis and transformation, and offers extensively field tested teachings and tools for healing and awakening. These include meditation, prayer – especially as it’s understood in the indigenous cosmos – and sacred plant medicines that elders say are here now as key allies to help us heal ourselves and our planet. Mystics and indigenous wisdom keepers are saying that an opening has now been created for a lifesaving vision, which arises from, and unites, all corners of the Earth. The vision tells us that to sustain our world we need to transcend dogmas, boundaries and hesitation. As intelligent spiritual beings, we are fully capable of awakening to our innate wisdom and our connectedness to each other, the living Earth, and the heart of the Great Spirit. Returning to Sacred World. (zvg) 25 Sep 10

Kissing Achilles' Heel

       
 

Jason Brett Serle 
Kissing Achilles’ Heel 
the joyful unmasking of delusion
95 pages, Hardcover 
USD 15.45

 

Kissing Achilles’ Heel is a unique collection of 63 short pieces – parables, fables, stories, commentaries, poems, letters and conversations, that all in some way present a challenge to our unquestioned assumptions about the nature of existence. Unlike many other books that share a similar theme, Kissing Achilles’ Heel aims to bring a little playfulness and a little humour to the all too serious task of seeking. It is, at best, a finger pointing to the Transcendental, and at worst, a temporary calm respite to the sometimes stormy search for the Self. (zvg) 21 Sep 10 

Kissing Achilles’ Heel is a lovely little book, full of wit and wisdom, not to be read in a hurry like a novel. The longer you take, the more you will enjoy and gain. 
Ramesh Balsekar

Psychomagic

       
 

Alejandro Jodorowsky 
Psychomagic 
The Transformative Power of Shamanic Psychotherapy
304 pages, Quality Paperback 
USD 24.95 
Inner Traditions

 

While living in Mexico, Alejandro Jodorowsky became familiar with the colorful and effective cures provided by folk healers. He realized that it is easier for the unconscious to understand the language of dreams than that of rationality. Illness can even be seen as a physical dream that reveals unresolved emotional and psychological problems.
Psychomagic presents the shamanic and genealogical principles Jodorowsky discovered to create a healing therapy that could use the powers of dreams, art, and theater to empower individuals to heal wounds that in some cases had traveled through generations. The concrete and often surreal poetic actions Jodorowsky employs are part of an elaborate strategy intended to break apart the dysfunctional persona with whom the patient identifies in order to connect with a deeper self. That is when true transformation can manifest.
For a young man who complained that he lived only in his head and was unable to grab hold of reality and advance toward the financial autonomy he desired, Jodorowsky gave the prescription to paste two gold coins to the soles of his shoes so that all day he would be walking on gold. A judge whose vanity was ruling his every move was given the task of dressing like a tramp and begging outside one of the fashionable restaurants he loved to frequent while pulling glass doll eyes out of his pockets. The lesson for him was that if a tramp can fill his pockets with eyeballs, then they must be of no value, and thus the eyes of others should have no bearing on who you are and what you do. Taking his patients directly at their words, Jodorowsky takes the same elements associated with a negative emotional charge and recasts them in an action that will make them positive and enable them to pay the psychological debts hindering their lives. (zvg) 17 Sep 10

Holotropic Breathwork

       
 

Stanislav Grof, Christina Grof 
Holotropic Breathwork
A New Approach to Self-Exploration and Therapy 
Foreword by Jack Kornfield 
243 pages 
Hardcover USD 60.00 
Paperback USD 19.95 
SUNY Press

 

In this long-awaited book, Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof describe their groundbreaking new form of self-exploration and psychotherapy: Holotropic Breathwork. Holotropic means “moving toward wholeness,” from the Greek holos (whole) and trepein (moving in the direction of). The breathwork utilizes the remarkable healing and transformative potential of nonordinary states of consciousness. These states engender a rich array of experiences with unique healing potential – reliving childhood memories, infancy, birth and prenatal life, and elements from the historical and archetypal realms of the collective unconscious. Induced by very simple means – a combination of accelerated breathing, evocative music, and bodywork in a safe and supportive setting, Holotropic Breathwork integrates the insights from modern consciousness research, depth psychology, transpersonal psychology, anthropology, Eastern spiritual practices, and mystical traditions. The Grofs’ work with holotropic states of consciousness has introduced revolutionary changes to psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy. Written in a clear, easily understandable style, this indispensable book summarizes their remarkable insights. (zvg) 9|9|10 

Stanislav Grof is one of the most important pioneers in the scientific understanding of consciousness. He and his wife, Christina, have contributed both to its intellectual and experiential understanding through their work with Holotropic Breathwork. Their book on this new approach to self-exploration and therapy is a must read.
Deepak Chopra

The Book of One

       
 

Dennis Waite 
The Book of One 
The Ancient Wisdom of Advaita 
448 pages, Paperback
GBP 7.99 | USD 13.95 
O Books

 

A comprehensive, yet entertaining introduction to Advaita, the non-dual philosophy which provides a completely reasonable explanation for who we are and the nature of the universe. There are many ‘self-help’ approaches promising enlightenment and happiness but most are illogical and lack any proven capability. Advaita has a guru-disciple tradition stretching back for several thousand years and can guarantee the sincere seeker a progressive path to self-realization.
A 21st Century treatment of this ancient eastern philosophy, this book addresses all of the issues that are covered by both traditional teachers from the lineage of Shankara and by modern ‘satsang teaching’ and Direct Path methods stemming from Ramana Maharshi and Krishna Menon Topics are explained in an accessible and readable manner, using amusing quotations and stories along with an abundance of metaphors from a wide variety of sources. Some of the most difficult concepts are clarified, whilst recognizing that this knowledge is ultimately beyond language or intellectual understanding. 
The Book of One is perhaps the most accessible, articulate and relevant book on the nature of non-duality. www.advaita.org.uk (zvg) 9|5|10

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

       
 

Melanie Joy 
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows
An Introduction to Carnism 
208 pages, Hardcover 
USD 19.95 
Conari Press

 

In her groundbreaking new book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, Melanie Joy explores the invisible system that shapes our perception of the meat we eat, so that we love some animals and eat others without knowing why. She calls this system carnism. Carnism is the belief system, or ideology, that allows us to selectively choose which animals become our meat, and it is sustained by complex psychological and social mechanisms. Like other “isms” – racism, ageism, etc. – carnism is most harmful when it is unrecognized and unacknowledged. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows names and explains this phenomenon and offers it up for examination. Unlike the many books that explain why we shouldn’t eat meat, Joy’s book explains why we do eat meat – and thus how we can make more informed choices as citizens and consumers. Book trailer (zvg) 9|1|10

Pharmakon

       
 

Michael Rinella 
Pharmakon 
Plato, Drug Culture, And Identity In Ancient Athens
325 pages, Hardcover 
GBP 49.95 
Lexington Books

 

Pharmakon: Plato, Drug Culture, and Identity in Ancient Athens examines the emerging concern for controlling states of psychological ecstasy in the history of western thought, focusing on ancient Greece (ca. 750 – 146 BCE), particularly the Classical Period (ca. 500 – 336 BCE) and especially the dialogues of the Athenian philosopher Plato (427 – 347 BCE). Employing a diverse array of materials ranging from literature, philosophy, medicine, botany, pharmacology, religion, magic, and law, Pharmakon fundamentally reframes the conceptual context of how we read and interpret Plato’s dialogues. Michael A. Rinella demonstrates how the power and truth claims of philosophy, repeatedly likened to a pharmakon, opposes itself to the cultural authority of a host of other occupations in ancient Greek society who derived their powers from, or likened their authority to, some pharmakon. These included Dionysian and Eleusinian religion, physicians and other healers, magicians and other magic workers, poets, sophists, rhetoricians, as well as others. Accessible to the general reader, yet challenging to the specialist, Pharmakon is a comprehensive examination of the place of drugs in ancient thought that will compel the reader to understand Plato in a new way. Interview with the author. (zvg) 8|28|10

The Genius in All of Us

       
 

BDavid Shenk 
The Genius in All of Us 
Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong 
320 pages, Hardcover
USD 26.95 
Doubleday

 

DNA does not make us who we are. “Forget everything you think you know about genes, talent, and intelligence,” he writes. “In recent years, a mountain of scientific evidence has emerged suggesting a completely new paradigm: not talent scarcity, but latent talent abundance.” 
Integrating cutting-edge research from a wide swath of disciplines – cognitive science, genetics, biology, child development – Shenk offers a highly optimistic new view of human potential. The problem isn’t our inadequate genetic assets, but our inability, so far, to tap into what we already have. IQ testing and widespread acceptance of “innate” abilities have created an unnecessarily pessimistic view of humanity – and fostered much misdirected public policy, especially in education. The truth is much more exciting. Genes are not a “blueprint” that bless some with greatness and doom most of us to mediocrity or worse. Rather our individual destinies are a product of the complex interplay between genes and outside stimuli-a dynamic that we, as people and as parents, can influence.
This is a revolutionary and optimistic message. We are not prisoners of our DNA. We all have the potential for greatness.
http://geniusblog.davidshenk.com/ (zvg) 8|15|10

Tantric Sex for Men

       
 

Diana Richardson, Michael Richardson
Tantric Sex for Men
Making Love a Meditation 
176 pages, Paperback, 13 b|w illustrations 
USD 16.95 | EUR 13.50 | CHF 21.90 
Destiny Books

 

Fulfilling sex nourishes love, increases vitality, and boosts mental health. Unfortunately, prevailing attitudes about male sexuality and what is good sex work against these innate features by focusing on the excitement of ejaculation as the one and only goal. 
Using the tantric guidelines they have practiced for more than 25 years, Diana and Michael Richardson show men how to move beyond their preconceptions of sex as a goal-oriented – and often unintentionally stressful – event so they can relax into sex as a meditative union of complementary energies. They explain how retaining semen allows for increased vitality and extended lovemaking sessions and show the relationship-strengthening benefits of deep, sustained penetration. They also explain how to perform soft penetration and how to avoid premature ejaculation. Tantric Sex for Men includes tried-and-true foreplay approaches, diagrams of sexual position sequences, ways to increase sexual sensitivity through awareness, and how to have ecstatic experiences through reaching a woman’s body on a sexually deeper level. The authors also demonstrate how the sexual organs can be used to heal both men and women physically, emotionally, and spiritually. (zvg) 8|11|10

Psychedelic Information Theory

       
 

James L. Kent 
Psychedelic Information Theory 
Shamanism in the Age of Reason Version 1.0
PDF Download (6 MB) 
PIT Press

 

Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason is an analysis of the physical mechanisms underlying hallucination, shamanic ritual, and expanded states of consciousness. This text was researched for over 20 years and includes over 200 references to the latest research in the diverse fields of pharmacology, shamanism, and perception. As a succinct yet comprehensive formal analysis of hallucination and shamanic ritual, Psychedelic Information Theory (PIT) is destined to become the modern textbook on psychedelic phenomena.
PIT begins by detailing the physiology and practical information limits of human perception and consciousness. By modeling the human brain as a dynamical information processing system, PIT demonstrates how consciousness can be destabilized to produce multiple states at once, or multi-stability, which is subjectively perceived as expanded consciousness. As consciousness moves from linear to nonlinear complexity, information is spontaneously generated in the human mind with the recursive self-similarity of a fractal or cellular automaton. PIT spells out the underlying pharmacological and perceptual mechanisms of this process in exacting detail, and the formal elements described will be immediately familiar to anyone who has had a psychedelic experience. 
There are four major components to PIT. The first component is Psychedelic Information Theory itself, or the general study of the potential information complexity of the human mind, and how nonlinear information generated in humans ripples outward to affect the larger tribe or culture. The second component is the Control Interrupt Model of psychedelic action, which states that all hallucination begins with destabilization of perceptual homeostasis; that the destabilizing interrupt of any hallucinogen can be modeled as a distinct wave interference pattern; and that multi-stable states of consciousness can be controlled via the fundamentals of wave resonance, entrainment, and coherence. The third component is an overview of Nonlinear Hallucination, a formal analysis of the dynamics of entopic, eidetic, and erratic hallucinations experienced under the influence of psychedelics. The fourth component is Physical Shamanism, or Shamanism in the Age of Reason, which describes how techniques of shamanic ritual drive phase transitions into targeted mystical states via harmonic wave interference, and how psychedelics stimulate neuroplasticity and proliferation through chaos and convergence in cellular signaling systems. 
The fundamentals of PIT are derived from nonlinear dynamics, or deterministic chaos, used to model exponential complexity and convergence in coupled oscillators. By modeling the brain and the human organism as a resonant oscillator, PIT fully describes the power of hallucinogens and shamanic ritual to produce expanded states of multi-stable consciousness, also known as strange attractors. Once this process is fully described, the underlying mechanics of psychedelic therapy, shamanism, and expanded states of consciousness become self-evident. All of the models forwarded in PIT are physical and based on classical mechanics; from the wave interference created by a competing agonist in the modulatory systems of perception, to the resonant wave shaping and amplification provided by shamanic singing and ritual. By modeling hallucinogenic action and shamanic technique as a physical process, PIT avoids spiritual or metaphysical metaphors that may not have application outside their culture of origin. Since PIT is based solely on physical models, it provides an objective formal framework for analyzing hallucination and expanded states of consciousness not only in humans, but in any mechanical system of perception. Download (zvg) 8|1|10 

Bursts

       
 

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi 
Bursts 
The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do 
310 pages, Hardcover 
USD 26.95, e-book 12.99 
Dutton

 

Can we scientifically predict our future? Scientists and pseudo scientists have been pursuing this mystery for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. But now, astonishing new research is revealing patterns in human behavior previously thought to be purely random. Precise, orderly, predictable patterns … 
Abert Laszlo Barabasi, already the world’s preeminent researcher on the science of networks, describes his work on this profound mystery in Bursts, a stunningly original investigation into human nature. His approach relies on the digital reality of our world, from mobile phones to the Internet and email, because it has turned society into a huge research laboratory. All those electronic trails of time stamped texts, voicemails, and internet searches add up to a previously unavailable massive data set of statistics that track our movements, our decisions, our lives. Analysis of these trails is offering deep insights into the rhythm of how we do everything. His finding? We work and fight and play in short flourishes of activity followed by next to nothing. The pattern isn’t random, it’s “bursty.” Randomness does not rule our lives in the way scientists have assumed up until now. 
Illustrating this revolutionary science, Barabasi artfully weaves together the story of a 16th century burst of human activity-a bloody medieval crusade launched in his homeland, Transylvania, with the modern tale of a contemporary artist hunted by the FBI through our post 9/11 surveillance society. These narratives illustrate how predicting human behavior has long been the obsession, sometimes the duty, of those in power. Barabási’s astonishingly wide range of examples from seemingly unrelated areas include how dollar bills move around the U.S., the pattern everyone follows in writing email, the spread of epidemics, and even the flight patterns of albatross. In all these phenomena a virtually identical, mathematically described bursty pattern emerges. 
Bursts reveals what this amazing new research is showing us about where individual spontaneity ends and predictability in human behavior begins. The way you think about your own potential to do something truly extraordinary will never be the same. (zvg) 7|25|10

How Pleasure Works

       
 

Paul Bloom
How Pleasure Works 
The New Science of Why We Like What We Like 
280 pages, Hardcover 
USD 26.95 
W. W. Norton & Company

 

Yale psychologist Paul Bloom presents a striking and thought-provoking new understanding of pleasure, desire, and value. The thought of sex with a virgin is intensely arousing for many men. The average American spends more than four hours a day watching television. Abstract art can sell for millions of dollars. People slow their cars to look at gory accidents, and go to movies that make them cry. Pleasure is anything but straightforward. Our desires, attractions, and tastes take us beyond the symmetry of a beautiful face, the sugar and fat in food, or the prettiness of a painting. In How Pleasure Works, Yale University psychologist Paul Bloom draws on groundbreaking research to unveil the deeper workings of why we desire what we desire. Refuting the longstanding explanation of pleasure as a simple sensory response, Bloom shows us that pleasure is grounded in our beliefs about the deeper nature or essence of a given thing. This is why we want the real Rolex and not the knockoff, the real Picasso and not the fake, the twin we have fallen in love with and not her identical sister. 
In this fascinating and witty account, Bloom draws on child development, philosophy, neuroscience, and behavioral economics in order to address pleasures noble and seamy, highbrow and lowbrow. Along the way, he gives us unprecedented insights into a realm of human psychology that until now has only been partially understood. (zvg) 7|21|10

The Master and His Emissary

       
 

Iain McGilchrist 
The Master and His Emissary
The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World 
608 pages, Hardcover, 15 color + 20 b/w illustrations 
USD 38.00 
Yale University Press

 

Why is the brain divided? The difference between right and left hemispheres has been puzzled over for centuries. In a book of unprecedented scope, Iain McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent brain research, illustrated with case histories, to reveal that the difference is profound – not just this or that function, but two whole, coherent, but incompatible ways of experiencing the world. The left hemisphere is detail oriented, prefers mechanisms to living things, and is inclined to self-interest, where the right hemisphere has greater breadth, flexibility, and generosity. This division helps explain the origins of music and language, and casts new light on the history of philosophy, as well as on some mental illnesses. 
In the second part of the book, McGilchrist takes the reader on a journey through the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought and belief of thinkers and artists, from Aeschylus to Magritte. He argues that, despite its inferior grasp of reality, the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. This is truly a tour de force that should excite interest in a wide readership. (zvg) 7|17|10

Consciousness

       
 

Susan Blackmore
Consciousness 
A Brief Insight 
192 pages, Hardcover 
USD 14.95 | CND 19.50 
Sterling Publishing

 

Thanks to exciting developments in brain science, consciousness – “the last great mystery” – has now become a hot topic with everyone from biologists to philosophers. Exploring key theories on action and awareness, vision and attention, and the effects of brain damage and drugs, this fascinating study considers whether we really have free will, and what creates our sense of self. Susan Blackmore even questions whether consciousness itself is an illusion, making clear the enormous difficulty we face in bridging the gap between the physical world and our private experiences of it. (zvg) 7|13|10

The Crazy Wisdom of Ganesh Baba

       
 

Eva Baumohl Neuhaus
The Crazy Wisdom of Ganesh Baba 
Psychedelic Sadhana, Kriya Yoga, Kundalini, and the Cosmic Energy in Man 
160 pages, Paperback, 30 b&w illustrations 
USD 11.95 
Inner Traditions

 

Shri Mahant Swami Ganeshanand Saraswati Giri (ca. 1895-1987) was known to all who loved and studied with him simply as Ganesh Baba. At the age of four, he was brought back from death through an initiation by Lahiri Mahasaya and through this initiation descends from the same Kriya Yoga lineage as Paramahansa Yogananda. He became a swami under his guru Sivananda and later went on to run the Anandamayi Ma ashram. Drawn to the life of the Naga Babas, he became the head of the Ananda Akhara, Naga followers of Lord Shiva who consider cannabis and other entheogens to be the gift of the gods. The unique set of principles and exercises Ganesh Baba developed from the tantric practices of traditional Kriya Yoga and Shivaism became the core of his personal teachings of Crea (for creative) Yoga. Ganesh Baba’s message of systematic synthesis of the spiritual and secular was carefully developed for and embraced by contemporary students in the 1960s, especially those whose path included the use of entheogens. 
This book contains the core of Ganesh Baba’s Crea Yoga teachings, from the beginning stages of conscious control of one’s posture, breath, and attention to finally extending one’s awareness to the farthest reaches of the cosmos. Eve Baumohl Neuhaus shows that the life of this scholar and crazy saint was as instructive as his teachings. She includes many personal reminiscences of this inspirational and challenging teacher from her own life and those of fellow students, which demonstrate that Ganesh Baba’s extraordinary life was in keeping with his own role as the embodiment of Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. (zvg) 7|5|10

The Brain and the Meaning of Life

       
 

Paul Thagard 
The Brain and the Meaning of Life
292 pages, Hardcover, 12 line illustrations
USD 29.95 | GBP 20.95
Princeton University Press

 

BWhy is life worth living? What makes actions right or wrong? What is reality and how do we know it? The Brain and the Meaning of Life draws on research in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to answer some of the most pressing questions about life’s nature and value. Paul Thagard argues that evidence requires the abandonment of many traditional ideas about the soul, free will, and immortality, and shows how brain science matters for fundamental issues about reality, morality, and the meaning of life. The ongoing Brain Revolution reveals how love, work, and play provide good reasons for living.
Defending the superiority of evidence-based reasoning over religious faith and philosophical thought experiments, Thagard argues that minds are brains and that reality is what science can discover. Brains come to know reality through a combination of perception and reasoning. Just as important, our brains evaluate aspects of reality through emotions that can produce both good and bad decisions. Our cognitive and emotional abilities allow us to understand reality, decide effectively, act morally, and pursue the vital needs of love, work, and play. Wisdom consists of knowing what matters, why it matters, and how to achieve it. The Brain and the Meaning of Life shows how brain science helps to answer questions about the nature of mind and reality, while alleviating anxiety about the difficulty of life in a vast universe. The book integrates decades of multidisciplinary research, but its clear explanations and humor make it accessible to the general reader. (zvg) 6|28|10

The Rational Optimist

       
 

Matt Ridley 
The Rational Optimist 
How Prosperity Evolves 
448 pages, Hardcover 
USD 26.99 | GBP 20.00
Harper, Fourth Estate

 

Life is getting better – and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down – all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years. Yet Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. Prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else. The habit of exchange and specialization – which started more than 100,000 years ago – has created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair. This bold book covers the entire sweep of human history, from the Stone Age to the Internet, from the stagnation of the Ming empire to the invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change. It ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing, and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.www.rationaloptimist.com (zvg) 6|21|10

A Tear at the Edge of Creation

       
 

Marcelo Gleiser
A Tear at the Edge of Creation 
A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe 
304 pages, Hardcover 
USD 25.00 
Free Press

 

For millennia, shamans and philosophers, believers and nonbelievers, artists and scientists have tried to make sense of our existence by suggesting that everything is connected, that a mysterious Oneness binds us to everything else. People go to temples, churches, mosques, and synagogues to pray to their divine incarnation of Oneness. Following a surprisingly similar notion, scientists have long asserted that under Nature’s apparent complexity there is a simpler underlying reality. In its modern incarnation, this Theory of Everything would unite the physical laws governing very large bodies (Einstein’s theory of relativity) and those governing tiny ones (quantum mechanics) into a single framework. But despite the brave efforts of many powerful minds, the Theory of Everything remains elusive. It turns out that the universe is not elegant. It is gloriously messy. 
Overturning more than twenty-five centuries of scientific thought, award-winning physicist Marcelo Gleiser argues that this quest for a Theory of Everything is fundamentally misguided, and he explains the volcanic implications this ideological shift has for humankind. All the evidence points to a scenario in which everything emerges from fundamental imperfections, primordial asymmetries in matter and time, cataclysmic accidents in Earth’s early life, and duplication errors in the genetic code. Imbalance spurs creation. Without asymmetries and imperfections, the universe would be filled with nothing but smooth radiation. 
A Tear at the Edge of Creation calls for nothing less than a new “humancentrism” to reflect our position in the universal order. All life, but intelligent life in particular, is a rare and precious accident. Our presence here has no meaning outside of itself, but it does have meaning. The unplanned complexity of humankind is all the more beautiful for its improbability. It’s time for science to let go of the old aesthetic that labels perfection beautiful and holds that “beauty is truth.” It’s time to look at the evidence without centuries of monotheistic baggage. In this lucid, down-to-earth narrative, Gleiser walks us through the basic and cutting-edge science that fueled his own transformation from unifier to doubter – a fascinating scientific quest that led him to a new understanding of what it is to be human. (zvg) 5|21|10

Enter Through the Image

       
 

Laurence Caruana
Enter Through the Image 
The Ancient Image Language of Myth, Art and Dreams 
320 pages, b|w illustrations, Paperback 
USD 21.95 
Recluse Publishing

 

In 1945, on a hill overlooking the Nile, a Gnostic text was accidentally unearthed after having been buried for seventeen hundred years. Within its aged pages there appeared the mysterious fragment: Enter Through the Image. 
Taking this as his starting point, the noted Visionary artist L. Caruana guides his reader through a labyrinth of imagery, exposing the forgotten image-language at the root of all dreaming, art and mythmaking. Drawing examples from a diversity of ancient cultures (Buddhism, Alchemy, Gnosticism) and from contemporary Visionary art (Dali, Fuchs, Johfra), many beautiful and intriguing symbols are illuminated with crystal clarity. Retracing the steps of 20th century mythmakers (Hesse, Kazantzakis) and scholars (Jung, Campbell, Eliade), Caruana opens our eyes to the ancient mythic patterns underlying our lives. As many fascinating dreams are offered and decyphered (Baudelaire, Descartes), a new key is given to us for the elucidation of dreams. 
By the end of this richly-illustrated study, we come to see how our own daily experiences are, in fact, heroic adventures culminating in rare moments of epiphany. We discover that our own lives are nothing less than a gradual unfolding of the sacred.www.lcaruana.com (zvg) 5|10|10

Cannabis Policy

       
 

Robin Room, Benedikt Fischer, Wayne Hall, Simon Lenton, Peter Reuter 
Cannabis Policy 
Moving Beyond Stalemate 
233 pages, Paperback
GBP 29.95 | USD 59.95 
The Beckley Foundation 
Oxford University Press 

 

Cannabis, marijuana, pot, ganja – it goes by many names – is by far the most widely used illegal substance, and accounts for more arrests than any other drug. Barely a week goes by without this drug appearing in the newspapers, and politicians have famously tied themselves in knots, trying to decide just how to deal with this recreational drug. While there have been many drug policy books on other substances – both legal and illegal, few have focused on this drug. 
Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate is unique in providing the materials needed for deciding on policy about cannabis in its various forms. It reviews the state of knowledge on the health and psychological effects of cannabis, and its dangerousness relative to other drugs. It considers patterns and trends in use, the size and character of illicit markets, and the administration of current policies, including arrests and diversion to treatment, under the global prohibition regime. It looks at the experience of a number of countries which have tried reforming their regimes and softening prohibition, exploring the kinds of changes or penalties for use for possession: including depenalization, decriminalization, medical control, and different types of legalization. It evaluates such changes and draws on them to assess the effects on levels and patterns of use, on the market, and on adverse consequences of prohibition. For policymakers willing to look outside the box of the global prohibition regime, the book examines the options and possibilities for a country or group of countries to bring about change in, or opt out of, the global control system. 
Throughout, the book examines cannabis within a global frame, and provides in accessible form information which anyone considering reform will need in order to make decisions on cannabis policy (much of which is new or has not been readily available). This book will be essential for those involved in policymaking and be of interest to a wide range of readers interested in drugs and drug policy, as well as being an excellent supplementary text for university courses in criminology, policy science, social science, or public health. (zvg) 5|9|10

Decoding Reality

       
 

Vlatko Vedral 
Decoding Reality
The Universe as Quantum Information
240 pages, Hardback 
GBP 16.99 
Oxford University Press

 

For a physicist, all the world’s information. The Universe and its workings are the ebb and flow of information. We are all transient patterns of information, passing on the recipe for our basic forms to future generations using a four-letter digital code called DNA.
In this engaging and mind-stretching account, Vlatko Vedral considers some of the deepest questions about the Universe and considers the implications of interpreting it in terms of information. He explains the nature of information, the idea of entropy, and the roots of this thinking in thermodynamics. He describes the bizarre effects of quantum behaviour – effects such as ‘entanglement’, which Einstein called ‘spooky action at a distance’ and explores cutting edge work on the harnessing quantum effects in hyperfast quantum computers, and how recent evidence suggests that the weirdness of the quantum world, once thought limited to the tiniest scales, may reach into the macro world. 
Vedral finishes by considering the answer to the ultimate question: where did all of the information in the Universe come from? The answers he considers are exhilarating, drawing upon the work of distinguished physicist John Wheeler. The ideas challenge our concept of the nature of particles, of time, of determinism, and of reality itself. www.vlatkovedral.org (zvg) 4|23|10

How the World Is Made

       
 

John Michell with Allan Brown 
How the World Is Made 
The Story of Creation according to Sacred Geometry
288 pages, Hardcover, full color throughout 
USD 35.00 
Inner Traditions

 

Galileo described the universe as a large book written in the language of mathematics, which can only be read by those with knowledge of its characters–triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures. The laws of geometry are not human inventions. They are found ready-made in nature and hold a truth that is the same in all times and all places and is older than the world itself. In How the World Is Made John Michell explains how ancient societies that grasped the timeless principles of sacred geometry were able to create flourishing societies. His more than 300 full-color illustrations reveal the secret code within these geometrical figures and how they express the spiritual meanings in the key numbers of 1 through 12. For example, the number 8 and its octagon are symbols of peace and stability, the holy 7 and its seven-sided figure are connected to the world soul. He identifies the various regular shapes and shows their constructions; their natural symbolism; their meetings, matings, and ways of breeding; and their functions within the universal order. Some are musical and structural, others relate to life and humanity. In the process of making these discoveries, Michell helps us see the world in a new light. Disparate shapes and their corresponding numbers are woven together, resolving themselves into an all-inclusive world image–that “pattern in the heavens,” as Socrates called it, “which anyone can find and establish within themselves.” (zvg) 4|10|10

World of Giving

       
 

Jeffrey Inaba and C-Lab 
World of Giving 
256 pages, 120 illustrations, Softcover
EUR 29.90 | CHF 52.90 
Columbia University 
GSAPP New Museum 
Lars Müller Publishers

 

In this important exploration of the sentiments of our time, World of Giving explains the motivations for why we give and offers examples of individuals, foundations, governments, multinationals and NGOs helping others. Jeffrey Inaba and C-Lab provide an understanding of the process of working toward a greater good by describing actions that build bridges between goodwill and need, intention and realization. The authors show that gifts form the foundation of all kinds of human interaction with each one establishing a unique relationship between giver and receiver. They illustrate that the gift too alters in meaning and value, detailing how it transforms as it circulates through what are at times a complex series of transactions. In place of the pursuit of personal wealth, World of Giving presents a mindset that is based on generosity and revolves around the gesture of giving. The book argues that giving is a powerful act that gains social momentum, benefiting not just the immediate recipient but typically others as well. Acknowledging that each of us is inclined to give, this illuminating publication reveals how a beneficent deed contributes to an environment of increasing generosity in addition to enhancing the capabilities of its recipient. As a shared value, giving can grow to be a meaningful collective force that affects the world in surprising ways. (zvg) INABA 4|10|10

Psychedelic

       
 

David S. Rubin (Ed.) 
Psychedelic 
Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960s 
140 pages, 78 color illustrations, Hardcover 
USD 29.95 | GBP 22.95 
MIT Press

 

This eye-popping book offers a visual history of the psychedelic sensibility. In pop culture, that sensibility is associated with lava lamps, album covers, and “teashades,” but it first manifested itself in the extreme colors and kaleidoscopic compositions of 1960s Op Artists. The psychedelic sensibility didn’t die at the end of the 1960s; Psychedelic traces it through the day-glo colors of painters Peter Saul, Alex Grey, and Kenny Scharf, the pill and hemp leaf paintings of Fred Tomaselli, the intensified palettes of Douglas Bourgeois and Sharon Ellis, and mixed-media and new media works by younger artists in the new millennium.
Although the term “psychedelic” was coined to describe hallucinatory experiences produced by drugs used psychotherapeutically, the story these images tell is about the influence of psychedelic culture on the art world—not necessarily the influence of drugs. As contemporary art evolved into a diverse and pluralistic discipline, the psychedelic evolved into a language of color and light. In Psychedelic, more than seventy-five vivid color images chart this development, exploring the art chronologically, from early Op Art through recent work using digital technology. The book, which accompanies an exhibition organized by the San Antonio Museum of Art, includes three essays that set the works in historical and cultural context. Artists include: Isaac Abrams, Albert Alvarez, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Chio Aoshima, Kamrooz Aram, Jeremy Blake, Richie Budd, Gordon Cheung, Judy Chicago, George Cisneros, James Cobb, Steve DiBenedetto, Carole Feuerman, Jack Goldstein, Alex Grey, Peter Halley, Al Held, Mark Hogensen, Constance Lowe, Erik Parker, Ed Paschke, Lari Pittman, Ray Rapp, Deborah Remington, Bridget Riley, Susie Rosmarin, Alex Rubio, Sterling Ruby, Julian Stanczak, Jennifer Steinkamp, Frank Stella, Philip Taaffe, Barbara Takenaga, Fred Tomaselli, Victor Vasarely, Michael Velliquette, Andy Warhol, Robert Williams. Essays by: David S. Rubin, Robert C. Morgan, Daniel Pinchbeck. (zvg) 4|6|10

A Reenchanted World

       
 

James William Gibson 
A Reenchanted World 
The Quest for a New Kinship with Nature 
320 pages, Paperback 
USD 16.00 
Holt

 

For more than two centuries, as Western cultures became ever more industrialized, the natural world was increasingly regarded as little more than a collection of useful raw resources. The folklore of powerful forest spirits was displaced by the practicalities of logging; the traditional rituals of hunting ceremonies gave way to indiscriminate butchering of animals for meat markets. In the famous lament of Max Weber, our surroundings became “disenchanted,” with nature’s magic swept away by secularization and rationalization. 
But as acclaimed sociologist James William Gibson reveals in this insightful study, the culture of enchantment is making an astonishing comeback. From Greenpeace eco-warriors to evangelical Christians preaching “creation care” and geneticists who speak of human-animal kinship, Gibson finds a remarkably broad yearning for a spiritual reconnection to nature. As we grapple with increasingly dire environmental disasters, Gibson points to this cultural shift as the last utopian dream, the final hope for protecting the world that all of us must live in. (zvg) 3|27|10

The Shamanic Wisdom of the Huichol

       
 

Tom Soloway Pinkson 
The Shamanic Wisdom of the Huichol
Medicine Teachings for Modern Times
Foreword by Roger Walsh 
304 pages, Paperback, 56 b&w illustrations 
USD 18.95 
Destiny Books

 

Never conquered by Europeans, the Huichol – known for their use of peyote in spiritual ceremonies–have thoroughly retained their ancient way of life. Growing from a deeply rooted respect and reverence for the natural world, the Huichol’s shamanic spiritual practices focus on living life in harmony with all living things and offer a path to a truly sustainable future. 
The Shamanic Wisdom of the Huichol is the autobiographical account of Pinkson’s decade-long immersion in the shamanic traditions of the Huichol tribes of the Sierra Madre in Mexico. From his first Huichol pilgrimage to Wiricuta (their sacred homeland) in 1981 to searching the desert for the heart medicine of peyote, Pinkson’s account of his initiation into the medicine teachings of the Huichol brings new life to this ancient eco-centric tradition. Providing a guiding light for those who seek to become part of the solution to our planet’s ecological challenges, Pinkson empowers readers to choose their own path toward healing both on a personal and a planetary level. (zvg) 3|17|10 www.tompinkson.ning.com

Imagine Rainbow

       
 

Thomas Bertschi (Ed.) 
Imagine Rainbow
256 pages, over 500 color illustrations
Paperback with DVD
EUR 50.00 | CHF 79.- 
Rainbow Project

 

The book embodies “The creative spirit of the present with its wealth of images, ideas and fields of experience. Portraits of initiatives and innovators with their meaningful and diverse projects. Snapshots of a developed yet ever-growing fleece.” The rainbow: “A timeless unifying symbol in the fables, myths, religions and visions of mankind, in science, art, dreamtime and in our everyday lives.” 
The Rainbow Project: “Worldwide projects with Umbul Umbul Flags in the colours of the rainbow; the red thread representing the unity in the diversity of cultures.” Information, stimulus, entertainment and association. Motivation for discussion and, above all, impulses and inspiration for creative activities. Rainbow Project (zvg) 3|9|10

The Harvard Psychedelic Club

       
 

Don Lattin 
The Harvard Psychedelic Club
How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America 
272 pages, Hardcover 
USD 24.99 
Harper Collins

 

This book is the story of how three brilliant scholars and one ambitious freshman crossed paths in the early sixties at a Harvard-sponsored psychedelic-drug research project, transforming their lives and American culture and launching the mind/body/spirit movement that inspired the explosion of yoga classes, organic produce, and alternative medicine. The four men came together in a time of upheaval and experimentation, and their exploration of an expanded consciousness set the stage for the social, spiritual, sexual, and psychological revolution of the 1960s. Timothy Leary would be the rebellious trickster, the premier proponent of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of LSD, advising a generation to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” Richard Alpert would be the seeker, traveling to India and returning to America as Ram Dass, reborn as a spiritual leader with his “Be Here Now” mantra, inspiring a restless army of spiritual pilgrims. Huston Smith would be the teacher, practicing every world religion, introducing the Dalai Lama to the West, and educating generations of Americans to adopt a more tolerant, inclusive attitude toward other cultures’ beliefs. And young Andrew Weil would be the healer, becoming the undisputed leader of alternative medicine, devoting his life to the holistic reformation of the American health care system. 
It was meant to be a time of joy, of peace, and of love, but behind the scenes lurked backstabbing, jealousy, and outright betrayal. In spite of their personal conflicts, the members of the Harvard Psychedelic Club would forever change the way Americans view religion and practice medicine, and the very way we look at body and soul. (zvg) 2|17|10 
Here Don Lattin discussed his book at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Hippies

       
 

Micah L. Issitt 
Hippies 
A Guide to an American Subculture 
152 pages, Hardcover
USD 35.00 | GBP 24.95
Greenwood Press

 

The name came out of jazz slang from the 1940s, but it’s the psychedelic 1960s that will forever be the era of the hippie, a time when the counterculture’s ethos of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll and “turn on, tune in, and drop out” gripped the nation from the East Village to Woodstock to Haight-Ashbury. 
This title explores how hippies, and 1960s counterculture in general, developed and influenced popular culture in America. Covering the years between 1961 and 1972, this is the first volume focused exclusively on the emergence, growth, and lasting legacy of hippie culture, on everything from clothing, hair styles, and music to attitudes toward sex and drugs, and anti-war, anti-establishment activism. Hippies includes a chronology, topical chapters on hippie culture, biographies, primary documents, and a glossary. Coverage ranges from an examination of hippie involvement in drug use, politics, sexual behavior, and music, and a contemporary perspective on lasting impact of hippies on modern American life. Readers will encounter famous icons of the era, from Abbie Hoffman to Timothy Leary, while getting a real sense of what life inside the hippie counterculture was like. (zvg) 2|17|10

The Psychotropic Mind

       
 

Jeremy Narby, Jan Kounen, Vincent Ravalec 
The Psychotropic Mind 
The World according to Ayahuasca, Iboga, and Shamanism 
192 pages, Paperback 
USD 16.95 
Park Street Press

 

In the Amazon, shamans do not talk in terms of hallucinogens but of tools for communicating with other life-forms. Ayahuasca, for example, is first and foremost a means of breaking down the barrier that separates humans from other species, allowing us to communicate with them. The introduction of plant-centered shamanism into the Western world in the 1970s was literally the meeting of two entirely different paradigms. In The Psychotropic Mind, three of the individuals who have been at the forefront of embracing other ways of knowing look at the ramifications of the introduction into our Western culture of these shamanic practices and the psychotropic substances that support them. 
With rare sincerity and depth, noted anthropologist Jeremy Narby, filmmaker Jan Kounen, and writer/filmmaker Vincent Ravalec explore the questions of sacred plants, initiations, hallucinogens, and altered states of consciousness, looking at both the benefits and dangers that await those who seek to travel this path. Focusing specifically on ayahuasca and iboga, psychotropic substances with which the authors are intimately familiar, they examine how we can best learn the other ways of perceiving the world found in indigenous cultures, and how this knowledge offers immense benefits and likely solutions to some of the modern world’s most pressing problems. (zvg) 2|13|10

Eating Animals

       
 

Jonathan Safran Foer 
Eating Animals
352 Pages, Paperback
USD 25.00 | GBP 18.00 
Little, Brown and Company

 

Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood-facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child’s behalf-his casual questioning took on an urgency. His quest for answers ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong. Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir and his own detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting. Marked by Foer’s profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, widely loved, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we’ve told-and the stories we now need to tell. Eating Animalswebsite. (zvg) 2|9|10

The everyday horrors of factory farming are evoked so vividly, and the case against the people who run the system is presented so convincingly, that anyone who, after reading Foer’s book, continues to consume the industry’s products must be without a heart, or impervious to reason, or both.
J. M. Coetzee

Jonathan Safran Foer’s book changed me from a twenty-year vegetarian to a vegan activist. 
Natalie Portman

Entheologues

       
 

Martin W. Ball 
Entheologues 
Conversations with Leading Psychedelic Thinkers, Explorers and Researchers 
188 pages, Paperback, b|w illustrations
USD 15.95 
Kyandara Publishing

 

Entheologues presents a fascinating collection of interviews with top figures in the entheogenic field. James Oroc talks about God, 5-MeO-DMT, zero-point energy and the Akashic Field. Rick Strassman discusses his new book and shares the surprising results of his DMT study, along with his hopes for an entheogenic research center. Jan Irvin and John Rush discuss the roles of psychedelic mushrooms and other visionary sacraments in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In the final interview, Daniel Siebert gives a detailed history of Salvia divinorum. Completing the book, Martin W. Ball makes a strong case for the human right to entheogen use as religious sacraments. 
Was Jesus a psychedelic mushroom? Do DMT experiences send people into alternate realities? What is the legal status of entheogens for spiritual use? Why are there so many mushroom images in Christian art? Can 5-MeO-DMT bring about realization of God? These questions and more are answered in Entheologues. (zvg) 2|5|10