The New Yorker – “Personal Experiments with Mind-Altering Drugs” by Oliver Sacks

I do not enjoy reading drugged-out accounts of how “totally real everything felt;” unless an author can maintain a reporter’s instinct under debilitating doses, (see: Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe) there’s no point to the exercise and it comes across as simple rebellion. I’m also not much a fan of scientific-spiritualists, like Timothy Leary and crew. Trying to bring higher powers into the equation still reads as so much wanking.

This piece (which you probably need a New Yorker account to read, but this tumblr was never about you lol) hits the sweet spot. Oliver Sacks is a still-practicing neurologist with many well-written books of case studies on strange brain disorders and other topics in relation to the mind. He writes with a clinical eye, and writes to understand, but even with those hazardous angles of approach his work is readable for anyone. It looks like, despite a long-running history with drugs, he chose to write about every other way in which the mind might be altered until he was recognized as an established author/near the end of his life. This piece offers his background, and is likely good preparation for his forthcoming book Hallucinations.

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