Breaking Open the Head: A visionary journey from cynicism to shamanism

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9780007149605: Breaking Open the Head: A visionary journey from cynicism to shamanism

A new THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION for the twenty-first century? A visionary journey from cynicism to shamanism by a brilliant young US writer-editor.

Daniel Pinchbeck was an essentially sane and rational person, living the life of a sophisticated urbanite. But one disenchanted day he felt he’d exhausted the shallow aspirations of the contemporary scene. So he went on a quest.

And he went all the way: to west Africa to test Iboga, a psychedelic herb which can cause such profound insight that one dose equals twenty years of psychoanalysis; to the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert where cutting-edge technology meets radical self-exploration; to Mexico and to the Amazon where shamanic traditions are practised daily.

Sceptical but curious, following in the footsteps of Aldous Huxley and Terence McKenna, Daniel Pinchbeck guides his readers on an astonishing journey around the world and through the mind. Are you brave enough to suspend your post-modern cynicism and break open the head with him?

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Product Description:

Breaking Open the Head "A dazzling work of personal travelogue and cultural criticism that ranges from the primitive to the postmodern in a quest for the promise and meaning of the psychedelic experience. "While psychedelics of all sorts are demonized in America today, the visionary compounds found in plants are the spiritual sacraments of tribal cultures around the world. From the iboga of the Bwiti in Gabon, to the Ma... Full description

Review:

“Continually enthralling. As gripping as a novel.” Geoff Dyer, LA Weekly

"I much admire Breaking Open the Head for being the account of an authentic quest for enlightenment in jungles, up rivers, in deserts, and hardest of all to access, the human mind and heart via the one of the oldest thoroughfares on earth, mind-expanding drugs. This is a serious and illuminating journey." Paul Theroux

"As mind-expanding as the chemicals it chronicles, Breaking Open the Head is the most artful and provocative investigation of psychedelia since Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception." Stephen Johnson, author of Emergence

'The author of this "journey into the heart of contemporary shamanism" is not some hippy-dippy hedonist staggering down the road of excess but rather a skeptical philosopher of consciousness seeking the enlightened path. In the late-90's, a spiritually exhausted Pinchbeck took a magazine assignment to gobble the African psychedelic iboga, launching an earnest exploration of himself, his self, and this world. Acid in Manhattan, mushrooms in Mexico, yage in Ecuador… He reports on his trips, travels, and travails in an unfailingly strong voice and analyzes a broad range of theorists with a light touch.' Entertainment Weekly

"This is a brave book. Brave because it accepts, as matters of fact, realities that cannot co-exist peacefully with the standard American Myth. That the discussion of these issues avoids both New Age glitter-speak and standard psychedelic hoo-ha makes it all the more provocative. It is also brave for its unflinching willingness to bare the less expanded parts of the author's psyche. And it is brave, as it is always brave, to attempt to speak clearly of that which can't be spoken." John Perry Barlow

'Breaking Open the Head is a thrilling, brave and intellectually engaging account of a visionary search. A sustained but sceptical contribution to the ongoing project of psychedelic exploration, Pinchbeck's book is mind-expanding and heart-felt. It is also, implicitly, a much-needed rebuke to a cocaine-fuelled culture of irony and cynical detachment. I warmly recommend it.' Geoff Dyer

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Pinchbeck, Daniel
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Daniel Pinchbeck
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