This is your mind on plants, Pollan

25 Dec 2021 09:23 - 16 Dec 2022 12:22
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    • book on drugs
    • Covers 3 psychoactive plants:
    • Opium

      • A reprint of a Harper's article from 25 years ago which I think I actually read. Also some backstory and some parts that were omitted due to legal fears, and an update where he admits he missed the real opium story, which was Oxycontin.
      • Random fact: the article starts off with Jim Hogshire, who published an underground guide to making opium tea, and describes how he was finked out to the police by supposedly anarchist writer Bob Black, who I actually knew years ago (I too had an altercation with him which I fortunately was wise enough to tamp down)
    • Caffeine

      • He tries to go off caffeine for research purposes and finds he can barely function as a writer:
      • How can you possibly expect to write anything when you can't concentrate? That's pretty much all writers do: take the blooming multiplicity of the world and our experience of it, literally concentrate it down to manageable proportions, and then force it through the eye of a grammatical needle one word at a time. I'ts a miracle anyone ever managees this mental feat, or at least it seems that way on day three of caffeine withdrawal. (p93) writing
    • Mescaline

      • Some interesting history of peyote and the Native American Church that I didn't know. Unsurprisingly, the Decriminalize Nature movement is having some collisions with Native American peoyte use, the phrase "cultural appropriation" is used, but wild-growing peyote is so scarce that it's more a physical resource conflict.
      • Description of a (synthetic) mescaline trip which has the frustrating quality of all attempts to describe such things in words. He does touch upon this feeling of sensory immanence you get, when everything appears imbued by this overwhelming isness...I have experienced that and would like to understand it better.
      • Interesting comparison of Wachuma (San Pedro) to peyote cactus. The latter is very slow and finicky, the former is robust and grows everywhere – indominatable is the word. Pollan's guide says it is the right plant for these times.