Breaking Convention

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Breaking Convention

Essays on Psychedelic Consciousness

Editor: Cameron Adams, Anna Waldstein, Ben Sessa, David Luke, David King

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Breaking Convention–a collection of essays and articles from the international conference of the same name–is a multifaceted exploration of the history, use, and benefits of psychedelics since the dawn of humankind. Some pieces address the archaeological and ethnographic evidence of psychedelic use as a vital part of early human development. Others focus on modern psychedelic history–such as pre-World War II psychedelic research and self-experimentation, or the fear-mongering nuclear era of the 1950s and 1960s, when psychedelics were banished into a forty-year Dark Ages. Still other pieces examine contemporary drug use, particularly MDMA and poly drug use (the use of a combination of drugs for a specific effect). The book concludes with a piece by Rick Doblin, PhD, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), in which he offers a bold vision of the future, one in which psychedelics and expanded consciousness are an integral part of modern cosmopolitan society.

Altered States and the Prehistoric Ritualisation of the Modern Human Mind
Tracing Neolithic World Views: Shamanism, Irish Passage Tomb Art and Altered States of Consciousness
Towards an Exploration of the Mind of a Conquered Continent: Shamanism,
Sacred Plants and Amerindian Epistemology
“A Train of Delightful Visions”: Early Scientific Encounters with Psychedelics
Psychedelic Formations in Literature
Drop Acid Not Bombs
Season of the Witch: 1966 and the Vilification of LSD in Britain
Breaking Conventions in Policy and Science
Religious Freedom and the Expansion of Ayahuasca Ceremonies in Europe
Introduction to the MDMA Debate
Poly and Mono: Reflections on the Validity of “Poly Drug Use”
From Meta-Sin to Medicine: A Program for Future Research into the Healing Power of Psychedelics
A Declaration of Psychedelic Studies
Biophenomenology of Altered States
Cognitive Phenomenology of Mind Manifestation
Psychedelics, Parapsychology and Exceptional Human Experiences
The Anaesthetic Revelation: Psychedelia and Mysticism
Deceptive Cadences: A Hermeneutic Approach to the Problem of Meaning and Psychedelic Experience
A Matter of Spirit: An Imaginal Perspective on the Paranormal
Communications from the Herbs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Ini Consciousness
Afterword: A Bold Vision, by Rick Doblin


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6 x 9
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About the Author

CAMERON ADAMS is a research associate in the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent, Canterbury, and a coorganizer of the annual Breaking Convention conferences. ANNA WALDSTEIN is a lecturer in medical anthropology and ethnobotany at the University of Kent and studies self-medication with herbal medicines as a form of empowerment and/or resistance to biomedical hegemony. BEN SESSA is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and psychedelic researcher in the United Kingdom. DAVID LUKE is a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Greenwich, London, where he teaches an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience. He is director of the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness lecture series at the October Gallery, in Bloomsbury, London. DAVID KING is a cofounder of Breaking Convention and a cofounder of the UKC Psychedelics Society, and he represented the Beckley Foundation at the House of Lords in 2011. He studied anthropology at the University of Kent, and his research has focused on concepts of health and medicine among cannabis users. The author lives in United Kingdom.

Reviews/Press Quotes

"Breaking Convention lives up to its name. It is a panoramic survey of the controversial world of psychedelic substances, their history, and their use. There is something here for everyone: psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, psychotherapists, political activists, and readers who simply want to know more about the drugs and herbal brews they or their friends have been ingesting ... a bold testament to the pursuit of knowledge."
—Stanley Krippner, PhD

"From shamanic rituals to the 1960s cultural revolution, from psychopharmacology to ethnobotany, from phenomenology to parapsychology, from MDMA to ayahuasca, this collection of essays covers a vast range of contemporary studies of mind-expanding substances. Provocative and highly recommended."
—Ralph Metzner, PhD, author of Ayahuasca: Sacred Vine of Visions

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