symploke Doors of Perception. Smith argued that the psychedelic consciousness expansion allows one to perceive metaphysical truths not available to the normal consciousness and that, contrary to stereotype, the experience is not so much fun as awesome, i.e., literally overwhelming. Not surprisingly, the validity of such experiences has been challenged by more traditional religious thinkers who distrust shortcuts to revelation. It was Richards' own taste of these insights that led him to pursue not only advanced degrees in psychology, but advanced work in theology and comparative religion as well. Naturally, then, the religious/spiritual side of the psychedelic experience is central to Richards' view of the past and future of these mind-expanding drugs. No small challenge, psychedelic studies necessarily court the ineffable discourse of mysticism. Opposite to Thomas Wolfe's trippy stream-of-consciousness musings in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Richards takes an approach that is clear, empirically informed, comprehensive, and concise. The book has five parts. "Setting the Stage" introduces the subject's history, definitions, and central religious question. "Mystical and Visionary Forms of Consciousness" tackles the notorious obstacles of intuitive knowing, the unitive nature of religious experience, extraordinary perspectives on time and space, and the significance of visionary and archetypal
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jan 8, 2016
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