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DMT: The Spirit Molecule
By Rick Strassman
Park Street Press, 358 pp., $16.95 paper
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Ketamine: Dreams and Realities
By Karl Jansen
MAPS, 355 pp., $14.95 paper
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You may be fascinated by the weird physics they trot out (parallel universes, dark matter, biological quantum computers), but I was far more intrigued by a comment made by one of Strassman's psychonauts, who said that DMT felt more like a new technology than a drug. In other words, while psychedelics provide pretty shifty models of reality, it does seem fair to view them as machines of perception—in other words, media. As we know from the Ecstasy debates, scientific heads like Strassman and Jansen are often trying to legitimate psychedelics on therapeutic grounds—grounds that Strassman here bravely calls into question. But the real "scientific" justification for psychedelics may lie with nothing more or less than humanity's curious eye, which can hardly be expected to turn away from one of the most kaleidoscopic lenses chemistry has yet tossed our way.

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