Synopses & Reviews
An exploration of the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson.
A study of the spiritual provocations to be found in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson, High Weirdness charts the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality that arose from the American counterculture of the 1970s. These three authors changed the way millions of readers thought, dreamed, and experienced reality — but how did their writings reflect, as well as shape, the seismic cultural shifts taking place in America?
In High Weirdness, Erik Davis — America's leading scholar of high strangeness — examines the published and unpublished writings of these vital, iconoclastic thinkers, as well as their own life-changing mystical experiences. Davis explores the complex lattice of the strange that flowed through America's West Coast at a time of radical technological, political, and social upheaval to present a new theory of the weird as a viable mode for a renewed engagement with reality.
"What happens when a trained historian of religions seriously engages the magical mushrooms, flying saucers, science fiction, and invisible trickster entities of the 1970s counterculture with the open mind and heart of a gifted literary artist?...Erik Davis happens. This book happens. And I could not be happier about it. May this book, like a glowing UFO, land on your lap, and every other lap, and weird our world beyond all measure." Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Secret Body: Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions
"....Thanks to Davis' unique ability to straddle high scholarship and hipness with his learned, sympathetic perspective and lively yet rigorous writing style, the publication of High Weirdness marks an important milestone in esoteric studies and the conjunction of two previously separate worlds." Victoria Nelson, author of The Secret Life of Puppets and Gothicka
"Things got so weird in the seventies that even the weirdest got to turn pro. Even if I was tripping I couldn't imagine a better guide to McKenna, Wilson and Dick than Erik Davis. He has always taken the religious dimension of modern esoteric thought seriously, yet also lightly. Here he proves yet again to be a reliable guide to the outer limits." McKenzie Wark, author of Molecular Red and The Beach Beneath the Street
About the Author
Erik Davis is an American journalist, critic, podcaster, counter-public intellectual whose writings have run the gamut from rock criticism to cultural analysis to creative explorations of esoteric mysticism. He is the author of Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information, The Visionary State: A Journey through California's Spiritual Landscape, and Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica.