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Animals and Psychedelics
The Natural World and the Instinct to Alter Consciousness
Rating :
Author(s) :
Giorgio Samorini
Pages :
Pub Date :
Edition(s) at Erowid :
2002(pb,1st Eng ed,fine)
Publisher :
Park Street Press
From caffeine-dependant goats to nectar addicted ants, wildlife offers amazing examples of animals and insects seeking out and consuming the psychoactive substances in their own environments. Ethnobotonist Giorgio Samorini explores this little-known phenomenon and suggests that, far from being confined to humans, the desire to experience altered states of consciousness is a natural drive shared by all living beings and that animals engage in these behaviors deliberately. Rejecting the Western cultural assumption that drug use is unnatural, Samorini opens our eyes to the possibility that beings who consume psychedelics--whether humans or animals--contribute to the evolution of their species by creating entirely new patterns of behavior that eventually will be adopted by other members of that species. The author's fascinating accounts of mushroom-loving reindeer, intoxicated birds,, and drunken elephants ensure that readers will never view the animal world in quite the same way again.

"Samorini's observations support his controversial hypothesis that human drug-taking derives from a universal, biologically based drive to alter consciousness. This perspective on drug-taking behavior can only enlarge our own views about the phenomenon which, in many humans, has become so contentious."
-- Rick Strassman, M.D., author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Univ. of New Mexico School of Medicine

"Samorini offers evidence for not only the theory of a biological basis of the pursuit of altered states, but also the possibility that this activity may expand the behavioral repertoir, thus altering evolution. Provocative reading."
-- Julie Holland, M.D., Editor of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide and Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Bellevue Psychiatric Emergency Dept.