Oliver Sacks on Hallucinogens

In his new book, Hallucinations, author and professor Oliver Sacks writes about various types of hallucinations — visions triggered by grief, brain injury, migraines, medications and neurological disorders. In one chapter, Sacks describes his experimentation with hallucinogenic drugs in the 1960’s.

An excerpt from a recent interview following the release of his book:

Question: So at the beginning of your chapter about your own experimentation with altered states, you write: Every culture has found chemical means of transcendence. At some point, the use of such intoxicants becomes institutionalized at a magical or sacramental level. What are you thinking of there?

Answer: Well, I was thinking of peyote ceremonies with Native Americans, but similar ceremonies in Mexico with morning glory seeds – ololiuqui, similar ceremonies in Central America with magic mushrooms, similar ones in South American with both – I can’t pronounce it, ayahuasca. And so there’s – this seems to happen in every culture at some point.

Read the full article and interview here: Oliver Sacks, Exploring How Hallucinations Happen

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