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Erik Davis' new book 'High Weirdness' explores how 3 authors in the 1970s changed the way readers ex

Erik Davis' new book 'High Weirdness' explores how 3 authors in the 1970s changed the way readers ex
all right here we go and time to get a little weird if you don't mind a new

book

explores

the strange history of

1970s

counterculture and psychedelic spiritual movements on the west coast the

book

is aptly entitled

high

weirdness

drugs esoterica and visionary experience in the 70s the author Eric

Davis

is a journalist and expert on 70s counterculture hello Eric good zir did you become an expert by doing a lot of shrooms well it didn't hurt I grew up in I grew up in Southern California in
erik davis new book high weirdness explores how 3 authors in the 1970s changed the way readers ex
a beach town in the kind of you know aftermath of the counterculture and I was always into this stuff you know I went to dead shows and run into Zen priests and Hari Krishna's and the whole gamut of experiences and so that period which shaped me personally I've always been totally fascinated with so it was great to be able to kind of dive back in and try to figure out what was going on in that era see write a sizable

book

the big

book

it's good you're back on to kind of fuel your
passion for this well I was just say like I was really inspired by these experiences when I was young and and I felt that something is missing in our kind of memory of the

1970s

and when we think about the counterculture we think about the 60s the Summer of Love the great students you know the student movements the social movements but that something kind of goes weird around 1970 1971 but you still have this you know a very significant counter cultural flow throughout the

1970s

but people are
searching for new meanings they're they're coming up with new religious movements they're following gurus and in the case of these guys they're exploring psychedelics and visionary experience you know as far as they can possibly go because there's the sense that well this what this earlier experiment didn't work let's see what else is around the corner you mentioned these guys you're talking about philip k dick Terence Mckenna and Robert Anton Wilson why why did
you focus on those guys and what are their contributions sure the reason I focus on these guys is they were all yeah they were all they all had extraordinary visionary experiences in the

1970s

two of them because they were taking psychedelics as far as you could possibly take him taking and taking everything in every sense of the word absolutely and with philip k dick who's probably the best-known the science fiction writer who wrote the

book

they based the movie blade runner on and they
erik davis new book high weirdness explores how 3 authors in the 1970s changed the way readers ex
made many movies are based on his science fiction he was more unnatural as you as you might say but they all had these extraordinary experiences that were kind of like mixtures of religious experience and psychosis and science fiction and it's exploring those connections between these things and trying to figure out what happens how do we talk about things that happen to people that are just so out of the box paranormal crazy visionary and that end because they wrote texts they wrote these
great

book

s based on their experiences we could really go really deep and get close to the fabric of what extraordinary experience is about particularly in this crazy period so here we are decades later now in 2019 how do you how do you think what they did kind of help shake when you call them

book

s seismic cultural shifts that are taking place today why there's two things one is that right now there's a renaissance in psychedelics suddenly it's me it's their mantra they're
basically mainstream again in terms of the interests in their healing powers there's more and more people are turning to ayahuasca which is a very powerful psychedelic yeah it's and people it's it's it's become like basically kind of popular everybody knows about Burning Man which is a very psychedelic kind of festival so there's something very contemporary about a lot of these things but I also believe we live in very weird times and they're only getting weirder and
then in a lot of ways stuff that happened in the 70s looks forward to some of the things that were wrestling with today how about the fact that the West Coast kind of we've been at the forefront of this whole movement absolutely no I mean the the the west coast is was really where psychedelic culture in the modern sense arose you know before that so you know indigenous cultures scattered around the world but in terms of the modern world it's really begins in in in California and all the
erik davis new book high weirdness explores how 3 authors in the 1970s changed the way readers ex
way up through the whole west coast actually in Saskatchewan and in British Columbia all around in terms of people using them a force like psychotherapeutic effects but also exploring their meanings and building new cultures out of these experiences definitely says catch you on that's happening there it's true there is that funny though that's what masculine you know swear they were Aldous Huxley got his mescaline that he wrote the doors of perception of that from those guys one
thing we gleaned from this

book

that we have to ask you about there's a connection you bring up about Playboy magazine and a conspiracy culture yeah it's pretty funny when actually Robert Anton Wilson worked for Playboy in the late 1960s and he added the sort of letter section where there was a lot of politics a lot of people talking about civil liberties but they would get all these letters in that were conspiracy theories basically you know they're kind of John Birch Society people
worrying about the government opening their mail you know and the rumors about the Illuminati and things like this and the editors they were fascinated with this material so what they said is hey let's write a

book

where all of these conspiracies that we're getting are true at the same time and so that

book

became on your mind yeah well that

book

became a really significant sort of feature in in the growth of sort of the entertainment factor of conspiracy culture which of course I need
not tell you is a big part of our contemporary moment as well it's definitely happening so this is a big

book

with a lot of words what does the average reader what do you want them to take from this

book

that the worlds of human experience go farther than we we normally believe and that you can actually come back from them with some good stories to tell okay which is there a favorite part of this

book

moment it there's a favorite part of the moment I like kind of like I like the
beginning where I talk about the history of the word weird you know it's a term we use all the time and you know just like oh I had a weird time and it's they didn't use that word in the 40s and the third nobody's using that word not so much not so much but it's a really significant part of our world today it's a weird word it's a weird word are you gonna be available to talk all about this

book

right yeah yeah you discuss it and sign copies of hi

weirdness

you get
Eric's autograph tomorrow night at 7:30 at the Forum in Seattle even is hosted by Town Hall Seattle they're here all right thank you ex