My favorite podcast as of late is Erik Davis’ Expanding Mind, which covers the realm of human consciousness. In previous podcasts Erik has talked with guests about neuro technologies, ceremonial magic, secret societies, underground comics, grass-roots science, hedonic circuits, and supernatural pop culture.
In the latest episode, Erik spoke with James Nestor, author of Get High Now Without Drugs : Over 175 sensory trips and tricks for visual stimulation, compressing time, lucid dreaming, mediation, and more. It’s terrific fun in the vein of anther book I really like called Astonish Yourself: 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life by Roger-Pol Droit.
As Nestor told Davis, the impetus for Get High Now was a visit to his recently departed uncle’s house in the Hollywood Hills. Nestor’s uncle, in addition to being a wealthy eccentric bon vivant playboy, was also an avid amateur researcher of consciousness altering techniques. He had thousands of books and hand written notes on things like smoking ants (to absorb the formic acid into your bloodstream, which was recently outlawed in Dubai after kids started getting into it), hypnagogic induction, theta wave brain synchronization tapes, isolation tanks, ingesting the blood of schizophrenics, Transcendental meditation, lucid dreaming, Yucatecan trance induction beats, and so on.
Nestor (who lives in San Francisco) started practicing the safer methods with a group of friends and acquaintances dubbed HighLab. Nestor kept notes of what happened during this experiments, and these notes became the basis for his book.
Of the 175 methods in the book, the HighLab chose 15 as their favorites, including: binaural beats, clary sage bah, isolation tanks, kundalina transcendent, chanting, lucid dreaming, mud sleep induction, risset rhythm, shepard tones, Sudarshan Kriya, and thalassotherapy.
The “without drugs” part is somewhat misleading, as Nestor does mention quite a few substances such as catnip, basil, sage, puffer fish, cyanobacteria, mucana pruriens, hops, reindeer urine, and other supposedly psychoactive agents. By “drugs,” he means the usual suspects: pot, LSD, cocaine, speed. These are not included in the book.
Here’s the website for the book, which includes recordings of Binaural Beats, Cambiata Illusion, Chromatic Illusion, Colored Noise, Disappearing Noise, Holophonic Sound, Psuedo-Tomatis Healing Sounds, Risset Rhythm, Shepard-Risset Glissando, Shepard Tones, Theta Wave Brain Synchronization, Yucatecan Trance Induction Beats. There’s also a link to an iPhone app with all the sounds and videos so you can get high while on the go.
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