Writing at the Cutting Edge of Drug Culture

Psychedelics Press UK is a middle-sized idea (I’ll explain that term below) from Rob Dickins. I first met Rob at the psychedelics conference at the University of Greenwich Breaking Convention in 2013. He delivered a paper that married great content with a grace and ease of delivery which was quite wonderful. Rob’s combination of knowledge and prestige presentation also shows through in his publications project Psychedelic Press UK.

I’ve just devoured two volumes of the Psychedelic Press UK Journal. These consist of essays on a wide variety of topics by authors both known and unknown to me. There is chief historian of British Heads Andy Roberts, psychedelic-positive MD Ben Sessa, voudou shamanic type Ross Heaven, busted LSD chemist and cognitive liberty hero Casey Hardison, and many others. The range of subjects is extensive, and it’s not just a big hooray for drugs. There are intelligent and thoughtful essays about the harms and the problems as well as the benefits and blessing of psychoactives.

For me several essays stand out as being perfect examples of what Terence McKenna called ‘middle-sized ideas’. Terry used to say that when folks take psychedelic drugs they often get ‘big ideas’, these are things like ‘everything in the universe is really one’ and other mind-blowing insights. Problem is these are typically too big for most people to grasp and leave us afterwards with a blissed out sense that we’ve experienced the ineffable and can’t really say much, ‘cos it was, er, ineffable.

Then there are the ‘small ideas’, these are things like ‘hey! Have you noticed just how perfectly your little finger fits up your nostril?’; funny but not exactly world-shattering stuff. Then there are the middle-sized ideas. These are insights that the drug crazed raver/traditional shaman (or whatever) can bring back into the world and actually do something with. Whether it be the desire to set up a new organisation, a clear idea for an artwork, a scientific insight – luckily for us, history contains many such examples of middle-sized ideas being brought back from the outlands of the psychedelic noosphere, through to manifestation in the physical and social worlds.

Psypress Journal UK is jam packed with such middle-sized ideas. Indeed there are a couple of essays (Fireworks by Psychedelic Frontier, in volume 1, and Psilocybin and the Concept of Natural Intelligence by Simon G.Powell, volume 2) that are object lessons on exactly how to obtain and then manifest a middle-sized idea. Fireworks in particular weaves personal drug narrative with some really beautiful writing (that doesn’t become a self-indulgent bore – easily done with drug stories) and some excellent philosophical insights.

The Eyes Have It - cover of Psypress Journal Vol 2

The Eyes Have It – cover of Psypress Journal Vol 2

Obviously with all the big hitters and brilliant unknowns dashing off outstanding essays I want a piece of the action too! I was therefore gratified when I received an email from Rob asking me to contribute to a forthcoming edition of Psypress which is going to be specifically themed around psychoactives and magical ceremony. The proposed volume will be released in February and I hope my submission will maintain the high standard in evidence in the first two volumes.

There’s lots of other cool publishing being done under the Psypress banner in addition to the journals. If this is the kind of trip you dig I strongly recommend checking out their website.

When you make a purchase from your dealer and go off into soma-space searching for those middle-sized ideas one of the best ways to prepare yourself is to spend a little time soaking up the useful insights from others. The Psypress UK Journal is an outstandingly good way to do this, especially since Volume 3 has just hit the streets.

You can also help support the broader work of Psypress. Rob, as a young literary type, lives a bohemian yet impecunious lifestyle. Existing on a diet composed solely of erudite novels, bread, water and formidably strong LSD (probably) – he still manages to produce and promote what is the most important psychedelics publishing in Britain today. So once you’ve discovered the value of their work visit the crowdfunding link and put your money where you mind is. I did and, frankly, it made me a better person 😀

JV

 

 

 

One thought on “Writing at the Cutting Edge of Drug Culture

  1. Jeremy Johnson says:

    Reblogged this on Jeremy D. Johnson and commented:
    One more reblog today from PsyPress UK. An inspiring little piece on “writing at the cutting edge of drug culture,” which, really, is also about writing at the edge of popular culture.

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