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Xenolinguistics: Psychedelics, Language, and…
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Xenolinguistics: Psychedelics, Language, and the Evolution of… (udgave 2015)

af Diana Slattery (Forfatter), Allyson Grey (Forord)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1411,196,831 (3.5)2
Are language and consciousness co-evolving? Can psychedelic experience cast light on this topic? In the Western world, we stand at the dawn of the psychedelic age with advances in neuroscience; a proliferation of new psychoactive substances, both legal and illegal; the anthropology of ayahuasca use; and new discoveries in ethnobotany. From scientific papers to the individual trip reports on the Vaults of Erowid and the life work of Terence McKenna, Alexander and Ann Shulgin, and Stanislav Grof, we are converging on new knowledge of the mind and how to shift its functioning for therapeutic, spiritual, problem-solving, artistic and/or recreational purposes. In our culture, pychonautics, the practices of individuals and small groups using techniques such as meditation, shamanic ritual, ecstatic dance and substances such as LSD and psilocybin for personal exploration, is a field of action and thought in its infancy. The use of psychonautic practice as a site of research and a method of knowledge production is central to this work, the first in-depth book focusing on psychedelics, consciousness, and language. Xenolinguisticsdocuments the author's eleven-year adventure of psychonautic exploration and scholarly research; her original intent was to understand a symbolic language system, Glide, she acquired in an altered state of consciousness. What began as a deeply personal search, led to the discovery of others, dubbed xenolinguists, with their own unique linguistic objects and ideas about language from the psychedelic sphere. The search expanded, sifting through fields of knowledge such as anthropology and neurophenomenology to build maps and models to contextualize these experiences. The book presents a collection of these linguistic artifacts, from glossolalia to alien scripts, washed ashore like messages in bottles, signals from Psyche and the alien Others who populate her hyperdimensional landscapes. With an entire chapter dedicated to Terence and Dennis McKenna and sections dedicated to numerous other xenolinguists, this book will appeal to those interested in language/linguistics and the benefits of psychedelic self-exploration, and to readers of science fiction.… (mere)
Medlem:DouglasDuff
Titel:Xenolinguistics: Psychedelics, Language, and the Evolution of Consciousness
Forfattere:Diana Slattery (Forfatter)
Andre forfattere:Allyson Grey (Forord)
Info:North Atlantic Books (2015), Edition: Illustrated, 384 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:***
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Xenolinguistics: Psychedelics, Language, and the Evolution of Consciousness af Diana Slattery

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Tough cookie. This, clearly, is not for everyone. How to make sense of work based on a weird premise, well encapsulated in its title, of bridging such diverse themes as the use of psychedelics, the complex phenomenon of language and their possible link with the evolution of consciousness? Each of these is enough to occupy not just one book, but whole libraries on their complexities. At a first glance it almost seems a sure recipe for a disastrous outcome. But that is not the case.

The author, Diana Reed Slattery, has a most peculiar path. She’s a [talented] fiction writer, an educator, an artist of sorts (for she experiments with art and technology), a psychonaut and, of course, a xenolinguist. With such diverse interests, Reed’s book is a mixture of all that, in an exercise to provide some coherence to her long psychonautic exploration of her experiences with altered states of consciousness and the communication with an unknown other (thus the xeno of her language studies).

The first part of the book focus on that which comes to the fore when one thinks of studying psychedelics: how to approach this subject, if studying it in order to comprehend it fully if that demands that one experiences its effects? This is a methodoloical problem, and Reed starts to tackle it right away from the outset. For this she tries to justify a psychonautics approach as a meaningful method to explore, structure, and make sense of the oftentimes nonsensical resulting experience.
For this Reed analyzes possible protocols and techniques that may validate what’s perceived under such unorthodox circumstances. And she’s well aware of the many difficulties of proposing such a methodological approach; but given the inevitability of the inherent weirdness of such experiences, little can one do than to rely on whatever methods are available, given that the alteration of consciouness is a very hard to study subject, subjected to much social reproach and legal persecution in many cases.

After explaining how life changing were some of her own experiences, and her bizarre encounter with that often mentioned transdimensional other that appears under some altered states, Reed introduces us to her conception of a visual language she called Glide. This language opened her to the possibility of bridging the gap of having such profound, quasi-mystical, experiences and the unavoidable limitations of normal language to capture and reproduce the content of what was thus witnessed under such bizarre conditions.

Once she establishes the ground for a method, and showing us the tools she used in her psychedelic research, she proceeds to explore that recurring theme of The Other, that unknown voice that time and again speaks back to those brave enough to go deeper onto the psychedelic experience.

Then, on the second part of the book, Maps and Models, the discussion becomes more technical, more philosophical. Reed delves onto the ontological dilemma, the question of knowing what is real, how real reality is, especially when you’re faced with a huge shift in your perception under altered states of consciousness. Then you’re faced with the epistemological dychotomy: how to be scientific when your object of study is a shift on perception from the subjective point of view? How to put together the seemingly opposing views of looking at brain from the outside and upside-down worldview experienced by the subject? Then Reed goes on to summarize different theories and models of consciousness and how to approach this field of study.

Reed then goes on to explore the experience of extended perception (in its many multimodal varieties) and how this experience results in a radical shift on how time, space, and even dimensionality are conceived. For what Reed is to articulate a meaningful bridge between these undeniable recurring experiences and how pyschedelics alter one’s linguistic capabilities across a larger spectrum of our senses. For Reed needs to guide the discussion to the problem of language, one of the central themes of her work.

To achieve this, she then explores several neurophenomenological perspectives on language, again summarizing the views of different thinkers, shining some light on the somewhat fringy theoretical models provided by those authors.

Finally, on the third and last part of the book, Reed goes finally embrances the central theme of the book: xenolinguistics. She here examines the differences between natural and unnatural (sic) languages, going deeper onto the not sufficiently studied subject of the effects of psychedelics on language: the shifts in the listening and speaking, writing and reading, capabilities, resulting in non-ordinary modes of understanding and expression. In order to provide some data grounds demonstrating these shifts, she provides some examples taken from what she calls “The Guild of Xenolinguists” — fringy characters exploring non-ordinary languages and modes of expression.

From here on the discussion focus on the third subtheme of this book, that is “the evolution of language”. Reed here visits different authors and their theories on this subject — not of the mainstream sciency guys; but those who have speculated a strong link between the use of mind-altering substances and the historically difficult to explain phenomenon of language development and explosion. The weird, or at least the highly speculative, is at home here.

This leads to a discussion the topic of constructed languages, with Reed visiting the work of yet other fellow xenolinguists, thus providing mora data points on how this phenomenon manifests and takes shape.

She then dives on the idea that language is everywhere, that life is built upon language (DNA), exploring the views of anthropologists linking recent scientific discoveries (the double-helix code of life) and the mythological views and representations that seem to echo the same conclusion. This is also complemented with the thoughts and explorations of akin-minded xenolinguists, those who are confident that life is intelligent and nature expresses itself through language.

The book concludes with a call for the furthering of language exploration under altered states of consciousness, for this opens the door for a potential different way to structure reality, maybe offering us a different path to help us build a more healthy and sustainable future.

This review is already long enough; way too long, it seems. But since the subject matter is so out the ordinary, since it explores a complicated subject, so vast on its scope, unfolding its content was how I tried to make sense of what I got from reading this book. Aware of how little these things are known and studied, and even useful, for most people, this is a way too specific work to be of use for most readers. In spite of that, if you have some inkling in knowing more about psychedelics, psychonautics, language under altered states of consciousness, and if you like fringy stuff, this book will definitely please you. ( )
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Are language and consciousness co-evolving? Can psychedelic experience cast light on this topic? In the Western world, we stand at the dawn of the psychedelic age with advances in neuroscience; a proliferation of new psychoactive substances, both legal and illegal; the anthropology of ayahuasca use; and new discoveries in ethnobotany. From scientific papers to the individual trip reports on the Vaults of Erowid and the life work of Terence McKenna, Alexander and Ann Shulgin, and Stanislav Grof, we are converging on new knowledge of the mind and how to shift its functioning for therapeutic, spiritual, problem-solving, artistic and/or recreational purposes. In our culture, pychonautics, the practices of individuals and small groups using techniques such as meditation, shamanic ritual, ecstatic dance and substances such as LSD and psilocybin for personal exploration, is a field of action and thought in its infancy. The use of psychonautic practice as a site of research and a method of knowledge production is central to this work, the first in-depth book focusing on psychedelics, consciousness, and language. Xenolinguisticsdocuments the author's eleven-year adventure of psychonautic exploration and scholarly research; her original intent was to understand a symbolic language system, Glide, she acquired in an altered state of consciousness. What began as a deeply personal search, led to the discovery of others, dubbed xenolinguists, with their own unique linguistic objects and ideas about language from the psychedelic sphere. The search expanded, sifting through fields of knowledge such as anthropology and neurophenomenology to build maps and models to contextualize these experiences. The book presents a collection of these linguistic artifacts, from glossolalia to alien scripts, washed ashore like messages in bottles, signals from Psyche and the alien Others who populate her hyperdimensional landscapes. With an entire chapter dedicated to Terence and Dennis McKenna and sections dedicated to numerous other xenolinguists, this book will appeal to those interested in language/linguistics and the benefits of psychedelic self-exploration, and to readers of science fiction.

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