Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire is full of neato ideas about the effects of various plants on the evolution of human culture and the origins of western ideas of beauty, major religions, and other important memes. The chapter about psychoactive plants is particularly interesting. This just made me chuckle:
The notion that drugs might function as cultural mutagens occurred to me while reading The Selfish Gene while high on marijuana, which may or may not be an advisable thing to do.
– The Botany of Desire, p. 130.
It reminded me of the time I came home to find my roommate prostrate on the couch, almost weeping in frustration. She had the flu and a high fever, and had been trying to read Count Zero. Early William Gibson isn’t the best prose for calming the fevered mind.
I think the most mindbending thing I’ve attempted was bourbon + Thomas Pynchon, which was done more to preserve my sanity than to experiment with it. There was no way I was going to make it through Gravity’s Rainbow without a few stiff drinks.