‘Psychonauts’ by Mike Jay Review

In his book, Psychonauts: Drugs and the Making of the Modern Mind, Mike Jay explores the historical complexities behind drug policy and the role of self-experimentation in understanding the effects of psychoactive substances. Jay examines various influential figures who engaged in self-experimentation, including Sigmund Freud and Timothy Leary, as well as lesser-known individuals. The book highlights the desire of researchers to personally experience the visions and insights inspired by these drugs, as well as the cultural impact of self-experimenters’ accounts. It also addresses the racial and class biases that have shaped drug policy, noting that contemporary research often focuses on psychedelic substances favored by white, college-educated users. Overall, the book provides valuable insights into the cyclical attitudes towards self-experimentation and the potential benefits and risks of drug use.


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