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Are humans unwitting partners in evolution with psychedelic plants? Darwin's Pharmacy weaves the evolutionary theory of sexual selection and the study of rhetoric together with the science and literature of psychedelic drugs. Long suppressed as components of the human tool kit, psychedelic plants can be usefully modelled as "eloquence adjuncts" that intensify a crucial component of sexual selection in humans: discourse. In doing so, they engage our awareness of the noosphere, defined by V.I. Vernadsky as the thinking stratum of the earth, the realm of consciousness feeding back onto the biosphere. Sharing intelligence, connecting with the noosphere and integrating individuality into its eco-systemic context offers powerful and promising ways to respond to ecosystems in crisis, and formed the backdrop of what Doyle dubs the "ecodelic" thought of the environmental movement. Yet current policies criminalize the use of plant-based psychedelics while simultaneously feeding a violent global black market for refined and chemically-derived drugs.
In this tour de force of "first-person science," Doyle takes his readers on a mind bending journey through the work of William Burroughs, Kary Mullis, Lynn Margulis, Timothy Leary, Norma Panduro, Albert Hoffman, Aldous Huxley, Dennis and Terrence McKenna, John Lilly and Phillip K. Dick. Readers who take the journey that is Darwin's Pharmacy will experience extraordinary insights into evolutionary theory, the war on drugs, the internet, and the nature of human consciousness itself. Richard M. Doyle is professor of English and science, technology, and society at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of On Beyond Living and Wetwares.