MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

How Psychedelics Changed the Life of One of America's Leading Novelists: Podcast

Tao Lin's Trip details how the author's experience with LSD, DMT, psilocybin, and more blew his mind while making him more human.

Psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs are enjoying a revival—as agents of personal pleasure, mind expansion, and conventional medicine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently designated psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, as a "breakthrough therapy" for treatment of depression. MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, has been similarly designated as a breakthrough therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Earlier this year, two major books about psychedelics came out. Michael Pollan's How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence is a relatively conventional history and memoir that drew praise from Reason's Jacob Sullum for recovering the history of "psychedelics' potential for facilitating psychotherapy, promoting the rehabilitation of addicts, and relieving end-of-life anxiety" before Timothy Leary and others promoted such drugs as the stuff of total political and cultural revolution. "Psychedelics have been politicized, medicalized, and spiritualized," asks Sullum in his review. "Will they ever be personalized?"

Which brings me to that second book, Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change, written by acclaimed novelist Tao Lin. Born in 1983 to immigrants from Taiwan and raised in Florida, Lin is a critical darling of the contemporary literary scene (Bret Easton Ellis has declared him to be "the most interesting prose stylist of his generation"). His books Taipei, Richard Yates, Shoplifting from American Apparel, and others are populated by disaffected young people who take copious amounts of drugs, especially downers such as Xanax and prescription opioids. Trip is an excruciatingly personal non-fiction account of the author's use of psychedelics as part of a "sustained, conscious effort...to not drift toward meaninglessness, depression, disempowering forms of resignation, and bleak ideologies like existentialism." "Weird is the compass setting," writes Lin at one point, quoting Terence McKenna (1946-2000), who helped popularize magic mushrooms and inspire rave culture. Trip is certainly weird, but like the most-potent drugs, also wonderful.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.)

Subscribe at Apple Podcasts..

Follow us at SoundCloud.

Subscribe at YouTube.

Like us on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Eddy||

    Well, since I didn't listen to the podcast, in fairness I won't comment on it.

    But did you notice how Anheuser-Busch is doing ads about how they distribute free cans of water to those who need it?

    They're like beer cans except when you pull the tab you're drinking pure water.

  • DenverJ||

    So, bud light?

  • Rockabilly||

    You know who else's mind was totally blown by the LSD?

    Iron Butterfly

    That's who..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIVe-rZBcm4

    Prepare to have your mind totally blown even without the LSD

  • DenverJ||

    Hitler?

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Ha. I showed that video to my 10 and 12 year-olds the other day. Minds blown.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

  • Jack Ponting||

    Really inspiring life changing story of one of America's leading novelists through psychedelics. Thanks for sharing health oriented article for psychedelics people.

    Jack,
    http://www.qualitydissertation.....g-services

  • Spoondash||

    Maybe Lin writes better than he speaks because that was intensely unsatisfying to listen to. I had to laugh when Nick asked him about his daily drug use, because it was pretty clear he (Nick) was getting exasperated. He should have just said,"how high are you right now?"

  • zrrifle||

    Timothy Leary's dead.

  • ||

    I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! "a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!". go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .

    www.Mesalary.com

  • ||

    essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! "a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!". go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .

    www.Mesalary.com

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online