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Victorian Freaks
Truth and Truthfulness
Louisiana Rambles
Meditation Works in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Daoist Traditions
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Fort Clark and Its Indian Neighbors
A History of Horror
J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Cold War, and the Atomic West
The Evolution of American Investigative Journalism

Darwin's PharmacyDarwin's Pharmacy

Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noosphere

Richard M. Doyle

Narrated by Alan Wade

Available from Audible

Book published by University of Washington

Are humans unwitting partners in evolution with psychedelic plants? Darwin's Pharmacy shows they are by weaving 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 modeled as "eloquence adjuncts" that intensify a crucial component of sexual selection in humans: discourse.

Psychedelic plants seduce us to interact with them, building an ongoing interdependence: rhetoric as evolutionary mechanism. In doing so, they engage our awareness of the noosphere, or thinking stratum of the earth. The realization that the human organism is part of an interconnected ecosystem is an apprehension of immanence that could ultimately benefit the planet and its inhabitants.

To explore the rhetoric of the psychedelic experience and its significance to evolution, Doyle takes his readers on an epic journey through the writings of William Burroughs and Kary Mullis, the work of ethnobotanists and anthropologists, and anonymous trip reports. The results offer surprising 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.


“A brilliant, ambitious, original piece of pedagogy. I can't imagine anybody but Doyle who could control and mobilize in the name of a single vision the range and dizzying variety of the material on offer.”

—Brian Rotman, Ohio State University

“This is a book for all readers who have ever wondered whether dreams are another form of wakened consciousness. Doyle expands wonder from dreams to ecodelic states and the possibilities of communication about these states via language.”

—Stanley Shostak, University of Pittsburgh

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University Press Audiobooks
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University Press Audiobooks