There is a new revolution upon us and while it may not be televised, it will be written about for decades to come.
Allow me to introduce you to James Oroc, a journalistic photographer with a penchant for extreme sports and author of the impressive doctrine The New Psychedelic Revolution: The Genesis of the Visionary Age.
This recent release is an outstanding piece of supplementary literature for aspiring and experienced psychonauts alike. In my review, I discussed my thoughts on this outing, but it was only right to get some insight from the man himself about the impact of this release as well as his previous probing of the entheogenic mindscape, Tryptamine Palace.
"My new book has very much come out of the fact that since the publication of Tryptamine Palace in 2009, I have been witness to the emergence of contemporary psychedelic culture from a front-row seat so-to-speak. Much like I thought Tryptamine Palace was unpublishable, I also thought it would never have a follow-up, and thus The New Psychedelic Revolution is in my mind a very different book."
James breaks down his work for us and shares some interesting tidbits about his future endeavors.
Prox: Let’s talk about Tryptamine Palace and it’s impact on the entheogenic movement. What do you think this piece introduced readers to that might have been a bit more uncommon during the days before it’s release? Have you noticed any influence on other authors?
James: In all honesty, I think Tryptamine Palace is a fairly unique book in many ways, and for a number of reasons, especially considering the fact that I actually thought it was unpublishable at the time that I was writing it. If I was to compare Tryptamine Palace to another book it would be Terence and Dennis McKenna's The Invisible Landscape, or Jeremy Narby's The Cosmic Serpent, since all 3 books are stories of the authors psychedelic awakenings, and all 3 strive to be scientific while clearly walking on distinctly mystical ground. The result are information-packed, quasi alchemical texts that proclaim the possibility of some kind of entheogenic liberation … my Amazon review called Tryptamine Palace “20 books-in-one” and I liked that description. The other thing in common with all three books I have mentioned above is that as authors we all attempt to provide a model or a framework within which to understand our experiences – in my case the idea that a transpersonal experience is some kind of a Bose-Einstein Condensate within consciousness, and thus an opportunity to experience the cosmic consciousness of the Quantum Vacuum itself. Of course the Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception, the original psychedelic tome was exactly this kind of book as well, since these are the books that really can stimulate the cultural imagination.
However the one thing that I always say about Tryptamine Palace was that it was determined to get itself to a greater audience, and I was merely the conduit. The fact that it went from originally being given away at Burning Man (I 'gifted' 500 copies of and early version of Tryptamine Palace on the playa in 2006 and 2007), to being distributed by a respected publisher and read around the world still amazes me. If it is influencing other authors – I haven't noticed that it has other than introducing 5-methoxy-DMT to a wider audience – I would hope it is by encouraging other writers to try. Writing is tough work, and its not very glamorous - I always encourage people who talk about wanting to write a book about their experiences by saying; Start.
Prox: Bufo Alvarius is a very peculiar toad because of it’s special venom. What do you think it says about the psychedelic experience if animals are capable of producing entheogenic substances?
James: The fact that there are specific compounds in Nature – found mostly in plants, mushrooms, and in this case the venom of a singular species of toad – that so closely resemble our own brain chemistry that they are able to basically fool our blood-brain-barrier - which is the most advanced organic defense system ever devised – to be transported by carrier-molecules into specialized locks in our brains, with the effect of radically effecting human consciousness; and that we as a species figured that out, is to me one of the greatest Mysteries of life. There is many a long night I have laid awake pondering it, and the only thing that makes any sense to me is that Consciousness is one Infinite inter-connected entity, and psychedelics are the way God tries to keep in contact with his wayward Monkeys.
Prox: Some people who have experimented with psychedelics have reported a profound sense of oneness or a complete restructuring of their spiritual and philosophical mores. Would you say this is the same for you? Has anything “shaken” you during your explorations?
James: Well, Tryptamine Palace is the story of how I was converted from being a hardened scientific-rationalist and atheist into basically a full blown mystic, who to this day believes achieved union-with-God from that single 30 minute 5-MeO-DMT experience – what the great chemist Alexander Shulgin would call a +4 experience, a once in a lifetime unrepeatable event, that is basically the recognition of the unity of all things. So yes, I would!
Prox: The New Psychedelic Revolution: The Genesis of the Visionary Age explores more modern developments like microdosing, the new visionary community, and extreme sports. What captivated you about these particular subjects enough to devote a new book to them?
James: My new book has very much come out of the fact that since the publication of Tryptamine Palace in 2009, I have been witness to the emergence of contemporary psychedelic culture from a front-row seat so-to-speak. Much like I thought Tryptamine Palace was unpublishable, I also thought it would never have a follow-up, and thus The New Psychedelic Revolution is in my mind a very different book. But like Tryptamine Palace, its a book thats not afraid to go all over the place investigating things of interest. Visionary Art is a classic example… when I wrote Tryptamine Palace I didn't know a thing about Visionary Art, but now after an almost decade long friendship with Alex and Allyson Grey, who wrote the foreword for Tryptamine Palace before I had ever met them, and with the younger generation of artists who I met through them, like Carey Thompson, Luke Brown, Amanda Sage, Michael Divine, and Android Jones, all of whom I now consider close friends due to all the combined adventures and endeavors we have had over the past ten years, I find myself in the position of having written a nearly 200 page History of Visionary Art and Culture – Dreaming of the Light – that is one of the 4 parts of The New Psychedelic Revolution, and something I would have never imagined I might end up writing. With my non-fiction work, it increasingly seems my books seek to fill some obvious Void in psy-culture.
Prox: The vibrant psy-culture that was mostly underground as early as a few decades ago seems to be gaining a lot of popularity thanks to it’s intersection with other mediums. Why do you think psychedelics seem to bridge the gap between so many disciplines and ideologies?
James: Because they teach the truth of interconnectivity, they break down social barriers, and they bring out the Artist inside every one of us. They can make even the most boring person want to dance. And the world needs to learn how to dance.
Prox: What do you think the future holds for psychedelia? Are you happy with what you’re seeing today in relation to previous years?
James: I truly believe that the Entheogenic Perspective is the cultural perspective that we need to adopt as a species to survive. Psychedelics are our best hope for a healthy future for human beings, though I must admit there are many days I fear it is all too little, too late. However as Niels Bohr remarked about scientific revolutions, you never change the mind of the Old Guard, they just die off. The same is beginning to happen with psychedelics in our society … I'm fifty years old and was born in July 1967, smack dab in the middle of the Summer of Love, and I can see that a lot of the old misconceptions about psychedelics are finally dying off. Psychedelic culture is global now, research is returning to the Universities, and of course Silicon Valley has entered into a love relationship with psychedelics all of its own, turning Burning Man into some kind of a techtopian Khumb Mela for wealthy psychonauts … so I guess there are things I like, and things I don't, but there is no doubt that psychedelic culture is entering a new, more mainstream, global phase, which is encouraging.
Prox: Any artists, creatives, intellectuals, musicians, or movies/shows you’d like to recommend?
James: Along with the artists I have already mentioned I would include Mati Klarwein, Robert Venosa, Martina Hoffman, and say check out all the artists of both the Tribe 13 and Furthur collectives for some of the best of contemporary visionary art (Oliver Vernon and Mars-1 are 2 of my favorites). I've got too many friends who are musicians and music producers to start naming names…..
Prox: Aside from The New Psychedelic Revolution: The Genesis of the Visionary Age, are there any other releases or projects on the horizon?
James: I have a book of short-stories titled Who's Got da Bomb looking for a publisher in a genre I like to call psychedelic-noir, since its a lot darker than my non-fiction work.
Prox: Final Thoughts?
James: I actually prefer fiction… foot notes and fact checking is hard work.
Want to stay updated on new interviews and posts? Head over to the Inside the Rift Facebook page and leave a like or follow me on Twitter @insidetheriftx, Instagram @insidetherift, and Soundcloud @Insidetherift! You can also support me by Contributing or on Patreon!