What most people would want to read about in this book are the actual sessions. But this starts only in part IV and constitutes less than one third of the book: 112 pages out of 345. The sessions are part of the main narrative and the rest of the book deals with the context in which those sessions took place. The entire first half of the book describes in excruciating details the way the experiments were conducted and all the difficulties the author met before he could realize his dream of conducting a clinical research that would be approved by the DEA and be adequately funded.
While reading this extraordinary book I could sense a feeling of mounting exasperation and disappointment. I am not sure if this originated in me or was being transferred by the author. It might actually be a combination of both. For it seems we both had the same expectations in terms of what DMT could do for spiritual development. This was actually the main reason why I purchased this book in the first place. I wanted to read about the spiritual experiences that various subjects might have had under the influence of DMT. If you share this interest you might ultimately be disappointed like I was, and apparently like Strassman was himself after discovering that the intense experiences of DMT had often only short term effects.
I believe the difficulty might have something to do with the variety of subjects that were selected for this project. My impression, and this is only an impression for I have no direct experience with DMT, is that in order to achieve accelerated spiritual development with DMT one might need to be highly spiritual to begin with. When I write this I have in mind Alex Grey for example who has experienced DMT extensively and has put it to good use in his highly spiritual paintings.
So when viewed from the angle of spirituality this project can be considered a complete failure. But a very useful one, for this is only the beginning. Strassman opened the doors of perception for the medical authorities and his experience will eventually be used as the foundation of a new programme to investigate the potential value of psychedelic drugs to treat mentally ill patients. If that indeed becomes a reality one day Strassman will have accomplished a great deal of his goal.
But if you expect the author to recount his own experiences with DMT, or other psychedelic drugs, you might be frustrated because he did not share with us whatever direct experience he might have had himself. I mention this because I know that many of us would have appreciated very much if Strassman had recounted at least some of the most valuable experiences he might have gone through and if he had compared them with those of his volunteers or others.
Ultimately what you will get from this book will depend of you and your own expectations. I guess it was the same for all those who participated in this extraordinary experiment.
Même s'il s'agit là d'une approche assez spéciale (je veux dire par là hors cadre ritualisé, comme c'est normalement le cas dans ce genre d'expériences "mystiques") le bouquin nous en apprend pas mal sur les difficultés qui peuvent apparaître sur le chemin d'un chercheur "classique"... Strassman se retrouve confronté à ses propres limites, et cela seul vaut déjà la lecture. Un bon complément aux livres de John Mack (Abduction) mais aussi aux livres de Terence et Dennis Mckenna, ou à "Supernatural" de Hancock!! A ne pas manquer, car unique en son genre... Même si l'on aurait aimé que cela aille beaucoup plus loin!!
Livre qui se lit très facilement, car ce n'est pas un compte rendu exact de résultats scientifiques, mais plutôt de ressentis de l'auteur et de ses sujets. On en apprend aussi sur l'histoire des psychédéliques, le pourquoi des recherches et aussi de leur arrêt parfois brutal.