Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar

07/23/2019

Erik Davis: High Weirdness

An exploration of the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson.

A study of the spiritual provocations to be found in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson, High Weirdness charts the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality that arose from the American counterculture of the 1970s. These three authors changed the way millions of readers thought, dreamed, and experienced reality-but how did their writings reflect, as well as shape, the seismic cultural shifts taking place in America?

In High Weirdness, Erik Davis-America's leading scholar of high strangeness-examines the published and unpublished writings of these vital, iconoclastic thinkers, as well as their own life-changing mystical experiences. Davis explores the complex lattice of the strange that flowed through America's West Coast at a time of radical technological, political, and social upheaval to present a new theory of the weird as a viable mode for a renewed engagement with reality.

Erik Davis is an author, podcaster, award-winning journalist, and independent scholar based in San Francisco. His wide-ranging work focuses on the intersection of alternative religion, media, and the popular imagination. In addition to High Weirdness, he is also the author of Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica (2010), The Visionary State: A Journey through California's Spiritual Landscape (2006), a short critical volume on Led Zeppelin (2005), and the celebrated TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information (1998). Erik's scholarly and popular essays on music, technoculture, drugs, and spirituality have appeared in scores of books, magazines, and journals, and his writing has been translated into a dozen languages. Davis has spoken widely at conferences, retreat centers, and festivals, and has been interviewed by CNN, the BBC, public radio, and the New York Times. He explores the "cultures of consciousness" on his long-running weekly podcast Expanding Mind.

Jul 23, 7pm to 8pm, In the basement Moe's Books, 2476 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley