If you spent much time in the latter half of the twentieth century, many of
the ideas in this book will ring familiar, though you may be surprised to know
that they are still extant; and if you didnít, if you are a twenty- or even
thirty-something, Xenolinguistics will be uncharted territory, with only a few
pioneers, like its author, Diana Reed Slattery, boldly going there.
here brings xenolinguistics (the study of alien language) fully into the light, is noted for her unconventional research in psychedelics, language, and the phenomenology of altered states of consciousness. This was hot stuff in the 1960s and lingered on for a few more decades until we got lost in the swamp of the world wide web, everybodyís easily accessible altered state. Not so for Slattery, who began thinking about aliens and reading sci-fi at an early age and never lost her zeal. The book details the many facets of creativity, especially innovative ways of playing with words, ways that reach far beyond the standard "Rs" of reading and writing. For some, xenolinguistics emerges naturally out of the experience of psychedelics and can contain such elements as "high resolution" vision and "hyperconnectivity," a sense of being one with all life, indeed with all perceived objects. For others, it emerges out of creative pursuits.
And to a few, it offers the alluring prospect of contact with alien life forms.
The author avers that, "the mutated realities of psychedelic experience are often viewed with deep suspicion by the unexperienced." She draws from many sources to examine why this may be so, and whether it should be so. Citing examples such as Charles Tartís 1971 study of marijuana use, she notes
that people under the influence of weed may exhibit "a range between saying relatively profound things and giggling." Aldous
Huxley experimented with psychedelics and came to the conclusion that
consciousness can be defined as "the mind at large." J.R.R. Tolkien, presumably without getting stoned, tuned in to some other cosmos, it seems, when he invented his own weird word strings in
The Silmarillion. Xenolinguists like Slattery ponder all this and more and draw a line in space, pointing to the conclusion that psychedelics and/or higher realms of creativity can lead to a means of communicating with beings beyond our planet (citing
panspermia, the innate sense that life did not begin, and is not the exclusive purview of Terra). Slattery focuses much attention on the radical but always engaging work of philosopher Terence McKenna, a self-styled "psychonaut" who mined deep meaning from the
I Ching and the Mayan calendar, and invented the "novelty theory."
As you read this well-researched (and never boring) treatise, you might find yourself w ishing to becomea psychonaut.
You might want to study the runic communication method the author calls Glide,
and to travel--both inside yourself and beyond the stars--for clues to who you
are, and where you really come from.