Yesterday, for my Anthropology class, I read a short excerpt from Mark Plotkin‘s book Medicine Quest, meant as a brief introduction to entheogen use in indigenous cultures. In it, the author gives a small introduction to Ayahuasca and documents a trip he took in the Amazon. I was happy that this was assigned reading – that information like this is getting out to people other than us crazies who pursue it on our own – but the professor’s lecture on entheogens today reversed my mood into depression. At times she just annoyed me, attributing Aldous Huxley quotes to Allan Watts, mispronouncing Ayahuasca, etc. But at other times, her misrepresentation of facts (and including opiates in the same lecture) was insulting.
People should be required, at the bare minimum, to at least read a well-informed book on the subject before they’re allowed to lecture on it. It makes me shutter to think that today’s lecture may have been someone’s first introduction to entheogens.
On the other hand, I never thought I’d be given a college lecture with photos provided by Erowid.