The best books on things we don’t normally perceive or consider, but which have great importance

Who am I?

I’ve always been interested in the interface of biology and the mind, and between the mind and usually invisible worlds. Both Philip K Dick and the medieval Jewish philosophers labor mightily to unpack and communicate realms of the imagination residing in science fiction as well as Hebrew Bible prophecy. Likewise, the influx of Eastern religious practices and beliefs have pointed to areas of consciousness previously unknown to the West.


I wrote...

DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible

By Rick Strassman,

Book cover of DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible

What is my book about?

After completing his groundbreaking research chronicled in DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Rick Strassman was left with one fundamental question: What does it mean that DMT, a simple chemical naturally found in all of our bodies, instantaneously opens us to an interactive spirit world that feels more real than our own world?

When his decades of clinical psychiatric research and Buddhist practice were unable to provide answers to this question, Strassman began searching for a more resonant spiritual model. He found that the visions of the Hebrew prophets--such as Ezekiel, Moses, Adam, and Daniel--were strikingly similar to those of the volunteers in his DMT studies. Carefully examining the concept of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible, he characterizes a "prophetic state of consciousness" and explains how it may share biological and metaphysical mechanisms with the DMT effect.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Guide for the Perplexed

Rick Strassman Why did I love this book?

The classic 13th century medieval Jewish philosophic text that proposes a sophisticated—for that time—metaphysical model of spiritual experience; in this case, prophecy as articulated in the Hebrew Bible. The intellectual scaffolding for my attempt to resurrect a metaphysics of prophecy in my 2014 book "DMT and the Soul of Prophecy."

By Moses Maimonides,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Guide for the Perplexed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the full, unabridged text of one of the greatest philosophic works of all time. Written by a 12th- century thinker who was equally active as an original philosopher and as a Biblical and Talmudic scholar, it is both a classic of great historical importance and a work of living significance today.
The Guide for the Perplexed was written for scholars who were bewildered by the conflict between religion and the scientific and philosophic thought of the day. It is concerned, basically, with finding a concord between the religion of the Old Testament and its commentaries, and Aristotelian philosophy.…


Book cover of Theological-Political Treatise: Tractatus Theologico-Politicus

Rick Strassman Why did I love this book?

Ostensibly an implacable intellectual foe of Maimonides’ “Guide,” this twice-excommunicated Jewish philosopher makes his own compelling arguments for the basis of spiritual experience/prophecy. At the same time, one senses a powerful compatibility with his philosophical opponent’s viewpoints.

By Robert Harvey Munroe Elwes, Benedictus de Spinoza,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Theological-Political Treatise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Theological-Political Treatise (Latin: Tractatus Theologico-Politicus) by Baruch Spinoza, was originally published in Latin in 1670. The work is a pre-emptive defence of his post-humously published magnum opus, Ethics (Latin: Ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata), a book which he expected a barrage of harsh criticism for.In the treatise, Spinoza elaborated a harsh systematic criticism of Judaism and general organised religion. Arguing that theology and philosophy needed to be kept separate. Distinguishing between theology's goal of obedience, and philosophy's attempt to understand rational truth. Spinoza also argued that claimed supernatural events, like prophecy and miracles have natural explanations. Furthermore, he argued that God…


Book cover of Valis

Rick Strassman Why did I love this book?

VALIS—Vast Active Living Intelligence System—is one of PK Dick’s most inspiring, and at the same time, depressing, novels. A bizarre film leads a rag tag group of friends to even more bizarre adventures. They meet a 2-year-old Messiah who cures the protagonist’s psychosis. Any more would be spoiling the plot.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Valis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It began with a blinding light, a divine revelation from a mysterious intelligence that called itself VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System). And with that, the fabric of reality was torn apart and laid bare so that anything seemed possible, but nothing seemed quite right.

It was madness, pure and simple. But what if it were true?


Book cover of Four Novels of the 1960s

Rick Strassman Why did I love this book?

“The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldridge” is the most horrifying and terrifying novel I’ve ever read. A terran psychedelic drug begins being supplanted by one from another star system. The latter compound never lets you come down—just when you think you have, you start tripping again. And so on…

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Four Novels of the 1960s as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Known in his lifetime primarily to readers of science fiction, Philip K. Dick is now seen as a uniquely visionary figure, a writer who, in editor Jonathan Lethem’s words, “wielded a sardonic yet heartbroken acuity about the plight of being alive in the twentieth century, one that makes him a lonely hero to the readers who cherish him.”

This Library of America volume brings together four of Dick’s most original novels. The Man in the High Castle (1962), which won the Hugo Award, describes an alternate world in which Japan and Germany have won World War II and America is…


Book cover of Be Here Now

Rick Strassman Why did I love this book?

For better and for worse, I read this book when it came out in 1971. It set me on a long and winding path through psychedelics, Eastern religion, and psychology, from which I never returned.

By Ram Dass,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Be Here Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beloved guru Ram Dass tells the story of his spiritual awakening and gives you the tools to take control of your life in this “counterculture bible” (The New York Times) featuring powerful guidance on yoga, meditation, and finding your true self.

When Be Here Now was first published in 1971, it filled a deep spiritual emptiness, launched the ongoing mindfulness revolution, and established Ram Dass as perhaps the preeminent seeker of the twentieth century.

Just ten years earlier, he was known as Professor Richard Alpert. He held appointments in four departments at Harvard University. He published books, drove a Mercedes…


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Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

By Christina Ward,

Book cover of Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

Christina Ward Author Of Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

New book alert!

Who am I?

For me, history is always about individuals; what they think and believe and how those ideas motivate their actions. By relegating our past to official histories or staid academic tellings we deprive ourselves of the humanity of our shared experiences. As a “popular historian” I use food to tell all the many ways we attempt to “be” American. History is for everyone, and my self-appointed mission is to bring more stories to readers! These recommendations are a few stand-out titles from the hundreds of books that inform my current work on how food and religion converge in America. You’ll have to wait for Holy Food to find out what I’ve discovered.

Christina's book list on the hidden history of America

What is my book about?

Does God have a recipe? Independent food historian Christina Ward’s highly anticipated Holy Food explores the influence of mainstream to fringe religious beliefs on modern American food culture.

Author Christina Ward unravels how religious beliefs intersect with politics, economics, and, of course, food to tell a different story of America. It's the story of true believers and charlatans, of idealists and visionaries, and of the everyday people who followed them—often at their peril.

Holy Food explains how faith pioneers used societal woes and cultural trends to create new pathways of belief and reveals the interconnectivity between sects and their leaders.

Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

By Christina Ward,

What is this book about?

Does God have a recipe?

"Holy Food is a titanic feat of research and a fascinating exploration of American faith and culinary rites. Christina Ward is the perfect guide – generous, wise, and ecumenical." — Adam Chandler, author of Drive-Thru Dreams

"Holy Food doesn't just trace the influence that preachers, gurus, and cult leaders have had on American cuisine. It offers a unique look at the ways spirituality—whether in the form of fringe cults or major religions—has shaped our culture. Christina Ward has gone spelunking into some very odd corners of American history to unearth this fascinating collection of stories…


Genres
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5 book lists we think you will like!

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