Erik Graff's Reviews > The Deep Self: Profound Relaxation and the Tank Isolation Technique

The Deep Self by John C. Lilly
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's review
Jun 16, 2010

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bookshelves: psychology
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Recommended for: psychonauts, Lilly fans
Read in June, 2003 — I own a copy

This is the most focused book I've seen on Lilly's sensory deprivation tank experiments. The original question was about what would be left if all extermal stimuli were removed--in other words, what constitutes the endopsychic? Originally, this was a government sponsored study. They were interested in its potential applications to interrogation, an example of which was to give a subject a dose of LSD, then seal him in. Stuff like this and the mistreatment of dolphins (can they be used as intelligent torpedoes?), with whom Lilly also worked, led Lilly to abandon such sponsored research and head off on his own. He certainly took doses of LSD in the tank, but, having done so voluntarily, he did not kick his way out, screaming, like one of the earlier coerced G.I. subjects did. Instead, well, he went to other worlds as one can do with large enough doses of the drug, but more easily without the distractions of this one.

This book not only describes the history of his work with sensory deprivation and some of his experiences. It also shows one how to build a sensory deprivation tank.

Interestingly, I was first exposed to this work in high school by means of a Bell Labs film about the mind--another example about how our socialistic public education system is a cancer eating away at morality and civilization.
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