Contents – Excursions to the Far Side of the Mind

Contents of Excursions to the Far Side of the Mind
by Howard Rheingold

  • Foreword to the 2012 Edition
  • Introduction
  • Part One: Extraterrestrial Anthropology
    • A Stroll Through Local Spacetime —Anyone who lives in the vicinity of the Haight Ashbury long enough becomes an urban paleontologist by default…
    • The California Bug —Medical science has yet to isolate the specific germ, spore, or neurofungus that transforms normal earthlings into Californians, but the existence of such a metaphysically virulent organism can and must be inferred through indirect measures…
    • Saturday Night with the Technarchists —That’s how I ended up underneath a freeway offramp at 2:00am, surrounded by 500 members of a subcult I had never nightmared before I met them, mashed up against a chainlink fence, choked by smoke, assaulted by sirens, scared witless by bombs, flamethrowers, and flying glass while we watched giant, fire-belching robots attack suspended kerosene-filled phone booths…
  • Part Two: Over the Edge of Science
    • The Smell of Things to Come —Forget extrasensory perception and turn your attention to smell, the wallflower of the senses, for true telepathy resides in the nose…
    • What Causes Anger? —The three horsemen of the 20th century—anger, anxiety, and stress—ride through the modern no-man’s-land where our carnivorous past battles our philosophic present…
    • Brave New Male —If you are one of the billion-odd earthlings who possess a penis, be prepared for some strange changes—soon…
    • Insect Erotica: Why Have Sex at All? —Entomological erotica may sound oxymoronic, but you’ll never be the same once you find out what the bugs already know…
    • The Shape of the Universe —The shape of the universe is right there in front of you, if nobody has chopped it down yet…
  • Part Three: Cognitive Technologies
    • Future Highs —By the year 2001, will the man and woman above town select their states of consciousness from moment to moment and commute between mental levels as easily as we now commute between continents?
    • Dreamworks—Spirit in the Dark —I’ll never forget the night I met my extradimensional redhead. Her mind was unnaturally attuned to my innermost thoughts. Her sensual intensity was almost unreal. But when the tiny, purple, glowing orchids blossomed from her fingertips and luminous petals carpeted my epidermis, my reality alarm cried out, “Whoa, there…”
    • Vizthink —Our eyeballs are assaulted with more raw visual information in a typical day than our grandparents assimilated in a year. I call it viziblast, future shock of the optic nerve.
  • Part Four: Magnetic Fieldwork
    • Bashed: What it’s Like to be in a Car Crash —You too can experience the sweet tingle and taste the primordial nectar of your own rushing adrenaline. All you need is the nerve to ride in an automobile…
    • The Ultimate Cashflow —Billions of dollars used to pass through my hands every day. Frankly, I enjoyed it. I like my job so much that I sometimes arrived early in order to admire the building where I did my business…
    • Virtual Communities —For the past three years, I have participated in a wide-ranging, intellectually stimulating, professionally rewarding, and often intensely emotional exchange with dozens of new friends and hundreds of colleagues. And I still spend my days in an office, physically isolated. My mind, however, is linked with a worldwide collection of like-minded (and not-so-like-minded) souls: my virtual community.

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