THE DEEP SELF: Profound Relaxation and the Tank Isolation Technique by

THE DEEP SELF: Profound Relaxation and the Tank Isolation Technique

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It is dismaying to find a medical doctor writing a book as irresponsible, anti-intellectual, casuistical, and frenzied as this. For 23 years, Lilly has been working to refine ""the tank isolation technique,"" in which the subject floats in a saturated water solution (with or without ingesting LSD), the tank achieving ""99 percent attenuation of all external stimulus input."" But scientific considerations of ""profound relaxation"" or the psycho- and biological consequences of extreme isolation are quickly abandoned, giving way to decidedly unscientific pronouncements about new levels of awareness, based on self-validating experience--not the scientific method and reasonably corroborated experimentation. Grandiose in his claims-""The basic belief that one could leave the body and explore new universes was successfully programmed""--he proceeds by rhetorical elaboration and inflation rather than by development and evidence. His prose, like his case, is a dismal confection of computerese (""Self-metaprogramming,"" ""sets,"" etc.) with drugculture argot and gnostic visions (of the mind's limits transcended, of new domains and universes), before it yields to opaque, would-be-technical gibberish (""cognitional multidimensional projection spaces""), and finally--pathetically--to extended pages of paranoid rant (""Today. . . I cannot discuss certain experiments"" because it means having ""to face the onerous burden of. . . an unreceptive. . . hostile or coercive world,"" in which ""Many of my former colleagues disavowed me. . . former friends [have ceased] maintaining contact with me""; etc. etc.). The reader does learn how to construct and maintain an isolation tank, but nothing credible about its effects; and that information, in isolation, could be dangerous.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1977
Publisher: Simon & Schuster