cover image Excursions to the Far Side of the Mind: A Book of Memes

Excursions to the Far Side of the Mind: A Book of Memes

Howard Rheingold, Author Beech Tree Paperback Book $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06833-2

Rheingold, author of Tools for Thought, calls himself an ``extraterrestrial anthropologist,'' one who views earthly society from an off-planet perspective. These glib, often superficial pieces from Playboy, Oui, Whole Earth Review, California Living and elsewhere do not support his cosmic pretensions, however. He touts computer networks as ``virtual communities''; dabbles in pop sociobiology (`` . . . humans fight so much because so many males find fighting sexy''); interviews a chemist who invents mind-altering drugs; sniffs at human pheromones (message-transmitting odors); and speculates on whether men will have replaceable sex organs and electronic aphrodisiacs by the year 2000. A couple of the 15 essays are solidly informative, howeverfor instance, his discussion of dreams as a tool for self-analysis and an examination of the use of visual imagery in artistic and scientific creativity. (July)