First appeared in the Boston Book Review.
English writer Sadie Plant is author of "The Most Radical Gesture: The Situationist International in a Postmodern Age," and "Zeros + Ones: Digital Women + the New Technoculture." Her new book, "Writing on Drugs," focuses on the way drugs have been portrayed in western culture.
[Walter] Benjamin was one of several German intellectuals who experimented with mescaline, opium and hashish in the years between the wars, and his early participation in what became known as critical theory found him chasing a secular version of the intoxication of religious ecstasy, "a profane illumination," as he wrote in his essay on surrealism . . . Benjamin imagined revolution as a moment of shared intoxication, a modern expression of a wild and ancient energy, running through the proletariat.
"Writing on Drugs"