glyph 235: book, novel ... Russia ... war and peace, social transformation, drugs, addiction, meditation, spirituality, Russian history, socialist history, politics ... satire . communism . militarism, Western and other ... psychadelics, alcohol ..... russian language translation ... bibliography: plants, drugs, social transformation


Project Nirvana: How the Cold War Was Won, by Pyotr Patrushev

humanity consciously guiding evolution — a "science truth" novel

The author, Pyotr Patrushev writes:

The theme of "humanity consciously guiding evolution" is an important and topical one. The book's setting in Soviet Russia is as realistic as is possible for a "science truth" book.

Similar books: Huxley's Island, Brave New World, Stanislaw Lem's The Futurological Congress, Zamyatin's We, Orwell's 1984.

The book intends to stimulate the reader to anticipate possible contemporary scenarios; to satirize certain aspects of the past Soviet society as well as a contemporary Western one.

The story is based on the author's personal experiences with Russian and American scientists. Use of psychedelic substances and meditation is described as a state policy in its battle against alcohol, drug addiction and social stagnation. Propagation of mystical/religious experience among the masses became an unexpected by-product of the experiment. Explores the effect of the "peace drug" on war-mongering mentality of a Western military expert, a Russian scientist and other personalities.

About the author (from his website):

Pyotr Patrushev has worked as a radio journalist for the BBC in London and Radio Liberty in Munich and San Francisco. His commentaries in the Sydney Morning Herald (a leading Australian daily) and on the national radio and television established him as one of the pre-eminent commentators on Soviet and Russian affairs. His work as an interpreter with American and Russian scientists who were doing pioneering work in the 80's and 90's in the areas of brain/mind interaction provided him with a wealth of material on which Project Nirvana is based.

Pyotr Patrushev is the only escapee to survive a swim from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea border, which during Soviet times was perhaps the most closely guarded border in the world. He now lives near Sydney, Australia, with his wife and son.

Review by Dr Peter King, Professor, Sydney University:

Patrushev has seen the socialist past and it really didn't work. This tremendously insightful and witty novella is full of ideas — bad ones whose time will come again, and good ones, which are timeless. Nirvana goes with the fantastic idea that Soviet style socialism could have been made to work (sort of) by a combination of psychotropic manipulation and transcendental meditation — and makes it plausible. Drawing on his own rich experience of communist bureaucratic bastardry (he escaped it by—literally—swimming to freedom) he has the democrat heroes of his fantasy USSR (with help from a hijacked American spook and a captive Indian swami) succeed in overcoming Leninist tyranny and Brezhnevist stagnation with a combination of guile and good luck. Unhappily Gorbachev, when the time came, couldn't pull off anything so impressive.


Patrushev's website:

Patrushev's autobiography (Russian):

Project Nirvana has a large and up to date bibliography on plants, drugs and consciousness and social transformation.
entered before July 9, 2006

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