Warren, Jeff 1971-
Warren, Jeff 1971-
Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]
Radio producer and freelance writer. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, freelance producer.
Frommer's Algonquin Provincial Park, John Wiley & Sons (New York, NY), 2002.
(And illustrator) The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness, Random House (New York, NY), 2007.
Jeff Warren is a radio producer. Born in 1971, he has lived and worked in London, Paris, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Montreal. In Toronto, he serves as a freelance radio producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Warren wrote, illustrated, and published The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness in 2007. The book looks into the various states of consciousness Warren achieved by subjecting himself to lucid dreaming, spiritual meditation retreats, and recreating patterns of sleep used by early humans. Warren outlined his study in an interview with Paul Comstock in the California Literary Review, noting that the book "is about what happens when you investigate consciousness from experience forward, instead of—in the style of the vast majority of consciousness books—theory back. My experiences—my adventures—take me all over the world, from lucid dreaming workshops to meditation retreats, neurofeedback clinics, sleep laboratories, hypnotist chairs and more. I eventually realize that each of the twelve states of consciousness I profile has its own specialized brand of knowledge and insight. They have personal as well as scientific value, which should hardly be surprising."
In an interview with Jason B. Jones on the Bookslut Web site, Warren explained the origin of the book's concept, stating: "The genesis of The Head Trip was an accident I had at twenty-one, when I fell out of a tree and busted my neck on a street in Montreal. The hardest part of the recovery was psychological; when I returned to my studies I found I couldn't write essays the way I once could. My style of processing had changed. My thinking went from being very linear and progressive to more lateral and associative." Warren summarized that "the chief point of the book is to re-empower the mind. The mind—in the form of expectations, beliefs and, most optimistically, intention—is a more-than-epiphenomenal driver of actual physical change in the body and brain. You can learn to create your own special effects. You have agency." Warren added that other significant points of the book are "to wake people up to the deliriously varied terrain of their nighttime lives," as well as "to help people look be- yond black and white waking rationality, which turns out to be just one capacity on a very bright and colorful palette. Different states of consciousness seem to privilege different styles of knowledge."
Doug Johnstone, writing in the London Independent, found the account to be a "thoroughly entertaining book," noting that "it's Warren's engaging first-hand experience that brings all this to life. As he undergoes hypnagogic experiments, SMR training, lucid dream classes in Hawaii or meditation in the Scottish Highlands, you're right there with him. You'll never look at waking, sleeping or dreaming the same way again." A contributor to Publishers Weekly suggested that the most important aspect of the book is "the basic tools—and the visionary spirit—that Warren hands off to those interested in hacking their own minds." A critic writing in Kirkus Reviews mentioned that the part of the book where Warren discusses the patterns of sleep relating to waking up for a so-called "night watch" was "one of the most engrossing sections." The same critic described the book as "a sprawling and occasionally goofy examination of a shockingly little understood aspect of our lives." Mary Ann Hughes, reviewing the book in Library Journal, concluded that The Head Trip "manages to convey a good deal about the science of cognition in an easy-to-absorb narrative." Jones concluded in an article on the Bookslut Web site that "Warren is an engaging field guide in these adventures, and The Head Trip will interest anyone curious about the black box of consciousness," and he called it "a compelling first-person account of our daily-increasing knowledge of mental activity."
Warren told CA: "My primary interest is in dramatizing the mysterious relationship between the mind and the world. Which, you could argue, is what everyone writes about, whether they know it or not."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
California Literary Review, January 17, 2008, Paul Comstock, author interview.
Independent (London, England), January 13, 2008, review of The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2007, review of The Head Trip.
Library Journal, December 1, 2007, Mary Ann Hughes, review of The Head Trip, p. 138.
Publishers Weekly, September 24, 2007, review of The Head Trip, p. 59.
Washington Post Book World, December 23, 2007, Dennis Drabelle, review of The Head Trip, p. 4.
Bookslut,http://www.bookslut.com/ (July 3, 2008), Jason B. Jones, author interview.
Head Trip Web site,http://www.headtrip.ca (July 3, 2008), author profile.