Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story Themes

Alexander Shulgin
This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Pihkal.
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Chemistry as Art

As a chemist, Shulgin denounces the idea that chemistry is a straightforward science and instead presents it as a form of spiritual art. This fact is most evident in the conversation Shura and Alice have in chapter twenty-six concerning the consumption of psychoactive mushrooms versus a pure extract of psilocybin, their active ingredient. Alice contends that the pure chemical would lack the soul of the living plant, but Shura argues that each chemical has its own personality and soul as well. Shura even goes so far as to ascribe emotional states and intentions to the chemicals he invents. However, Shura does admit that the chemical must interact with a human body before its nature can be known.

There are also several secondary indications of Shulgin's belief that chemistry is more art than science. Whenever Shura takes one of his psychedelic compounds, he does not mix it...

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This section contains 797 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story Study Guide
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