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"What has allowed so many Psychopathic Personalities to rise so high in corporations and government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

  A combination of a drug and a particular mental state allow a person to devolve to an animal level of their choice.  

The first tranquilizer (Reserpine) appeared in western medicine in 1952; one assumes that abuse of this drug followed shortly thereafter. In the world of this novel (about eight hundred years from now), there were many ways to escape the grim reality (or the ecstatic potentialities) of life.

They were in a large, bare room. A heavy rope was suspended from the ceiling. A ... man was entwined with the rope midway in the air. He squirmed and slithered up and down the rope, emitting a mewling sound and a musky odorů

"Analogue. Psychiatric dope for psychotics. Illegal. A twitch has to release himself somehow, revert back to the primitive. He identifies with a particular kid of animal .. Gorilla, grizzly, brood bull, wolf. Takes the dope and turns into the animal he admires."

From The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester.
Published by Berkley in 1956
Additional resources -

Gully Foyle, the protagonist, is in some ways an exceptional man; he demonstrated extraordinary capacities that were terrifying to the ordinary person. Over the course of the novel, he comes to terms with himself and his potential.

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