Well, now I want a deal this afternoon with a troublesome aspect of the whole problem of the transformation of consciousness.
Which has received during the past few years and even more during the past few months.
An enormous amount of publicity.
And that is, of course, the connection between alterations of consciousness and development of mystical states of awareness with drugs.
And the first thing we have to do in considering a question of this kind is to clean up our semantics.
First of all, I want to say a little bit about artificial and natural. Because there are certain contexts in which the word natural means good and artificial means bad.
And I, for the life of me, I cannot get to the bottom of this.
Because nothing is more artificial than the distinction between the artificial and the natural.
The bird’s nest is as artificial as a house. So is a business. Everything done by artifice is artificial, I suppose. And yet if you look as the Chinese do at art as a work of nature, you wonder what all this means. ArtificiaLity, in one sense is acting with skill or with art. It means in Latin, Fishel is from the root factory to make ours artists. Artifact what is made by art. So a sculpture, painting, in fact, anything well and skillfully made as an artifact or a work of art. Doesn’t have to be fine art to be a shoe, a dress of cooking pot, anything. In fact, our museums are stocked with the everyday objects of the ancients, which we consider works of art.
I don’t know whether in the future there will stop museums with aluminum saucepans and things like that. It remains to be seen.
But then the artificial also has a secondary sense of something that looks too much as if it were a work of art.
What we call affected, studied or contrived. When you get what looks like a drinking glass made of glass and you suddenly find out it’s made of plastic, you’ll get a feeling of the artificial and second sense something pretending to be what it isn’t. Something that lacks what you expected. The cool heavy quality of a glass and suddenly it’s featherweight and has no substance to it. Or when a person behaves in an artificial way, you feel they are awkward about it. They are putting it on and what they are putting on at you is entirely different from what they feel underneath. Then you say their behavior is contrived or artificial. And I suppose we could use the word artificial this way to mean that to have a kind of a bad sense. So then that arises the troublesome question.
Is there any difference between natural and artificial ways of taking transformations of consciousness which lead you to great insights and understandings? And this is, of course, comparable to the problem of travel. It is natural to walk. You are endowed with legs. Is it unnatural to ride a horse, to take a carriage, to drive an automobile, to take a jet plane? Is that artificial or is it an extension of human capacity in the same way as a bird’s nest? That’s a very difficult question to decide if you have time. Of course, it’s fun to drive to the East Coast. Practically no one bothers to walk nowadays. That would be very abnormal. But of course, if you drive or even take a bicycle, you do see the country and you are aware of the great transition that you’re making from one coast to another.
But you sure can’t swim to Tokyo. If you’re going to go there at all, you acquire, you require at least the artificiality of the boat, and the Pacific is a big, big, empty bunch of water and one bits as much like another unless you landed an island. So you may as well take the plane. There you are in 13 hours. What a difference from the day when they drifted across by the currents, took sailing boats.
Well, you could say when they got there, they really knew they were there. Nowadays, traveling by jet is simply like going inside an elevator. You get the say, whereas the elevator, if it goes too fast, goes down from the 10th floor to the first. And you feel your stomach has been left on the. Traveling by jet, you are apt to feel that your psyche hasn’t caught up with you and left it back in New York. And here you are in the higher the times all different. And it’s earlier in the day than practically when you started and you feel sort of this arranged, but all the same. Would it be reasonable to argue that you ought not to travel by jet planes, that you should leave and proceed in a proper, slow manner? Of course, the people who can’t afford to travel by jet will tell you so that their way is obviously more natural than yours, and that you are cheating when you take the jet.
You’re a wretched capitalist or something, but you see, this is an internal debate goes on and on and on and is a kind of one upmanship.
The real question is, of course, if you take a jet plane to the Orient, what are you going to do when you get there?
That’s the real question. Are you going to go to all the best European style or American style hotels and visit Japan as if you were inside a glass case?
That would be pretty artificial because after all, you could just sit home and see color movies for all that goes.
And I do take her people to Japan on and off and some of them like to get mixed up in the life of the country. But some of them absolutely want to be wrapped in cellophane and hygienic.
They can’t stand the idea of eating Japanese food. A Japanese bathtub as deplorable as for a Japanese toilet. It is unspeakable because they are so rigid and adaptable that they won’t learn new ways of doing things. So it does make a difference whether even if everybody goes by Jet, how they relate themselves to the new environment when they get there. That’s the important question. And that depends on whether they’re adaptable personalities or rigid personalities.
How stuck they are. How how their identity is glued to certain ways of behaving. There are some people who, unless they have a certain same kind of breakfast every day, are just not themselves.
I remember I used to eat at the lunch counter in England, where an extremely square young man was often there at the same time I was, and he would invariably order three small beef sandwiches. This place specialized in rather small sandwiches, and he ordered everyday three beef and a glass of beer. And if it had ever changed, he would have had a complete psychic upheaval.
But now the same the question of the jet plane and as to say the technical means of arriving somewhere is in a way parallel to the question. Will you travel in these states of consciousness by.
There are many ways of doing it.
You see that are the methods of meditation, some of which are quite difficult and take a very long time.
They are like walking or do what want to have technical help, that is to say.
What about the chemistry of the matter? Do these states of consciousness correspond to various states of chemistry? Now, in traditionally spiritual people in our culture are horrified at this idea because everything to do with chemistry is labeled artificial. In the bad sense.
As if somehow or other anything achieved by chemical change isn’t real. But it is somehow synthetic.
Like plastic glass instead of real glass or like synthetic vitamin C instead of vitamin C derived from rose hips or wonder bread instead of real bread.
But this isn’t so easily solved.
The word drug to begin with is an alarm word, except in certain contexts. Nobody is alarmed when they see the notice drugstore. That’s folksy and natural and longs as part of our life. Pharmacy is a little more threatening. Actually, a drugstore is OK. But when you say about somebody, he takes drugs. You are a pretty dreadful.
That sounds. It’s got the idea of drug equal dope.
And as everybody knows, a dope fiend is a character with circles under his eyes who lies around all day in a kind of stupor, experiencing inner fantasies and bliss, probably sexual and all sorts of weird things going on. And he is in a frightful state where he depends on taking more and more of this stuff and he gets increasingly dependent on it.
And oh my. That’s terrible.
Cause some of one’s best friends are alcoholics.
There is a little difference being in status from being a dope fiend, although an alcoholic, of course, can lie around and do nothing for hours and hours and just drink and get more and more dependent on it and have to drink more and more in order to keep going. I mean, you get to feel guilty about it. He has to drink more in order to stop his sense of guilt hurting because he finds out he can’t stop. So he has to go on some kind of a status symbol in being alcoholic.
It goes with the culture and it’s a mildly approved sin.
People can boast about alcohol, how much they can drink, what fun. It was the drunk we had the other night. And you can get away with it.
The Chinese and the Japanese have absolutely no sense of guilt whatsoever in connection with imbibing alcohol.
They are known among people who use other chemicals as juices, and they are amazing. You see a party of Japanese businessmen going down the street night, all with their arms around each other’s necks and swaying across the street and singing. Nobody bothers. They’re quite harmless. They’re not going to fight anybody. The police don’t care.
There they are. Everyone says it’s all right. They’re happy.
The great Chinese poets are full of references to the joys of getting gloriously drunk and then writing poetry. There was one famous Zen monk who used to get very drunk, and then he had soak his hair in Sumi ink and splash it all over a piece of paper, and then he’d wash it out and look at this thing that he had done, and he would do a Rorschach blot on it until this thing became a landscape.
Then all you’d have to do was to touch his brush to certain points. And what’s this land magnificent landscape would appear.
But he had to get to just the right degree of drunkenness to let go and slosh this paper with his inky hair.
I was one day talking with a Zen priest who a student of mine several years ago, and he said, I had a letter from my teacher this morning.
Oh, I said, that’s interesting. How is he? Oh, he’s fine. But he said he’s very drunk. He drank too much. I said, this is your teacher. He goes entertains ideas. And my Zen teacher. He said, he riven mountain where? Very cool. The only way to keep wandering socket.
And so nobody has any any any feeling about it that it’s bad, but it.
It is a drug and it is a narcotic. In the strict sense of the word of one that in quantity will induce not coasts or torpor, even sleep.
So you see, the word drug, though, isn’t normally applied to alcohol.
If somebody says the doctor says to a patient, are you taking any drugs at this time?
The patient thinks that C, penicillin or whatever, you know, sleeping pills, barbiturates and says, no, no, I’m not taking any drugs.
Forgot to mention alcohol because that doesn’t come. Not recognized as a drug. So you see how loaded the word drug is.
So if we want to keep our conversation clean, we don’t use it. There’s too many double takes and funny associations. We say instead, chemical. Nice, neutral word.
So you see them. There are states of consciousness that correspond to chemistry.
Here we get another difficulty.
There is a certain prejudice going with the word chemical to say that life. To talk about biochemistry as if life were explainable entirely in terms of chemistry or controllable in terms of chemistry seems to be a put down to life. There are many. It’s it’s it’s much within the culture that we live in that mine should always triumph of the matter. This is why Christian science is so popular in the United States and all kinds of so-called metaphysical things, divine science, religious science, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All concentrate over, think positively and all will be well. Keep your thoughts pure and clean and strong and always look on the better side of things. And then the physical world money and all that sort of thing will take care of itself. And if it doesn’t, well, be happy just the same mind over matter. This is a great thing in America.
But it’s impossible to practice because one is also material.
If you could perfectly practice mind over matter, of course you should abstain from eating and not be dependent on this murdering business that we all have to do in order to stay alive. You should certainly renounce aspirin. You shouldn’t take vitamins, their chemicals and in a sense, drugs, coffee, tea, all that. That’s very wicked. And of course, don’t drink wine.
When Italian people are asked to specify what they spend on liquor, food, etc., they always list the wine under food. Liquor means strong drink because they consider wine as healthy, normal, everyday drink that everybody naturally has. And the French would think of it the same way.
You see how culturally relative these ideas are. Depending on what you’re used to and how you’re used to classifying things.
But you see the chemistry, the chemistry of things.
Is simply a certain way of describing what happens. You can describe anything from a chemical point of view. In other words, you take an oil painting by a great master and it there is a chemical description of it possible and musical composition can be described in terms of the physics of sound and accurately measured in those terms. But the only thing is that the language of chemistry is rather clumsy when you are trying to explain what the artist was attempting to convey through his painting.
And the language is the physics of sound is rather clumsy when you’re trying to explain the intentions of Mozart.
And from some points of view, also, the language of biochemistry was clumsy when you are attempting to discuss the nature of various intellectual or spiritual insights.
But nevertheless, there is a chemical aspect to all spiritual things. Just as for every photograph, whether it be a photograph of a great saint or a striptease artist in the newspaper, there is at the basis of all of them that grid, which is necessary for reproducing a photograph at all.
So let’s not be too snobbish about our relationship to processes that have chemical and physical descriptions attached to them.
Even the Catholic Church.
Admits there are such things as sacraments.
And that through the physical agency of water, a person may be given the grace of baptism and through the physical agencies of bread and wine, he may partake of the body and blood of Christ.
Using physical means to a spiritual end.
And I always detect in people who want to make mind entirely superior to matter, matters completely subordinate to mind a certain kind of spiritual pride. Which in Christianity is the most insufferable of sins. G.K. Chesterton used to recommend as a spiritual exercise, putting your head on the ground and looking between your legs so that you could see everything as if it were hanging from the earth.
Everything dependent on the earth dependent means in Latin, hanging down, hanging from. And this is a good point of view.
Because you see, as I may have indicated in the seminar, I think it is in this, people who are too spiritual are like wine or drink, which is pure alcohol, it has no body. And people who are too material are like Grenadines. It’s a soft, sweet drink with no bite, no spirit.
And we have to follow the middle way. So therefore, there are chemicals which bring about changes of consciousness. Which can be.
In my opinion, aides to the meditation process.
I remember a Chinese doused philosopher once said to me, when you start meditating, you should have a few drinks.
It will increase your progress by about six months.
That’s a dangerous attitude and it’s a very Chinese attitude. That may be true for Chinese people. I will, I will. I don’t. I don’t like to work that way myself.
But when it comes to what can be done with the type of chemicals that have been called psychedelic. That is a very meaningless word.
That means nothing at all in Greek except perhaps soul destroying. But it is meant to mean mind manifesting.
I call them psychotropic, which, although it is a very vague term, just means consciousness or mind changing. Of course, all the narcotics are psychotropic. They change. The mind is very difficult to find a word for those chemicals that have to do with these states. But there are in a way, these certain ones to be considered.
And we can say they are roughly form into three types because the cannabis or Indian hemp there is masculine.
And psilocybin. And then as LSD.
These are the principal ones that are under discussion today. And over here, of course, you see in this demand we have alcohol.
Opiates. And I suppose barbiturates.
In other words, the true narcotics.
In the use of any of these substances. There are three factors to be considered or what is called more strictly three variables.
One is the chemical itself.
Two is the setting in which it is used. This the surrounding circumstances, both physical and social.
And three, the set and the set means the attitude and character of the person using them as background. What he brings to it.
And because there are three variables, it’s impossible to say of any one of these chemicals that they are specific in what they do. And so in a way, everybody has to speak for himself because he speaks of what happens in the set and setting in which he uses them. But some generalizations can be made. All things being more or less equal. But you always have to take it with a certain grain of salt and with certain reservations.
So what we’re talking about them is the alteration of consciousness, which these things will do pretty much of themselves. And then over and above that. What they will do given the optimal set and setting.
Now, from my point of view, I do not know and nobody really knows whether any of these chemicals are specifically therapeutic. There have been in the past therapeutic uses of cannabis or Indian hemp. Old I looked at a British materia medica dated 1918 and there were all sorts of ways in which this was then prescribed. But there is no conclusive evidence that these are specific chemicals to be given for specific ailments. And normally you see when a physician prescribes a drug of a chemical of any kind, he feels that he is only justified in introducing the subject into the human system for purposes of healing a specific disease. With the exception, perhaps of vitamins, which are he feels our health builders and could, as a matter of cost, be taken as dietary supplements. In that case, he is using these chemicals as diet rather than medicine. There is an important difference you see between medicine and diet. Medicine is for a specific occasion, diet for a regular occasion. And if it is medicine, it is important, too, that you do not become hooked on medicine. One of the most important differences between the practice of a physician and the practice of a clergyman is that a physician is trying to get rid of his patients as fast as possible. He wants to cure them and send them away so that the medicine can be stopped and they don’t have to come to his office or hospital anymore. Whereas a clergyman is trying to get you hooked on the medicine. He wants you to continue to come to church to pay your pledge to be there every Sunday and become a regular member or disciple of the congregation.
It’s rather funny.
So many, many centuries ago, the physician and the priest to the same person, they had an argument at one point and they split because the physicians became more and more empirical in their approach. And the priests became more scholastic. The difference between a scholastic and an empiricist is that the scholastic knows everything that is written in the book, and he takes his idea of truth from the books and serves as a very ancient and venerable book like the Bible or the Vedas or the Confucian classics. The Scholastic looks for all truth in their pages.
He does not look outside for just the same reason that the theologians would not look through Galileo’s telescope because they said, well, if it agrees with what is in the Bible, we do not need to look through it. If it does doesn’t agree with what’s in the Bible, it must be the work of the devil. But increasingly, physicians began to take an empirical point of view, which was opposed to the scholastic and the theological, and therefore priest and physician could not be the same person. But this has had unfortunate results in that it has impoverished both professions. If somebody is seriously disturbed in mind today and he goes to a clergyman, the clergyman will immediately send him to a psychiatrist. Because no clergyman today feels except perhaps a few Catholic priests, that he has the power to cast out demons. When did you last year of somebody being exorcised? So in other words, the club most clergy do not believe in their religion. They do not have any sense that they possess any true power anymore. And so instead they send you to some psychiatrist. Now, this is not true by any means of all psychiatrist, but as I find it is true of most psychiatrist and especially those who are the residents and the permanent staff of mental hospitals.
The moment a patient there begins to talk about religion, they know he’s crazy because of religion from the point of view of the philosophy of science at the end of the nineteenth century, which was the birth time of psychoanalysis and of a great deal of modern psychiatry. It was the fashion then to regard all religious beliefs as purely superstitious. And that philosophy has carried down to the present day. There are some awkward alliances between psychiatrists and clergymen. And there is a thing called pastoral psychology or pastoral psychotherapy. There are psychiatrist teaching in theological schools. But the arrangement between them is unhappy or has been because especially when you say, well, a lot of people’s troubles are due to their sexual repressions. You take a Freudian standpoint about that. Well, the church can’t agree with you because the church is a sexual regulation society above all else, whatever. Otherwise, it pretends sexual irregularity is about the only thing you can get kicked out of the church for.
So then the doctor, the physician feels out of role when he prescribes medicine. There being no disease.
He doesn’t like to do that in the same way the doctor is shoved out of role when a patient is certainly dying and nothing will help.
He is not allowed by his ethic to administer some painless death pill to the patient, but instead it is much worse than that.
He often feels obliged to keep the patient alive as long as possible. In a state of suspended animation on the ends of all sorts of tubes.
Feeling very uncomfortable and miserable because although, however, he may be doped up against actual physical pain, all the family’s savings are going away, and the great difficulty drags on and on and on. And furthermore, the general hospital attitude to a dying patient is one of absolute falsehood. To say you’re coming on, you’ll be all right. Maybe a couple of weeks from now and all the friends come and say, cheer up. Oh, boy. The things are not so bad as they seem. They don’t add very probably they’re much worse. But there there’s a complete failure to face death as an important event.
And that is not the physician’s fault. It is that a very complex thing. His role has been socially defined in such a way that he is out of role in these emergencies as he is out of role when it comes to using chemicals for something other than the curing of disease.
Now, in my own opinion, these particular chemicals look as if they are not going to be therapeutic agents, agents, but research tools. Just as you magnify your senses with a telephone which enables you to hear for thousands of miles with television, which enables you to see for thousands of miles over the telescope, over the microscope, which enables you to see things totally invisible to the naked eye. May I ask whether these things are bad artificiality? Whether it is really wrong to use telephones, television, microscopes, telescopes? Is that bad?
Well, if it’s all right to use a microscope outside your skin.
Here it is, a brass gadget with lenses in it. It is all right if it’s outside your skin. Couldn’t it be all right to use an instrument inside your skin, which would do a kind of magnification process from within the nervous system, provided that this does not seriously damage you? I suppose you can ruin your eyesight by using microscopes.
But if it’s not damaging and if you handle it expertly, anybody can have fun looking through a microscope and see all the little things go wiggle, wiggle and see the jazz go by. But if you happen to have biological or chemical knowledge, then a microscope is an extremely useful tool, as is the telescope to an astronomer or to a navigator.
So I regard these substances as instruments for investigation of the nature of consciousness. Which require careful use because like all things that take you into unfamiliar realms, all exploring is dangerous. It’s dangerous to explore outer space. It was dangerous to settle the West because there you encountered wild Indians. In this sort of situation, you don’t encounter wild Indians, but you encounter psychoses. And that is always dangerous, of course. And you might get into a psychosis, especially if you were predisposed to do so in the first place.
But just because something is dangerous doesn’t mean at all that we shouldn’t do it. It’s dangerous to practice yoga. You can go crazy with that. Lots of people have it’s probably less dangerous to practice yoga than to drive on the freeway. It’s probably safer to take a ride by plane than to practice yoga or to take LSD. But certainly LSD is not so unsafe as to drive your car on the freeway or even around town.
So assuming the responsible use of these substances, really things can be done with them.
So let’s consider the possibilities of each of these three groups that I’ve put up here. I am going to show that normally speaking, what they will do and how far they will go of themselves.
This one cannabis will of itself go about this far.
In other words, it will add the dimension of the sensory consciousness to the symbolic.
Pretty much of itself, and obvious incidentally, is commonly known as marijuana and it is a non habit forming chemical.
Which has a usually calming but sensory alerting and intensifying effect, which is perfectly harmless if not used in very large quantities.
And practically every medical authority who’s ever published anything on it agrees with this position.
It does not lead to anything except itself unless it so happens that somebody is selling it to you who really wants to sell you heroin.
Then he will try to tempt you.
Say are sincere.
Come on, try some real good stuff. See? And there a kids say to take heroin, but heroin belongs over here and moves in this direction.
It’s a narcotic.
Cannabis belongs on this side of symbolic consciousness, moves in this direction.
These two masculine and psilocybin will of themselves take you about that far.
Into what I described in this morning session, then various characteristics of what I call the cellular consciousness, both of them are curious in respect that of course, you know, that masculine is the same as peyote. It is a distilled synthetic which corresponds to the active the main active principles in the peyote cactus and is used by the Indians of the Southwest for a religious sacrament. They are. That is the Native American Church, which is a Christian Indian church, which has a very good reputation as a kind of a law abiding, pleasant people.
The characteristic symptomatology of both these substances this incidentally is psilocybin is also from the Southwest.
That is a synthetic of the active principle of certain mushrooms that are to be found principally in the state of war. Harker But actually along the whole west coast of America, as far north as Vancouver. The Mushroom psilocybin Mexicana Heim is the principal ones so used. And likewise here again, this mushroom which is called Tail Canal or the flesh of God, is taken for religious purposes in a sacramental way. Both of these, as I would say, have a general atmosphere about them, which is rather earthy. They go extraordinarily well with the vegetative world. They bring to life one’s vision of nature and water and plants and sky in an extraordinary way. On the other hand, LSD has a more. I can only call it electronic feel about it. I don’t know why, but the possibility of LSD by itself is to get to about here. And all that I described as the molecular kind of consciousness. LSD is produced from wheat, ergot from first of all life surging acid, which is derived from wheat. Good. And then refined into a very complex molecule diet. Ethyl am I’d of Lysacek acid and the dye AFL made in particular is number 25. So it’s LSD 25 as the normal.
Correct. Initials for it.
The peculiarity of this substance is what? A lot will be done by a little. It is given in microgram doses.
Now a microgram is a millionth, not a millionth of a gram thousandths. An a milligram is a thousandth of a gram, the millionth of a ground. And that you can’t see vitamin B 12 is also given in my micrograms.
And as little as 75 or even 50 micrograms will produce the characteristic effects of LSD in most human subjects. 100 will certainly do it. I would say any dosage over 200 involves risks. And so when irresponsible experimentation involves people vying with each other as to how much they’ve taken and they start to go up towards a thousand that they’ve been just plain stupid mean who knows? Like sitting around them, man and a great drunk and betting on whether you could demolish a whole quart of whiskey in an hour. Well, what a ridiculous thing to do. I mean, that’s like trying to land a jet aircraft on the freeway is just stupid. And so one always feels that in the use of these things that they have the same sort of dangers that high powered things of any kind have rifles or automobiles or planes and therefore that the use of them should be licensed. The question is, we don’t know quite how to license them because we don’t know who is really qualified to decide. This is one of the most problematic things of the whole of our technological advance. Who is to decide? Because you seem to be a qualified expert on any of these subjects. It isn’t enough to be a psychiatrist alone. It isn’t enough to be a psycho pharmacologist. That is to say, one who specifically studies the biochemistry of the neurology of these substances. The psychiatrist should also have some knowledge of religion, of sociology, of mythology, of you might say, mythology, including symbols and all that sort of thing. Those that should go along with it. And you see, we don’t yet train a class of person who has all these disciplines at his disposal.
And so every trained class of person who belongs in a particular category. Minister, psychiatrist, pharmacologist, all feel it a bit of a disadvantage and therefore reluctant to assume responsibility for this kind of investigation. But you see, the trouble is, he’s one of those things you can’t get out of. Somebody has got to assume responsibility for it because it’s happening. All these things are being used and nothing is going to stop their use. You can’t prohibit LSD, at least you can write it down in the books that it is prohibited and you could tell the police to stop it. But why? The police are harassed enough with enough jobs as it is. Why send them on a task considerably more difficult than looking for needles in a haystack? LSD can be disguised so as to appear like almost anything.
It can be made into gun for envelopes. It can be disguised as Kleenex or blotting paper or peanut butter or honey or just anything you choose. And so it is. So my nude, it is tasteless. It has no odor. So there is no way whatsoever of concealing this. It is the perfect secret weapon. It is the perfect elixir. You know, the thing that is the mystery and therefore, it can induce. It’s fantastic paranoia.
Not only it’s so funny when you read some of the alarmist notices written about LSD from people who have never taken it. They read just as if they had taken it and then had a bad trip because they’ve got paranoia. They see it on all sides everywhere. This menace creeping in, in the marmalade, in the drinking water.
You know, to just drop a pound of it in the local reservoir, the whole town’s turned on.
So like the general in Dr. Strangelove who is objecting to the communist plot to put fluoride into the water and destroy our natural juices, similar personalities are terrified that there’s a big communist bloc of something or other to circulate LSD to undermine the youth of America and make them all peaceable so that they won’t fight.
Well, that’s not the way to handle things. All these things are best when they’re out in the open.
And then when we can have no paranoia about it, no hiding things as it is, supposing a group of students who are not out for kicks, incidentally, kicks as a way of putting down young people. That’s not taking them seriously. If you want to put down the young people and say they’re only out for kicks, you have no business sending them to fight wars in Vietnam, which is a very responsible undertaking. So if a group of kids in college decide that they, for serious reasons of religious or personal investigation, want to take LSD, it would be very sensible of them to ask a psychiatrist to come over and sit with them for the day, and they would each put up enough money to pay him for his time, but they are not allowed to do so. That would be illegal. It would be illegal for the psychiatrist to take part in such a thing. That’s the kind of nonsense you get to. So that what happens instead is that crime takes over and organized crime hasn’t really moved into LSD yet because there aren’t been enough enthusiastic graduate chemistry students who would manufacture it. And they’re idealists and they only want to make a relatively small amount of money on it. And they want to turn everybody on. They want to turn on the president, the United States, the president of the Russian republic and everybody. They want to get high on LSD to make them see things.
And here lie the dangers that the only way of getting LSD at the moment is on the black market. Genuine researchers cannot get it right now. Now, black market LSD is liable to be loaded with many other things, especially if it comes from the syndicate. It is apt to be spiked with heroin so as to get you hooked. Other people mix it with amphetamines to scoop up the effects.
Then also the idealistic graduate student may give you a larger dose than you thought you were buying. And so it’s twice what it says on the bottle. And since there is no control over the quality of manufacture, it is as bad as the state of affairs in prohibition when people were drinking highly deleterious bathtub gin. Nobody in his senses will take black market LSD.
You don’t know what you’re getting.
So by comparison with black market LSD, these other materials are not nearly so dangerous if taken in moderation. This really isn’t dangerous at all.
It’s just that probably if people smoked it, it would give the liquor industry a bit too much competition for comfort.
So they’re now each of these I’ve drawn a characteristic limit point where I said it will take you of itself. But then with a little push. If you’ve got the background and the initiative and the what what have you. The training, you can take each one of them further. In fact, you can take even this one right the way through to here. And this. Likewise.
But you see, there’s a corresponding effort or whatever you want to call it, involved in each case.
And you see, generally speaking, their effects are everything that I described under the terms of sensory consciousness, the sense of being time slowed down, being at one with the full physical environment, finding enormous delight and significance in what would ordinarily be called insignificant or unimportant patterns. The tones of people’s voice, the fantastic vibrations of musical instrument that different qualities of texture and so on is very much emphasized here, which is why this is a favorite chemical among musicians. Here one goes into this very much the utter fascination of the microscopic world, of texture, of the splendor of nature. I picked up with the using masculine a rotten log about so long, so thick with fungus on it, you know, that kind of shelf like fungus that grows. And in the state of masculine, this looked like a piece of jewelry, a great big thing made of ebony and ivory. And heaven only knows what all of it looked as if it had been my nuclear carved by a man like Cellini.
It looked like a superb work of art instead of just a rotten old log. With LSD.
The same initial sort of effects, but with it is apt to go for a while.
A kind of a strange sensory jazz.
Walls start to breathe, to waver ripple. Supposing you see something like.
Let’s take a sea urchins shell.
You can look at it and all the nipples on it start to wiggle.
Not only to your eyes, but also to a sense of touch.
Meanwhile, the shell breathe in and out with the nipples wiggling on it and you wonder now what’s the reason for that? Is this a hallucination? What’s going on?
You know, it’s obviously the effect of the chemical, but I begin to wonder about this because I have tried to establish why they wiggle. And I find if I hold my eyes quite still on a certain point, they stop wiggling. But if I in the normal way, let my eyes drift hither and yon over the thing, it wiggles.
So I begin to think, well, after all, my eyes are gelatinous and my brain is a pretty gooey mass of stuff. Maybe that thing is seen in the eye and on the soft surface of the retina actually do wiggle a bit. Only we learn not to see that.
After all, when birds walk. Have you ever watched? When a bird walks, its head goes like this.
Now if you do that, you’ll get your landscape going. You see. But obviously, surely birds don’t permanently live in a landscape that goes like this when they walk. In other words, they screen that out and they make a constant. So likewise. We’ve learned socially that all these lines in this room are straight. They’re not wiggly. They’re made of a solid substance. And they don’t wiggle. Well, maybe they do in our in our eyes only we’ve learned to ignore that. Just as we can see, I don’t have binocular vision. And so if I look at something, I should be seeing it double. But I don’t because I repress psychologically. One of the eyes I can be either.
But I’ve simply repressed that information so that I see like anybody else. So these changes are rather strange. And not only do colors become intensely vivid, but songs boomed through they.
And then you get to a point where you can see light in terms of sound, in terms of shape, all the senses seem to be one sense, fundamentally a kind of fundamental sense of touch that you touch light with your eyes, you touch sound with your ears. You touch wood with your fingers. You touch gas with your nose. And you touch taste essences with your tongue.
But it’s all one touch. And then beyond that, you get into something else.
When the sensory jazz wears off, the effect seems to go to deeper levels of one’s mind. And I would say for me, the most startling property of all these three chemicals in their varying ways is that they substitute for either or fit thinking and feeling both AMD. That is to say, they facilitate polar feeling and thinking. You see, according to a staff psychology, our normal attentive consciousness is captured by the figure rather than the background, by the moving rather than the stationary enclosed figures with clear outline against the background. When your attention in such a way that you see the figure and ignore the background if on an empty blackboard.
I draw this figure and say to an audience, What is it? Most people will say It is a circle. It is a ball. It is a desk. Very few people will suggest that I have drawn a hole in a wall, you see, because attention goes here.
But you realize obviously you couldn’t see the figure without any background. Now you find you can reverse the tension between figure and ground fairly easily. You see this either as a ball or as a hole in the wall. But it’s difficult to see it as both in the same way, you know, that figure of two faces in profile which are about to kiss each other and they are a black silhouette. But the area between the profiles forms a white chalice. Now it’s very difficult to see simultaneously kissing faces and white chalice. You tend to see one or the other because the two images are incompatible unless perhaps you form the concept of it as a loving cup. Then you may be able to see both because what you see depends to a large extent on the concept that you’re using. If, for example, you have a concept of number which goes one to three many, then you can never know that a table has four corners. You haven’t got the number for it has many corners because it’s a one above three. Anything above three is many.
So there’s no difference in concept between a table with Four Corners or a table with 20.
For those primitive kind of earth musicians. So then polar thinking becomes characteristic of all of these in here and increasingly felt that the inside goes with the outside.
In the same way that the back goes with the front, that you go with your circumstances.
It isn’t that you are pushed around by them as a puppet, but that you and your circumstances, you and your environment are all the real you. That’s what you’re doing. And so you experience, even though the circumstances may not be what would ordinarily be called harmonious. That is to say, pleasant circumstances.
You realize that there is an unbreakable harmony between your behavior and the behavior of the external world. And so this polarity becomes very important, but it can scare the wits out of you. And this is a danger point.
If you say now, then all right. If inside goes without side, likewise good goes with bad.
As I said before, you wouldn’t know you were law abiding people unless there were some criminals around to compare yourselves with. By comparison, you know that you’re law abiding. Well, now you begin to worry.
If God goes with dad, who’s in charge around here, who.
Who’s to say what’s right if, after all, everything works out in the end, if anything goes. And therefore, you can start to get worried. How will I know? What will I depend on in myself that I will behave in what is considered a sane way at the next moment? Will I suddenly be overcome with a passion to kill somebody in Ireland and in this way, not knowing which end is up because everything is so relative? It feels as if you when you put your foot, your psychic foot upon what you hope to be firm ground, the ground immediately collapses and you find yourself freely falling in space. And this is terrifying. You are afloat. You are in the floating world. You are in the relative universe in which there is nothing to hang on to because the only thing that might be valuable unto is you.
In other words, suddenly the eternal rock, the firm foundation upon which the Saints of the Lord is supposed to build the rock of ages in which you’re supposed to be able to hide yourself. All that has gone and it seems at first that there is nothing, nothing, nothing to cling to.
And so the sweat can fall from you until you say, well, that’s really the way it always was.
When I was born, I was kicked off the edge of a precipice. And I’ve been consoling myself all this time by hugging to a big chunk of rock that fell off with me. But, you know, there is no security. And if you go with it, you see and you don’t try to fight and to find something to cling to, it’s all right. Then you discover that the void that you were so frightened of is the clear light. This thing.
That it isn’t empty in the ordinary sense of the word at all. But once you let go of your clinging, that is all you let go of. There’s no you to let go of. Really, all the thing to do is stop clinging. Because that’s what that does is bunch you all up. It’s like going around like this.
For the totally paranoid thinking, what’s gonna to happen?
Oh, come on, loosen up. You can’t do anything if your hands are tied up here all the time holding on to yourself. You know, you’re trying to get armor, pulling up your own belt and try to lift yourself off the ground this way. You never get anywhere, but when you let go. Then there’s the possibility of doing something. Well, I hope that people will get some sense about these things and that those of us who are interested in their responsible use will be able to use them responsibly and through that be able to educate the public into a sane behavior with these things, just as we are able, to some extent, to educate the public to behave sensibly with automobiles and whiskey.
We haven’t done too good a job, but at any rate, we do make a try out.