The United States has very real problems. So, what can be done? The 1960’s showed that any serious attempt on the part of the people to make a better nation will get crushed, whether it’s getting beat up by the police in the streets of Chicago, murdered by the National Guard at Kent St. U., etc. It’s like the old saying about how you cannot fight City Hall. The power forces are so strong that there isn’t anything the people can do. One can write a letter that gets printed in a newspaper or they can write to the politicians, but none of this is going to change anything in a meaningful way. If someone has a column in a newspaper and says all the right things, it still won’t matter. Even if people formed a new political party, they have no hope of getting anywhere. It’s a powerful, closed system and the people are completely shut out.
The only way anything can change is if those with the power to change things want to do it. What will make the politicians, the media and the big corporations want to do what they really should do? It is going to take a whole, new, different concept of reality and that is what this book is all about.
Without beating around the bush any further, the point of this book is that it will take a widespread LSD revolution or revelation of the mind in order for this country to become great. What??? Yes, that’s right!!! Nothing else has worked and nothing else will work because nothing else CAN work. Timothy Leary was right the whole time. Not many people and no one at all in the government or the established media ever knew what he was talking about.
This writing is an attempt to explain what an LSD trip is, what it means, what it’s all about, what happens during the experience, how it can make people’s lives better and how it can make the country and the world better. The whole concept of it being possible for LSD to be, in some way, a positive thing may be totally incomprehensible to you. How can something which can make someone wind up in a mental institution be good for anything? That’s what you were thinking, isn’t it? Why were you thinking that? It is because of all the negative propaganda about LSD that has been drilled into you. If someone is told over and over again that something is bad bad bad bad bad, the person will assume that it’s bad or even bad bad bad bad bad unless they know the truth.
So, the first point here is that LSD can be a good thing. Timothy Leary had positive things to say about LSD which led the established society, in it’s ignorance, to believe that he was some kind of a dangerous, crazy crackpot, when, indeed, he had one of the great minds of all time. You also have, potentially, one of the great minds of all time. That was one of his positive messages and only LSD can bring it out.
We are shut off from almost all of our brain, to the point where people don’t believe that there really is any more to their brain or mind. We are consciously aware of and using only a tiny fraction of one percent of our brain. We digest our food and circulate our blood without having the slightest idea of how it’s done. The cells of the body are alive, intelligent and know what to do. This is one example of the huge part of the brain that our usual consciousness or ego is unaware of.
Leary experienced the full, entire brain with LSD, said that it was the ultimate experience possible and a sick society of people which only knows about that very tiny fraction of one percent of their brain was telling him, in their ignorance, that he was the one not playing with a full deck. He was telling them to use their full deck.
It has often been said that if a person takes LSD, they will go out of their mind. Many of those who have experienced LSD will know what that means. For those who have not, it gives a very false impression to talk about going out of one’s mind. This can give the impression that the person is going crazy, insane, psychotic, etc. A much better, more positive and realistic way to explain it is to say that one may go “out of their mind” or “beyond their mind,” but they do not lose their mind as such. What happens is that the person becomes aware of that huge part of their brain or mind or being that they never knew or dreamed existed and this real, true identity is something which dwarfs the ego.
Our egos, our concept of ourselves and reality, the social system, how people interact with each other and the entire society is full of problems because it’s all based on that trivial, tiny fraction of one percent of our brain that we know about. We must move beyond this silly nonsense and get in touch with the rest of the brain. LSD is the catalyst that opens up the mind, that gets us in touch with our potential and this is the only way that the country will ever change for the better.
If this is not clear, it’s not your fault. Trying to explain LSD with words is impossible and doomed to failure because this is something that is way beyond the limited world of words, but like others from the past, I must give it my best shot because it IS that important. In the past, there were some good books about LSD. Everyone who has ever tried to communicate the meaning of LSD has been confronted with the same dilemma, the impossibility of communicating it using words so that someone who has never had the experience can understand it. All of the books from the past, good as they were, can only be comprehended by someone who has taken LSD. Unfortunately, that will be the case here, also. This will include what I believe are the best ideas from about 80 books written in the past on the subject, along with my own ideas based on direct personal experience with LSD in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, all combined into one book. Hopefully, it will be of some value.
So far all that has been said is that LSD can be a positive experience, that there is more to your brain, mind, being and identity than you ever imagined, that LSD can make you aware of that infinite dimension of yourself that has been blocked out of normal, everyday consciousness and that if people woke up and realized all of this, it could finally change the world for the better. Nothing else is going to change the world for the better in any meaningful way and those with power are the ones that are going to have to finally get with it or it won’t ever happen.
Those who have never tried LSD are the people who spread all the negativity about it. There may be very few people who have not tried LSD and believe that it can really mean anything. However, among those who have tried it, it’s a whole different story. Countless people have said that LSD was the greatest experience of their life, the best thing that ever happened to them, the most educational, important, significant and meaningful experience of their life, a religious experience of union with God and ultimate reality, an experience of joy and beauty, an experience of intellectual, psychological, spiritual, philosophical and metaphysical insights and revelations, etc. I remember, during one LSD trip saying that this experience, right now, is worth more than an entire lifetime without LSD. Is there anything else in life which can be described in these terms?
What could be better than feeling infinitely better than you have ever felt before? What could be better than learning more in one day about life and reality than you had learned in your entire lifetime before taking LSD? What can be better than feeling like your life is first beginning, like you are breathing life for the very first time? If all of that isn’t enough, what could be better than experiencing eternal life in heaven and being able to do this while you are still in this life, before you have died?
If you can experience heaven and God now, with the LSD trigger catalyst and then come down from the trip and return to “normal” life or consciousness, imagine how amazingly unbelievable it will be to realize what happened and where you were. No one will believe you unless they have also been there, but regardless of that, you will know what is meant when people talk about revelations, discoveries, wisdom, insights, increased awareness and perception, all impossible without LSD.
Is all of that just a bunch of baloney? If so, then why have so many people who have done LSD insist that it’s true? Are they all stupid? Was Timothy Leary and the people involved with his LSD research at Harvard University stupid? Harvard people are among the smartest people, not the stupidest.
It may have never been put this way but LSD is an electrifying, fascinating, beautiful, sparkling, dazzling, radiant, glowing, glorious, awesome, divine, heavenly, joyous, sensuous, euphoric, ecstatic, majestic, magical, magnificent, miraculous, sensational, spectacular, exciting, intense, dramatic, overwhelming awakening of experience and that is putting it mildly because no words can do justice to this experience. It is a trip, journey, voyage or pilgrimage to paradise, Eden, heaven and God. What more do you want? Whatever you want out of your life can be infinitely better with an LSD awakening of your life. That is the point as much as anything else.
In the mid 1960’s, all research on LSD was banned. Scientists who thought that they were doing research on LSD and thought that they knew something would say that they cannot try LSD because it would ruin their objectivity. It’s another way of saying that being ignorant about a subject is what qualifies someone to make a judgment on that subject or that having experience in something makes someone unfit to judge that experience because they had the experience and that only someone without the experience is fit to judge it. This, of course, is absurd.
Even a 4 year old kid knows that if he or she has tasted ice cream, then they know what it tastes like and can judge it as good or bad. The 4 year old also knows that anyone who has never tasted ice cream can’t possibly know what it tastes like. Which person is the expert on ice cream? Is it the one who has had it many times or is it the one who has kept their “objectivity” and never had it? An adult can study the history of ice cream, what it’s made of, how it’s made, where it’s made, how much is made, how much it costs, etc. All of this is superficial fluff if the adult has never actually tasted ice cream because the 4 year old child who has tasted ice cream knows what it is and the adult doesn’t.
If a 4 year old can understand a certain, simple concept, then why is an entire society so confused about that same concept? It should be seen as common sense that if someone has not experienced something, then they cannot know what the experience is all about. With LSD, this is especially true. It doesn’t matter if someone has 10 Ph. D. degrees and an IQ of 500. The only credential that can make someone knowledgeable, in any way, about LSD is to have had the experience. Any person who has tried LSD and had what I call the real LSD experience, knows more about it than any person who has not, regardless of who the people are. That may sound like a stretch, but it isn’t. It’s also true that many people tried LSD and unfortunately missed the point completely. These people tried it but did not have what I call the real LSD experience.
It must be emphasized that anyone who has never smoked marijuana, let alone tried LSD, knows nothing at all about LSD. That’s nothing as in NOTHING!!! Like with the case of the person with all those degrees and the 5OO IQ, it doesn’t matter if we are talking about medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, scientists, government officials or anyone. One has to have a lot of gall to call themselves an expert on LSD if they have never even tried marijuana. Such a person knows nothing about marijuana, let alone LSD. People who have smoked marijuana, but not tried LSD, have the very barest trace of a hint of what LSD is, but that is significantly more than nothing, though also significantly very little more for all intents and purposes.
If you still think that one can know what an LSD trip is without having directly experienced it, then try to find even one person who has ever taken LSD who will agree with you. The only people who will agree with you are those who have also never done it. Any person who has tried LSD knows that if a person has never experienced it, then they have no idea what it is. The only exception would be the person who tried LSD and didn’t have the real LSD experience. Considering that the person has to get the drug from the black market, they don’t know for sure what they are getting. They may have been told that it was LSD and it wasn’t. If a person took LSD and didn’t think it was a big deal, they didn’t have the real LSD experience. When someone has had the real LSD experience, there is no question about it and that person will tell you that if a person has never taken LSD, they have no idea what it is.
There may not be any doctors or therapists giving LSD to anymore, but this used to go on. Timothy Leary and others were experienced with LSD and knew what they were doing. However many doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists, none having any direct, personal experience with LSD would give it to patients. This revealed their ignorance and was the ultimate in irresponsibility because this is immoral, dangerous and should be considered a criminal act. Even worse were cases where patients were getting LSD and were not told in advance about it. Either way, whether the patient knows that they are getting the LSD or whether it is a total surprise, if the doctor has never done LSD, he could destroy the patient. Then the doctor or therapist would say that this proves that LSD destroys people. The real truth would be that the moronic doctor, with a big ego, psychologically raped and in turn destroyed the patient. With a competent, experienced, calm, warm, sensitive LSD guide, there would be no problem because such a guide would understand what is happening with the person and know how to handle it.
This is not to say that LSD can’t be dangerous. It can be dangerous. So can driving a car. When the automobile was invented, if it got the kind of negative propaganda that LSD gets, then the automobile would never have been made legal. If in those days, there was an emphasis on how much faster people will be moving in a car and how dangerous it is and how people will lose their mind while driving and kill or injure themselves or others, then people would have serious doubts about whether a car is good for society. If all of the propaganda was on how dangerous driving could be, that many people will surely die and if there was television then to help drill all of this into people’s heads, then there is no way the automobile would have become legal. Someone who had never driven a car before could get into one and start driving and they might go into a tree or hit someone. People would then say that this proves how dangerous the automobile would be.
There is an obvious blind spot here and it is the same with LSD. The blind spot is the concept that once one learns how to drive a car, has practiced enough and is ready for a license, then it’s not dangerous anymore in the way it would be if the person is getting in a car for the first time and decides to start driving. LSD is the same way in that one should not and must not just decide to do it on the spur of the moment without ever having thought about it.
In order to minimize problems and get the most out of the experience, it takes a lot of serious preparation in order to be ready for an LSD trip. It is very foolish to just pop an LSD pill into one’s mouth and then just wait and see what happens. The person may luck out and get away with it but if they don’t, they have some serious trouble if the other people present don’t understand what is happening and how to help. If the others don’t know what to do, they will make things worse for the person that needs help and one should never do it when they are all alone, not only if it is for the first trip, but no matter how experienced the person is with LSD. You’ll never know if this is the time that something different will happen, where it will be coming on too much, too strong, too fast, unlike any of the other times. If this should happen, even the experienced person will want someone, anyone. If no one else is there, then the person tripping is on their own. This happened to me once. Somehow, I was able to get through the rough spot and then it became a real good trip, like all the others. If that had been my first trip and I was all alone, it’s hard to say how it would have turned out.
If someone is interested in trying LSD, then what kind of preparation is necessary? It begins with why the person wants to do it in the first place. To try it just to see what it’s like means that there is no preparation. The key question is what the person is looking for, what they want to happen, what they want to get out of it. With LSD, a person can learn something. It can be very meaningful and significant.
In preparing for a first LSD trip, the person has to know as best they can what to expect. If it’s you, the most important thing to realize is that you are going into the unknown. You will experience things that you not only have never experienced before, but things you never even imagined, things you never dreamed were possible. It is intense, dramatic and emotional. You are going to be overwhelmed in an overwhelming way and that doesn’t even begin to tell you how overwhelmingly overwhelming it will be.
No matter how well prepared you are for that first LSD trip, you still will not believe it. You will still be amazed, startled, shocked and say that you were prepared, but didn’t know that it would be THIS! You’ll then know what it means when it is said that it’s impossible to communicate the experience with words. You’ll also know what it means when it is said that unless someone has taken LSD, they cannot possibly know what it’s like.
Preparing means more than just having an idea of what to expect. LSD involves other things that most people are unaware of. If you take an aspirin, it doesn’t matter where you are or who you are with. You just take the aspirin, it will work and that’s it. With LSD, where you are and who you are with is of vital importance. That may sound odd, but that’s the way it is. You must plan out where you will be and it should be a private, protected place where there is no possibility of having to deal with an unexpected surprise situation. You should consider whether you want a day trip or night trip, indoors or outside. You may want to eat some food or listen to music and these kind of things should be planned out and made available to you.
It is important what your concept of reality is, your religious and philosophical views, how you feel, what your psychological makeup is, what you are expecting or looking for, etc. Probably the most important determinant in how the trip goes is who the people with you are, what they know about LSD, how they behave and how you feel about them. Those other people with you can make or break it for you and you should never do it if all of the other people around are strangers. You have to be able to trust those people who are with you with your life because that’s just what you’re doing. Your life is in their hands. Once you trip has been going on for a while and it’s going well, then it’s all right to leave that private, protected place where you started the trip but you should leave with the other people or some of them and not leave by yourself.
If you are the only person taking LSD, there must be someone there who has taken LSD to act as a guide. If 2 or more people are tripping together and it’s their first trip, there must also be someone around who is not doing it, but still experienced with LSD. If you are the only person doing it and none of the other people with you have ever done it, then no matter how well you know, like and trust those people, this is not the right situation because they know nothing about LSD. You also must not do it if there is any person there who you have any negative feelings about or who gets you uptight in any way. You don’t want any loud, pushy, aggressive or argumentative people around. Problem people can ruin your trip and ruin your mind.
There are other things that need to be understood before you try LSD for the first time. During the trip, you may come to the realization that your whole concept of reality coming in was all wrong. You may see that how you were living your life, your social role, identity or ego and everything that you took so seriously and worried about, is all meaningless. Be prepared to have all your assumptions about life revolutionized. Realize that in taking LSD, you are going into the unknown, putting all your blue chips on the line and it takes a lot of courage.
If you are tripping with another person, realize that you’ll be opening yourself up completely to the other person by giving up all of your psychological defenses. When you are tripping, you are beyond all games and there is no holding anything back. It will all come out and it’s all right.
In preparing for your trip, especially if it’s your first one, it’s also a good idea to read positive books about LSD to get more confident about it in order to offset all the negative propaganda. Another recommendation is that you familiarize yourself with the philosophy and religions of Asia, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, etc. It may shock you to find out that what those religions are all about is what LSD is all about. That’s right. The Eastern religions are not about going to church or temple, they are not about written doctrine and dogma and they are not about a belief. Those religions are about an experience, an experience of awakening, a religious experience of awakening to reality and finding out who you really are and you won’t believe who you really are. LSD is not only such an experience, but the ultimate Mother of all experiences.
The Eastern religions are very different from the religions that we are familiar with. So what is it about those other religions and the philosophy behind them that you should familiarize yourself with before taking LSD? There are two ideas that will give you a feel for it. One is to think about the cells of your body. There are billions of them. They come and go. A given, individual cell may die, but you and your body go on living. Think of people as those cells. People come and go, live and die, but when an individual person dies, the world or universe goes on. The cell’s real identity is the entire universe and so is your real identity.
The other idea that gives a feel for the Eastern tradition is to think about how you have dreams while sleeping. When you are having the dream, you think that it’s for real. Then you wake up and realize that it was only a dream. Think of your lifespan on earth as the dream and when you die, you wake up to the real thing. With LSD, you can experience that real thing, your true, ultimate Self and do it now, years before you die and then you come down from the trip and realize what a joke this world is because those running the world don’t know anything about any of this. When you have experienced the Ultimate, it isn’t easy to accept having to come back to this world and all its insanity and be told by a bunch of know-nothings that you are the one who’s crazy.
The philosophy and religion of the Western world says that the universe is made up of separate things, planets, pencils, pancakes, people, etc. It also says that the separate things are not connected. In other words, you are something that’s enclosed by skin. Where your skin ends, that’s where whatever you are ends. What is beyond your skin is something else, something separate from you that is not you. You have no identity with or connection with anything that is beyond your skin.
The philosophy and religion of the Eastern world says that believing all of that is to miss the point completely. They are saying that the universe is one “thing” with many different connecting parts and it is alive. That one living “thing” can be called ultimate reality or God or whatever you choose to call it. The point is that you are not just what you have always been told you are and believe that you are. All of that is what your ego and social identity or role is. That’s not, though, what you are. Your real Self is the entire universe, not just what’s inside your skin. You are directly connected to that ultimate reality or God. Your real Self is, indeed, God. So is my real Self and so is the real Self of planets, pencils and pancakes. People and things are all different but not separate. Arms and legs are different but both are connected to the body. Similarly, everything in the universe is connected and that is your true Self.
There is another part of Eastern philosophy and religion that needs to be understood. It’s the word “maya.” People who have heard that word will likely say that maya means that the world is an illusion. Great. So what is that supposed to mean? To begin with, that’s not what it means. It will take some explaining.
Everything we know, we have been taught or told about. As little kids, we are taught or told what a table is, what a glass is, etc. Every object is referred to by a certain word and everyone agrees on what a table or a glass is. This is the basis of language and verbal communication and also the basis for looking at the world as a bunch of separate, individual things that have no connection with each other. A table is separate from a glass, but what if a glass is ON the table? Are they separate or somehow a part of each other? It’s all how you look at it.
We are taught how to look at things. If a baby is looking at a glass on the table, the baby doesn’t know that the table is a table or that a glass is a glass or that a glass is on the table. The baby isn’t dividing up what it sees into separations or categories or separating what it sees into divisions or classifications. The baby is just seeing or seeing one field of vision and that’s it. That baby is also tripping. Yes, we were conceived in orgasm and born tripping. That is our real natural state of mind. In not realizing that and being completely shut off from it, we have been robbed blind by being pressured to accept a silly, limited, phony version of reality which we take so seriously.
We all go through years of social conditioning (propaganda) by way of reward and punishment. We are told what is good or bad, right or wrong, how to behave, what is accepted, how to think, what the norms are and most importantly what we are. As this process goes on, year after year, we slowly come down from that original, natural tripping state that we were born with until it is gone.
When the person has come all the way down and is now a conditioned, brainwashed, socialized robot with tunnel vision, they are told that they are now a rational, mature adult. That rational, mature adult identifies himself or herself with their social role or ego which isn’t at all what they are, but what they are told that they are. Accepting your ego or social role as your entire identity is allowing others to define you and what you are and just blindly going along with it. We also blindly accept the society’s definition of reality, what’s real and what isn’t, what’s important and what isn’t, etc.
Getting back to the meaning of maya, it’s not that the world or the physical universe is the illusion. The illusion is all that you have been taught in the social conditioning process by the use of words and being taken in by it as if it’s real. All of social reality or maya is based on words, but we get confused and forget that social reality isn’t real reality. Words are symbols for things, not the things themselves. The word “chair” is a word. The word is not the chair. The real chair is what you may be sitting on as you read this and if you’re still reading this, you deserve credit.
Using words to communicate is the basis for dividing up a united universe into classifications of things and into categories. In turn, we become convinced that everything is separate and apart from everything else. Everything we know and do is based on this assumption and other assumptions that are all wrong. All socialization, social conditioning, social conventions, roles, mores, egos, divisions and separations is learned propaganda that has been thrown at you all your life. It is maya, illusion.
When using words, one can speak only one word at a time. You might talk fast, but it still comes out a word at a time. However, reality involves many many things going on simultaneously and no one can talk about all of those things at the same time. Words cannot keep up with the pace of reality. Words distort and narrow down consciousness, awareness and perception of reality.
If two people are talking on the street, their attention is on each other and their conversation and they are ignoring or blocking out everything else. Another person might walk by, unnoticed. Each of the two people conversing saw the other person walk by in the corner of their eye and it registered in each one’s brain. In a given day, your brain is taking in all kinds of information that you aren’t paying any attention to, but it’s all stored in the brain. The brain is like a super computer that way.
So, the brain is taking everything in, but your conscious attention is taking in very little, only what you’re paying attention to. We are taught to make the mistake of thinking that narrow, conscious attention, perception and awareness is all of reality instead of just a tiny part of it. If a person has never seen or heard of television, someone could turn on the set and the new viewer might think that the first channel seen on the TV is all that there is on television. It’s not until the person is told that there are many other stations to pick from that they get the full picture of what TV is and has to offer.
Our society is like a bunch of people who think that there is only one channel on television. Modern day America is messed up because it’s based on the confusion of thinking that a tiny part of reality is all of reality. If someone comes out and strongly says that there’s infinitely more than meets the eye and that with LSD you can find that out and appreciate what it means, then that person is right, but is likely to be looked at as someone who might belong in a mental institution.
If you are going to try LSD, it’s important to understand all of this because when someone is tripping and gets frightened, it’s because they don’t understand what’s happening to them, they aren’t properly prepared and also because the people there at the time don’t know what’s going on either. If you are getting scared on your trip, it’s because your ego, your social identity or role and your whole concept of reality that has been drilled into you, is dying.
If you don’t understand what is happening, you will think that you are going to die and that is as terrifying as anything can get. However, you are not at all dying. What is dying is all the propaganda that you have been fed by others about yourself and reality. Your brain is being washed clean of all that nonsense and it is a super psychological, intellectual, spiritual, philosophical and metaphysical insight to realize that your ego is just a tiny part of your full identity and that your full identity never dies. Your body and memory die one day, but YOU never die.
You have to prepare for the LSD and really want to do it because this is serious business. You aren’t fooling around. You aren’t sure what you’re getting into and it can be dangerous if it’s not done right. If someone is thinking about doing it and decides not to, then that was the right move and a good sign because it shows that the person respects the power of LSD and is really serious about this. One cannot do this under pressure, only when they are ready. It doesn’t matter how many times a person backs off if they are not ready. When they are ready, they will know.
In my own case, I had tried mescaline and peyote, having been told by friends that it’s all right, but shied away from LSD because the same friends were saying that LSD is something else. The way mescaline and peyote are on a different level than marijuana, I thought that LSD was on a different level above mescaline and peyote, not realizing that mescaline, peyote and LSD are all in the same general ballpark or level. Knowing how great mescaline and peyote were, I was eager to try LSD. I wasn’t mentally ready until after having read some books, I realized that nothing can stay the same forever. If LSD is bad or scary or hell, it can’t last forever.
The only reason I was concerned was because of all the negative psychiatric propaganda that’s spread about LSD. I mentally prepared myself to endure an eternity in hell, if that’s what it took, knowing that if I could wait it out, I’d break through the hell into eternal heaven and that it would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to me or anyone.
If you are seriously willing to endure an eternity in hell, you will be richly rewarded and you probably won’t even have to go through the hell because if you are prepared for the very worst, then whatever happens won’t be that bad or not bad in any way. When you realize that there isn’t any hell to go through, that it’s all in your mind, it will be a tremendous psychological boost. That’s the way it was for me, no hell to go through.
One should not try LSD before first being familiar with marijuana and liking it. If one does not appreciate marijuana, then they are no more a candidate for an LSD experience than someone who has never smoked marijuana and if someone has never smoked marijuana, they would have to be crazy to jump right into LSD. Don’t allow yourself to be put in a position of possibly having to find out the hard way, during an LSD trip, that I was right about this.
If you want to take LSD, that’s great, but do yourself a favor and get something positive out of marijuana first. Do yourself another favor and take all the suggestions about preparing for the LSD experience seriously. It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of preparation in order to be in the right state of mind for LSD and to greatly lessen, if not eliminate, any chance of having a problem during the trip. It’s like driving a car in that one needs lessons and practice before they are really ready for a license. Otherwise, driving a car is dangerous.
LSD is not only the ultimate experience possible for a healthy person, but is also useful in many ways for people with psychological or physical problems. It is possible for an LSD trip to solve a psychological problem that years of regular psychotherapy couldn’t solve. LSD has also been known to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals, cure alcoholics, get rid of pain and fear in terminal cancer patients better than any other medication and many other important, useful things.
It may even be true that LSD is a cure for the human cold. One time, I had a cold and decided to take LSD anyway. When the trip was over, so was the cold and there is no way that cold was going away so fast without having taken the LSD. It is not as silly an idea as one may think. Actually, it makes perfect sense in that LSD is so powerful, the poor, little cold doesn’t stand a chance. It may not even be absurd to think that it’s possible for LSD to cure a disease or many of them, if not all of them. If a person has a terminal disease and there is nothing more the doctors can do, suppose the patient was given LSD every day. The dosages would have to go up to keep the effect. If nothing that is known by the doctors can help the patient, who is to say that this isn’t worth a try and who is to say that it is impossible for LSD to save the patient’s life? No research has ever been done on this. No one knows if it would work until it is tried. It may very well be that LSD is so powerful that not only does a cold have no chance, but maybe no disease can survive a continuous non-stop battle against LSD.
Stanislav Grof certainly understands the possibility of LSD curing diseases. Here is what he said on page 104 of his book, The Adventure of Self-Discovery, about LSD and cancer patients:
“In our program of LSD therapy for cancer patients, we have repeatedly observed that individuals suffering from various forms of malignancy were able to connect experientially with their tumors on a tissue and cellular level. They have often made spontaneous attempts to use this experience for healing by creating psychologically positive energy fields, confronting negative emotions they felt were associated with the disease process, mobilizing the defenses of the organism, or attacking mentally the tumors. Several instances of surprising temporary remissions which occurred in this context suggest that this possibility should be systematically explored”.
It is a tragic shame that all serious research on LSD, by law, had to stop in the mid 1960’s. One can do research on LSD as long as the government approves of what you’re doing which means forget it. Those who were involved in serious LSD research in the 1960’s knew that they were on to something BIG, but were only able to scratch the surface before the research door was slammed shut. There is no telling how much better this world would now be if Timothy Leary and his people and others who also were serious about it were all encouraged to continue their research instead of being harassed and in some cases, such as Leary, thrown into jail.
Psychedelic plants and foods similar to marijuana and others similar to LSD have been used all over the world going all the way back to the beginning of man. This, therefore, is nothing new, but is, indeed, an ancient human phenomenon. At different times and in different places, the visionary religious experience has been very highly valued and respected, unlike the United States which has no idea what it is at all and looks down on any talk about it as insanity or psychosis.
Must our country remain a bunch of people who insist that there is only one channel on the TV set and be so certain about it that there’s no point in even trying to change the channel or talk about it? To carry this analogy another step further, it is as if we forbid anyone to try changing the channel. If someone gets caught watching another channel, they go to jail. Because changing channels is too dangerous and can make people psychotic, we just cannot have a country of channel-changing deviants. If someone doesn’t fall for this con and says that there are many channels, that the big assortment makes TV much better and that people have a right to change channels, then that person is seen as crazy and dangerous to society. That is what the conventional wisdom says or rather the conventional lack of wisdom because the person who is going against the society in saying positive things about changing TV stations is correct and not at all crazy. Timothy Leary was correct and not at all crazy.
Leary deserves special mention. Of people in the public eye, he had to be the most misunderstood person in the 20th century, but in the new millennium, when the Age of Aquarius is here, his legend will grow and the folk heroes of the 20th century will be the psychedelic “outlaws” like Leary and thousands of others who were way ahead of their time.
Keep in mind that at one time, it was common knowledge that the Earth was flat. It was so clear and obvious that there wasn’t anything to argue about. All one had to do was go to the beach, look out at the water and where the water ends, and that’s where the edge was where one could fall off the world. Back then anyone who didn’t understand or conform to that was considered nuts. Apparently, in those days, no one thought of taking a boat to try to get just a little closer to where the edge was. They would have found that no matter how far out they went, the edge where one could fall off the Earth was still distantly ahead, that they weren’t going to get any closer to it because it was an incorrect assumption the whole time.
The way people incorrectly dismissed the idea of the Earth being round as insanity is the way we now incorrectly dismiss LSD as insanity. People in the future will look back and not see much difference between us and those, centuries earlier, who insisted that the Earth was flat because if one says that LSD is such a terrible, horrible, disastrous, evil thing, then they might as well be saying that the Earth is flat.
Many people have been interested in LSD, but Timothy Leary is the one who got the publicity and for a number of reasons. For one thing, no one could ridicule his impeccable credentials. He was Dr. Leary of the Harvard University faculty, in the psychology department, teaching Ph. D. candidates. There was a lot more to his impressive resume, but there’s no need to list it. Harvard says it all.
Another reason Leary got the publicity was his deep belief and commitment to his research. When push came to shove, he showed that, when he decided that LSD was more important than Harvard, that whatever Harvard was supposed to mean is trivial compared to the meaning of LSD. He could have had tenure for life at Harvard if he had been a good little boy, shut up, and did what he was told, but he was courageous enough to chuck all of that in order to do what he knew was right, to continue his research. He also wasn’t afraid to speak his mind no matter how much criticism was thrown at him. Timothy was a very inspirational figure to those who were able to understand him. There is no better example of how closed this country is to new ideas. Probably, the only new idea the country would be open to is that the Earth really is flat after all. That is silly, but no more so than how we look at LSD.
Leary had different ideas than the norm. He didn’t believe in the typical therapist-patient relationship or the typical teacher-student relationship, each of which involves an authority type figure with power or expertise over another person. These are unequal relationships which Leary thought were ineffective and doesn’t work. He saw psychotherapy, in which the patient talks to the therapist as pretty much a game of the therapist imposing his or her will or mind onto the patient. Before ever getting to Harvard, for many years, Leary was the Director of Psychological Research at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Oakland, California. For 10 years, he studied the success rate of psychotherapy.
He found that no matter what the treatment, about 1/3 of the people improved, about 1/3 stayed the same and about another 1/3 actually got worse. There were control groups of people not getting any treatment at all and the results for those people were the same. Therefore, what is the big deal about psychotherapy? Leary saw all of this before he ever tried psilocybin or LSD. Once he found out about the chemicals that expand consciousness, he knew that the only psychotherapy that could mean anything was psychedelic psychotherapy. That means that the therapists have to take the LSD themselves and in certain situations even do it with their patients. If they are tripping together, the status titles “therapist” and “patient” and whatever that’s supposed to mean, goes flying out the window. The therapist and the patient are equals.
With the teacher-student relationship, Leary was the teacher and the graduate students were the students, but Leary would give the graduate students LSD and guide them on their trips and at times do it with them. He didn’t see himself like a typical teacher, as all powerful and superior to the student who is expected to bow down and kiss the teacher’s feet. Leary saw how phony, superficial and unproductive that kind of relationship is. He knew that when people are tripping, everyone is equal and that the student can teach the teacher something. Leary’s research project at Harvard was very enlightening to everyone involved. Each person would write a report on their experience and everyone got to see everyone else’s report so that everyone had access to all the information.
During this process, Leary and his fellow researchers were really pioneers because there were no manuals, reference books or any kind of guidance to turn to. They had to learn and figure out for themselves the best and most effective ways to run LSD sessions and they did that. Timothy’s dream was to have trained, skilled LSD guides run LSD sessions and train others to be LSD guides and have these learning centers all over the world with the full understanding, support and encouragement of all authorities. It would change the world for the better. It’s too bad for us all that he never got that chance. The authorities just had no concept of who he was, what he was all about, what he was talking about or what he was trying to do. Even now, most people think of Timothy Leary as a lunatic or a dangerous madman who wanted to destroy everyone’s brain with LSD. (Equally ridiculous were the people who thought and still think that Dr. Jack Kevorkian was a maniac murderer who wanted to kill everybody.)
Leary made a very important decision that has had a long range effect on the country. There were distinguished people other than Leary, over the age of 30, who were experienced and knowledgeable about mind-opening, consciousness-expanding drugs. There were differences of opinion among these people about the best way to present this great new thing to the society. Some thought that it should be kept secret among themselves, figuring that it can only cause them trouble because the country just wouldn’t understand. The psychiatrists thought that the medical profession should be in control of these drugs and that it should all be done within the system so that it’s “respectable.” Others like the religious philosopher types thought that looking at it only from a medical point of view was way too limited in scope and missed the point.
Here is a conversation between Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary on this issue. They were tripping at the time. It comes from page 44 of Leary’s autobiography, Flashbacks:
Aldous looked at me quizzically. “So you don’t know what to do with this bloody philosopher’s stone we have stumbled onto? In the past, this powerful knowledge has been guarded in privacy, passed on in the subdued, metaphorical obscurantism of scholars, mystics and artists.”
“But society needs this information,” I said, passionately. My anti-elitist button had been pushed.
“These are evolutionary matters. They cannot be rushed. Work privately. Initiate artists, writers, poets, jazz musicians, elegant courtesans, painters, rich bohemians. And they’ll initiate the intelligent rich. That’s how everything of culture and beauty and philosophic freedom has been passed on. Your role is quite simple. Become a cheerleader for evolution. That’s what I did and my grandfather before me. These brain-change drugs, mass-produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. This will happen with or without you or me. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible.”
“I don’t remember any discussion of brain-change drugs in the Bible.”
“Timothy, have you forgotten the very first chapters of Genesis? Jehovah says to Adam and Eve, ‘I’ve built you this wonderful resort eastward of Eden. You can do anything you want, except you are forbidden to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.'”
“The first controlled substances.”
“Exactly. The Bible begins with Food and Drug prohibitions.”
“So, the Fall and Original Sin were caused by the taking of illegal drugs.”
By this time Aldous was chuckling away very pleased with himself and I was rolling on the floor with laughter.
“Timothy, you must expect opposition. There are people in this society who will do anything within their considerable power to stop our research. The managers of consciousness, from the Vatican to Harvard, have been in this business for a long time and they’re not about to give up their monopoly. And after all, they’re the experts and we’re the amateurs. They’re the pros and we’re just the lovers.”
Allen Ginsberg, a leader of the Beatniks in the 1950’s, had a little different opinion. The way he saw it, who has the right to stop someone else from tripping? This isn’t about elitism and controlling others. That’s what the sick society is about. This is about freedom. According to Ginsberg, everyone has a right to get a shot at this.
It was up to Leary to decide on how to proceed and in what direction. It was his call because he was the one with the Harvard credentials, doing research and he was a man of action. The others were more like thinkers, philosophers, writers and in general, observers, not movers and shakers like Leary. Ginsberg was also a committed, mover and shaker type, but he realized that he was viewed as some crazy, Beatnik poet and that the Harvard name was solid gold which would make people listen to Leary.
Timothy decided that the Ginsberg road was the way to go, that everyone should get their chance as long as they are reasonably prepared and are doing it in the right way, for the right reasons, with the right guidance. It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback and say that his decision didn’t work out in that LSD got a lot of negative publicity, resulting in all research on it being banned since the 1960’s. It’s easy to say that he decided with his heart rather than his head and that if it was all kept quieter, then research would have continued and that things would now be better. However, he made the right decision, at the time, because he did what he thought was right and best. The wrong decision would have been not to do what he thought was right and best, regardless of what the decision was. He just didn’t realize how right Huxley was about the dimension and intensity of the mindless opposition they faced. Using a political analogy, Leary was like the candidate with vision who isn’t interested in the political strategy games.
While at Harvard, Leary got involved with a prison program. Normally, neither psychologists, social workers nor anyone else wants anything to do with a prison because it’s dreary, risky, and the prisoners are probably hopeless cases anyway. Leary, however, jumped at the opportunity. Nothing has ever succeeded in rehabilitating criminals. This would be a way of proving that psilocybin was not only as useful as he claimed, but could also succeed where everything else had failed. (This was before Leary was doing LSD and was taking psilocybin.) This would be a situation in which there would be verifiable statistics on whether giving psilocybin to prisoners was working. All one would have to do was check the percentage of released prisoners that wound up back in prison. If the prisoners that Leary was working with returned to prison at a much smaller rate, then that was the proof that it worked.
The psychiatrist at the prison was very supportive but warned Leary that if he was successful, there would be trouble because those involved with prisons, law enforcement and fighting crime don’t want to get rid of crime and criminals. They want more money to fight crime which really means that they want more money to stuff into their own pockets.
Leary and others from Harvard were taking psilocybin with the prisoners at the prison with the support of those running the prison. Those in charge of the prison were delighted that Harvard would want anything to do with their prison. The prisoners would learn how to run these sessions and in some cases would even be teaching the new Harvard graduate students how to do it. It was as if there was no difference between a Harvard person and a prisoner and it was all working. Hardened criminals were talking about peace, love and philosophy. Leary wanted to put this program into every prison, to no avail. The project ended once Leary left Harvard, but he proved that everyone was wrong to insist that it was impossible for hardened criminals to change for the better.
Here is a conversation that Leary had with the warden at the prison. It’s a good example of the sick mentality of the society that he was up against and trying to make better. It’s from page 89 of his autobiography, Flashbacks:
One morning in the second year of the project I came into Warden Grennan’s office to report the most recent statistics. We had kept 90 percent of our convicts out of jail. He listened politely but kept glancing behind me. When I finished, he clapped me on the back and led me to the corner.
“Look at that, Timmy.” he said proudly. It was an architect’s color drawing of a super-prison. “Look. Two football fields. This wing is for admitting and orientation. Two more cell blocks. Mess halls double in size. We’ll have capacity for twice as many inmates and we can double the staff all the way down the line.” His face was glowing. This was his fantasy coming true. A huge prison and an organizational table twice as big to go with it! Bureaucrat Heaven.
“That’s wonderful, Bill,” I said. “But have you forgotten? You’re not going to need a larger prison.”
His face registered surprise. “Why not?”
“Because we’re cutting your return-rate from 70 percent to 10 percent. If you let us continue our project, you won’t need half the cells you have right now.”
The warden laughed, in spite of himself. “I can’t argue with you, Timmy. You have kept these men straight, although I’ll be damned if I know how you did it.”
This warden, obviously, couldn’t care less if Leary had rehabilitated every inmate in the prison. All this guy knew was that he had this dream of running the biggest prison empire possible. He thought that the bigger the prison he ran, the more of a big shot he was, a silly ego game. Do you think that this warden wanted less crime in society and fewer criminals? Of course not because if that was the case, then how could he become king of all prison wardens? This was the kind of mentality and absurdity that Leary was constantly up against, everywhere, not just with the warden and to this day, it’s still the same kind of mentality and absurdity that proponents of LSD are up against.
Timothy Leary was also involved in another fascinating experiment while at Harvard. The religious community in the area expressed an interest in psilocybin as a way of having a genuine religious experience. Walter Pahnke was a D. D. candidate in the Harvard Divinity School. Pahnke had a ministerial degree and an M. D. He had no experience with psychedelic drugs but still was convinced that they could bring on a religious experience. Pahnke wanted to write his doctoral thesis on psychedelic experience. He came to Leary with an idea of having a supervised experiment involving divinity students taking psilocybin. The goal was to find out if psilocybin can trigger a religious experience and to do this according to accepted scientific standards. So, what they did was give the psilocybin to some divinity students and give placebos that do nothing to others, but no one would know in advance who was getting what. The results were just what they expected in that the divinity students who got the psilocybin had religious experiences and those who got the placebos did not.
So, here Timothy Leary was showing scientifically that criminals can be helped by psilocybin and also that it can produce religious experiences. This was incredible. He was succeeding and figured that everyone would appreciate it. Instead, he found out that everyone was like the warden. For example, psychiatrists and psychologists are not going to accept that what they are doing is ineffective and that some chemical can do what they can’t do. They don’t want to change themselves or what they are doing. They want to keep the same game going which makes them feel important and respected, when they know precisely nothing. Everyone wants to keep their own racket going, whether it’s prisons, psychotherapy, politicians, big corporations, etc. Anything that threatens anyone’s racket will be resisted by those who benefit from that racket no matter how much good it would do the world if things changed.
A case can be made for saying that Leary shouldn’t have been doing his LSD research at a university, not because it was inappropriate, but because of complicated political situations involved within a university. Leary encouraged graduate students, even those who were not his students, to try psilocybin and then LSD once he found about LSD. Those graduate students came running into Leary’s program, eager and excited that a professor actually knew something. Some other professors were not so excited about it because they liked to use their graduate students as slave labor to do tedious things that the teacher didn’t want to do. These professors were losing their graduate students in this way and didn’t like it. Parents of the graduate students complained, wondering what all this LSD nonsense had to do with Harvard, even though people involved with Leary didn’t have bad trips because he knew what he was doing.
So, perhaps a university is not the ideal setting for this kind of research. However, once Leary had left Harvard, there was no justification at all for hounding and harassing him. The United States put the pressure on every country in the world to not allow Leary to do his research in their country. A wealthy person allowed Leary to use a big estate in Millbrook, N. Y. and do his research there. However, the police were keeping a close watch and Leary and his people had to do things quietly. One day, the police raided the place, but no charges about anything were able to stick. The leader of this police mob was G. Gordon Liddy, later of Watergate fame. This is how Liddy got started and made a name for himself. It figures. Watergate was a disgrace and so was this.
It was said that Leary was corrupting the youth. The same was said of Socrates, the great Greek philosopher. Socrates refused to apologize for his beliefs or actions because he had done nothing wrong. He paid with his life. He may have drank the poison himself, but this was clearly murder. Being willing to die for his beliefs is what makes Socrates one of the great turn on figures of all time. One of the youths that Socrates was supposed to have corrupted so badly was Plato, who was extremely upset at what they did to his mentor, the wisest man he ever knew. This drove Plato to write The Republic, his vision of the ideal political state where something like what happened to Socrates could never happen again. In Plato’s ideal state, the people in charge would be philosophers with the kind of wisdom that Socrates had which was also the kind of wisdom that Timothy Leary had.