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October 9, 2011 4:53 AM   Subscribe

Did Dropping Acid Make Steve Jobs More Creative? Awkwardly omitted from his many obituaries, Steve Jobs said that "doing LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." Was his experience (portrayed in this reenactment) the source of his creativity?
posted by twoleftfeet (120 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Applesauce!

But srsly, that's a rather overloaded question. I think you can talk about dropping acid as a catalyst for something, such as a moment of insight or inspiration and so on. And you could maybe make a weaker claim that doing psychedelics permanently changed his mindset in a way that made him more creative, but the way this question is framed makes it seem like LSD was providing Jobs with all of his ideas, when clearly there were other factors at work as well.
posted by LMGM at 5:00 AM on October 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Awkwardly omitted"? Really?
posted by robcorr at 5:02 AM on October 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I can't tell if it's an honest question or a none-too-subtle dog whistle, but I guess the only thing that really matters is if Jobs thought it did.
posted by Mooski at 5:03 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


No. Griffin made the iTrip, not Jobs.
posted by SueDenim at 5:06 AM on October 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Awkwardly omitted"? Really?

Well, if we consider that the subject of the obits actually said "doing LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life", then, yes, I think said omission could be considered awkward. I mean, if he'd made that exact same quote but about, say, skiiing, or having an Irish setter, or building a cabin in the woods or just about anything else, then that would've certainly made it into many a Steve Jobs obit. But he was talking about taking drugs, and we can't ever condone that, now can we? Heavens no! Let's just leave that bit out, then, shall we?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:16 AM on October 9, 2011 [48 favorites]


I saw this mentioned in several obits. I don't think it's an either/or question either. Posting articles, no matter how flimsy, about Jobs does seem like a good way for Slate to boost ad impressions though.
posted by Scoo at 5:18 AM on October 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


LSD was an experience from which he drew. His experience and perspective assisted his creativity, so in that sense, yes.
posted by michaelh at 5:19 AM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I couldn't include it in the post, but Doug Englebart told me once that if it wasn't for LSD he wouldn't have invented the computer mouse. Englebart did LSD at the Stanford Research Institute in the 60's, back when it was legal. Alan Kay said something similar about the people at Xerox PARC. Really... credit where credit is due.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:19 AM on October 9, 2011 [23 favorites]


Having new experiences is surely a catalyst for creativity for many people, and LSD can certainly be a powerful experience. Hopefully his openness about it helps, in even a small way, those who seek to legitimize LSD for therapeutic use and just plain ol' trippin'.
posted by snofoam at 5:42 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not surprising really. Formal research literature and informal accounts provide heaps of examples regarding the experiences individuals related whilst under the influence of LSD, seemingly primarily to revolve around the fundamental realisation of the permeable and malleable nature of 'reality'.

The hallucinogenics often begin life with therapeutic or ritualistic purposes. From the shamans of ancient tribes that used psilocybin mushrooms to have 'visions', to Hofman realising LSD offered a greater window into the intersection between the self's intersection with 'reality', to MDMA as a marital therapy.

In most cases, cognition is based on relating to the world in concrete ways. Creativity is often iterative rather than generative -- that being said most people's creative ideas stem from iterating something they are already familiar with, rather than say, seeing a rodent mammal as a potential input device to a computer.

Similarly, with MDMA, marital therapist found that often couple's problems were rooted by the narrow definition and experience around the concept of 'love'. Introducing MDMA, couples reported a whole new range of understanding and emotions that they had not seen previously.

The direct function of these substances often limit the functioning of the rational brain, which subconsciously filters information for later processing. Very efficient and in most cases a positive function, however that process also limits the accessibility of concepts outside the conception of 'what's real'.

I saw numerous artists during this period in University experiment with hallucinogenics and fundamentally alter their practices and output. Previously, they had been painting or photographing "what they knew". The hallucinogens seemed to literally reform the lens they viewed the world with and freed them to think in whole new ways.

Granted, several went distinctly loco and really never went anywhere in life, but those were the exceptions rather than the rule. Overall, over decades, the result has been the for the majority of cohorts that experimented, it was a fun thing to do and they had some good times. However, a few really have come to see the world differently and continue to challenge the world. For they had a fundamental realisation that even the most steadfast concepts in reality are actually quite fluid.

Steve Jobs figured out another element of it. A spiritual guru in college mentioned in our interview that he always thought that LSD was cheating. It showed you the capability of the mind, yet you hadn't earned it, thus it disappeared. Once one had seen the potential of the mind to remix reality and change perception, the real challenge was to get to that point without the drug. A true possibility, he said, with intensive focus on meditation, self-knowledge, and continual exposure to new ideas. Steve seemed to have made that transition, moving from LSD-based inspiration to living in a world where reality is malleable.

Whilst the majority of technology and music industry writers bemoaned of the structure of the music industry -- which seemed so concrete and entrenched -- Jobs lead Apple to dismantle the machinery over less than a decade.

Perhaps this gets back to the basic fundamental vision gap between Gates and Jobs. Gates -- who probably did not consume LSD -- saw the ability to put a computer on every desk. Much as there was a typewriter on many desks or a telephone. Iterative thinking, we have one box on the desk now. Let's put another box on the desk. Iterative thinking. For Jobs, it was a greater realisation than that. You don't need the desk at all. Computing is actually an extension of thinking. That sounds very much like Hofman or the others who delve into the fundamental constructs behind reality.

Thus, I doubt LSD was 'behind' his creativity, rather it seems that it would have provided the spark of 'oh actually there is no reality. how far can I push that?' All the way to India brother. And then all the way to the top of the stock exchange.

To digress, it is worth knowing that many of the hallucinogens are illegal under odd provisions, including in the United States of America: 'conspiracy to overthrow the government'. All governments rely heavily on indoctrination and national identity.

That is, they set the agenda for what 'reality' is. Oceana is good. Freedom is good. Oceana is freedom. Oceana was founded by people seeking freedom. That which is not Oceana is not free. Children, please repeat from ages 5 – 15. Thus, the concept of Oceana as freedom develops with the nascent brain. The nascent brain comes to believe those concepts are reality. Hallucinogens disrupt that cycle quite substantially. All that expensive programming. Disrupted by a few grams of chemicals.
posted by nickrussell at 5:53 AM on October 9, 2011 [125 favorites]


Obligatory "There are two major products of Berkeley, CA -- LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be strictly by coincidence. Jeremy S. Anderson"
posted by mikelieman at 5:54 AM on October 9, 2011 [28 favorites]


Jobs also became a Buddhist and took a trip to India. Just say'n. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 5:58 AM on October 9, 2011


The New York Times very explicitly mentioned this quote.
posted by esoterica at 5:59 AM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are plenty sources that discuss his claim that tripping inspired him in later years. Only anyone who hasn't tripped would begrudge the fact that his obituaries don't focus on it.
posted by crunchland at 5:59 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


That a guy who came of age in the 1970s did LSD is kind of a non-story -- at least when you compare it to a story from the same website about that guy getting a headstart in business by building a device that allowed people to illegally make free long distance phone calls. Now this is a story. I would like to know why that has been left out of the obits. The acid-dropping? Whatevs.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:07 AM on October 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


The FPP can't be arsed to find an actual example of an obit that omits Jobs' drug history, and the linked Alternet article doesn't even mention omission besides in the headline. This is outrage desperate for a hook to hang itself on.
posted by Etrigan at 6:22 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


That a guy who came of age in the 1970s did LSD is kind of a non-story

But that's not the story. And whether it was omitted from obituaries still is not the story.

The interesting thing is that Jobs did a few other things in his life (got married, had kids, dabbled in the computing and entertainment industries a bit) and still said (with a straight face?) that acid was one of the top two or three most important things he ever did.
posted by pracowity at 6:30 AM on October 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


I read that in a whole bunch of places after he died. It's already been pointed out that it was in the NYT obit; it's also in the NPR obit here. There's a big article specifically about his LSD use in Time, it's in a piece at Fox News, and so on.

I think saying it was "awkwardly omitted from his many obituaries" based on an Alternet piece that doesn't even say that itself other than in the headline and doesn't link to any obituaries that omit it is maybe a little bit unfair. I'm not saying there aren't places that didn't mention it, but suggesting it's been broadly suppressed from the coverage of his death because there's a refusal in large media outlets to mention that an accomplished person attributed positive effects to drugs isn't supported by the evidence at hand, I don't think.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 6:41 AM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has Jobs ever said how his LSD experience was important? I.e. does he mean primarily spiritually or creatively? Or might those be the same thing to him?
posted by jeffburdges at 6:45 AM on October 9, 2011


twoleftfeet: "I couldn't include it in the post, but Doug Englebart told me once that if it wasn't for LSD he wouldn't have invented the computer mouse. Englebart did LSD at the Stanford Research Institute in the 60's, back when it was legal. Alan Kay said something similar about the people at Xerox PARC. Really... credit where credit is due."

This is why I love mefi... "Oh I was just talking w/you know the inventor of the fucking mouse and shit... la di da..."
posted by symbioid at 6:46 AM on October 9, 2011 [16 favorites]


Steve Jobs is proof that LSD doesn't prevent one from being an asshole. (then again, I guess that was apparent w/Timothy Leary as well). And he's also proof that being a buddhist doesn't stop you from being an asshole, apparently, either.
posted by symbioid at 6:48 AM on October 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


LSD and Calligraphy, huh. One down, one to go I guess? Watch out, world!
posted by carsonb at 6:55 AM on October 9, 2011


Yes.
posted by victors at 6:57 AM on October 9, 2011


In recent years the term hippie has come to mean something derogatory, a word for a parasite, a lazy, unkempt mooch or idiots who burdened their kids with nutty names. But in the rigid Mad Men days of yore the actual hippies of the day were renegade exploders of the horrible post World War II materialist rigidity that held Western culture in thrall. Now the term, imo, has no meaning, except to describe a past generation.

There were a bunch of elements that came into the mix then that had a powerful, synergistic effect, all originally disconnected but then came together into what has been called The Sixties. LSD, Eastern mysticism, Civil Rights, Folk Music, Rock n Roll, the Anti-War Movement, Health Food, a new sense of Ecology, Radical Political Activism, "Alternative" solutions.

It seems to me that Steve Jobs was very influenced, beneficially, by the culture of that time, including in his renegade spirit and in his empathic focus on the user experience not just on the technology . I feel happy that he had the courage to say doing LSD was very important in his life. I would love to read an expanded version of his thought process on that topic.
posted by nickyskye at 7:05 AM on October 9, 2011 [14 favorites]


Granted, several went distinctly loco and really never went anywhere in life

/fineprint
posted by Ironmouth at 7:07 AM on October 9, 2011


There's a big article specifically about his LSD use in Time

The founder of Time, Henry Luce and his second wife, Clare Boothe Luce took LSD.
posted by nickyskye at 7:11 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is really kind of stupid. Imagine if it were about popcorn.

I like popcorn. Steve Jobs liked popcorn. I read somewhere that he used to eat popcorn when he was designing stuff. Yet NOWHERE do his obituaries or the MSM say anything about POPCORN! Why is the media trying to cover up his love of popcorn?!

I mean, really. How stupid does that sound?
posted by crunchland at 7:11 AM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Shareholders should demand that Steve Ballmer drop acip.
posted by mazola at 7:14 AM on October 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


Steve Jobs figured out another element of it.

LSD as the transformative tool of uber-capitalism?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:16 AM on October 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I noticed that the trip scene was omitted from the TV version of "Pirates of Silicon Valley", making the scene where he's "conducting" his staff at the beach party all the more confusing.

Just like when they show "The Jerk" on TV and omit the scene where Nathan discovers his "special purpose" and it totally makes no sense when he reveals it to Madeline Kahn. That kind of stuff makes me mad.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:23 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, awkwardly omitted, except in the numerous obituaries where it was explicitly cited? Pretty awkward. Like the way they glossed over the fact that he left Apple to found NeXT... Wake up, sheeple!
posted by IAmBroom at 7:25 AM on October 9, 2011


So, awkwardly omitted, except in the numerous obituaries where it was explicitly cited?

Well that's awkward.
posted by mazola at 7:27 AM on October 9, 2011


I was really hoping that the tripping reenactment was going to have been done by Next Media Animation.
posted by Flashman at 7:27 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


In what sense was Steve Jobs creative? I don't mean that as snark, I'm honestly trying to figure it out. Woz made the hardware. Xerox designed the look and feel. Jobs was the businessman. But not really a creative one. He used a tried and true business method: an absolute stranglehold on the entire supply chain and "amazing" hype to drive up the price.
posted by DU at 7:29 AM on October 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


and Jonathan Ive.

Maybe it was the turtlenecks?
posted by Flashman at 7:36 AM on October 9, 2011


In what sense was Andy Warhol creative? Campbell's made the soup. Other people silkscreened his work. Warhol was the businessman...
posted by mazola at 7:37 AM on October 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Contrariwise, LSD might explain why Steve Jobs actually launched as many turkeys as swans.
posted by Segundus at 7:43 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


And he's also proof that being a buddhist doesn't stop you from being an asshole, apparently, either.

Nor does being Christian or any other religion that is supposedly compassionate and peaceful. Zen in particular is full of stories about teachers who were assholes to get their students to realize the true nature of reality. The mentality is that the ends justify the means.
posted by desjardins at 7:43 AM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Of course if you're going to mention that LSD causes creativity, it should be mentioned that biplar people are higher represented in creative professions and that there are genetic similarities between schizophrenics/bipolars and successfull genius-- the mediating factor being adverse vs healthy early childhood environments.

Not to mention the fact that LSD has not been well researched due to legal issues--- however here's the problem with doing research. The concern is the LSD is causing brain changes similar to bipolar and schizophrenia. There is no ethical way to due research on humans to see if it causes a permanent state of psychosis. Drug advocates see this as a win "there's no research that proves it causes psychosis or later mental illness!" and yet fail to realize in order to allow legal research there would need to be greater proof of safety and association studies as well as animal studies tend to find the opposite.

So yes, damaging your brain might cause creativity, but is altering your brain in the direction of mental illness to be more creative really a good idea?

I just put this out there because it's like there are two parallel worlds, either hallucenogens are great or they are bad bad bad, and because when I was a kid there wasn't enough accurate information. The safety of LSD is extremely suspect. I.e nobody knows exactly how much use of LSD will give creativity from LSD vs going batship insane, and the amount of use that will cause the difference is different for different people.

I watched people do sheets of acid and become so freaking insane it is unspeakable. I guess what I mean to say is, young people read at sites like this and are trying to make informed opinions about this so saying some great american hero that recently died became a genuis because of acid use might give off an unrealistic impression of the risk/benefits and potential toxicity/harm of LSD.
posted by xarnop at 7:44 AM on October 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


batship insane

ooh
posted by nickyskye at 7:52 AM on October 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yet, Jobs locates Woz and Ive. Ballmer does what exactly?

Page and Brin say they chose Schmidt because he was the only burnner candidate. Don't you think he worked out somewhat better than say HP's recent selections?

A Harvard MBA doesn't make you a leader, nor even a good business man, not even close.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:53 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Zen in particular is full of stories about teachers who were assholes to get their students to realize the true nature of reality.

I'm almost sure that isn't what you meant (I mean you can't have...right?), but I found the implication that Steve Jobs was trying to get us all to realize the "true nature of reality" too wtf not to draw attention to it.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:04 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


but I found the implication that Steve Jobs was trying to get us all to realize the "true nature of reality"

There's an app for that!
posted by fuq at 8:16 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The 'true nature of reality' somehow involves me forking out a couple hundred dollars for the privilege of doling out the rest of my cash 99¢ at a time. That sounds about right.
posted by mazola at 8:20 AM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


"batship insane"

HA !!! It's even worse than insanity made out of guano.
posted by xarnop at 8:25 AM on October 9, 2011


Just as a counterpoint to xarnop, I myself have done heroic amounts of acid...decades ago...and I'm not insane. Well, at least I don't think I am. Friends from that period, likewise have gone on, after acid, to be functional, contributing members of society. 30 Helens agree, acid probably won't make you crazy.

That said, none of us invented the iPad either.
posted by dejah420 at 8:25 AM on October 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just think of what Steve could have achieved had he not messed up his life with drugs!
posted by mazola at 8:27 AM on October 9, 2011 [21 favorites]


I know too many stupid, banal people who did piles of acid (and conversely, brilliant, creative people who have never done it) to think that LSD enhances creativity very much. I've done LSD a bunch of times, and I don't think it fundamentally added to (or detracted from) my intelligence or creativity in any way.

Acid is a unique and life-changing experience, and it's an inspiration, but much of what you take out of it is what you put into it. It gives the opportunity to see the world in new ways and permanently change your outlook on life. Not everyone takes it. And certainly not everyone goes as far with it as Steve Jobs did.
posted by empath at 8:29 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've done LSD a bunch of times, and I don't think it fundamentally added to (or detracted from) my intelligence or creativity in any way.

I'll second that. I've done acid a few times. It was fun, but it really didn't live up to the hype.
posted by jonmc at 8:33 AM on October 9, 2011


I watched people do sheets of acid and become so freaking insane it is unspeakable.

One of my best friends in high school sold LSD and did it probably 500 times over the course of 2 years, including doing dumb shit like taking 10 hits at a time. He graduated from a good college with a four year degree, has house, a wife and 2 kids and a happy marriage, and a well paying job.

I know people who completely lost their shit while on LSD, but I've never known anybody who had long term negative consequences from it (and I know lots of people who have done lots of LSD). I recognize that it happens sometimes but from a lot of personal experience and looking at the actual data, it seems to be incredibly rare -- it seems less dangerous than tylenol to me -- and certainly less dangerous than alcohol.
posted by empath at 8:34 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know someone who had incredibly negative long term consequences from it. Her name was Diane.
posted by crunchland at 8:39 AM on October 9, 2011


> That said, none of us invented the iPad either.

You think Gene Roddenberry did acid?
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 8:41 AM on October 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


LSD made me more creative. Heck, it made me what I am today.

Certainly not crazier than the dude on the corner drooling and talking to the fire hydrant.

But I have had discussions with horses while on LSD. And seen concerts, played D & D, conquered the world Risk, witnessed shooting stars, taken the ACT, driven in the snow, and once, while at band camp, I even shoved a flute in...

The only time I went to jail, I was high on LSD.

Acid is fun as hell. But not for amateurs. So fun.
posted by brando_calrissian at 8:42 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


That said, none of us invented the iPad either.

Oh FFS. Steve Jobs not only did not invent tablet computers, the iPad wasn't even first on the market!
posted by DU at 8:46 AM on October 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Shareholders should demand that Steve Ballmer drop acip.

I think he already has.

I took acid a couple times in college. I was listening to a lot of ambient and experimental electronic music at the time. I dreamt of metal insects breathing smoke, and my sketchbook had lots of scribbling, but that's all I remember. I don't know if that experience changed my life, but it definitely colored a general mistrust in my senses.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:47 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Steve Jobs and drug policy
posted by homunculus at 8:48 AM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


In addition to what empath said, I believe there are studies that show that a significant number of people who try psychedelics feel it was a life changing experience, even many years later. And, regardless of the percentage, the people that do look back on it as a life changing experience are probably the ones that did get something out of it and retain that inspiration. I don't see why Jobs would have mentioned it at all if he weren't one of those people.

With regard to some of the other discussion, it seems a bit odd that people would argue that he's not creative because he collaborates with people who write the code and do the industrial design. Apple, NeXT and Pixar did so many groundbreaking things. Would that really have happened under the leadership of someone with no creative vision? It also seemed like he was somewhat notoriously hands-on with regard to product development. Anyhow, there are many things that require the collaboration of multiple creative people in this world.

I also don't really see the omission of the LSD thing in obituaries as a source of outrage or even awkwardness. I mean, they can't include every detail of his life, can they?
posted by snofoam at 8:48 AM on October 9, 2011


I mean, they can't include every detail of his life, can they?

I think it's the pattern of what writers/editors all mostly leave in (visionary, uncompromising asshole) and what they all mostly leave out (dropped acid) which people are noticing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:53 AM on October 9, 2011


I think the post makes for an interesting discussion, but personally, many obituaries mostly focused on his career would sufficiently explain the "pattern" to me. Also, when I have seen it mentioned, it seems like it is in the context of "he told this to a reporter one time." If it's was something he brought up regularly or he was publicly involved in supporting MAPS or something, then I would be more curious about the omission.
posted by snofoam at 9:03 AM on October 9, 2011


I believe there are studies that show that a significant number of people who try psychedelics feel it was a life changing experience, even many years later.

Previously.
posted by homunculus at 9:04 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is perhaps an interesting parallel with the inspiration he derived from having cancer and being forced to consider his mortality in a different way.
posted by snofoam at 9:05 AM on October 9, 2011


There is perhaps an interesting parallel with the inspiration he derived from having cancer and being forced to consider his mortality in a different way.

And given the choice, dropping acid is certainly more preferrable way to find inspiration.
posted by three blind mice at 9:10 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've done LSD a bunch of times, and I don't think it fundamentally added to (or detracted from) my intelligence or creativity in any way.

Maybe it wasn't really LSD. I'm pretty sure if you take LSD you either immediately become a genius or go crazy and jump out a window to your death.
posted by snofoam at 9:18 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Research has indicated that some hallucinogenic experiences increase "openness".

additionally, this quote from Steve:

"I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger."


So, the answer to the question is yes.
posted by Freen at 9:22 AM on October 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yay! OK here is my two cents.

I lived in CA in the '70s and I took acid just like Steve Jobs. At the time I thought it was really great but I got over that really really fast. Here is the most pertinent fact: taking acid takes a fuckload of time. You are intoxicated for 10 or 12 hours and then you are useless (without energy, extremely fatigued) for 24 or 36 hours. So if you drop on Friday after work you are doing very well if you have yourself all back in sync by Monday morning.

Anybody over the age of 25 who says taking acid is the one of the 2 or 3 most important experiences of their life is hopelessly naive or else highly delusional or perhaps mentally unglued.

> I would love to read an expanded version of his [Steve Jobs] thought process on that topic.

I most certainly would not. Great businessman he was but intellectually vacuous. That commencement speech all these people go ga ga over was a stupid commencement speech addressed to college seniors.

Are you a college senior? If not you are like one of those trekkies fawning over William Shatner on Saturday Night Live.
posted by bukvich at 9:23 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Crunchland, did you read the link you posted? Her autopsy showed no drugs in her system.
posted by dejah420 at 9:24 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anybody over the age of 25 who says taking acid is the one of the 2 or 3 most important experiences of their life is hopelessly naive or else highly delusional or perhaps mentally unglued.

Or they had a different experience than you and lived a different life.
posted by snofoam at 9:29 AM on October 9, 2011 [22 favorites]


Are you a college senior? If not you are like one of those trekkies fawning over William Shatner on Saturday Night Live.

I'm a college senior at heart and in spirit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


bukvich: or perhaps they aren't the kind of people that insult recently dead men and random strangers on the internet?

Not everyone who takes acid gets +1 to openness apparently.
posted by Freen at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2011


OK here is my two cents.

I lived in CA in the '70s and I took acid just like Steve Jobs.


This is already rhetorically inconsistent.
posted by polymodus at 9:49 AM on October 9, 2011


I was going to give you guys a textual rendition of one person's experience dropping acid (a complete computer geek former friend of mine), but I've lost it. On the bright side, while searching for it, I found a file that reminded me I was once hacked by a script kiddie who went by "skrillz". Also, lots of porn. And old IRC logs for which I seem to have lost the PGP key.

Anyway, it went something like this:
I don't feel anything. Is this bunk? I must have gotten ripped off.

OOoooh, butterflies!

i feel like my skin is falling off my hand...

i dontttttttttttttttttttttttttttt
posted by wierdo at 9:51 AM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dumb.

If he's spent a decade lost to alcohol I doubt that would have made it in there either unless it's what killed him.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:12 AM on October 9, 2011


So if you drop on Friday after work you are doing very well if you have yourself all back in sync by Monday morning.

Some would argue if you trip on Friday and then happily waltz back into work on Monday, you are not doing very well
posted by crayz at 10:13 AM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


jonmc: "I'll second that. I've done acid a few times. It was fun, but it really didn't live up to the hype."

I hated Tool until my roommate made me sit down with them blasting while I was blasted on acid. Granted, fucking almost anything can be made great while you're tripping and in the right mood (and anything can also be terrifying if you're in the wrong mood).

I will say that watching Tony Danza hosting some form of PBS 4th of July celebration dripping sweat all over his makeup and dancing with kids in red white and blue and twirling batons and shit certainly made for a terrifying experience. Add in NASCAR races being seen while flipping the channel and the banality of going in circles and seeing the metaphor of life and ... Acid can make you creative in seeing connections and sometimes those connections are depressing.
posted by symbioid at 10:13 AM on October 9, 2011


So if you drop on Friday after work you are doing very well if you have yourself all back in sync by Monday morning.

And? I mean it's not something you're supposed to do every fucking weekend. Take monday off. Fuck, take the whole week off.
posted by empath at 10:22 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speak well of the beloved dead, perhaps the Grateful Dead, or don't speak of them at all. "Asshole" is not a Taoist concept, last time I looked. Again, the "illegal" drug trade makes up 10% of the worlds economy. That certainly makes it look legal to me, at least sanctioned. Make sure you are the one that feeds your head...and as Jobs said, "You are already naked, no reason not to follow your heart. Death is very likely the single best invention of life. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they already know what you want to become."
posted by Oyéah at 10:30 AM on October 9, 2011


Ahh, thanks for answering my question too, Freen.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:32 AM on October 9, 2011


I think he already has yt .

He said Ballmer should drop acid, not quaaludes.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:33 AM on October 9, 2011


Not to mention the fact that LSD has not been well researched due to legal issues--- however here's the problem with doing research.

There's a shitload of drugs out there that we take by the busload every single day that haven't been researched either. Because they're out of patent and it's not profitable to do so.

Acid has been taken in similar quantities. Millions and millions of trips, by millions of people, all over the world for the last fifty years or so. Given the lack of reported problems, we know that it's pretty damn safe. Safer than alcohol or tobacco, for example.

The concern is the LSD is causing brain changes similar to bipolar and schizophrenia.

That's so much horseshit. We still don't know with any degree of precision what changes are going on in the brain when people experience bipolar or schizophrenia. How can we know that similar changes are going on if we don't have any clear idea exactly what's going on in either case?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:49 AM on October 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


> I myself have done heroic amounts of acid

Risky, or stupid amounts, perhaps? There's nothing heroic about taking that much more than the effective dose and that kind of macho bullshit attitude is dangerous.
posted by morganw at 11:05 AM on October 9, 2011


Anybody over the age of 25 who says taking acid is the one of the 2 or 3 most important experiences of their life is hopelessly naive or else highly delusional or perhaps mentally unglued.

The reason I quit drinking was due to an acid trip in my 30s (not my first by any means) which permanently changed my life for the better. I had been struggling with alcohol dependence for many years and was headed to the gutter. In all likelihood it saved my life.

So, call me mentally unglued, I really don't care. I'm alive and haven't had a drink since then. My life has also improved significantly. It was the catalyst that allowed me to change in a way which I had been unable to do otherwise, which was the beginning of a series of positive changes over the years. I always refer back to that experience when deciding what direction to go when I reach a major turning point. I can't say it's all been easy since then and have had my share of struggles along the way, but I have no doubt that I would have ended up dead or far worse without having taken LSD.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:13 AM on October 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


young people read at sites like this and are trying to make informed opinions about this so saying some great american hero that recently died became a genuis because of acid use might give off an unrealistic impression of the risk/benefits and potential toxicity/harm of LSD.

I think about this a lot about drug use generally. If you are a young person trying to rationalized your drug use saying "Well STEVE JOBS DID IT" seems like it might bolster your case, but doesn't really. On the other hand, the fact that tons of productive members of society take drugs all the time and have no real adverse affects is something that is nearly impossible to talk about in modern America because of all the negative woo woo surrounding it and all the lame government policy. I always felt that if more people of stature [remember when Cary Grant talked about drugs?] talked about casual drug use in a way that was sensible and also properly contextualized [i.e. "but I didn't do it when I was supposed to be at work, that's just stupid"] we'd actually be giving people better information, not worse.

But what winds up happening is that people know a lot about so-called legal drugs [smoking, drinking, etc] which have demonstrably worse health effects than many of the illegal drugs and then there's just this big grey area in-between that people fill in with their own preconceptions. We know so little about schizophrenia and bipolar that all the drugs/mental illness stuff is circumstantial at best and used by people with an agenda either way. Correlation and causality are really difficult to work out when people aren't honest about their usage because they're afraid. And it's very very much not MetaFilter's place to dial back what we talk about because we might be sending the wrong message. The world is full of wrong messages and a lot of people who don't even agree on what a wrong message looks like.

I'm not even much of a drug taker personally, but I get really annoyed at bad information and a lot of what we tell people in the US about things like weed/acid, sexual health, basically effective risk assessment. Some geniuses take or have taken drugs. This is true. So do a lot of other people. If we could have an open conversation about the pluses or minuses of these choices, we'd all be a lot better off. That said, the idea that this is the sort of thing that should be in someone's obit is laughable to me. Obits serve a purpose, and this sort of thing is barely within it [depending on the audience] and just seems more like another form of agenda-pushing.
posted by jessamyn at 11:18 AM on October 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


Risky, or stupid amounts, perhaps? There's nothing heroic about taking that much more than the effective dose and that kind of macho bullshit attitude is dangerous.

I don't think he meant all at once. Also, there really isn't that much difference between eating 2 hits of acid and a dozen. You're either tripping or you arent. It's just a waste of money after a certain point. The first time Hoffman did acid on purpose, he did 10 times the normal dose, with no ill effects (aside from tripping his ass off, obviously).
posted by empath at 11:20 AM on October 9, 2011


Also, there really isn't that much difference between eating 2 hits of acid and a dozen.

I disagree completely. The dose definitely does matter. My experiences on 2 hits were significantly different than higher doses. All the recorded experiences and research indicates the same. However, set and setting make a difference as to how it affects you. And it's possible to develop a tolerance, but you have to take it fairly often for it to stick.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:25 AM on October 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


In what sense was Steve Jobs creative? I don't mean that as snark, I'm honestly trying to figure it out.

The more apposite word might be innovative. It's clear that he pushed for the Mac when many at Apple thought it a certain failure, and it's also clear that NeXT and Pixar were both ahead of their time. When he came back to Apple, he was directly responsible for the iPod, which although not itself a new idea was implemented in such a way that it revolutionized the industry, leading directly to iTunes, which transformed Apple into a content platform, the iPhone, which has been a significant disruptive force in telecom, and the iPad, which almost singlehandedly made the long-sought tablet market a success (noting, indeed, the Newton). There's some brilliance there to spare.
posted by dhartung at 11:29 AM on October 9, 2011


I know someone who had incredibly negative long term consequences from it. Her name was Diane.

Diane Linkletter wasn't on acid when she died. She wasn't on any drugs at all. She was depressed. The idea that LSD killed her is something Art Linkletter made up to make himself feel better.

Apparently there was an Army biochemist named Frank Olson whose window-jumping might have been precipitated by acid, but that's one of those bizarro early-'50s CIA drink-spiking things.
posted by Adventurer at 11:34 AM on October 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


We know so little about schizophrenia and bipolar that all the drugs/mental illness stuff is circumstantial at best and used by people with an agenda either way

Most research points to the fact that some people are genetically predisposed to a mental illness like schizophrenia, and that some drugs like psychedelics and marijuana will serve as a catalyst. It's also the case that such people's mental illnesses will be triggered by something eventually, and that psychedelics are not the cause. Mark Vonnegut (Kurt's son) wrote a book about his own experiences with psychedelics and schizophrenia, The Eden Express. What is incorrect is the idea that psychedelics cause schizophrenia, but some people have developed other psychological issues because of their use. A good friend who took a lot of LSD was convinced that dolphins were speaking to him (among other things) even when he wasn't on acid, and eventually entered in-patient treatment. He's doing fine last I heard, but at the time he kind of went too deep into his trip and ended up having to be brought back to earth by mental health professionals. This doesn't mean it's inherently dangerous, but the insights psychedelics offer have to be incorporated into one's life in a realistic and healthy way, and some people may encounter difficulty in that regard.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:37 AM on October 9, 2011


I absolutely believe we need more than anecdata to tell people they can take however much acid they want and they'll be fine, or even become creative and successful! People assume doing acid a few times probably won't have much negative affect, or might just give positive experience, and doing "a lot" might in fact have some negative affect but what constitutes "a lot"? The ethical issues of seeing "how much acid it takes to cause harm" in humans seems injustifiable and intolerable to me, so I don't know what the solution is to get better facts. I guess just keep doing weird roundabout research and hope that all of it combined will start to paint a picture of what the facts are around it.

I think talking about the positives of drugs of abuse is perfectly fine. A lot can be learned not only from hallucinogenic experiences but experiences of "different consciousness" in people who are mentally different.

I am pro-harm reduction, pro-open discussion. I was just seeing a one sided discussion so thought I'd throw in the fact that these conversations tend to either be one sided toward one direction and rarely talking in terms of both potential interesting or meaningful experiences, and also down sides. All of my friends have been drug users and I don't even know how to relate to people who have never done drugs (what is it like to never have tried drugs? I'd like to see a documentary on the lives of people who have never done illegal drugs... such a mysterious group of people)

I'll throw in I've worked as a harm reduction outreach volunteer/and seen too many people lose sanity and never come back. Sanity is not a game and for people who like tripping, it is... and then the same people start telling me, "I'm hearing voices in my TV when it's turned off, the black cloud follows me"

Have you ever heard the word permafried? Among my friends who use drugs their mental health seems to stabalize more when they aren't tripping balls all the time. Just anacdata from my end of the table. Ever talked to someone who was so ethereal and esoteric that they seem barely connected with reality even when they aren't stoned or on a bunch of hallucinogens?

"It's like, the sun is like... round. And your eyes are round. And you SEE the sun... with your eyes. It's all, you know... connected."

Deep.

Why do some people lose it? Sure there are tons of reasons why and we are still fitting together how that happens. Gene environment interactions giving us a lot of info, epiginetics and the like. Trauma and adversity in early life combined with other factors.

I can about gaurantee you that there are some people who are harmed by hallucinogen use, same for alcohol and pot and even psych meds.There are also plenty of people benefitted. It may just be there will just have to be pro and anti for everything everywhere, I just find it impossible to not want conversations that contain both.
posted by xarnop at 11:40 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


" I just find it impossible to not want conversations that contain both."

that's not exactly what I mean, because it's not always the case that a middle ground is accurate. But I guess it'll do. I guess what I mean is, I do want the full spectrum of truth to be accessible.
posted by xarnop at 11:43 AM on October 9, 2011


John Markoff's excellent What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry tackles the question of how the 60s affected the computer revolution, and the author presents this interview with Jobs:
[Jobs] sat down in front of one of his Macintosh computers to demonstrate a new program he had introduced earlier that morning before the legions of faithful. iTunes was to turn any Macintosh into a digital music player that stored and played CDs or music downloaded from the Internet. It included a simple visualization feature that conjured up dancing color patterns that pulsed on the computer's screen in concert with the beat of the music.

Obviously pleased with the feature, Jobs turned to me with a slight smile and said, "It reminds me of my youth." I responded by mentioning the names of several of Silicon Valley's best-known pioneers who had taken psychedelic drugs in the 1960s. That ignited an unexpectedly candid and passionate response. It is widely known that Jobs, a dropout from Reed College in Portland, had experimented with drugs and pursued a countercultural lifestyle both before and after helping found the quirky computer maker. Despite the fact that he now flies around the world in his own corporate jet and has a personal net worth of more than one billion dollars, Jobs has maintained deep emotional ties to the era in which he grew up.

He explained that he still believed that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life, and he said he felt that because people he knew well had not tried psychedelics, there were things about him they couldn't understand. He also said that his countercultural roots often left him feeling like an outsider in the corporate world of which he is now a leader.
It seems like when we hear innovators explain to us what the impetus behind their discoveries are, we should probably listen. Even Gates was rumored to have dabbled in LSD, particularly in his 1994 Playboy interview:
PLAYBOY: Ever take LSD?

GATES: My errant youth ended a long time ago.

PLAYBOY: What does that mean?

GATES: That means there were things I did under the age of 25 that I ended up not doing subsequently.

PLAYBOY: One LSD story involved you staring at a table and thinking the corner was going to plunge into your eye.

GATES: [Smiles]

PLAYBOY: Ah, a glimmer of recognition.

GATES: That was on the other side of that boundary. The young mind can deal with certain kinds of gooping around that I don't think at this age I could. I don't think you're as capable of handling lack of sleep or whatever challenges you throw at your body as you get older. However, I never missed a day of work.
Of course the Gates passage isn't quite as convincing of the direct influence it had on Gates, but it's interesting nonetheless. Scientists such as Francis Crick and Kary Mullis have made important scientific discoveries under the influence of acid, so it makes sense that the same would be true in the computer science world.
posted by shotintoeternity at 11:53 AM on October 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


In what sense was Steve Jobs creative? I don't mean that as snark, I'm honestly trying to figure it out. Woz made the hardware. Xerox designed the look and feel. Jobs was the businessman. But not really a creative one. He used a tried and true business method: an absolute stranglehold on the entire supply chain and "amazing" hype to drive up the price.

He was creative in the sense of inventing awesome and useful new technologies that make his detractors have frowny faces on Metafilter.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:03 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Among my friends who use drugs their mental health seems to stabalize more when they aren't tripping balls all the time. Just anacdata from my end of the table.

Well no shit. Doing drugs all the time is a problem. When i was rolling every week, I was a mess, even when I was sober. Doing drugs a couple times a year or so probably isn't a problem, though.
posted by empath at 12:09 PM on October 9, 2011


Crunchland, did you read the link you posted? --- Clearly, I didn't. I wasn't seriously trying to detract from the acid experience, and was just posting a link to what was, at least anecdotally, a negative LSD experience. Didn't mean to perpetuate a falsehood.
posted by crunchland at 12:16 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Amen! We need a real framework to manage drug usage. We should all have drug purchaser cards that contain no identifying information digitally, merely an internal database updated by point of sale machines that vendors are required to provide. Any unswiped sales are doubled in price. All point of sale machines print a receipt detailing the negative health effects of your current usage level for the purchased substances. All recreational drugs except stupidly harmful stuff like Krokodil (warning : don't google image search "Krokodil junkies").
posted by jeffburdges at 12:22 PM on October 9, 2011


Did anything make Steve Jobs more creative? Is a rhetorical question a suitable basis for a FPP?
posted by Twang at 12:57 PM on October 9, 2011


BBC's Psychedelic Science documentary from the 90s explores the influence LSD has had on cognition and scientific insight.
posted by stroke_count at 1:46 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


In what sense was Steve Jobs creative? I don't mean that as snark, I'm honestly trying to figure it out.

In the sense that so many people are creative. They find ways to make things happen and produce results. Engineers are creative, chefs are creative, massage therapists are creative, programmers are creative, business people are creative, etc.

Unfortunately, the use of words such as creative and innovative is often reduced to a playground "debate" about who is more or less creative/innovative and then it reduces to Person A is very creative, Person B, his supposed "rival" is not creative at all. Unfortunate, but so it goes.

Jobs, like every other creative person in this world, built upon what came before and added to it. Gates has been mentioned above, he too, saw what the folks at IBM couldn't see and came up with ways to build a business. That's creative. Jobs doing much the same to Xerox is creative. At least in my mind. Both of them worked with and employed a number of creative people. The people in any organization often count just as much as the figurehead.
posted by juiceCake at 1:47 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Imagine if he hadn't screwed up at Apple the first time. Pixar would have been abandoned by Lucasfilm and we'd never have heard of Toy Story.
posted by humanfont at 4:40 PM on October 9, 2011


Crunchland: I wasn't seriously trying to detract from the acid experience, and was just posting a link to what was, at least anecdotally, a negative LSD experience. Didn't mean to perpetuate a falsehood.

I thank you for posting the link anyway, because it lead me to locate the Art and Diane Linkletter recorded word piece We Love You, Call Collect, which, given Diane's later suicide, is a bit creepy to listen to. Not as creepy as the short film The Diane Linkletter Story, made by John Waters and Divine the day after she took her own life, which I also saw for the first time because of your link. What can I say? I like creepy things sometimes.

jeffburdges: warning : don't google image search "Krokodil junkies"

So of course I had to do it. Ugh. That's too creepy.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:35 PM on October 9, 2011


Has the word "led" disappeared from the lexicon?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:15 PM on October 9, 2011


I finally caught with this season of Doctor Who, and watching The Girl Who Waited felt really eerie after Jobs' death, like it was his vision of Heaven.

As for drugs, don't they only help bring forth what is already inside you? OTOH, maybe they jump start something. He did name his company after the Beatles' label.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:26 PM on October 9, 2011


I think on the last acid thread there were people telling me that not wanting to risk my mental health by taking LCD meant I was narrow-minded, so I fear this will be more fodder for MeFi's hippie mystic brigade. That said, if it worked for him it worked for him.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:29 PM on October 9, 2011


I think on the last acid thread there were people telling me that not wanting to risk my mental health by taking LCD meant I was narrow-minded
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn


I can dig it. I've tried both LCD and LED, but the plasma trip? Whoa. No wonder they call the place Fry's.
posted by George Clooney at 6:42 PM on October 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Correlation does not imply causation, even if Jobs thinks it does.
posted by rocket88 at 7:15 PM on October 9, 2011


"I think on the last acid thread there were people telling me that not wanting to risk my mental health by taking LCD meant I was narrow-minded"

I think one of my problems is the idea that LSD is fine for everyone except people who are mentally ill and would have become mentally ill anyway. This isn't really how mental illness works. Gene environment interaction studies and epigenetic research is finding that risk factors combine with continual environmnental factors, meaning the more traumatic, decentering, isolating, abusive, harmful, scary, stressful, negative etc health factors the more likely a predisposition will become a mental illness.

Meaning that yes there are likely people who if it weren't for that two year abusive relationship, or that really scary acid trip, or the traumatic witnessing of a sudden death etc etc might actually not have had substantial mental health problems.

And I also dislike the idea that drugs are good for all healthy people. People are all different and drugs can produce really weird affects in some people. And you won't know if that's you until you try. Respecting people's caution about the potential affects of something like that is important.

then again people who dig tripping really love the fact that their ability to hold their sanity through it and handle the cosmos or whatever makes them extremely spiritually impressive vs those not as advanced people who can't handle their shit on hallucinogens (they just don't understand the depth!)

(I kind of dig how Chogyum Trungpa discusses this phenomenon in 'Cutting through spiritual materialism')

I kind of dislike how people who encourage others to do high risk activities tend to have the least compassion for people who are devastatingly harmed after doing the same. "Oh those people were already gonna be mentally ill anyway. Nobody worry about that, you're wrong to be concerned how this might affect people."

Yes I'm being 200 years old again. Xarnop destroys all fun!!!!!!!!!!!!! People, stop having sex and doing drugs, also don't even get me started on rock n roll, it's totally going to ruin your brains...

....who put the burning turd bag on my porch?!! YOU KIDS!!! -fist shake-
posted by xarnop at 7:15 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


he was directly responsible for the iPod, which although not itself a new idea was implemented promoted in such a way that it revolutionized the industry,

I was totally into the market for HDD mp3 players before the ipod existed, and it seemed to me that the thing that was different about the ipod was not implementation (it was actually a worse device than some at the time), but (A) No-one who was remotely non-geeky knew that such magical devices existed, and Apple told the world. The ipod was the first mp3 player that people knew about, because it was the first one to be marketed to the mainstream.

This wasn't coincidence - mp3 player manufacturers were keeping their heads down because the RIAA was pretty much suing anything that looked like it could further legitimize the mp3 file format. Player manufacturers were winning some and losing some, but the RIAA's game was as much about disincentive as victories.

Apple was the first manufacturer with sufficient size and clout to slam down the staff and shout "You shall not pass!" to the RIAA, but in order to make that stand, Apple made severe, crippling compromises to the design of the device (tying it to one computer, making import/expot difficult, etc) so that they could negotiate and/or fight the RIAA and win. And I would think that here is where Steve Jobs gets the credit - deciding to stake serious resources on standing up to the RIAA, and choosing which compromises would be sufficient to win that fight.

Hmm, I guess that means you're right in that the implementation revolutionized the industry, it's just seemed an odd way to phrase it because the nature of that implementation was in crippling the device so it could withstand the RIAA, making it worse than some rival products in terms or features or interface, yet that compromise - brilliant in hindsight - made it the first product which an American company could stand behind, draw a line in the sand against the RIAA, and introduce the device to the masses.

At the time, it seemed like a step backwards, but that step backwards was a gambit that broke the dam. That has Steve Jobs written all over it :)
posted by -harlequin- at 7:51 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


That said, none of us invented the iPad

Well, to be fair, neither did Steve Jobs. The corporation of which he was CEO "invented" (created) the iPad.

The creator of LSD, Albert Hofmann, wrote to Steve Jobs in 2007 asking that he help in promoting the use of LSD in psychotherapy. Hardly surprisingly, Jobs never bothered to reply.
posted by smithsmith at 8:01 PM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Did Dropping Acid Make Steve Jobs More Creative? Was his experience (portrayed in this reenactment yt ) the source of his creativity?

Why do you phrase it this way? Why are you giving the acid the credit fro the good things in his life but none of the blame for the bad? Why not ask, Did dropping acid make Steve Jobs abandon his daughter for decades? Was his experience the source of his megalomanical and narcissistic personality?

FYI, Michelangelo and Da Vinci never dropped acid.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:10 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kind of dislike how people who encourage others to do high risk activities tend to have the least compassion for people who are devastatingly harmed after doing the same. "Oh those people were already gonna be mentally ill anyway. "

One doesn't have anything to do with the other.
posted by empath at 9:22 PM on October 9, 2011


This thread could really use someone speaking in an almost completely dark room with an altered voice, talking about how they used to do acid but don't want to be identified. I wonder if the mods could implement this feature, anonymous video comments in threads recorded via skype and then blurred, etc. to protect their identity. Like on Gangland. Anyway... I just wanted to comment because I thought of Todd Rundgren's experiences with drugs, starting with Ritalin and weed on "Something/Anything" then moving onto psychedelics when making "A Wizard, a True Star". Some awesome music absolutely, I love Todd Rundgren, don't get me wrong, but a lot of stuff on the latter is just hard to listen to. "You Need Your Head", quite esponyterical indeed, comes to mind. But I can easily overlook it because of songs like "Sometimes I Don't Know What to Feel".
posted by MattMangels at 10:02 PM on October 9, 2011


I don't get it at all. I've done acid (and other hallucinogens) and it was in no way profound.

The only thing I took away from it was first-hand experience into the fact that my entire sense of self is just an epiphenomenon of brain chemistry, because my thoughts and perceptions were completely altered by introducing a tiny amount of a foreign chemical. It was not a chemical kaleidoscope pulled in front of my senses, it actually modified my mind's functioning.

I also learned that people going to work at 6 am look freaky as shit, and that watching a Behind the Music on Duran Duran while coming off acid really makes one wish Simon Le Bon could age with dignity.

As far as Steve Jobs' possible mystical ideas go, I'm more curious about how deeply into that he actually was, if it's true that he spent the first 9 months following the cancer diagnosis eating a magic diet before seeking proper medical attention. And I'm curious whether his prognosis would have been far better if he had not wasted that time.
posted by unigolyn at 3:20 AM on October 10, 2011


Pastabagel wrote: FYI, Michelangelo and Da Vinci never dropped acid.

As if that's the only hallucinogen in existence. People have been eating mushrooms for thousands of years. ;)
posted by wierdo at 3:28 AM on October 10, 2011


Oh FFS. Steve Jobs not only did not invent tablet computers, the iPad wasn't even first on the market!

If you really think gimpy keyboardless laptops running XP Tablet Edition are the same product category as the iPad, I don't know what to tell you.

Multitouch instead of styluses is as big a UI revolution as the mouse was.
posted by unigolyn at 3:30 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


People have been eating mushrooms for thousands of years. --- And aside from giggling, they haven't accomplished a thing.
posted by crunchland at 4:15 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


GATES: That was on the other side of that boundary. The young mind can deal with certain kinds of gooping around that I don't think at this age I could. I don't think you're as capable of handling lack of sleep or whatever challenges you throw at your body as you get older. However, I never missed a day of work.
Boy, there's an epitaph for you. "I never missed a day of work."
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 5:47 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


it was in no way profound.

The only thing I took away from it was first-hand experience into the fact that my entire senseof self is just an epiphenomenon of brain chemistry, because my thoughts and perceptions were completely altered by introducing a tiny amount of a foreign chemical.


Damn, dude, you have a high bar for "profound".
posted by adamdschneider at 6:14 AM on October 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


The american mainstream weighs heavily on Metafilter.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 6:52 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I did a lot of acid and hey, I'm just fine.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:28 AM on October 10, 2011


I kind of dislike how people who encourage others to do high risk activities tend to have the least compassion for people who are devastatingly harmed after doing the same. "Oh those people were already gonna be mentally ill anyway. Nobody worry about that, you're wrong to be concerned how this might affect people."

I can't say I'd encourage anyone to try acid outright. I think it can be life-changing for some people and not for others. Some people may encounter difficulties. Anyone who is considering it should check their family history of mental illness like schizophrenia. But if you take it from a trusted source and with trusted people, the experience could be far more than just fun and could end up being profound. There is no guarantee, however. Drinking and smoking have done more harm, however. Two of my family members have died of smoking related cancer. One relative died of a failed liver due to drinking in her 50s. One family member battled throat cancer for years due to smoking related cancer. Alcohol abuse has also caused other problems in my family with a several people needing treatment. One of my cousins has had considerable difficulties with multiple substances and continues to struggle, but mostly alcohol and cocaine. OTOH, LSD allowed me to quit drinking. More than a few people in my circle of family and friends have taken LSD and nobody has been seriously harmed by it, although a friend of mine did need treatment due to his use - he didn't suffer any long-term damage. I'm not saying it's entirely safe nor that anecdotes are statistically meaningful, but the risks of legal substances are often glossed over in these discussions. LSD has its own set of issues and should be treated with respect, otherwise it has a tendency to bite back (as in a bad trip, which is unpleasant but temporary), some people may develop a psychological dependence (although in my experience that is rare), and in some rare cases it may be a catalyst for pre-existing, latent mental illness, but doesn't cause physiological damage like cancer or liver failure.

Skiing is a much higher risk activity and one which I enjoy, but I don't see the same type of judgment when people discuss it. It could be considered to be high risk to a much greater degree than taking psychedelics. People hurt themselves quite often engaging in such activities. If someone gets injured it's assumed that person knew the risks. The main problem with something like LSD is that it's not legal, so that adds to the inherent risk.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:59 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's a fairly unadulterated look at the time when Steve was living on a diet of air and water, where co-workers complained about his poor hygiene, and how he spent a good amount of his time in India with a backpack and a lot of acid.
posted by crunchland at 8:41 AM on October 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


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