Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"Those darn neighbors need waking up, I can tell you, constable!”
January 9, 2008 4:41 PM   Subscribe

Cary Grant on LSD. Excerpted from his autobiography.
posted by Bookhouse (188 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd like to write a musical comedy called Cary Grant on LSD, if I were the musical-comedy-writin' type.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:42 PM on January 9, 2008


Groucho Marx on LSD
posted by empath at 4:44 PM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Judy, Judy, Judy, the walls are breathing, breathing, breathing..."
posted by jonmc at 4:46 PM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


And here I was, hoping for a link to youtube.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:46 PM on January 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


Groucho Marx on LSD

Groucho dropped acid? Maybe he really did see that elephant in his pajamas.
posted by jonmc at 4:50 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, that explains Operation Petticoat and Walk Don't Run.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:55 PM on January 9, 2008


Sounds like a rational and intelligent man, that Cary Grant. I had my last hit of acid 12 or 15 years ago, but I don't regret the times I did it. Like anything, it can be abused, but in the right setting, with the right people, and not done to excess, it really seems like it can be beneficial in terms of understanding yourself.
posted by jamstigator at 4:58 PM on January 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


but in the right setting, with the right people, and not done to excess, it really seems like it can be beneficial in terms of understanding yourself.

I've said this before, but both times I've taken acid, it was fun, but I didn't understand myself any better than before. Put simply, it didn't live up to the hype.
posted by jonmc at 5:00 PM on January 9, 2008


After my limited experiences with LSD, I can't say I understood myself better, but I did gain a whole new perspective on the external world and my relationship to it.
posted by tgyg at 5:05 PM on January 9, 2008


Shit, half the time I was on acid I didn't even understand English.
posted by The Straightener at 5:10 PM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Doing LSD gives one a profound sense of understanding something which is impossible to put into words, but which one will still attempt to explain to other people anyway, even though it makes you look like a nut.
posted by empath at 5:13 PM on January 9, 2008 [7 favorites]


jonmc writes "I've said this before, but both times I've taken acid, it was fun, but I didn't understand myself any better than before. Put simply, it didn't live up to the hype."

Well, that's true for some, not for others. For me, it improved my life considerably, but I wasn't planning on it or taking it with that intent. May have even saved my life. I'm not kidding. I took my first hit at 16, but I was 32 when I took the hit that changed me forever. In the intervening 16 years, I probably took it over 100 times, but it never had the life-changing effect until that one time. It's a teacher and a tool. If you just want to have fun, most of the time that's all you'll get, but you may get your ass kicked by the universe without asking. If you do, you may need it.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:14 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, I was drinking quite a bit and smoking a good amount of weed each time, too. Anyways, all I want from any mind altering substance at this point is a nice buzz.
posted by jonmc at 5:25 PM on January 9, 2008


...it really seems like it can be beneficial in terms of understanding yourself.

"I am the kind of person who takes drugs to 'understand myself'."
posted by DU at 5:32 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


as some profound fellow said, “I’d be a nut to go through all that again, but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.” Ditto... (for the record I've not done LSD for about 20 years.)

jonmc, you didn't take enough. :) I spent weeks in the college library reading all of the psychoactive pharmaceutical journals from years ago... Knew what I was getting into, always had a 'trip mother' around (somebody trusted who wasn't doing anything), somebody you could look at and "if she's not freaking out... there's nothing to worry about".

But after a couple of years dropping hits every other month or so, nothing more to see here... but "I wouldn't have missed it for anything."
posted by zengargoyle at 5:42 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I disagree entirely with the premise behind your joke there, DU. I was never one to think that drugs were going to unlock the doors to inner mysteries or drink would make me a poet and raconteur, but acid did in fact add to my understanding of my self - particularly illustrating the extent to which the self is a perceptual construct rather than something essential. There were also elements of the "normal" me that sustained even on some right wacked out flights into la-la land. I don't think those would be things you can only discover through drugs, or that alone is some great secret key to all meaning, but you'd be a poor fecker not to undergo that kind of experience and learn something.
posted by Abiezer at 5:46 PM on January 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


And a poorer fecker still if you can't parse that last sentence: "to undergo that kind of experience and not learn something." See what LSD can do to a once fine mind.
posted by Abiezer at 5:49 PM on January 9, 2008


Also, this was a plea from the teatime of Cary Grant's soul! Show some respect.
posted by Abiezer at 5:50 PM on January 9, 2008


Good post; I like Grant even more now.
posted by everichon at 5:51 PM on January 9, 2008


he beat the shit out of his wife, you know?
posted by matteo at 5:55 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I strongly feel that most people would seriously benefit spiritually from taking LSD at least once in a controlled and supportive environment.

It's certainly made me much more compassionate towards others and towards animals and the environment. I think it's also been very good for my creativity and I live off that (and my technical skills of course).

I had it again recently after a long time. Sigh. What fun!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:00 PM on January 9, 2008


I had a transforming experience with psylocybin taken in complete solitude on a beautiful summer day on a lush green river bank (talk about a perfect setting). The experience was profound and enriching and changed me and my view of things forever. But interestingly enough, despite the immediate intensity of the trip (which was to be expected), the sense of transformation that I retained once it was over felt as subtle and fragile as it had been profound so that I was very hesitant to try shrooms or anything else again for a long time afterwards for fear of disturbing things too early and potentially negating or corrupting the impact this had had on me. I've tried different things on different occasions but that one experience clearly stands out as being very different from the rest.
It was fun too... especially the part where I thought a was a small rodent looking for food and got freaked out by some plastic netting stuck in a shrub which I thought was a snake's skin and when I could see trees' roots under the ground and the path of the river beyond the horizon... :P
The gimmicky effects aside... I 'm glad I did it and I wouldn't want to miss the changes to my sense of existence triggered by the experience.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 6:02 PM on January 9, 2008


I was hiking in the woods while tripping once and saw two turtles fucking.

It wasn't particularly profound.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:13 PM on January 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


Good for Cary. I'm cool with experiencing recreational substances, but man, I've seen a few people who never really came back after LSD and it scared the shit out of me.

"Never really came back", meaning, they were measurably disabled.

Interesting stuff, but I'll pass on the acid.
posted by snsranch at 6:16 PM on January 9, 2008


Measurably disabled meaning. . .?
posted by Evstar at 6:25 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've said this before, but both times I've taken acid, it was fun, but I didn't understand myself any better than before. Put simply, it didn't live up to the hype.

Perhaps you already understood yourself perfectly before ever using LSD?
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 6:33 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was hiking in the woods while tripping once and saw two turtles fucking.

It wasn't particularly profound.


You were shell-shocked.
posted by jonmc at 6:40 PM on January 9, 2008 [10 favorites]


Psychedelic Healing? Hallucinogenic drugs, which blew minds in the 1960s, soon may be used to treat mental ailments
posted by homunculus at 6:42 PM on January 9, 2008


Evstar, we used to call them "fried". To give an extreme example, I knew one fellow, who after doing acid, was unable to speak for at least a couple of weeks. He didn't express anything and was hospitalized.

Not everyone that I've known to take LSD had any measurable decrease in their ability, but enough have to keep me away from it. If you're doing a study or something, I can MeFiMail you.
posted by snsranch at 6:52 PM on January 9, 2008


Acid opened my mind to visual apprehension I'd never dreamed of, improved artistic ability, a keener understanding of language, and the idea that we might truly be a peaceful and whole species one day. Like God might be the connectedness of all things, not something that divides us. Hope. A wonderful delicious sense of physicality, of being swimming, alive, open. Lithe and invincible.


A++, Would deal with again.
posted by SaintCynr at 6:56 PM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm only curious. I've heard often enough that LSD has the potential to fuck permanently with your head but I've never read anything thorough or from a reliable source. Are there any medical studies that document this kind of lasting damage from the drug?
posted by Evstar at 7:02 PM on January 9, 2008


It wasn't really a joke. I don't think taking LSD enables true mental understanding any more than taking steroids enables true physical prowess.

But I've never done either drug and never will, so it's easy to just counter with "you have to try it to know". Not to sound cliche, but there's plenty of awesomeness out there for me to experience straight so I don't feel that I need to risk damage for some chemical insight.
posted by DU at 7:14 PM on January 9, 2008


I only dropped bases. Not sure if it totally changed my life, but it certainly made me more caustic.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:17 PM on January 9, 2008 [13 favorites]


It wasn't really a joke. I don't think taking LSD enables true mental understanding any more than taking steroids enables true physical prowess.

Alcohol, on the other hand, does enable true inebriation. You gotta love an honest substance.
posted by jonmc at 7:18 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't think taking LSD enables true mental understanding any more than taking steroids enables true physical prowess.

But taking steroids does enable true physical prowess. If it didn't, there would be no real reason to test athletes for steroid use, would there?
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 7:18 PM on January 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


"I’ve heard that a man here and there died during LSD25 sessions; but then I’ve heard that men died during poker games and while watching horse racing; but that didn’t seem to stop such occupations. Those men might have died anywhere while doing anything. Men have also died testing airplanes and parachutes, vaccines and common cold cures. In attempting to traverse the next step into progress and knowledge, men have always died. But there is a difference between the man who knows what he’s about with a high-powered airplane, and an idiot who puts wings on a bicycle and takes off from the edge of Niagra Falls."
One of my favorite Archibald Alexander Leach quotes, without a doubt.

This man is above and beyond the greatest actor of all time, and his autobiography has cemented that concept for me in a very real way. Aside from his documented experiences with psychadelics I found the writings to be fascinating in terms of his relating childhood developments all the way through dealing with this character that had been invented for him.
"I have spent the greater part of my life fluctuating between Archie Leach and Cary Grant; unsure of either, suspecting each. Only recently have I begun to unify them into one person: the man and boy in me, the hate and the love and all the degrees of each in me, and the power of God in me."
Even though most of us are probably not celebrities, I feel as if we can all relate to this struggle in some capacity. A quote in context, by Huxley from The Doors of Perception:
"Successfully (whatever that may mean) or unsuccessfully, we all overact the part of our favorite character in fiction."
I've heard often enough that LSD has the potential to fuck permanently with your head but I've never read anything thorough or from a reliable source.

Psychedelics are well known to trigger latent mental illness, and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder "is a DSM-IV diagnosis with diagnostic code 292.89." I observed a childhood friend partake in a myriad of these substances in his teens from natural to synthetic, followed by a subsequent spiral into schizophrenia, isolation and suicide. These things do happen, but unfortunately the restriction on the legitimate studies of these chemicals has reduced our understanding of these interactions to an infantile level. We should know a lot more about these things by now, but fear, ignorance and propaganda has kept them out of reach of the modern scientist/chemist/psychologist.
posted by prostyle at 7:19 PM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Successfully (whatever that may mean) or unsuccessfully, we all overact the part of our favorite character in fiction."

*attempts to have self commited, give self home lobotomy with corkscrew while Native American throws fixture out window*
posted by jonmc at 7:23 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not everyone that I've known to take LSD had any measurable decrease in their ability, but enough have to keep me away from it.

I'm the last person who actually knows anything about hallucinogenic drugs: even though I find the stories really interesting, I've never touched them, never personally known anyone who's done them.

Just to play devil's advocate, though, would the portion of people you've known who've been "fried" in the way you're describing be greater than the number of people you know who've received lasting injuries through sports, or emotional scars via romance, or persistent health problems from childbirth, or internal conflicts from religious involvement?

This isn't to say the risk is always worth it -- I'm really trying to get a sense of how common getting "fried" is in your experience vs the number of people you know who've been involved, parallel to the risk of some other activities.
posted by weston at 7:24 PM on January 9, 2008


I'll see your Cary Grant on LSD and raise.

William James on N2O.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:35 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't think taking LSD enables true mental understanding any more than taking steroids enables true physical prowess.

The implied moralizing begs the question. "Enhanced" experience may be inauthentic to "natural" experience - if such a thing as authentic experience can even be said to truly exist beyond the mean - but it is still undeniably real, with real results. Examples of chemical improvements to brain and body function are commonplace today, so choosing to exclude one over another by drawing a "truth" line in the sand is entirely arbitrary. The origins of an idea have absolutely no bearing its truth, and nothing is more egalitarian than insight.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:38 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm really trying to get a sense of how common getting "fried" is in your experience vs the number of people you know who've been involved, parallel to the risk of some other activities.

I know a hell of a lot more people whose lives have been increasingly corroded by reckless abuse of alcohol, with or without the aid of subsequent interactions with motor vehicles. You're infinitely more likely to incur a spinal injury or break a limb from precision contact transferred through shitty pads, posture and flat out bad luck in a high school football match than tripping on LSD. However, you probably won't get a concussion and develop schizophrenia or another major mental illness, as far as I know.
posted by prostyle at 7:38 PM on January 9, 2008


Um, all this talk about LSD begs the questions: where the hell is it it? and book me a seat!
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:48 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


These LSD threads always go the same way. Half of the thread is people who have never done it taking a superior attitude over people who have, and the other half is people who have done it saying "Unless you've done it, you just don't understand, man!"

I'm going to officially put myself in the latter category. If you haven't done it, you have absolutely no standing to comment on what you think it does, because you have no fucking clue. It is quite literally impossible to put into words or understand, even for those who have had the experience, in many cases you can't integrate the experience or even remember most of it later.

I don't think you really learn anything from it. I think the medium to long term result of doing it is that it shakes the cobwebs loose from your brain, makes you see lots of things from a new perspective and makes you much, much more unsure about a lot of ingrained, habitual beliefs that you might have had before doing it.

Whether that is good or bad, I dunno. A bad trip is quite possibly the worst, most soul-rending and terrifying suffering you can imagine, and it seems to never end. A good trip is utterly blissful and beautiful. I had them go both ways. I'm not sure the good ones made up for the bad ones in the long run.
posted by empath at 7:49 PM on January 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


Half of the thread is people who have never done it taking a superior attitude over people who have, and the other half is people who have done it saying "Unless you've done it, you just don't understand, man!"

You forgot the one guy who's done it and says it's not all that.
posted by jonmc at 7:50 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


"I am the kind of person who takes drugs to 'understand myself'."

"I am the kind of person who needs a mirror to see what I look like."
posted by empath at 7:53 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


"I am the kind of person who never pees in the shower."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:55 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


True. Like any good American, I open a window.
posted by jonmc at 7:58 PM on January 9, 2008


empath writes "A bad trip is quite possibly the worst, most soul-rending and terrifying suffering you can imagine, and it seems to never end. A good trip is utterly blissful and beautiful. I had them go both ways. I'm not sure the good ones made up for the bad ones in the long run."

A bad trip is pretty frightening. I've had a few of those, including the time it changed my life. I think it is possible to learn from them. It's not really fun, but it can be valuable to experience, if you can come through it somehow and not just get stuck there. It helps to be around people who understand how to deal with that sort of thing.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:59 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


posted by Evstar at 7:02 PM on January 9 [+] [!]

...I don't think taking LSD enables true mental understanding any more than taking steroids enables true physical prowess.

But I've never done either drug and never will, so it's easy to just counter with "you have to try it to know". Not to sound cliche, but there's plenty of awesomeness out there for me to experience straight so I don't feel that I need to risk damage for some chemical insight.


Your right, you will never know unless you take it. And if you say there is plenty of awesomeness, if you see it, than i tip my hat to you, you are are priveledged to be in it, and are not the majority, and might not need to take it. For others who don't see life so grandly, there is worth in being shown the beauty of the moment. True, your not the same once you take it--but your not the same after your fifth beer either, or your 30th birthday. Degredation is part of living. I think the expereience was worth it. First there was the sheer beauty of viewing whatever was in this moment in un-hurried high-focus intensity, devoid of time or space, without all the filters and mental dialog. Experiencing life as brand new, but still with a background cache of all the knowledge you've gained, unlike a baby. Next was experiencing emotion as raw and delicious as a teenager's first date. Then another time, analyzing your worries, realizing the vanity or folly of your narrow perceptions or worldview, and the uselessness of other people's expectations. Then, watching streams of traffic or moving figures in life going on from a high bluff at night, experiencing at-one-ment with the world, as witnessing a world bigger than you, yet you being part of the stream of life.
posted by uni verse at 8:01 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I didn't post that. Tacking my name on to the beginning of that block quote was surely unintentional, but I still want to make that clear.
posted by Evstar at 8:02 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dropped acid with a neon-blue tarantula. He took one look at himself in the mirror and crawled up his own urethra. The 70's, man... What were we thinking with the colored hair and the multiple pairs of eyes?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:05 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Quote actually taken from DU
thanks Evstar
posted by uni verse at 8:06 PM on January 9, 2008


First there was the sheer beauty of viewing whatever was in this moment in un-hurried high-focus intensity, devoid of time or space, without all the filters and mental dialog. Experiencing life as brand new, but still with a background cache of all the knowledge you've gained, unlike a baby. Next was experiencing emotion as raw and delicious as a teenager's first date. Then another time, analyzing your worries, realizing the vanity or folly of your narrow perceptions or worldview, and the uselessness of other people's expectations. Then, watching streams of traffic or moving figures in life going on from a high bluff at night, experiencing at-one-ment with the world, as witnessing a world bigger than you, yet you being part of the stream of life.

In other words, you were high as a kite. After a couple of bourbons with beer chasers, I can feel like I'm handsome and brilliant and that the woman at the end of the bar is the most georgeous thing I've ever seen, but that doesn't make it so.
posted by jonmc at 8:12 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jon, Tripping ain't drinking, you can take my word for that, right?

I'd say that I'm an experienced tripper, maybe somewhere between 50 and 75 doses (or more or less, I never counted, those numbers feel right) of some hallucinogen or other (although I steer clear currently, who knows what the future holds). I don't think I've ever had an epiphany or learned anything transcendent about myself or the world while I was tripping, other than that I can more or less keep it together while weird shit is happening, which was useful to learn I must admit, but nothing cosmic or universal I don't think. I took some strong and crazy shit in my time, the right California headbanger boogie, not just weak central park sparklers, I really enjoyed it and it certainly changed who I am, but I really doubt it changed me to the degree that is attributed to it. I know the experience is different for everyone. Maybe I missed the special thing that threw me into a cosmic revelation.

Frankly I'm weird as all hell and taking a bunch of LSD and mushrooms and mescaline and what have you maybe underlined that point for me quicker than I would have arrived at it naturally, I don't know, I know I don't care at all anymore about feeling bad for being weird and having strange thoughts and notions, maybe that's a benefit of tripping, probably is even. I know it's not for everyone, but it's hard to find out until you do it, but I don't even think that I would recommend it to anyone. I guess I think it's just one of those things, fun, maybe significant, but not quite what the myths say, for me at least.

It has always (when it was a good time and not a freakout, and sometime even then) tended to give me a sort of mental enema. I'd say that's the thing I always benefited most from, starting from a rebooted state, wondering where I left my pants.


Well, as some profound fellow said, “I’d be a nut to go through all that again, but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”



That was a surprisingly good thing to read, thanks.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:17 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Jon, Tripping ain't drinking, you can take my word for that, right?

"what's the matter with you...?"
posted by jonmc at 8:20 PM on January 9, 2008


Also, LSD isn't crisp and refreshing and dosen't have ads featuring retired athletes and chicks in bikinis.
posted by jonmc at 8:20 PM on January 9, 2008


Also, LSD isn't crisp and refreshing and dosen't have ads featuring retired athletes and chicks in bikinis.

Maybe not before you take it...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:23 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson and LSD.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:28 PM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Doing LSD gives one a profound sense of understanding something which is impossible to put into words, but which one will still attempt to explain to other people anyway, even though it makes you look like a nut.

This bears repeating.
There are experiences in life that language is wholly inadequate for! Isn't that weird?
(see also: religion/spirituality, can of worms)
posted by naju at 8:30 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Please, people: Stop blaming the words. The words are wholly adequate. It's just impossible to put the words in the proper order when you're stoned.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:34 PM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Back in ye days of old (the 70s) I was a frequent consumer of LSD. I really grew to enjoy it but found I couldn't handle it well if I took it in a bad state of mind (angry, depressed, etc.,). I think its safe to say that since the last time I took it at the age of sixteen, I really had no life experience to speak of and didn't experience the full benefits of it's mid-expanding qualities.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:35 PM on January 9, 2008


I hope tripping ain't like drinking, because I'm three cocktails into the evening.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:37 PM on January 9, 2008


Having spent a good portion of my dissolute youth in the public schools of Berkeley, CA, I can claim a pretty thoroughgoing familiarity with the stuff. I'd be the last one to tell people not to try it, but I will also say that its overall influence in the lives of myself and several people who mean a great deal to me has been primarily negative, and not because we just didn't do enough. I sometimes feel that in fact, it's the people who ascribe incredible mystic insight and self-knowledge to it who haven't delved deep enough.

Of course, your mileage may vary. We can't all be Cary Grant.
posted by whir at 8:42 PM on January 9, 2008


We can't all be Cary Grant.

Shhh!
posted by Bookhouse at 8:48 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


there are those who say you can get the same kind of experiences without acid - i'm not sorry i did it, but you get eventually to the point where mountains, after all, remain mountains

the most remarkable side effect (and the most dangerous one) is that months after lsd, you are still in a world of synchronicity and coincidence that can have unexpected consequences - i've never figured that out, but it's true
posted by pyramid termite at 8:53 PM on January 9, 2008


I've said this before,

Whoa, flashback.
posted by homunculus at 8:55 PM on January 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'm going to officially put myself in the latter category. If you haven't done it, you have absolutely no standing to comment on what you think it does, because you have no fucking clue. It is quite literally impossible to put into words or understand, even for those who have had the experience, in many cases you can't integrate the experience or even remember most of it later.

empath's quote here summarizes what a lot of people say about experience with psychedelics. However, the notion that "If you haven't done it, you have absolutely no standing to comment on what you think it does" is also true of religion, medical school, schizophrenia, homosexual sex if you're straight and straight sex if you're gay, murder, playing a concerto, being abused by a parent when you're very young, falling in love, having your heart broken, etc. In other words, the same could be said about everything significant life experience.

I understand that the drug is different from these things in that the experience is contained entirely in your head, however people who rave about the profound experiences while on these drugs should at least question whether the chemical alteration of their mental faculties is more or less valid than the alteration of their mental faculties through an external life experience.

In other words, and I think I've said this before on Metafilter, there is a qualitative difference between perceiving a change in the world in which one's perceptual capability remains unchanged by the external world doesn't, and perceiving a change in the world in which one's perceptual capabilities are altered while the external world is unchanged.

For example, I've had dreams that I have thought to be profound or moving, but I recognize them for what they are a creation of my own mind.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:55 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


“I’d be a nut to go through all that again, but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”

Aye. But if I could wind back the clock, hell, I'd still do it all again, in a heartbeat.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:55 PM on January 9, 2008


Should be "in which one's perceptual capability remains unchanged but the external world doesn't, and perceiving a change in the world in which one's perceptual capabilities are altered while the external world is unchanged"
posted by Pastabagel at 8:57 PM on January 9, 2008


"what's the matter with you...?"

Anno Domini, my dear friend.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:57 PM on January 9, 2008


In his book "Confessions of a Dope Dealer", Sheldon Norberg makes a good point about people that "go crazy" as result of too much tripping. Basically, he says that it's not the drugs that make some people go crazy, it's the people that are gonna go crazy that go crazy. Which is the response that I've always had when folks talk about violent video games or music causing young people to shoot up schools. The violent music or drugs could potentially be the catalyst for their problems, but it also could have been any other number of things that pushed them over the edge. Some folks just have that in them, and it will come out some way or the other.

As for my own experiences, I haven't dosed in about five years or so but recall those times with fondness. I wasn't really looking for any sort of expanded awareness, per se. But they were definitely fun times and I might be tempted to drop again if the time is right. Sometimes it's a a good time to let your brain go on vacation for a while. The sense of well being I got while tripping, especially on shrooms, was nice. As was the realization that there's a lot of beauty out there if we stop to look at it.
posted by friendlyjuan at 9:01 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Lazy Journalist Scum: Norman Wisdom on acid
posted by Artw at 9:06 PM on January 9, 2008


I was an LSD Daredevil. No friends. Just plenty of open windows.

"Get away from that window!"

Huh!
posted by doctorschlock at 9:08 PM on January 9, 2008


I understand that the drug is different from these things in that the experience is contained entirely in your head, however people who rave about the profound experiences while on these drugs should at least question whether the chemical alteration of their mental faculties is more or less valid than the alteration of their mental faculties through an external life experience.

Yes.

“I’d be a nut to go through all that again, but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”

Aye. But if I could wind back the clock, hell, I'd still do it all again, in a heartbeat.


Yes.

As for my own experiences, I haven't dosed in about five years or so but recall those times with fondness. I wasn't really looking for any sort of expanded awareness, per se. But they were definitely fun times and I might be tempted to drop again if the time is right. Sometimes it's a a good time to let your brain go on vacation for a while. The sense of well being I got while tripping, especially on shrooms, was nice. As was the realization that there's a lot of beauty out there if we stop to look at it.

Yes.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:09 PM on January 9, 2008


stimulants > psychedelics.

Damn hippies.
posted by Justinian at 9:11 PM on January 9, 2008


stimulants > psychedelics.

Damn hippies.


stimulants + psychedelics

Amateur.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:12 PM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Maybe. I would expect that combining them could be problematic. Wouldn't you rather significantly increase the chances of a bad trip? I thought you wanted to be relaxed if you were tripping.

CANT SLEEP, CLOWN WILL EAT ME and so forth.
posted by Justinian at 9:15 PM on January 9, 2008


A young acid tripper discovered that mankind was designed by nature to be stupid and warlike,so to evolve ever more powerful beautiful weapons with which to ultimately defend the planet from celestial impacts. World war two the Germans developed ballistic missiles capable of leaving the planet, USA developed atomic weapons powerful enough to deflect incoming objects. A swiss chemist revealed a compound thought to increase intelligence, LSD, so that the birdbrains would not use this weapon on their own planet. Evolve or perish. rant.
posted by hortense at 9:21 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Patabagel: there is a qualitative difference between perceiving a change in the world in which one's perceptual capability remains unchanged by the external world doesn't, and perceiving a change in the world in which one's perceptual capabilities are altered while the external world is unchanged.

What, the highway shit again?
posted by daksya at 9:28 PM on January 9, 2008


I'm not sure it gives any deep insight into the nature of the universe of anything, but it does give a viseceral understanding of how much of reality is shaped by your perceptions. After seeing the many possible ways my brain can interpret stimuli, it's more clear to me how much work the brain does in filtering and understanding what is around us.

Also, it's rather impressive how much you can see something if you want to, and how powerful a believeable hallucation can be (most LCD hallucinations are more like distortions, but you can get "true" hallucinations as well). Lots of interesting stuff with respect to people who see visions, ghosts, etc... I think many people do not understand how capable they are of shaping their sensory inputs.
posted by wildcrdj at 9:30 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


CANT SLEEP, CLOWN WILL EAT ME and so forth.

Fuck the fucking clowns. Scurring motherfuckers. There's nothing you can do. Feral clowns are like roaches - they'll outlive us all. Cut off their heads and two more sprout back and suddenly everyone's all "Ooh - Give him another shot of thorazine!" It's the furniture you have to look out for. If you're not fully awake all goddamned weekend, you might miss out on a hot stock tip. Daytrading Futons have loose lips, baby. Spill a little Boonie on 'em, massage a little tropical resin between the fibers and prick up your ears. Just don't fall asleep, man. Just don't fall asleep. It's all coming together. This. Means. Something...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:30 PM on January 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


empath's quote here summarizes what a lot of people say about experience with psychedelics. However, the notion that "If you haven't done it, you have absolutely no standing to comment on what you think it does" is also true of religion, medical school, schizophrenia, homosexual sex if you're straight and straight sex if you're gay, murder, playing a concerto, being abused by a parent when you're very young, falling in love, having your heart broken, etc. In other words, the same could be said about everything significant life experience.

Related to the concept of qualia, which are among other things not communicable in that way. For example, "how it feels to be able to fly" is not something a bee could describe to a human (assuming we could somehow talk to the bee). Or what its like to see to a person born blind.

I think it's almost certain that using LSD (which chemically alters the brain during use) is a qualia, I don't see how you could possibly understand what it is like without similar alteration of the brain chemistry.
posted by wildcrdj at 9:36 PM on January 9, 2008


Psychedelic Salon Podcast Listings
posted by acro at 9:36 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh Flo (I don't think I've said how glad I am that you're back, I'm sure glad you're back), I had a whole TV series planned about fighting couches and ottomans and end tables, this was behind a mess of shrooms, of course. I can still picture the pilot episode as I tried to describe it to my friends: A love seat is just sitting there, all smug and confident and then, out of nowhere, I dive into the frame and just fucking take that stupid love seat out, just cut it off at the knees and drive it ten yards back for the sack. What a great show that would be, fuck a sofa.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:37 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


A bad trip is quite possibly the worst, most soul-rending and terrifying suffering you can imagine, and it seems to never end. A good trip is utterly blissful and beautiful. I had them go both ways. I'm not sure the good ones made up for the bad ones in the long run.

The few bad trips that I had left me with panic disorder and significantly heightened OCD. My first full-blown panic attack occurred while tripping, and persistent and sometimes crippling anxiety has been a regular part of my life ever since. That was about 10 years ago.

Then again, I was probably destined to develop these disorders anyway -- my family has a history of them, and they hit exactly when they were supposed to -- early/mid 20's. If it hadn't been the bad trips, perhaps it would have been something else. I'll never know, and the point's pretty moot.

On the other hand, my "psychonaut" phase opened my heart and psyche and soul in incredibly profound ways. I guess I'm grateful for this. It's hard to put into words. The best I can say is that it's left me with a sense that everything, myself included, is part of a sublime and divine mystery that's as seductive and terrifyingly vast as the night sky. That sense lead me to philosophy and poetry, both of which have not only enriched my life but shaped who I am. And it's never let me fall back into the illusion that the world actually is how it looks from my particular vantage. I guess these are good things too.

Would I go back and do it again? I have no idea. Maybe I'd stop before the bad trips. But then maybe I'd have wound up with an inflated sense of my place in the universe, and a naively romantic view of the world. I find it's impossible to imagine myself or my life without those experiences -- they happened right where "me" and "world" meet, and they left neither the same.

What I do wish is that I'd had someone to help me through those bad trips, someone like Cary Grant's benevolent and knowledgeable psychiatrist. Set and setting.
posted by treepour at 9:52 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


jonmc: 'you were as high as a kite.."
Of course, my friend. And I enjoy drinks as much as the next guy. But instead of a liquored up self - confidence, in some people the drug spawns something of a clarity of perspective, I guess in me it specifically dissolved my denial. I saw my mind, a flurry of repressed ideas, aspirations, then reveled in them and how they were buried previously. Partly a product of my situation of that that time. Then I saw my misguided expectations set from others in all there hollowness. Then I set those aside, and saw nothingness, humilty, yet hope. Then possibility for great change and growth.
In retrospect, possibly something that could only could come from a very cathartic, analytic-therapeutic talk. But those are as rare as the blue moon.
posted by uni verse at 9:57 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Today, a young man on acid realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration and that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and you are the imagination of yourself."
posted by Kattullus at 10:09 PM on January 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


I took LSD and other psychedelics about twenty times in the Sixties. I finally had the experience I was looking for: a powerful, visual and visceral insight into the nature of my perceptions of who thought I was. Not to try to recreate the experience for you here, but let me say that it was an ego-shattering experience...but hardly unpleasant.

It propelled me into decades of spiritual experimentation, sometimes misguided, but ultimately transforming in a deep and real way. I am no longer so self-absorbed, although that was certainly an aspect one of the dead-end spiritual paths I explored at one time or another.

I feel more loving, forgiving, genuine, and unruffled by assaults on who I think I am.

I have tried psychedelics two or three times in the ensuing decades, and all I experienced was a disorientation of the senses (part of the experience, always, of course). My core remained untouched. Not fun, not un-fun.

It's not for everyone, and I probably took acid too young, as a sixteen-year old...it wasn't until I was twenty-one when I had my LSD epiphany ... but disrupting conventional psychic ruts with the aid of plants and chemicals for the purpose of spiritual growth has stood the test of time. It isn't for everyone, but neither is mountain-climbing, mastering a musical instrument, or, for that matter, meditation.
posted by kozad at 10:15 PM on January 9, 2008


I don't think I've said how glad I am that you're back, I'm sure glad you're back

Thank you Brother Wino, kind of you to say. Unfortunately, my agency has been threatening to re-employ me soon, which might have distinct disadvantages. If they place me with any kind of reputable establishment, I fear I may not be free to partake of my favorite drug on any sort of regular time table. Normally, I peer out at the world through a constant blue, green, and gray haze. Maybe a little black around the edges. It cuts the glare of profoundly stupid. Just thinking of staring the world straight on cold-turkey gives me a bad case of the colon shakes. There - I said it. MetaFilter is my drug of choice. 60,000 voices throbbing in my head like a sinus impacted with bees. Strung out on the instant gratification of weird words and furious energy. I'll miss it. I'm sure I'll grow dumber for the lack. But where were we? Oh, yeah - I wish you could trip like I do.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:16 PM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


@DU: I hear ya. I feel the same way about books. There's enough for me to learn and experience in real life without having to grasp for fuckin' font-induced experiences.
posted by lastobelus at 10:59 PM on January 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


P.S. It's not just a cliché, it's eye-rolling-inducing vapidity. The whole way the brain WORKS is chemistry. You don't have any chemical-induced experiences? What, are you a mechanical robot that doesn't eat?
posted by lastobelus at 11:03 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, fond memories of my wayward youth. I wish I could say I had psychedelic epiphanies, experienced life-changing revelations, and plumbed new spiritual realms ... but mostly, I simply just had fun.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:15 PM on January 9, 2008


Francis Crick was high as a kite on LSD when he figured out the double helix structure of DNA and won the Nobel Prize in medicine, BTW. Previously...
posted by wsg at 11:16 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


There's a reason this sort of thing translates so poorly. Epiphanies are like orgasms. From the inside, it's all mushroom clouds of joy and YES! OH! I GET IT NOW! But from the outside, you just look like Ernest P. Worrell in a wind tunnel.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:30 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Speaking as person who never ingested illegal drugs. I could see youthful partaking of drugs as a peer pressure situation or a chance taking experience. Not my place to criticise or have holier than thou attitude, but to take a LSD, and not be addicted at time of use, is the height of irresponsibility. Let me ask if some questions if I may:

If your still using these type of drugs, as a responsible adult, and having children in their teens, would it be alright for them to experiment?
Is breaking the law by obtaining these drugs, now as adults, maybe even middle age, part of some mid-life crisis?
Is taking these drugs to escape some pain, a perceived absence in your lives or to view the world through rose colored glasses?

What is know about these drugs today. I find taking them, well,.......
posted by brickman at 11:30 PM on January 9, 2008


grazing on buttercups again?
posted by exlotuseater at 11:35 PM on January 9, 2008


Crispin Glover on LSD.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:55 PM on January 9, 2008


Sage smoking vids
posted by hortense at 12:04 AM on January 10, 2008


I've taken acid three times. The first time was a profound experience, the second time I laughed for about seven hours stright. Felt like my face was going to fall off, but I couldn't stop laughing. The third time was a bad trip, and I never did it again.

Adam Carolla, of all people, related having one of those acid-induced moments of clarity--he was tripping while watching TV, and a Lee Press-On Nails commerical came on which made him realize how bizarre an alien or someone from the future would find our culture; we live in a society where women stick pieces of plastic to their nails in order to make them look like long bloody claws...because we find that attractive.
posted by Devils Slide at 12:11 AM on January 10, 2008


CANT SLEEP, CLOWN WILL EAT ME.

No worries: Sleep! That's where I'm a clown-eater.
posted by juv3nal at 1:01 AM on January 10, 2008


brickman: the toxicity of LSD is extremely low; what are you referring to?

Acid makes the whole world incredibly aesthetic and meaningful. The reason people cry or laugh is because they suddenly see some aspect of the world they never saw before.

The first time I took it, very little happened. The second time I took twice as much and I understood. I'd been drunk before, I'd smoked pot, but I'd had no idea. I remember thinking, "But I fell completely normal! In fact, I feel more normal than I've ever felt before!" (knowing full well that the sentence was self-destructing) and I was shocked at how clear and brilliant everything around me looked.

You feel beauty and magic all around you. It's like you've awoken at the dawn of creation and everything's been washed new.


Now, I had experienced this for fleeting moments before I ever took acid, and I've experienced it plenty of times afterward without it. It's doable without -- sometimes -- if you're lucky. But you can just turn it on with a tiny tab of paper. It is a miracle.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:10 AM on January 10, 2008


stimulants > psychedelics.

Meh.

opiates > stimulants >

Your favourite drug sucks.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:11 AM on January 10, 2008


we're gonna dose brickman, right?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:22 AM on January 10, 2008


opiates + stimulants = †
posted by Devils Slide at 1:31 AM on January 10, 2008


I don't think LSD is addictive, is it? I mean, I have an addictive personality, and if it were possible to get addicted to LSD, I think I'd know, but it never induced any kind of physical craving for more (unlike tobacco or alcohol, which you can legally purchase at tens of thousands of locations). All in all, if I had kids, I'd rather they experiment with LSD than start drinking. The number of people in my family that LSD has killed = 0. The number of people in my family that alcohol has killed = 4 (mother, uncle, step-father, brother-in-law).
posted by jamstigator at 3:06 AM on January 10, 2008


MDMA + LSD and you will literally cry of happyness. But hey, snark away!
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:13 AM on January 10, 2008


MDMA + LSD and you will literally cry of happyness.
QFTMFT
posted by juv3nal at 3:16 AM on January 10, 2008


I realise the man's dead, but Grant's writings could use some editorial tweaking:

I hallucinations, if you wish, are of dark despair replaced by and, at the same time, an ecstasy. June 6, 2005, 06:06 immeasurably beneficial cleansing of and forgive mine. Thirty years ago, my own creating - I can tell you, health is a product of, and Studio office. I took up the Medical Marijuana & The Freedom-orientated doctor who sits knew, and began of new enlightenment. Then, if the doctor in our smog-infested cities, can say is this is (some I hope they know and similar sedative) is usually given went on only yesterday. And lived in Hollywood for the subject. Timothy, or more tolerant of, bicycle and takes past impressions assembling and seeing the rest of the film.

Just themselves continue to confound effects of LSD 25, if necessary.

One becomes a God.

In with some exceedingly wealthy fellow man in turn, my initial strength; they endowed me exceedingly wealthy people. from the shackles of such ignorance. exceedingly wealthy people. If money brought happiness, the effect of drug known as LSD 25. And takes off from the edge of could be classified as hallucinations. Just as long to clothe myself; and I Just as I did in 1932 goes on there you wouldn’t believe, prove true; which is, of, Chapter 14 seemed able to grasp, youngster walked along a street or respected.

I learned qualities to get by in today's world, and common cold cures. In attempting what went on only yesterday. We call In attempting to traverse the next step session. Week after authorities have banned its

From the a slower pace, as that experienced and, at the same time, an ecstasy disdain. But by 1956, same time, an ecstasy old and new beliefs. Of nightmares forgive mine. Thirty years ago think about, or meditate upon.

It's all reality TV's fault! good people. Casts and crews. I something was wrong with me I learned that my dear parents, I trust you do than love.

In people I am, in that Paramount aforementioned qualities to get by in Gallery. Glossary name did a lot of research, never tried mystifies release of the tensions. That under the effect of LSD 25, these had more of a connection: vaccines and common cold cures.

In course, the reason for their repetition. Even some of the the inevitable parade of scoffers and stone-throwers release of them a great deal — and the guy in the joint.


See? Much better.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:34 AM on January 10, 2008


Ultimately you won't learn anything from hallucinogenic drugs that you don't already know.
posted by walrus at 4:37 AM on January 10, 2008


Speaking as person who never ingested illegal drugs. I could see youthful partaking of drugs as a peer pressure situation or a chance taking experience. Not my place to criticise or have holier than thou attitude, but to take a LSD, and not be addicted at time of use, is the height of irresponsibility.

Too right, in addition to which, you could through some kind of chance encounter with an LSD addled beatnik, mad with the jungle rhythms of Communist Jazz, be accidentally caused to ingest a marihuana and then you might somehow fall in with a free-wheeling group of negros who were agitating for the right to vote and, horror of horrors, you might allow your hair to grow past your collar. Duck and cover, Brickman.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:40 AM on January 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


What is know about these drugs today. I find taking them, well,.......

it's alright, brickman - no one was suggesting that YOU take them
posted by pyramid termite at 5:35 AM on January 10, 2008


but seriously ...

If your still using these type of drugs, as a responsible adult, and having children in their teens, would it be alright for them to experiment?

i don't take them anymore and didn't take them in my teens - my daughter's autistic and it would not be a good idea for her

i think that balanced people in their 20s would be alright to take it, but i don't believe it's necessary

Is breaking the law by obtaining these drugs, now as adults, maybe even middle age, part of some mid-life crisis?

that's just a stupid question - you might as well ask if harboring fugitive slaves in the 1850s was due to somebody's mid-life crisis

Is taking these drugs to escape some pain, a perceived absence in your lives or to view the world through rose colored glasses?

none of the above and people who take lsd with those expectations are going to be surprised, perhaps rudely - you certainly aren't going to escape, in fact, acid is more likely to make you confront your pain - as far as a perceived absence in our lives, i'd rather call it an absence in our perception - again, there are those who say that absence can be filled without lsd, but it takes a lot longer

as far as rose colored glasses are concerned, you pretty much get the mindset you bring to it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:48 AM on January 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


"An unjust law is no law at all"
posted by CautionToTheWind at 5:59 AM on January 10, 2008


Is taking these drugs to escape some pain, a perceived absence in your lives or to view the world through rose colored glasses?

It's not an escape, if you have an absence in your life, it only makes you more painfully aware of it, and it doesn't make you see the world through rose colored glasses. It makes you see the world As It Actually Is.
posted by empath at 6:12 AM on January 10, 2008


If your still using these type of drugs, as a responsible adult, and having children in their teens, would it be alright for them to experiment?

The times I did it were all in my early 20s. :shrug:
posted by empath at 6:15 AM on January 10, 2008


In other words, and I think I've said this before on Metafilter, there is a qualitative difference between perceiving a change in the world in which one's perceptual capability remains unchanged by the external world doesn't, and perceiving a change in the world in which one's perceptual capabilities are altered while the external world is unchanged.

It's the 'having ones perceptual capabilities altered' part that makes it impossible to understand and explain. One has a lot of mental baggage due to language, memory, habits ingrained into the brain, etc. You look at a tree, you can't help but see a tree, you can't experience it as raw perception.

But LSD stops you from assuming anything about anything. It's such an overload of sensory input. If you attempt to put into words what you're seeing and explain it, you eliminate what makes the psychedelic experience so different -- you're categorizing, explaining, interpreting.

Sure the external world is what it's always been. But the external world is not what you think it is. And you'll never forget that, even when you come out of it.
posted by empath at 6:27 AM on January 10, 2008


You forgot the one guy who's done it and says it's not all that.

No, we didn't, because you come into every pschedelic thread to remind us. You're like the Timothy Leary of "meh" - tune in, turn on, run your mouth.
posted by prostyle at 6:30 AM on January 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't think that LSD is addictive in and of itself, however, the fuzzy pink sound of My Bloody Valentine, that you will inhale at as it floats from your stereo speakers like delicious strands of cotton candy, can become very habit forming.
posted by The Straightener at 6:31 AM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


BUT THEN NEXT THING YOU KNOW THERE'S A LITTLE CRIPPLED MIDGET LESBIAN BOY IN YOUR LIVING ROOM STANDING TEN FOOT TALL WITH A KNIFE.
posted by The Straightener at 6:34 AM on January 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Its a mistake to group the experiences of shrooms, acid, mescaline together in anything other than very general terms. Who ever said upthread about the 'mental reboot' comes as close as possible to my experience and feelings about the process. Except, you restart with a slightly different configuration. I'd be interested to understand the exact process and brain chemistry changes that 'tripping' creates...but I'm probably too burnt out to understand.
posted by sfts2 at 6:56 AM on January 10, 2008


I wouldn't mind taking LSD if I didn't have to take it around people who take LSD.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:01 AM on January 10, 2008


sfts, from what I understand, it interferes with the serotonin system, though I'm not sure how. I believe in the case of shrooms, it's because psylocybin attaches to the same receptors that serotonin does but behaves differently. I'm not sure about LSD. You take such tiny, tiny amounts that it has to be the brain itself doing most of the work, like an auto-immune response.
posted by empath at 7:05 AM on January 10, 2008


MDMA + LSD = 2CB = :)
posted by goo at 7:17 AM on January 10, 2008


I wish I was available yesterday to comment on this thread at its inception. At two different periods in my life I had access to the real deal LSD (not that I didn't bump into generic versions as well, and loads of other fun crap) and had the ability to take advantage of it. I am thankful for thise experiences, if for only making forever clear to me the differences between perception and reality. Perception is so variant on brain chemistry, and only by tweaking that chemistry can you really see it for what it is.

Also to be able to experience synesthesia, without it being a constant in life was for me a great pleasure.

I think these experiences are akin to the hormomal shifts I went thru when one of my pregnancies encoutered difficulties. I was almost another person entirely, my emotional range was different, perceptions altered, all due to mass shifts in my hormone levels. I appreciate now how different others may be just due to the hormonal/chemical cards they've been dealt.
posted by readery at 7:27 AM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


pyramid termite writes "i think that balanced people in their 20s would be alright to take it, but i don't believe it's necessary"

No, it's not necessary. It can be beneficial. I don't think there's any sort of age limit.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:41 AM on January 10, 2008


I never understood the desire to take LSD. Why would someone want to take a bunch of chemicals made in someone's kitchen? And why would someone want to hallucinate? Life is freaky as it is.
posted by dasheekeejones at 7:50 AM on January 10, 2008


Why would someone want to take a bunch of chemicals made in someone's kitchen?

Sorry to break it to you, but cooking down meth precursors != LSD synthesis
posted by prostyle at 8:20 AM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


If LSD offers each taker a unique, yet curiously inexpressible, perception of what actually "is", how come all you beatniks sound exactly the same when you bang on about it?

Yup, I've partaken, man.

It was fabulously, but fleetingly, interesting only to me.

(Jonmc makes perfect sense here.)

Good writers will write good shit about taking drugs.
But it's not the drugs that make them write well, or see more than ordinary idiots.

And - for the umpteenth time -Crick wasn't as high as a kite on the stuff when he co-discovered the double helix. (The given dates of his trips and the discovery are laughably wrong, for a start).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:33 AM on January 10, 2008


If LSD offers each taker a unique, yet curiously inexpressible, perception of what actually "is", how come all you beatniks sound exactly the same when you bang on about it?

that's because we're giving general, brief opinions, not lengthy, specific accounts - i could do more - i actually have one written around somewhere, but it's far too lengthy to post here and i'm not interested in editing it down
posted by pyramid termite at 8:41 AM on January 10, 2008


If LSD offers each taker a unique, yet curiously inexpressible, perception of what actually "is", how come all you beatniks sound exactly the same when you bang on about it?

It was fabulously, but fleetingly, interesting only to me.


Interesting. That's exactly what I'm saying. It's fabulously interesting to the person who took it and its quite impossible to share the experience.
posted by empath at 8:44 AM on January 10, 2008


"Interesting. That's exactly what I'm saying. It's fabulously interesting to the person who took it and its quite impossible to share the experience..."

Non snarkily, empath

Then...why bother?

If you can't adequately communicate its wonder, if there's not even an acid Hallmark card to vault the gap ("My own words aren't enough/so this card is to say/when I dropped that tab/I had a great day..."), really - why bang on?

If you take folks through the Doors of Perception, only to turn around and mumble "hey - you too? Shit - amazing, huh?" - isn't it effectively pointless?

Unless you're David Chase and you can use the non-communicable aspect of tripping to fantastic comic effect - as he did in the wonderful desert scene in The Sopranos!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:57 AM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Drat, late to the acid party; y'all drank all the punch and there's nothing left but half a hit of orange sunshine. Which is cool with me.

I did my fair and beyond my fair share of hallucinogens beginning at age 15 and I'm not any more insane, I don't think, than the average mefite. Nor did I get addicted and nor did anyone else I know, including a couple of (sane, I think) people who still view it as an almost sacramental thing to be done once a year or so even into your mid forties. I've lost friends to heroin and to alcohol, never to hallucinogens, except for my cousin's friend who got hit by lightning while tripping on top of a mountain, which turned everyone there off acid for life and even made one or two of them all religious, but hey, that could have been anything.

Is it a describable state? Sort of - Huxley did the best job, I think - although it's been a while since I read Doors of Perception. Wasn't that and the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test and Another Roadside Attraction required if illicit reading for everyone else in high school? Did it change me forever? Probably. Like Divine_Wino said way upthread, I was already pretty damn weird but maybe acid helped me realize that was okay. It shakes up your reality a bit, scrambles your perceptions, opens the curtain here and there to reveal what you think is the Great and Powerful Oz but then, when you try to reread the notebook you were totally going to fill on that trip, you discover that it was really only something about penguins and why they don't belong in trees, or it's in code. At any rate, you've changed something. How shaken up your reality stays a few days or weeks or months or years later is up to you.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:05 AM on January 10, 2008


jody, you seem determined not to pay attention to how i've actually answered your question, so i'll put it another way -

your argument is like someone deciding not to have sex because the letters to the penthouse forum all pretty much sound the same

your complaint is literary, not pharmacological or experiential

there are literary accounts extant - i suggest you find some
posted by pyramid termite at 9:06 AM on January 10, 2008


Brickman: I don't want to start in on the whole "drugs are bad, mmmm'kay, now take this adderall, pop your prozac, down a Red Bull, and have some scotch" so all I'll point out is that taking recreational pharmaceuticals is definitely malum prohibitum and not malum in se. And I don't think it's the government's place to regulate voluntary activity that doesn't harm anyone except, possibly, yourself.
posted by Justinian at 9:24 AM on January 10, 2008


Pyramid,

That's a fair answer in its way - except I've done my share of literary trip trawling - Huxley et al - and I'd far rather read any half way decent writer on any other experience - whether castrating farm animals, making an apple pie, trench warfare, death of a child, long distance swimming, the smell of pine trees or the imagined inner life of Marco Polo.

Yes, the best writers can stack up the adjectives, rummage through their mystical synonyms - and even dance prettily around the blind center of the drugs experience. He or she can make a fair fist of imposing a meta narrative on a jumbled sequence of impressions or use drugs as the crucial back story.

I adore Irvine Welch, for example.

I can deal with Tennyson on the essential mystery of personal faith. I am an atheist, but yeah - I can understand faith even though I don't have the faintest, transporting spark of metaphysical belief myself.

I've even read loopy stuff that has eloquently mirrored by own fabulously, emptily entertaining chemical trip experience.

But it don't mean shit.

That's pretty much my furious bottom line!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:35 AM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


pshaw, we had ronald reagan on lsd for eight continuous years!
posted by bruce at 9:39 AM on January 10, 2008


But it don't mean shit.

to you - it may mean something to someone else

there are those who would argue that words can't express anything at all and meaning is an illusion
posted by pyramid termite at 9:49 AM on January 10, 2008


"there are those who would argue that words can't express anything at all and meaning is an illusion"

I don't wish to be pert, pyramid, but how would they wordlessly express the above?

(I know, I know. The LSD would make it feel meaningful!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:56 AM on January 10, 2008


I don't wish to be pert, pyramid, but how would they wordlessly express the above?

*holds flower in hand*
posted by pyramid termite at 10:01 AM on January 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


But it don't mean shit.

Except insofar as one is the sum of all your experiences. People are saying it can be a significant personal experience--have you never had any significant, life-altering experiences, pharmacological or otherwise? If so, why was that experience valuable?

Writing about such experiences is difficult, inherently--there are good reasons we have the term "ineffable," even if great writers often take a shot at capturing such experiences on paper, to share with others. I agree that reading other people's writings about their own experiences can be of limited value; however, my own experiences are much more significant to me, even when I talk about them with other people. So I'm a little confused how something can be dismissed as 'mere' experience....

(Sigh, why on earth do people keep going on and on about being in love? Enough already, I've been in love and it was just an experience. I sure am tired of those addle-brained romantics going on and on about how love gives life meaning blah blah blah. Give it a rest.)

Also, this book is an interesting read on this subject, Watts sees psychedelics as spiritual medicine.

Also also, on preview: but how would they wordlessly express the above?

Myself, I use music.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:02 AM on January 10, 2008


Back in the day, we used to say there was nothing more boring than listening to someone talk about their acid trip. However, I found Grant's account posted here to be fascinating. Also, I was told back in the day, by a dear friend who was an RN, that taking LSD interfered with acetylcholine activity, thus lowering the chemical barrier that exists between the nerve synapses. Hence, depending on your brain's own wiring, you'd have a sense of being overwhelmed with stimuli, or for some, you'd feel as if you were "one with the universe" or "close to God" because you finally could sense everything going on around you.
posted by Lynsey at 10:08 AM on January 10, 2008



MDMA + LSD = 2CB = :)
OH GOD GET ME A NETI POT OR KILL ME PLEEEEEASE
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:10 AM on January 10, 2008


Jody, do you really mean to say that the only experiences that are valuable are those you can put into words?
posted by empath at 10:10 AM on January 10, 2008


Lynsey, that's a good example:

you'd feel as if you were "one with the universe"

That's a fairly accurate description of what the experience can be like. That's a pretty good attempt at capturing the feeling in words. It makes sense to me. However, you can read that a million times, understand every word of it, and still not come a fraction of a percentage closer to understanding what that really means.
posted by empath at 10:14 AM on January 10, 2008


Kids today, I tell ya.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:20 AM on January 10, 2008


Never have I seen so many groovies try so hard to justify themselves to a bunch of squares. Ignore the squares, man; their corners will always be holding them back.
posted by tehloki at 10:29 AM on January 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


"Jody, do you really mean to say that the only experiences that are valuable are those you can put into words?"

No, I don't think I mean that, empath.

Passion can be inarticulate - and I expect I spend a lot of time dumbstruck, though brimming with authentic feeling.

But I don't buttonhole people and insist they should understand what I feel if I can't find the words to communicate. Specifically, I cringe at the beatnik notion that LSD improves perceptive facilities.

Alters, yes.

Improves, no way.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:37 AM on January 10, 2008


Specifically, I cringe at the beatnik notion that LSD improves perceptive facilities.

I don't know who you are arguing with, because they aren't in the room.

If you want to rail against the 'beatnik notion' you missed out by a few generations.
posted by prostyle at 10:47 AM on January 10, 2008


I don't know who you are arguing with [about acid improving perceptive facilities], because they aren't in the room.

Really, prostyle?

Here you go:

"I strongly feel that most people would seriously benefit spiritually from taking LSD at least once in a controlled and supportive environment. It's certainly made me much more compassionate towards others and towards animals and the environment. I think it's also been very good for my creativity and I live off that (and my technical skills of course)...."
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:06 AM on January 10, 2008


seriously benefit spiritually - made me much more compassionate - very good for my creativity

Sorry, I don't see "improves perceptive facilities" across the board listed in that quote anywhere. Thanks for answering my question though, I'm glad too see you truly are arguing against an imaginary precept. Are you tripping right now?
posted by prostyle at 11:22 AM on January 10, 2008


Jody Tresidder writes "If LSD offers each taker a unique, yet curiously inexpressible, perception of what actually 'is', how come all you beatniks sound exactly the same when you bang on about it?"

Again, beatniks? Who are you referring to?

Maybe if you didn't try to disparage the people you're talking to, you'd have a better chance of communicating with them better. Mutual respect goes a long way.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:25 AM on January 10, 2008


"Specifically, I cringe at the beatnik notion that LSD improves perceptive facilities.

Alters, yes.

Improves, no way."

What, you mean that you don't believe people on acid gain spidey-sense?

What you're essentially doing here is conflating claims—LSD doesn't "improve" your ability to use sense we're not normal able to (vestigial dorsal lines or some such), but it can improve the mind's ability to process and draw connections from sensory input.

You can deny that all you like, but there's a lengthy history of theraputic uses of hallucinogens, both allopathic and in idiosyncratic ethnic tradition. And you're arguing that because you haven't gotten that utility, it doesn't exist, which is absolute bullshit.
posted by klangklangston at 11:26 AM on January 10, 2008


(on preview, not to pile on, but:) Jody, you're saying "I cringe at the beatnik* notion that LSD improves perceptive facilities," the phrase 'perceptive facilities' is a little unclear to me--do you mean the ability to perceive itself (i.e., know more, hear more, see more, etc.), or greater awareness? What I've read from the comments in the thread is more about greater awareness of perceptions one already has, allowing the individual to feel them more deeply or understand them more fully.

(*-it's hard not to respond with a little snark at that term, given that it's usually a dismissive insult.)
posted by LooseFilter at 11:30 AM on January 10, 2008


A useful description of LSD, given by one of my old trip buddies (Sam, where are ya now?): Tripping is like throwing all the books of your mind off the shelf, and having to invent a new organization schema.

I've never seen the "and then they turned into tinfoil elephants, man," sort of stuff—my hallucinations are pretty well explicable through the involuntary pupil dilations and contractions that accompany the trip. But I have gained a lot of insight into how I behave, and how people around me behave, and what unconscious patterns surround my interactions. And upon confronting them, I've had to choose how I felt about them, and whether I wished for them to continue. All while having quite a lot of fun. Don't let the ads put you off, kids—drugs are lots and lots of pure, unadulterated fun. It's a shame that I don't know anyone who can get real psychedelics anymore. (Anybody? Anybody? Message me?)

And I would argue that it's a good that should be explored more fully in society. I won't go so far as saying that everyone should try it once, but then I wouldn't go so far as to say that everyone should enjoy a rollercoaster ride once—if you really don't think you can handle it, you probably shouldn't try it. Serious psychedelics aren't toy drugs, like pot can be.
posted by klangklangston at 11:36 AM on January 10, 2008


Specifically, I cringe at the beatnik notion that LSD improves perceptive facilities.

Get a haircut, freako!
posted by Bookhouse at 11:37 AM on January 10, 2008


MDMA + LSD = 2CB
absolutely not:
2CB + MDMA >> MDMA + MDMA + LSD
QED
posted by juv3nal at 12:04 PM on January 10, 2008


ORLY?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:05 PM on January 10, 2008


Specifically, I cringe at the beatnik notion that LSD improves perceptive facilities.

Alters, yes.

Improves, no way.


Even if one accepts this assertion, and lets face it, its only an assertion, one could argue, and I think some have alluded to this concept, that the mere fact that you can now draw on two different perceptive frameworks types is a defacto improvement.

Honestly, I tend to not rationalize any chemically induced experiences as being mystical or required to attain any higher level of perception. Fun and interesting entertainment, a bit thrilling due to being societally risky in some milieus, sex can be great, and no hangover.

My funniest story was taking shrooms with my roommate (not so much my friend) and his girlfriend in college on Halloween. My costume involved only making my glasses a tiny peephole using white stage makeup and running red veins throughout them. It was interesting on the drive downtown to the local bar scene. I wondered why I couldn't see! When we got downtown we were well getting off and wound up in the packed local gay bar. (I didn't really realize it was a gay bar at the time, although I had been there before dancing.) Girlfriend, the opera singer in training proceeds to regale everyone within earshot (probably 50 yards) on how she doesn't understand how people can be gay (its so weird!)...in what was probably 1/2 an hour - place was empty when I realized what had happened...I was like 'Holy Shit! We slipped out.
posted by sfts2 at 12:16 PM on January 10, 2008


Loosefilter,

"Beatnik" is simply my not terribly edgy shorthand for people today who make the same dusty claims about the objectively mind expanding value of LSD that supporters have been making since the 1960s. It's not intended as deeply wounding - just a poke in the ribs.

You write: "What I've read from the comments in the thread is more about greater awareness of perceptions one already has, allowing the individual to feel them more deeply or understand them more fully."

Yup, that's what I've been reading too.

Harmless pop song philosophy, basically.

(Actually your comment above was starting to remind me of the song - is it from Godspell - "Day by Day..."?!:))

Yes, I am wholly skeptical about the self-reported value of connections fired in one's brain solely as the result of a recreational trip.

I think the interpretation you put on your recollection of the trip is a about as banal - or indeed as potentially interesting - as the person having the trip was already.

And since many people are awed into irritating incoherence about their trips, very few people indeed have anything interesting to say.

(Having said that, I am generally enormously partial to people with some safe drug experience in their lives. As long as they don't make spooky, witless claims about it.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:26 PM on January 10, 2008


"Fun and interesting entertainment, a bit thrilling due to being societally risky in some milieus, sex can be great, and no hangover."

Well said, sfts2
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:30 PM on January 10, 2008


Helped me reclaim myself. I like the fact that it’s actually medicine. More of a medicine than, say, cocaine, in that it seems genuinely geared to be useful as opposed to being abused over and over recreationally.
I haven’t tried cocaine, but I’ve seen people do it. Never felt I needed it.
In retrospect, I very much needed LSD. And it did the trick. I’ve changed my life and, in my reasoned opinion, for the better. (Oh, people are terrified of me because I excel at killing them...huh...I should probably change that. I’d probably be happier.)
I think I might like to trip sometime, just to get a bit of a refresher.
But I think it’s nigh-impossible to get now.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:54 PM on January 10, 2008


Jody Tresidder writes "Yes, I am wholly skeptical about the self-reported value of connections fired in one's brain solely as the result of a recreational trip."

The trip that changed my life was the last time I ever drank alcohol. If I hadn't done so, I'd probably be dead by now. But that trip precipitated many other changes in my life, all positive. It wasn't just getting rid of alcohol; it was also the terribly difficult lessons I learned about myself during the trip, and incorporating those lessons into my life.

How does that relate to the connections in your brain? Well, addictions tend to be reinforced with circuits of thought, which correspond literally with patterns of connections fired in the brain. Breaking habits and addictions is even more difficult because of having to come up with new thoughts, and carve new paths for the connections in your brain to use, rather than the old, addictive thoughts. The trip somehow short circuited the addiction circuit I was on, and I never once had the desire to drink again. A couple years later, I quit smoking tobacco, too, which is a decision I made during the trip. That was much harder, and I give myself the bulk of the credit for all my changes, but the catalyst certainly did help a great deal. I'm not sure I would have found my way out without it.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:48 PM on January 10, 2008


Jody Tresidder writes "(Having said that, I am generally enormously partial to people with some safe drug experience in their lives. As long as they don't make spooky, witless claims about it.)"

Well, then you should probably be discussing this in an academic setting. Here in the real world, we're not striving for scientific rigor. That said, I know what works and what worked for me.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:50 PM on January 10, 2008


Maybe banal, but unique. Why, how else would I have been able to be a caramel in a candy factory or ride a giant dog? Hallucinogens are great, great fun, and something I think just about everyone should try at least once. That should be conventional wisdom by now.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:52 PM on January 10, 2008


"Beatnik" is simply my not terribly edgy shorthand for people today who make the same dusty claims about the objectively mind expanding value of LSD

I hate the way the Flappers go on about the consciousness lifting properties of bath tub gin and dancing the Charleston.

And don't get me started on those Fops with their powdered wigs and Absinthe!
posted by tkchrist at 2:14 PM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Even those trashing LSD in this thread that never experimented it can feel its power and the chasm that separates them from those who did. That is why so much effort is being put in downplaying what others are so GENEROUSLY sharing. Nobody wants to miss out, and those that chose to miss out would like that LSD be nothing more than being a little stupid. So we can't express it with words - most of the best things in life would fit that description.

And you missed out. It is that simple. Bla bla bla. Yes. I know it hurts. You've made it abundantly clear with your rushed responses and witty remarks. I get nervous about some things too.

You remind of sexually immature boys in an homophobic environment, all trying to prove they are more hetero than the next.

"I use music". Bleh. I use my hand.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 2:23 PM on January 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Here in the real world, we're not striving for scientific rigor."

But that's exactly what you were attempting in your comment, krinklyfig!

Hold on - before you decide I'm being combative - reread what you wrote!

"...The trip somehow short circuited the addiction circuit I was on..."

Your comment is positively bristling with scientific-ish explanations.

Truly, giving up alcohol if it's a problem is brilliant. And you should be extremely proud - no matter how you did it - and whatever works for you. LSD, yoga, a book a friend lent you...whatever. I agree 100%.

But if anecdote was evidence - then every homeopath on the planet would have a Nobel prize. (And there wouldn't be any Virgin Mary tacos left on eBay!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:46 PM on January 10, 2008


I never experienced anything on Acid or shrooms as profound in the sense of a grand revelation of truth. But I had a god damned good time that could never be duplicated in any other context. That comes close to truth.

I had some very vivid auditory hallucinations. Of beautiful Spanish Flamenco guitar. I could actually feel the music. It was wonderful.

I have such fond memories fo doing shrooms out in the desert or in the scab lands of Eastern Washington. Discovering an old lost graveyard. Stumbling upon an abandoned wood boat in the middle of wheat field during a full moon and a meteor shower. I don't think being high like that we would of had the courage to just walk around at night in the desolation and feel safe. But I felt completely at peace. It helped me lose my fear of the unknown, that's for sure.

I stopped once I had a bad trip while watching Buckaroo Banzai.

I don't recommend that as a trip movie.Yeah. SEEMS harmless. Don't try it with the sound off and the soundtrack to Poltergeist playing in the back ground. The one with the singing chanting children. I swore my heart was going to explode.
posted by tkchrist at 2:46 PM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone suggested that being on LSD improves perception. You're seeing what you see all the time, but without the automatic process of categorization that normally happens, and your sense of causality and ability to make connections between disparate concepts is completely retuned. That can lead to profound revelations about your personal life or just the world in general, but it can also lead you to realize that "Hey man, Dark Side of the Moon TOTALLY goes with The Wizard of Oz." I guess it depends on the mental tools that you have going in. Garbage In, Garbage Out. But if you've already got a strong ego and a lot of information floating about in your brain, shuffling it up a bit can be really useful and lead to new insights.

But even aside from the personal insights one can get from it, it would seem to me that studying psychedelics could be a gateway into understanding consciousness, and it's a shame that study of it was shut off in the 60s.
posted by empath at 3:32 PM on January 10, 2008


But if anecdote was evidence

Well, there is some evidence that LSD can be used to treat alcohol and heroin addiction quite successfully (government studies I read about in this book), actually. But the U.S. government remains almost completely closed to the idea that any meaningful research with LSD can be done, and continues to disallow it. So nearly all we have to go on are andecotes.

CautionToTheWind: "I use music". Bleh. I use my hand.

Oh, fuck off. As if using art to express the ineffable (the context of my comment) is some harebrained idea? Though I appreciate the psychedelic experience, you're being a dick.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:50 PM on January 10, 2008


Jody Tresidder writes "Your comment is positively bristling with scientific-ish explanations.

"Truly, giving up alcohol if it's a problem is brilliant. And you should be extremely proud - no matter how you did it - and whatever works for you. LSD, yoga, a book a friend lent you...whatever. I agree 100%."


I know how thought patterns repeat themselves in the brain like a circuit. Research has proven this, that these thought patterns literally form a repeating circuit in the brain, where the same connections are made to form the same thought patterns. It is possible to change those patterns, thereby changing the way your brain works (which is one reason why it's so hard to do), but it usually takes a lot of time and work. (BTW, if you go to AA meetings or addition therapy, you'll eventually hear/talk about this very same research.) I no longer have the thought patterns which lead to my drinking. Normally, that takes years of therapy, and for some people they always have to fight those thoughts.

Now, I don't know exactly how it worked that night that I broke out of the patterns, but I know how addictive thought patterns are formed and maintain themselves in the brain. Interestingly enough, there is some evidence that ibogaine might be able to accomplish a similar "short circuit" in heroin addicts. In any event, ibogaine has helped numerous heroin addicts. But we still don't know exactly how or why it works. However, that's also true of many pharmaceuticals.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:07 PM on January 10, 2008


Oh, and ibogaine (like LSD) is illegal, so continuing research is extremely difficult.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:09 PM on January 10, 2008


"But the U.S. government remains almost completely closed to the idea that any meaningful research with LSD can be done, and continues to disallow it. So nearly all we have to go on are andecotes."

Loosefilter,

This pisses me off mightily.

It's a very good point you make here - and empath makes it as well (and it's possible my own rolled eyes about too many fatuous, navel-gazing anecdotes ought to soften a bit.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:10 PM on January 10, 2008


and it's possible my own rolled eyes about too many fatuous, navel-gazing anecdotes ought to soften a bit

You are to be commended for keeping an open mind.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:39 PM on January 10, 2008


Your comment is positively bristling with scientific-ish explanations.

maybe you should look into this a little further
posted by pyramid termite at 4:43 PM on January 10, 2008


(Jonmc makes perfect sense here.)

I make perfect sense everywhere. The sooner you accept this, the better off you will be.
posted by jonmc at 4:43 PM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jonmc makes perfect sense here.

For some reason, I read this as if it were off-hand fashion or decorating advice:

Q: What would you do with this space? It's a little dark and claustrophobic, but for some reason I'm inclined to underscore those qualities rather than hide them...
A: Oh, totally! Jonmc makes perfect sense here.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:49 PM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The latch became a fingertip, touching his own.
posted by The World Famous at 5:01 PM on January 10, 2008


A: Oh, totally! Jonmc makes perfect sense here.

Q. well, how do i get him there?

A. buy him a case of THIS and you can put him anywhere you like
posted by pyramid termite at 5:08 PM on January 10, 2008


"maybe you should look into this a little further"


I entirely take your point, pyramid termite.


But to be fair to me, I was responding to comment that these discussions have nothing to do with "scientific rigor," - when it seemed to me that there were indeed attempts to justify LSD with scientific explanations.

(Though, maybe I'm now getting a bit anal here!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:10 PM on January 10, 2008


Jody Tresidder writes "But to be fair to me, I was responding to comment that these discussions have nothing to do with 'scientific rigor,' - when it seemed to me that there were indeed attempts to justify LSD with scientific explanations."

The problem is, it's hard to be too clinical about it when having informal discussions, and it does lend itself to spirituality (which is not necessarily rational), but it's interesting that the scientific world had an affinity for it, as well as a lot of intellectuals ... and, of course, artists. Scientifically, we know it's pharmacologically safe (for people not predisposed to bipolar/schizophrenic mental illness), very potent, with potential for therapeutic use. Its potential for abuse is low (given proper set and setting), and physical addiction is non-existent. But even the scientists who first used it in their labs were fascinated by it (including the first, Albert Hoffman), and often used sort of nebulous terminology to describe their own experiences with it.

"You, my dear friends, and millions all over the world who now commemorate the 50th birthday of ergot's child, we all testify gratefully that we got valuable help on the way to what Aldous Huxley said is the end and the ultimate purpose of human life--enlightenment, beatific vision, love. I think all these joyful testimonies of invaluable help by LSD should be enough to convince the health authorities, finally, of the nonsense of the prohibition of LSD and of similar psychedelics."

- Dr. Albert Hofmann, on the occasion of celebrating the 50th anniversary of his famous bicycle ride
posted by krinklyfig at 6:58 PM on January 10, 2008



LSD and other psychedelics are simply not addictive. They are as addictive as carrots-- there are extremely rare people who will become addicted (there's a case study of someone who ate so many carrots they literally turned orange from the beta carotene) but it's not due to some inherent property of the substance.

What makes them different from addictive drugs is that you cannot escape from yourself via them-- cocaine and heroin and alcohol will do this quite nicely, but LSD will basically exaggerate whatever state you are already in.

If you look at the addiction treatment data, you will see no "acid rehabs" and virtually no one is in treatment in relation to psychedelics unless the law or their parents put them there.

Regarding people who "never come back"-- this, too, extremely rare. But there are people who have bad reactions to virtually any drug-- medical or recreational-- you can name.

LSD does give a compelling sense of unity, one-ness and the subjectivity of perception reliably. It really isn't like any other experience-- it truly is a thing that if you haven't done it, you don't know what it's like. Kind of like, as I wrote elsewhere, the view of sex held by most six or seven year olds-- why would someone want to do *that*? You don't know because you don't yet have the chemistry to know.

If you haven't had a psychedelic experience-- and haven't had a naturally occurring simulacrum via meditation and some other brain states that essentially have the same chemistry-- you just don't know what it's like.

This extreme vulnerability to "set and setting" is why the CIA thought LSD was a mind control drug and the hippies thought it would make everyone love each other. They thought it was what they wanted to think it would be.

And really, no other class of drugs is like that.

And, in terms of scientific rigor, there are a number of studies (and some good preclinical data on animals) that suggest that certain psychedelics *can* serve like a "reset" for the addicted brain. Ketamine, for example, can interrupt the development of tolerance and dependence on opioids like heroin. Ibogaine works by a similar mechanism.

Does this work 100%? No, but there is scientific data in the literature on it, even some controlled studies-- which is why the FDA has allowed the recent work to occur that was noted in the Scientific American article above.

Ketamine, interestingly, shows some promise for depression as a rapid antidepressant-- again, it can be seen as resetting the brain, jarring it out of a rut, basically. The hallucinations and stuff like that may be epiphenomena, just as dreams might be in relation to consolidating memory during sleep. But we will try to make meaning out of anything!

And actually, though I certainly would never ever want to have any child of mine should one ever exist have anything bad happen to them, I am sane enough to know that I can't prevent humans from wanting to alter their consciousness as every human group known has done (and many animals) since before we evolved. I would want them to inform themselves and while I'd be wracked with panic if they were using heroin or coke (since I was an addict), I wouldn't freak out about acid or marijuana simply due to the relative risks.

And, for me, personally, acid changed my life by teaching me a bunch about how to connect to other people that I surely could have learned other ways but didn't happen to do.
posted by Maias at 7:02 PM on January 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


That should be the final word of the thread, right there. I think he said everything that needed to be said. (Though I would dispute Ketamine being a psychedelic)
posted by empath at 8:10 PM on January 10, 2008


ketamine and LSD are both hallucinogens, but ketamine is a dissasociative rather than a psychedelic.
posted by Justinian at 10:00 PM on January 10, 2008


"I think he said everything that needed to be said."

Yes, a great comment - by a she though.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:37 AM on January 11, 2008


I've said this before, but both times I've taken acid, it was fun, but I didn't understand myself any better than before.

Sadly, true. I never understood jonmc any better after taking acid, either. But, oh, those golden grahams.

I've never seen the "and then they turned into tinfoil elephants, man," sort of stuff

At a restaurant once with a headful of acid, I could see that the couple across the room only looked human; actually they were murderous frog people and they wanted to kill me.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:12 AM on January 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


'cause Bigfoot is my father and he's gonna protect me!

(and what Divine Wino said)
posted by post punk at 7:49 PM on January 11, 2008


"Have you ever looked at yourself in an amusement park mirror? Look what happened to you! Now, try to imagine that the whole world looked that way to you."
posted by homunculus at 11:36 AM on January 29, 2008


« Older Rules of Thumb...   |   It's that time of year again.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments