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Old 01-08-2006, 04:30 PM   #1
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the man who made LSD is nearly 100

i've never tried LSD. no interest. i've seen it really screw people up. however, i was struck by a few lines in this article about the creator of LSD:

[q]
Mr. Hofmann will turn 100 on Wednesday, a milestone to be marked by a symposium in nearby Basel on the chemical compound that he discovered and that famously unlocked the Blakean doors of perception, altering consciousnesses around the world. As the years accumulate behind him, Mr. Hofmann's conversation turns ever more insistently around one theme: man's oneness with nature and the dangers of an increasing inattention to that fact.

"It's very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature," he said, listing to the right in a green armchair that looked out over frost-dusted fields and snow-laced trees. A glass pitcher held a bouquet of roses on the coffee table before him. "In the big cities, there are people who have never seen living nature, all things are products of humans," he said. "The bigger the town, the less they see and understand nature." And, yes, he said, LSD, which he calls his "problem child," could help reconnect people to the universe.

Rounding a century, Mr. Hofmann is physically reduced but mentally clear. He is prone to digressions, ambling with pleasure through memories of his boyhood, but his bright eyes flash with the recollection of a mystical experience he had on a forest path more than 90 years ago in the hills above Baden, Switzerland. The experience left him longing for a similar glimpse of what he calls "a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality."

"I was completely astonished by the beauty of nature," he said, laying a slightly gnarled finger alongside his nose, his longish white hair swept back from his temples and the crown of his head. He said any natural scientist who was not a mystic was not a real natural scientist. "Outside is pure energy and colorless substance," he said. "All of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings."

He became particularly fascinated by the mechanisms through which plants turn sunlight into the building blocks for our own bodies. "Everything comes from the sun via the plant kingdom," he said

[...]

"LSD spoke to me," Mr. Hofmann said with an amused, animated smile. "He came to me and said, 'You must find me.' He told me, 'Don't give me to the pharmacologist, he won't find anything.' "


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/07/in...icle_popular_1


[/q]



what strikes me is how much his experiences and convictions -- that we are more than we can merely sense -- has in common with many religious discussions we've had on here. it seems to me that telling someone to reach out to god, to call to him and he will listen, to seek and find him, that God can't be understood but must be felt and experienced ... these seem not so far from the experience that Hoffman was trying to replicate in his lab.

so, to pre-empt -- i am not comparing the taking of illegal drugs to the practice of organized religion.

i am, however, trying to find a link between drugs, between religion, between our needs of what we might call "a religious experience" -- i have those every 4 years or so when i go to a U2 concert -- and what this might tell us about human nature, about ways in which we are almost hardwired to feel incomplete (i.e., the sense that we all have of "there must be more than just this" or the flip-side, "is this all?").

bono has spoken about this, how he's not a part of drug culture, but what he does admire about those who do drugs is that they are ready and willing to admit to the "other side" of life -- that we are more than just chemical compounds, that we are a part of nature and the universe, that feeling of "one-ness" that some feel when on drugs, when in the throes of intercourse, while singing in church, while in the midst of zen meditation, or when the lights come on during "streets."

perhaps LSD is right -- this isn't it.

or, perhaps the feeling of connectedness that can only be produced through LSD (or U2, or religion, or mediation) is proof that, no, there is nothing external to us.

that, yes, this is all.
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Old 01-08-2006, 04:37 PM   #2
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Whatever gets you through the night...or takes you to the light.
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Old 01-08-2006, 04:40 PM   #3
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Interesting...........I admit it, I tried LSD in high school. Not a good experience for me...........but that was when everyone and their brother was trying it.
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Old 01-08-2006, 05:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
Whatever gets you through the night...or takes you to the light.

perhaps they are the same thing.

both the "what" as well as "getting through the night" and "taking you towards the light" might be the same process.
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Old 01-08-2006, 05:38 PM   #5
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I think they are.
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Old 01-08-2006, 06:08 PM   #6
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I'm sure it's been a psychedelic 100 years for him - 6 ft flowers and purple cats
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Old 01-08-2006, 09:46 PM   #7
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I read a quote once by an Indian guru in the sixties regarding LSD. I can't remember it word for word but the gist of it was that the same experience that can be achieved through LSD can also be achieved through meditation. The difference is that it takes years and years of careful practice to get to that place through meditation. LSD allows you to get to that same place almost instantly but the experience only lasts for a few hours.

He said that taking LSD was like visiting a saint. Why just visit a saint when you could actually become one?

There was a suggestion that Americans with our fast food culture want instant gratification without any of the work involved to achieve that state naturally.

I'm not trying to say that LSD can't be useful. I have had some very good experiences with it myself. It's a tool and if it used in the right way it can be beneficial. It can also be abused just like anything else.
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Old 01-08-2006, 09:59 PM   #8
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A very interesting article.
I last did LSD in 1983 and had a similar experience - I had done "acid" about a dozen times up till then but it was NEVER that powerful. This was what someone called "liquid acid" - the real stuff!!! Within a half hour I had my arms firmly implanted in a huge tree which proceeded to tell me it knew me better than I knew myself. It's a loooong story of an even longer night. Amazing things happened that night - the likes of which I'll never forget. Needless to say I never did LSD again. I had been through the "third door" and realised how lucky I was to have made it back.
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Old 01-08-2006, 10:13 PM   #9
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With the technology we have today imagine the possibilities of an MK Ultra project for use in interrogating terrorism suspects, no physical torture and could yield better results.
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Old 01-09-2006, 02:30 PM   #10
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I have never taken LSD but I think I may in the future as the other day I had a 'flashforward'
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Old 01-09-2006, 07:02 PM   #11
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I never did LSD and I think I´ll never do it because I don´t know where I might end up. And that connection to nature he´s talking about, well, I don´t have the feeling I need LSD for that.
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Old 01-10-2006, 09:04 AM   #12
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Very interesting discussion.
The hunger for religious ecstasy is cross-cultural and persistent throughout history, even prehistory.
People who use LSD for religious experience are not that different than athletes who return again and again to the endorphin rush.

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Old 01-10-2006, 10:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars
I never did LSD and I think I´ll never do it because I don´t know where I might end up. And that connection to nature he´s talking about, well, I don´t have the feeling I need LSD for that.


but what does it say about the feeling if it can be induced by something like LSD? does it make that feeling any less authentic?
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
but what does it say about the feeling if it can be induced by something like LSD? does it make that feeling any less authentic?
I think that's pretty subjective to equate the two. Because they are described using similar language does not make them the same.

What I'd be interested in seeing is some kind of scientific experiment on brain chemistry in these experiences.
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




but what does it say about the feeling if it can be induced by something like LSD? does it make that feeling any less authentic?
No, why? First, I don´t know what feeling he is talking about. I only notice similarities. Second, if it is the same feeling, it does not depend on how that feeling is triggered. If you want to use LSD to get in touch with a "higher" existence, if you use meditation, or if you use no conscious way at all - the ways are different, but that does not make the feeling less authentic.
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