LSD The Problem-Solving Psychedelic
P.G. Stafford and B.H. Golightly
Chapter III. Creative Problem Solving
OF ALL the strange permutations which occur with LSD use, two
of signal importance for researchers have been found to be heightened
sensitivity and vulnerability. Unlike the hypnotic
trance, this "defenselessness" is coupled with consciousness
and will power. Therefore, the subject, if he has a problem to
solve, can put his altered responses to this task. Solutions can
emerge if proper attention has been paid to the "set"
(the user's expectations, his emotional make-up and motivations)
and "setting" (the surroundings and circumstances under
which the drug is taken).
Among the endless variety of problems which LSD can help solve,
the most clear-cut and spectacularfor which there is unequivocal
proofare creative and technical problems. Hopefully, as more
and more technical and creative problem solving is done with LSD
and word of it comes to light, valid non-medical uses of the drug
will be publicly recognized and understood. If and when this happens,
unrealistic and fantastic claims about LSD's powers and dangers
will be recognized for what they are.
Before citing cases of LSD problem solving, it is necessary to
consider some aspects of the creative process, as it is the means
by which solutions are reached. Carl Rogers, in Creativity
and Its Cultivation, defines it this way: "the emergence
in action of a novel relational product, growing out of the uniqueness
of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events,
people or circumstances of his life on the other... I am assuming
that there is no fundamental difference in the creative process
as it is evidenced in painting a picture, composing a symphony,
devising new instruments of killing, developing a scientific theory,
discovering new procedures in human relationships, or creating
new formings of one's own personality as in psychotherapy."
But what is known of this extraordinary process that can produce
the ingenious invention, the earth-shaking discovery which revolutionizes
human thought and life? How does the suddenly "lighted mind"
become illuminated? Are we all actually capable of being innovators?
Herbert Read, speaking of artists in the large sense, has said
that all children are artists, as are some adults. As people grow
older, they are thought to lose their creative ability, and such
loss is widely accepted with unquestioning resignation. The readiness
with which we accept this deprivation is puzzling, but the apathy,
inhibitions, diminished faith and hope, weariness, and a "lack
of time" that disfigure lifeall these are certainly prominent
culprits. Yet the significance of creativity to human beings is
of untold depth and magnitude. The world as we know it is the
result of the creative thoughts and discoveries of relatively
few men; usually we recognize this by recognizing them.
Considering the number of people who have inhabited the earth,
and do so now, the small body of invention and discovery is amazing.
Why do we so easily fall victim to the forces which destroy creativity?
Perhaps it is because the creative impulse is lodged in such a
remote and inaccessible place:
It is a highly significant, though generally neglected fact that
those creations of the human mind which have borne pre-eminently
the stamp of originality and greatness, have not come from within
the region of consciousness. They have come from beyond consciousness,
knocking at its door for admittance: they have flowed into it,
sometimes slowly as if by seepage, but often with a burst of overwhelming
How can the gap between creative potential and its realization
be narrowed? And what drives the relatively few to try to narrow
it? Rogers states: "The individual creates primarily because
it is satisfying to him, because this behavior is felt to be self-actualizing,
and we get nowhere by trying to differentiate 'good' and 'bad'
purposes in the creative process... It has been found that
when the individual is 'open' to all of his experience... then
his behavior will be creative, and his creativity may be trusted
to be essentially constructive... To the extent that the individual
is denying to awareness (or repressing, if you prefer that term)
large areas of his experience, then his creative formings may
be pathological or socially evil, or both." (Italics added.)
In examining the creative drive, Rogers lists some factors that
are hospitable to it:
a) Low degree of psychological defensiveness; lack of rigidity
and permeability of boundaries in concepts, beliefs, perceptions
and hypotheses; tolerance for ambiguity where it exists, ability
to receive and integrate apparently conflicting information; sensitive
awareness of feelings and openness to all phases of experience.
b) Evaluative judgment based primarily, not on outside standards
or prejudices, but on one's own feelings, intuition, aesthetic
sensibility, sense of satisfaction in self-expression, etc.
c) The ability to "toy" with ideas, colors, shapes,
hypotheses; to translate from one form to another; to think in
terms of analogues and metaphors.
a) An atmosphere of psychological safety, in which the individual
feels accepted as of unconditional worth; in which he feels he
can be spontaneous without fear that his actions or creations
will be prematurely evaluated by rigid external standards; in
which he feels empathetic understanding.
b) An atmosphere of psychological freedom; of permissiveness to
think, to feel, to be whatever is discovered within oneself.
Other commentators on the creative process have stressed a few
additional characteristics which they feel appear to a pronounced
degree: Poetic economy (getting the most out of the complex in
a direct, singular manner, what the mathematician would know as
"elegance"); seeing things in a larger or more meaningful
context; a powerful feeling of commitment and an enduring desire
to leave behind a testament, and if possible a proof of the validity
of the conviction; finally, a fluid sense of humor, one which
enables the creative individual to view his work lightly as well
A comparison of the above states of mind, which are conducive
to creative work, with those states of mind induced by LSD shows
that there are remarkable resemblances. This would suggest that
if some of the above factors could be maximized, directed use
of LSD might result in a tremendous impetus to creative thoughtboth
for the artist and the ordinary individual who gets very few "flashes
of insight" in his lifetime. Such has proved to be the case,
as indeed has the obverse. The crucial difference is now believed
to be in the object of the session, the setting and the guide.
Early studies have clearly established that LSD does not enhance
the ability of most subjects for answering psychological test
questions while under the influence of the drug. Frequently, to
the subject, the questions or demands of the investigators seem
irrelevant to what is going on in the subject's experience, so
he will often respond to a request on the part of the investigator
with, "That's silly as hell," or something similar.
When asked the "Fire in the Theater" question on the
Wechsler-Bellevue test, one LSD subject said she wished the observer
would not talk about it. Others have found it difficult to repeat
nonsense syllables, given in order to find out how LSD affected
their memory span, and very few are able to perform adequately
with a simple numerical subtraction test, such as repeatedly subtracting
seven from a hundred. Here is how one of Dr. Sidney Cohen's subjects
reacted to the Rorschach test:
When I took the Rorschach there-was just nothing there. I tried
very hard to find something to say, but there was just very little
there to be said. Only Card VIII was definitely something. I wanted
to say "Squirrels," and I tried a long time but I couldn't
get the word out. Finally, I gave up and decided to try "Animals."
Before I had worked on that word very long, I figured out vaguely
that "Animals" wouldn't do because then the psychologist
would ask me what kind, and I would have to say "Squirrels,"
and I just couldn't. So I said "Bears." They didn't
look like bears but it was better to say "Bears" than
not say "Squirrels."
Some researchers have used such evidence to dismiss the possibility
that LSD might facilitate creativity. But this is to misunderstand
the importance of the way in which the experience can be controlled,
for a great many counter-examples have cropped up regularly in
the psychiatric literature. Thus, Dr. Harold A. Abramson, another
early LSD researcher, cites two instances in which marked improvement
in performance occurred, somewhat to his surprise:
One of our engineers, who was a subject, could get 100 per cent
under LSD in certain of the tests we used, which he never did
without LSD... There was another subject, a young woman, who
was a technician working at Columbia, who was determined to get
all her mathematics examples correct, and practiced at home. Although
she was very disturbed [over other matters]... under 100 mcg.
of LSD, she got 100 per cent on her mathematics test.
When under LSD the universe seems to be exploding, when one has
suddenly made the first intuitive breakthrough in years, when
the world seems sublimely pure and cleansed of the corruption
of the ages, it is no time to be repeating a long run of numbers,
as called for in the Stanford-Binet I.Q. test. As Dr. Hoffer observed
in this regard, "I would suspect that learning in tasks which
are trivial for the subject would be impaired, e.g., psychological
learning tests, whereas matters of great importance to the subject
might be learned even more quickly. Memory after the event is
usually extremely good and insights learned are never forgotten
even if they are not always used."
But before going deeper into the way LSD can be used to harness
creativity and put it to use in problem-solving, it is appropriate
to note that numerous instances have indicated that a "flash
of insight" has been the thunderbolt that cracked open major
discoveries. Darwin, while riding one day in his surrey, suddenly
saw the whole scheme of evolution; Newton, doing something equally
prosaic (daydreaming under an apple tree), had an apple drop on
his head and at the same moment understood what came to be known
as the law of gravity; Archimedes, soaking in his bath, suddenly
realized that a body displaces its weight in water. Shouting,
"Eureka!" he jumped out of the tub and soon thereafter
shared his insight with the world.
Repeatedly major discoveries have come from the fall of "the
apple on the head." But how many apples have fallen when
the head beneath was not receptive?
Some geniuses seemed to have their reception faculties turned
up full volume for most of their lifetimes, ready to catch and
make use of any wave-lengths that came their way. Mozart, at the
age of twenty-nine, had hundreds of compositions to his credit,
and in the space of less than three months composed his last three
symphonies. (These are held to be among his masterpieces, despite
the short time he spent on them.) It is well known that Shakespeare
wrote at fever pitch and did little or no revision of his dramas.
The research material for his historical plays seems skimpy to
a modern researcher with the libraries of the world to work with,
but he was so successful in deriving what he wanted from Holinshed's
Chronicles, Plutarch's Lives and a few other sources
at hand that it seemed impossible for early students of Shakespeare's
work to believe that he had not had a wide number of occupations,
traveled broadly and been a man of deep, worldly experience and
scholarly learning. Others too, have shown great versatility.
Freud, for example, started his career with interests which led
him to write a paper on "The Recondite Testes of the Eel"a
rather far cry from his subsequent amazing insights into dreams.
All of this simply shows that we know relatively little about
the creative spark, only slightly more than we do about the unconscious
from whence it springs. We know that it is there and that it sometimes
catches fire, and that under certain conditions it can be stimulated
A glance at the preceding chapter will indicate that LSD provides
excellent fuel once the fire is lit, and may even provide the
flint. Properly administered, LSD lowers the subject's
psychological blocks and fences without making him feel deprived
of their protection; it frees and encourages him to let his emotions
and imagination range; it even provides (or seems to) "ideas,
colors, shapes, hypotheses" with which to become engaged.
The drug creates the proper atmosphere in which the subject can
appreciate his own worth; and his sense of harmony with others
and his sensitive awareness often mimic, if they do not produce,
extrasensory perception. Even the sobersides subject usually finds
he has a great inclination to laugh at life's absurditiesdrolleries
which may have once seemed threatening and ugly. Everything seems
"so simple." Therefore, it is not inaccurate to say
that creativity and a positive reaction to the drug can be in
complete rapport and reinforce each other.
To this end some researchers of LSD, interested in various
fields of problem solving, have directed their attention. Since
the solution of technical and artistic problems lies mainly in
keeping channels of thought free and letting ideas flow, LSD
has been found to be of incalculable assistance if problem
solving is the point of the-session and if a few fundamental directive
techniques are used.
There a number of factors, though, which tend to hinder creativity
in the LSD experience, and these should be borne in mind.
Again, in most instances the subject, left on his own, is so overwhelmed
with perceptual changes or with personal preoccupations that he
may have little interest in directing his thoughts toward a specific
problem, even though that may have been his intent Influenced
by the drug, he may feel incapacitated for taking any initiative,
although by doing so he will probably be astonished at his own
capabilities. All too frequently the inexperienced guide will
feel as helpless to lead his subject into the proper channels
for creative and/or technical problem solving as the subject himself.
One way to avoid this bemusing mishap is to plan in advance to
take up the "programmed" problem at a particular point
in the session, after the subject has had a chance to experience
some of the typical beginning reactions and to do a little "sight-seeing."
In order to take advantage of those factors in the psychedelic
experience which support creativity, it is important to reassure
the subject that he will not be greatly distracted by any psychic
disturbances and that, in fact, it will be easy for him to concentrate
on the problem he has brought to the session. (Such suggestions
may be similar to hypnotic method in that their effectiveness
is the result of the profound suggestibility of the LSD experience,
but the subject is not held helpless under an externally imposed
control.) The subject should also be told that even though his
thought processes may not be logical during his LSD session,
he will be searching for some sort of insight, some immediate,
intuitive feeling and solution for his specific problem, and that
these may come with surprising ease. Once this happens, if it
does, he will be able to "fix" the solution and record
it either immediately or shortly after the drug effects have worn
off. Given a genuine problemone which has been thoroughly considered
beforehandand this minimal preparation, the results of an LSD
experience may prove highly different than those test studies
For any problem solving session, the guide should have mapped
out a course of procedure, along with his subject, although it
is not necessary for the guide to know precisely what the problem
is, or even what it is about Large drawing tablets, writing paper
and a tape recorder should be on hand, and the setting should
be relaxing, pleasant, private and conducive to concentration.
The subject should bring with him any materials he feels will
be usefuli.e., manuscript, notes, drawings, books, recordings,
etc. but the most important equipment the subject can have is
a salient problem and high incentive for its solution.
As mentioned elsewhere, one of the most provocative studies of
creative problem solving via the use of LSD was conducted by The
Institute for Psychedelic Research at San Francisco State College.
Believing that "through carefully structured regimen, a learning
experience with lingering creative increases could result,"
this group called together twenty-two participants who were asked
to bring with them professional or technical problems which they
had been unable to solve. By the time the report of this investigation
was issued, November, 1965, at least six of those who had participated
had seen concrete results in their professional or industrial
Comments made by some of the subjects on this project indicate
the manner in which LSD affected their creative thinking:
Looking at the same problem with (psychedelic) materials, I was
able to consider it in a much more basic way, because I could
form and keep in mind a much broader picture.
I had great visual (mental) perceptibility; I could imagine what
was wanted, needed, or not possible with almost no effort.
Ideas came up with a speed that was breathtaking.
I dismissed the original idea entirely, and started to approach
the graphic problem in a radically different way. That was when
things began to happen. All kinds of different possibilities came
Diminished fear of making mistakes or being embarrassed.
I was impressed with the intensity of concentration, the forcefulness
and exuberance with which I could proceed toward the problem.
In what seemed like 10 minutes, I had completed the problem, having
what I considered (and still consider) a classic solution.
... brought about almost total recall of a course that I had
had in thermodynamics; something that I had never given any thought
about in years.
Such impressions are predictable when LSD is used in creative/technical
problem solving. But how does the basic, on-the-spot action happen?
Here are a few examples which illustrate the wide range of applications:
Technical Problems: For over five years one man engaged
in Naval Research, worked with a team under his direction on the
design of an anti-submarine detection device, without success.
Hearing about a small research foundation investigating LSD, this
man got in touch with its directors and mentioned that he had
been told that the drug had been used successfully in problem
solving Subsequently he was given the drug under their supervision.
He had informed them in advance that he could not divulge the
nature of the problem because it was classified information. Nevertheless,
the LSD session bore fruit. After a few exercises to allow him
to control the fluidity of the LSD statehow to stop it, how
to start it, how to turn it aroundhe directed his attention
to the problem, and within ten minutes he had the solution he
had been searching for during all of those years. Since then,
the device has been patented by the U.S. Navy and Naval personnel
working in this area have been trained in its use.
Creative Design Problems: A furniture designer who was
given the drug by the Institute for Psychedelic Research recounts
I had two specific problems, both in furniture design. The primary
problem was to find a method for making an integral drawer pull
design which complemented an existing group of furniture that
I had designed a few years ago. This group was successful both
in design and in sales. I needed a solution that combined the
same kind of good looks with economy in production.
The most useful idea for this designer came to him while he was
listening to music by Wagner and indulging in fantasies which
the music evoked. He felt there was "a classic quality"
in some of the shapes which he saw, and so put down the line that
seemed to embody its characteristic. This evolved in a series
of rapid sketches and became a completed drawer pull, which had
"exactly the quality that I've been looking for." He
then went on to tackle a headboard problem for another manufacturer,
which was also quickly solved. And after that he turned his attention
to the design of a chair:
Case goods, that is, cabinets and chests of drawers, are basically
boxes distinguished primarily by surface and edge treatments.
Case goods always seem to look best when the design seems to be
a natural outgrowth of the materials used. I try to avoid "applied"
design elements. I'd already designed a line or series of case
goods that embodied these elements but it seemed to lack a certain
spark which both I and the manufacturer felt was needed. I had
gone over and over this problem trying new tacks but nothing seemed
to come of it. I really didn't expect to be able to do anything
new since my feeling was that all possibilities were exhausted.
What actually happened was a complete surprise.
I found that as soon as I began to visualize the problem one possibility
immediately occurred. A few problems with that concept occurred
which seemed to solve themselves rather quickly. This was quickly
followed by another idea based on this first thought but with
a variation that gave it another look. Visualizing the required
cross section was instantaneous.
I then decided to do something that always takes a lot of time.
Doing a good dining chair that is both elegant and inexpensive
is very difficult. Chairs are always seen as sculpture and seldom
in pure profile. Chairs also require a discipline in shape and
structure unnecessary in other furniture. Discipline in shape
because of the human anatomy, and structure because of the hard
usage it gets. I had not been able to do an original design for
some time. I very rapidly ascertained what the basic structure
should be and the basic details also quickly followed. I did no
refining, because this kind of thing is best done in three dimensions
though I could visualize the finished product. I decided that
I had the chair and then went on to think of a type that I'd never
done before. This one too seemed to present no difficulty. Even
when I look at this today it all seems so obvious.
One of the chair designs was modeled satisfactorily on the second
try, with no radical changes from the original concept. Previously
chair designs had required on the order of two months and ten
trial modelings for completion.
That such results are by no means exceptional is shown by what
happened to one architect's powers of "visualization"
when he took LSD while faced with the problem of designing an
arts-and-crafts shopping center for a resort-university community:
I looked at the paper I was to draw on. I was completely blank.
I knew that I would work with a property 300' square. I drew the
property lines (at a scale of 1" = 40') and I looked at the
outlines. I was blank.
While making drawings two weeks later, the architect found that
his image of the shopping center remained sharp and that he was
able to complete his drawings without referring to his original
sketches. He also discovered he could view the project from different
directions and examine minute construction details. His design
was accepted, and since then he has been able to design other
projects in the same way. He hopes that his faster, sharper and
clearer procedures for "imaging" projects still remain
Suddenly I saw the finished project. I did some quick calculations
... it would fit on the property and not only that... it
would meet the cost and income requirements. It was contemporary
architecture with the richness of a cultural heritage... it
used history and experience but did not copy it.
I began to draw... my senses could not keep up with my images
... my hand was not fast enough... I was impatient to record
the picture (it had not faded one particle). I worked at a pace
I would not have thought I was capable of.
I completed four sheets of fairly comprehensive sketches. I was
not tired but I was satisfied that I had caught the essence of
the image. I stopped working I ate fruit... I drank coffee
... it was a magnificent day.
"Dynamiting" Creative "Log Jams": At the
Josiah Macy LSD Conference in 1959, which brought together twenty-six
prominent psychiatrists and researchers who had worked with LSD,
one of the most exciting matters to arise was the evidence that
a number of patients in psychotherapy could begin to paint after
having been given the drug. Most of them had not previously done
any painting at all, and yet the quality of the work was far above
average for the ordinary beginning art student.
One of the most singular cases of artistic achievement was that
of a girl who had actually had art training but, in the words
of her therapist, Dr. R. A. Sandison, "couldn't paint
properly." After LSD her style changed entirely and she found
meaning in things that previously had had none to her. She had
never been able to express herself through painting, but after
the drug, "she began to paint in the style she wanted to,
which was imaginative, something like John Piper's work."
There are any number of such cases which have reached the LSD
annals, some relating purely to unjamming the block and others
to the acceleration of the artistic facility. As an instance of
the latter, a teacher at the Massachusetts College of Art comments
that, previous to taking LSD, he used to spend a great deal of
time in his studio before he felt he was really working, and he
had to spend five to eight hours before he felt he accomplished
anything. "Now all I have to do is go into my studio and
start working and I'm right up there.... It's a matter of having
better control over your sensibilities.... Things that you knew
before, you now understand." Asked whether he thought that
LSD would become a commonly used adjunct to artistic performance
among others, he said, "I suspect that anyone who's interested
in seeing more, hearing more, thinking more is going to try it."
LSD has also proved to be a superior agent for ending the notorious
"writer's block." The following account is from a well-known
European writer whose major work, written after LSD therapy, has
been translated into twelve languages and has a wide audience
among Americans and the English. Prior to taking LSD, he had had
a "burning desire" to write but had been unable to finish
a manuscript. Initially in his LSD session, he felt he was able
to turn away from "the turmoil of the world" and had
"time to meander in my mind about things that were more important
than the outer world." But before long, he felt he was dying:
I felt I could really die, not just as an illusion, not just in
the drama of other people, but my own life would have a very normal
end. I know now I never wanted to face this but realize there
is such a thing as really living....
From this experience, the subject entered into a re-experiencing
of his past, which led to an extreme emotional and intellectual
With this horror of death realized, I started to experience a
most fantastic happiness with the realization that after all I
do not have to die now. I felt I was no longer with my neck under
the guillotine. This was the very feeling I have been living under
all my life.
My mind was suddenly dragged into the situation and I think the
cure, from someone who did not write successfully, to someone
who does write successfully, came this very moment when I felt
that this mind of mine was part of me. It has become harmonized
with the rest of my feelings....
After his LSD sessions (which are recounted in detail in Drs.
Ling and Buckman's Lysergic Acid (LSD25) and Ritalin
in the Treatment of Neurosis), this would-be writer has gone
on to become one of the leading authors writing in German today.
Here, in a brief statement, he summarizes some of the changes
which occurred within him as a result of his insights under LSD:
I am no longer afraid of putting one letter after the other to
say what I want and this is linked with an enormous number of
things, such as speechlessness and inarticulateness. The feeling
of being dumb, not being able to express myself was probably one
of my most unpleasant inner feelings....
I seem capable of expressing what many people would love to express
but for which they cannot find the words. I did not find the words
before because I tried to avoid saying the essential things.
These accounts may seem like isolated instances. It is true at
the present time that the bulk of LSD literature is only sprinkled
with them, but it has become increasingly apparent that these
breakthroughs are by no means uncommon. They have come about both
in planned sessions and by happy accident. There is abundant word-of-mouth
testimony which eventually will appear in print with proper documentation.
Even though investigation into this aspect of LSD's effects has
so far been rather timid, this does not mean that such responses
are not strong and validand on the increase as sophisticated
use of the drug becomes more and more prevalent.
Because such reactions do occur, and undeniably so, there are
many advocates who are anxious to tell the world what LSD has
done for them, so that meetings and seminars on the subject often
sound like an evening with Alcoholics Anonymous or the Salvation
Especially is this true when an audience airs its views at the
close of a lecture on LSD. As an instance of this, consider what
happened when Dr. John Beresford, an early researcher on the effects
of LSD, turned such a session over to questions and statements
from the audience.
At the time of this particular lecture, the agitation and legislation
against LSD was well under way, and there seemed to be little
promise for continued study of the drugcertainly private use
and experimentation was legally out of the question. Most of those
who came to this lecture were dedicated to the future of the drug
for serious, scientific reasons, and ABC-TV was on hand to record
the proceedings. The lecture was a little like a televised wake,
with the audience as depressed yet keyed-up as survivors of a
Dr. Beresford that night spoke very briefly, candidly admitting
that although there was well-founded reason to believe in LSD's
efficacy in creative and technical problem solving, so far only
scattered evidence had appeared in scientific journals. He then
threw the discussion open to the floor.
The audience reaction was electric. Everyone wanted to talk at
once, to testify as to how LSD had helped solve individual problems.
It was difficult to sort it all out.
A designer who specialized in Orientalia said that under the drug,
without any prior knowledge, he had worked out Einstein's theory
of relativity. A friend of his, an M.I.T. faculty member, had
pointed out this remarkable "discovery" to the designer,
upon being told of the latter's LSD adventure. The designer has
since given up his former field and gone into scientific work.
Similarly, a former architect told of how he had gone into the
field of drama as a result of new insight gained about his true
interests and abilities while under LSD. Another audience member
averred that because of LSD therapy, his eyesight, I.Q. and imaginative
abilitiesall essential to his careerhad increased in keenness,
his I.Q. by a measured and recorded twenty per cent.
A woman who described herself as a former "impassioned, constantly
angry warmonger" said that she had learned tolerance and
"love for my fellow man" and had become an active pacifist.
A student told of how he had taught himself French in the week
that followed his having taken LSD. There was even a palmist who
explained remarkable predictions he had made under the influence
of the drug, all of which he said subsequently proved accurate.
Although few of these "revelations" could be divined
as formal problem solving, problems unquestionably had been solved.
From the comments, it is evident that while not many had taken
the drug with the specific intention of achieving a creative breakthrough,
by fortunate coincidence this had happened. If they had been aware
of their problems previously and had deliberately planned their
LSD sessions to maximize problem solving, it is possible that
the results would have been even more impressive.
A session structured for problem solving usually results in the
subject's emotional identification with and understanding of his
problem, and gives him a deep and lasting commitment to it. Physicists
and mathematicians report that after using LSD they have developed
"a feeling" for such concepts as the photon, the hypercube
or imaginary numbers. Similarly, philosophers have reported they
have "understood" the meaning of existentialism, and
theologians report having "experienced" that which they
had been preaching for years.
A final point about the creative process: it does not seem to
have too much to do with conventional I.Q., as measured by existing
tests for the purpose. Dr. Frank Barron, Research Psychologist
at the University of California Institute of Personality Assessment,
has compared more than 5,000 productive and creative individuals
with others in their field of similar I.Q. but of limited productivity,
The thing that was important was something that might be called
a cosmological commitment. It was a powerful motive to create
meaning and to leave a testament of the meaning which that individual
found in the world, and in himself in relation to the world. This
motive emerged in many ways, but we came across it over and over
again when we compared highly creative individuals with those
of equal intellectual ability as measured by the IQ tests but
of less actual creative ability. The intense motivation having
to do with this making of meaningor finding meaning and communicating
it in one form or anotherwas the most important difference
between our criterion and control groups...
I think that as a result of the psychedelic experience there's
a heightened sense of the drama of life, including its brevity,
and a realization both of the importance of one's individual life
and of the fact that a sacred task has been given to the individual
in the development of the self...
1. G. N. M. Tyrrell. (back)
2. Taken from "Use of Psychedelic Agents
to Facilitate Creative Problem Solving," published by The
Institute for Psychedelic Research of San Francisco State College.
This group, headed by James Fadiman, Willis W. Harman, Robert
H. McKim, Robert P Mogar, and Myron J. Stolaroff, was outstanding
in this particular area of LSD research, but was recently disbanded
at the request of the Federal authorities. (back)
3. Arthur Kleps, a psychologist and Chief
of the Neo-American Church, Cranberry Lake, N.Y., appearing before
the Special senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Narcotics, Wednesday,
May 25 1966: "If I were to give you an l.Q. test and during
the administration one of the wails of the room opened up giving
you a vision of the blazing glories of the central galactic suns,
and at the same time your childhood began to unreel before your
inner eye like a three-dimensional color movie, you would not
do well on the test." (back)
4. Architect Eric Clough has since been interviewed
about his work OD this project, which is near the University of
California campus at Santa Cruz, in the August, 1966, issue of
Progressive Architecture. His hope that his LSD experience
would carry over and aid him with future work has been realized.
He believes that LSD can "facilitate focusing on anything"
and that "All architects ought to have this experience."