[Albert Hofmann's] experience marked the most significant finding ever made in the social sciences, for science at last produced a method of instilling motivation which was not based upon fear or manipulation... Man has found the key but he remains frightened to open the door and enter the courts of increased insight, extended awareness and induced positive self-motivation.
Dr. Duncan Blewett, "New Horizons in Motivation and Insight"
We have long held that the experience is one of accelerated un-learning and re-learning: it is essentially an educational process.... It is our constant goal to maintain a high level of "teaching" ability; to explore new teaching procedures; and to create maximum receptivity among those entrusted to us.
The interest of many students in drug experience may not be dismissed simply as a sign of delinquency, rebelliousness or psychological pathology. It represents a search for a new way of life. It indicates needs and desires that American society and education do not now meet or fill....Many students have always learned on their own, of course, but with LSD it is entirely possible that self-teaching may take higher precedence than ever before This is not because the drug provides a greater ability to absorb facts, but because it seems to provide a "guts reaction" to the facts, giving them a vivid immediacy and evaporating the inertia that blocks true intellectual curiosity. LSD enhances all learning responses if the frame of reference is already in the mind, and it lowers the threshold at which "understanding" occurs. The student who takes LSD for a purposeful experience is likely to gain a broader awareness of the adult world and its problems, which heretofore he may have thought were of no concern to him. Consequently, his sense of responsibility deepens.
The brightest and most sensitive of college youth are examining the values of the Western world, and are finding them wanting.... Questions of ethics and morality are on their minds as perhaps never before in American lifenot since the Civil War, at any rate. And their education is not meeting these interests. The things that are most important to many young Americans are not being discussed in academic life. The sterile formalism of much American higher education can hardly hold a candle to the psychedelic experience.
One subject, a psychologist, Dr. P., writes, "Having always had difficulty with myopia as well as limited color vision, I now found myself describing color and form in a most unusual detail. I was able to look into the heart of a blossom and see the most minute changes and alterations in structure and movement... . I observed in another, a Breughel painting in which the colors and shapes astounded me by their clarity.... I felt a great surge of perceptual power and said, 'I Breughel them and now I unBreughel them.' "
Another subject, Miss Z., a young graduate student at U.C.L.A, writes, "Everywhere I looked, the objects and people settled themselves into the symmetry, color and unity of a painting. I looked at the bark of a tree and saw a lovely desert canyon with layers of striated rock formations.... I was very pleased with myself because I had considered myself devoid of imagination and artistic sensitivity.... My thinking seemed much clearer and I was free of the frustrations I usually feel in trying to solve a problem."
Mrs. M., a middle-aged woman who was a nurse, and like the previous subjects, a rather prosy and unfanciful person, not inclined to any great interest in the arts, writes, "I had a strange desire to touch and see and feel and hear all at once, all at the same time in some kind of harmony of sensory stimuli, as if I were each instrument in a quartet all playing together, the fiddle, the cello, the viola, the bass fiddle, all playing at the same time, and I, hearing myself play in unison."
A young woman, Miss L., employed as a TV production assistant says, "That evening I went to the ballet and for the first time in my life enjoyed classical dancing which usually bored me. However, the whole production took on a color and sparkle which I can only compare to the feelings a child would have when taken to her first theatre performance. It was like a magic world of make-believe."
Three subjects; 100 mcg. each of LSD. Recordings: Gielgud & Anderson's Medea; records from Corfu (native folksongs) taped selections from Mary Renault's The King Must Die; Golden Bough; Bullfinch; Gayley; Graves and Hamilton. Two facsimile vases decorated with Perseus myth illus. (Medusa); one black and white Laocoon illus.; volume of excavations at Mycenae.
First reactions 9:45 A.M., during field recordings. John informs music not authentic, native to Persia. Says he can see tigers roaming lilac jungle. Asks for "something really Greek." Cynthia hands him a handkerchief and asks that music be turned off altogether. Music turned off. Guide turns on Frazier selection, passage from Persephone and Demeter (previously chosen by Cynthia). John asks Guide if Pluto is a Disney invention.
Rachel very quiet. Takes no notice of J. and C. Begins to draw on sketchpadsheaf of wheat, each grain has grotesque dog's head. Scratches it out and exclaims: "Oh no, she is not frightened! Look at my sandals!" All look. Guide says, "Are we there with you?" Cynthia breaks in: "I see a rock and a very handsome man. His skin is dark. He loves you. His muscles ripple. The gold bracelet." John stares at C. Says: "Snake." (Not dear whether he means this as personal remark to C., or is embroidering.)
10:30: All three looked at Laocoon illus., little interest. J. asks for drink of water. Guide puts on Edith Hamilton tape, which excites R. She seems to be "traveling again," with J. empathizing. The two seem in deep communication.
11:30: Several tapes played, R. & J. particularly interested. Rachel says she forgot to break her hairdressing appointment, and then asks if Greek is hard to learn. Guide puts on field recording and asks if she understands the words. She says "very beautiful," but does not answer question. Guide does not press it.
11:50: Guide leads subjects into discussion of Greek War, and Cynthia suddenly remarks she took prize in high school for Latin. Begins to quote from the Aeneid. Breaks into tears. Guide quotes few Latin phrases he remembers, and C. looks pleased. Becomes quiet, seems reflective.
12:15: John wanders into adjoining library, and is followed by Stewart. Guide asks S. to leave, but John objects. Says he wants to get pack of Tarot cards in library. Guide and Rachel insist J. stay in session room, and S. leaves to find Tarot pack. Returns and says can't find it. John at this point no longer interested, as absorbed in Mycenae photographs.
12:40: Cynthia announces that she would like to illustrate mythology volume. Wants to go on with Latin next quarter...
The Beatific Vision, Sat Chit Ananda, Being-Awareness-Blissfor the first time I understood, not on the verbal level, not by inchoate hints or at a distance, but precisely and completely what those prodigious syllables referred to. And then I remembered a passage I had read in one of Suzuki's essays. "What is the Dharma-Body of the Buddha?" ("The Dharma-Body of the Buddha" is another way of saying Mind, Suchness, the Void, the Godhead.) The question is asked in a Zen monastery by an earnest and bewildered novice. And with the prompt irrelevance of one of the Marx Brothers, the Master answers, "The hedge at the bottom of the garden." "And the man who realizes this truth," the novice dubiously inquires, "what, may I ask, is he?" Groucho gives him a whack over the shoulders with his staff and answers, "A golden-haired lion."Alan Watts is another writer-philosopher who has confirmed the educational value of psychedelics when used intelligently:
It had been, when I read it, only a vaguely pregnant piece of nonsense. Now it was all as clear as day, as evident as Euclid. Of course the Dharma-Body of the Buddha was the hedge at the bottom of the garden.
LSD... is an instrument which a person in any field of inquiry can use. Just as a microscope can help a biologist, LSD can remove the inhibitions to perception which prevent us from seeing the central relationships of the world...
All heroes bring souvenirs back from a journey and people who make the LSD journey had better bring something back. One of the most fascinating discussions I have ever heard was when a group of art historians in New York sat around the first cubist painting and discussed that work while under LSD. People can think and talk while they are under LSD. That discussion made sense. It should have been recorded.
I spent my first three LSD sessions discovering my 1ife was arranged in layers. The outermost and most superficial was my position and concerns as a psychologist. These seemed unimportant. The papers on my desk were nonsense. Status-striving was no more meaningful than walking up hill.
It was a week before registration and it depressed me tremendously that I had not spent the summer learning German, as I had planned. I had intended to give myself a crash course so I could take second-year German, which I needed for my study in physics. I had heard of a woman who had learned enough Spanish in a few days, via LSD, to speak it fluently when she had to go to Mexico on business. I had taken LSD before, and while I couldn't see how she did this, I decided it was worth a try.After "Falling in love with German," on the basis of this one LSD session this student then went on the following day to read Mann's Dr. Faustus. He had both the original text and an English translation. By the time he had finished the novel, he found that he was scarcely referring to the English version. He also discovered that in having read that much German, he had developed a feeling for grammar structure and word endings that was almost intuitive. When his friend questioned him, he said he could not readily explain what the third-person singular past-tense ending was, but he demonstrated that he could use it. In this sense, he had learned the language as a child learns it, not as it is taught in formal instruction. When he registered for German 210, an intensive reading course, the following week, the instructor expressed skepticism when he heard the student was self-taught. Upon testing him, however, it was soon evident that his German reading comprehension was well above average.
I hadn't even gotten around to picking up a textbook, but I did have a close friend who knew German well and who said he was willing to "sit in" while I took the drug and try to teach me the language. Fortunately, I knew something about conjugation and declension, so I wasn't completely at sea.
I wanted to get worked up and feel involved with the language, as it seemed that this must be at least part of the key to the problem, so I asked my friend to tell me about Schiller and Goethe, and why the verb came at the end. Almost immediately, after just a story or two, I knew I had been missing a lot in ignoring the Germans, and I really got excited.
The thing that impressed me at first was the delicacy of the language (he was now giving me some simple words and phrases), and though I really messed it up, I was trying hard to imitate his pronunciation as I had never tried to mimic anything before. For most people German may be "guttural," but for me it was light and lacey. Before long, I was catching on even to the umlauts. Things were speeding up like mad, and there were floods of associations. My friend had only to give me a German word, and almost immediately I knew what it was through cognates. It turned out that it wasn't even necessary for him to ask me what it sounded like.
Memory, of course, is a matter of association, and boy, was I ever linking up to things! I had no difficulty recalling words he had given mein fact, I was eager to string them together. In a couple of hours after that I was reading even some simple German, and it all made sense.
The whole experience was an explosion of discoveries. Normally, when you've been working on something for a long time and finally discover a solution, you get excited, and you can see implications everywhere. Much more than if you heard someone else discovering the same-thing. Now this discovery thing, that's what was happening with mebut all the time. The threshold of understanding was extremely low, so that with every new phrase I felt I was making major discoveries. When I was reading, it was as though I had discovered the Rosetta Stone and the world was waiting for my translation. Really wild!
Take [the drug] while typing and continue right through the transition period (where one's consciousness changes).
Now here is where "will power" comes in, as you will find yourself inventing a thousand reasons why typing is useless and you could not care less about learning it. It would be so pleasant to stop and listen to a little music or just meditate. Well, if you wish to accomplish something with psychedelics that lingers on into your ordinary state, you must exert an act of will. By doing nothing but letting that state direct you, a pleasant time will be had, but little accomplished.
Therefore you must continue this regime... if possible up to fourteen hours....
It will feel as if you have been typing for centuries locked in a small enclosure with but one action to perform. When the drug wears off, go to sleep. It is almost guaranteed your mind will still be seeing numbers and letters, and your fingers will jerk as they wish to automatically respond to the actions required of them. Upon awakening, go back to the typewriter. You will be amazed to see your speed and accuracy greatly improved. A force will seem to grab your hands, and your fingers will fight to obey. The typewriter is now a permanent part of you, and the impression made can never be erased.