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.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

ETC. A Review of General Semantics - "Special Issue on the Psychedelic Experience"


 ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

    S. I. Hayakawa, editor

        December 1965, "Special Issue on the Psychedelic Experience"


Foreword

THE QUEST FOR INSTANT SATORI

S. I. HAYAKAWA


    IN THE COURSE of twenty-two volumes of ETC., the present is the fifth special issue. Like our previous special issues, it is an attempt to examine a topic of current scientific or theoretical interest from the point of view of general semantics.
    For some time, judging from unsolicited manuscripts coming to ETC., it has been clear that there is widespread interest, both scientific and popular, in drug-induced psychedelic experiences. ETC. was fortunate in having on its Editorial Committee Dr. Robert E. Mogar, associate professor of psychology, San Francisco State College, and director of the Institute for Psychedelic Research, to serve as editor of this special issue. He read the manuscripts on hand, invited other contributions, and arranged the material. Without Dr. Mogar, there would have been no psychedelic issue, not only because of his skill in selecting and editing the varied contributions, but more importantly because his enthusiastic espousal of the project convinced me that such an issue would be of real service to our readers.
    For all my gratitude to Dr. Mogar and the personal regard in which I hold the contributors to this issue, I am forced by my own convictions to introduce a discordant note. I am far from convinced of the therapeutic or "spiritual" value of the psychedelic experience. Indeed, I cannot get rid of the feeling that this issue is likely to do the world as much harm as good. In the present climate of opinion, with hallucinogens like LSD available on almost every college campus in the U.S., the glowing accounts of "consciousness-expanding" experiences resulting from their use under controlled conditions and responsible supervision are all too likely to be seized upon as justification for their uncontrolled use without medical or scientific supervision of any kind. A recent issue of the Gater, student newspaper at San Francisco State College, carries the following advertisement (December 3, 1965):
   
THE PSYCHEDELIC CHAPEL
Presents: "Trip Thru The Astral Plane"
Featuring Recording Artist Ivan Ulz
Service Begins 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, l 10 Page St.
(WHERE The Jet Set MEETS The Sin Crowd)

    I shudder as I see in my mind's eye, sitting in the "chapel," the Jet Set and the Sin Crowd, "turned on" and "tripping through the Astral Plane," with the music of Recording Artist Ivan Ulz (whatever he sings or plays) crashing and reverberating through their skulls, each member with a dog-eared copy of this issue of ETC. in his pocket.
    The most interesting semantic point made by contributors to this issue is that under the influence of psychedelic drugs, one is "freed" from the categories and symbolizations through which our experience is ordinarily presented to us, bundled, prepackaged, and labeled in terms of the linguistic conventions (and therefore perceptual habits) of the culture. To "transcend" these cultural imperatives is asserted to be an "expanding" of consciousness, so that one sees afresh—presumably as if one were a little child again.
    But is such "transcending" necessarily beneficial? It is obviously an advantage if you have long been cursed with inappropriate "maps" of the "territory" of reality. From seeing afresh, you might start making better maps. It is an advantage, too, if you have long treated the map as if it were the territory—that is, if you are so engrossed in the world of symbolism as to have forgotten what the symbols stand for.
    But what if, like a good poet or scientist, you have long been accustomed to seeing the world with "consciousness of abstracting"? What if you have used symbols properly, so that you have remained constantly aware of the realities behind the symbols—of the complex, uncategorizable, squirming "beknottedness of space-time" behind the categories? The process of abstracting, of creating classifications and making the symbols that stand for them, are the normal and necessary survival mechanisms of the human class of life. What is so wonderful about suspending this great, uniquely human process, except where the process has gone awry? As Weston La Barre said in this connection, "It is not immediately evident that an abnormal toxic functioning of an adaptive organ, the brain, is necessarily a supernormal functioning…"*
    I do not doubt that dangerous substances such as LSD temporarily shake us up and cause us to "transcend" habitual ways of experiencing. But transcending of itself is not enough. What happens afterward? In what ways are perceptions of the self or the environment altered or restructured for the better? What conditions produce what changes? The contributors to this issue, I am sorry to say, touch on these questions but lightly.
    The fact that symbolic processes often go awry is, of course, well known to general semanticists, who have their own prescriptions as to what to do about it. These involve, as Korzybski said, learning to experience at nonverbal levels, refraining from "bursting into speech," and maintaining "silence, within and without."** These also involve learning to establish a constant interplay between experiential and higher levels of abstraction, checking each level against those below, and all of them against the realities of the world. Disciplines such as these are not easy to master. They involve for many of us the upsetting of cherished ideas and the relinquishing of many long-ingrained automatism of thought and speech. They also involve time-time to re-experience the world, time to examine carefully both language and the world it purportedly describes, in order painfully and painstakingly to develop a better language. General semantics, like many other disciplines offering deliverance from the world of illusion and self-delusion, offers no easy path to enlightenment.
    However, we live in an advertising culture. ROLAIDS offers us instant relief from indigestion. CLAIROL offers instant youth and beauty. The new MUSTANG makes instant Casanovas out of Casper Milquetoasts. Is it any wonder that there lurks in many of us a hope that a product can be found that offers instant relief from all spiritual ills—instant insight, instant satori?
    The full appreciation of art or literature or music requires years of study, years of experience and exposure to master works. But under LSD, tremendous "esthetic" and "creative" experiences are said to be accessible, instantly and without effort. "You got a television set?" asked one hipster of another. "No, man," was the reply. "I just turn on and watch the wallpaper." (If the reader thinks this is a caricature of what is claimed for the psychedelic experience, let him read on!) Is there any meaningful sense in which such hallucinatory experiences can be termed "esthetic" or "creative"?
    But perhaps my basic reason for distrusting the dependence on "mind-expanding" drugs is that most people haven't learned to use the senses they possess. Speaking only for myself, I not only hear music; I listen to it when it is around, so that I find Muzak and other background music, intended to be heard but not listened to, utterly intolerable. When I am, in Carl Rogers' terms, open to my experience, I find the colors of the day, whether gray and foggy and muted or bright and sunlit, such vivid experiences that I sometimes pound my steering wheel with excitement. A neon-lit supermarket is often too much for me—so terribly rich in angles and colors and dizzying perspectives that I must deliberately narrow my perceptions to the things on my grocery list lest I take forever to do the shopping. Paintings and sculptures and ceramics get me so intensely excited that I often come out of a museum higher than a kite. In short, I use my senses—at least some of them, some of the time. And I say, why disorient your beautiful senses with drugs and poisons before you have half discovered what they can do for you?
    I find myself in sharp disagreement, therefore, with my friends who have contributed to this issue. They are still my dear friends despite disagreements. I hope I remain theirs.


    * Weston La Barre, in a review of Utopiates: The Use and Users of LSD-25, American Anthropologist, 67 (1965), 596. Italics supplied.
    ** See A. Korzybski, Science and Sanity (1933; 4th ed., 1958), especially Chapter XXIX, "On Non-Aristotelian Training."
=========================

 ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

    S. I. Hayakawa, editor

        December 1965, "Special Issue on the Psychedelic Experience"


Introduction

SEARCH AND RESEARCH WITH THE PSYCHEDELICS

ROBERT E. MOGAR


    The objective level... remains fundamentally unspeakable.
[It] is not words, can not be reached by words alone,
and has nothing to do with 'good' and 'bad.'
           —ALFRED KORZYBSKI

    In this strident era of over-communication, we are more likely
to perish by the word than by the sword, and least of all to
perish by a loving silence.
           —IHAB HASSAN

    AS THE CONTENTS of this issue make clear, the consciousness-expanding drugs and the states they produce have direct relevance to a wide range of fields and disciplines as well as many aspects of modern culture. It is not surprising then that general semantics—with its broad applicability, its trans-disciplinary orientation, and its concern with social as well as scientific issues—provides a useful framework for comprehending psychedelic phenomena. Similarly, it seems less than a coincidence that five papers were submitted almost simultaneously to ETC., each examining some aspect of this class of experiences using the principles of general semantics. The decision to devote an entire issue to the psychedelics was prompted also by the concerted effort of these writers to transcend the emotionalism and pro-con zeal characterizing much of the literature to date. Since most of the papers were written by students of general semantics rather than primary investigators of these phenomena, each article has been commented upon by a recognized authority on some aspect of the psychedelics. In planning the issue, an attempt was made to maximize diversity among contributors so as to present a broad but comprehensive coverage and to include as many viewpoints as possible.
       

Modern Man Plagued by Overabstraction


    SINCE psychedelic substances have been known and ingested throughout man's history, the increasing interest and fascination generated recently seem particularly significant. The reasons behind this widespread attraction (or avoidance) are of course multiple and complex. Although presently unclear, one general reason can be identified: Either as a means of investigating higher thought processes or as a potentially valuable personal experience, the LSD-induced state is intriguing because it meshes with the zeitgeist in the social sciences and with major trends in the larger culture.
    There is considerable evidence and commentary from a variety of quarters which support this contention. As a case in point, Aldous Huxley's prolific writings give eloquent testimony to a dominant theme in contemporary thought; namely, the strangely ambivalent relationship between culture and the individual.

    We are at once the beneficiaries of our culture and its victims.... Culture and that pre-condition of all culture, language, have made possible all the achievements of talent and sanctity. They have also given us fanaticism, superstition... nationalistic idolatry, and mass-murder in the name of God.1

    Huxley showed a life-long preoccupation with the artificial polarities which have continually plagued Western man. Like Korzybski, Huxley anticipated by a quarter of a century William Barrett's pronouncement that the most formidable problem facing man in the twentieth century is the conciliation of opposites. Huxley wrestled persistently with the contrived antagonism erected between the scientific and the poetic, mind and body, reason and impulse. He was one of the few men of modern times deeply aware of the essential union and coexistence of opposites. It is perhaps significant that a man who felt equally at home with contemporary science and art, mystical states of awareness, and general semantics should write three books and many articles devoted to psychedelic phenomena.
    The ambivalence of man toward the culture he has inherited and continually creates, articulated so incisively by Huxley, has reached new heights in the present era. On the one hand, we have at our command a technology capable of making the lives of men healthy, safe, and reasonably secure for the first time in history. Until recently, the motive power of civilization, particularly in Western cultures, has necessarily focused on survival and environmental mastery. In Maslow's terms, the organismic equilibrium made possible by satiated bodily needs, physical safety, and some measure of psychological security is prerequisite to more uniquely human pursuits. This hierarchical conception of man's strivings depicts him as a self-directed creature with impulses toward growth and self-enhancement as well as homeostatic maintenance.2 To the degree that Maslow's humanistic image of man engages the modern temper, the realization of human potentialities should reach unprecedented heights in the foreseeable future.
    On the other hand, many writers, impressed with the progressive subordination of personal identity to what Erik Erikson calls the "technological superidentity," do not foresee any greater actualizing of man's vast personal resources. Particular attention has been called to our ultra-rational commitment to structured, controlled forms of experience; that is, the restricted range of experience sanctioned by public consensus. A corollary to this feature of modern culture is our inordinate investment in language and higher-order abstractions at the expense of nonverbal experience and nonverbal communication. In this connection, L. L. Whyte refers to the "western dissociation," a division of mind and body which scientific-industrial society has pushed almost to the limit of endurance.3 More recently, Burton and Kantor have noted:

    As a culture attains higher forms, it desiccates itself by abstractions and reduces the immediacy of personal experience. The prevalent cry of alienation and "loss of meaning" today is just that quality of culture which denies the body and ignores the integrative aspects of its impulses.4

    The paradoxical relationship between language and experience has been well stated by Robert Cohen:

    It is most impelling to observe how verbal language, which evolved as an instrument to describe, to define, to sing, to acquaint man with the thoughts of another, which binds time and makes each man heir to the efforts of his brother (and a potential slave to the past) can destroy its maker.... This possibility arises from a lessened ability to recognize and hence respond to important fundamental sense impressions.5

       

LSD and the Corrective Measures of Korzybski


    AS STUDENTS of general semantics are well aware, the problems alluded to by these representative writers were explicitly recognized by Korzybski. Science and Sanitydepicts in graphic detail the "unsane" consequences of "identifying or confusing words with objects and feelings, or memories and ideas with experiences which belong to the un-speakable objective level."6 It is through lack of consciousness of abstracting that objectification, identification, and allness occur—habits of thought which narrow and restrict human consciousness rather than heighten it. Korzybski considered consciousness of the abstraction process the most effective safeguard against these semantic restraints and the key to further human evolution. Consciousness of abstraction was defined as "awareness that in our process of abstracting we have left out characteristics."7 Stated differently, an individual apprehends himself and his world fully and accurately to the degree that he continually translates higher-order abstractions back to the naive sensory level, becoming experientially aware of the discrepancy between conceptualization and sense impression.
    Today there is a growing recognition of the semantic dangers described by Korzybski and a greater appreciation of the corrective measures he recommended. For example, in order to counteract the destructive consequences of "surplus-repression" (intensional thought?), Herbert Marcuse suggested the cultivation of "libidinal rationality" (consciousness of abstraction?)—a process which would abolish elementalism and reintegrate human experience.8 Similarly, the literary critic, Ihab Hassan, has noted:

    For the neo-Freudians {viz., Norman 0. Brown}, the problem is repression, abstraction, and the solution is the construction of a Dionysian ego. In their view, language ultimately becomes "the natural speech of the body," a phrase adopted from Rilke.9

    These semantic problems and prescriptions account in part for the current interest in the drug-induced psychedelic experience and its potential value as a therapeutic or educative device. As the contributors to this volume make clear, the LSD-state increases one's ability "to recognize and hence respond to fundamental sense impressions" without semantic barriers. The freshness of perception and feeling of unity which characterize the experience suggest that the "is" of identity is temporarily eliminated. Like the structural differential method devised by Korzybski, the LSD experience may be viewed as nonverbal training in nonidentity. At its best the psychedelic state permits the subject to evaluate with some detachment (1) the structure of his semantic framework (its similarity to reality), and (2) his semantic reactions (so that they take place more on the silent objective level). These two kinds of learning experience were recommended by Korzybski as the most effective means of increasing consciousness of abstracting.10
    In the present era, the press of cultural demands on the individual, symbolized by an undue emphasis on language and conventional modes of perception, are perhaps greater and felt more keenly than a generation ago. While recognizing that "it takes a good 'mind' to be 'insane,'11 Korzybski noted that "the average person 1933 must be considered pathological."12 From a similar perspective, Nettler has succinctly stated our current dilemma:

    We may have to choose between the "health" of the man who behaves badly because he sees accurately, and the "health" of the man who behaves nicely because he has learned the popular (i.e., socially self-delusional) way of seeing falsely.13

       

LSD and the Search for Meaning


    IN THIS CONNECTION, it is important to note that interest in the psychedelic experience is heavily concentrated among the upper-middle class, intellectual-professional strata of society; among healthy, well-adjusted people according to standard criteria of normality. The type of self-dissatisfaction expressed by this segment of our population seems consistent with the cultural climate mentioned earlier. More specifically, the nature of human discontent in a modern technological (and affluent) society has been undergoing rapid and profound change. In recent years, artists and scholars representing every field of endeavor have flooded the various media of communication with discussions of the quest for identity and meaning, the decline of traditional values and religion, modern man's deep sense of alienation, and the advent of science as a way of life. The current interest in humanistic psychology, oriental philosophy, existential psychiatry, self-actualization, and psychedelic drugs represents reactions to these trends and offers solace to the "encapsulated man" living in an age of "strident over-communication" Similarly, the conventional neuroses and character disorders are in decline, being replaced by what one writer termed the philosophical neurosis.14 It may well be as some critics suggest that orthodox psychotherapy with its emphasis on early childhood conflicts and social adjustment is already obsolete. Many individuals who understand all too well the antecedents of their behavior still feel unfulfilled and find their lives lacking in significance and purpose.
    In the light of what seems to be an incompatibility between psychotherapy as traditionally conceived, on the one hand, and the nature of modern discontent, on the other, it is not surprising that many people who fit this description express an interest in the psychedelic experience and find their way to LSD. A case in point is the almost four hundred voluntary subjects who have undergone a large-dose LSD session at the International Foundation for Advanced Study in Menlo Park, California. Approximately one-third of the total sample did not present complaints of a psychiatric nature and revealed minimal neurotic symptomology according to both diagnostic evaluation and psychological test data. Consistent with the independent assessment, the interest expressed by these subjects in the psychedelic experience seemed to be "growth-motivated" rather than "deficiency-motivated."15 Some were dimly aware of potentialities or personal aptitudes which they hoped to activate and develop more fully. Others expressed a feeling of emptiness and lack of meaningful purpose while adequately meeting the exigencies of life. Still others sought a deeper understanding or more satisfying resolutions to problems of an existential nature.
    Being relatively free of emotional disturbance, these subjects were more likely to grapple with fundamental problems during the LSD experience. In addition to examining self-identity and the relationship between self and non-self, questions of love, death, creation, and the conciliation of opposites received frequent attention. Follow-up interviews, clinical ratings, and subjective reports indicated that these subjects benefited considerably from the psychedelic experience along the lines of self-actualization, richer creative experience, and enhancement of specific abilities and talents. Although extremely tentative at this point, these preliminary findings are at least suggestive of the ways in which these powerful agents might be employed to explore and enhance human consciousness.
       

Research: Current Status and Future Trends


    SINCE more than three hundred studies on the use of LSD-25 as a therapeutic agent have been reported, only the most salient and consistent findings will be summarized.16Despite great diversity in the conduct of these studies, impressive improvement rates have been almost uniformly reported, with both adults and children, and in group as well as individual psychotherapy. Used in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy, or as a primary vehicle for inducing rapid personality change, LSD has been found to facilitate improvement in patients representing the complete spectrum of neurotic, psychosomatic, and character disorders. Particularly noteworthy are the positive results obtained with cases highly resistant to conventional forms of therapy. High remission rates among alcoholics, for example, have frequently been reported following a single, large-dose LSD session. Based on their findings with more than one thousand alcoholics, Hoffer and his coworkers concluded that LSD was twice as effective as any other treatment program.17 Other chronic conditions carrying a poor prognosis which have responded favorably to psychedelic therapy include sexual deviations, criminal psychopathy, autism in children, and adolescent behavior disorders.
    When employed as an adjunct to psychotherapy, most investigators have associated the beneficial effects of LSD with reduced defensiveness, the reliving of early childhood experiences, increased access to unconscious material, and greater emotional expression. In contrast, when used as a primary vehicle for rapid personality change, emphasis is usually placed on the transcendental quality of the experience, the re-synthesis of basic values and beliefs, and major changes in the relationship between self and environment.
    Since most reports on the therapeutic effectiveness of LSD have been based on clinical judgments of questionable reliability, it is worth noting that comparable results have been obtained by investigators in many other countries. The likelihood of a significant positive bias is further lessened by the widely divergent theoretical persuasions represented in this research. These include Freudian, Jungian, behavioristic, existentialist, and a variety of eclectic orientations. It seems safe to conclude from the breadth and consistency of the clinical evidence that LSD can produce far-reaching beneficial effects in some people, under some conditions. However, controlled studies of the process variables involved have yet to be conducted. Specifically, in what ways do various kinds of people respond to LSD, both during the experience and afterward? What are the optimal conditions of administration for given objectives? How can we account for the various kinds and extent of change which follow an LSD experience? In short, despite the mass of accumulated data on the outcome of psychedelic therapy, relationships among process variables remain obscure.
    Primarily because of the controversy surrounding these chemical agents (which interestingly is confined to the United States), controlled research aimed at maximizing safety, effectiveness, and applicability has barely begun. In addition to questions concerning the potential uses of LSD as a therapeutic or educative device, its possible value as a basic research tool for investigating higher mental processes and their relationship to behavior has also been minimally explored. Although the clinical evidence and testimonial reports indicate that LSD promises to be a valuable tool for both the study and enhancement of cognitive and perceptual functioning, such claims have been neither supported nor refuted by means of controlled studies. Other hypotheses readily testable include the often noted similarity of the psychedelic experience to certain phases of the creative process and its possible relationship to other altered states of consciousness such as hypnosis, transcendental experiences, identity crises, and dream states.
       

Psychological Interpretations of the Psychedelic Experience


    AN ALMOST INVARIANT effect of the psychedelics, cutting across the wide range of individual reactions, is an extraordinary alteration in perception. This usually takes the form of intensified sensory acuity in all modalities and a blurring of self-nonself boundaries. Whether expanded awareness or increased insight accompany these unhabitual perceptions and altered frames of reference is not a function of the chemical agent. In contrast to the earlier search for "drug-specific" effects of LSD, it is now generally recognized that the nature, intensity, and content of the experience are the resultant of complex transactions between the subject's past history and personality, the set and expectancies of both subject and administrator, and the physical and psychological environment in which the experience takes place. Importantly, most of these determinants can be intentionally arranged and manipulated so as to foster either a propitious or a stressful experience. Based on data obtained from a large sample of cases, Harman noted that when the context of the experience is optimized, the subject "is able to re-examine his relationships with others, his attitudes and values, his beliefs about his own nature and that of the world he lives in—all with unusual nonattachment and freedom from threat."18 Similarly, in a careful study of 690 administrations of LSD, Chandler and Hartman concluded that:

    ... the drug does not appear to produce any serious or marked impairment in the major ego functions. The patient remains oriented for person, place, and time. He does not appear to lose contact with everyday reality... he can withdraw his awareness from the physical reality of the moment and allow his attention to become completely absorbed by the phenomena at the deeper psychic levels, but he retains the ability to focus his awareness back on to external objective reality whenever he chooses...19

    The striking similarity between this state and certain phases of the creative process has been described by Frank Barron20 and demonstrated in a study of thirty artists given LSD. In psychoanalytic terms, the psychedelic experience resembles a "regression in the service of the ego" or a merging of impulse and realistic thinking. In the light of the cultural trends noted earlier, it is noteworthy that this capacity to blend primary and secondary processes has been recognized recently as a condition of superior functioning or positive mental health. Irnportantly, there is some evidence indicating that individuals tend to display more of this ability following an LSD session as well as during the psychedelic experience itself. If conditions are favorable, the experience and its aftermath have much in common with a self-actualizing "peak experience." 21 The process of transformation operative in such cases seems highly similar to Erik Erikson's penetrating analysis of the "identity crisis" as a catalyst for rapid personal growth.22
    A number of studies have demonstrated that relatively stable individual characteristics (for example, personality) are as important as set and setting in determining response to LSD. In a study of changes in values and beliefs, personality, and behavioral patterns in major life areas, Mogar and Savage found that the nature, magnitude, and stability of post-LSD changes were related to personality variables and modal defense patterns.23 As might be expected, subjects with a well-defined but flexible self-structure responded most favorably to the drug, while those with either underdeveloped or overly rigid ego defenses responded least favorably. This differential finding parallels the distinction often made between the creative process and psychotic states. An analysis of imaginal responses to the Rorschach led Holt and Havel to conclude:

    We find primary process thinking in conscious subjects either out of strength or out of weakness. In the former case, it is more likely to appear in a playful or esthetic frame of reference, accompanied by pleasant affect. If, on the other hand, primary thinking breaks through the usual defenses uninvited and unwanted, the subject may feel anxious or threatened and is likely to act defensively.24

    Like the psychedelic experience, both creative and psychotic states are characterized by greater access to unconscious material. However, in contrast to the regressive quality of psychosis, creativity involves a temporary and voluntary breaking up of perceptual constancies which permits the individual "to shake free from dead literalism, to recombine the old familiar elements into new, imaginative, amusing, or beautiful patterns."25 Despite these important differences, it should be emphasized that altered states of consciousness, whether willfully induced, stress-induced, or drug-induced, all favor sensation and image over word-concept. This type of deviation from conventional perception will be welcomed and valuable rather than feared and harmful to the degree that the psychological and social context of the experience are congenial to the needs of a particular individual. As it was stressed earlier, systematic research into the relationship among relevant factors must be conducted before "optimum" conditions can be reliably specified for given objectives and subjects.
       

LSD As Training in Visualization


    IN THE LIGHT of the cardinal features of the psychedelic experience and its apparent similarity to the creative process, it is worth noting that each contributor to this issue makes some reference to the rupture which often exists between experience and language. As indicated previously, awareness of the causes, correlates, and consequences of this basic human problem is no longer a unique concern of general semantics. On the contrary, it is now widely recognized as a dominant theme in contemporary thought. As a phenomenon of modern culture, the psychedelic experience highlights this central problem and suggests one means of alleviating it.
    There is some indication that LSD will prove effective as a method of nonaristotelian training producing greater semantic flexibility. As an aid to sane, creative living, Korzybski emphasized the need to "visualize our theories." The soundness of this recommendation has been dramatically confirmed by Albert Einstein:

    The words of the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities in my case are... visual and some of muscular type. Conventional words and other signs have to be sought for laboriously only in a secondary stage.26

    It has been suggested that psychedelic drugs facilitate the conversion of semantic reactions into sensations and images. In this respect, there is a striking similarity between the LSD experience and "training in visualization which automatically abolishes objectification, identification, and allness."27 Korzybski's description of this visualization process reads like countless reports of psychedelic experiences.

    ... the higher abstractions are translated back into new lower abstractions, which are closer to life. Such an individual "sees," "visualizes," has "intuitions," in his symbolic interplays. He then has a new structural vision through a new survey of his own experiences and all the experiences of others when translated in terms of lower centres. He gains a deeper insight, which he ultimately makes useful to all of us.28

    In commenting on the growing distrust of language as a medium of expression among contemporary artists, Ihab Hassan sums up the fascination and promise symbolized (if not actualized) by the psychedelics: "The story is really a very old one. To hear again, to see again, to feel again, and perhaps sometimes to love what is seen or heard or felt...."29
    IN THE FOLLOWNG pages, each contributor describes some aspect of the class of experiences associated with the ingestion of a psychedelic agent. Yet the emphasis is clearly on a broad array of experiences or states of consciousness which have been induced by a variety of means, throughout man's history, and in every culture of the world. If nothing else, the current advent of perception-altering chemical agents calls attention to our traditional neglect of novel thoughts and impulses. These papers also demonstrate an important application of general semantics to yet another facet of man's behavior and experience.

    References
    1 Aldous Huxley, "Culture and the Individual," in LSD: The Consciousness-Expanding Drug, ed. David Solomon (New York: Putnam, 1964), p. 316.
    2 Abraham H. Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being (Princeton: Van Nostrand, 1962).
    3 Lancelot L. Whyte, The Next Development in Man (New York: Mentor, 1950).
    4 Arthur Burton and Robert Kantor, 'The Touching of the Body," Psychoanalytic Review, 51 (1964), p. 122.
    5 Robert Cohen, "Language and Behavior," American Scientist, 49 (1961), p. 507.
    6 Alfred Korzybski, Science and Sanity, 3d ed. (Lakeville, Connecticut: Institute of General Semantics, 1948), p. 417.
    7 Ibid., p. 416.
    8 Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (Boston: Beacon, 1955).
    9 Ihab Hassan, "The Dismemberment of Orpheus: Reflections on Modern Culture, Language, and Literature." American Scholar, 32(1963), p. 466.
    10 Korzybski, op. cit., p. 37
    11 Ibid., p. 309.
    12 Ibid., p. 336.
    13 George Nettler, "Good Men, Bad Men, and the Perception of Reality," Sociometry, 24 (1961), p. 271.
    14 William Schofield, Psychotherapy: The Purchase of Friendship (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1964).
    15 Maslow, op. cit., p. 19.
    16 For a more detailed and referenced critique of the extensive applications of LSD as a psychotherapeutic agent, consult Robert Mogar and Charles Savage, "Personality Changes Associated With LSD Therapy," Psychotherapy, 1 (1964), pp. 154-162; and David Solomon (ed.), LSD: The Consciousness-Expanding Drug (New York: Putnam, 1964). An excellent account of the psychopharmacological and behavioral effects of LSD in animal and man may be found in Sidney Cohen, The Beyond Within: The LSD Story(Atheneurn, 1964).
    17 Sanford Unger, "Mescaline, LSD, Psilocybin, and Personality Change," in Solomon, op. cit., pp. 121-122.
    18 Willis W. Harman, "Some Aspects of the Psychedelic-Drug Controversy," Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 3 (l963), p. 95.
    19 Arthur Chandler and Mortimer Hartman, "LSD-25 As a Facilitating Agent in Psychotherapy," Archives of General Psychiatry, 2 (1960), p. 290
    20 Frank Barron. Creativity and Psychological Health (Princeton: Van Nostrand 1963), pp. 256-257.
    21 Maslow, op. cit., pp.67-108.
    22 Erik Erikson, "Identity and the Life Cycle," Psychological Issues, 1, (1959) pp. 1-171.
    23 Mogar and Savage, op. cit.
    24 Robert R. Holt and Joan Havel, "A Method of Assessing Primary and Secondary Process in the Rorschach," in Rorschach Psychology, ed. Maria Rickers-Ovsiankina (New York: Wiley, 1960), p. 311.
    25 Ibid., p. 304.
    26 Jacques Hadamard, Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1949), p. 118.
    27 Korzybski, op. cit., p. 454
    28 Ibid., p. 306.
    29 Hassan, op. cit., p. 484.
==========================

 ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

    S. I. Hayakawa, editor

        December 1965, "Special Issue on the Psychedelic Experience"


MEANING AND THE MIND-DRUGS

RICHARD P. MARSH


    MANY READERS of the Sunday supplements are familiar with the names, if not the operational characteristics, of at least three of the new "brain-changing" drugs: LSD-25, psilocybin (popularized as "the magic mushroom"), and mescaline, a derivative of the now-notorious peyote plant used by members of the Native American (Indian) Church in their religious ceremonies. These three drugs have been publicized, often in lurid prose, by journalists more interested in their news value than in their chemical properties.
    The sensation-seeking reader has been told that a cult of suburban intellectuals and city-dwelling beatniks has grown up around these drugs. He knows that the drugs have the power of producing strange visions, and he suspects them of producing strange forms of behavior. What he does not suspect is that there is a serious possibility that the drugs will one day be a boon to mankind.
    Whether they will or not remains to be seen. Meanwhile, among serious students of the drugs, a war rages over the question which may prove to be among the most critical in history.
    One group claims big things. Thanks to the drugs and their capacity for expanding human consciousness, they say, psychiatry is at a turning point, and Utopia itself may be upon us before we know it. 1 Another group is darkly dubious. The new drugs will lead us, they fear, not into Utopia but into psychosis, and in a pinch could be used by a future dictator as an insidious adjunct to thought control. 2
    This division of opinion, as so often happens, is reflected in a division of terminology. Early experimenters with the drugs, hypothesizing that they had the power of inducing in an ingestant a short-term model psychosis complete with hallucinations and paranoid delusions of grandeur and persecution, dubbed them "psychotomimetic." Experience showed, however, that some ingestants persistently refused to retreat into psychosis, even on a short-term basis, but instead blossomed out with a variety of positively healthy symptoms and began to report extraordinary spontaneous increases in self-insight. So eventually the word "psychedelic" was coined3 as an alternative to "psychotomimetic." "Psychedelic," by way of its Greek origins, means simply "mind-manifesting." It implies that the new drugs do not so much drive an ingestant into a state of psychosis as to open out his mind, whatever its characteristics, making it available for inspection.
    Whether the new drugs are psychotomimetic or psychedelic, then—whether they diminish or enlarge—is the issue. If they reduce us to the condition of crazy men, they may possess limited value in carefully controlled psychiatric research, but they are scarcely promising as a vehicle for mass liberation. If, however, they endow us with self-knowledge, manifesting to us our own minds, their promise is great.
    Broadly, the commentators on the new drugs have tended to be either psychotomimeticists or psychedelicists. They have tended either to view the drugs with suspicion as potentially dangerous sources of mental disturbance or to view them optimistically as useful, almost magical means to self-discovery and self-actualization. In-between positions have been taken, of course, but perhaps not so frequently as the facts warrant.


    THERE ARE at least three reasons, all of them semantic, for the prevalence of this two-valued attitude. First, there is the fact that the language available for talking about the drug experience is simply not equal to the task. Dr. Timothy Leary has written about this elsewhere in this issue of ETC. The essence of the problem, in the opinion of the present writer, is that a process cannot be stored in a box. The static, subject-predicate, thing-and-properties language we have inherited from our culture does not easily contain the shifting, dynamic, flowing experience undergone by the drug ingestant. The experience is nondual and infinitely valued. Language is dualistic and two-valued. Attempting to express the drug experience in language is like trying to stuff the cosmos into a trunk.
    Then there is the prevailing Western attitude toward the body, one of Puritan distrust. We tend to feel that things of the mind and spirit should be somehow remote and unbodied. To suggest that the mind is a function of the brain and can therefore be unlocked by a drug is to suggest the vaguely indecent. What is good for us should not be come by too easily and should not be quite pleasant. Furthermore, the spirit should be kept clear of the body or else ignored altogether.
    Finally, we are confronted by a special form of guilt-by-association. A certain number of "far out, beat" people have obtained black market supplies of the new brain-changing drugs and taken them for kicks. Some have then talked about their experiences in a jazzy, flippant way. As a result many responsible people have felt both repelled and threatened, consequently falling into the semantic trap of imputing to the drugs the characteristics of the consumers and condemning the drugs themselves as intrinsically bad.
    For these three reasons and others, objectivity about the drugs is difficult. The drugs are extraordinarily difficult to talk about. This is unfortunate, since the way they are talked about determines to a large extent the way they operate, whether they are positively psychedelic or negatively psychotomimetic.


    MANY responsible investigators emphasize the importance of "set and setting" in determining the effects of the drugs.4 The subject's expectations, his mood at the time of drug ingestion, and the physical and social environment apparently determine, to a considerable extent, the nature of the subjective experience. If the experience is approached in an attitude of scientific curiosity combined with a sort of reverence for the possibilities of human inwardness, the results will be quite different from what they will be if one takes the drug as though he were going on a binge. Since one's attitudes are shaped so much by one's language and may even be inseparable from it, it matters how one chooses to speak about the experience before, during, and afterward.5 It matters also whether one takes the drug with the half-guilty expectation of going out of his mind or in the serene confidence that he will be brought to himself.
    In short, the drug experience is like any experience: its meaning lies primarily within the person, not within the drug, which merely liberates. What it liberates into, insanity or ecstatic insight, depends on the subject and the circumstances.
    Thus the drug experience is a semantic experience. It is the experience of creating and discovering meanings. There is perhaps no more fruitful way of looking at it than this: that it sheds a good deal of light on the communication process and on the discipline of general semantics. There is an extraordinary number of ways in which it does this, but, owing to lack of space, only seven will be discussed.
    1. The release of the symbolizing function. The incredible human capacity for symbol and image production is driven home forcibly to many people who consume one of the drugs or browse in the literature. Huxley, Watts, Leary, Dunlap, Newland, and others have written vividly and sometimes eloquently about this. The present author, at the time of his first LSD-ingestion, was stunned to discover the fantastic fertility of his own image- and symbol-producing centers under the impact of the drug. He underwent the experience of birth, felt himself transformed into mythological persons, floated graciously through lovely caverns of sparkling ice and splendid gold-encrusted Gothic cathedrals, and watched in awe as jeweled patterns formed and reformed in an endless variety of living mandalar shapes, fourfold marvels of incredible beauty modulating into endless variations of themselves, dissolving into spinning galaxies of infinite dimension and significance, or lapsing into marvelously unique free-forms dancing in total spontaneity through unpredictable patterns of absolute wonder.
    Above all, there was the experience of light. This appeared in many forms: as a "diamond center" of incredible luster (and somehow, too, of incredible significance); as patterned living flame, shaping itself into fourfold configurations in a sort of visual equivalent to the music coming from the phonograph; as music itself visible, apprehended directly by the inner eye in the form of three-dimensional shapes glowing from within; and as shining fields, banks, walls, fortresses, trees and rivers of living gems and jewels.
    We are here led directly into the problem of intensionality. Obviously, this internal splendor was not, as Korzybski would say, extensional. It was not available for public inspection and verification. No one except the author looked on to confirm the reality of the spectacle. And yet its reality seemed beyond dispute; it seemed even to be a reality of a higher order than the extensional reality of the public world. It seemed, too, to have a higher meaning—or rather to be meaning itself, to be not so much a symbolization of another reality as the very act of symbolization; not precisely to mean something, but actually to mean meaning as such.


    KENNETH BOULDING has said that man's capacity to proliferate internal images is at once his chief glory and his greatest hazard.6 It enables him to elaborate those roadmaps which get him through life meaningfully, but also those deceptive roadmaps which lose him in the jungle. In other words, it helps him to extensionalize as well as to intensionalize. Extensionalization and intensionalization, the public and the private, play into each other. The raw, given facts of the universe are chaotic and meaningless until some sort of structure is imposed on them, and then they take on meaning and order.7 Then they serve as a useful roadmap to get us through life in a sufficiently rewarding way.
    The meaning of things, however, lies not in the things nor entirely in us, but rather in a fluent traffic between inner and outer—with particular emphasis on the inner. More precisely, meanings appear to be discovered but in fact are manufactured. Under LSD, we seem to come up against that part of our inner world where meanings are made, where the patterning process operates in its pure form. It is a startling experience. One who has known it is not likely to forget it, and we may speculate that, having once seen his own intensionality in an isolated form, one will thereafter be better equipped to persuade it to serve him and less likely to be misled by it to create maps for which there are no territories.
    2. The experience of unity. One of the most startling features of the drug experience is that, while one remembers the names of things with perfect clarity, they no longer seem to him appropriate. This object is called a table and that one is called a chair, just as before, but there is now seen to be something richly amusing about the process of labeling them. One's eyes are opened. The difference between the table and the chair is still perceived as real enough, but it is also perceived as entirely arbitrary, a conventional distinction that could well be replaced by an infinity of other distinctions equally conventional.
    The unity of all things becomes suddenly apparent with blazing simplicity. The opposites rush together like a clap of thunder. Each separate quality, normally perceptible only by contrast with its opposite, is still perceptible as a separate quality, only now the illusoriness of its separateness is apparent. Big and little, wet and dry, pain and pleasure are no longer seen as polar pairs but rather as points on a continuum. So, likewise, are ugliness and beauty, love and hate, femininity and masculinity, and all the rest. So, most particularly, are sameness and otherness, the LSD experient discovering to his amazement and joy that the separateness that divides him from others is a masquerade for the identity that connects him
    This may be interpreted as a mystical doctrine, to be sure and as such it will be sufficiently annoying or meaningless to the more rigidly positivistic. But the more flexibly inclined will recognize the semantic soundness of the perception that the things and qualities which fill our lives are, to some extent at least, verbal constructions that are capable of passing away with the passing away of the names that gave them birth.
    3. Seeing through the game. Of all the benefits of the drug experience, this is perhaps the greatest and the most long-lasting. The author, a college professor, remembers during his third LSD experience staring at the physician who had administered the drug with the awed and liberating awareness that the man was no more a doctor than he himself was a professor. Both the "professor" and the "doctor," although duly certificated by the proper authorities, were, it now appeared, manifestly frauds. What's more, the discovery proved liberating and refreshing in the extreme. Two game-players, one hiding behind the doctor role, the other playing at being a professor, had come out from their costumes, abandoned the game, and, thanks to LSD, now sat confronting each other in a condition of headlong and naked reality. The feeling of lightness and release was incredible.


    TIMOTHY LEARY is among those who have emphasized the game-like nature of most human behavior as well as LSD's capacity for liberating one from the tyranny of games. He has defined a game as an acquired cultural sequence characterized by roles, rules, goals, rituals, language, values, and strategies.8 This is a very comprehensive definition which covers virtually every form of human behavior, especially those not shared with other animals. Leary has been attacked for this by critics who object that to abandon one's games would be to abandon most meaningful human activity including, for example, the "game" of science.
    Actually, of course, one does not abandon the "scientific game" or any other "acquired cultural sequence" provided it is serviceable. But, if he is wise, one does attempt to see through the games he plays and continually to ask the question: Is this game now the best one to play in order to actualize my human possibilities? To reject all games, to reject all "roles, rules, goals, rituals, language, values, and strategies," is to reject civilization itself, along with sanity, maturity, meaning, and all possibility of being human instead of merely animal. But to take them all seriously is equally destructive or more so. There are arguments for both conservatism and liberalism, and one can choose between dying the death of ossification and dying the death of formlessness. On the whole, however, the first seems the more terrifying prospect.
    In any case, six hours' freedom from the tyranny of the ego, a holiday enjoyed by many who have consumed LSD, is likely to predispose one unfavorably against ever again granting it the absolute sway to which it is accustomed. The ego is the social game par excellence, absolutely necessary to our survival and yet tyrannously opposed to our growth and our deepest satisfaction. Jay Haley has amusingly yet incisively exposed its infinitely subtle maneuvers in that ongoing game of one- upmanship called psychoanalysis.9 The ego, he says, is the organ of one-upmanship, always striving to get one-up or stay one-up, and hence always restless and anxious. Following an anonymous English scholar, Haley suggests that the analysis will be spontaneously and successfully terminated when the patient reaches the "point where he doesn't really care whether the analyst is in control of the relationship or whether he is in control."10 At that point the patient is cured. He has seen through the game, and though his ego still functions as the integrative principle which holds his personality together, it has become transparent and no longer dominates the self.
    Prolonged psychotherapy is no doubt necessary before the ego will permanently accept its role as servant instead of master of the self. The LSD experience, however, can give the ingestant a startling glimpse of what life would be like if the ego could be persuaded to relax its grip. This might well facilitate the process of therapy, just as the process of therapy serves to make the LSD experience richer and deeper. In any case the game-like, linguistic, and conventional nature of the ego is often lucidly apparent to the LSD ingestant.
    4. Receptivity. All points in the communication cycle are important, but perhaps in our anxious age it is the reception of messages which gives particular trouble. Most of us encode willingly enough, but we are not, as a rule particularly interested in decoding. We talk, but we don't listen. We turn on the radio, then ignore it. We are eager to impress others, but not to hear them.
    Under LSD many people learn, for the first time, what it means to be absolutely present. Since they have temporarily renounced their games and seen through their own need to be one-up, they can afford to be aware of whatever the environment, external or internal, may happen to present without wishing to change it. For the moment, at least, they have nothing to lose by listening. They may even dare listen to themselves, perhaps for the first time.
    Under these conditions, extraordinary things can occur. Other people may be seen as precious, infinitely complex, and quite miraculous. The physical environment may become altogether startling. One may feel that he is looking not at a book, a table, or a chair, but at The Book, The Table, or The Chair. To paraphrase Aldous Huxley, the Absolute seems to blaze forth from all around one.11 Music becomes incredible: Old warhorses like Beethoven's Fifth Symphony become fresh and powerful again. A record of a choir hunched around a microphone in a remote recording studio quite literally fills the room with angels. The music becomes textured and alive. It may even become visible and glow with an inner light.
    Paintings move and open up to reveal new dimensions. Colors become intense and preternaturally vibrant. Objects in nature, such as mountains and trees, shine with beauty and drip with significance. One's internal world opens up to one, both the repressed world of the personal unconscious and the pre-existent, archetypal realm of the collective unconscious. One looks in upon what Huxley calls the "antipodes of the mind," i.e., the world of Visionary Experience.12 The creatures, the gardens, the pools of light he sees there fill him with awe and peace.


    SEMANTICALLY, the condition of being absolutely present to the outer and the inner reality has at least two advantages. First, it allows a person to tune in on that feedback, both external and internal, which enables him to correct his own errors in encoding. He is able to reduce the noise level in the various communication systems in which he is involved by re-encoding his message streams until they convey the meanings that he intends them to convey. Secondly, it allows a person to inhabit the world of the actual, the world of fact, instead of the unreal and empty world of the prefabricated abstraction. It allows him to experience the world instead of merely thinking about it and hence, perhaps, to begin to live in it at last. In Huxley's words:

    To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and the inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally . . . this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual.13

    5. Awareness of the shadow. This Jungian expression is used because of its vividness. In Jung's conception, the shadow is the repressed, dark side of the personality, a countertype of the collective, adapted side, which is bathed in the "light" of consciousness, so to speak. It is the source of much that is awkward and "evil" in human behavior, although paradoxically its liberation may result in a certain amount of "good." This is because the shadow contains within it not only the destructive and vicious elements of the personality but also much that only appears wicked and Satanic but which is, in fact, merely unknown, untried, and unaccepted. In theological symbolism, God is at a loss without the eager, if fiery, cooperation of Satan, as Genesis, the Book of Job, the story of Jesus' temptations, that of the temptation of Buddha by Mara, and other religious myths and documents attest.
    Under LSD, the shadow may be explosively liberated. Indeed, this is one of the hazards of the drug, and it is one reason why its administration should be selective and controlled. The few recorded instances in which LSD has been harmful, precipitating severe depression, psychosis, and even suicide, are probably cases in which either there has been a "shadow problem," or something has been amiss with set and setting, or both. If the shadow is poorly integrated with the ego and the rest of the personality, its liberation—the upsurge of repressed materials from the unconscious—may cause a more or less irreversible panic leading to the disintegration of the self. On the other hand, if the subject's expectations are unhealthy or if the environment contains threatening or forbidding elements, then the release of the shadow even in a reasonably well integrated person may be more than he can cope with.
    But if all candidates for LSD consumption are carefully screened, and if the drug is administered under optimum conditions, there appears to be virtually no danger. In any case, one who has experienced a conscious uprush of shadow material will not soon forget it, whether it be mild or fierce. The author's reliving of the birth experience (an event which, in Jung's language, may have been an archetypal experience as well as a shadow experience) is a case in point: It was mild in the sense of not being unduly alarming, and yet it was quite unforgettable. Similarly impressed on the author's memory is the transformation by which a physician monitoring the LSD experiment became alternately brutal devil and shining saint and, on another occasion, that by which a handsome middle-aged woman became alternately a dewy young virgin and a menacing, toothless witch.
    The confrontation with the shadow, however, may be fierce rather than mild. It may produce intense anxiety or even wild terror.14 The subject may feel helplessly cut off from the rest of the world, or he may people it with monsters of his own creation. Perfectly benign companions who have only the welfare of the subject in mind may appear to be degenerate criminals from whom there is no escape. One may feel as though he is trapped in some diabolical plot engineered by malevolent Beings in a corrupt back alley of the universe. It is not surprising that under these circumstances subjects have been known to attempt violence or flight.
    And yet, from the semantic standpoint at least, there is genuine value in such paranoid experiences, provided they are successfully lived through. This value lies in the confirmation they provide for the reality of projection. The dramatic alteration in appearance undergone by the physician and the woman previously mentioned was a purely semantic phenomenon. The changes in no sense occurred within the two people but rather in him who experienced the change. They were entirely changes in the meaning of the people as that meaning was created and then externalized by their observer. Similarly, the more alarming kinds of experience alluded to, such as the transformation of friendly helpers into degenerate monsters, are likewise purely the result of projection, a fact which becomes dazzlingly apparent after the effects of the drug recede.


    A CURIOUS PROPERTY of LSD and the other new drugs is that the perceptual alterations they produce do not ordinarily reach the level of hallucination. The ingestant typically retains awareness throughout of the altered nature of his perceptions. Public reality continues to be his reference point. Thus he is able to inspect his own projections as they occur. In extreme cases, however, the ingestant may move in and out of hallucination so that recognition of his own projections must be deferred. In either case the ingestant normally completes the experience with a heightened awareness of his own capacity for creating meanings that superficially appear to be external to him.
    In addition, of course, there are the changes of meaning one discovers in one's inner world. The retrieval of unconscious material by psychoanalytical methods may be easily interpreted as a semantic process, a clarification of inner awareness and evaluation. For permanence of results, the psychoanalytical method may be superior to the method of LSD—though this is far from certain—but the method of LSD is vastly superior in the respect that the uprush of imagery it provokes is so dramatic and startling as to be unforgettable.
    6. The discovery of love. People who have taken LSD do not "know all the answers," nor have they automatically solved all their problems by virtue of having consumed the drug. But they often feel peculiarly at ease in one another's presence—a phenomenon which, when perceived by others, is sometimes a source of annoyance because it is liable to be mistakenly interpreted as a sign of clannishness. The reason for the easiness frequently felt by LSD-ingesters in one another's company is simply this: Because they have seen through the game, briefly at least, and because they sense that they are in the presence of others who have seen through the game, they feel not only less impelled to attack but also relatively immune from attack. They feel relatively free to drop their defenses and the other claptrap supporting the ego and simply stand freely and openly in one another's presence.
    But there is more than this. Under LSD they have felt love—perhaps for the first time. The quality of the love they have felt is unusual. Thanks to their experience with the shadow and the uprush of forbidden material from that realm, they have seen the continuity, the essential unity, of love and hate, and they have (ideally, at least) accepted that unity. In short, they have accepted their feelings—not the "nice" ones only, but the awkward, "bad," embarrassing feelings as well—and they are comfortable about it. Because they have allowed themselves to hate, they can now allow themselves to love. Because they have admitted that they are afraid, they can now stand quietly secure in each other's presence. Still more remarkable than this, however, is the fact that they remember what it is like to feel love without jealousy or the necessity of possession. Having seen through the game and having found out that bare-faced liar, the ego, they have, at least a little, renounced the need to be one-up and junked at least some of the apparatus by which the ego maintains itself.
    The ego dies hard, of course, but he is perversely intelligent and his aid may be enlisted in the campaign to subdue himself. People do not consciously wish to suffer, and so the ego may let go its grip a little when it is convinced that to do so is in its own best interests. The ego, having seen its own unreality, begins to relax: How can I feel jealous of you or rejected by you, how can I wish to possess you, or be possessed by you, if I am you? If my separateness from you is a name and my identity with you the reality, what do I fear?
    7. The attainment of the Self. Implicit in the foregoing is a rudimentary theory of personality. Grossly oversimplified its main features would be these: Some LSD-ingestants feel that they have acquired knowledge, through direct experience, of an aspect of the self other than the one they are familiar with. It is as though they had discovered a second self. This second self is perceived as a kind of Unitary Self, while the familiar, daily self could be called the game- self.
    The Unitary Self quite literally shimmers and dazzles. It consists of a set of apparently endless dimensions not evident to ordinary consciousness but sometimes awesomely present to the consciousness liberated by LSD. Because of its apparent endlessness, the ingestant may feel that it connects him with all other people and creatures. Hence the termUnitary.
    The game-self, on the other hand, consists of the accumulated roles, rules, rituals, goals, language systems, values, and strategies inherited from one's culture Instead of being unitary in its action, the game-self tends to be separative. It is the organ of one-upmanship. While the Unitary Self unites the individual with other individuals, the game-self sets him against them in a subtle contest for social supremacy.
    When the ingestant discovers his game-self he is liable to be somewhat contemptuous of it. He may feel, under the influence of the drug, that he wishes to devote his life to the service of the Unitary Self. Yet, as the effects of the drug ebb away he feels the game-self slowly reassert itself. The chief effects of the LSD experience are perhaps due to the interplay of these two selves.
    If, following a drug session, the game-self reasserts itself totally, then the LSD experience has provided kicks and a rather haunting memory, but little more. If the game-self does not reassert itself sufficiently, then the ingestant is lost to society or he has slipped over into psychosis. If, however, the game-self and the Unitary Self have to some extent interpenetrated, so to speak, producing a degree of transformation in the ingestant's self-concept, then the ingestant has taken a step toward that condition of individuality-within-relationship which is the true meaning of psychological maturity. An ingestant who achieves this feels himself to be part of society as a whole, even part of the total cosmos, and yet uniquely himself and valuable in his uniqueness.


    THE BLISS experienced by some LSD-ingestants results from the experience of unity with the cosmos. The ingestant feels essentially one with what he sees as an incredibly glorious whole. On the other hand, the terror experienced by some ingestants results from their clinging to the game-self, whose partly fraudulent nature has been exposed by the action of the drug and whose continued existence in its present form has been threatened.
    This is a point at which psychosis may seem imminent. Let us, therefore, ask our central question once again, the answer to which may be so crucial to the future of the race: Are the new drugs psychotomimetic or are they psychedelic, psychosis mimicking or mind-manifesting? Which?
    The answer is conditional on circumstances. Whoever has experienced the expansion of consciousness and the unveiling of the Unitary Self resulting from one of the drugs can have no doubts: They are unmistakably psychedelic in their effects. But whoever has skirted a psychotic episode—with its accompaniments of paranoid terror, violence, flight, and suicidal depression—knows that the drugs are quite capable of being psychotomimetic (and suspects that perhaps they may even be psychotogenetic or psychosis-producing) in their impact.
    But, as usual, a two-valued orientation is inadequate to the facts. Not "either-or" but "both-and" expresses the truth of the matter. It is essential to be multi-valued in approaching the new drugs, which are so profound and subtle in their operations within the psyche. Not only are they psychedelic, but also they are psychotomimetic. Even more, they are psychedelic because they are psychotomimetic, and psychotomimetic because they are psychedelic. To be shown the truth about ourselves, to be shown that we are all, to some extent, frauds and pretenders, strategy-ridden game-players intent on getting one-up on our fellow game-players, is an alarming experience. And this is the experience the new drugs may give us. They psychedelically show us what we are, and we may psychotomimetically react with terror. In such a case the terror results from the fact that to cease identifying exclusively with the game-self and instead to identify a little more with the Unitary Self is, in a psychological sense, to die to what we have been in order to be born to what we are capable of becoming. It is not surprising that some ingestants, in the face of this threat of imminent death, suddenly panic.
    And yet there is value even in panic, psychedelic benefit in psychotomimetic terror. "Hell," as Joe K. Adams has pointed out, "is at least as instructive as heaven."15 One who has been surprised in the act of furtively playing with his own excrements might as well relax and stop putting on airs in public. Having been exposed as a confirmed coprophiliac, he need have no further fear of detection. Similarly, the public disclosure, as the result of a drug session, that one harbors within oneself not only a field of shining jewels but also a nest of scorpions is most liberating. One's defenses drop away. There is no longer any need to pretend. It becomes easier to admit publicly that one is aggressive, hostile, fearful, competitive, slightly paranoid, and utterly addicted to the game of one-upmanship. And this in turn opens up the possibility that one may take steps to bring about a change.


    IT IS a medical truism that sometimes the patient must get worse in order to get better. Many people in psychotherapy report increased anxiety as a prelude to decreased anxiety. One reason for this is that psychotherapy is, in part, a shock treatment for forcing the patient to see through his own faulty assumptions about the meaning of his behavior, to drop his defenses. The treatment hurts, but it is essential to growth. LSD and the other new drugs may accomplish similar results in a startling way and with incredible speed.
    They may also, of course, fail to do so. They may even, unless their administration is properly managed, be harmful to the ingestant. The chief problem appears to be to bring about the conditions that create trust. If this trust falters, the ingestant may perceive the temporary loss of the game-self as a loss of identity and so slip into panic. On the other hand, if there is no loss of trust he may feel that he has come into his own true identity at last.
    This "true identity," this Self, is what lies beyond all names and games. Nameless and unknowable, it is felt simply as that which knows, a kind of totally uncategorized, spontaneously integrating principle of creative unity. It is consciousness itself: the Tao, the Nameless, the Way that cannot be "wayed," the Name that cannot be named, the "I Am" that cannot be conjugated. Whatever it is that moves spontaneously and freely to give shape and pattern and meaning—this is what the LSD-ingestant may perceive himself to be.
    Without trust, on the other hand, without confidence in himself, in his immediate situation, and even in the cosmos as a whole, he may see himself and others as monstrous and threatening. His situation then will be, in a heightened form, that of the ordinary man under ordinary circumstances: He must achieve faith in the processes of life or perish.

References

    1. The operations of the International Federation for Internal Freedom at Zihuatanejo, Mexico, which terminated abruptly on June 16 1963, and which were luridly but inaccurately reported by much of the Mexican and American press, were perhaps utopian in goal but not, at first, in form. Until the final, confused weeks, when the operations of the Federation were interfered with by an alarmed and threatened community, a rather systematic attempt was made by the members of IFIF to work out, pragmatically, a sensible, controlled modus operandi for investigating the social and psychological usefulness, if any, of LSD-ingestion under suitable conditions. The author was present in Zihuatanejo during the concluding days of the experiment and was involved in events which qualify him to offer the foregoing opinion as well as opinions asserted in this paper. (back)
    2. Cf. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited (New York: Bantam, 1960), Chapter VIII, "Chemical Persuasion." A more skeptical scholar pooh-poohs the use of LSD as a mind- manipulant: J. A. C. Brown, Techniques of Persuasion (London: Penguin, 1964) Chapter 8, "Scientific Mind-Changing," especially pp. 211-212. The terrifying prospect that LSD may be an effective military weapon is examined in: Sidney Cohen, M.D., The Beyond Within (New York: Atheneum, 1964), Chapter 11, "War Without Death." (back)
    3. Humphry Osmond, DPM, in "A Review of the Clinical Effects of Psychotomimetic Agents," LSD: The Consciousness-Expanding Drug ed. David Solomon (New York: Putnam, 1964), tells why he felt impelled to coin the word psychedelic. (back)
    4. Harold A. Abramson, M.D., "Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with LSD,' The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy, ed. Harold A. Abramson, M.D. (New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 1960). Also Cohen, op. cit., pp. 84-85 and 99-101.
    5. Languages Thought and Reality: Selected Writings of B. L. Whorf, ed. John B. Carroll (New York: Wiley, 1956).
    6. Kenneth Boulding, The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1961), p. 26.
    7. David K. Berlo, The Process of Communication (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960), Chapters 7-10.
    8. Dr. Leary's definitions of the word vary slightly. This represents an average of several and contains the most frequently recurring elements. More extended definitions are found in "How to Change Behavior," Solomon, op. cit., and in Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert, The Psychedelic Experience (New Hyde Park: University Books, 1964), p. 13 et passim. (back)
    9. Jay Haley, "The Art of Psychoanalysis," The Use and Misuse of Language, ed. S. I. Hayakawa (New York: Fawcett, 1962).
    10. Ibid.
    11. Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception (New York: Harper, 1963), P 40
    12. Aldous Huxley, Heaven and Hell (New York: Harper, 1963), p. 85.
    13. Huxley, The Doors of Perception, p. 73.
    14. Cohen, op. cit., Chapter 10, "The Dangers to the Patient—and the Therapist."
    15. Joe K. Adams, "Psychosis: 'Experimental' and Real," The Psychedelic Review, I (Fall 1963), p. 129.
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 ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

    S. I. Hayakawa, editor

        December 1965, "Special Issue on the Psychedelic Experience"


COMMENTS

HUMPHRY OSMOND

(Commentary on a paper by Richard P. Marsh, "Meaning and the Mind Drugs.")
    THIS IS a lively and intelligent paper and I am glad to see that Dr. Marsh has taken issue boldly and directly with the matter of psychedelic and psychotomimetic experiences.
    I do not think, however, that even he has emphasized sufficiently how valuable LSD-25 and mescaline, for instance, have been as psychotomimetics. Our greater understanding of the experience of schizophrenic patients, derived from studying the madness-mimicking effect of these substances, has enabled us to do things which might have been otherwise impossible. Since many discussions of psychedelics and psychotomimetics deal largely with their potentials, it may be as well to familiarize ourselves with some of their actualities.
    1. We have been able to devise much better hospitals for mentally ill people. Working closely with my friend, Kyo Izumi, a Canadian architect from Saskatchewan, we developed a new formulation for mental hospitals in terms of what we have called socio-architecture. Parts of at least five mental hospitals have now been built using these ideas. Of the Saskatchewan Hospital, Yorkton, Saskatchewan, designed by Izumi himself and his partners, the Joint Information Service of the American Psychiatric Association wrote:

    Kyoshi Izumi, a pioneer in psychiatric architecture, designed the physical structure, and designed, or in some cases specified, all the furnishings. The result must certainly rank among the most attractive and architecturally advanced buildings ever constructed for psychiatric services .... as for the physical plant, it was a pleasure to view a facility that was more than merely new. Creativity and imagination were evident in scores of details. We felt the wards and day rooms combined efficiency with comfort and cheerfulness to a very exceptional degree.1


    TO MY KNOWLEDGE, Mr. Izumi himself took LSD-25 on several occasions so that he could experience and explore the effect of perceptual anomalies upon his experience of space, time, color, and texture. While doing this, he took particular notice of certain kinds of architectural configurations. These experiences of his, along with my own—combined with perceptual studies by our colleagues, Drs. Weckowitz and Sommer, and an extensive reading of the writings of mentally ill people—formed the basis of our original formulations and so of his splendid designs. Psychotomimetic experiences have thus been used for the benefit of the mentally ill and also of the well people who work in hospitals. In addition to this, some of the principles which we have discovered are also being used to develop a better kind of living accommodation, particularly when large numbers of people have to live in a communal building. It may be argued that Kyo Izumi, an unusually gifted person, would have done this just as well without the use of LSD-25. I do not know how this could be proved or disproved, but I do know that both he and I believe that it played a crucial part in deepening our understanding of the problem and so enlarging the communication between us. The fruits of this collaboration are there to be judged by any who care to go and look at them. It is not frivolous to say that here, indeed, are some of those concrete results of the psychotomimetic experience which critics have been so keen to discover.
    2. Because we came to believe that psychotic people were cut off by their changes in perception, which they could not readily describe, and did not necessarily understand, we began to pay close attention to their umwelts, or experiential worlds. It became evident that due to a professional preoccupation with the "meaning" of their experiences, the experiences themselves were often almost completely neglected. Patients who, for instance, described that the world looked different were usually supposed to be saying that it was feeling different. In other words, their perceptual anomalies were ascribed to some change of mood or affect. For many years little interest had been paid to the actual experiences of the ill and the social consequences which might derive from them. To explore these experiences more thoroughly we developed the HOD (Hoffer-Osmond Diagnostic Text),2which is an exceedingly crude but unexpectedly effective instrument for exploring the umwelts of schizophrenic and other patients. This is already showing considerable usefulness. An ex-schizophrenic patient once remarked, "I wish you had had this test when I was ill. I would have known you knew something about my illness."
    The HOD combined with our interest in psychotomimetics has led to new and very exciting developments in the use of hypnosis by Fogel and Hoffer3 (in Canada) and Aaronson4 (here in Princeton). Because we ourselves had experienced marked changes in perception and had listened to our patients reporting these same happenings, it was easy to suppose that however they were produced they might have many interesting effects. A great advantage of hypnosis and post hypnotic suggestion is that it can be used to study in a very detailed way the effects of clear-cut and circumscribed perceptual anomalies. Much work of this kind is now in progress, and while it is time consuming and demanding, it seems that this will be a very potent tool for exploring the psyche. Aaronson noted with some surprise that he had been unable to predict what the psychological effects of a particular set of perceptual changes would be and suggested that substantial revisions of our theories of personality may become necessary. In the course of this work, Hoffer and Fogel have found that in some subjects the LSD experience can be evoked without LSD and—even more surprising—that the effects of the drug can be almost totally repressed, by post hypnotic suggestion.
    4. Mescaline, LSD-25, etc., have great possibilities for training psychiatrists, psychologists, and others, who are then less likely to produce standardized answers for their patients' distresses. Many psychiatrists suppose that because they have devised or accepted from others an explanation for their patients' behavior which makes sense to them, they understand what has been happening to their patients. This, however, is often not so and the psychiatrist's too ready assumption of omniscience, although it may be reassuring to him, simply prevents him from listening to the patient's halting, but often quite accurate, explanation. Miss Norma McDonald, herself a sufferer from schizophrenia, wrote:

    One of the most encouraging things which has happened to me in recent years was the discovery that I could talk to normal people who had had the experience of taking mescaline or lysergic acid, and they would accept the things I told them about my adventures in mind without asking stupid questions or withdrawing into a safe smug world of disbelief. Schizophrenia is a lonely illness and friends are of great importance. I have needed true friends to help me to believe in myself when I doubted my own mind, to encourage me with their praise, jolt me out of unrealistic ideas with their honesty, and teach me by their example how to work and play. The discovery of LSD-25 by those who work in the field of psychiatry has widened my circle of friends.5

    Schizophrenics are lonely because they cannot let their fellows know what is happening to them and so lose the social support, help and encouragement which they need so much yet so rarely evoke. LSD-25, used as a psychotomimetic, allows us to study these problems of communication from the inside and learn how to devise better means of helping the sick. This combined with the HOD and the hypnosis work allow us to reduce the alienation of these very ill people. We are no longer forced to suppose that the experience of the schizophrenic person must always be harmful; indeed, there is growing evidence that the psychosocial variability which they endure, although dearly bought by the individual, may be valuable and even necessary to society, especially in times of change.
    5. Our early work on alcoholism6 was based on the idea that it might be helpful to produce a condition resembling delirium tremens and so allow the patient to "hit bottom" earlier than he might otherwise do. Later, after we had become aware of the possibilities of the psychedelic experience and had exchanged ideas with Dr. A. M. Hubbard of Vancouver, one of the pioneers of psychedelic therapy on this continent, we changed directions: Nevertheless, the original impetus came from our interest in the psychosis-mimicking experience.


    THESE FEW illustrations show that these remarkable substances have already impinged on psychiatry in a positive way, quite apart from their extensive and very interesting use in psychotherapy. While I would be the last to discourage investigators from exploring that huge panorama which sweeps from the creative to the transcendental experiences, I would urge that we continue to study carefully and intensively some of the rather mundane matters which I have noted here. While there may be marked similarities in the ultimate experiences of birth and death, and while it is valuable to recognize that we have much in common, the fact is that our day-to-day experience of the world, our umwelts, can be surprisingly dissimilar. It is often these dissimilarities, unrecognized and—until we develop better means of acquainting ourselves with them—unrecognizable, that lead to the greatest and often most tragic failures in communication. Life, like art, is, in William Blake's words, "a matter of minute particulars." We must accept, however difficult it may be to do so, that the "minute particulars" experienced by one person may be very different from those experienced by other people, even though they may be very close to him. By patience, determination, and skill, we can perhaps develop "universal particulars" in which many more can share and can know that they are sharing. To do this we must start with very simple matters and discover the various ways in which each one of us builds a world comfortable for him, but more or less incomprehensible and sometimes even grotesquely strange for others.

References

    1. R. M. Glasscote, et al., the Joint Information Service of the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association for Mental Health, Washington, D.C., September 1964.
    2. A. Hoffer and H. Osmond, "A Card Sorting Test Helpful in Making Psychiatric Diagnosis," J. Neuropsychiat., 2:306, 1961.
    3. S. Fogel, and A. Hoffer, "Changes in Personality by Altering Perception in Post Hypnotic States," J. Clin. Exper. Psychopath., 1962.
    4. B. S. Aaronson, Hypnosis, Depth Perception, and Schizophrenia." Presented at E.P.A. Meetings, 1964.
    5. B. Kaplan, ed., The Inner World of Mental Illness (New York: Harper, 1964).
    6. H. Osmond, "A Review of the Clinical Effects of Psychotomimetic Agents," Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1957, 66:418-434.
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