LSD and Religious Experience
Walter N. Pahnke
A paper presented to a public symposium at Wesleyan University, March 1967.
From LSD, Man & Society Richard C. DeBold and Russell C. Leaf, editors
©Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, Connecticut, 1967
See also the Discussion which followed the presentation of Dr. Pahnke's paper.
THE relationship between LSD and religious experience is an issue that is quite complex and needs careful analysis to avoid a loose and uncritical association. It would be misleading to assume that the experiences are automatically identical.
LSD-type drugs have been called by many names. In the early 1950's the term psychotomimetic, i.e., psychosis-mimicking, was generally used; but this rather negatively loaded term was seen by some as being too narrow and limiting to accommodate the wide range of experiences being reported and observed. In 1957 Dr. Humphry Osmond (Osmond, 1957) proposed the term psychedelic, i.e., mind-opening or mind-manifesting, to encompass the full range of positive and negative experiences that he had seen in his work with such drugs. Psychedelic will be the term used in this paper to refer to the unique class of LSD-type drugs.
In this discussion a survey will first be made of the various kinds of psychedelic experiences with an especial examination of the mystical type, and possible reasons for this variety will be mentioned. Then we shall look at some of the evidence that psychedelic mystical experiences occur at all and discuss whether or not they can be considered "religious." The LSD churches that have grown out of the evangelistic enthusiasm associated with LSD will also be examined along with their possible impact on individuals and society. Finally, the future prospects for the investigation and use of psychedelic drugs will be discussed.
Psychedelic experiences can be divided into five types: psychotic, psychodynamic, cognitive, aesthetic and psychedelic peak or mystical. These have been described elsewhere (Pahnke and Richards, 1966), and a brief description of each will suffice.
The psychotic experience is described as very intense, negative, dysphoric and hellish by those who have been through it. Characteristic elements include fear to the point of panic, paranoid distrust, delusions of suspicion or grandeur, toxic confusion, impairment of abstract reasoning, remorse, depression, isolation and/ or somatic discomfort, all of which can be of monumental proportions. These words can perhaps be better illuminated by the following description written by a well-prepared subject who took LSD under medical supervision:
Time itself seemed to have frozen. I was sick way down inside. I had lost trust in the doctor and the judgment of part of my own mind. The terrible thing was that I was going insane and the normal part of my mind knew this was taking place. I was two people in the same body. The one with the insane mind was pulling the one with the sane mind over on his side. I think I was 95% insane.
Then things became even more confused and frightening. It seemed as if I had three minds, two that were insane and one perfectly normal. In other words, I was having the experience of having a front row seat watching myself who was insane.
Faces now looked distorted, eyes were of a cruel expression, and they seemed to have the power of looking through me and my very thoughts. The least amount of noise sounded one hundred times louder. Everything I heard was driving me into a living hell. The doctor looked like the devil to me. He had tricked me.
I didn't think either of us was sane now. As a matter of fact, I thought everyone was inhuman, and I would go through life in this situation and this would go on forever. There never even existed something as wonderful as death that could get me—body and mind—out of this horrible, unnatural life (Unger, 1964).
This account illustrates especially well the feeling of many people at some time during an LSD session that something has gone wrong and that they never will be the same again. Such feelings only increase the panic and hopelessness. Adequate preparation and skilled handling, however, do make a crucial difference in the outcome of most cases. In this particular instance, the patient was guided through an extremely frightening and unpleasant part of his experience to a very positive and helpful climax. Unfortunately, such a happy ending is quite uncertain in uncontrolled settings.
The second type of experience is the psychodynamic, in which material that had previously been unconscious or preconscious becomes vividly conscious. We see abreaction and catharsis in the reliving of traumatic incidents from the past or in the experiencing of symbolic material. The use of LSD in Europe employs what has been termed the psycholytic method, which emphasizes the uncovering of psychodynamic material. Suggestion certainly plays a role, because the patients of Freudian therapists produce incidents from the stages of psychosexual development, whereas archetypal symbols are often encountered by patients of Jungian therapists. Essential to this method, however, is the support and guidance of a skilled therapist, both while the patient is having the experience and while he is between drug sessions. A detailed description of the psycholytic method has now been published in the papers presented at an international LSD conference in 1965 (Abramson, 1967).
The third type of experience, the cognitive, is characterized by astonishingly lucid thought. The mind seems subjectively to be able to view things from a new perspective and to see the interrelationships of many levels or dimensions all at once. Such experiences usually occur when the drug effects are waning. The very existence of such states of mind led people to speculate that creativity research might be aided with psychedelic drugs. Harman and his co-workers (Harman, McKim, Mogar, Fadiman and Stolaroff, 1966) have already published a pilot study in which twenty-seven professionally employed males underwent a single moderate-dose psychedelic session in a small group setting. Each subject had a particular problem on which he could not obtain closure and hoped to gain some new perspective through the psychedelic experience. The setting was structured so that expectation was maximized, and the sessions were run with a minimum of interruption. The results in terms of problems actually solved were promising (9 out of 44 attempted problems yielded practical solutions), but not conclusive because of the lack of a control group. Certainly this is an area that merits further investigation.
The fourth type of experience is the aesthetic. Perhaps the reported increase in all sensory modalities is what attracts some people to take LSD for "kicks." These reports do not exaggerate. Fascinating changes in sensation and perception do occur: synaesthesia in which sounds can be "seen;" objects such as flowers or stones that appear to pulsate and become "alive;" ordinary things that seem imbued with great beauty; music that takes on an incredible emotional power; and visions of beautiful colors, intricate geometrical patterns, architectural forms, landscapes or almost anything imaginable.
The fifth type of experience is the focus of interest in this presentation and has been called by various names: psychedelic peak, transcendental or mystical. For the sake of this discussion we shall refer to it as the psychedelic mystical or experimental mystical experience. Its psychological characteristics have been described elsewhere (Pahnke, in unpublished thesis) and will be only briefly summarized here.
These characteristics, nine in number, were derived from a study of the literature of spontaneous mystical experiences reported throughout world history from almost all cultures and religions. In studying accounts of these strange, unusual experiences, an attempt was made to extract the universal psychological characteristics as free from interpretation as possible. Scientific evidence indicates that these universal characteristics derived from spontaneous mystical experiences also precisely describe experimental psychedelic ones. The nine characteristics can be listed as follows:
1. Unity is a sense of cosmic oneness achieved through positive ego-transcendence. Although the usual sense of identity or ego fades away, consciousness and memory are not lost; instead, the person becomes very much aware of being part of a dimension much vaster and greater than himself. In addition to the route of the "inner world" where all external sense impressions are left behind, unity can also be experienced through the external world, so that a person reports that he feels a part of everything that is (e.g., objects, other people, nature or the universe), or, more simply, that "all is one."
2. Transcendence of time and space means that the subject feels beyond past, present and future and beyond ordinary three-dimensional space in a realm of eternity or infinity.
3. Deeply felt positive mood contains the elements of joy, blessedness, peace and love to an overwhelming degree of intensity, often accompanied by tears.
4. Sense of sacredness is a non-rational, intuitive, hushed, palpitant response of awe and wonder in the presence of inspiring realities. The main elements are awe, humility and reverence, but the terms of traditional theology or religion need not necessarily be used in the description.
5. The noetic quality, as named by William James, is a feeling of insight or illumination that is felt on an intuitive, non-rational level and has a tremendous force of certainty and reality. This knowledge is not an increase in facts, but is a gain of insight about such things as philosophy of life or sense of values.
6. Paradoxicality refers to the logical contradictions that become apparent if descriptions are strictly analyzed. A person may realize that he is experiencing, for example, an "identity of opposites," yet it seems to make sense at the time, and even afterwards.
7. Alleged ineffability means that the experience is felt to be beyond words, non-verbal, impossible to describe, yet most persons who insist on the ineffability do in fact make elaborate attempts to communicate the experience.
8. Transiency means that the psychedelic peak does not last in its full intensity, but instead passes into an afterglow and remains as a memory.
9. Persisting positive changes in attitudes and behavior are toward self, others, life and the experience itself.
The reasons for the great variety of psychedelic experiences (characterized here under five headings) have provided a fascinating research problem and are now generally recognized to be caused by dosage and the extra-drug variables of set and setting. Of course, most sessions do not contain just one kind of experience. In fact it is not uncommon for all five types to be present in a single psychedelic experience, though in varying proportions.
Dosage appears to be a crucial variable. Each individual has his own range of tolerance and response to any drug, and no absolute figures can be quoted. In the low dose range, for most people, below 200 mcg of LSD, the probability is great for the emergence of aesthetic, cognitive and psychodynamic experience. At somewhere between 200 mcg and 400 mcg of LSD, there appears to be a critical level beyond which psychedelic mystical experience becomes possible, which can be compared to the minimal amount of thrust needed for a rocket to launch itself into orbit. Psychotic experiences are possible at any dosage level, but are much more probable at the higher doses.
The presence of the drug at a certain dosage is a necessary but not sufficient condition, because the extra-drug variables of set and setting play a crucial role in determining the kind of drug response. Psychological set is here defined as factors within the subject, such as personality, life history, expectation, preparation, mood prior to the session and, perhaps most important of all, the ability to trust, to let go, to be open to whatever comes. The setting is here defined as factors outside the individual, such as the physical environment in which the drug is taken, the psychological and emotional atmosphere to which the subject is exposed, how he is treated by those around him and what the experimenter expects the drug reaction to be. A person who has taken a psychedelic drug seems to be much more sensitive to non-verbal cues, perhaps because of an increase in suggestibility, but the exact role of suggestibility is a problem that needs to be further investigated.
It seems clear that the drug is only a trigger, a catalyst or facilitating agent. The kind of psychedelic reaction is largely dependent upon extra-drug variables. Also, at the present state of knowledge, the exact content is impossible to predict with certainty. Psychotic reactions are the easiest to produce; mystical experiences are the hardest, certainly not automatic, even under optimal conditions. Much more needs to be learned.
We turn now to an examination of the evidence that psychedelic mystical experiences actually occur. Most researchers who have worked with LSD in either a therapeutic or a supportive setting have reported the occurrence of mystical experiences in varying degrees of frequency. Some workers, especially most of the European psycholytic therapists, have not been very much interested in such experiences and, in fact, have tried to discourage their occurrence as an unwanted distraction. The frequency with that kind of set and setting is much less, but, even so, these experiences are still reported. As time has gone on, some of the European psychiatrists who have heard about the work done in Canada and the United States have become more interested (Arendsen-Hein, 1967; Johnsen, 1967).
Dr. Arnold Ludwig, of the Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, has purposely programmed his LSD sessions to focus on psychodynamic issues and has definitely not encouraged mystical experiences, as he has informed me personally. Interestingly enough, this kind of experience has occurred anyway in some patients, who then often sought out the hospital chaplain for discussions of religious issues.
Houston and Masters (Masters and Houston, 1966) report a series of 206 subjects with whom they have worked, but of whom little more than 3% were considered to have had true mystical experiences. Such figures need to be interpreted cautiously unless a careful definition with some kind of method for quantifying the experience is established.
A questionnaire has been developed that is based on the nine characteristics of spontaneous mystical experiences outlined above (Pahnke, in unpublished thesis). For any subject the percentage of the maximum possible score for each category can be determined. Varying degrees of completeness are possible, but to be counted as a mystical experience it was decided that both the total score and the score in each separate category must be at least 60% to 70%. This questionnaire has been used in two studies that I have conducted.
The first was carried out on Good Friday in 1962 to test the hypothesis that persons who were given psilocybin would have experiences similar to those reported by spontaneous mystics. Twenty theological students from relatively similar religious and socio-economic backgrounds, after medical and psychiatric screening, were carefully prepared in groups of four with two leaders for each group. All thirty participants listened over loud-speakers to a meditative Good Friday service in a private basement chapel while the actual service was in progress in the church above. The experiment was so designed that half of the subjects received 30 mg of psilocybin and the rest, who became the control group, got as an active placebo 200 mg of nicotinic acid, which causes no psychic effects, only warmth and tingling of the skin. From our preparation all the subjects knew that psilocybin caused autonomic changes. Those who got nicotinic acid thought that they had received psilocybin, and suggestion was thus maximized for the control group. The drugs were administered double-blind, so that neither the experimenter nor the participants knew the specific contents of any capsule. Data were collected by tape recording, written account, the mystical-experience questionnaire and personal interview. When all the data were analyzed, the scores of psilocybin subjects were higher to a statistically significant degree in all categories than those of the control subjects. In regard to degree of completeness, only three or four of the ten psilocybin subjects reached the 60% to 70% level of completeness, whereas none of the control subjects did.
The second series of experiments was performed at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center during 1965 and 1966, an account of which is now being prepared. Forty carefully screened normal volunteers were selected. Most of the subjects were over thirty and held responsible positions in the community as professional people. The sensational publicity about LSD in the popular press added difficulties to our recruitment. We rejected more than 50% of our volunteers on the basis of medical and psychiatric history, physical examination, psychological testing and psychiatric interview. After three hours of preparation, psilocybin was administered to four subjects at a time in a carefully prepared room with cut flowers, pictures of nature scenes, candlelight and a place for each subject to recline and relax. Silence was maintained during a six-hour program of classical music. The setting was supportive, and there were no interruptions for testing during the session. We encouraged the subjects to relax and to let the music carry them. At the present time, the data are not completely analyzed, and all that can be reported are some preliminary impressions. First, the procedure seemed safe for carefully screened normals. No one suffered physical or psychological harm even after a one year follow-up. Second, 20% to 40% of the subjects had a mystical experience, depending on the level of completeness desired. Third, 95% of the subjects said that they would be willing to take the drug again, perhaps sometime in the future, but not too many were eager to do so right away. Having had such powerful experiences, they expressed a desire for time to integrate what had been learned.
In comparison to the 3% of mystical experiences reported by Houston and Masters, and the 20% to 40% in our two studies, some 75% of over 100 patients from the alcoholism project at the Spring Grove State Hospital in Baltimore have had intense mystical experiences during their first session with LSD. It should be remembered that of these patients each had between twelve and twenty hours of individual therapy before his session, which was run individually. In our sessions we had only three hours of preparations, and the sessions were run in groups of four. Individual monitoring seems to help guide someone toward a positive experience. At Spring Grove everything is done to ensure optimal conditions (Kurland, Unger, Shaffer and Savage, 1967). An important consideration is whether or not such mystical experiences are religious. A simple identification of religious experience with mystical experience fails to take into account the many definitions of religion. Religions vary in their emphasis upon mysticism, although there is a tendency to make the mystical element the most important characteristic of religion, especially among psychologists of religion who have been interested in the dramatic phenomena of the mystical experience. William James reflected this attitude by his preference for religion that is an "acute fever" rather than a "dull habit." Not all religious experience is necessarily mystical in the sense of our definition of mystical experience given below. Pratt, for example, divides religion into four kinds or aspects, of which the mystical is only one, the other three being the traditional, the rational and the practical or moral (Pratt, 1921). Even when quite emotionally meaningful, participation in a particular religion by observing religious laws, through intellectual belief in a certain creed or theology or in institutional membership and attendance at rites and rituals may not result in or be the product of mystical experience.
On the other hand, all mystical experience is not necessarily religious. Again much depends upon how one chooses to define religion. If one makes the concept of a "personal God" central to the definition of religion, many forms of mystical experience could not be considered religious. The phenomena of mystical experience may occur outside the framework of any formal religion with no reference to an articulated theology.
The problem is by-passed or merely indicated, rather than solved, by broadening the definition of religion to include any experience that would qualify as mystical by our criteria. Tillich, for example, considers an experience religious when it gives ultimate meaning, structure and direction to human experience, or when one is concerned "ultimately" (Tillich, 1951). Better, perhaps, is Huston Smith's definition in an unpublished address. He has defined as a religious experience one that elicits from the experiencer a centered response from the core of his being. Since his being includes feelings, thoughts and will, a religious experience triggers in the experiencer a triple movement—a movement of the emotions in awe, of the mind in belief and of the will in obedience. Here we return to the important ninth characteristic of mystical experience. What changes are there in the person's life? What does he do about it in terms of some religious discipline? If we accept Smith's definition of religious experience and compare it with the nine characteristics, we can perhaps say that such a psychological definition of mystical experience has at least something religious about it. Whether or not mystical experience is religious depends upon one's definition of religion.
Rather than labor the point, the following examples of actual experimental mystical experiences may help the reader to decide whether such experiences would fit his personal definition of religion. The first is the experience of a Christian ministerial student who took a compound from the psilocybin series in a carefully controlled experiment that was conducted in a German research institute under the supervision of an experimenter who was not particularly interested in mystical experiences.
I hesitate to attempt a summary of my drug experience as I am acutely aware of the inability of linguistic symbols to contain, or even accurately reflect, the dynamics of 'mystic' consciousness. In the words of the Russian poet Tyutchev, I feel as though 'A thought that's spoken is a lie'. To seek to condense any of my experiences into words is to distort them, rendering them finite and impure. In so acknowledging the profound ineffability of my experience, I am not trying to write poetry—although in the final analysis this may well be the only possible means of verbal expression—but intend only to convey the feelings of frustration and futility with which I begin this report.
Now, four days after the experience itself, I continue to feel a deep sense of awe and reverence, being simultaneously intoxicated with an ecstatic joy. This euphoric feeling... includes elements of profound peace and steadfastness, surging like a spring from a depth of my being which has rarely, if ever, been tapped prior to the drug experience. The spasmodic nature of my prayer life has ceased, and I have yielded to a need to spend time each day in meditation which, though essentially open and wordless, is impregnated by feelings of thanksgiving and trust. This increased need to be alone is balanced by what I believe to be a greater sensitivity to the authentic problems of others and a corresponding willingness to enter freely into genuine friendships. I possess a renewed and increased sense of personal integration and am more content simply to 'be myself' than previously.
... Relatively soon after receiving the drug, I transcended my usual level of consciousness and became aware of fantastic dimensions of being, all of which possessed a profound sense of reality.
... It would seem more accurate to say that I existed 'in' these dimensions of being as I had not only transcended my ego, but also the dichotomy between subject and object.
It is meaningful to say that I ceased to exist, becoming immersed in the ground of Being, in Brahman, in God, in 'Nothingness,' in Ultimate Reality or in some similar religious symbol for Oneness....
The feelings I experienced could best be described as cosmic tenderness, infinite love, penetrating peace, eternal blessing and unconditional acceptance on one hand, and on the other, as unspeakable awe, overflowing joy, primeval humility, inexpressible gratitude and boundless devotion. Yet all of these words are hopelessly inadequate and can do little more than meekly point towards the genuine, inexpressible feelings actually experienced.
It is misleading even to use the words 'I experienced,' since during the peak of the experience (which must have lasted at least an hour) there was no duality between myself and what I experienced. Rather, I was these feelings, or ceased to be in them and felt no loss at the cessation. This was especially evident when, after having reached the mystic peak, a recording of Bach's 'Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor' was played. At this time it seemed as though I was not M. R. listening to a recording, but paradoxically was the music itself. Especially at one climax in the Fantasia, the 'love' I was experiencing became so overwhelming as to become unbearable or even painful. The tears I shed at this moment were in no sense those of fear, but ones of uncontainable joy.
... During the height of the experience, I had no consciousness of time or space in the ordinary sense. I felt as though I was beyond seconds, minutes, hours, and also beyond past, present, and future. In religious language, I was in 'eternity
... Let me affirm that even with my acquaintance with mystic literature of both east and west, coupled with the profound appreciation of natural and artistic beauty I have always enjoyed, I know I could never have understood this experience, had I not lived it myself. The dimensions of being I entered surpassed the wildest fantasies of my imagination and, as I have said, leave me with a profound sense of awe.... In no sense have I an urge to formulate philosophical or theological dogmas about my experience. Only my silence can retain its purity and genuineness.
It may be objected that a divinity student would obviously have such an experience because of his familiarity with mysticism and religious language. In the Good Friday experiment, however, the control subjects with the same amount of suggestion did not have mystical experiences. Also the next several examples were written by chronic, hospitalized alcoholics who had received LSD treatment and who did not have the same interest in religion and mysticism. The accounts are perhaps even more vivid in their simple straightforwardness. Following are excerpts of accounts from four different patients (Unger, 1965).
I found myself drifting into another world and saw that I was at the bottom of a set of stairs. At the very top of these stairs was a gleaming light like a star or jewel of exceptional brilliance. I ascended these stairs and upon reaching the top, I saw a gleaming, blinding light with a brilliance no man has ever known. It had no shape nor form, but I knew that I was looking at God himself. The magnificence, splendor, and grandeur of this experience cannot be put into words. Neither can my innermost feelings, but it shall remain in my heart, soul, and mind forever. I never felt so clean inside in all my life. All the trash and garbage seemed to be washed out of my mind. In my heart, my mind, my soul, and my body, it seemed as if I were born all over again.
A feeling of great peace and contentment seemed to flow through my entire body. All sounds ceased and I seemed to be floating in a great, very very still void or hemisphere. It is impossible to describe the overpowering feeling of peace, contentment, and being a part of goodness itself that I felt. I could feel my body dissolving and actually becoming a part of the goodness and peace that was all around me. Words can't describe this. I feel an awe and wonder that such a feeling could have occurred to me.
At the peak or climax of my experience, I realized a great scene was about to unfold within myself. I actually shook and shuddered at what I felt. A tremendous earthquake feeling was building up in me. There was a tremendous force, and I came and saw a glorious beauty of space unfold before me, of light, color, and of song and music, and not only of one thing good and beautiful, but of a oneness in fellowship, a wanting to belong to this greatness of beauty and goodness that unfolded before my eyes, and that I felt.
Suddenly, I could see my family handing me great love. It seemed to be pouring out of their hearts. I cried, not bitter tears, but tears of beauty and joy. A beautiful organ was playing in the background, and it seemed as if angels were singing. All of a sudden I was back in eternity. There was music and beauty. Peace and happiness, tranquillity—could not possibly describe my feelings. My heart was filled with joy that was overwhelming. Just a beauty and peace that I have never known. At this point, I felt that time was thousands of years ago, thousands of years from now, and now.
The profound emotional impact that these experiences have on people can be sensed. The promising possibility that such positive experiences may have therapeutic value is one implication. Another is the usefulness of such a tool for investigating profound mystical experiences that heretofore have been hard to study scientifically because of their rarity.
The basic psychological experience goes beyond any particular framework, but does lend itself to many possible interpretations afterwards, since the rational mind inevitably goes to work and tries to understand. For example, the mystical experience of union or fusion with its concomitant characteristics has been interpreted in many ways: fading or melting into the universal pool, boundless being, the void, satori, nirvana, samadhi, the atman-Brahman identity; the awareness of a "Beyond," "More" or pure "Self;" or union with God. Yet in spite of the particular interpretation, the psychological experience itself is the basis.
This experience of encounter with what is felt to be a divine dimension deep within a person is not new. It has been reported throughout the centuries in the history of man's spiritual quest. It should be remembered that there are psychotic states of mind in which people also speak in religious metaphors, such as, of meeting God or of being God. The similarities and differences between psychosis and mysticism form an interesting area that needs much more serious study and analysis, for the answers are by no means worked out as yet.
One objection sometimes raised against calling these drug-facilitated experiences mystical or religious is that the accomplishment of something usually considered so rare and unattainable except by extraordinary effort or great merit now seems too easy. What seems like a short-cut causes a feeling of uneasiness. Perhaps the Puritan ethic, so pervasive in our culture, is the psychological explanation. Pleasure is supposed to be earned through hard work and painful struggle.
Indications are, however, that what one does with a psychedelic experience may be more important than merely having it. Without integration into the on-going life of the individual, the experience may be only an irrelevant memory, no matter how beautiful. Much work is needed to integrate the insights from LSD when used as a part of psychotherapy. The analogy might be drawn of a trip to a new country. If the traveler knew nothing about the history and culture of this country, he might have an interesting trip, but only a fast-fading memory would remain. If, on the other hand, before he departed, he learned as much as possible about the country, its language and customs, talked with people who had been there before him and prepared himself fully, he would probably not only enjoy the experience more, but could utilize it to enrich his life afterwards by thinking, reading and talking about it with others who had made such an experience an integral part of their lives.
At the present time there is a growing ferment of excitement and alarm caused by the religious movement that has been inspired by psychedelic drugs. Already there are four major psychedelic churches, which have been founded by persons who are convinced that their psychedelic experiences have religious implications. These four churches are The League for Spiritual Discovery, The Neo-American Church, The Native American Church and The Church of the Awakening.
The League for Spiritual Discovery, or L.S.D., is the most recent, having been founded by Timothy Leary in September of 1966, and it already claims from three hundred to five hundred members. The psychedelic celebrations that have been performed in some major cities throughout the country have received considerable publicity. These "light shows" have attempted to portray some psychedelic phenomena, but people who have actually had an LSD experience seem to agree that only a crude facsimile is produced. Leary has used these occasions to give psychedelic sermons about his church. The central message has been summarized as "Turn on, tune in and drop out." In essence, the message is of withdrawal, but not from everything, not from all social life, with nothing in its place. The withdrawal is from the meaningless games in which we are involved, to allow full-time commitment to spiritual exploration, which Leary feels is the most important reason for living. An attempt is made to criticize modern American culture.
The Neo-American Church was founded in 1964 by a psychologist, Arthur Kleps, who calls himself Chief Boo-Hoo, the Patriarch of the East. Kleps states that the purpose of this title is to remind him not to take himself too seriously. Membership now allegedly numbers over six hundred. LSD is their sacrament, and one of their main beliefs is that alteration of consciousness with LSD is a religious right of any citizen.
The Neo-American Church should not be confused with the Native American Church, which has deep historical roots going back to the religious practices of the Aztecs in Mexico before the time of Christ. When the Spaniards came, they tried to stamp out the use of peyote, but the custom persisted underground. Sometime between 1700 and 1880, the religious use of peyote spread across the Rio Grande River into the southwestern United States and from there to the Plains and then all the way into Canada and as far east as Wisconsin and Michigan. The church has been legally incorporated in Oklahoma since 1918. At present membership has been estimated at anywhere from 50,000 to 250,000 Indians, with only a few white members. Peyote is used in a religious ceremony as their sacrament, which they feel is essential to their church.
Some important features of the ceremony are constant among different groups. The rite is an all-night affair extending from about 8:00 p.m. on Saturday until about 8:00 a.m. on Sunday. It usually takes place around a central fire in a teepee and is led by four or five Indian officials. The ritual begins with prayer, followed by the singing of songs by each participant in turn accompanied by the water drum, ingestion of the sacramental peyote and contemplation. Although the contents of the individual prayers and songs are spontaneous, the ritual as a whole follows a definite pattern. At midnight there is a water-drinking ceremony, and at dawn parched corn in sweetened water, fruit and dried sweetened meat are eaten. [For a detailed description of the ritual with diagrams of the arrangement of participants, see Omar C. Stewart's Washo-Northern Paiute Peyotism, Volume XL, Number 3 of the Publications in American Archaeology & Ethnology of the University of California (1944); and compare to Weston La Barre's The Peyote Cult, Number 19 of Yale University Publications in Anthropology, an enlarged edition of which was published in 1964 by The Shoe String Press of Hamden, Connecticut.].
Because the ceremony is regarded as very sacred by the Indians, preparation for the rite is taken seriously. Proper preparation includes being physically clean, spiritually pure, psychologically humble and in a mood for concentrated meditation (Slotkin, 1956). The participants feel that peyote aids contemplation by increasing their powers of introspection, sensitizing their consciences and producing visions of great meaning. Throughout the ceremony the participants conduct themselves with due solemnity. White men who have attended these worship services as observers or as participants have taken peyote with the Indians in a receptive manner and have been impressed by the serious and sacred nature of the ceremony (Osmond, 1961; Schultes, 1963; Slotkin, 1961).
The Church of the Awakening was founded in 1958 by two married physicians, John and Louisa Aiken from New Mexico. The church has grown slowly but steadily and has at present about 350 members. Only people who have demonstrated a serious interest in spiritual awakening have been encouraged to join. The members claim that their spiritual lives have been deepened because of participation in psychedelic ceremonies using their sacrament peyote. The use of the sacrament is restricted to once every three months, if even that often. The major emphasis seems to be on integration of spiritual insights into the on-going life of the individual member.
There are certain legal problems posed by the existence of psychedelic churches. Both natural products, like peyote, cactus buttons, mushrooms or morning glory seeds, and synthetic chemicals, like LSD, psilocybin or mescaline, are considered drugs by the law when taken into the human body and thus requiring medical supervision. Because this is the way our society has defined things, there is really no legal mechanism or social sanction for a church to use these substances for spiritual exploration. Unwillingness to accommodate to this fact has caused legal difficulties for Timothy Leary, Arthur Kleps and some of their followers. But the issue becomes clouded because the religious use of peyote in the Native American Church has been permitted by the Food and Drug Administration and by the Supreme Court of California. The matter becomes even more complex when Dr. John Aiken, a licensed physician, seeks to administer peyote for what he considers bona fide religious purposes. If he is not allowed to do so, and the Indians are, does this constitute discrimination against white people? Undoubtedly, religious freedom and related issues will receive much publicity in the years ahead as test cases reach the courts. If the matter is decided by outlawing all religious use of psychedelic substances, even by the Native American Church, it may turn into another sorry example of the white man's disregarding the sensitivities and cultural heritage of the American Indian.
In the meantime there is an increasing need for organized religion to consider the impact of the psychedelic religious movement. If instead of the collapse of a fad, as some predict, there is continued interest, growth and enthusiasm, what might be the effect on religion in America? Persons having had powerful psychedelic mystical experiences may well feel that organized religion, in contrast, is moribund and irrelevant to their needs. Such a trend could be perceived as a threat, and the churches might feel a need to encourage suppression of psychedelic drugs. On the other hand, it can be speculated that with an imaginative and creative approach to an increasing amount of mystical experience, revitalization of religious life in the churches could occur. The churches could help people to integrate such profound experiences with the aid of meaningful and appropriate religious symbols. Such people do tend to talk about their drug experiences in religious terms. In our experimental work with divinity students and ministers, those who had a meaningful religious framework were much helped in using positive psychedelic experiences to understand their faith more existentially.
Some definite dangers, however, are posed by the growing use, religious and otherwise, of psychedelic drugs. The possible dangers to the individual have been fully discussed at this conference. It should be emphasized that unsupervised and unskilled use will inevitably lead to psychiatric casualties in a certain, as yet unknown, percentage of cases. The most obvious reasons are lack of screening, inadequate preparation, unskilled handling during the drug reaction, and little or no help with useful integration after the experience. The dangers to society have also been mentioned. If more and more people drop out and withdraw, can society continue to function?
If psychedelic drugs really can change people's goals, values, motivations and needs for achievement, the impact could be considerable on our society, in which there is so much stress on money, power and status. Less emphasis on these traditional goals, coupled with the availability of more leisure time, could alter our style of life. Some argue that such changes in moderation might be healthy, yet it is possible that widespread adoption of a radical change in outlook might be disastrous to a society that wants mainly to multiply its Gross National Product and to compete successfully. Such issues need realistic and sensitive consideration.
There has been too much heat and perhaps not enough light propagated by the psychedelic drugs. Because of mass-media coverage, certainly everyone today has heard of LSD. Interestingly enough, almost everyone has a definite opinion, no matter how little or how much he knows about the field. These opinions, pro or con, usually have a deep emotional basis. Certainly the reason is more than just an abhorrence of drug taking, because other drugs such as tranquilizers, sleeping pills and alcohol are taken freely with no such emotional reaction. The dangers of negative consequences such as psychological breakdown appear to be a logical reason, but since most drug experiences are positive, there must be an additional explanation. A deeper reason may lie in the nature of the profound emotional experiences, often considered religious, which seem to have the power to change a person's values and to generate enthusiasm and inspiration in a direction perhaps not shared by society in general. Such consequences may be seen as a threat when considered logically, but felt even more powerfully to be so at a subliminal or non-rational level.
Our society is faced with the fact that the use of psychedelic drugs is spreading rapidly. Do we have the capacity and wisdom to deal constructively with this problem, or will we seek a solution by restrictive legislation and police force? In this instance, suppression has much less a chance of succeeding than in the illegal use of narcotics, which has not been stopped. Throughout history when enough people have really wanted something, no restrictive measures have worked. Laws did not stop the introduction of coffee into Europe, nor the consumption of alcohol in the United States during Prohibition.
What will undoubtedly result, however, from a rigid suppression of psychedelic drugs is a severe inhibition of research in this area. The more laws that are passed, the more the public identifies the drugs with something negative. People in power, in both the public and academic realms, are influenced by public reaction and the mass media, and when research is proposed, there is hesitation and lack of support. The decline of research with psychedelic drugs has already occurred. Dr. Harold Abramson, one of the early pioneers in LSD research, has commented that an interested layman can use LSD more easily in our society today than can a doctor who wants to do legitimate research. The joint committee now set up by the N.I.M.H. and the F.D.A. to screen proposals will possibly enable more research to begin in the near future.
Research is especially important in regard to the individual and the societal problems caused by the growing use of psychedelic drugs. Education rather than suppression would seem a more effective solution, and more research is needed to learn the unknown facts about many aspects of these drugs. We need more knowledge about their biological and psychological mechanisms of action, their therapeutic possibilities, dangers and long-term effects. Valid statistics about chance of harm would be useful in calculating a realistic pleasure-to-risk ratio.
An important area for more research is the effect of psychedelic drugs on relatively stable, well-adjusted persons. Many of the people who have taken LSD and upon whom some of the conclusions about its dangers are based were already drop-outs before encountering the drug. For purposes of education and guidance it is important that we base our facts on drug effects in normals rather than on retrospective analysis of drop-outs. No one knows how many successful people who did not drop out or withdraw from their place in society have found that psychedelic experience can be an enriching part of their total lives, without eclipsing other interests and responsibilities.
There are many questions that can only be answered by careful and well controlled research. For example, what are the exact conditions responsible for the production of aesthetic, cognitive or mystical experiences? All the extra-drug variables of set and setting need to be studied intensively. An interesting project would be to follow a group of persons who would have LSD sessions at regular intervals for three to five years, or to do a longitudinal study on a group of persons who had only a few sessions and then were followed over a period of time. In a small group who might take LSD together, other phenomena such as the effect on group discussion, group interaction and group cohesion could be measured.
The sociology of religion has an extraordinary opportunity for research in the psychedelic religious movement. Here is a chance to study the formation and growth of what may become an important form of religion in the United States. The small cult-like groups, the evangelistic ferment, the utopian ideals, the struggle for survival—all these elements can be studied for better under standing of what has gone on when other religious movements emerged in the past. Dr. R. Blum (Blum et al., 1964) has made a start in this area, but other points of view would also be helpful. Participant-observers, who would be more in rapport with those in the movement, might add valuable additional data to the field.
With regard to the future, psychedelic drugs seem to be here to stay as a fact of our present existence. The experiences are much too powerful and have too many implications to be dismissed as a passing fad. Indications are that the use will increase rather than decrease and may have more influence on American life than we now imagine. Certainly researchers with LSD even ten years ago would not have predicted what has happened. More surprises may be in store for us. Work needs to be done with these drugs without delay in a disciplined scientific way rather than permitting a black-market underground to undertake experiments by default.
If these drugs are ever going to be used legitimately, training centers will have to be established, because specialized training under supervision is needed to insure maximal safety. The work thus far at the Spring Grove State Hospital has indicated that even very unstable people can be treated with LSD in relative safety if specific procedures are employed. These centers can be used for the training not only of psychiatrists, but also of psychologists, social workers, ministers or any one else who might have a role in treatment with these drugs. Some day it may even be possible to establish places where interested, serious people could go to take LSD in maximal safety under the supervision of trained personnel. Such a suggestion is utopian at present and may take a long time in being developed, but it is possible in the future.
Some people, however, and especially students, are not content to wait and are asking themselves the existential question "Should I take LSD now, on my own?" It is obvious that anyone who really wants to obtain the drug and take it can do so. No amount of admonition to the contrary from college administrators can really stop anyone. It remains a personal decision, but anyone contemplating such a course of action would be wise to consider some basic facts.
First, there is a definite risk, which is certainly greater in uncontrolled than in controlled conditions. The work at Spring Grove and elsewhere has demonstrated that with skilled handling the risk is minimal. Psychedelic drugs are like other powerful tools in that the risk is greatly dependent upon the way they are used. For example, for eye surgery a skilled surgeon is needed, not a watchmaker, no matter how skilled he might be in the use of fine instruments. The use of psychedelic drugs also requires specialized training for maximal safety. At the Spring Grove Hospital, three to six months, or longer, are needed to train a therapist. The fact that safe procedures have been worked out, however, is not much help at present to someone who would like to take a psychedelicdrug under supervision, because at present no authorized research in the United States is being done with normal persons.
Another thing to consider is the time of life. Many persons in college are going through an identity crisis and are trying to decide where they are really going with their lives. Because a psychedelic drug experience may affect judgment, it is probably not a good idea to make a major life decision within three months after a drug session. People undergoing intensive psychotherapy or psychoanalysis are given the same advice. Decisions made at such a time may turn out to be regretted later, especially when no guidance is available during and after the drug session. People who have a psychedelic experience when they are older and have successfully settled some of the crucial issues of their lives probably have a better chance for an enriching experience. It would seem that the more life experience a person has had, the better, just as the program fed to a computer is the basis upon which the results are produced.
It is a misconception to imagine that LSD is the magic answer to anything. Hard work is needed to utilize the experience, and follow-up therapy with the therapist who guided the drug session can be very helpful. Persons who take a psychedelic drug to "work out their own problems" not only may be disappointed but also may unearth additional conflicts. More than a few people have been unpleasantly surprised by what emerged with great force from the unconscious.
In spite of the very real dangers in self-experimentation, anyone with a serious and scientific interest in this fascinating area of research would not be discouraged about the prospects of legitimate research. There is much work to be done, and people of the highest caliber will be needed in the near future if we are to gain new knowledge about these drugs and their possible applications. Ideally, an interdisciplinary approach should be used involving the joint efforts of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, clergymen, theologians and philosophers.
Anyone interested in this field should get the best possible training in the discipline of his choice. It has been said: "Turn on, tune in and drop out." This can be paraphrased a bit as follows: Turn on your motivation in the most concentrated way possible; tune in to everything that's relevant to equip yourself in the way of training for the work you want to do in the field; and then, instead of dropping out, you will be ready to drop into a worthwhile and interesting career, one that may be full of great satisfactions and a sense of accomplishment, because this is an exciting area.
A striking example of a future psychedelic research possibility is the work with terminal-cancer patients. This area is relevant to a discussion of religion and LSD, because the experience of death has a crucial place in almost all religions. In spite of much talk and concern, and perhaps guilt about the way terminal patients are treated, not much has really changed in this anxiety-ridden situation in our culture. Many times there is a growing isolation from meaningful interpersonal involvement, as all efforts are bent toward making the patient "comfortable."
Psychedelic therapy may have a role to play to make life more livable for terminal patients. LSD was first tried for its analgesic effect, which was found to be considerable (Blumet al., 1964; Kast, 1963; Kast, 1964a; Kast, 1964b). More important, perhaps, was the finding that fear, anxiety and apprehension were lessened in some cases (Kast, 1966). By working with patients and their families, the opportunity for an increase in interpersonal closeness was afforded, especially in the wake of a powerful psychedelic experience (Cohen, 1965). Current research to explore these initial leads is only in the pilot stage, but it appears to be a promising approach to help ease the agony and isolation of death, both for those who will be left behind and for the one who must face the end of his life.
In conclusion, let us ponder the wide influence that the accidental discovery of LSD in a Swiss pharmaceutical laboratory has exercised throughout the world. There have been far-reaching effects in all kinds of research, especially in biochemistry, pharmacology, psychiatry, psychology, sociology, philosophy and religion. The interdisciplinary implications seem broad indeed. In spite of the dangers that are certainly potential in the use of this powerful tool, it has always been man's destiny to push ahead in order to increase his knowledge. This area is no exception, but those who undertake such research bear a heavy responsibility.
REFERENCESAbramson, H. A. (ed.) The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1967.
Arendsen-Hein, G. W. Dimensions in psychotherapy. In H. A. Abramson (ed.), The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1967.
Blum, R., et al. Utopiates: The Use and Users of LSD-25. New York: Atherton Press, 1964.
Cohen, S. LSD and the anguish of dying. Harper's, August, 1965.
Harman, W. W., McKim, R. H., Mogar, R. E., Fadiman, J., and Stolaroff, M. J. Psychedelic agents in creative problem-solving: a pilot study. Psychol. Repts (Monogr. Suppl.), 1966, 2-VI9: 211.
Johnsen, G. Indications for psycholytic treatment with different types of patients. In H. A. Abramson (ed.), The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1967.
Kast, E. C. The analgesic action of lysergic acid compared with dihydromorphinome and meperidine. Bull. Drug Addiction and Narcotics, 1963, appendix 27:3517.
Kast, E. C. LSD and the dying patient. Chic. Med. Sch. Qu., 1966, 26/2 :80.
Kast, E. C. Pain and LSD-25: a theory of attenuation of anticipation. In D. Solomon (ed.), LSD: The Consciousness-Expanding Drug. New York: Putnam's, 1964.
Kast, E. C. A study of Iysergic acid diethylamide as an analgesic agent. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 1964, 43:285.
Kurland, A. A., Unger, S. M., Shaffer, J. W., and Savage, C. Psychedelic therapy utilizing LSD in the treatment of the alcoholic patient: a preliminary report. Amer. J. Psychiat.,1967, 123/10: 1202.
Kurland, A. A., Unger, S. M., Savage, C., and Pahnke, W. N. Psychedelic therapy (utilizing LSD) with terminal cancer patients. Presented to the A. P. A. meetings in Detroit on 11 May 1967: to be published.
Masters, R. E., and Houston, J. The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. New York: Holt, Rinehart, 1966.
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Osmond, H. A review of the effects of psychotomimetic agents. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci., 1957, 66:429. Reprinted in D. Solomon (ed.), LSD: The Consciousness-Expanding Drug. New York: Putnam's, 1964.
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Schultes, R. E. Botanical sources of the new world narcotics. Psychedelic Rev., 1963, l/2:157. Reprinted in G. Weil et al. (eds.) The Psychedelic Reader. New Hyde Park, New York: University Books, 1965.
Slotkin, J. S. The peyote way. Tomorrow Magazine, 1956, 4/3:67.
Slotkin, J. S. Menomini peyotism. In D. Ebin (ed.), The Drug Experience. New York: Orion Press, 1961.
Tillich, P. Systematic Theology (Volume I). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951.
Unger, S. M. The current scientific status of psychedelic drug research. Unpublished paper read to the Conference on Method in Philosophy and the Sciences in New York City on 3 May 1964.
Unger, S. M. The current status of psychotherapeutically-oriented LSD research in the United States. Unpublished paper read to the New York State Psychological Association on 30 April 1965.
Second Discussion Session
Public Symposium on Psychedelic Drugs,
Wesleyan University, March 1967.
From LSD, Man & Society, DeBold and Leaf, editors. ©Wesleyan University, 1967.
The following discussion between the participants and audience attending the Wesleyan University symposium is illustrative of the mood of the times: On the one side we see authoritarians agitating for maximal control of the psychedelic drugs with criminal penalties for those who would contravene the regulations; on the other the more rational voices which, as so often happens, are little heard and less considered in times when a rush to judgment, inspired by panic, rules the day. Of particular note are the figures showing the radically diminishing funding and licensing provided by the government: If rational decisions and legislation were to be effected, one would think that greatly expanded research would have been in the general interest. A List of participants follows the discussion.
The moderator: The psychedelic drugs have often been referred to as an instrument for conversion, with use centered on the college campuses. Many articles about LSD seem to stress the college campuses. Of course, Greenwich Village is essentially in the watershed of New York University and other universities there, and the Berkeley scene is close to the Berkeley campus. On the other hand, it has been suggested that the spread of LSD is an autonomous phenomenon, not related to the college community. I would like to ask the members of the panel to speak to this. Is the LSD phenomenon in our culture today a college-bound phenomenon or is it, in fact, independent and autonomous?
Dr. Pahnke: I would say that Dr. Louria's figures from this afternoon would dispute that, because he showed that it was used by people with all kinds of occupations, not only by students. I think that 15% were students. I'm not sure that use was ever confined to colleges.
Dr. Louria: The Blum studies show us the same thing exactly, but far more precisely than the few data from our hospital.
A member of the audience: I have a suggestion to make, and I'd like to ask both Mr. Joffe and Dr. Pahnke whether it's feasible. Everybody is agreed that more research is needed. The problem seems to be that today and tomorrow and the next few weeks a lot of kids and others are going to be turning on, and a small, yet unknown proportion of these are going to be harmed. I would like to suggest that perhaps the people from Spring Grove could get together with the people from the government to the extent that they have techniques worked out, to the extent that any bit of information that could be provided to the community at large to help people use whatever research there has been and to prevent people from harming themselves. I think that this might be useful. So that the proportion, whether it is one in a thousand or one in ten thousand, goes down. And that something be done relatively soon to try to alleviate the problem as it exists.
Mr. Joffe: Dr. Louria has already given you the answer this afternoon. He said don't use it; it's a dangerous drug.
Same member of the audience: But people are not listening, though it is a dangerous drug, because of the kinds of evidence referred to today. People think that they can use it, taking the proper precautions themselves; and these people are trying to decide for themselves whether they can handle it.
Mr. Joffe: Do you suggest that each individual who would like to try the drug furnish a complete medical history, including electroencephalograms and psychiatric interview, which is the only way I know of to be reasonably sure that the individual will not have a bad reaction?
Same member of the audience: I think that there appears a general principle for dealing with the LSD experience that seems to be implied in what Dr. Pahnke said, and I am asking whether such things couldn't be made available to the public, because some segment of the public is going to experiment regardless of what anyone says.
The moderator: I'm not clear on just what you're proposing. It sounds to me as though you're proposing something that we thought we were getting at when we set up this symposium, that is, providing definitive information on which people can base their decisions. This is one thing, but I think that there is inherent in what you are saying a second suggestion, which is that there be set up essentially some instrument for providing a mechanism of screening. I don't know what that would be.
Same member of the audience: I am talking about procedures for guiding people on trips. To the extent that such procedures— and Dr. Pahnke stressed the importance of this—seem to be the prime determinant as to whether a person has or has not a favorable experience.
Dr. Pahnke: Let me comment. Such procedures have been worked out at Spring Grove and are continuing to be. They will be published in the scientific literature, but that will take time, at least a couple of years. If what you want actually happened, if you did have the information now, and it was disseminated, I don't think it would help too much because other researchers couldn't, perhaps, get the permission to use the drug anyway. You want it for the lay people. In a handbook?
Same member of the audience: For the people whom Dr. Louria is worried about.
Dr. Pahnke: But you see, they wouldn't be using it under medical guidance, which is the essential point.
Dr. Louria: I think we're in a real dilemma. You see, the whole thing is that there are several levels involved. On the one hand, there's the research problem, and during the evening I was just figuring out from the Congressional hearings what the research situation is. And here is what it is, if my figures are at all accurate. In 1964 there were about seventy licensed investigators; in 1965, thirty-nine; in 1966, thirty-one; and currently, only sixteen. As to N.I.M.H. funds, there was available in 1964 1.5 million dollars; in 1965, 1.49 million dollars; in 1966, 927,000 dollars, a decrease of over one-third in one year; and currently there is still less available. It is abundantly clear that research has been markedly reduced; and you can prove this fact with the government's own figures. Now, that's one level, research that we desperately want to increase. And I don't think that there is any excuse for the N.I.M.H. not to increase it.
Then, there's the second level, which is the kind of research that you are doing, Dr. Kurland, absolutely well controlled and under medical aegis. We all want that increased. That has to be increased. That's very important research. And there's the third level, research in a broader context, in a community that may be in your semi-utopian future under some control. And there's the fourth level, the level that you're talking about, namely, having people take the drug, young people, unprepared, on their own. That level is the one that bothers me. I am not bothered by the other three levels. There is no way of disseminating information now to that fourth group and to prevent their having adverse reactions. That group, young, unprepared, under uncontrolled conditions, that group is the one that we are desperately trying to educate not to take the drug in any circumstances, because it is not one in a thousand or one in ten thousand. At the very minimum it is several per cent. Now, the derivative problem is that of that several per cent who do get into trouble, certain ones are going to do very dramatic things. They are going to jump out windows or walk in front of cars, enough to get front-page headlines. In New York City 1 % of heroin addicts die every year of an overdose.
This fact almost never gets headlines, because it isn't very dramatic. They shoot the stuff into their veins, and they drop dead. They are taken to the coroner's office. We whisk them off to the grave, and nobody cares. But let somebody jump out a window under LSD, the way the newspapers are now, and that's front-page across the country.
In doing that, what you do is to arouse not the people who are interested in LSD, a very small segment of the population, but what Leary has called the middle-class, middle-aged monolith that runs our country. I'm not derogating that, for I'm rather for their running the country. This relatively stable group then transmits its fears and angers and anxieties to legislatures, which are dependent on this middle-aged monolith for their maintenance in office, and you know what happens. So the only way by which you can avoid more restrictive laws, which make the whole situation worse, is by getting the fourth group off its LSD kick. I think that we have to have some laws, both federal and state, to help us in that endeavor; because if you don't, then you will destroy the other three levels— from animal research to human research to community research, all of which could be of enormous value to all of us in the future.
The moderator: Are there any questions from the floor?
A member of the audience: It seems to me that a lot of people have forgotten the fact that the reason people are dropping out is because their society wants them to drop out. Dr. Pahnke, what do you think that the possibilities are that at some time in the future, people won't drop out, but will work to change the aspects of society that tend to drive them out?
Dr. Pahnke: I think that would be fine. I am a little concerned as to what happens to these people who do drop out. Who is really helping them? I know what happens to some of the people who drop out, because we get them as patients in our out-patient clinic. These are people who before they took LSD had, perhaps, some problems and were told that they needed psychotherapy, but they would have none of it. They felt that they were quite healthy and that their advisers were just talking through their hats. They took LSD, got very shaken up and perhaps dropped out of school. But then they come to the clinic seeking therapy, and, paradoxically enough, these people are then quite eager to work in therapy. This is a danger that has a paradoxical, perhaps good, effect, but I certainly would not recommend it as a way of getting into therapy.
A member of the audience: There was an earlier question concerning black-market impurities and the dangers of them. Would Mr. Joffe discuss this?
Mr. Joffe: I'm afraid I can't tell you what the impurities might be. There is some black-market material that is of exceedingly good quality. I don't mean to say that everything that is not legitimate is of poor quality. We do know, however, that a simple analysis of a cube will show perhaps 30% of LSD; it will also show on an ultraviolet spectrum many peaks that you know are not LSD and do not occur in the pure product. Therefore they are impurities of one sort or another. It has not seemed too important to our activities to find out what is wrong with this product or that product, because they are all illegal. I don't see what good it will do us to run the analyses of the home-made products so that someone will know that there is bad in his product.
Dr. Pahnke: Unless he were getting heroin or something else. That should be publicized, I think. It might deter some people from taking it. I've heard of that happening. Amphetamines, barbiturates and heroin do get mixed in with LSD. I think this could have very bad effects in terms of persons' becoming addicted.
Mr. Joffe: These are recognizable peaks on an ultraviolet absorption spectrum.
Dr. Pahnke: Yes, but if you're not making an analysis, how would you know that?
Mr. Joffe: You run the curve, and you see that here is the peak that we know is LSD...
Dr. Pahnke: Yes, that's fine, if you're doing them, but you said that you're not doing them.
Mr. Joffe: No, I said we're not running the peak down to find out what the impurity is.
Dr. Pahnke: Well, say the impurity was heroin? Somebody had added...
Mr. Joffe: Heroin has a recognizable peak.
Dr. Pahnke: One that is easily recognized?
Mr. Joffe: Yes.
Dr. Pahnke: Do you find that?
Mr. Joffe: I don't know. I have not myself heard of it.
The moderator: I'm afraid that some of you couldn't hear the discussion that went on at the table. Let me try to paraphrase it quickly for you. Dr. Pahnke asked the question if it wasn't a social responsibility of the F.D.A. to check out the actual nature of impurities to forestall possibly the use of drugs such as heroin as additives to sugar cubes and therefore make this public knowledge in order to warn people who might use them.
A member of the audience: I am not satisfied with a previous answer. LSD appeals to young people, and what's to prevent their using it? You agree that something should be done to stop free usage by young people. You refuse to recognize any valid reason for using LSD regardless of whether the user be a young student or a middle-aged person. I think there is a responsibility among all groups, doctors, psychiatrists and legal people, to recognize that there is going to be a lot of illegal LSD usage. In light of the circumstances, what can be done to keep the number of bad trips down? This is a problem. The refusal to offer any kind of guidance to users is bad.
The moderator: As I understand the question, it says, as a banner did over the Sather Gate at the University of California recently, "Never trust anybody over thirty." We are being accused, I guess, of evading the issue that has been brought before us, which is that there is a large population of people who fall into category four, as defined earlier by Dr. Louria, those who use LSD on their own in situations in which there is no guidance. The panel is asked to comment on possible ways of minimizing bad trips, psychotic episodes and hospital admissions for this category.
Mr. Chayet: I think that this is one of the basic defenses for the existing laws. As I understand these gentlemen who are certainly the professionals in dealing with LSD, there is no way to give out information on a mass scale to tell you how to take LSD on your own. Even Mr. Leary has suggested that there be licensing of individuals. He wants, of course, to reduce the criteria for getting a license to work with LSD; and he certainly doesn't believe in the medical profession's having exclusive control. But even Mr. Leary says that there should be some control and some guidance; and as I understand it, there is just no way of preparing a brochure so that you can do it yourself and be successful at it, though I would be interested to hear if this is a possibility.
Mr. Joffe: I think that the question ultimately boils down to the fact that the gentleman says that there will be the use of this drug whether we authorize it or not. There will also be bank robberies, murders and other crimes whether we have laws or not. What you are asking us to do is to show you the best way to evade the law. You want the government to furnish the safecracker with tools to make his job easier. We can't do this. It is not a province of a regulatory agency to show people how to evade the law. Aside from the fact that there is no cookbook sort of thing for this.
Dr. Pahnke: Well, actually, there are some manuals.
Mr. Joffe: But not for the ordinary individual.
Dr. Pahnke: Well, yes.
Mr. Joffe: One off the street?
Dr. Pahnke: Yes. Actually, this is what Leary proposed when he founded IF-IF. He was going to write a number of manuals. He wrote two, and The Psychedelic Experience has nearly a chapter describing how to run a session. The trouble is that you cannot learn this from a book. What you need is specialized training, in which you work under someone or watch someone run sessions, as it is possible at Spring Grove, where there is a closed-circuit television system. But this is not yet set up to train a lot of people, though it might be possible sometime in the future. This is what I suggested, having training centers, but we're a long way from that. So for the present time I can't offer you any advice. These manuals may be somewhat helpful, but I certainly don't think that that's the way to learn how to use LSD.
Same member of the audience: My question asked for the recognition that there is going to be a lot of usage by the layman. Instead of saying merely that this is something to be outlawed, leaving it at that and limiting research to laboratory settings, you are asked to shift from your concern with developing a definite set of rules and direct your attention toward existing problems. Perhaps there's something that should be outlawed. But users of LSD have a right to be considered themselves.
The moderator: I will say that I believe many people in our culture, in our nation and in the western nations whom I know and have talked to are very concerned about this. As I understand the question, we are being asked to increase at least the amount of attention that we are paying to that group, group four, people who are taking LSD on their own, and to share our attention with them, the same attention that animal research receives. I think that's what you are asking us to do.
Dr. Pahnke: I would just like to say in addition that it takes three to six months to train adequately an LSD therapist, to have him learn how to deal with all possible contingencies, so that he can really guide people with safety. It's no thing that you can learn easily just from a few rules. Some people have gone ahead on their own and had experiences, and there have been a lot of bad experiences. These people of the lay public have learned by experience, and some have had some very bad trips. But I don't think that's the ideal way to do it. And you're right, it is a problem. Some people feel that we just suppress the problem by passing a law against it and assuming that this law will take care of it. I don't feel that it will, and I think that it will take time to work this out. If LSD does continue to spread, and more and more people do continue to take it, there will eventually be pressure to change the laws or to make some provision for this, but that also will take time. I know that this solution probably won't satisfy you. You want something right now. The reality is that it probably is not practical.
A member of the audience: Well, I see some sense of understanding among certain members of the panel who have spoken today, and I wonder whether the more legalistically oriented members of the panel are sitting with points of view that might be expressed by the statement "Well, we'll let the sympathetic people speak, but we've got the say, because we make the laws, we enforce them, we regulate them." Or whether, in fact, there is a sense of cooperation and understanding among the people who are gathered here to speak to us on the issue?
The moderator: But that precisely is the reason why we're doing it.
Same member of the audience: Yes, I know. I understand. My question, though, is whether in the process there are formulations going on?
Mr. Joffe: I am working for the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control, which you may call legalistically oriented, if you wish, but I am not a lawyer. I am not an enforcement agent. I am a pharmacologist. The reason that I am working for this agency is because it offers me a chance to get some scientific work done, and I am interested in the scientific aspects of this problem. But that the support happens to be in a bureau that has as well the responsibility for enforcement does not deter me. I am not going to try to change the rules of enforcement. This is something else. But I have joined them, because they give me an opportunity to do the scientific work that I want to see done. This is my personal approach to it. I can't speak for anyone else. We have the authority not only to do in-house research but also to have contract research done. When I say support for research, I don't mean that someone has to build me a ten-million-dollar laboratory. I have the authority to solicit or to receive unsolicited proposals from those individuals who would like to do work on drug abuse of a scientific nature that I am capable of supporting.
The moderator: I think that we have slipped away from the question, and rather than see this thread followed, I'd like the question to get the attention that I think it really deserves. I wasn't kidding when I said that one of the shocking signs of my life was the sign over the Sather Gate, which appeared in all the papers, saying "Never trust anybody over thirty." You know, that really gets at me. I don't know why. I need a lot of love, I guess, and I want people who are under thirty to believe somehow that even if I am not a part of their culture and don't understand them, I do want to understand them, and I think that this feeling is shared by many people who are my age and older. We are trying very hard to understand, and in addition to trying to understand we are trying to act in good faith. Now, in your question, as you phrased it, there was an implication that I hear very frequently—"Yes, you pay lip service to understanding, but actually you want to pass regulations and hold us down. You're afraid of us. We are coming up. We're new and we're different, and we threaten you." In a sense, that's true. It is the business of the young to displace the old. That's the story of life, but I would defend the people here today, all of us, the people who have been most militant in their expressions and those who seem most permissive, from the charge of insincerity. I don't think that these people are, and I certainly know that I am not, insincere.
Mr. Chayet: I would like to comment. I am under thirty, so I don't know where that really puts me. I'm also probably not a very good representative of the law-enforcement profession, because I don't like these laws. I think, however, that they are an absolute necessity. For example, the law regarding marijuana. I have grave doubt that anybody who is carrying around marijuana seed ought to get thirty years in prison. That bothers me very much, because it doesn't seem to me that the danger is there. I've heard from so many that alcohol is much more dangerous than marijuana, but this may be subject to rebuttal by those who know more about marijuana. It seems to me that when you talk about psilocybin and LSD, the danger is very great, and therefore we do need laws to protect people from themselves. I think that if the danger weren't there, that the laws would be bad and unnecessary. It's the danger that really necessitates the legislation. As soon as we have some control and some training centers, or anything else, I would be the first to want to see the laws go.
Dr. Louria: Well, I think that you really said what I was going to say, Mr. Chayet. I'm not sympathetic with the questioner's point of view. I think that we have shown you beyond peradventure that this drug, taken under those conditions that you want to take it under, is a dangerous drug. There's no question about that. You can't show me evidence that taken under your circumstances this gives you anything other than a kick. You can't show me that it gives you any lasting benefit, though it may. But that will come from the kind of research that Dr. Kurland is doing and Dr. Pahnke is doing and others will do if we can get more research on a broader level. Not from your going out with a do-it-yourself kit and taking LSD. Our medical view is simple. If you take it under those circumstances, you can't show anybody that it does you any good; and a certain percentage of you are going to end up in hospitals with acute or chronic psychoses; and some of you, infrequently, but some of you, are going to end up dead. We know that now. So what we're telling you is very simple. We do not under any conditions condone the concept or understand the concept or agree with any part of the concept that you ought to be able to take drugs like LSD—not marijuana—under these conditions and have us give to you a pamphlet that tells you how to do it better. As far as I'm concerned, if you're going to do it, knowing what the dangers are, you damn well take the risk; and if you get into trouble, what we will do in the medical profession is to publicize the adverse effects that you have in the hope that other people won't get into that trouble until the time when we do have the knowledge that it can be given to people, such as you, on an outpatient basis, relatively safely.
Mr. Barron: Well, I don't think that Dr. Louria's response answers the question, the intent of the question, as it was put. Also, I wish that Dr. Louria would speak for himself and not say "we." It seems you said, "We have shown you beyond a peradventure of a doubt." There has been a lack of imaginative or constructive attempts to find other means, other solutions, new institutions to meet what has been an expressed need on the part of a lot of people. I don't think that what one should do is to give advice on how to break the law. I think it's just what has to be built up as a body of opinion, reflecting pressure to create forms that will meet new social needs. It is not a matter just of restrictive laws.
Dr. Pahnke: At the end, Dr. Louria, you said if there was enough evidence accumulated showing that it was safe to give LSD on an out-patient basis, you would be for it. Now, what would that evidence consist of for you? How much evidence would you need? I think that there is some evidence already, but how much more do you need?
Dr. Louria: Under whose aegis?
Dr. Pahnke: I think that what they are doing at Spring Grove has shown that very sick patients can be given LSD without serious consequences, so far anyway, with almost two hundred patients.
Dr. Kurland: I think that the safety question is in everybody's mind, and the safety record established in research at Spring Grove didn't happen by chance. There were years of pilot work done by experts, by professionals in these drug studies; and before we initiated these control studies, there were pilot studies that went on a year or longer. The thing that I oppose is to let unsophisticated people, who don't have the longitudinal experience, who don't have all the things that one needs from the standpoint of physiological and behavioral background, to plunge into these areas and carry on research. The point is that without the necessary tools you can't even document what you are doing. You can't put this down in some kind of systematic way so that it can be replicated. The way that our studies started, the history of prior research in our area had to be studied in order to work out a plan. We didn't just plunge into this. We gathered the reports that came from the different investigators, and we formulated the usefulness of treatment of alcoholics. These were very full reports. We started out by attempting to replicate these things, and this is our point for beginning to learn. For people who say that they can get something accomplished in uncontrolled studies, who think that they are going to get a lot of new information and insight, I would just bring back to your attention the fact that we first had to learn something about what goes on in group psychotherapy, where there aren't many complicating conditions. So, with all due respect to the younger people, it is very, very important to learn the rules before you get involved; certainly they would refuse to allow anybody to get into the field of radioactivity without having a license indicating technical competency.
Mr. Barron: Let me make it quite clear that I am not, by any means, advocating usage of any of these substances that are illegal. What I was saying is that I think that the intent or motive of the question was misinterpreted and that what is essentially threatening is some kind of feeling that the present laws and present social institutions are not adequate to a deeply felt need on the part of some people. It's this, I think, that should be taken seriously, as a feeling, and that if we use all of it, we will work as best we can and create whatever kinds of institutions are necessary, if indeed it's true that this is no passing fad and represents something that is important to the general movement of mind over the past fifty years.
The moderator: Let me say that it was my feeling that in your paper, Mr. Barron, you tried to provide an historical analysis for this anomie toward which the question was directed. I felt that that was a matter of record today, and I was including you among those of us who feel sincerely concerned about these problems.
A member of the audience: Well, I hope that the idea that you don't trust anybody under thirty doesn't emerge.
The moderator: Let me just make that comment over the speaker, for the people in the back, an important point, sometimes overlooked in this controversy. One of the audience expressed the hope that as the reaction to "You can't trust anyone over thirty," there wouldn't develop a backlash movement that would be expressed "You can't trust anybody under thirty."
Same member of the audience: I was prompted to say that when you said that you can't prove to us that you're not taking it just for kicks. This discussion is supposed to be about LSD in society, and the legal justification for regulating the drugs seems to be based on a pleasure-to-risk ratio, which was unfortunately demonstrated today, what you call a high risk. But nobody has talked about the other thing that you should substitute for pleasure—although pleasure may be applicable in a majority of the cases—the utility-to-risk ratio. Nobody has investigated the fantastic possibilities that LSD brings out, so that the utility could be very, very high, which would balance off, to some extent, the risks. And there's one other orientation in this symposium that bothers me, which I think bothered the writer of the recent letter in our college paper, which is the very scientific cast of the symposium speakers. And I would be the last one to go against science, because it's proved to be very, very successful; but it is strange that there are no artists involved in this, no philosophers, no theologians.
The moderator: Dr. Pahnke does have a degree in religion, I am informed.
Same member of the audience: All right, but at least, say, somebody artistic, who would use this in support of his art. This hasn't really been brought out. Mr. Barron said that the response to this explosion of knowledge and ideas prompts the response —and McLuhan might be relevant here—to try other types of integrating knowledge and intellect in these things. I think LSD might be useful in exploring these areas. This has not been brought out, though it goes right to the thing of the tremendous utility of LSD. So I was wondering if the government and Dr. Louria had considered the possible utility that might balance off some of the risk? Maybe this isn't a very practical question either, as we know that there are a lot of artists who are racked by opium and other drugs who do produce very profound and good poetry. You know, it's hard to tell whether it is worth it or not. But there are laws restricting the use of LSD, and we could be losing a lot. I don't think that this problem has been addressed.
The moderator: The member of the audience has asked if we have paid enough attention to the possibility that LSD has a high utility, which, if legislated against, would be lost to the culture.
Mr. Chayet: On the question of utility and risk, I think that this is a very realistic suggestion, and I would like to say that the law of the country is based very much on utility and risk. What the Supreme Court of the United States says in its earth-shaking decisions, which are often five to four—five jurists thinking one way and four equally learned jurists thinking the other way—is based on a careful balancing of what they think is useful and what they think is the social necessity. The example was brought up today of the automobile—there's a terrific amount of carnage, but we allow it; we don't outlaw it, because of its utility. Now everybody who drives an automobile gets somewhere, and if you could show me that everybody who takes LSD gets somewhere that is useful in a constructive sense, then I would say let's get rid of the laws. Let's allow it. But if you have one person who takes it and really gets somewhere and many hundreds who get nowhere and who go out windows, then I say there's a real question. While I think that your suggestion is a good one, I just don't think that we have reached the point where there is the utility-to-risk ratio that would allow change in legislation.
Member of the audience: You were all here when Dr. Kurland read his case studies, and you also heard Dr. Pahnke's case studies. It seems to me that one thing that all these people had in common—and they admitted it—was that they were all dead before they took the drug, dead in some sense. These drugs were given to somebody—that twenty-three-year-old girl with the illegitimate child, the Negro who was a drinker—and gave them something very real. And this, this introducing of pleasure, just because they and you are supposed to wait for the other— what I really want to say is that it would be a tragedy to wait until seventy years of age, wait fifty years, until science comes up with some kind of result, then take the drugs and find out, by God, I've been missing it all along.
The moderator: As I understand the member of the audience, he has suggested that the protocols presented from the patients indicated a gain in personal phenomenological experience, and the member of the audience felt that if one waited until he was a seventy-year-old person without having had those experiences, it would be a great loss. I shall ask Dr. Kurland to speak to this, if he will.
Dr. Kurland: The issue here is one of—one of the issues, anyway, is, in plain English, impatience. Nobody will realize the impatience and frustrations of the researchers who are actively involved in something like this, who see all the possibilities, yet are aware that society demands that they be responsible to the public trust. Many times we have the very, very frustrating business of going into our proposals and looking for advance research, and then having our peers turn the proposals down, because they say that there is something missing in the specifications, that is, the plans are not well done. So we go back to the drawing board again and again. We don't get everything we ask for. One of the things that we have learned is that our peers sitting in the committees that make judgments have not been wrong most of the time. Most of the time we've been wrong if they haven't approved of something. We have gone back and redesigned our plans so that they can meet the objections, and we have been able to go ahead. For example, when you are dealing with human life and have the responsibility of working in an unknown area, you have to take every precaution to make sure that you are doing everything to make things work out properly. We feel that it is the most important rule in these areas to document what we are doing, so that the way will be clear for the next men to follow through. If our research can't be replicated in Russia or in Australia or in South America, it means that we have not done the job right. We see things in our work that we would like to measure. What we realize is that it may take six months or a year to set up a program so it can be done with safety and consideration for all the elements involved. You can't rush good research. Good research takes a long time, and that is why there are few places that we are able to get the kind of balance needed. For example, with alcoholics, we started in 1960, really 1958, and began following these people. So, we had opportunities of comparing and maintaining balance. But in a behavioral science, when one works with men, when one deals with such complex issues, when one is taking psychotherapy and adding research to it—and you heard how complex this job is—to try to accomplish something, it is frustrating that some feel that they can rush in and get the answers. Maybe we'll have perfected techniques in ten, twenty, thirty years from now. We have computers today, which we didn't have several years ago, and some of our present experiments are not even possible without computers.
Dr. Pahnke: I detect in both the last two questions a feeling that the panel here has not really taken seriously the possibilities of the drugs, positive possibilities for enriching lives. Such was not the intent of my remarks. I take these possibilities very seriously. I think that there is promise in the experiments, but I do not think that we know enough yet to make statements. We need more research in these very areas, research to determine the utility, but such research and planning for it will take time.
Member of the audience: Generally, I think, everyone here would really have to agree with Dr. Louria's position that scientists are trying to help in understanding these problems as well as in control and prevention of abuse. But let me suggest two other complications; and maybe Dr. Louria or someone on the panel will comment on these. One is that people are obviously continuing to use LSD, the so-called lay people, some of whom do know how to use this drug and have knowledge of therapy. It seems to be a fact. Why do people do this as often as they do? I think that there must be some utility here, and it just can't be dismissed out of hand if enough people are taking it. Too, I think that Dr. Louria's position on the measures that need to be taken to control this drug in the colleges could produce a number of problems that might, in themselves, prove worse than the problem of cure. Fortunately, there are times when the government gets itself into a position of not being able to take a really utilitarian stand and say that the law should stop this problem. We all know that this law will create an environment in which these other probabilities exist. And so we should not permit this law to stand, in order to avoid creating this evil environment. The evidence of heroin abuse suggests that there was a bad environment, which might serve as an example, a situation where there is a black market, and people in the underworld make a fortune on it by smuggling heroin and starting people off on a terrible habit. So that has to be considered. I mean, if you look at this and you look at the answers that a lot of people are giving to these questions, you realize that youth is a bit distrustful. I don't think that there is a really considered opinion that exists in, let's say, the visional people nowadays, which allows the use of LSD some respectability, or in their criticism of existing statutes about the use of LSD.
The moderator: I think that your comments could be summed up as a plea for more open-mindedness in enacting legislation and in implementing programs. I'm not a member of the medical profession, but I think I can say a word or two that will perhaps help you in understanding the feeling of the medical profession about things like this.
There was once a motion picture in which a man fought against a dictator in one of the Latin American countries. He fought, and he fought, and he did everything that he could to reject the concept of help from the establishment, so to speak. Then, accidentally, he became the dictator himself and immediately found himself in political trouble. In what was probably the best punch-line in the movie, he turns to the cabinet of men whom he has been rejecting and says "Help me! Help me!"
I think that that is the feeling that the medical profession has, for in its clinical work they regularly see people who are appealing to them, and they constantly have a feeling of helplessness in the face of certain of these problems. Therefore, their focus tends toward avoidance of these terribly painful situations in which they have to deal somehow with situations that they don't understand, nor know what to do about. And I think that you see strength of expression and a focusing on the negative side.
Dr. Kurland: Actually, there are several issues involved here. One is that it isn't too difficult to do research in this area if you submit a protocol. It's first a question of submitting an experimental design that will be accepted; and the other issue is that of financing. Many studies are accepted, but there just aren't funds available to carry them out. For example, we had the experience of this dying-patient study, which had earlier been submitted on two occasions, and it had been rejected on two occasions. If you have studies that you want to pursue, I'm pretty sure that if they meet the judgment of your scientific peers, they will be approved. Whether it will be funded is another matter, because there are priorities in these matters. One must be aware that there are only certain amounts of money available to go into programs. We have heard that the funds for LSD research have been decreasing for various reasons, which may not be relevant to the research program itself, but to other factors that have no relationship to these programs. If you're really interested in something and go to the extent of submitting it to a scientific body for approval, and if they reject it, there are most probably deficiencies in that design that should be corrected. This has been our experience. Not everything that we submit is approved. Some are rejected, and we go back to try to work them out. And things that are called to our attention are rejected. Sometimes we realize that we were biased in a certain way and that this was a good decision. In the LSD area, despite all the restrictions, you still can do research if you are willing to undertake the effort to have your plan approved. As you heard, the members of the panel are attempting now to work this thing out. There's a very complex administrative procedure because of the unique situation with this compound. When several agencies are involved, it becomes a very complicated manoeuver. Most of the time the rejected designs were rejected because there was a lack of some kind in them.
Contributors to the 1967 SymposiumFRANK BARRON (B.A. LaSalle College, Ph.D. University of California) is a research psychologist of the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research of the University of California in Berkeley. A recognized authority on the psychological aspects of human creativity, Mr. Barron is the author of Creativity and Psychological Health (1963), among other books, and has contributed numerous articles to professional journals. He has lectured at several American colleges and universities and has recently been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for cross-cultural research in Italy.
NEIL L. CHAYET (B.A. Tufts University, LL.B. Harvard University) is an assistant professor of legal medicine at the Law Medicine Institute of Boston University as well as a practicing lawyer. He is the author of a number of books and professional articles on problems of medical jurisprudence and is currently a member of the drafting committee for recodification of the Massachusetts laws of mental health.
RICHARD C. DEBOLD (B.A. University of California, M.S. Yale University, Ph.D. University of California) is Dean of Students and an associate professor of psychology at Hobart College and a recognized expert on the physiological basis of learned behavior. Mr. DeBold is currently preparing both a manual of experiments and a college textbook of psychology.
MURRAY E. JARVIK (B.S. City College of New York, M.A. University of California at Los Angeles, M.D., Ph.D. University of California) is an associate professor of pharmacology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the president of the Division of Psychopharmacology of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Jarvik has studied the effects of LSD on behavior intensively and is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable researchers in this area. He has written over seventy articles about his work for professional journals and is himself the managing editor of Psychopharmacologia.
MILTON H. JOFFE (A.B., M.S. University of Rochester, Ph.D. Ohio State University) has been associated for over twenty years with various research projects of the federal government, such as the Wright Field Aeromedical Laboratory and the Hanford AtomicEnergy Installation. Mr. Joffe is now a member of the Division of Drug Studies and Statistics of the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control of the Food and Drug Administration.
ALBERT A. KURLAND (B.S., M.D. University of Maryland) has been the Director of Research of the Maryland State Department of Mental Hygiene since 1960, in which capacity he directs the largest currently operating investigation of the therapeutic potential of LSD at the Spring Grove State Hospital in Baltimore. Dr. Kurland and his associates have published over one hundred articles on psychiatry and psychopharmacology.
RUSSELL C. LEAF (A.B. University of Chicago, Sc.M. Brown University, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania) is an assistant professor of psychology and biology at Wesleyan University and an active researcher in psychopharmacology. Mr. Leaf was from 1963 until 1966 the senior research psychopharmacologist of the Squibb Institute for Medical Research.
DONALD B. LOURIA (B.S., M.D. Harvard University) is an associate professor of medicine at the Cornell Medical College and the head of the Infectious Disease Laboratory of Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Dr. Louria has been very active in work on the social problems of narcotics as the chairman both of the Subcommittee on Narcotics and of the Public Health Committee of the New York County Medical Society and as president and member of the New York State Council on Drug Addiction. In 1966 he was MacArthur Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and is currently the Lowell Lecturer at Harvard University.
WALTER N. PAHNKE (A.B. Carleton College, M.D., S.T.B., Ph.D. Harvard University) is a teaching fellow of the Harvard Medical School and a resident in psychiatry of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston. Dr. Pahnke is currently on leave to carry out research on the therapeutic use of LSD with alcoholics, neurotics and terminal-cancer patients at the Spring Grove State Hospital in Baltimore. He has done extensive psychopharmacological research on LSD and similar psychotropic drugs both here and at the University of Gottingen. He is probably best known for his carefully controlled experiments concerning the effects of these drugs on mystical and religious experiences.