LSD — The Problem-Solving Psychedelic
P.G. Stafford and B.H. Golightly
Other Literature in the Field
1. Alan W. Watts, The Joyous Cosmology. Pantheon (New York), 1962, $5. (Vintage paperback, $1.45)
Lyrical account of psychedelic experience as seen from viewpoint of philosopher of religion and science. Superb description of some of the higher levels of insight which can be achieved; and delineation of the new concept of man which emerges from LSD transformations. Accompanied by 21 plates used to represent patterns of consciousness.2. R. L. L. Masters and Jean Houston, The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. Holt, Rinehart and Winston (New York), 1966, $7.95.
Based upon first-hand observation of over 200 LSD and peyote sessions, the authors catalogue and display the multiple, radical alterations in consciousness brought about by aid of a psychedelic drug when used by comparatively normal individuals. Elaboration of a four-level theory of "psychedelic descent," as well as a detailed account of the training of a psychedelic guide. Survey of LSD clinical results and cultural history of mind-drugs. Perceptive and discriminating discussion of "instant LSD psychotherapy," psychedelic "insights," and "the drug-induced religious experience." Especially recommended.3. Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell. Harper & Row (New York), 1954, $1.35.
Two speculative essays on the implications of visionary experience by the prophetic spirit of the psychedelic movement. Written with grace, insight and an incisive style, both essays make a plea for greater recognition of man's "inner being" and for the humane development of his potentialities. The Doors of Perception records Huxley's first experience with a psychedelic (mescaline) and relates the resulting perceptual alterations to the mental states of Blake, Meister Eckhart, Van Gogh, Wordsworth and other artists and visionaries. It also surveys the role of "Artificial Paradises" in our society and redirects attention to Bergson's theory of Mind at Large, to Zen Buddhism and the value and dangers of religion, education, schizophrenia. Heaven and Hell examines the characteristics of mystical and psychedelic experience, and comments on the evocative power of visionary art. (A counterpoint to these volumes can be found in Alan Watts' This is IT; a dissent in R.C. Zaehner'sMysticism, Sacred and Profane.) 4. Harold Abramson (ed.), The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism. Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis), 1967, $17.50.5. Harold Abramson (ed.), The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy. The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation (New York), 1960, $5.
6. Louis Cholden (ed. ), Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and Mescaline in Experimental Psychiatry. Grune & Stratton (New York), 1956, $3.25.
7. Thomas M. Ling and John Buckman, Lysergic Acid (LSD-25) & Ritalin in the Treatment of Neurosis. The Lambarde Press (London), 1963, $5.
The best of more than two dozen volumes devoted to LSD psychotherapy. Cholden records a 1955 American Psychiatric Association roundtable, notable for contributions by Dr. Savage, Dr. Sandison and Aldous Huxley. The most famous and influential LSD gathering was the Josiah Macy LSD Conference (book #5) of 1959, which brought about an important positive turning-point in the use of LSD. The Bobbs-Merrill volume (#4) offers the most up-to-date research results, presented in 35 papers by experts from ten countries (and includes a liberal amount of group discussion). Ling and Buckman detail the clinical use of LSD for cases of anxiety, frigidity, migraine, psoriasis, etc., based on their treatment of over 350 patients at Marlborough Day Hospital (in London).8. Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner & Richard Alpert, The Psychedelic Experience. University Books (New Hyde Park, N.Y.), 1964, $5.
9. Timothy Leary, Psychedelic Prayers. Poets Press (Kerhonkson, N.Y.), 1966, $3.
The best to date of what promises to be an extensive library of "psychedelic manuals." Both are "translations into psychedelese" of time-tested books of wisdom and self-transcendence—the first of The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol), the second of the Chinese Tao Te Ching (Way of Life). Put into an Eastern philosophical orientation, these books suffer from the use of inappropriate scientific concepts, the underplaying of psychedelic dangers, and an overly rigid phenomenology (particularly in the first instance). Nonetheless, they offer important advice for preparing a psychedelic session, and are among the most important books put out by psychedelic activists.10. David Solomon (ed.), LSD: The Consciousness-Expanding Drug. G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York), 1964, $5.95. (Berkley paperback, 95¢).
An anthology of seventeen papers, among them some of the finest contributions so far on the issues raised by the emergence of psychedelic drugs: the manipulation of the mind, the validity of drug-induced experience, the relation between the individual and his society, the means to personality change, etc. Views from novelists, philosophers, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, a philosopher of religion, a journalist and half a dozen M.D.'s —both for and against the drug.11. Sidney Cohen, The Beyond Within. Atheneum (New York), 1964, $5.
12. Abram Hoffer, "D-Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD): A review of its present status," in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. C. V. Mosby Company (St. Louis), March-April 1965.
13. John Cashman, The LSD Story. Fawcett (Greenwich, Conn.), 1966.
14. Warren Young and Joseph Hixson, LSD on Campus. Dell (New York), 1966.
15. William H. Bischoff, The Ecstasy Drugs. University Circle Press (Delray Beach, Florida), 1966.
Popular accounts of the uses and users of psychedelic substances. Cohen's book is perhaps the most readable, and has-a particularly intriguing chapter on army LSD experimentation. Hoffer offers the most comprehensive, technical account, emphasizing sources, chemistry, pharmacology, biochemistry and neurophysiologic effects. Cashman—a New York Post reporter—and the team of Young and Hixson—former science editors for Life and Newsweek respectively—stress recent developments, focusing on the "acid-scene" and Timothy Leary. Bischoff is the least informative, though he is filled with interesting material on the clinical history of "magic plants."16. Richard Alpert, Sidney Cohen, & Lawrence Schiller, LSD. New American Library (New York), 1966.
The first extended assessment of the impact of psychedelics, since they have hit the street. Independent answers by two authorities—Alpert and Cohen—to some three dozen central questions about the dangers, merits, legal regulations and revolutionary potential of LSD. Also five photo essays illustrating various group "trips." This book is distinctly not a collaborative venture. Cohen (a veteran of seven "trips" at the time of writing) is alarmed by current developments, reverses his earlier favorable view of LSD and refuses to concede any value in what he calls "the cubehead revolution." Alpert (writing after 328 psychedelic voyages) sees enormous creative potential in the "psychochemical (r)evolution," and denies any serious danger in LSD ingestion.17. J. Fadiman, W. W. Harman, R. H. McKim, R. E. Mogar and M. J. Stolaroff, Psychedelic Agents in Creative Problem Solving. The Institute for Psychedelic Research of San Francisco State College (San Francisco), 1965.
The most important published pilot study regarding the creative and technical problem-solving abilities of the psychedelic drugs. Details of two group sessions—programmed for the development of a) an improved phonograph pickup cartridge, and b) new creative children's toys. There were also 22 individual sessions. An engineer, an architect, a physicist, a furniture designer, a mathematician, a commercial artist, and others participated. Eleven separate aspects of the creative process were singled out as having been enhanced by psychedelics. Results of a battery of psychological and creative tests; and discussions of long-range changes.18. David Ebin (ed.), The Drug Experience. Orion Press (New York), 1961, $5.9S. (Black Cat paperback)
19. Henri Michaux, Light Through Darkness. Orion Press (New York), 1963, $5.
20. Henri Michaux, Miserable Miracle. City Lights Books (San Francisco), 1963, $1.95.
21. Constance A. Newland, My Self and I. Coward McCann (New York), 1962, $4.95. (Signet paperback)
22. Malden Grange Bishop, The Discovery of Love. Dodd, Mead & Company (New York), 1963, $4.
23. Jane Dunlap, Exploring Inner Space. Harcourt, Brace & World (New York), 1961, $3.75.
Straightforward first-person accounts of psychedelic experience, sources from which we gradually can begin to achieve some sort of "objective" understanding of what LSD and related drugs can do. Ebin has collected selections from famous descriptions of the opiates and psychedelics—by Gautier, Baudelaire, De Quincey, Cocteau, Huxley, William Burroughs, Alexander King, Aleister Crowley, Havelock Ellis, Allen Ginsberg, R Gordon Wasson, etc. The two volumes by Michaux recount this painter-poet's experiences with psilocybin, mescaline and cannabis. His drug-induced insights into other forms of existence are then used as a point of departure for describing the worlds of "insanity" (what Michaux calls "chasm situations"). The last three books are full-length "barings of soul" (two are pseudonymous) by successful, middle-aged popular writers. Constance Newland devotes her account to the peeling back of fantasy upon fantasy, relating how she "worked through" her frigidity in 23 LSD sessions under the guidance of a Freudian therapist. Bishop reports on "the most profound experience of my life," which came about after ingestion of a single dose of LSD. And Jane Dunlap sets forth her various "Odysseys inward," emphasizing the effect they have had upon her value system, her family life and her creative urges.24. Richard Blum and Associates, Utopiates: The Use and Users of LSD-25. Atherton Press (New York), 1965, $8.
25. Richard Goldstein, I in 7: Drugs on Campus. Walker and Company (New York), 1966, $4.95.
Two sociological investigations of the current "psychedelic explosion." Utopiates examines the motives, orientation, reactions, proselytism and reported change in five sub-groups of LSD users; and contrasts these findings with the same factors observed in a group of "controls" (people who have refused the drug). Though based upon an extremely limited sampling (92 users)—nearly all of whom were white, Protestant, middle-class and socially mobile—the conclusions are sensible and essentially sound. Also contains chapters on the "institutionalization" of LSD, LSD centers and the reactions of public officials and the police to widespread psychedelic interest. 1 in 7 is a reporter's description of the "campus drug scene," based upon his tour of colleges across the nation and extensive interviews with students, deans, health officials, "pushers" and the police.26. Ralph Metzner (ed.), The Psychedelic Review (Box 498, Peter Stuyvesant Station, New York 10009), $4.50/year.
27. G. M. Weil, R. Metzner and T. Leary (ed.), The Psychedelic Reader. University Books (New Hyde Park, N.Y.), 1965, $5.95.
28. Linn House (ed.), Inner Space (Box 212, Old Chelsea Station, New York 10011), $5.00/year.
29. Lisa Bieberman (ed.), Psychedelic Information Center Bulletin (26 Boylston St., Cambridge 02138), $1.00/year.
House organs of the "psychedelic movement" The Psychedelic Review, a quarterly, serves as the movement's academic forum, publishing scholarly essays, research reports, accounts of psychedelic experience and artistic-poetic expressions originating from drug or non-drug "trips." (The Psychedelic Reader is a selection of the best articles from the first four issues, and contains essays on psychopharmacology, dosage, legal implications; the alcoholic, religious and frigidity studies; and annotated bibliographies.) Inner Space, a monthly, is an information clearing-house for "the turned-on underground," a lively magazine recording the activities of the psychedelic community and new developments on the drug front. Lisa Bieberman's bimonthly Bulletin is the outstanding example of an LSD newsletter, focused around events associated with the burgeoning "psychedelic information centers."30. Donald Louria, Nightmare Drugs. Pocket Books (New York), 1966, $1.
31. Harry Asher, "They Split My Personality," Saturday Review, June 1, 1963.
32. Jacob Brackman, "The End of the Trip," Esquire, Sept. 1966.
33. W. A. Frosch, E. S. Robbins and M. Stern, "Untoward Reactions to Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) Resulting in Hospitalization," New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 2, 1965.
34. Subcommittee on Narcotics Addiction of the Medical Society of the County of New York, "The Dangerous Drug Problem," New York Medicine, May 5, 1966.
35. J. T. Ungerleider and D. D. Fisher, "LSD: Research & Joy Ride," The Nation, May 16, 1966.
35a. J. T. Ungerleider and others, "The Dangers of LSD," Journal of the American Medical Association, Aug. 8, 1966.
The best literature to date setting forth the dangers of LSD use. Dr. Donald Louria, advisor to Governor Rockefeller on narcotics addiction, has issued an "uncensored study" (serialized in This Week magazine) purportedly about "LSD, the newest of the debilitating and often fatal drugs." So far the only book-length negative view of the psychedelics, this "study" in fact is an attempt to link LSD to the narcotics, and is primarily about other drugs (only 2 of the 11 chapters deal at any length with LSD). Asher and Brackman offer vivid descriptions of the hellish psychedelic experience—the former writing a subjective account of what happened to him after LSD ingestion, the latter recounting a visit to an "LSD patient" in a Massachusetts mental hospital. The remaining articles are by psychiatrists and medical men who have been on the hospital receiving-end when "psychedelic casualties" have appeared, and are initial analyses of "LSD panics," "LSD psychoses," and "LSD recurrence." Alarming reports which deserve serious consideration, but extremely misleading representations of the overall psychedelic picture. Taken together, they make an impressive case for learning more about the dangers of psychedelics, and emphasize the necessity for widespread education in the positive use of these powerful substances.36. Robert S. de Ropp, Drugs and the Mind. St. Martin's Press (New York), 1957. (Black Cat paperback)
37. Norman Taylor, Flight from Reality, Duell, Sloan and Pearce (New York), 1949. (Revised Dell paperback entitled Narcotics: Nature's Dangerous Gifts, $1.65)
38. J. Mills, A. Montague, S. Cohen and others, The Drug Takers. Time-Life Books (New York), 1965, $1.50.
Popular histories of a host of mind-changing drugs. De Ropp's book, the most serious of these three, describes what we know about mental functioning and how it can be altered by alcohol, heroin, the barbiturates, the amphetamines, marijuana, the psychedelics and such nonchemical means as electroconvulsive therapy (E.C.T.) and that process of separating a man's frontal lobes and thalamus known as lobotomy. In addition to quoting classical papers on drug experience at length, this book contains a direct and compassionate account of mental illness. Taylor provides a more diverting introduction to the herbs and plants which affect the mind, including coffee, tea, tobacco, chocolate, fly agaric, caapi pituri, kava and betel. The Drug Takers for the most part is given over to the world of addiction—with photographic essays on an addict's life, the Mafia, the Narcotics Bureau, withdrawal, Syanon, and Teen Challenge—but also contains a good deal of material on the psychedelics, presented in the usual Time-Life format.39. ETC: A Review of General Semantics, Dec. 1965.
40. Explorations, June-July 1965.
41. The Harvard Review, Summer 1963.
42. Progressive Architecture, August 1966.
Ground-breaking journals and reviews which have tried to come to terms with the psychedelics by relating these drugs to their own specialties (in the first three instances, the entire magazine constitutes a "special issue" on the psychedelics). Thus, the Dec. 1965 ETC. has six articles, two book reviews and half a dozen "comments" on the impact of LSD on language and symbols, while the June-July 1965 Explorations concentrates on LSD's significance as regards self-actualization creativity, personality change and "authenticity." As time passes, an increasing number of professional journals will follow this pattern.43. Bernard Roseman, LSD: The Age of Mind. Wilshire Book Company (Hollywood), 1963, $3.
44. Michael McClure, Meat Science Essays. City Lights Books (San Francisco), 1963, $1.35.
45. William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, The Yage Letters. City Lights Books (San Francisco), 1963, $1.25.
Writings from strong-minded individuals who have pursued personal study of the various psychedelics, and who have left records testifying to "where they have been," generally affirming their belief that (as McClure puts it) "a new era is at hand and it must be joyfully struggled for in full awareness and enjoyment of life." A rapidly growing new form of literature—part autobiographical, part descriptive, somewhat apocalyptic, loosely composed, weaving personal reflections in and out of "drug notes."46. Aldous Huxley, Island. Harper and Row (New York, 1962, $5.
47. Louis Charbonneau, Psychedelic-40. Bantam Books (New York), 1965.
Two novels which attempt to project the social potentialities of pharmacology by positing "a psychedelic civilization." Psychedelic-40 presents a world controlled by a Syndicate which rations out "Psi 40," a potent telepathic psychedelic, to an addicted, hedonistic populace. The plot concerns a power struggle within the Syndicate and a fight with the "Anti's" (non-drug-using forces), and takes in visits to vacation colonies, sex nightclubs and religious orders such as "The Society of the Immortal Light." Huxley conceived of Island, his last major work, as an antidote to his earlier drug-fantasy Brave New World, and hoped that as his characters used "the moksha-medicine" to blend the best of cultures from both the east and the west, so this world would be able to use the psychedelics to redress social and personal imbalances and avert ultimate disaster. Island is an exasperating book for many of those unsympathetic to its ideas, but is an unexcelled formulation of the creative potential in the psychedelic revolution.