This is something that has been on my back burner for quite a while, ever since David Sirota mentioned on his radio show in Denver that Steve Jobs credited much of his creative success to having taken LSD on a couple of occasions. He said it was a positive experience and made him more sensitive to touch and color.
I’ve mentioned to friends that I think it might be fun to take LSD, and I get a frightened response, as if it would fry my brain, the old reefer madness syndrome. It’s not legal in the US, but is in Costa Rica, I’m told. Hmmmmm…
Reddit did one of their ask-me-anything forums with Rick Doblin, PhD, of MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for a Psychedelic Studies. It’s very long but kept my interest. I liked the following exchange:
Hey Rick et al. Matt Johnson here from Johns Hopkins. Glad you’re doing this AMA. My question is: What do you think the world would be like today if psychedelic research (including therapeutic use research) had not shut down in the 1970? That is, both in terms of medicine and the larger culture. Good luck with all the questions… Thanks!
Hey Matt! If psychedelic research had not been shut down in the 1970s, and if the cultural crackdown had not taken place, I believe there is a very good chance that the United States would never have invaded Iraq and that the War on Drugs would have ended. The reason I say this is that the whole process of scapegoating and finding external enemies is in part because of our inability to handle our own flaws and imperfections, which we then project outward. Also, the process of dehumanization, the demonization of others, is reduced if we have a culture where spiritual experiences and a sense of unity are more widespread, and where we realize that we share more in common in other people than we have differences.
The UNESCO charter says, “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” I think the psychedelic mystical experience is one of the strongest defenses of peace that can be constructed. Albert Einstein said that the splitting of the atom changed everything but our mode of thinking, and that as we “drift toward unparalleled catastrophe,” what shall be required by mankind to survive is a whole new mode of thinking. This new mode of thinking is, I believe, a spiritual orientation.
For me personally, and for many others, psychedelics, more so than traditional religious rituals, have opened the door to spiritual experiences. I therefore think that if our culture had mainstreamed psychedelics in the 1970s rather than demonized them, 45 years later we would have a more spiritual world, a more compassionate world, and would be dealing with the stresses of globalization in much healthier ways.
-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director
Sounds a little peacenicky, but I like it.