Tripping in Costa Rica?

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.

9 thoughts on “Tripping in Costa Rica?

  1. I think he makes an interesting point but it’s a bit of a leap to say the psychopathic or sociopathic minds that may be responsible for large scale violence or misdeeds would be swayed if they had had a nice trip back in the day. I don’t think there is any question that there can objectively be some introspective or mind opening “value” in psychedelics but there is also negative potential for “bad trips”. The times ive seen people have a rough time were most often when they had a much stronger amount of something than they were accustomed or were first timers. Really that kind of bad experience is mainly caused by whatever mental baggage someone is bringing to the table. My advice would be to try hallucinogenic mushrooms first and in a small quantity to get your feet under you so to speak before just jumping into the deep end, and maybe be with someone you trust who has some experience. I couldn’t think of a better place to do so than a secluded central American beach. Reminds me of my college days. Now an interesting clinical experiment would be to get the swede or someone of his persuasion to submit to use and document the effects.


    1. I’m as square as they come, don’t know how to get hold of stuff.

      I picture Swede having hallucinations of Reagan and John Wayne maybe sitting on a big featherbed and talking about the Shining City while visions of a ghostly Ayn Rand swirl about the room. He’d be trippin’, man.


  2. I have had both amazing and terrifying experiences with psychedelics. it was worth it. there are some dos and don’ts if you’re thinking about trying it out. it can be grounding to have someone you trust keep an eye on you. spend time outside. stay away from drunk people, they truly become Hunter Thompson-esque monsters who can send you on a downward spiral into bad trip land. marijuana is a nice compliment, and I’ve had trips that didn’t really kick in until I smoked a little weed.

    I wish we lived in a culture that valued these experiences. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t played around with the limits of consciousness. there are risks though, and I think Abe makes a good suggestion about mushrooms. since you’re dealing with the black market, LSD is rarely of the quality they had back in the day, unless of course you have a trusted source.


    1. My ambition is so different. I grew up in a dysfunctional household, Dad a raging alcoholic, and so have very few early childhood memories involving him. In my early teens, mom did the ultimate Catholic blackmail on him, telling him she would no longer attend Sunday church until he quit drinking. He did, but also vamoosed. Since Catholics could not divorce, he bought a business down the road and spent his weekends there, and then later all his time. My three brothers and I are classic products of such a household, oldest to youngest (me): Crazy man, perfect man, angry man and the good little boy.

      My ambition is to unlock this crazy past, try to remember Dad during that time, not to to anything more than to understand. They are all dead now, but, and it’s weird, I know, I want some contact with them in the normal state, before the insanity locked in. That’s why I think this way. I want some closure. I think psychedelics might offer that.


      1. it’s worth a try. just make sure you have support. I broke a few of my rules once by being around strangers who were mostly drunk and I had to escape with the help of my partner. it only took a few hours literally sitting in my closet beneath a mound of clothes to come back from that one.


        1. Another alternative is simply meditation. Psychadelics are probably just a shortcut to the same end. Ever since my two oldest brothers died in 2011, the past has been unfolding gradually, things I took for granted in one way unfolding as something else. It’s fascinating. Children are powerless, and so when confronted with threatening situations, put those memories on a shelf, usually never to be revisited. I guess I am looking it for a feather duster.


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