"I am playing with myself,
I am playing with the world's soul,
I am the dialogue between myself and el espiritu del mundo.
I change myself, I change the world."

Gloria AnzaldĂșa

30 April, 2008

The End of an Era

Albert Hofmann is dead. (Not to be confused with Abbie Hoffman, who died almost twenty years ago and was a frequent user of the drug Dr. Hofmann created.) Albert Hofmann is the Swiss chemist who created LSD.

It has been some time since the days of the "spirituality" of drug use has been a hot topic. Most of the men who championed that idea are dead. What is it about human consciousness that we seek to alter it? Why do we enjoy a distorted reality? And we do. Even if the hardest drug we ever ingest is gin.

I think that self awareness makes us want to understand how the brain works--we'd like to take it apart like a legos creation and figure out what happens if we put it together differently.

More than that, Hofmann believed that LSD would help us become aware that we are one with the universe--that all creation is connected. LSD, he thought, should be used a spiritual ritual.

Of course, Hofmann hoped for more than a drug that would help people commune with nature. He had hoped for a drug that would alter the consciousness of mentally ill people. He had hoped for a cure for schizophrenia. Too bad that didn't work.

He did manage to create another drug that would stop postpartum hemorrhaging. No small thing, that.

I tried LSD once. I wouldn't say it was spiritual, but the grass was VERY TALL and it was singing my name, so I guess I got the whole "one with nature" experience. But, as interesting as I found it to hear my mind unhinge, I decided it wasn't worth a second try. What about you, readers? Any of you reminiscing about your hippie past?

14 comments:

Peggy Sez.. said...

I'm too much of a control freak(a passive/agressive one mind you..I prefer the term Diplomatic)LSD would have sent me far far away.I shudder to think of it.
Pot made me paranoid and other "social" diversions made me hungry and sleepy.
Alcohol is my one and only "drug of choice".Alas no tie dye award for me.

Cheri said...

People of the Blogosphere! The former lawyer in me feels compelled to remind you that the 5th Amendment protects you from admissions such as whether you used LSD. ;-D

Having said that, Professor J is in good company. Eckhart Tolle admitted before a "LIVE" webcast audience of millions to having once dropped a hit of acid.

As for my hippie past, I remember sometime in the '60s wanting to
wear my stretchy hairband like a hippie headband and my mother wouldn't let me.

Great post, once again, Professor J.

Professor J said...

Cheri:I'm thinking the statute of limitations makes it ok for me to admit dropping acid in 1978. But I've often been told I reveal too much.

Family Adventure said...

Haven't tried it myself, but watched friends have interesting conversations with the sky, the trees and the flowers.

Heidi :)

Mike Golch said...

I will admitt to taking this a few times. I dumbest thing I did was jump on my motorcycle and go riding.I was lucky I went to a friends place and he saw that I was "trippin" grabed my keys and said come over here and watch the clouds for a while they are really talking to me and they will to you as well.

phd in yogurtry said...

Swore off hallucinogenics after reading Michener's The Drifters. I didn't, however, swear off pot, and I do have very fond hippie memories of those days. I live in an area where I can go to public watering holes and smell its sweet aroma. Ahhh.. it always takes me back : )

Mrs. T said...

I have a hippie uncle who fulfills my hippie-ness. I was, however, a member of "Students for Peace" while a college student, which is rather funny, since we were totally at peace then.
Hopefully you're caught up on your grading, because
I have tagged you for a meme:
http://lachucheria.blogspot.com/.

Saucy said...

I was young and wild in the 80's and truly afraid to try drugs.

I did slip some lemon gin into my slurpee once, does that count? I got caught.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Way too control freak for giving it up to acid or shrooms. Lighter relaxants? Possibly.

Sojourner said...

Naw! Cotrol freak for sure, especially back then, when everything in my life was out of control.

I knew some folks, scarey thought, who were in the military who had used a LOT of LSD. It was scarey to be around them in safe situations! Their minds were far, far, far away from any reality I knew.

anne said...

I think Loudon Wainwright III sums up my feelings pretty well:

So next time you wanna go out there
When you feel like fitting your head
Think twice before dropping acid
Hold out for mushrooms instead!

Irish Goddess said...

I love the idea of spirituality, and getting to know my subconscious. However, the one time I did mushrooms (with a very stressful person, I should add) it was awful. In addition to the ants all over my bed, I distinctly remember thinking "When is this going to be over? This is going to end sometime and I'll feel normal again. WHEN is this going to end?" Pot isn't my favorite either, as I have a tendency to become very paranoid. Sigh. This must explain why I consume gin, and beer, and vodka, and wine...

Linda said...

I did a long time ago when childless and part of a subculture where it was readily available. I learned that source (get it straight from the chemist, not some stranger on the street, and don't let it come into contact with anything organic) and set and setting (don't do it in an insecure situation or mindset) are crucial. A lot of misconceptions about psychoactive substances have to do with not understanding that these things make a serious difference. Anyway, I found it (and mushrooms and marijuana) to be a worthwhile experience and will certainly do it again if I have the opportunity when I'm old and no longer a caretaker.

Trudie said...

In a way I hate doing this - but Albert Hofmann came from Switzerland - not Sweden.
As for mindaltering drugs... Marijuana was readily available where I lived in the late 70's, but after trying it a couple of times I was done with it. My most terrifying experience was "waking up" thinking that I had been at this party for days when the time elapsed was in fact only about an hour.