January 7, 2006

The scientist who discovered LSD.

Turns 100.
"It's very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature," [Albert Hofmann] said, listing to the right in a green armchair that looked out over frost-dusted fields and snow-laced trees. A glass pitcher held a bouquet of roses on the coffee table before him. "In the big cities, there are people who have never seen living nature, all things are products of humans," he said. "The bigger the town, the less they see and understand nature." And, yes, he said, LSD, which he calls his "problem child," could help reconnect people to the universe.
But no, he doesn't want you and me to have access to the substance for our private experiences with the universe:
But Mr. Hofmann ... is frustrated by the worldwide prohibition that has pushed it underground. "It was used very successfully for 10 years in psychoanalysis," he said, adding that the drug was hijacked by the youth movement of the 1960's and then demonized by the establishment that the movement opposed. He said LSD could be dangerous and called its distribution by Timothy Leary and others "a crime.

"It should be a controlled substance with the same status as morphine," he said.
How would that work? Would a psychotherapist have to sit by your side, trying to use your melted mental state to manipulate your mind away from your problems? Or could a soul with a disconnect from nature get a prescription to take home, with instructions to construct a suitable environment of roses, Mozart, and incense (to use the elements of Hofmann's own LSD experiment, described in the article)?

7 comments:

Ron said...

Imagine trying to describe the government on acid, using roses, Mozart, and incense to represent the legislative, executive and judicial branches respectively...

Well, who hasn't done that at some point?

HaloJonesFan said...

He's probably thinking along the lines of hypno-therapy. Except then we would have people saying, "yeah, I went to my therapist, and he shot this big purple bird out of his nose, and the bird said that Sharon left me because nine-eyed aliens from the Xenu Galaxy were eating her libido.

Meade said...

HaloJonesFan: Well at least then you'd have an explanation that made some kind of sense...

at least until the acid wore off.

JohnF said...

I think what happens during the period of supervised use of the LSD is in many ways less important than the fact of the supervision itself.

In broad terms, for example, it's important that the user not be driving Ann's new Bugatti Veyron while unsupervised.

miklos rosza said...

Well, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (who later began calling himself Ram Dass, I think) certainly believed in "guided trips." It seems like they used either the Tibetan or Egyptian Book of the Dead as a model of some sort.

It's an extremely powerful drug.

Edward Willett said...

There's a historical perspective on the use of LSD in psychiatric research online here . It caught my eye a few months ago because I grew up in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, where much of the research was done and where the doctor worked who coined the term "psychedelic."

My blog post, here, includes an old photo of the Saskatchewan Hospital where the work was carried out.

Pancho said...

A liter of vodka every day for months on end did much the same for me, although mine were "unguided trips".

Happily, clean and sober for 13 years now.