This article by the author of the best seller The Lazy Man's Guide
to Enlightenment, Thaddeus Golas, appeared in a 1979 issue of
Blotter, a zine published by the Psychedelic Education Center, Box
2544, Santa Cruz, California. . It is revived here for you.
A Perspective on LSD
What is LSD, and why are all those people saying such terrible things about it? What can we learn from our recent history, so that we will not be condemned to repeat it?
Writing about LSD, of course, is like talking about sex -- what is said usually reveals more about the talker than about the subject. But I believe I can be a fair witness. Psychedelics have been used by human beings since the beginning of recorded history. We should make a distinction between LSD and the use of it that is made by any person or society. In the past two decades, in America in particular, we have done with psychedelics just as we are doing with food and education and autos: valuing quantity over quality. Everyone wants to have some of whatever it is: we overpublicize and overdistribute junk and trash. The situation now is that anyone who seeks out underground LSD is playing chemical roulette, while the law forbids LSD to rational experimenters. We have a great talent for finding evidence to support what we want to believe. We slaughter thousands on the highways, kill millions in wars, kill others with mistaken medical treatments, but we quote with alarm every "drug-connected" murder or accident or psychosis. A criminal who has been using PCP, amphetamines, heroin, qualudes and barbiturates does something irrational, and LSD is identified as the villain. At least one out of every ten Americans will spend some of his life in a mental hospital, yet we worry about what LSD might "do" to us. And since we are so slow in reversing the official lies about marijuana, the prospects of common sense about LSD do indeed appear remote.
The reality of LSD is what each person discovers for himself. It has less physical after-effect than a few drinks of liquor, which is astonishing, considering the intensity of the experience while it is happening. LSD does not drive anyone crazy, no more than it makes anyone saner or holier. It amplifies what is already there. LSD may emphasize certain vibrations to an incredible degree, but the only music will be the record you are already playing. Or it could be said that LSD acts as a certain kind of mirror, and may indeed show a person an extreme vision of his traits.
The potential bummer for everyone is that there are some things in our psyches we may prefer not to amplify. But resistance to ourselves is exactly why we are what we are. It takes an odd courage to look deep, and love what we see without resistance. I would not recommend its use casually to everyone, but on the other hand I would hate to have it on my conscience that my words diverted anyone from an enlightening experience.
LSD's self-revealing powers are probably the unspoken reason that propaganda against it has been so severe and so willingly accepted. No other drug has aroused such official terror; PCP really does what LSD was accused of doing, yet it has taken the media ten years to mention it.
LSD is genuinely enlightening, and there are many people who can say, as I have, "I would meditate for a thousand years just for another moment like that one." There are many doors to a broader consciousness. Why are we afraid of the doors that are open?
Each of us declares the state of consciousness he prefers by the drugs he chooses. For those outside the drug world, it would be wise for them to judge from clear information about which drugs are used, by whom, and exactly what effects each drug has. It would also be wise to leave out the horror stories, and not shift responsibility for behavior from the person to the drug. Dishonesty may be temporarily comfortable, but it doesn't help anyone stay away from drugs. For those in the drug scene, and that now includes everyone who has smoked marijuana or taken tranquilizers, the question is simple: Where do you want your consciousness to be?
What are the real effects of LSD? Mostly uniquely personal and too numerous to mention. It is one thing to talk about ascending to spiritual levels of consciousness; it is another to bring it back to the physical world in a way that brightens everyone's life. But a great many people succeeded in doing it. They saw the world as a divine toy; expressing their vision in music, light, paint, and cloth.
What are the prospects for the future? I will now utter warnings, for we already have, unfortunately, a surfeit of prophets of disaster and legislators of morality -- prophets and legislators who plainly show their underestimation of their fellow human beings. However, psychedelics are rather important: they directly arouse our awareness, which is our experience of reality. The dire prediction is not that we will be destroyed, for destruction is just the turning of the wheel, but that we may become "have-nots" of the mind.
Knowledge is said to be power: if absolute power corrupts absolutely, does absolute knowledge corrupt absolutely also? I think not: I think what that sentence tells us is that wisdom is more than cliches. There is a great deal of knowledge to be gained through LSD, admittedly knowledge that we have to learn how to use. LSD will show you all of the divine intelligence you can handle, and sometimes a bit more than you thought you could handle. It also makes you think twice about how you use your knowledge, of course, but that can only be beneficial for mankind in the long haul.
Perhaps it is out of fashion for anyone to sound so Utopian, considering the chaotic record of recent decades. But the fact that some disturbed people took it does not detract from the gift that LSD can give to people sound in mind and spirit. In any case, we are not that fragile: we are timeless beings who cannot be destroyed. (Yes, we can certainly blank out whatever it is we think we are, but the undifferentiated awareness always comes through!) How often have we gone beyond our fears to find there was nothing to be afraid of?
Psychedelics will not disappear from Earth. Even if there were no laboratories, there would always be the mushrooms, the peyote buttons, the hundreds of plants growing naturally. Either more intelligent and stable people get involved in the exploration, or it will continue to take its erratic course underground.
Nature is careless -- millions of seeds are wasted for every flower that grows. We see order in Nature, but rarely calculate its price in discontinued forms and discarded individuals. We are reluctant to think with a species mind. Is there any reason to expect, in the wild give-and-take of mass-level energies, that Nature will be more efficient, excusing our mistakes, in the nurture of human consciousness?
There is a higher consciousness than that which mankind now finds credible. If you are open to it, LSD shows you that without any doubt. If those with social power do not choose to guide human attention to this higher consciousness, it will erupt again and again as it did in the Sixties. The energy of awakening consciousness may subside to the trough of the wave, but in time it is unstoppable. And in time the great rulers and powers and avatars and intellects of Earth will know themselves to be mere cartoon figures.
In the end, LSD will speak for itself. It is formed on another level of causation, where all atoms and molecules and compounds form themselves. LSD speaks from a timeless place, and what we human beings make of it is our responsibility and our fantasy.
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