Saturday, May 10, 2008

Acid Casualty

Albert Hoffmann, the Swiss chemist who developed LSD has died at the age of 102. So far, the best line I’ve seen was in the Onion, where one of the on-the-street interviewees commented: “I keep telling my kids this- you mess with drugs and you’re going to wind up dead!”

I took acid a number of times back when I was a kid and it was still possible to find (admittedly weak) LSD. I could be wrong, but I get the feeling that the War on Drugs has won against acid. I haven’t heard anyone talk about taking it in years. Admittedly, I’m not a roadie for Phish or anything, so I might just be out of the loop.

I enjoyed acid- it struck me as pleasant way to spend a Friday night and somewhat helpful for visualizing things or thinking though a problem from Point A to Point Blue. I figured out pretty quickly that it should not be taken on a daily basis, unless you’re looking to establish a long and meaningful relationship with a fire hydrant. But I will admit that at times, when I was struggling my way through a difficult question, I would jolt my brain with drugs and alcohol and, about 50% of the time, get through the mental block.

I realize that’s not a trick that’s going to wind up in a lot of self-help books. But, I’ve heard of other acid casualties, such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or every computer programmer I’ve ever met, doing the same thing. You mess with drugs and you’re going to wind up owning Google! Nevertheless, my advice for young people: only use drugs in moderation, and stay away from the bad shit.

It’s hard to judge the impact of acid. The NY Times article sort of plays it down, aside from its influence in Silicon Valley. In my estimation, acid has led to bad poetry, music of widely varying quality, really bad “acid films”, and some genuinely cool paintings. The exaggerated expectations for acid- from the drug war acid freak horror movies to the Timothy Leary lysergic evangelical encomiums were mostly off beam. But that’s not to say that LSD hasn’t forever altered the culture, perhaps in ways that are not yet evident- as most people who have used it will tell you, it’s necessary to wait a while for acid to take effect.


The Pagan Temple said...

I've always wondered what it would be like to see music and hear colors, and some of the other stuff I've heard about. It sounds like your brain encompasses everything in one setting. What is generally compartmentalized becomes a part of one big whole. In other cases you get to see into your deepest dreams or in some cases nightmares. I think a lot of it is your brain just reacting to stimuli on the fly and processing it through multiple levels where it would ordinarily be blocked out.

I did it a few times, one time visited some friends in jail and just stood there grinning at them while they, two brothers, bitched each other out. All it did for me was make me feel real mellow.

I don't think it's possible to do it justice on film. Everything I ever saw-for example one segment from the movie Easy Rider-just seems kind of fake and obvious.

If somebody did a film, or that kind of segment, while they was actually on acid, if that were possible, it might work, but I doubt it. Nothing would accurately portray the feeling a person would get going through that in a way that it would translate on screen.

Music and art might come closer. With film, there is too many technical components that absolutely require precision and some degree of control involving so many disparate elements, human and otherwise, that aren't in the equation with art and music. And even they would never capture it perfectly, more than likely.

Rufus said...

I've always wanted to try ayahuasca actually. With LSD, I found that I could get the same auditory effects from really strong pot. But, I'm always told that there hasn't been real LSD since the 60s. Alas...

Anonymous said...

I have done over 20 hits of LSD in my lifetime, and that's not many compared to a lot of other people I know. You are correct, the war on drugs has won when it comes to LSD or Acid.

I am in the loop myself, but LSD is the one drug that is very rarely ever around. Reason, in my opinion, is because if you get caught with more than a personal amount you can and will get a life sentence.

There were two chemists making acid on the east coast of the US, and since they got arrested about 6 years ago; and both got sentenced to life--there is hardly any acid around.

When I experimented with LSD/Acid I had some great experiences. I use to take a tablet, and trip alone. I would start creative writing, and then wait until 2 days later to read it. I wrote things while tripping on acid, that I would have never written over wise in a sober state of mind.

As an aspiring horror/mystery writer now, I tried booze, weed, and coke. I have found out that there is no creativity when drunk or high on coke and weed. LSD is a stand alone drug when it comes to creativity. Shrooms are around, but they are far from creating creativity. They left me staring at the trees around me for three hours...

Thanks for Writing this article, I could offer so much more, but being a Pink Floyd lover: LSD/Acid is a very touchy subject for me, because of what it did to Syd Barrett.

Take Care
Mr X.

Anonymous said...

lol, the War on Drugs has won against LSD, huh?

From that statement, I take it you haven't attended high school, much less an institute of higher education, any time recently.

peevedslacker said...

war on drugs .... limping along on its weary path, but there s so many people on this planet, cant stop us all and the more liberal countries like spain or netherlands..... will make up for the sins of oppression from the Almighty USA. Just need some importers for the STates.... however, even here in the Baltic countries where im from, if you search for it.... you will find it. Its expensive. But then so is about anything.... for the insight it gives, i can justify the price. Although to be fair, it should be ALOT cheaper.... there should be no profit involved, ideally. I guess that goes for everything .. ideally. on this planet. Where would we be without competition? .....

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