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Excerpts from 14 speeches


THE BERKELEY CONFERENCE ON LSD


   
 

Sponsored by the University of California Extension, San Francisco

 
			

Conference Director: Richard Baker, B.A., Letters and Sciences Extension, U.C., Berkeley




Users and Abusers of LSD

 

Richard Blum

We Are All One

 

USCO

Adverse Reactions to LSD

 

William Frosch

A Descriptive Approach to the
Psychedelic Experience

 

Rolf Von Eckartsberg

Stability and Change in Human
Intelligence and Consciousness

 

Frank Barron

Implications for Law Enforcement

 

Joseph D. Lohman

The Role of Psychedelics in Shamanism,
Witchcraft, and the Vision Quest

 

Michael Harner

LSD and the Art of Conscious Living

 

Richard Alpert

LSD and the Dying Patient

 

Eric Kast

LSD Therapy of Alcoholism

 

Abram Hoffer

The Significance of Artificially Induced
Religious Experience

 

Huston Smith

Therapeutic Uses of Ibogaine

 

Claudio Naranjo

The Myth About Psychedelic Drugs

 

Paul Lee

The Molecular Revolution

 

Timothy Leary







     

Users and Abusers of LSD

RICHARD BLUM

Director, Psychopharmocological Project, Institute for the Study of Human Problems, Stanford University

 
						

The most abnormal, unusual, and rare is the person who uses no drugs at all. I'm talking about mind-altering drugs — aspirin, through alcohol, tobacco, tranquilizers and sedatives, into the exotic — marijuana, LSD, and glue sniffing.... We're all drug users. When we talk about drug users, we're not talking about somebody else. top

 
						

We Are All One

USCO

A changing group of artists, poets, engineers, photographers, filmmakers, dancers working together on multi-channel multi-mixes of audio, visual, and live materials, including "Who R U?", "What's Happening", and "We Are All One".

 
						

In a world of simultaneous operations, you don't have to be first to be on top. We are all at work beating the tribal drum of our new electronic environment, and "who is who" is no more to the point than it was at the pyramids or at Chartres or any collaborative work of a traditional society. top






GOOD ANYTIME

DAY AND NIGHT

SATS. AND SUNS.



Good only for

1966 · SEASON · 1967

Subject to Conditions
Named on Cover



NOT TRANSFERABLE



   

Extended Psychosis: Three of the eleven patients who developed extended psychoses were felt not to have been psychotic prior to ingestion of LSD. They had, however, had serious personality disturbances. In the isolation of the transcendental state they believed they had achieved a resolution of their problems. Any terror that may have been present was rapidly replaced by a feeling of ecstasy as they felt they had achieved a new self. As the effects of the drug wore off, these three patients were faced with the problem of returning to the real world and accommodating a vague new self-image to reality. Conflict arose as they began to interact with other people and had to become reconciled to the fact that their new understanding was not readily grasped or responded to by others.

Out of the total patient population, a surprisingly small percentage said they took the drug primarily for its beneficial effects. Only four people, two of whom were non-hospitalized, took LSD in order to achieve personality improvement via psychedelic experience. Fourteen sought kicks or highs, and the rest said they would not mind if they were helped psychologically in addition to achieving an experience.

One of the major differences between our subjects and some of the gifted people who have described their LSD experiences seems to be in the capacity to integrate the perceptions and thoughts aroused by LSD. It was more typical for the people we interviewed to content themselves with watching buildings bend and follow them as they walked down the street, or, in the hope of recapturing some of the feelings, to stand, long after an LSD experience, behind a garbage truck and watch the blinking purple light. top

 

Adverse Reactions to LSD

WILLIAM FROSCH

Asst. Profesor of Psychiatry, NY University School of Medecine; Attending Physician, Bellevue, University, Manhattan VA Hospitals

 
						

From January of 1965 there have been admissions to New York's Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital from LSD ingestion, at a rate of about 3 or 4 a week. Admissions seem to fall into three general overlapping categories: (1) panic reaction, (2) reappearance of symptoms without reingestion of the drug, and (3) overt, prolonged psychosis.

Panic Reactions: Of our patients, many had taken the drug alone and came to the hospital seeking relief from their terror. Others were brought by friends who thought they could not control the patient. Recovery was rapid and these patients were actually discharged within three days.

Reoccurrence: The spontaneous return of perceptual distortions or feelings of depersonalization occurred up to a year after the lost previous use of the drug without further ingestion of it. This tended to occur in individuals who had been preoccupied with the effects of LSD upon them and thought about it often. Reoccurrence tended to occur in people who had taken the drug a number of times and who were then in a situation which provoked anxiety.

 




     

A Descriptive Approach to the Psychedelic Experience

ROLF VON ECKARTSBERG

Asst. Professor of Psychology, Duquesne University

 
						

LSD has given me a quality of perceptiveness that has opened up a new dimension with no detrimental effects. The experience has carried over into the state of every day wide-awakedness. (The following is paraphrased from a small portion of Von Eckartsberg's second-by-second account of his LSD experience, the reading of which was constantly interrupted by spontaneous applause from an enraptured and amazed audience. Asked afterward how he could possibly manage to write such a fantastically faithful account, lie replied it was Simply through disciplined daily practice at writing, and by making no attempt at verbalization until two days after the experience.)

(Outside, on a street corner).... leaping, hurtling machines, busses and trucks... barely under control, swerving in and out of their paths, barely avoiding collision with the buildings and each other... shock waves of heat and noise ... galloping monsters now suddenly inexplicably at rest... growling... what is this... why? ... what is this light glowing suddenly red?... why?... What does it mean?...what unexplainable message is it sending, causing this sudden change? ... click click click...from inside this metal box ... wires leading overhead to the light, back to the box, then where...wherefrom these messages, these commands ... why?...what is their purpose?...

(Inside, listening to music) ...,Whirrr, plop!...such a cold mechanical sound this record player makes ... it's Bob Dylan! oh, no!, yes I like him, yes, but please, not now) top

Stability and Change in Human Intelligence and Consciousness

FRANK BARRON

Research Psychologist, Institute of Personality Assessment & Research, University of California, Berkeley

 
						

Does LSD have a biochemical capacity to permanently alter personality, intelligence, and consciousness" These qualities have an amazing overall stability through time and populations. Under these circumstances, however, even a very small change would be a significant one, and careful research is badly needed, but is now made impossible within the law. A vast and unknown amount of experimentation continues to be carried out by private individuals on themselves, however.

LSD users seem to fall into the following categories, those interested in aesthetic appreciation; those interested primarily in religious experience; cure seekers for alcoholism and neurosis; and finally, a vast group of highly intelligent young people who are primarily concerned with trying to find out who they are and what they might become in a world that is changing at dizzying speed. These young people are facing no less than a " crisis of identity." The stigma of illegality resulting from the recent prohibitive and punitive laws relating to possession and use of LSD are creating an 'image of 'the LSD Underground Man" out of highly intelligent young people. The worst thing that could happen would be for thousands of our best young people who are undergoing this identity crisis to find themselves defined as criminals for pursuing a course that they themselves consider constructive. top




   

The Role of Psychedelics in Shamanism, Witchcraft, and the Vision Quest

MICHAEL HARNER

Asst. Director & Asst. Research Anthropologist, Lowie Museum of Anthropology, UC, Berkeley

 
						

There are literally thousands of plant species which contain alkaloids that may have hallucinogenic effects. The outlawing of the popular and "safe" hallucinogens will encourage people to experiment with agents that may have strong toxic properties. Young people will become their own amateur pharmacologists. An outstanding example is the case of the Scotch Broom flower, a yellow flower planted by the State of Cali. fornia along freeways, in schoolyards, around PG&E installations, etc. These are being gathered by young people and processed in a certain way, and smoked as a mild substitute for marijuana. The toxic properties of Scotch Broom are completely unknown.

Psychedelic substances are in use throughout the world today, and have been so throughout history, occurring in contexts of social institutions which integrate their use into the over-all cultural framework. The only exception seems to be that peculiar period of Western Industrialized Society that has arisen since the Medieval use of psychedelics in religious sacraments. What is needed today are social institutions to integrate the use of psychedelics into the fabric of our society. top

 

LSD: Implications for Law Enforcement

JOSEPH D. LOHMAN

Dean, School of Criminology, UC, Berkeley; Project Director, training FDA agents assigned to control of dangerous drugs

 
						

LSD is only the forerunner of many powerful mindaltering drugs that will be synthesized in the future, and how these can be controlled by the simplistic notion of prohibition is an open question. One has only to look at the hopeless situation created by the present laws regarding the hard opiates; they put the individual user in the same bracket as the pusher, there to make common cause and be exposed to the serious and predatory elements of the criminal underworld. The result of the new California laws against possession and knowing use of LSD and similar drugs will be the indiscriminate arrest of individual users at the expense of stopping illegal production and distribution. In addition, there are unprecedented difficulties to effective en. forcement of these laws. LSD is a colorless, odorless, tasteless substance that can be made by any relatively unsophisticated chemist. It can for all practical pur. poses escape the view or be held from the view of investigators. No field test for identification is possible, and even if apprehended, a suspect could elect to swallow the evidence then and there and the chemical would be completely out of the body before any sort of test could be given. top




   

In times past there have always been places where people like us could go, to pursue our goals unmolested, but after being successively run out of three different countries, we came to realize that this is no longer so there is no place for people like us to go anymore. We are faced, then, with the necessity of eventually coming to terms with the world of everyday existence, and the problem becomes that of finding a way of integrating the things we learn in a higher level of awareness into the everyday level.

There is actually one social institution already embedded in our society which is functioning as a means of integrating the psychedelic experience. 85 to 90% of the current Rock-andRoll groups, from the top on down, use psychedelics. Rock-and-Roll is a social institution that comes out of the psychedelic experience.

Ideally, there should be centers established throughout the country where responsible people could come and explore psychedelics, not just for treatment of illness or scientific research, but for whatever reason they chose.

In addition, in the light of Dr. Kast's paper regarding LSD and the Dying Patient, I would suggest that special "centers for dying" be set up. The subject of death is more taboo in America than sex - a person can't find a place to die in our society without being surrounded by people who deny death at every turn; "You're looking fine," "don't worry, you're getting better", etc., etc. There should be places where old people could go to prepare themselves to die with self-respect and human dignity. top

 

LSD and the Art of Conscious Living

RICHARD ALPERT

Director, Castalia Foundation, Millbrook, N.Y., and Solco, Menlo Park, California


      

In the course of our experiments with LSD and states of heightened awareness, the thought naturally occurred to us, "why come down?" We set out to find out if it were possible to live all the time in a state of expanded consciousness through the use of LSD. We set up the experimental situation in such a way that everything necessary was provided for an indefinite period, and proceeded to take quantities of LSD every four hours. It lasted for three weeks, but fell apart for a number of reasons, the most important of which was that we had not made adequate provision to deal with the "interface, it with the outside world of ordinary reality. The results of the experiment were several, one of which is that I'm here to tell about it.

Furthermore, you do not by any means stay at the highest level of consciousness all the time, you are not always with the great white light, but most of the time at some intermediate level of expanded awareness. And the other thing we learned is... you always... come ...DOWN!!




   

Real terror experienced upon the contemplation of death in pre-terminal patients, as well as in normals, consists of fear of the loss of control of internal functions and environmental influences.

During and after LSD administration, acceptance and surrender to the inevitable loss of control were noted,this control is anxiously maintained and fought for in non-drugged patients.

Increased communication lessens suffering and isolation and there is always the possibility that increased perception may enable the patient to penetrate, to some extent, the mysteries of cessation of existence.

These experiments were conducted on 80 patients expected to die within weeks or months from malignant diseases, all of whom had been advised of their fate. Out of 80, 72 "gained a special type of insight" from the experience which greatly eased communication and even 'created a sense of cohesion and community among patients." Only 7 felt that the experience had in some way interfered with the privacy of their religious and philosophical ideas. These were the patients who experienced strong hallucinatory or frightening images, and whose experience had to be terminated early. The average pain intensity, 1-1/2 hours after ingestion of LSD, was mild or negligible.

The results of this study seem to indicate that LSD is capable not only of improving the lot of pre-terminal patients by making them more responsive to their environment and family, but also enhances their ability to appreciate subtle and aesthetic nuances of experience, which against a background of dismal darkness and preoccupying fear, produces an exciting and promising outlook. Patients who had been listless and depressed were touched to tears by the discovery of a depth of feeling they had not thought themselves capable of. Although short-lived and transient, this happy state of affairs was a welcome change in their monotonous and isolated lives, and a recollection of this experience days later often created similar elation. Of course these subtleties can not be expressed in numerical terms. In human terms, however, the short, but profound impact of LSD on the dying was impressive. Quote from a dying patient:

"I know I'm dying, but look at
the beauty of the Universe!"

top
 

LSD and the Dying Patient

ERIC KAST

Asst. Professor of Medicine & Psychiatry, Chicago Medical School

 
						

The LSD experience is singularly non-verbal. Not only can it not be communicated with words, but also words (verbal instructions or Motivations) lose their controlling impact On the subjects. Anticipation, the ability to enact a situation in theory, depends on the manipulation of words or "verbal" thoughts. The decrease in the ability to manipulate words under LSD causes impairment of the ability to anticipate, and the experience of the moment increases in significance. This consideration led us to the idea of the use of LSD in dying patients.

Observing patients during the final months of life one can see certain defense mechanisms developing which attempt either to structure death and subsequent "existence or attempt to deny all possibility of death and assume an eerie positivism which seems surrealistic in character. The normal approach to death, usually a combination of both, seems to take an extraordinary toll on a person's ability to relate to his environment and communicate with his family. He becomes isolated and deprived, to a large extent, of his ability to really and deeply experience these last months or weeks of greatest importance in his life.

It is difficult for a healthy person to appreciate the anguish of the dying. This is rather surprising if one contemplates the tenuousness of healthy existence and the ubiquitous presence of imminent death. It is usually stated that the terminal patient has "pain." This is a semantic convenience.




   

The Significance of Artificially Induced Religious Experience

HUSTON SMITH

Professor of Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 
						

It seems clear that LSD can in some instances occasion religious experiences which are descriptively indistinguishable from such occasions that occur naturally. There are some cases where persons devoid of religious feelings ended with a religious conversion experience. Usually the religious visions are in the persons own past religious ancestry, but this is not always the case. For example, sometimes persons of Christian or Jewish backgrounds have come up with mystical visions of different religions, Buddhism or other Eastern cultures. What we don't know is the staying power of such experiences.

The religious significance of artificially induced experiences, as well as those that occur naturally, is to be judged only through their ability to effect lasting changes in the person's everyday life, changes that are significant in character and which persist through time.

Is the LSD religious movement capable of becoming a lasting and viable religion? There has never been a successful religious movement which has not main. tained, to some degree,, the esoteric-exoteric distinction; the idea that without some degree of disciplined preparation, revelation or enlightenment is spurious and wasteful. There has never been a lasting religious movement which successfully resisted at least partial integration into the prevailing social context and could remain totally and permanently beyond its rules. Nor has there ever been a successful religion without some degree of internal continuity of ritual or doctrine. And finally, there has never been a lasting religious movement without the avowed leadership of some religious authority, priesthood, saint, or prophet. top

 

LSD Therapy of Alcoholism

ABRAM HOFFER

Assoc. Professor of Research Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan; Director of Psychiatric Research, University Hospital, Saskatoon

 
						

In our research in treating alcoholism with LSD, we consider not the chemical, but the experience as a key factor in therapy. Our therapeutic settings are now designed to increase the probability that our patients will have a psychedelic experience upon ingestion of LSD. This method with minor modifications has been followed by nearly every research group treating alcoholics by psychedelic therapy. Since then a large number of reports have appeared and there has been a remarkable consensus that used in this way a large proportion of alcoholics are permanently benefited.

Most psychiatrists who have treated severe alcoholics expect to help about 10%. This is also the control recovery rate of a group we treated. When psychedelic therapy is given to alcoholics using methods described in the literature, about one third will remain sober after the therapy is completed, and one third will be benefited. If schizophrenics and malvarians are excluded from LSD therapy the results should be better by about 30%. There are no published papers using psychedelic therapy which show it does not help about 50% of the treated group.

Our conclusion after 13 years of research is that properly used LSD therapy can convert a large number of alcoholics into sober members of society in, or outside of, Alcoholics Anonymous. Even more important is the fact that this can be done very quickly and therefore very economically. top




   

There have been two fields of interest with regard to psychedelic substances which relate to two kinds of experiences and two kinds of incentives in the person that seeks such an experience. One is this domain of enriched experience that can range from the sensuous to the mystical. The other, the domain of psychotherapy and insight into one's life and personality. I would like to put forward the notion that "healing" is one more word for "grapes," and the therapeutic urge one more way of understanding that existential dissatisfaction that also lies in the quest for salvation, self-attainment, or enlightenment. Yet the neurotic will often be that one that doesn't know about grapes, and only believes he knows what he wants when he seeks relief from an isolated symptom.

Yet something deserves to be said about the therapeutic limitations of the so-called transcendental experiences. There can be a temporal limitation in these in the sense that such an experience may be little more than an episode of health in a conflict-ridden life, or it can be that there occurs an opening into healthy contact with reality in a narrow range of experience, bypassing the domain where lie the personality defects.

That makes the (transcendental) kind of experience a very appropriate energizer of the therapeutic incentive. Again, the choice between the two kinds of experience might be likened to the choice between looking through an open window and that of attempting to open a window next to it that is presently closed. The outcome of this choice will possibly be a few inches of light instead of the wide view of the landscape that can be perceived from the window that is already open, but there will remain the lasting benefit of one more place in the house from which to enjoy the world. This is not to signify that the first kind of experience does not have value in bringing about change in personality. The fortifying virtue of intrinsic value can give the person the strength and even the desire to remove the blocks to the increased experiencing of value. The sight of the goal is what stimulates the wanderer.... top

 

Therapeutic Uses of lbogaine

CLAUDIO NARANJO

Professor of Anthropology, School of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

 
						

(lbogaine is one of the twelve or more alkaloids contained in the root of an African plant, and in drug form is very similar to the South American yage, which fits with the chemical similarity between these substances.)

In contrast with the outcome of LSD experiences which are so often purely experimental and can hardly be translated into words, ibogaine seems to lend itself better to the development of intellectual insight, and this may account for the permanence of its bearing on the person's life. LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin frequently precipitate an overwhelming experience in which there is little place for intentional procedures, and even in low dosages stimulate a desire to surrender in a passive way to sensations and feelings.

In contrast to these, ibogaine leads to a state of mind more compatible with the analytic attitude and with the exercise of choice. I only know of one drug that lends itself better to the manipulation of the therapeutic experience, and this is MMDA, but the differences between the two are great. Whereas MMDA lends itself ideally to the probing into the ongoing situation in the "here and now," the analytic quality of the Ibogaine experience is useful in understanding the "there and then" which also has a place in psychotherapy. In fact I would suggest that MMDA and lbogaine may complement each other well in successive experiences, and both are in turn complementary to the non-analytical and often impersonal or a-personal experience of LSD.




   

It seems significant that out of the 3000 people that Alpert and Leary have administered LSD to, there have been only four cases of adverse reaction beyond 4 or 5 days, and that these four share only two characteristics in common. First, they all had previous histories of mental illness, but secondly, none of the four had any kind of home, any place to go back to. One is reminded somehow of the rootless faces that seem to haunt the tables of certain European cafés.... top



INSERT QUOTATION -- a patient's account of an Ibogaine experience, by Claudio Naranjo:

"I could open my eyes now and rise from the bed, I have my place. I cannot be excluded by anybody, anywhere. I can conquer my fears, I can go through them.

I have my place.

It is not necessary to go or come, forget or close ghettos. I have my place within, without, with whomever it be.

I do not need to ask for anything because I have my place. I don't need to go or come, flee, escape, since I have my place.

Everything is a part of ME. I AM. It is not that I must sculpt. I will do my work, whatever I care for, wherever, for it being a part of me I am not bound to it in a symbiosis. "Neither X nor Y will pull me toward them, since I am where I really am.

There is no need to escape from anything, pleasant, unpleasant, hateful or terrible, whatever it is, since it is always possible to go beyond, into the most definitive, which is within.

I enjoy feeling how it resounds in me: I have my place, I have my place, I have my place."

 

The Myth About Psychedelic Drugs

The Myth About Psychedelic Drugs

Asst. Professor of Humanities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 
						

LSD trip-taking is part of man's natural and ancient need for adventuring, for making voyages of discovery and exploration, and falls within the basic physical and psychic rhythm of self-domestication and self-exile. In all voyaging, in all trips, there is a going-out and a coming-back, which swing in constant rhythm with one another, a departure and a return, alienation and reconciliation. This metaphor of voyaging permeates our cultural heritage from the very beginnings, and may well be its most fundamental mythic foundation. At the very heart of this concept of voyaging, however, is the necessary complement of home- the place to start out from and the place to come back to, the place from which all roads lead and to which they all eventually return.

Thus the first step that Ulysses takes in The Odyssey is to prepare his home, that he might have some place to retu rn to at the end of h I s wander ing s - he and h i s wife prepare a special bed, one corner of which is a living olive tree. Once this is established, he is prepared to leave on his arduous voyage, and, after long years of toil and struggle, wars, strife and conflict, he at lost comes back, and it is to his wife and this olivetree bed that he returns .... which has gotta be about the grooviest bit I've ever heard!

 




   

As an ex-Harvard student, I'm proud to say the highest percentage of marijuana users in the country is at Harvard. There are 200 million people in the world today who use marijuana for religious or health purposes. That makes more people who smoke marijuana than there are in the American middle class (two of the narcotic agents who arrested him in Texas were in the audience).

My message is: Let's remain calm - trust your body, trust your nervous system, trust the young.

In our use of LSD we must exercise caution and love; as for who can and who cannot take LSD, I would not give LSD to someone unless I felt I were willing and able to stick by them throughout the full course of whatever they might undergo. To establish qualificat ions for the taker is to express qualifications on the ability of the guide.

There are only two commandments for the user of LSD: (1) "Thou Shalt Not Alter the Consciousness of Thy Fellow Man" and (2) "Thou Shalt Not Prevent Thy Fellow Man From Altering His Own Consciousness."

I look on myself as a kind of spiritual teacher. If you choose to take up this lifetime voyage, you will find the Yoga of LSD to be one of the most difficult in the world. When you return to your homes tonight, stop and take a good look around the room, at all the objects, all the symbols you have chosen to surround yourself with, and ask yourself, what sort of being is it that inhabits this space?

THE ONLY WAY OUT.... IS IN.... THE WAY TO GET IN.... IS TO FIND THE CENTER.... AND THE ONLY WAY TO FIND THE CENTER.... IS TO: TURN ON.... top

 

The Molecular Revolution

TIMOTHY LEARY

Director, Castalia Foundation, Millbrook, N.Y.

 
						

LSD research is a fine thing, and so is laboratory research on sex. I'm glad that a few people are hooking up people in laboratories to find out the physiological aspects of sex. But what we must not forget is that we are dealing here with areas of human experience which are fundamentally private, intimate, and sacred.

The LSD "boom" is just beginning. It is being used by the young and creative. The virtually uncontrolled use is no cause for alarm. The recent laws regarding psychedelics are unrealistic, immoral, and unconstitutional. No evidence has yet been shown that LSD as a chemical agent can harm living tissue, and as a man who has taken LSD 311 times I am more concerned about the possibility of brain damage than anyone else in this room.

The LSD "trip" is best understood as a religious pilgrimage, the LSD "kick" is best understood as ecstasy, and the LSD "panic" is nothing short of a spiritual crisis. The risks are a bad trip and unwanted selfknowledge. As for suicide, comparative figures show that taking LSD is no more dangerous than signing up for four years at Harvard.









 

Original format: Twelve-page ticket book.

 
 
 

 

Contact aspen@ubu.com.
Adapted for the web by Andrew Stafford. More by him here.
All copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

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