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Saturday, April 28, 2012

How psychedelics can help teminally ill patients

The New York Times runs an interesting story, "How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death." The researchers take pains to distance themselves from Timothy Leary, but the research itself underscores a point that Robert Anton Wilson made -- that scientists ought to be allowed to conduct research on the possible benefits of psychedelic drugs.


Anonymous said...

Aldous Huxley did it almost 50 years ago, and it's still a shocking new idea.

michael said...

Aye on Aldous. I have an article in my files from virtually all the major media outlets who have filed stories on psychedelics and healing. Aldous told Leary at Harvard to keep this stuff quiet; Huxley feared Leary, while very bright, may have a wild hair and blow this. Aldous thought the research should go on quietly underground, and - his intellectual elitism? - really for artists, writers, visionaries, religious explorers, and scientists interested in the Mind. NOT for the General Public. And I think history has temporarily proven Aldous right, BUT: anyone who's read the 20-30 Required Texts on this aspect of history can make a good argument that Leary was a tad too smart, had a touch of the Giordano Bruno in him, and was pushed by Authority into opening the psychedelic Pandora's Box.

And all the Muse's horses and all the Transcendent's Men have been trying to put psychedelic research back together again.

I must add: usually when I present this narrative I get a backlash that I'm blaming Tim for the whole mess. I'm not. That would be absurd. Control was going to come down hard on this stuff anyway, and Tim has been scapegoated, in my opinion.

The period 1962-1980 had far too many players, catalysts, enzymes, and plain Bad Politics to blame one guy. But we like to simplify things; it makes for a better story. And Tim is perfect for a simple narrative. It's easy to single him out. Any one of us can put on a lawyer mask and make the case that Leary set back research 50 years with his Acid Guru Schtick.

PQ said...

At least the article mentioned Stanislav Grof.

Jason Pilley said...

"Huxley feared Leary, while very bright, may have a wild hair and blow this."

Doesn't the story go that actually Huxley and Osmond thought Leary might be far too "square" for what they had in mind? I think his rapid and radical transformations(s) came as quite a surprise to Huxley!

"NOT for the General Public."

I get the feeling - could be wrong about this - that Huxley didn't object to everyone and anyone using psychedelics, just he thought that the social process should begin with the elites and the thinkers and consolidate itself before extending to the masses. The trickle-down theory of psychedelics. And Leary - I can't remember where, possibly in "Chaos & Cyberculture" - eventually recognised that Huxley had been right, but that he (Leary) hadn't been wrong either: it was worth trying the American egalitarian vision over the English snobbish class-system, even if it did all go so wrong...