Exploring new territory

National Geographic TV takes a look at LSD.

National Geographic has a series this week on LSD. Well, I suppose they’ve always been into trips, of a sort.

This clip shows a very elegant experimental demonstration of the “reducing-valve” theory of hallucinogen experience, with sensible commentary by the ever-sensible Jim Fadiman.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

3 thoughts on “Exploring new territory”

  1. Never did Ecstasy. Missed a couple of the designer drugs of the late 70s and early 80s while I was waiting to see if they killed.

    Worst drugs that I have had problems with = nicotine, alcohol and doctor prescribed Valium.

  2. As a post-hippie child of Santa Cruz, CA I ended up doing LSD at the age of 9. I had scored it from an older brother and shared it with friends. I had a blast. I remember riding in the car with my mother days later and suggesting to her an insight I had developed while "frying": maybe reality existed only "to the front of us… while what was behind us – what we could not see – was not really there." I remember her responding to me that she had had the same thought once while on LSD herself. I had not told her about my illicit activities, but worried she was on to me. Had she only known!

    A friend at the time saved a hit and later dropped it one morning before school. I heard later they sent him home after he began barking like a dog on the floor of his 5th grade classroom. As a teen he committed suicide.

    Recently I reflected that during that period of time in my life my two closest friends were without fathers. One, a native American Indian (yet one more suicide statistic), lived alone with his mother in a small apartment. She was a house cleaner, and one of her ears had been burned off – I fuzzily recall it being a domestic case, but I'm unclear. The other had a father who was either dead or in prison. My father, on the other hand was our family's sole provider, a high school teacher who cared deeply for us, but often seemed preoccupied – either physically or emotionally.

    I dropped a few more times, but never close to the more than 100 my brother did. He ended up having a bad trip that induced in him an anxiety condition that he still medicates for today. Fortunately, it's now in prescription form, with less side effects than the booze he spent his twenties downing.

    I often attribute much of my lifelong battle with depression to a fracturing of my psyche received from LSD and marijuana. Of course, chronic neck pain has always been the primary causal factor. But when the shades of consciousness begin to unravel, and that dark lubrication begins to bubble, one curses anything that might have ever amplified the chaos.

    And yet such bittersweet music it is. The human condition is one of fragility, defined by its penchant for wreckage.

  3. Terence McKenna explored psychedelic drugs for most of his career, and was well-known in Santa Cruz and in Big Sur. He once spoke of the need to prepare for the psychedelic trip, and likened it to the search of conscience that precedes a good Catholic confession. To spend several hours asking oneself, “How have I gone astray? How could I have blown it so badly?” was preparation for the attack on consciousness and conditioning which the experience entails. It also, so he said, provided some safety against the “bad trip,” insofar as the inner demons have been confronted before, rather than during, the period during which the assumptions of normal consciousness were dissolved. He did not regard these pharmacologic agents as toys but as essential tools for the birth and growth of culture.

    He spoke such well-structured and fluent prose, organized into paragraphs and subordinate clauses and a talent for selecting the mot juste on the fly, that one did not always know whether he had made any sense whatever. But the idea that the psychedelic state must be prepared for as carefully and diligently as a final examination in your major subject could, if generally applied, prevent some of the destructive effects of these drugs.

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