In mid-'60s LSD research study, dosed scientists achieved creative breakthroughs

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25 Responses to “In mid-'60s LSD research study, dosed scientists achieved creative breakthroughs”

  1. fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

    Good Heavens! They were Brain Doping! Surely they should be banned from their respective fields immediately, and all credit for their inventions nullified, in the sacred spirit of fair play or something…

    • snagglepuss says:

      I expect patent trolls to try and seize the rights to their inovations.

      Because, if a SCIENTIST takes acid, then that taints the results, even if they work. But if a CAPITALIST profits from them, then there’s NO MORE TAINT !

  2. vonbobo says:

    Many believe that our minds already have the ability to tap into this creativity, and the LSD is only opening the doors. The whole trick is in how to get there without the substance.
    Seems as though creativity and productivity are at odds with each other in this country. We (most of us) are taught to “color within the solid lines and cut on the dotted lines”, and that art class is from 1:15 to 2:05 on Tuesdays and Thursdays (if you are lucky).Sent from my 10′x10′ Beige Cube

    • Rich Keller says:

      I was thinking along similar lines to your comment. The ideas came from within the participants’ own heads, the ideas were all theirs. How did the LSD work for their creativity? Did it “open something up” within the mind or did it act as an inhibition inhibitor, for lack of a better term?

      • wysinwyg says:

        Ideas aren’t really “things” that “exist” “inside people’s heads.”  That’s the content theory of knowledge and it’s been pretty soundly debunked.  Thoughts and ideas are patterns.  Your normal mode of consciousness is dominated by certain patterns; LSD subdues those normal patterns by which your brain organizes information and one result is that other, weirder, patterns are able to form that otherwise couldn’t.

        I’m actually skeptical that meditation can actually reproduce the effects of LSD, although it certainly can reproduce certain aspects of them. 

        • Rich Keller says:

          Thanks. Your reply makes me want to reread Snowcrash for some reason.

        • Wreckrob8 says:

          It is semiotic drift which prevents us from seeing certain patterns clearly. Ideas (or the illusion of ideas) result from drift. Acid and meditation can each go some way in overcoming drift (in Eastern philosophical systems to ‘still the mind’) but can never quite overcome them. All societies develop means of trying to overcome drift to find clearer patterns (some more successful than others). It is not drift which creates God and religion but the dichotomy between drift and the possibility of its evolutionary total suppression both for any one individual and for society.
          The problem now is that our language has become essentially ideological.

          • Ty_MY says:

            I kind of feel you are saying something which is close to the truth, and wish you could explore more on what is this drift and how to deal with it.

        • Ty_MY says:

          I’m really curious about meditation vs LSD. Ajahn Brahm is one of the leading proponents of reaching the “jhana” (deep meditation where you are not conscious of your body) stages of meditation, the stage where you are able to actually ask questions to yourself and receive revealing answers.

          • Ty_MY says:

            In China they have a concoction with E, K and other stuff. Seems to elevate consciousness and really expand your mind. Like watching a dozen IMAX screens at once.

    • BombBlastLightingWaltz says:

      True, yoga or regular exercise, healthy diet, breathing exercises , enable greater serotonin production producing happy intestines and minds. 

      Speaking of LSD/doctors/creativity the following link is interesting 
      http://www.cowboybooks.com.au/html/acidtrip1.html 

    • I don’t fully understand this comment: “The whole trick is in how to get there without the substance.”

      Why is that the whole trick? Why does the path matter? Is it really that different to trigger these chemicals manually by performing yoga or practicing tantra, by spinning yourself into another mindset (Sufi whirling), or by performing some sort of magickal ritual to the HGA?

      • vonbobo says:

        I agree with you! But my point was that as a whole society, these practices are not what is being taught. Instead, the ideas you propose can include large life style changes (mind altering epiphanies typically don’t just happen after your first yoga practice), while at the same time people still need to pay bills, pick up the kids from soccer practice, work late on that 3rd quarter project, and figure out what color to paint their wall to match their new couch.

        Instead, we are a quick fix pill popping society. Getting back to the task at hand is valued much more in our society, rather than taking a spiritual and mental journey towards enlightenment.

        • Xyzzy says:

          I don’t think that we’re a quick-fix pill-popping society nearly as much as is popularly believed.  If we were, our available medications wouldn’t boil down to alleviating serious/significant problems that aren’t resolving on their own; we’d have “supplements” for creativity or other positive things readily available, and few people would judge others (as you just did) for seeking help when it’s needed.

          My experience has been that the tendency in our society is instead for people to assume that non-visible problems they haven’t had aren’t a big deal, and that folks with them just aren’t trying hard enough.  It’s seemingly very hard for most people to believe or empathize with anyone that says they truly need pills as other approaches didn’t or wouldn’t work..

          • Ty_MY says:

            I kind of like vonbobo’s line of questioning about alternatives to taking LSD to achieve the same effect.

            Right now my hypothesis is that the most viable alternative is meditation to the jhana states, which.. as vonbobo suggests, probably needs some lifestyle changes to achieve.

        • Fuzz Leonard says:

          Yeah. I used to live in a Zen Buddhist temple and after much effort I began to see some of the things that LSD had already shown me. I treasure that experience, but was it so much more beneficial than the LSD? Not really. Your position seems to be that using airplanes to travel takes away some of the benefits of walking. Which is true, but who cares? 

  3. tré says:

    This just in: there is apparently a link between acid and change in perceptions.

    That said, this article is pretty dope, no pun intended.

  4. OldBrownSquirrel says:

    Quite often I find myself having cognitive problems, which I resolve by inducing a state in which I hallucinate.  After I recover from this state, I generally find my cognitive function to be significantly improved.

    The technique I utilize is something I call “sleeping.”

    If that approach works, and I don’t think anyone can argue that it doesn’t, why couldn’t LSD have similar effects?

  5. BillStewart2012 says:

    Sigh. These days, 100 mcg seems to be “the standard dose” instead of “a low dose”.  Or so they say, because nobody I’ve talked to actually seems to know what they’re selling.

  6. niktemadur says:

    The story is told of a US Army general who, while on these LSD studies, lay on the floor saying “wow” over and over again, while visualizing nuclear war scenarios against the USSR.

  7. drokhole says:

    Brilliant piece, thanks so much for bringing it to my attention.  As luck would have it, I JUST finished reading Fadiman’s stellar book.  So, not only was this a great piece, but a fantastic refresher.

  8. Boris Bartlog says:

    100µg isn’t tripping balls-out, but it’s hardly the kind of threshold dose someone might take just to make their day a little more interesting.
    Anyway, I’d caution that one important element in getting something useful out of a brain ferment like this is having the discipline to examine your ideas critically afterwards. These test subjects were engineers and apparently were able to sort through their experiences in a really productive way. Some people I’ve known who dropped a lot of acid ended up with a lot of strange ideas that they apparently didn’t have much ability to winnow.

  9. B E Pratt says:

    If you are willing to plug through some of the more obscure AA literature, you will find that Bill Wilson thought that LSD seemed like a good possible treatment for alcoholics. Studies were being done back then and they are only just now resuming.

    • creesto says:

      Hmmm…perhaps, but in a very controlled environment. I am an alcoholic and while in the deep depths of the lying/stealing/anything it took to continue my destructive behavior phase while in college, I dosed and the underlying guilt took me into a very bad, paranoic trip. 

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