When the creator of LSD, Albert Hofmann died in late April 2008 at the age 102, a lot of aging rockers and general players who shaped the counter-culture movements of the 1960’s started coming out and speaking for the first time how LSD shaped their lives.
What was surprising was that many former rockers and 1960’s icons of the U.K. have been speaking out in favor of LSD and how it actually changed Britain in a more positive way…or at least when the drug didn’t take away a life.
Namely, of course, The Beatles were mentioned first based on their experimentation of the drug and how it took them to a higher state of creative consciousness that subsequently and supposedly changed music forever. Beyond music and the arts, many in the U.K. who remembered taking LSD regularly say that it just helped them see the world through a different prism…almost literally.
Is it possible that a drug actually helped shape an entire philosophical movement of how the U.K. perceived music and the world around us? That’s a bold statement coming from the Brits and one that’s causing a firestorm there right now when most of their populace has also seen the devastation that taking such a hard drug can cause.
And, of course, it has to be wondered if American 1960’s icons still living and not with fried brain will also admit that LSD trips changed the fabric of American art and philosophy, too.
Little did the Swiss Chemist Albert Hofmann know what LSD could and would do when he concocted the drug in 1938 while examining a crop fungus and seeing what its potentials were in medicinal uses. At least he was brave enough to try out his own drug creation rather than pushing it on guinea pigs and explained what the effects were that likely scared people initially.
It was probably a mistake, though, for Hofmann to ever mention that he intended LSD to be used as a potential mind-altering benefit for the mentally ill.
Those who weren’t mentally ill, but adamant creative artists seeking new avenues, probably thought that taking the brain to the point where you can have the ultimate synesthesic experience would not only be a major health benefit, but bring higher art to the world.
Only those who rebelled against the more staid 1950’s had the cajones to try it out and find out that there wouldn’t really be any major health benefits to it other than staying creatively on the game.
Britain was one of the first countries to take LSD to the creative limits–all based on the younger generation merely rebelling against staid British culture of the 1950’s. That’s quite a bit different in how America gravitated toward drugs. Most here would argue that it started with the JFK assassination and agitation toward our government and Vietnam.
However, America followed Britain’s lead into the idea that LSD could create the ultimate trip that likely appealed to those who had to compete in the creative world to stay on top.
It’s too bad that some creative artists had their public persona bar set so high that they didn’t have time to look into more natural arenas of creativity rather than risking their life with LSD that killed or cerebrally damaged more people than it helped.
Is Marijuana the drug to America that LSD is to Britain?
I’d wager that American counter-culture icons won’t be speaking up any time soon that LSD created a whole new philosophical and art movement in America. There isn’t any doubt, though, that marijuana (reefer, that is) is the drug that both young and old talk openly about here…and a lot of times in a defiantly positive light.
America probably has more creative artists trying marijuana now than ever before–yet somehow getting away with breaking the law as we do a little *ahem* with Willie Nelson’s name.
A lot of that is still up for debate in my state of Connecticut and whether it should be made legal, if just for medicinal purposes.
Because LSD has received a bad rap, Hofmann was never able to use his drug creation on the mentally ill. Perhaps some secret experiments have been done, but it’s never been published anywhere to see what the results were. In contrast, marijuana never caused a sudden death in either the mentally healthy or ill.
We still hear the debates about what the health costs may be down the road if you do it too often, though it might be argued in the not-so-undercover drug world that it can create the same effect LSD does, only in a safer way. For the record, I’ve never tried any drugs to heighten my creativity, so this is just an assumption.
What is known is that, despite all the surprisingly positive gloating in the U.K. that LSD shaped the country into something more distinctive, marijuana probably did the same thing there. In fact, The Beatles were reportedly high on reefer a lot of times when making their albums–probably more so than trying to create on an LSD trip.
It isn’t any question that marijuana shaped where America is to this day–especially with where we are politically and what kind of music dominates on the charts.
Maybe some people think that those two things are hardly positive and that marijuana actually deadened the minds of otherwise intelligent people over time and even created a new generation of people who continue that trend. It’s ironic that all of that could still happen even when those drugs have long been illegal here.
Perhaps it’s a mistake then for Britain to even publish the idea that LSD helped them flourish in so many ways. It might even be an argument that LSD shaped their brains to the point where they have a different perception of what really constitutes reality and where we are now.
In that regard, some counter-culture icons still around would just look you up and down and spout the old LSD-pusher Timothy Leary credo: “Turn on, tune in, drop out, man.”