Lsd

A defense of the personal use of LSD:

This drug, above all, confronts you with yourself. The flickering flowers can turn into scenes of horror and desperation, the coloured-streaked sky into a theatre of unwelcome memories and shame.

For myself I used to face terrible scenes of torture, rape and other kinds of human cruelty. I do not know why, but I found myself imagining them again and again both in meditation and with drugs. Perhaps like most people, I began by fighting them and trying to push them away, but LSD will not let you push anything away. You have to face it. And this is, I think, what makes it the ultimate psychedelic. There is no hiding with LSD. You have to face whatever comes up or be overwhelmed by it...

Our question asked "did anyone learn anything about reality from LSD?", "… was it a glimpse – however inadequate – of something real and standing beyond our everyday lives?". I would say that in one sense selves are not "reality", but are invented stories about non-existent inner beings; that what we learn through LSD is precisely about our everyday lives, not something beyond them. But then I would say the same of spirituality. It is not something to be found beyond our everyday lives at all. It is right here and now, and that is precisely what LSD reveals.

A notion of salvation that has absolutely nothing to do with the future?

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.