If I were to write in my blog that yesterday I was doing 60 in a 45 zone, could someone ticket me for speeding? I think I feel that way about writing about LSD. What is the statute of limitations with drug use? Can someone arrest you because you say you did LSD a few decades ago? We tend not to talk about our LSD experiences not because they are bad but because they were illegal.
Like I just said, it's been a few decades, but some of the memories are still as fresh as ever. Today is Sunday so what better time to write about my most religious experiences than today, right?
I was just reading a blog post titled L.S.D., R.I.P.
In it the writer bemoans the fact that LSD seems to have faded out of the counterculture scene. Back in the late 60s, LSD was the central focus of that culture. It's influences were felt throughout the world. But as a popular drug it seems to have almost dropped completely off the radar screen. I've heard that most LSD now is spiked with other things. Pure LSD is an almost unknown substance. I speculate, but I wonder if the reason for this might be that LSD isn't really an addictive drug. Shout at me, I know, for saying that. Any drug can be addictive. But who really wants to keep taking a drug as powerful and risky as LSD? For most people, the more you take it, the more cautious you become of taking it. That's why most people seem to "outgrow" the drug as you can see by the comments to that blog post.
When I was in my 20s I did LSD maybe a dozen times, maybe less. Although there were certain common experiences that I had every time I was high on it, every "trip" was different. Some were simply bizarre and amazing entertainment. Some were complete terror. One was life-changing. That one was the trigger that got me searching for religion.
LSD is a perception altering drug. What it seems to do is to activate the imagination to such an extent that it becomes impossible for the mind to suppress consciousness of your imagination. LSD doesn't plant experiences in your head, it releases your head to the power of imagination. But the experience is what matters, what it feels like and looks like to be on a trip.
It takes about a half hour for LSD to take hold. The first thing I always noticed is that the solidity of reality began to melt, began to be something that my mind could bend and eventually enhance with complex visual patterns. As anyone who has seen this realizes, this is an extremely unsettling thing to see. It leads many to conclude that reality itself is what it appears to be under LSD, namely something completely within our individual minds, not something universal. Entire life philosophies are built on this notion so it isn't something new to society brought about by LSD tripping, but on an LSD trip this perception becomes all too temptingly undeniable.
Usually that experience intensifies for the first two or three hours, then levels off, and then fades for the next ten hours or so. I always slept it off after about twelve hours of tripping and woke to discover that reality had once again solidified, returned to something close to what I think of as normal. But I have always pondered what had happened to my mind to make me have those perceptions. What allows me to bend reality when for someone right beside me who is not tripping, reality remains unbendable?
I wouldn't have an answer for that had it not been for one particular trip. It was about two hours into this trip when a few friends and I were sitting in a large empty room listening to music and smoking some good pot. My perception was at the boiling point, churning and rolling, infinitely complex images flowing through my eyes. Then, completely unexpected and seemingly coming out of nowhere, at least nowhere that my mind had ever been before, my mind seemed to just float up to the surface and rise into an awareness of a higher reality, something more real than solid everyday reality and certainly more real than the melted reality of a typical LSD trip!
Maybe another time I'll try to describe that experience. For now, I'll just speculate about what must have happened to me to open up that connection. I'll speculate about the mechanics of human experience. What I was able to conclude from that experience is that normal waking reality falls far short of the true human potential for thought. What religion doesn't already tell us that, though!!
But here's what I think.
I think there's a certain amount of truth to the claim that we each have our own reality. We each perceive reality according to our life experiences and our thinking habits. In our conscious or near-conscious minds we build our models of reality. We perceive reality to be sort of a complex mixture of what our senses tell us, what our fears tell us, what our desires tell us, and what our thought filters let us see. The key here is that we have thought filters. Our minds filter our perceptions of reality. There seem to be several reasons for this but one of the biggest reasons is so we can agree as social creatures to a consensus that allows us to socialize and survive as groups.
This model of reality that each of us has needs a place to exist in our minds. I am convinced that what we do inside our mind is that we section off certain portions of our imagination to build these models. In other words, each of us has a model of reality that exists in the imagination. We want to believe that reality is a straight-through thing from our senses to our perception, but that just isn't how the human mind functions. Instead, our senses send information to filters that decide for us how to paint these sensations into our imagined model. It is the model, not the actual sensory inputs, that we experience in consciousness.
What LSD does is it causes this whole modeling process to overflow. It becomes impossible to contain the filters. The barriers we set up in our imagination separating "reality" from the imagined become incapable of managing the flow. The result is that reality itself is seen as something we simply imagine. If you read almost anything about the LSD experience, this meltdown of "reality" is virtually universal. Generally LSD doesn't destroy these filters. It just overwhelms them. When the LSD wears off, the filters and the old perceptions of reality return. But the memory of what happened in our perception remains and haunts us.
But this whole experience only goes so far. The claim is that LSD gets us closer to God, but there's nothing in this experience of melting realities that brings us close to God. Again, if not for that one awakening that I experienced one time when I was in my twenties, I wouldn't have any explanation for this. But that one experience took me one step beyond this meltdown of solid reality. It took me into a realm where reality becomes an infinite liquid crystal. In this realm, our senses feed directly into our entire imagination and that is what our conscious mind perceives. There is no model and no filters, only God's creation being enhanced by our own power of imagination and the whole thing taking place visually in our conscious mind.
Does that sound dangerous to you?
Never underestimate the power of the human mind to destroy a good thing.
That's probably why I only know this from one experience. To say this isn't dangerous is to underestimate humanity. I am too tame to try to get my mind back there again. But I can tell you one thing. Religion is the promise of the existence of that realm, but it sure isn't the vehicle that will get you there. The promise is real. Religion exists in filtered reality.I want a new drug
I dropped acid on a saturday nightJust to see what the fuss was aboutThere goes the neighborhood