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Lysergically Yours

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the one-lump-or-panda-bears dept.

Sci-Fi 486

scsiiscs writes "I have just had the pleasure of reading Lysergically Yours, the first offering from author Frank Duff. As the chemically aware among you may have guessed from the title, this is a novel which deals in part with the synthesis of and culture surrounding LSD. It is much more than just a drug book though, and what's better, it has been released under a Creative Commons license. " Read on for the rest of his review.

April 16th, 1945: Dr. Albert Hoffman's work on obstetrics pharmacology at Sandoz Laboratories is unexpectedly interrupted by a "stream of fantastic pictures and extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors."[1]

The following weeks saw Dr. Hoffman and his colleagues perform a series of self-experimentations which led to the discovery of the psychotropic effects of D-lysergic acid diethylamide 25, the most potent hallucinogen yet discovered -- and better known as LSD. The doors were suddenly flung open for a new age of exploration into the human mind. Government sanctions however quickly put an end to this line of research. Lysergically Yours, the first novel from Toronto-based author Duff supposes that this research program is still going strong, but not in the places one may traditionally think to look for it.

The reader is first introduced to Johnny, a computer science student at the University of Toronto and one-time high school acid dealer. It is through the lens of Johnny that the reader meets the book's delightfully diverse cast of supporting characters. From Lyle the punk-rock chemist to Tinka the manic witch and surprisingly affable career criminal Ivan, Duff continuously delivers with characters that you almost expect to run into the next time you're on campus despite the fact that they are so eccentric as to verge on unbelievable. As a former University of Toronto student myself, I must admit that the setting of the book was also wonderfully realized. From Convocation Hall to Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories to the basement of Hart House, Lysergically Yours romps across the university and the city bringing to life each locale that it touches.

The story itself is somewhat hard to classify. The opening throws Johnny and the reader into a very tense scene in which Johnny is the prisoner of Korean and Vietnamese mobsters and the building in which he is being held is being assaulted from outside by unknown forces. From this action-movie introduction, the story flashes back and begins to relate a decidedly non-action-movie drug culture caper story wherein Lyle and Johnny attempt to fund illegal research and a hedonistic lifestyle through the synthesis and sale of LSD. By the end however, as Johnny and Lyle find themselves deeper and deeper in trouble, the plot of Lysergically Yours verges strongly on the science fictional, yet Duff manages to wrap it all up into a bundle which leaves the reader feeling both entertained and satisfied.

At times the discussion of the technical details of drug synthesis and of various less than legal money-making schemes seem unnecessarily verbose, but perhaps they will be appreciated by those who are more familiar with the fields or even looking for a few pointers. In general however, Duff's prose is poetic in its spareness and simplicity. His dialogue also is unflowery and believable, conveying a real sense of character and situation. Even the far-sweeping conclusion of the novel, suggesting a world forever and fundamentally changed by the actions of a couple of punk rockers, is presented in a crisp and unapologetic style. As a reader, I could not help but be reminded of Neal Stephenson and, to a certain extent, Philip K. Dick.

My largest complaint with Lysergically Yours is that it is too short. Weighing in at 120 pages, the book is an easy read but leaves you feeling that it could have easily been expanded to fill twice as many. Still, in a time when most books seem to be guilty of the opposite sin, I am willing to forgive Frank Duff this indiscretion.

Another thing which makes this novel worth noticing is that it is released in affiliation with No Media Kings, an organization started by Toronto-based author Jim Munroe to promote a return to grass-roots media. In accordance with this "media of the people, by the people and for the people" ethos, Frank Duff has released the novel as a free e-text under the Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial/Share-Alike license. This license not only allows the text of the novel to be freely distributed in any medium, but also explicitly allows for anyone to create derivative works from the novel for any non-commercial purpose. The use of this contract follows in the footsteps of successful science fiction author Cory Doctorow. The book is available as a physical artifact at a variety of small bookstores or directly from the author via his website where the e-book and several of his other shorter works are also available for free download.

[1] Hoffman, A. (1980) "LSD: My Problem Child," New York: McGraw-Hill.


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Poll Troll Toll (1)

PollTroll (764214) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595556)

What's better...

Lysergically [calcgames.org]
Sex with a mare [calcgames.org]

More information... (4, Informative)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595557)

Very interesting to see this on slashdot.

Lysergically Yours is a good book, but is nothing compared to some of the other books available out there.


I would suggest TIHKAL [erowid.org] and PIHKAL [erowid.org] by Alexander and Ann Shulgin

That is, if you're interested in the chemistry... but for more casual psychonaughts, I would explore Erowid [erowid.org] for information.

The best part both TIHKAL and PIHKAL's more interesting and (knowledgable) parts are available for FREE online via those two links. Have fun, and remember, psychoactives can be a valuable learning experience but to anything good there's equal if not more bad. Read everything with logic and don't go and turn out like Huxley.

Re:More information... (1)

daveashcroft (321122) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595607)

And lets look forward to QIHKAL, Shulgins up-and-coming new text on psychoactive cactus alkaloids. As far as the more interesting parts, i have to admit that i found the biographical sections of more interest. Most of the chemistry is straightforward, and only of any real use to a non-professional (ie those people who shouldnt even contemplate doing it...if not for legal reasons, then for personal safety reasons).

Look out for QIHKAL, i believe it is due for publication sometime this year or early next year.

Re:More information... (1)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595626)

Yes, I'm looking forward to it. I mostly enjoyed Shulgin's experience reports and the pertaining chemistry. Then again, I love bio-chemistry :)

Re:More information... (1)

daveashcroft (321122) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595665)

Although....it probably wont end up being called QIHKAL (apparently Ann Shulgin is opposed to the name for some reason or another). That might actually be an exclusive! I dont think Sasha has made that public yet. Oops. Sorry

Re:More information... (1)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595708)

Do you know Shulgin personally? I've read his works since I was a child.... (Well, I'm 18 now! hah.. probably like 14) Fascinating man.... must be cool to know him.

Re:More information... (0, Troll)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595688)

...self-experimentation... The doors were suddenly flung open for a new age of exploration into the human mind.

I like this line, just because it so perfectly captures the stupidity of the drug culture. exactly what deep insights into the workings of the human mind are we supposed to get from researchers tripping on LSD? The color purple tastes salty? Dogs are really psychic, and want researchers to kill Santa Claus?

Re:More information... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595748)

What the hell? You must be doing much better drugs than those researchers.

Re:More information... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595765)

Let me guess: most of what you know about psychotropic drugs, you learned from DARE and other propaganda?

Re:More information... (2, Insightful)

funbobby (445204) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595804)

The idea behind "exploration" is that you can see a lot of interesting things about how something works when you push it outside of its normal running conditions.

Re:More information... (3, Insightful)

Davethewaveslave (641693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595810)

Written by someone who clearly has never had the experience...

Unless you have a degree in psychology, or more on-topic, are a psychiatrist, I wouldn't waste your effort dismissing what we are "supposed to get from researchers tripping on LSD".

I'm neither a psychologist or a psychiatrist, but I can tell you from my experiences in the drug culture that there is certainly something about LSD that warrants more research into its effects on the mind. I've read that some researchers suggest it could benefit people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, such as rape victims and war veterans. If improving the life of a trauma victim is not a worthy cause, I'm not sure what would be...

Re:More information... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595818)

Ahh, someone who has never done LSD...... Interestingly, I've never had visual hallucinations on LSD, its always just been an alteration in thinking. One thing I've always thought would be nice to research is the 'time dialation' effect of various drugs. I've always been amazed at this very noticable effect.

Re:More information... (5, Informative)

daveashcroft (321122) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595835)

Well, certain psychadelic drugs allow complete ego loss. Whereas recreational use may not be the best, if a person with deep-seated emotional problems can be taken by a trusted professional (ie psychiatrist) into a state of ego-loss and therefore allow themselves to see their "problem" from a different angle, as an outsider...then this can be very useful.

Until the early 70's, LSD was used VERY succesfully in many cases in the treatment of alcoholism. "Clarity of mind" is an often overused statement, but for some people who's whole *normal* life revolved around wanting to satiate a craving for alcohol, limited and controlled LSD use could help them see what they were doing to themselves from another persons perspective.

LSD was also succesfully used (as MDMA is now beginning to be tested) as a treatment for rape victims. Temporarily dissociating the victim from the experience and the emotion of what had happened to them allowed them to asses the situation and separate the act of violence from the emotional scar.

Im not saying we should have a free-for-all, but i think its a damn shame that trained and trusted professionals are now banned in most of the world (by UN directive) from developing alreayd proven treatments for debilitating emotional disorders.

Re:More information... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9596003)

you're an ignorant cretin.

Re:More information... (5, Informative)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595784)

I wholeheartedly agree that these are great books, and I think that before anyone forms an opinion about people who use psychedelics based on those idiot kids that eat too much E and go to parties and get themselves in trouble, that they should read these books.

The portions that are available for free, while wonderful for their own reasons, pale in comparison to the first half of the books. That is the story.

These books are the "true story" (names changes etc in an attempt to avoid prosecution which worked well enough to keep the shulgins free, but not enough to save Sasha's Schedule 1 chemicals license as the opening of tihkal tells) of a chemist and psycopharmacologist.

This man has invented drugs that later hit the street. He is so well respected in the community, that his job is a consultant. The DEA often brings him in to testify as an expert witness on chemistry and drugs. He is the real deal.

More than that he is personally amazing. I saw him speak at MIT last year, and for an 80 year old man (or just about hes what 79 or so?) he is vibrant and totally with it. If I am half as with it as he is when I am 70, I will be thankful for how I ended up.

Not exactly what many people would expect from a person who has had the experiences he has.

-Steve

Re:More information... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595861)

And once you're done with the reading and want some hands-on ;-)

RacResearch [racresearch.com]

American Chemical Supply [americanch...supply.com]

There are tons of others too; [google.com] your [google.com] pleasure [google.com] and check the sponsored links!

LEGAL DRUGS! MOD UP!

Highly recommended (1)

ktulu1115 (567549) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595879)

Although I have not read those books, I would highly recommend Erowid [erowid.org] as an amazing resource for all kinds of information. Anything from chemistry, to religion/psychology, to laws and culture surrounding various substances. Seriously, even if you have the slightest curosity (don't we all?) then check it out. I used to keep a printed out copy of one of Erowid's FAQ's [erowid.org] (*very* good I might add) on my coffeetable while living in my fraternity house and still in college. It was amazing the wide range of people who read and found it interesting, most of them had zero experience with those substances asides from the general fallacies.

That being said, please be responsible with whatever activities to choose to partake in.

Re:More information... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595883)

And once you're done with the reading and want some hands-on ;-)

RacResearch [racresearch.com]

American Chemical Supply [americanch...supply.com]

There are tons of others too; google [google.com] your [google.com] pleasure [google.com] and check the sponsored links!

LEGAL DRUGS! MOD UP!

2P (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595564)

All your hits are belong to us.

Free as in beer or free as in drugs? (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595986)

So is this creative commons license the LSD book was licensed under, free as in beer, or free as in drugs.

And remember
Microsoft [lwn.net] = "Free as in Drugs"(*)
BSD = "Free as in Beer.
Linux = "free as in Speach.

(*) "With Microsoft, the first hit is always free - remember that all your life. They're going to all these different websites and having them become .Net websites. They say they're not going to make any money. For now, they'll not charge you for access to your Passport environment. Maybe soon they'll charge you $50. That's $50 that they're charging you for info that they stole from you." -- Scott McNealy

Ah, LSD (3, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595566)

So many memories.....erased.

Re:Ah, LSD (1)

zootread (569199) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595613)

So many memories.....erased.

More like:

"So many memories... *flashback* aghhhhhh I'm freaking out!!!!"

I had some of the best times and worst times on LSD.

Re:Ah, LSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595634)

Even though I know you are trying to be funny... I have some of the most vivid memories of what I was doing while I was spun on acid.

I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing but I certainly know that no matter what it was that I was saw, thought about, or did, LSD opened doors in my life that I would never have explored otherwise.

Re:Ah, LSD (5, Insightful)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595704)

I have some of the most vivid memories of what I was doing while I was spun on acid.

I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing but I certainly know that no matter what it was that I was saw, thought about, or did, LSD opened doors in my life that I would never have explored otherwise.


Absolutely. Everyone should take LSD at least once in their life. It really opens your eyes to things and I still have many insights into life that I think I might never had without it. I took it about 10-15 times (last time was more than 10 years ago.) I have never had a flashback, and only one 'bad trip' (which was terrible, but is really a product of the environment you expose yourself too while on it.) LSD has really been demonized but I think it is pretty harmless. If you really can't bring yourself to take LSD, try shrooms. You get the same affect but for a much shorter time.

Re:Ah, LSD (5, Informative)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595831)

P.S. Since I advocated the use LSD or shrooms, please note: Never, ever, ever, ever take it alone and if you have never taken it, take it with some one who has. If you don't follow those rules, you will have a bad time. Guaranteed.

Re:Ah, LSD (3, Informative)

ktulu1115 (567549) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595920)

Very good advice but I'll take it a step further - Read the FAQ [erowid.org] before you do. It will make the experience infinitely better, and if you follow it very closely your chances of having a bad trip will be next to none.

Re:Ah, LSD (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595882)

(Having to post anonymously because of the fear of company anti-drug policy sucks)

LSD certainly helped me out immensely. I used to be very shy and pretty antisocial. This is hard to explain but when I first did acid, I was able to have two very distinct tracks of thought one which was me interacting with people, and the other which was me observing myself interacting with people. I saw that what I had always thought of as people being antisocial toward me, was an illusion. These people behaved the same way toward me as they did everyone else... it was me who was being antisocial.

After that trip I was able to change the way I reacted to people, and finally have normal relationships with the people around me.

I've done LSD a few times since then, and have never had a bad trip, or any sort of flashbacks.

Re:Ah, LSD (2, Informative)

TwinGears (615184) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595903)

It's been years but I would have to agree with you. Nothing better than a good head trip to clean the cobwebs in the brain.
Flashback is a foolish term for that which will never happen. There are those that haven't a clue how memory functions...some of them work for M$. Thus the problem continues...

Re:Ah, LSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595694)

Not to worry, you will find new friends and faces, coming out of the walls for years to come.

Glad to see you've been indoctrinated (1)

b00m3rang (682108) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595868)

with the same ol' propogandist bullshit they've been spewing since the beginning of the War on (some) Drugs. Your brainwashing is now complete, you can move on.

Re:Glad to see you've been indoctrinated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595954)

But wouldn't it make more sense to give the children the breakfast cereal?

Re:Ah, LSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595779)

I've never quite recovered from my breakfast cereal's pitiful squeaks of pain as I chewed it.

Re:Ah, LSD (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595941)

So many memories.....erased.

What do you mean? I take it you've never use the stuff. Some of my most vivid and amazing memories have come via LSD.

-matthew

High on life (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9596027)

It's people with no actual LSD knowledge who hallucinate such side effects as memory loss, significant "flashbacks", and brainfry. There are tiny percentages of actual users who have experienced some of these effects, but they're traceable to repressed psychotic drives of people who foolishly take the drug, often out of a selfdestructive urge. Drugs aren't for everybody, but fearmongering is apparently less exclusive.

Whoa (5, Funny)

stoneymonster (668767) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595568)

I'll download this as soon as my mouse stops snapping at my like an alligator.

Only fitting... (4, Funny)

Jetson (176002) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595577)

... that it would be posted by someone named Timothy.

Can't.....help.......must.....post..... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595628)

It is official; Netcraft confirms: *LSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *LSD community....

Did someone say Acid? (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595587)

Mmmmmmmmm.... Duff Brand LSD... (Drool)...

Is he on drugs? (5, Funny)

fantomas (94850) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595592)

Releasing a valuable literary work under such a hippy, liberal, communist style copyright agreement? with all sorts of potential financial opportunities such as sales to Hollywood, serialisation in popular magazines, web based commercial exploitation? Is the author mad? IS HE ON DRUGS?

As Jerry once said... (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595601)

Jerry Garcia (quoted during an interview with Rolling Stone in 1991):

Psychedelics showed me a whole other universe, hundreds and millions of universes. So that was an incredibly positive experience. But on the other hand, I can't take psychedelics and perform as a professional. I might go out onstage and say, 'Hey, fuck this, I want to go chase butterflies!'

It's appropriate (1)

savagedome (742194) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595606)

My largest complaint with Lysergically Yours is that it is too short. Weighing in at 120 pages, the book is an easy read but leaves you feeling that it could have easily been expanded to fill twice as many.

Oh the irony!

Re:It's appropriate (1)

Sogol (43574) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595794)

I printed it out with Open Office (.25" margins, 10 point Courier font): 33 Pages in total.

Unix Retrospective (5, Funny)

MooseByte (751829) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595610)


"this is a novel which deals in part with the synthesis of and culture surrounding LSD."

I see. So basically a tale of the origins of unix? :-)

Re:Unix Retrospective (1)

Mick Ohrberg (744441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595801)

LSD - BSD... You tell me.

Re:Unix Retrospective (1)

wahsapa (767922) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595847)

'Onlt two good things came out of Berkeley: Unix and LSD'

Regarding conciousness (4, Interesting)

toasted_calamari (670180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595625)

I have never taken hallucinagens, so I cannot comment from personal experience, but I have always wondered whether the "new modes of conciousness" so often reported are actually new ways of looking at the world, or merely hallucinations themselves.

As a reference point, I would suggest reading the book Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman [amazon.com] by Physicist Richard Feynman. One chapter in particular discusses the authors experiences with halluncination in a sensory depravation chamber.

During one experience in the chamber, Feynman came to understand exactly how memories were organized in the brain. It made perfect sense, however, upon leaving the chamber, he realized that what had made perfect sense an hour ago, was absolutly rediculous. His understanding had been no more real than the things he was seeing in the chamber.

Re:Regarding conciousness (1)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595664)

They change your perception and subsequently understanding of the world around you. A powerful psychoactive such as LSD distorts reality around you and inside you.. so much so that illogical understandings arrise.

But, those understandings are the most logical thing ever when on said psychotropic.

Re:Regarding conciousness (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595996)

But, those understandings are the most logical thing ever when on said psychotropic

I have to disagree. I wouldn't call my understandings while under the influence of LSD logical. Yeah, illogical things can make "sense" while under the influence, but they never seem particularly logical. The LSD understanding is much more akin to intuition. Just as valid, IMO.

-matthew

Re:Regarding conciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595680)

But how did he know that his sense was correct after he got out? What if it really did make perfect sense, but he was hallucinating its nonsensicalness after he got out? What if our normal perception of reality is the hallucination, and the trip is the real thing?

Woah.

Re:Regarding conciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595700)

To quote the movie Face Off:

Dietrich: No more drugs for THAT man!

Re:Regarding conciousness (1)

Unnngh! (731758) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595780)

Reality is basically just an agreement--most /. readers, for example, agree on the english language, and can communicate. People agree that houses are built a certain way, people of certain standing/class/taste dress a certain way, etc. This creates a social landscape.

Psychedelics and extreme shock (grief, physical shock, etc.) put you in a different frame of reference, a different set of agreements, or a different reality. So, you may have some great insight as to why that tree appears to be growing while you're tripping, but when you come down it's nothing that you or anyone else would agree on and consequently is not "real". Try talking to someone on drugs--they seem very unreal and you will probably look like a dumbass b/c you aren't perceiving the same things at all.

Thus Feinman's perception of something very profound in state B was completely useless in state A, but seemed very real in state B and probably would still seem real if he returned to state B.

Drugs are just bad, mmmhay?

Reality is absolute (2, Insightful)

genner (694963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595828)

Sadly reality isn't an agreement, it's a absolute. A man may think he can fly while on drugs but his perceptions won't keep him alive if he jumps off a building.

Re:Regarding conciousness (5, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595811)

I have never taken hallucinagens, so I cannot comment from personal experience, but I have always wondered whether the "new modes of conciousness" so often reported are actually new ways of looking at the world, or merely hallucinations themselves.

It is difficult, as a person who has experienced hallucinogenic states, to explain to someone who hasn't, just what it's really like. There is definitely something to be learned by experiencing these altered states. It helps to remind us that what we experience in our minds as "reality" is anything but real, and that we really don't have direct access to "reality" as it truly exists. It even might cause you to doubt that there is anything such as the "true nature" of things.

Feynman had an idea, which when he moved to a profoundly different mental environment, appeared ridiculous. The important lesson to be learned here is that what seems very reasonable and sane about reality could be equally ridiculous, and we're just in the wrong frame of mind to "see" it.

His understanding had been no more real than the things he was seeing in the chamber.

That's really the entire point. Who knows what "real" is, when your conscious perceptions of reality can be so profoundly altered by taking a few milligrams (or in this case, micrograms) of some chemical compound?

In a psychedelic state, it is common to look at normal waking life that used to seem so normal, and feel that it is completely ridiculous.

In fact, there is no logical basis to claim that either state is "real," or "ridiculous." Drugs whack you upside the head with the philosophical truth that "reality," as we commonly define it, doesn't really exist in any relevant way. It is only psychological reality which matters.

(BTW, I haven't taken any psychedelic compounds in a long time, and don't plan to again.)

Re:Regarding conciousness (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595938)

Who knows what "real" is, when your conscious perceptions of reality can be so profoundly altered by taking a few milligrams (or in this case, micrograms) of some chemical compound? In a psychedelic state, it is common to look at normal waking life that used to seem so normal, and feel that it is completely ridiculous.
But surely you see where one could make the argument that this is more rationally seen as evidence of a chronic dysfunction of the brain caused by the use of drugs than as evidence of any "heightened mental state." You're going to experience what most people accept as "reality" for all of the period of your life that you spend not under the influence of psychedelic drugs. It's the default state of the organism. Why assume that it's an aberrant or erroneous state, just because you can produce a different state by introducing foreign chemical compounds into the system? It makes more sense to assume that the post-chemical state is aberrant.

Or, to put it another way, countless books, pamphelets, plays, movies, and rambling diaries have been produced attempting to explain or prove the profound revelations produced by the use of hallucinogens, and in every case, it seems to me that the "revelations" can be very simply illustrated with the following statement:

Drugs get you high.
Can't we all just admit it and move on?

Re:Regarding conciousness (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595979)

Of course, things like gravity are still real and have real effects at great heights.

Re:Regarding conciousness (1)

flacco (324089) | more than 10 years ago | (#9596022)

It helps to remind us that what we experience in our minds as "reality" is anything but real, and that we really don't have direct access to "reality" as it truly exists.

this was the most profound revelation i had during my limited experience with hallucinogens. it made me aware of how limited our perceptions are - both sensory and logical.

that said, i don't think i'll ever touch the stuff again (it's been 13 years for me). while it's important to know about the fallibility of your senses, it's also kind of demoralizing to be reminded of it :-)

Re:Regarding conciousness (1, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595917)

The best way I can think to explain it is that the hallucinations aren't so much about perceiving things that aren't there, but rather having the aspects of the things around you emphasized in various ways. This may lead the user to make connections between things that they otherwise would not have.

For example, as the walls begin to weave back and forth like the room is breathing, you gain new appreciation for the detail of woodgrain, and see how it's not just a static pattern represented on a surface, but instead is the end result of a living process that brought those fibers together, only to be frozen in place at the moment that tree was cut down and turned into lumber.

It's a difficult concept to communicate, and while it's been a long time since I've had any such adventures, I can definitely say that they opened my mind up in a positive way. It's like Chef once said on South Park, "there's a time and a place for everything, and it's called College ."

Re:Regarding conciousness (3, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595956)

Like many others here, I'm sure, I've had some experience here in the past. While many times the hallucinations might appear to be meaningless after the effects have worn off, and maybe in many senses they are meaningless, it's that they're profound and meaningful at the time that is often what's important.

In many ways, we are the sum of our experiences, whether based in "normal reality" or some altered state of it. LSD causes the reality you experience to be very profound, emotionally and psychologically, and this can lead to very important changes after the fact.

While I think there is a great deal of potential for therapeutic LSD use (in the 60s, they had fairly good success in combatting alcoholism with it), it can be equally dangerous.

In my own case, I managed to overcome a good deal of shyness through a single LSD experience, that has lasted to this day (some 18 or 19 years later). I chalk this up to the power of the emotions I felt regarding my shyness at the time. On the other hand, I know people who have been emotionally scarred for many years from "bad trips" for precisely the same reason.

As for other "uses" that are productive, there is sometimes an ability to handle abstract problem solving that can be associated with LSD experiences. In many cases, people have solved real-life problems through LSD, in fields of Architecture, Physics, and I'm sure others as well. I don't know that I would ever use it for that purpose, but I've seen a good deal of anecdotal evidence that it exists, and from my own experiences, I would tend to believe it. After all, you're simply much more open to different ways of looking at or approaching problems and sometimes that's all it takes to solve it.

Much more interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595646)

The book would have been much more interesting if it was Lethargically your...ZZZZZZZZZZ

LSD (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595655)

LSD absorbs 47 times its own weight in excess reality.

LSD in my hometown (2, Informative)

Nos. (179609) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595658)

Most of the early research on LSD was conducted in my hometown of Weyburn (before I was born).

~~~ INTRODUCING "REAL TROLL TALK" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595660)

~~~ I promised someone that I would post here today to introduce Real Troll Talk [slashdot.org] .

~~~ It's a frequently-updated webzine featuring popular Internet trolling personalities revealing their most intimate thoughts and feelings.

~~~ Stop by today to read the first issue, featuring pb, and the second issue, featuring the one and only TRoLLaXoR.

~~~ (C)opyright Real Troll Talk 2004

only on slashdot (4, Funny)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595661)

is the license under which a book is released more interesting than the book itself.

alternative medicine (2, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595663)

If you can't obtain real LSD, you can always use banana peels [countryjoe.com] . For real history see Michael Hollingshead [acidmagic.com] [clue: he's the guy that turned Leary onto LSD!]

Re:alternative medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595742)

The amusing thing is the double take that occured when I read the last name while scanning the posts. It's funny because it's my surname and it's not exactly all that common heh

Re:alternative medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595821)

you know that was a joke and the most you get from banana peels is nothing...

Re:alternative medicine (2, Informative)

cubic6 (650758) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595968)

Did you actually read the page you linked to? They drank water with LSD dissolved in it, then smoked the "banana joints". Wonder which one caused the psychadelic experiences?

What are we reviewing here? Book or license? (3, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595691)

It is much more than just a drug book though, and what's better, it has been released under a Creative Commons license.

So if it was crap, it would still be "much better" crap because it's Creative Commons? Or, if it was brilliant, it might not be quite as brilliant, not quite as good if it where not under Creative Commons? What does the quality of the read have to do with the licensing?

Re:What are we reviewing here? Book or license? (2, Insightful)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595845)

well, because you can now read it and say, "hey this sucks. But just barely. If i were to change this part and this part... add a giant robot here, it would actually be a really good story." Then rewrite those parts, keeping all the rest original, rename it, and not be sued for plagerism or anything else.

or i could just say "...and what's better" is a common phrase also meaning "hey, there's more value here that you might not have noticed". /. has to stop taking everything so literally

Re:What are we reviewing here? Book or license? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595863)

how is this insightful.

he thinks the book is very good. and also as an added bonus, its under the Creative Commons license.

how you managed to screw that up i dont know.

Re:What are we reviewing here? Book or license? (2, Insightful)

haakoneide (788114) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595924)

Would a failed collision-test on a car make driving it less fun? No, but it's still an even better car if it has airbags.

Ob. video link (2, Funny)

Boiling_point_ (443831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595713)

British troops testing LSD [kernalpanic.org] - 14mb video, but essential viewing for those considering mixing hallucinogens with the workplace

How about some non-fiction, from the source? (5, Informative)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595715)

Try Albert Hofmann's own book, LSD - My Problem Child [flashback.se] , which has been available on the Web -- for free -- for about a decade already. It's also available here [cmu.edu] as a single text file.

Much more interesting, exciting and enlightening.

LSD advertisement? (1, Interesting)

InternationalCow (681980) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595719)

From how I read the review I got the impression that this book sorta glorifies the use of hallucinogenic drugs. Well, they have interesting effects but troubling side effects, such as the infamous LSD flashback. The latter outweigh the former, believe me. If you're interested in what it's REALLY like, go and read Burroughs' Naked Lunch. That should cure ya :)

Re:LSD advertisement? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595803)

No, that would be a reason to avoid HEROIN and BAD WRITING. Nothing/very little to do with acid.

Re:LSD advertisement? (1)

Master Bait (115103) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595849)

Drugs aren't bad. Drugs are fun. Fun is bad.

Re:LSD advertisement? (1)

Marshall Banana, Esq (791211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595867)

Drink your school, stay in drugs, don't do milk! /Mr. T http://www.no-cash.org/mrt/videos.htm

Re:LSD advertisement? (1)

ShockerFan (741511) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595890)

the infamous LSD flashback

Shouldn't that be "mythical" LSD flashback instead? Seriously, I have never experienced an LSD flashback, and I don't know anybody who has. Shit, nobody I know knows anybody who was had a genuine LSD flashback. As far as I know, "the infamous LSD flashback" is an invention of the anti-drug crowd, whose "knowledge" of drugs seems to be designed by their own fears.

What a shame... (4, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595731)

that Albert Hoffman is remembered only for LSD.

Fact is, he created the first nootropic (cognitive enhancing) drug, hydergine, and deserves far more recognition for that than for LSD, or any of the other drugs of far more utility that he created.

The fact that he's not recognized for this only indicates that most people would rather be stoned than smart. That's a damn shame for him, and shame on them.

Oh, and shame on the US for not approving hydergine for use. It's one of the safest drugs there is, and useful to most anyone. Unfortunately, like many good drugs, the patents are owned by non-US companies, so no US company stands to profit, and so the FDA doesn't approve it. If it were the case that nootropics weren't useful, then Nobel laureate Eric Kandel wouldn't have announced devoting the remainder of his career to creating them.

Drugs are bad mmmmmmmkay (2, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595768)

Don't do drugs kids. There is a time and place for everything. It's called college. - Chef

/ob

Could never happen today (1)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595790)

since the war [inq7.net] on drugs eliminated drugs [drugsense.org] .

Good reading (0, Redundant)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595797)

...this is a novel which deals in part with the synthesis of and culture surrounding LSD.

Does the authors special edition version have perforated lickable pages?

Re:Good reading (1)

jared_hanson (514797) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595901)

Does the authors special edition version have perforated lickable pages?

No, but I recommend you check out your local post office.

PDF Version (2, Informative)

siliconjunkie (413706) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595812)

I made a quick and dirty PDF (with the cover art) for those of you who aren't into reading flat text files (i prefer PDF's myself).

http://www3.telus.net/public/gsell/ly/

moD up (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595825)

see. The number the wind appearGed tired arguments been the best,

Slashdot and Drugs? (1, Interesting)

misleb (129952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595880)

I find it interesting that a drug related article made it to slashdot. I spend a lot of time in psychedelic news forums. I've consumed my fair share of LSD as well. Sometimes I just assume that slashdot readers have similar interests, but then I think that is a silly assumption. Was my original assumption correct? Are most slashdot readers (geeks?) at least sympathetic to psychedelic/cannabis culture? If so, why do you think this is?

-matthew

Re:Slashdot and Drugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595907)

Being highly allergic to marijuana, not me.

However the geek crowd I know does have what seems a higher than usual number of hallucinogenic drug users. Plenty who'd never touch the stuff too, but I think you get those types anywhere you go.

Re:Slashdot and Drugs? (0)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595939)

Being highly allergic to marijuana, not me.

That's interesting considering it's physically impossible to be allergic to marijuana

I suggest you've had a spiked joint

Re:Slashdot and Drugs? (1)

haakoneide (788114) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595944)

I agree, you *have* consumed your fair share of LSD.

Re:Slashdot and Drugs? (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9596024)

What is that supposed to mean? Are you expressing some kind of prejudice against psychedelic drug users?

Re:Slashdot and Drugs? (5, Funny)

dporowski (670734) | more than 10 years ago | (#9596016)

Speaking as a slashdot reader, geek, and one who may have been known to--purely hypothetically speaking, of course--indulge in an occasional bit of recreational chemistry... (Though violently allergic to cannabis, it seems.)

Cannabis "culture" can f*ck right off. So can "psychedelic culture".

Feel free to use them. Some of it's REALLY fun. A lot. Repeatedly. I approve. (Assuming one is aware of the potential risks, etc.)

However, "psychedelic music" makes me itch, patchouli makes me gag, if I never see a dirty set of half-assed dreads on a white suburban boy again I'll be ecstatic, candy-ravers should have their own hunting season, and drum circles make me wish I owned a HMV so I could re-enact that line from Conan where he says "Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women." Vroom.

Sorry. I find it indefensible. It's as if I tried to create "beer culture" or "vodka culture" or maybe "swiss cheese culture" and pass it off as a valid lifestyle choice. Not to mention it spoils it for everyone who may want to try the substance in question but just can't stand the people who DO it.

Treat it like having a beer after work, y'know? Don't call it a "lifestyle" or a "culture" and then proceed to fail your hygiene check. I'm all down with being able to ingest whatever makes you happy. Have fun, just make sure to get the good stuff.

(And stop HUGGING ME! STOP! BAD TOUCH!)

The obvious (1)

Bowling Moses (591924) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595887)

Is there a way to print it on blotting paper?

Sheesh that should have been one of the first comments. Stupid slashdot. And I don't even do drugs. Just sweet, sweet beer.

fearful anti-drug culture (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595948)

I am of the belief that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Life is full of things to experience and I'd imagine that everyone has at least one painful, scary or politically-incorrect experience in their past that taught them a valuable lesson they continue to apply.

I'm not condoning LSD or any drugs. For every politically-incorrect drug like pot or LSD, there are a hundred others like Vicodin or Oxycotin which are potentially even more dangerous and addictive, yet are doled out like they are candy by many in the industry.

IMO, all drugs are basically used to alter reality whether we want to admit it or not. Pot is ultimately used as a (psychological) "painkiller" not unlike how you might get a Demerol drip (as a physical painkiller) before a surgery, albeit the circumstances vary, the main objective is not dissimilar if you look at things figuratively. The value in using these substances is exclusively based on employing moderation and responsibility. I believe every drug has an equal potential for positive or negative consequences. LSD can make people more intelligent by unlocking areas of their brain that were previously inaccessible; alcohol can loosen peoples inhibitions and allow them to be more comfortable and relaxed; painkillers and muscle relaxers have beneficial uses -- it all depends upon how *responsible* one is in using these tools. But to completely condemn one group, while promoting another seems hypocritical to me. But at the same time, I also acknowledge that our society is becoming progressively more obsessive-compulsive and unable to moderate their consumption, so it's a real dilemma how to deal with the abuse potential.

Where things get scary IMO isn't over which drugs are good or bad. ANYTHING can be abused and destructive if not used responsibly and in moderation, whether we're talking about alcohol or oxygen. You could just as easily make yourself hallucinate by hyperventilating. But what seems scary to me is this fearful anti-drug culture which downplays the significance of responsibility in favor of making people intensely fearful of even the singular prospect of trying some politically-incorrect substance. This results in a sociological change in the last ten years where there is an almost total absence of healthy debate on the issues and the elimination of a substantive moderate/responsible-user/exerimenter demographic: people tend to be one extreme or the other: those who have never tried drugs and authoritatively claim they're evil and suicidal, or those that exercise virtually no responsibility in using them and are poster children for self destruction and lack of moderation.

In the mean time, as a result of this immoveable, hyper-puritanical polarization of drug use, we miss the opportunity to discover wisdom and insight that we could reap great benefit from.

Right on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9595998)

Someone mod this up!

Fear of mind altering drugs. (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#9595951)

I don't do drugs. In general, they don't interest me. Sure, during my university years I drank like a fish and still enjoy a bottle of wine or a few beers... and yeah... even the odd blinder now and then. I've never done any hard drugs (I don't count the odd joint as a hard drug, and anyway... pot gives me an hour of giggles then three of headaches and paranoia).

But Acid has always struck me as something interesting. Something I'd like to try.

So, for the newbie, what's your advice?

- How do I ensure I'm getting the real thing?
- What enviroment, music, people etc etc should I be in/with/etc.
- If things go bad, what can others do to help me through it?
- Any other pointers?

Re:Fear of mind altering drugs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9596001)

- How do I ensure I'm getting the real thing?
- What enviroment, music, people etc etc should I be in/with/etc.
- If things go bad, what can others do to help me through it?
- Any other pointers?


It's been more than a decade since I did acid. I think the answer to all of your questions have to do with one concept: "trust"

Find someone you trust who can get what you need. Surround yourself with an environment that is comfortable; surround yourself with friends whom you trust. The notion that things will often go "bad" is blown way out of preportion if you experiment in a responsible, friendly environment.

When I was younger, a bunch of us dropped some acid and sat around listening to music. You don't need any special environment - that can actually be worse. If you get some clean LSD, you can be immensely entertained simply staring at the wall. This is what's so illuminating about the experience. Just have a "designated driver" that is coherent that you can trust to keep an eye on you and your friends, and have fun. I think everyone should try it once. But don't overdo it; it's only really special the first few times, then it's not the same.

Re:Fear of mind altering drugs. TRY MUSHROOMS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9596034)

Mushrooms are great. Almost same as LSD, but no brain fry.

I have a friend who has done them weekly for last 25 years w/no known side effects. in fact he credits the 'enlightnment' the shrooms gave him in becoming an internet multi-millionaire.

Easy to grow [shroomery.com]

April 16th, 1945 (4, Funny)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 10 years ago | (#9596011)

"The walls have melted, and my lab assistant Charles has turned into a a lemur that resembles the late Kaiser Wilhelm.

However, the flying mice assure me that this is perfectly normal."

LSD vs. Lucid Dreaming (2, Interesting)

localman (111171) | more than 10 years ago | (#9596026)

I wonder if anyone who has done LSD has also had experience with lucid dreaming [lucidity.com] ? I have experimented to some degree with lucid dreaming, and after discussing acid trips with friends who've had them, I kind of theorize that LSD is very similar dreaming while awake.

I'm 30 and I haven't tried LSD. It's not likely that I will, but I don't think it's wrong or particularly dangerous. It's possible I'd try it at some point if I got exceedingly bored with other means of exploring conciousness.

But for now when I get the inclination for some exploration of conciousness, I just crack out the dream journal and go from there. I guess I think of LSD as cheating a bit. Like steroids or something.

Of course, someone with experience with both might feel differently.

Cheers.

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