A book on LSD psychotherapy that is being published at a time when psychedelic research is virtually non-existent requires a few words of introduction and justification. There are many practical and theoretical reasons for sharing this material, accumulated over more than twenty-four years. The repressive legislation in regard to psychedelic drugs has succeeded in terminating almost all legitimate scientific research, but lias been quite ineffective in curbing unsupervised self-experimentation. It is nearly impossible for the average professional to get a license for psychedelic work and a supply of pharmaceutically pure substances, but black market samples, frequently of problematic quality, are easily available to the teenage generation.
Hundreds of thousands—and according to some estimates millions—of young people in the United States alone have experimented with psychedelics on their own. The information in scientific hooks and journals is not easily available and most of it does not have direct practical relevance, while the literature that has had a direct influence on the public has been strongly biased, dichotomized and contradictory.
One part of it, coming from uncritical proselytizers, tended to one-sidedly emphasize the advantages of psychedelic drug use and failed to mention the dangers. The rest was a product of official anti-drug propaganda and was for the most part so distorted and negative that the younger generation did not take it seriously. Since a similar campaign had been raised in the past against the relatively innocent marijuana, it was easy to “throw the baby out with the bathwater,” and ignore not only the demagogic statements, but accurate and realistic warnings as well.
The theoretical importance of the data from psychedelic research extends far beyond the realms of psychiatry and psychology. It is also of immediate or potential relevance for a broad spectrum of other disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, politics, general medicine, obstetrics, thanatology, religion, philosophy, mythology and art.
By far the most surprising and exciting connections seem to exist between the psychedelic material and modern physics. Some of the challenging observations from LSD sessions that cannot be accommodated and integrated into the Carte-sian-Newtonian model seem to be perfectly compatible with the world-view emerging from quantum-relativistic physics. In view of the recent rapid convergence between mysticism, physics and consciousness, the LSD data could contribute significantly to our understanding of the nature of reality.
Big Sur, California April,