* with some editing for coherency.
“It is proposed that LSD acts primarily on the pleasure or reward centers of the brain, producing a surge of nonspecific emotionality. If it registers as bliss or rapture, it dominates the sensory flow, the concept of self, the thinking process. This strong emotional discharge overwhelms all mental activity and produces a fusion or synesthesia of the neural pathways: perceptual beauty and glowing light, erasure of the self concept and elimination of rational thought. This is the transcendental state; its opposite, the psychotic state, occurs when the strong feeling discharge is apperceived as horrific and discordant.”
— Sidney Cohen, The Beyond Within: The LSD Story (1967).
“In the LSD state the boundaries between the experiencing self and the outer world more or less disappear, depending on the depth of the inebriation. Feedback between receiver and sender takes place. A portion of the self overflows into the outer world, into objects, which begin to live, to have another, a deeper meaning. This can be perceived as a blessed, or as a demonic transformation imbued with terror, proceeding to a loss of the trusted ego. In an auspicious case, the new ego feels blissfully united with the objects of the outer world and consequently also with its fellow beings. This experience of deep oneness with the exterior world can even intensify to a feeling of the self being one with the universe. This condition of cosmic consciousness, which under favorable conditions can be evoked by LSD or by another hallucinogen from the group of Mexican sacred drugs, is analogous to spontaneous religious enlightenment, with the unio mystica. In both conditions, which often last only for a timeless moment, a reality is experienced that exposes a gleam of the transcendental reality, in which universe and self, sender and receiver, are one.”
— Dr. Albert Hofmann, LSD : My Problem Child (1980).
“How about a positive LSD story? ‘Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we’re the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.'”
— Bill Hicks.
At around 5 in the evening I awaken, make coffee, and watch some YouTube videos for an hour or two before reading and taking notes on the “lost civilization” hypothesis. At roughly 8, I do dishes, pour my last cup of coffee, and then make hot water in the coffee machine for Kava tea later on. Not even halfway through the last cup I’m feeling jittery, and regardless as to whether excitement mixed with anxiety played a role — and I’m sure it did — the caffeine wasn’t helping, so I had some bottled water and watched a short Lewis Black clip on YouTube.
At 8:34, I meditated for 17 minutes, following the breath, then made myself a cup of Kava tea and smoked part of a bowl.
At around 9, I start watching Cosmos. At 9:25, I set up the Roku to watch the supernova explosion episode, s1e8, “Sisters of the Sun,” and finally decide to take the tab soon.
I place it on my tongue at 9:33 and start watching Cosmos.
Though I could dismiss it as my imagination, I thought I felt it kicking in just as Tyson mentions “litters of stars,” but upon checking my watch, I find its only 9:53. It’s been difficult keeping it under my tongue and I’m hesitant to so much as sip my water in fear that I’ll swallow it too soon. I’m also very careful as I smoke a cigarette, constantly concerned I might accidentally inhale what by this time constitutes a psychedelic spit-wad.
On the screen, I watch as stars explode with such beautiful violence, blossoming like catastrophic flowers amidst that dark, ever-expanding sea. And we are children of that epic chaos. We are children of the stars.
I watch the episode, “Unafraid of the Dark,” next. As they talk about how the mob destroyed the Library of Alexandria, I mourn a little for all the information that we lost in the blaze, which brings my thoughts back to the whole notion of a lost, advanced civilization and that we are a species with amnesia. If there is a lost civilization, what else might it have done to fight against the collective amnesia that set in after the catastrophe that ended their reign? It’s the same question I’ve asked regarding remembering previous lifetimes and remembering this lifetime once I face that whole death-rebirth process again: how do you ensure that you never forget who you are?
I’ve noticed a pattern when I’ve taken MDMA and psilocybin that now extends to LSD. First, I resist taking it, as I want to ensure I’m ready. Finally I gather up the courage to take it and subsequently try and distract myself, though keep finding myself coming back to a feeling of anxiety over having taken it, but sort of an excitement at the same time. Then I think its kicking in, but it turns out I was wrong. As time passes, I feel as though I’ve been waiting forever, that it simply isn’t kicking in, and begin to wonder if it simply isn’t going to happen. Finally my act of juggling fear and excitement exhaust me and I decide I simply don’t care one way or the other. It will kick it it it won’t, and I am neither excited or fearful of it. Whatever happens, happens. I stop emotionally investing in it. If it doesn’t happen, I’m not disappointed; if it does, I’m pleasantly surprised. And that’s the optimal state of mind, methinks.
As I continue to watch Cosmos, I think to myself: much like a young child is very ego-centric, thinking that the world revolves around it, so do we as a collective species in our youth. Our illusions of being the center of anything or laying claim to much of anything is shot to shit increasingly more as we grow in our knowledge.
The ancients are thought to have worshipped the stars. And what better focus for worship, if one is doomed to place it somewhere? For we all come from the stars.
Peed and smoked a bowl. The tab has now been swallowed and feeling definite effects. This drugs comes on slowly, exaggerating, elaborating upon and emphasizing those familiar perceptual malfunctions — like seeing something out the corner of your eye, finding faces in clouds, misheard sounds you can’t at first discern. Awareness expands as consciousness becomes fluid, contorts, remoulds itself. Intriguing.
For a moment I pictured Elizabeth and I — there were others, but I have no idea who — watching this same episode involving Zwicky and dark matter. Simultaneously it felt as though this event were happening now, that it was a memory, and yet entirely my imagination. I’m fascinated.
I suddenly feel as though I’m inside but also simultaneously external to things; as if I can have multiple perspectives at once and truly appreciate the entirety.
Cosmos on LSD makes me miss my childhood Teacher, Nimi. Where has she gone?
I wish numbers would reach out to me. I wish I could master math.
I need to take notes on every Cosmos episode with my commentary. My reviews, in a way.
I listen to Tool’s Lateralis album. Every morsel of existence, writhing with life. Nothing is still. The particles of one thing dance with the particles of another in this ecstatic pattern underlying everything. Weaving. Interlocking. Interconnected.
I was staring at cover image for Lateralis album as it plays on YouTube, transfixed by the constant swirling and general animation if the image. 5:35 minutes in, I realize this is a still image I’m looking at: it’s not really in motion. This doesn’t stop it from moving, however.
Imagining things, it’s as if I’m living both in and outside the dream.
you guide me ’round,
gathering up parts
here and there,
adding to my own
lost and found.
I lay down on my couch, listening to Tool, bliss coursing through me as I thrust and move my body in a smooth, fluid, rhythmic manner. It was like a continuous orgasm. I had always anticipated LSD to be an intellectual drug, which it largely is, but never thought it could be sexual.
At some point a pair of huge, translucent lips approach me, and I am one with those lips while simultaneously remaining myself. The lips pucker as they approach and kiss my face, go through my head, and its so warm and wonderful. It wasn’t just visual, but tactile from both ends. Strange and beautiful.
I suddenly think of that William Blake poem, “Auguries of Innocence,” which I later look up online:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
What has happened, is happening and could happen — all times and potentialities — coexist in the same space.
At around 11:30, I’m staring at the ceiling, which is broken into countless square-tiled reflections of the same pattern (there are no tiles on my ceiling, just paint splotches). All of it, an elaborate tapestry. Interconnected web or net of life.
My mind has been through mental gymnastics. Every switch, firing at once. All hands on deck.
You find yourself. Right there all along, right where you could ignore it. Just wow.
Evolution, adaptation: randomness plus small adjustments over an excruciatingly long period of time.
All five major extinction events on earth: just experiments gone wrong?
You and your reality are systematically dismantled down to their fundamentals.
I feel as if my soul has gotten out and stretched.
Speak softly, carry a big stick.
I watch the episode of Cosmos where Tyson speaks about sound waves, where they use those ripple effects so you can “see” sound, and the ripples extend beyond the parameter of the flat screen. At the end if that segment, Tyson speaks with the ripple effects coming out of his mouth. He expresses annoyance and tried to wave the waves away with his hand, which I find to be hilarious. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in awhile.
Eventually, around ten hours after it was taken, things approximate normalcy and I fall to sleep on my couch.