Posts

lake titicaca lsd
lake titicaca lsd

Sophie standing in Lake Titicaca, on her first LSD trip

An acid trip on the Bolivian Isla Del Sol? Yeah that was a pretty sweet one. It was also my new friend Sophie’s first time with LSD. Figuring that you yourself may never have tried psychedelics but may be interested in LSD, this post will centre on how the experience was for Sophie; a first-time tripper. She kindly wrote about the experience from her perspective for me upon request, and I’ve included her writing in sections precluded with and S: and in blue, and interspersed them with my own account of the experience. Also, indented, I’ve put a few comments on aspects of the psychedelic experience typical to LSD.

  • N.B. This is by no means an exhaustive or complete account of an LSD experience, or even our experience that day, rather a fun piece that I hope will pique your curiosity and perhaps make you consider LSD and other psychedelic substances differently. There’s also some resources for first timers at the end.

Background

S: Apart from our adventure in the Bolivian jungle, I’d had no experience with psychedelics. As soon as John told me all about the effects of acid and his experiences, I knew I would like to sense this myself too.

As we headed east leaving the Amazon and our ayahuasca chapter behind, I revealed to Sophie that I had a few tabs of LSD and we could take some together. Having both just been told that our next destination, The Island Of The Sun, alleged birthplace of the Incas, is ‘the most beautiful place in Bolivia’, it didn’t take long before we’d decided that it would be a more than opportune time and place for some consciousness experimentation. I’d long wanted to help guide someone through their first LSD experience and figured if I was to ever fulfil my vague and lazily pursued pipe-dream of one day becoming a shaman/psychedelic therapist myself, it would be exactly the type of experience I should be notching up.

Though I’m still no expert, I’d like to think of myself as a fairly seasoned tripper these days and reasonably capable of dealing with any difficult situations which may arise. Besides, and much more importantly, Sophie felt good about it and was very positive.

The Day Of The Trip

bay.jpg

The bay we arrived in to

Lake Titicaca is mahoossive so it was only after a 2 hour boat ride that we arrived to the eastern side of the island. After finding a room at a place that was essentially sheds built onto the side of a mountain, we headed in the direction of where we’d heard quiet beaches could be found.

heading down.jpg

Heading down to the beach

S: As we explored the eastern side of the island by foot, we found an idyllic small hidden beach. We walked down a rocky hill, past a small abandoned cabin, and reached a 300 foot wide beach with no one and nothing else to be seen apart from the dry landscape and clear water. We sat down in a little dune. We took the acid and sat in silence, with our faces turned to the bright warm sun.

It was just after midday when we took the acid, 3/4 tab each. I estimate that each of our doses were about 50-100 micrograms each (current drug laws make it very hard to know what you actually have – let’s fight for legalisation! OK, more on that in another post). I figured it was a good idea to take less than a full tab after others’ feedback on this batch; one example – a few weeks earlier I’d given a tab to a curious Korean girl I’d met in Sucre advising her that half the tab might be best for her first time – she later contacted me telling me she had tried half and that the trip was strong, much stronger than she’d expected and had lasted more than 14 hours(!). So anyway…

The Trip

After about an hour we both began to feel lethargic and sluggish like just we’d eaten a fat and heavy meal (we had in fact eaten a sandwich and were probably sensitive to the digestion). We lay back and relaxed and it passed after about twenty minutes as the trip began. As the psychological effects came on, Sophie told me that she had the sensation that her body wasn’t ‘hers’. Looking at one of her feet she dug it into the sand a few times, as if it were numb with pins and needles, and testing her sense of touch. She was smiling and seemed to be enjoying the novelty.

‘It’s so weird – it’s not mine!’

Looking bewildered, she picked up a small stone from beside her and threw it at her foot.

‘Yes, but it is useful, you’ll need it later’ I smiled.

  • The ‘this body is not my body’ sensation is not an uncommon sensation for people to experience on psychedelics. For this reason, looking at yourself in a mirror is weirdly fascinating.

We lay back and relaxed as you would do on any day at the beach. A little scraggly dog appeared and decided to chill with us, I happily appointed him mascot for the trip and Sophie named him Sam.

spawling on beach isla del sol.jpg

Me and Sam: a dog’s life

S: After a little while, I started to feel very relaxed. The sun on my skin felt very nice and comforting, and there was nothing else I wanted in that moment. I was sensing a lot, but emotionally in a very stable and positive way. The more I allowed myself to just take in the moment, the more I felt happy, content and at peace. I’ve never experienced myself being so present; my thoughts did not drift off to the past or future, I was able to fully feel how it was to be there.

  • Happy, content and at peace – Yes, this is why we trip!

S: I decided to go for a swim. Even though the water was very cold, it felt very nice around my body. I couldn’t get enough of the water and stood there for a while, just feeling the water with my fingertips, legs and belly. I stared out towards the sun and felt good. My feeling was that it was the perfect place to be at that exact moment.

  • Presence – the feeling that there is nowhere else you’d rather be, and nothing that you would change; that everything is as it should be – also not an uncommon effect of psychedelics. Nice.

Sidenote: the water was actually freezing, like really cold. I’d dipped in myself a short while before and at that point was comfortably dried off and happily chilling on my towel again. Crazy girl.

S: There was not much more than the beach, the water, the sun, John and the little dog that came and joined us. The world felt like a little place in those moments.

We passed the day there, simply enjoying the view and listening to music as we lay in isolation from the world and any nagging thoughts of it. That afternoon our bodies and minds were there on that beach.

the blue view.jpg

I spent long periods of time just gazing at this beauty

After the Peak – Coming Down & Hiking Up

There was no intense peak on this trip and after a few hours we could both feel the effects diminishing. As the effects started to wear off we decided to leave the beach and start heading back to give ourselves time to find our way back to our room before dark. We left the beach and climbed back up to the hiking trail, marvelling at the outstanding beauty from our new vantage point.

Sophie told me that her body felt different again, that physically she felt light and rejuvenated. I didn’t find it hard to believe as she was joyfully bouncing around with a spring in her step and a blissful smile on her face. Looking at our new surroundings we saw beauty from all sides and were charmed by some wild goats trotting freely on the mountain beside us.

walking view.jpg

The trail, sorry – didn’t get a pic of the goats

Attempting to capture the beauty of the landscape, Sophie took out her camera and snapped a few pics, but each time, upon glancing at the photo upon her screen, ‘less beautiful!’. Reality just couldn’t be matched.

As we continued walking along the trail, we noticed that we could see our spot down on the beach, where we’d spent the previous five hours or so. We’d been totally oblivious of how exposed the beach was; from the shore we’d only been looking out, and not behind us and up the hill behind. Whilst we were down there we felt totally secluded and had been in our own little universe, but now we could see that the spot was clearly visible to anyone walking the trail. Being one of the top tourist spots in Bolivia, there was a decent number of people hiking around that day. We imagined tourists hiking along that day and seeing us down there – myself sprawled on the towel and Sophie standing topless and motionless in the still cold waters of the Lake – and doubled over in hysterics. People don’t typically visit the Isla Del Sol to have a beach day, it’s more of a hiking/Incan ruin tourist pull, so imagining what people might’ve been thinking as they saw us on their way round was hilarious and we continued cracking up in bursts of laughter for a good ten minutes. Even thinking about it now brings a smile to my face.

  • Uncontrollable laughter is also not an uncommon occurrence when tripping, and quite frankly, an absolute joy. There is something so liberating and joyful about free and unrestrained laughter; it’s one of my favourite aspects of tripping.
night falls.jpg

Night falls on the island

As the laughter died down we made our way back and went for dinner at the only restaurant in ‘town’, a small family place with 4 tables and a 10 year old kid as the waiter. We talked about our day and the trip together – a classic ‘debrief’ over dinner. After arriving back home, we perched on the mountain beside our room and gazed up at the stars, a tree dancing with the wind in our view. Tenderly, almost wistfully, speaking of the native’s beliefs, Sophie let out:

‘You know, sometimes I understand why they believe in Pachamama’

Me too Sophie, me too.

Final thoughts from Sophie

Are you glad you tried LSD? Was it a positive experience?

S: Yes and yes, it was even better than I expected, I’ve never felt so truly in the moment, not being distracted by thoughts, the surroundings, past or future.

Was it how you had expected it to be? And how was it different from what you expected?

S: Honestly I expected it to be less fulfilling, I mean, I expected to feel a happy and relaxed feeling, but not so much the capability to let go of all thoughts about past and future, and therefore the feeling of being totally relaxed. I also didn’t expect to feel so alert yet relaxed and open at the same time.

Delving Deeper: LSD as a Tool

I would definitely describe this first time trip on LSD being a success. However, we didn’t delve into any particularly deep areas of thought, or have the induced psychoanalysis that I associate with acid. As on this trip, it can be quite easy to simply pass through an experience in wonder and enjoyment of your surroundings without probing deeper territory. Psychedelics may indeed lead to deeper questions and revelations (as with my own first experiences), but as in this case, it’s not guaranteed. This may have been due to the strength of the dose, it may not have been enough to push us into that realm, or it could have been the captivating view that pulled us into the outer sensual world rather than our own internal worlds – honestly I’m not sure – but if you are hoping to learn some kind of bigger lesson from your experience it might be worth having a list of things/obstacles in your life with you to think about, and setting aside some time during the trip to do this. Doing this whilst tripping can help to see things from a new angle and get a fresh perspective on how you might approach and overcome problems in your life.

Notes From The ‘Guide’:

To be entirely honest, no difficult situations reared their heads and there was nothing I needed to do. Everytime I asked, Sophie told me how relaxed and good she felt. I honestly believe that the potential dangers of psychedelics are overstated. If you are sensible with set and setting and don’t have a history of mental illness, my personal view is that you will not only be fine, but stand to have an incredible experience with much to gain – not only during your adventure to new territories of consciousness, but also beyond the experience and in your life after the trip has ended. Finally I would recommend that you don’t resist or fight against what you are experiencing; accept it and go with it – that’s my first advice to anyone intending to take a psychedelic of any kind.

Due to the smooth nature of the trip, I don’t think there is much useful advice I can pass on as a guide other than the obvious: be positive, supportive and calm.

For first time trippers or trip sitters – there are some fantastic books and online resources, here are a few to get you started:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

That’s it! Potential trippers, I hope you’ve found this post useful. See you around 🙂

microdosing in bolivia

The wilderness of Bolivia – where the trip took place

Background

I first seriously started considering my multi-microdose wilderness trip immediately after I’d booked the three-day tour to the Salt Flats of Bolivia- the day before it started.

A multi-day trip through desert past lagoons, geysers and other natural wonders was fairly calling out for a psychedelic and despite having read a few online articles on the positive effects of microdosing, I’d never actually gotten round to it. This struck me as a perfect opportunity; the landscapes surely couldn’t be hurt by a bit of chemical manipulation but I also didn’t want to trip so hard when I’d be spending a lot of time in a packed 4×4 nor feel uncomfortable with my fellow travellers.

I didn’t tell anyone of my psychoactive ingestions; I didn’t want to be that guy who shows up and does acid everyday, well actually I did, obviously, but I didn’t want to be treated any differently.

Admittedly this ‘experiment’ wasn’t conducted under the strictest lab controls. It was the first and only time I’ve ever been on a tour of this nature, to altitudes that high (up to 4000m), or even in Bolivia – quite a few incomparable variables then. To add to the scientific rigour, or lack of, I couldn’t measure out my doses, so I just used small pieces of a tab, ranging between a tenth and a fifth of a tab each time, with the tab containing around 180μg. I’d read that it’s not effective to dose on consecutive days but I figured I’d see for myself how it works – at least that makes it an experiment right? Well, I guess this is more of a trip report then, but I’ve also tried to write analytically of the effects I felt and there is a summary of them at the end of each day.

Having never microdosed before I thought I’d do a little test run on the afternoon the day before the tour started. The fact that I was also going star viewing at an observatory with telescopes that night threw in a tasty motivator only elevated by the cool fact that my location, the Atacama desert, is one of the best places on the planet to stargaze. Realizing that it’d be more crazy not to take acid in this circumstance, I went to my room, took out my nail clippers, trimmed off a corner and chucked it down.

Day 1 – San Pedro De Atacama

[Apparently there was a decent amount on that corner and it turned out to be more of a semi-trip than a microdose.]

With its narrow dusty streets the small town of San Pedro De Atacama was like the set of an old Wild West, but lightly charged with the modern day atmosphere that tourists quietly milling around provides. Walking around with a spring in my step I felt coolly elated and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Thoughts slowed down, and my awareness of the spaces between them grew; there was an absence of typical mental background noise which gave a lightness to my inner being – it felt more spacious. My cognition was more focused, there was a crisp quality to my thoughts and more lucidity in my mental navigation.

IMG_1196.jpg

The main strip of San Pedro De Atacama

Back at the hostel I got chatting with my two roommates, a couple of friendly European girls. Socially I felt very comfortable, even probably more than normal. Chatting with them I felt calm and content, they’d just come the other way from Bolivia and we shared some stories. At one moment I saw a twinkle in the eyes of the German; she looked alive, I mean really alive. I was in that rarely visited field of experience where you once again realise that other people aren’t merely characters in your story- something within the depths of her pupils had revealed to me the easily forgotten fact of her being an actual living being with a life as vivid and complex as my own. As we looked into each other’s eyes I felt a deep human connection. Even though we’d just met I felt close. Both she and her friend seemed like genuinely good people and I felt an instinctive trust towards them.

Leaving the girls I went alone to the edge of the desert. Gazing out at a huge mountain lying before the tangerines of sunset I felt an underlying peace and stayed out there in peaceful contentedness, returning to town only after darkness had fallen. Lit up by small streetlamps the town looked magical by night, the scene coercing in me that feeling when you feel like you’re in a movie, when everything seems so scenic and atmospheric, and beauty seems to be more readily sprouting and observable in typically mundane scenes. Unfortunately the stargazing tour was cancelled due to clouds so, bumping into them again, I went out for dinner with my two roomies. I didn’t feel particularly hungry and could’ve easily skipped the meal but ordered something anyway thinking it healthy to eat something. The evening with the girls was a pleasure, I again felt at ease and had a thoroughly enjoyable time with them before we said our goodbyes.

Summary

  • Elation
  • Absence of typical mental background noise
  • Clearer thinking & lucidity in mental navigation
  • Socially felt very comfortable and positive
  • Easily felt human connection (increased empathy and trust)
  • Magic & beauty perceived much more readily than usual
  • In-a-movie feeling
  • Overall felt pretty damn great

Day 2 – Into Bolivia

After yesterday’s significantly stronger than expected dose I thought it wise to wait until after the border pass before dropping; the prospect of simultaneously dealing with a come-up and a customs official didn’t particularly appeal so I’d prepared a piece of tab, put it in a folded receipt and tucked it in my wallet ready for deployment. Stamped out of Chile and into Bolivia, it was about 8am when I was leaving the customs control shack and with the ink still drying on my entry stamp for Bolivia, I administered the first dose of the desert-drive sessions.

[The dose was fairly strong again. Yes, I know microdosing should be sub-perceptual amounts and the effects this day certainly weren’t that, but hey, I’m still learning this game.]

The Tour Starts

group.jpg

Tour crew

The other 5 in my tour group were good company, I sensed good vibes from them and felt at ease and open. I was interested in their stories and I chatted and joked with them in high spirits as we passed lakes, mountains and geysers, occasionally bumping into other tourists on other versions of the same tour. We took a thermal bath in the middle of nowhere in the freezing chill and it was awesome! Everything felt fresh and new, everyone was in good spirits and there were good vibes all round. Excellent morning!

holdb.jpgAfter lunch we had some long stretches in the car to make it to our place for the night. During these stretches I felt more or less comfortable in the experience of a light trip and never once felt nervous. However, I also never felt totally relaxed. This was a strange reversal for me as normally on a long journey I feel settled and find it easy to relax. I suspect it was at least partly due to the jagged rhythm of our almost constant movement; driving from one especially picturesque natural phenomenon to the next, jumping out for a bit before jumping back in and then heading onto the next one.

Despite this, when we were in the car, I never felt like I was ‘waiting’ for or in anticipation of the next stop, I still felt very present, enjoying looking out at invariably awesome views. I suspect driving through such landscapes may well have pulled me into present awareness minus the acid, but I could definitely feel it adding a nice little edge, gently but noticeably.IMG_1223op.jpgOutside the car the wind was pounding so hard that it was seriously chilly. Being smashed by the wind however, was exhilarating, at least for me; at some stops the others didn’t fancy it and stayed in the car. Myself and one of the other guys got out at every stop, always sadistically eager to get out into the pounding gusts – we agreed that it made us feel alive!

IMG_1302.jpg

Shaun, at one of the stops only the two of us got out

In the second half of the day I had a soreness in my lower back, a common side effect for me after the peak of an acid trip. We had long stretches of driving and being stuck in the car for most of the day wasn’t ideal as I couldn’t use my go-to cure of stretching. Luckily I was sat up front in the seat with the most room- the others had been travelling together and as the newbie to the group they insisted I take the prime seat for the whole day. As everyone else drifted in and out of sleep I breathed and meditated calmly through difficult moments and the pain never became more than a slight discomfort. Arriving to the accommodation in the evening I stretched out on a bed which helped my back but still felt a little off physically – I figure the change in altitude (+2000km) had a fair part to play in this. For the evening I had a vague tired restlessness but didn’t have much problem going to sleep.

Summary

  • Life had an extra vigour – more animated and stimulating
  • Again, felt not only comfortable but enthused and cheerful in social situations
  • Vague restlessness – never totally felt relaxed. It seemed to be a weird mix of surface level presence with an underlying uneasiness, a background hesitation, that despite feeling fine and in positive spirits, for whatever reason something telling me ‘you can’t totally relax’
  • Sore lower back after halfway mark – typical for me on acid
  • Good mindfulness through physical discomfort

Day 3 – Deeper Reflection

[This day was much more comfortable physically, I didn’t suffer from any back pains and had no need to meditate through discomfort. Also I remembered I had my windbreaker and ditched my layers, much better – 90% of the chill was coming from the wind. Without resisting the nippy gusts I felt much easier.]

IMG_1402.JPG

On this day the stops were magical, the most beautiful of the tour, easily topping the first day. I had feelings of calmly blissful euphoria during moments spent out under the sun in these marvellous surroundings. I relished being out in these remote spots of natural beauty and each time the call came to get back in the 4×4 and move on, I felt a tinge of disappointment; I could’ve happily stayed longer at any one of the spots. Reluctant to go on, I was always last one back in.

img_1344

I could’ve stayed here for days

As the day before, the afternoon had some long stretches of driving. Long stretches of silence filled the car as everyone else dosed off again. With the territory devoid of any signs of humanity the long quiet drives lent themselves to reflection. There was a difference in the quality and themes of my thoughts compared to normal, and I slipped more readily into alternative perspectives, thinking unusually deeply about choices in my life, the roots and causes of things, why I am who I am, the movement of everything within the great stream.

img_1326

Gazing out felt kinda like time travel, I imagined our ancestors thousands of years ago treading this same unchanged landscape, nomadic tribes of hunter gatherers wandering this rough terrain for days and weeks on foot in search of a place that might be a settlement.

I tried to imagine how they perceived reality, disconnected from the matrix, no society-at-large to keep pace with, no news narrative to keep up with, zero sense of official history – only stories handed down from relatives or through tribes. As one of them, your reality would be the land and sky infront of you; the curves at the edge of turquoise lakes, the patterns within robust rock formations, steam dancing out of geysers. Following the stars for directions, counting the fingers until sundown, scanning the landscape for plants or movement – of prey, predators, and perhaps other people; an old alliance or group of wanderers speaking an alien tongue – this is what I imagined to occupy the minds of those wayfarers, this is how I imagined their reality.

IMG_1416fish.jpg

What a different world we occupy than that of our cousin adventurers who made their way across this same land. For those nomads, lack of modern media and technology meant the impossibility of constant news and reminders of events happening miles away in places one’d never go; no disturbing news of the latest natural catastrophe or political scandal, no feeds of photos of other people living an entirely separate life, no bombardment of commercials or the desire for needless things that they create. No hunter gatherer ever looked at a screen and read of the latest buffoon to be made president or moved their finger to give approval of an image by or of someone they’d never meet; the only source of information outside of direct experience would’ve been the mouth of a living being standing in front of them.

Imagining their simpler existence I envied their lack of the moral dilemmas that we are faced with in the consumer society of today: What tech products can I buy without causing child labour in the congo? What clothes can I get without endorsing sweatshop slavery? Should I stop eating meat to lessen my carbon footprint? What should I do about the corrupt political system – vote for one of a choice of crooks, or not vote for anyone? And then, what can and should I do to play my part in positive societal change? None of these thoughts would have passed through their minds. Though they might still have had deeper thoughts about the more far-reaching ramifications of their actions, they were free of the overt madness that faces us in the modern globalised world as their basic actions for survival wouldn’t have had the same clearly traced consequence on the lives of people the other side of the world. Utilitarian considerations would surely be less labyrinthine and confounding. They would never have been forced to be made aware of the upshots of their actions so explicitly before being seemingly left with no option but to continue living in the very society that is the cause of these problems, therefore also contributing one’s own share to the evils of the world.

But there, I could see land untouched by civilisation. I peaked into the land and life of the past, saw ancient formations and structures that outdate the ancient cities of Athens and Rome. Staring out at the landscape I imagined those drifters and with the raw plainness of pure nature before me, tapped into their freedom from this modern psychological bind.

Summary

  • Physically more comfortable than previous day
  • Euphoric moments when outside under the sun
  • Incredible beauty
  • Wanted to spend more time at most stops
  • Peaceful contemplation
  • Enjoyed expanse of nature

Day 4 – The Last Day

[This was the first day that I felt diminishing effects from the D and therefore the weakest of the 4 days. I figure this was due to my body building tolerance.]

bolivia_salt_flats.jpg

We rose early, driving out over miles of salt flats to see the sunrise from what used to be an island where the Incas made offerings to the god of the sun. After getting there and climbing to the top I took a seat facing the mountains to the east. It looked pretty cloudy so I didn’t think we would see the sunrise and after a while figured it wasn’t coming so got up to go over and chat to the others. Moments after I’d gotten up, Shaun called over to me ‘John!’ and pointed as if the sun had just popped up behind my back. I knew he was fucking with me so I flipped him off. ‘No really!’ he pointed again. I turned around and there it was; the tip of the orange arc peaking over the mountains. I’d missed the split second moment of appearance – but I didn’t feel disappointed, the inevitability of it seemed obvious; clearly I was never meant to see the sunrise on that crisp morning. I laughed to myself and took it as a lesson on patience.

IMG_1474.jpg

I was in good spirits and seeing two guys chucking an American football on the flats went over to join them. I enjoyed the simple joy of chucking a ball and sensed a freeness amidst the disconnection of being in the middle of salt flats. It felt like being in the middle of an ocean. It wasn’t a typical experience of what I would consider being in nature: surrounded by trees in a wood or forest, or amongst towering mountains – there I could see flat endless pure white terrain to the horizon in every direction. It was the most distant I’ve ever felt from organised society, even being with other people.

IMG_1506.jpg

At the end of the tour our driver left us in Uyuni, my first experience of Bolivian society. Walking through the town I felt excited to be in a new place, but not noticeably more so than how I normally feel arriving in a new place. Having taken the dose on this day around 5am, I suspect that the acid had actually worn off by the time we arrived. With a few of the others I grabbed a bus to Potosi, I was heading northwards towards the Amazon in my quest for ayahuasca.

Summary

  • Diminished effects on the 4th day. This was probably the first actual ‘microdose’
  • Positive outlook – didn’t feel disappointed missing the moment of sunrise
  • Physical activity felt good – tossed that pigskin like a pro

Conclusion

Am I glad I did it? Absolutely. At the end of the tour my feeling was gratitude; for the opportunity to see nature on such a scale, the cheerful company of my fellow tourers, the magical places, and all of them combined. I imagine that most who are fortunate enough to go on such a tour, dosed or not, also feel grateful, but personally I know the experience wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t.

Though the doses may’ve been more effective if I’d taken a day’s gap (or 3) between each one, speaking from the other side I can say I still felt obvious effects for the first three days. However, there was a clear and significant dimishing on the 4th day – interestingly I’ve also read online of someone reporting likewise; not feeling any diminishing effects on consecutive days until day 4 (and they actually microdosed).

This was an entirely new experience for me; it was my first time on a tour of that nature, first time taking a lower dose, and first time taking acid on consecutive days. This obviously makes it very difficult to make any cross-comparison between the variables.

Does that render all of my observations as totally invalid? I don’t think so. Even if I’d taken nothing away from this wonderful experience it’d have been worth it on its own merit, but beyond the joys of the trip itself I do feel I’ve gleaned some useful info on the effects of acid at lower doses. I found that it’s totally fine for me to be around other people and can actually make me more talkative and open, enhancing interactions and conversations.

The experience has also led me to believe that in certain potentially stressful situations, ones that may therefore seem especially inappropriate on a psychedelic, a lower dose could actually be an aid of great benefit. An aid in staying mindfully calm and focused, and to lessen the chance of spiralling into negative thought patterns or ‘freaking out’ – interestingly something that high doses of psychedelics are often believed to increase the odds of. Obviously this requires more investigation and I intend to try microdosing again in a more controlled environment. Stay tuned.

.

Grabbing a bike from the hostel, I dropped a tab, chucked my shades on, and armed with my bag containing a few essential supplies, headed northwards towards Maldonando on the road hugging the coast. Despite being low season there were still a handful of people scattering the beaches in Punta Del Este and I sought as deserted a setting as I could find. The cute Uruguayan attending breakfast advised me to head that way in my search for a quiet beach ‘sin gente’ – without people. With a clear sky and a grin on my face I left the high rises of the trendy resort city behind.

After cycling for about an hour or so and with Hoffman’s molecule beginning to kick in, I spotted a small gap in the road for the beach. I dragged the bike over a mound of sand and was confronted with the perfect spot; sand and waves as far as I could see and, as I’d wished, noone in my vicinity. There were a couple people in sight, but a good mile or so down the beach and enjoying their own patches of shore. Spot found, I slumped onto my towel and took a moment to slow down and set myself. Relaxing every muscle, I felt the weight of my body sinking into the sand and the heat from the sun’s ray pouring over and into me, warming me through.

Closing my eyes, I went deeper into relaxation and allowed the sensual lysergic waves of the come-up to wash over me, as the tide massaging the sand just ahead. The barriers in my mind began to disintegrate as my experience became smoother and more fluid.

Then a very strange thing passed. My thoughts became an odd and scrambled amalgam of English and Spanish. Perhaps the normal state of affairs beneath my superficial consciousness, in that moment I had a great awareness of an internal lingual battle and began to realize how much the Spanish language had penetrated my psyche over the last few months of study and immersion. New insights flooding in, the complexity of my cognition reached a zenith triggering an explosion in my brain; I began to reel with ideas and an inner dialogue commenced on the processes and implications behind language, its acquisition, how it affects our thought processes and interactions with each other, how this creates culture; and all of its influence on how we perceive and create reality. Rarely visited ideas, concepts and considerations began to flow freely to (or from?) my mind at an incredible rate.

brand-slimmer

Something like that

In a flash an idea and its comprehension came to me, what I now know to be the theory of linguistic relativity – how learning a new language doesn’t just change the physical makeup of the brain but how it can also change the way the learner sees the world. Throughout my learning curve I was aware of changes in my mind; thoughts, words and phrases appeared in Spanish more frequently, but I hadn’t really appreciated the way it was changing how I was seeing the world. I remembered a study I’d read about in relation to colour perception. It found that Japanese speakers have far more words to describe the color blue, and are therefore generally able to see more shades of blue than English speakers. At the other end, the Himba tribe of Namibia in Southern Africa have only five words to describe all the colors in the world. Researchers observed that, without a word for the colour blue, the Himba struggle to tell it apart from green – an easy feat for us English speakers. Colour perception is just the tip of the iceberg- imagine how language influences how we perceive places, people, ideas, emotions, reality. Language is huge! Uncle Terence was really onto something.

This relationship between language and humanity and their influence on each other is an ongoing dialogue. Korean is an example of how humanity’s influence on language has effectively worked back to influence human interaction and society. Language, like humanity, is in constant flux. As we use new words, develop new ways to communicate, collectively we all affect language in a way that will again bounce back and influence society and humanity. Language changes reality and reality changes language, simultaneously through millions of exchanges the world over. Language can be manipulated consciously to affect reality, for positive ends or more sinisterly as Orwell warned in 1984. Language can’t be separated from reality because the two are bound – this truth rang out to me as I lay on the sand, continuing to dip and dive through subtopics of the implications of language .

As these reflections died down, I looked out to the sea and the waves rolling in over the sands. As I involuntarily flickered through various points of perspective the colour of the sand changed, from glowing gold to deep mocha to maroon, just as the maroon deepened it switched in an instant to a dazzling daffodil. Swimmers on I headed out to the sea and with the water up to my waist, I put my hand to the waves as they rolled over. Watching them closely, I studied their form. I could see the fractal in action, simultaneously seeing the same form across scales, like Hokusai’s Great Wave Off Kanagawa, and how the waves broke into tiny versions of themselves as they hit the beach; I was witnessing the ancient Hermetic teaching: As above, so below.

great-wave

Fractal in Hokusai’s Great Wave

After dodging the act for few minutes I took the plunge and dunked myself under. The immersion was overwhelming. Springing back to my feet for air I felt an incredible freshness – I’d just baptised myself!

Reborn and back on my towel, resuming my survey of the tide, a flash of Newtonian insight hit me; in one moment I saw and instantaneously understood the push and pull of the waves, how the two forces work against another, that this is the way of the world and the universe; the whole is the whole and never changes, and so within, each action must have its equal and opposite. Like when you lower your finger into a glass of water and the level rises; each and every action contains within it its own inverse force.

Checking the time I burst into laughter, the arrow of time had crashed on to that beach with me and slowed to an almost imperceptible crawl. The present moment expanded and intensified and it’s permanent endlessness was obvious. My being in it somehow elongated and expanded as thoughts of past and future evaporated. Memories and imaginary futures were still accessible, but somehow more distant, less relevant, less real. I was really there; on the postcard beach with its mesmerizing metamorphosing hues and the glorious irrepressible radiation of the sun. I smiled contentedly; with minutes passing like hours I would have the ‘week-long’ beach retreat I’d been longing for.

dali

Dali – a pretty good depiction of time on the beach

Feeling creative, I took out my pad and began to draw. I attentively followed the pen as it glided across the page, viewing as one might watch an ant making its way with a fragment of leaf; immersed but only as a spectator. Wavy lines began to form smooth-edged shapes and as form took shape I became intensely focused on every slightest touch of my pen to the paper. I looked at how the forms were shaping up on the page and my mind spouted a multitude of ways that I could manipulate the ink on the paper to create a symbol or image. The page my universe, I held my face a couple of inches from it, earnestly and sparingly using the ink as if the balance of the universe depended on every drop of coloured fluid that stained the tree fibres. Continuing my phenomenal cosmic intuition, I was acutely aware of and acting in the knowledge of Newton’s third law; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. With every drop spilt I felt the intrinsically contained counterforce as it was happening in the exact antipode of the universe – each drop falling was pulling with it its mirroring force.

After finishing what ended up being an abstract piece on how water symbolises the flow of energy (yeah I was out there), I closed the paper universe and re-entered the world of the beach. Receptive to all kinds of non-ordinary sensations, I rolled over and pushed my hands into the sand, feeling the epic time span of its formation. Enchanted by the grains over the pulsing veins of my palms, I proposed that all religions, or any system of ethics proposing a moral code of conduct or behaviour; must stem from, at their core, beliefs about the balance of energy; fundamental beliefs about the natural law of the universe.
We are the universe experiencing itself and in this cosmic twist we are life trying to catch up with itself, the ouroboros snake eating its own tail. Something about the human condition pushes us on, collectively we have a compulsion to measure and document in a striving for understanding. From this flying rock we have started measuring and studying the whole thing anyway we can: our minds through psychology and bodies through biology, matter through chemistry, our surroundings through geoscience, out to the distant reaches of our expanse through physics and astronomy. Even the perceived edges of the cosmos are no barrier to the yearning; abstract ideas are explored through philosophy and the limits of knowledge scrutinized through epistemology. It’s a yearning for totality; the hidden belief that progress has an end point and that there lies total understanding capable of ensuring completeness, its what yogis and monks are searching for on a different course to the scientists; union.

Enlightenment is a tricky word, we hear it in stories of mystics and saints, but for the majority of humankind who have never actually experienced the state, the word is only a symbol for some kind of magical fabled myth. Like the sound of Hendrix’s guitars for people born deaf, its mere legend, belief of its existence can only come from logical reasoning or faith, not experience perceived directly and without symbols.

From our ordinary consciousness total comprehension lies out of reach, each of us are only windows of perspective amidst an infinite sea within a sea. But the hint of a higher plain is glimpsed by all; perfection is perceived from some of the windows along the way. It’s rare and uncapturable, present in isolated moments, for the most part existing as an abstract concept and never outright in objective reality. Perfection is beauty and exists within the eye of the beholder. Glimpses are fleeting, impossible to recall to direct experience or to remember how or why you saw things the way you did – as Van Gogh saw the night sky; the universe as alive and continuously complete in its changes. It is in this type of perception that those tantalizing views lie, forever leading us on.

Following my ruminations on how states of mind influence perception, I was brought back to earth when a guy sat down on the beach a bit down from me. Due to my morphing perspective I couldn’t tell how close he was but considering the beach was empty for as far as I could see it puzzled me that he would choose a seemingly close spot – why couldn’t he find his own patch?

I looked over at the stranger and felt uneasy. Soon after a middle aged couple arrived and set up base at a spot which also seemed to be fairly close. The effects from the tab were beginning to subside at this point and with my deserted paradise gone I decided it was time to move. With the sun in its descent I headed back out to the road to find another patch of beach on the way back to the hostel.

Soon after setting off the bike chain was choking and the bike was failing me. As the cars whizzed past I pulled over and, trying to remain calm and focused, set about in an attempt to fix it. After a fairly lengthy investigation I discovered that a piece of the bike where the chain attaches had come loose and fallen off. I backtracked, retracing my route whilst gazing at the floor for the missing piece, but my search proved unfruitful.

The road was long, straight and each kilometre indistinguishable from the next, I wasn’t sure even how far along I’d come in the morning – that damn perspective trick was tripping me up again. I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to push the bike back to the hostel but it seemed far and I wanted to make it back before dark to get another bike and head out to enjoy the conclusion to my trip.

With my hands and probably face coated in chain oil I stood on the side of the road and waved a passing cyclist down. As she pulled over, her skin was changing colours; the peak may have been over but the acid was still pumping. Despite my lingual revelations that morning I found it pretty damn hard to recalibrate to Spanish and after a rather awkward conversation fulls of stutters and half sentences on my part it became clear there was nothing she could really do to help me, and I felt a bit silly for flagging her down in the first place. She went on her way and left me with my broken bike. On the plus side, I’d gauged from the interaction that I wasn’t actually so far and began to push the bike along the pavement.

As I passed another gap out to the coast, I saw a woman facing out to the sea, moving her shoulders and arms in circular motions, like some kind of dance or martial art, but as if she was psychically controlling the waves before her. She was alone, and she seemed to be in some kind of transmission, channeling energy from the water. As I tread on, pondering what mystical act this lady was doing, the sun’s rays continued bombing down. In no time I was sweating heavily, but with destination in mind I put one foot in front of the other. Sure enough, after a short while I started to recognize landmarks at the edge of the city.

Dropping the bike back at the hostel I decided to head back out on foot for a nearby beach. Despite a few groups of people around I felt relieved to be back on my own with no conversations to muster through or appearances to keep up. I crashed back onto the sand and lay drifting through day dreams, face down I sank through the sand into a delicious siesta.

img_9434

If only the photo could come close to the reality

I awoke feeling refreshed. The acid was still knocking but less intensely and with a lightness that was absent before. I headed over to the fisherman’s boardwalk and found my buddy Rodrigo there on the lower level; we went to that spot everyday for sunset. He lit up a joint rolled with a roach and a pinch of tobacco – he knew how I liked them and generously bucked the South American trend of only herb and paper to suit my preference- and we smoked gazing over the bobbing bodies of water to the horizon where the sun was about to begin its descent.

The panorama was beyond spectacular. I stared in awe, trying to open my eyes wider to somehow extend my vision to better receive all the information from the flowing colours and morphing shapes. We sat there late into the evening long after the sun had set, watching the oranges deepen and the thin arched whispy clouds slowly trudging their way across the broad seascape. Those hours played host to one of the most beautiful and life-affirming vistas of my life. From my vantage point on those wooden planks, perfection did exist.

lsd acid tabs psychedelic
lsd acid tabs psychedelic

The fateful tabs


The Ego Strikes Back

As I’ve already stated, acid is a reflection of our own mind, not one in itself. With this in mind, I’ve already made a classic mistake in writing this, I forgot about the golden rule; personal perception. Even with all my evidence for espousing support for ego-death theory earlier, I must redress the balance now.

Although, generally loss of ego/subjectivity with LSD is recognised as a universal feeling, I have still made huge assumptions on what others may have felt and made the biggest donut of this whole series of memoirs. Who’s to say the egotistically bereft acid vets Jack met weren’t expressing their personalities? Perhaps they were vague and bland before acid. Similarly, my slip into nihilism and numbness from acid thinking may have just been due to my own personality, I’m just articulating this through a recent drugs experience, whereas before I would have defined the same feelings through a different lens. Also, just as those who take acid like beer (let’s get fucked!) could be looked down on for missing the point, so could the more philosophical cosmonauts like Leary and Huxley. Ultimately, after the experimental phase, people usually do drugs for enjoyment purposes (assuming there’s no addiction involved), but due to LSD’s effect, the experience can be interpreted as highly revelatory or deep to the right mind. This is why, increasingly, it seems the self does exist strongly and does affect even one’s feelings of losing the self.

An example of this self-influenced objectivity trick is the fact that open-minded or unorthodox thinkers seem to have more gratifying or deep experiences on LSD compared to those who take the drug with a pre-perceived prejudice or try to fight its effects. So either there is a pure feeling of objectivity and only some people are “getting it” and others not, or the feelings of “oneness” are a societal creation by liberal westerners who take acid. However, too many people seem to confirm similar feelings of unity and infinity when they take acid so this may be more universal. Once again, the trick of circularity trips us up though, as soon as we believe the ego has been smashed by objectivity we see our perception mushroom into different layers and we start to think of the chains of causality affected by people’s ego/personality/interactions that cause us to research, organise, and then take acid in the first place, so suddenly it seems even our ego requires release.

In this post-acid funk I’ve been in recently, at once positive in one breath and existentially tortured in another, my attentions have increasingly been affected by a recent bout of clinical depression my brother has gone through. Leaving work for a month my brother moved back home for support and we ended up having many long philosophical talks whilst walking around our neighbourhood in the evening, an attempt in talking things out. My brother is closer to middle-age than me which made me wonder if perhaps I would feel the same in the future, it is common to at a certain stage in life. However, when my brother told me about the anti-depressants he had received from the doctor, it made me think. He described the effects of the pills; nausea, a strange light-headed feeling, then a weird buzz, where eventually you end up just not feeling negative. To me, this sounds kinda similar to some illegal drugs and caused me to ask my brother if he would ever try acid again, having done so once many years before. After initially laughing at the suggestion and saying that acid was the last thing he needed he has actually come round to the idea in a big way and it makes sense. Acid helps one to look at existing problems in a new and constructive way, accept flaws in life and oneself as natural and inevitable and to appreciate the simple beauty of all life. These all sound like pretty good strategies for dealing with depression to me. Again, my bro is not a weed smoker, but the dead end the depression put him in made him acquire a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude with that too and he started having the odd spliff with myself and found that it took the edge off the depression and also allowed his mind to relax and think without the pressure of insecurity. We haven’t planned the trip yet, but I hope to do a glorious summer one with my bro and hopefully it will be a really big positive revelation for him. He said to me that he wants to be in a good mindset before he does it which I agreed with, but I reminded him that his mindset was all up to him. Again, this is why acid is good for treating depression, it allows one to realise their own agency and control in life. Even just talking about alternative modes of thought and experience seemed to broaden and brighten my brother’s outlook. My bro’s story just proves to me even more that LSD and other drugs should be legalised or atleast de-criminalised because the treatment doctors provide is either unsuitable or is trying to mimic the effects of drugs anyway. It also makes sense that when my brother began to feel like he had gotten trapped and stale in the repetitious nature of life, a drug that gives the soul a spring clean would appeal. This also reinforces the idea that LSD itself seems to have a natural connection and applicability to human cognitive understanding that is very important. Drugs like coke may be bottomless in the desire they create for more, taken just to want more, but acid is bottomless in its inspirational potential.

We still look for order, meaning and logic whilst on drugs, just in a different conception; we aren’t necessarily free on acid, we’re still the same machines computing the same data, but in a new way. Acid can make the old conventions we live by seem silly, but it does not always provide alternatives. The world view acid gives is ultimately unknown, it is elusive, it teases supple minds and leads us up circular pathways because ultimately, this is the nature of existence and acid (good as it is) is not going to change this. To me, this makes me see acid as a tool I can use in my future life to develop my identity (which comprises superficial and more deep-rooted elements) but not something that will provide answers. Personal perception is all, this is what acid says to me; ‘you are malleable, change, adapt, make the world easier on yourself – enjoy it mate, rather than chasing the lost city acid teases you with, because you’ll never get there’. Acid is regulation of the self, the BB contestant vs. acid vet example I used earlier shows the dangers of a reckless lack of self-analysis which allows ingrained, unexamined (often illogical) personality traits to run amuck for years and finally become completely assimilated vs. a complete gutting of one’s mental landscape leaving it empty, formless.

I think acid taps into areas of our brain that can meld feelings of creativity and flux with concepts of order, logic and harmony – chaos and order. This is why those who have studied philosophy have been said to get more out of acid immediately. I am a former philosophy student myself. It is a way of thinking, a logical thought tool – this is why any argument requires a valid premise and a clear definition to be taken seriously, words are weighted with meaning, not like an opinion piece or restaurant review; it is an attempt at semantic mathematics. This way of thinking requires one to 1) think of topics/concepts in their largest perceivable context and 2) pursue conclusions free from the influence of environmental factors on thinking. In this sense this is why LSD thinking and the philosophical method are so similar. LSD opens the mind up to see situations or ideas from a new angle in a bigger picture and in doing so, removes pre-conceived ideas of truth and understanding to facilitate this process.

However, just as with LSD, this thinking can be liberating and debilitating. My experience of philosophy was exactly like this; I felt free to ditch certain prejudicial or silly opinions I had held onto over the years (like believing in God) and it gave me the confidence to question bigger assumptions in the world and in my own life. Also, when debating with people, I found it easier to step back, be objective and analyse their points more logically, often making for much better arguments from myself. However, just as with acid, initially this feeling of being an epistemological nomad was comforting because I felt I had shed certain ignorant ways of doing things, I had learnt something, but the same problem of nihilism crept in again. Soon I was analysing everything philosophically and trying to catch people out – ever vigilant in case their argument didn’t fully stack up. Moreover, I had to start dispensing with some of my own opinions or having to over-correct sentences at the moment of utterance if they assumed too much. While this is a good method for winning arguments, it isn’t very fun and even the open-minded can find it wearing. Plus, even with the logical analysis approach, it won’t always be successful because of course no one knows everything, which is also partly the dichotomy in philosophical discourse – it was created as a logical, scientific method for explaining the unexplainable. To me, acid presents the same teasing possibility – the possibility of crazy massive answers when what it boils down to understands the opposite – the basic values in oneself and how to augment them to find happiness (assuming happiness is the aim of most people).

Timothy Leary said you’ve got to do acid every weekend and smoke weed every day to keep sane. Leary said he was living the life of another statistic, over the hill with less and less creativity, until he took acid. But what is the alternative? Do drugs all the time? I have to now re-evaluate odd people I’ve met in the past, what they were saying wasn’t necessarily weird now I think about it, those late-night crazy chats in bars or raves, now I see those who are called mad as the sane ones.

My conclusion is that there is a concentration on immediacy and easy-gratification in our culture and this is the case with drugs too. Why is cocaine far more popular than LSD? Because it enables one to feel physically stimulated, but within the realms of reality and within societal convention to a point; someone coked up is just more hyper or chatty or adventurous, it puts a sheen on your view of reality. Acid, however, opens up so many possibilities people are sometimes not sure what has happened to them because there is nothing to weigh the experience against, and hence they prefer drugs that enhance existing desires/ambitions, rather than open up areas with no easy answers. This is why I firmly believe in taking more acid until one becomes more lucid and comfortable and able to analyse the self and the world. This can be used for many projects – recreation, dealing with trauma, working on creative or academic solutions etc. These things all represent time, subtlety, patience, understanding; things modern people don’t have time for. This is why acid is often misunderstood as a drug, so often the more salacious effects are focused on in popular culture that we as a society have lost sight of its serious potential. Of course any good cosmonaut knows that more research should be done with acid and is increasingly being done, but would be far more effective and prolific when public perception is changed too. LSD is an integral part of the human experience and to date, to my knowledge, no one who has tried it has seriously recommended it be made illegal or criticised it, doesn’t that tell us all something? Or does it? It’s up to your own perception my friend, but I tell you what, it made me feel fucking great and anytime you feel yourself sleepwalking into a life of passivity, monotony, drudgery, unhappiness, conventionality, insincerity or banality just remember, you’ve got a choice; you can be brave and you can ignore the doubters and be free, not just with LSD but with the philosophy it encourages too.

Whether it is the perceived effect acid has or not, I feel that from now on I will never get as indignant about things as I used to, and as long as I can keep childish enthusiasm for things in spite of this, that’s okay. For me, a lot of negative or (formerly) conspiratorial notions I had about this whole being human thing have been confirmed by acid, but that’s always been in me, as long as I can remember. That that part of me may never be satisfied or quelled and I should look instead to the possibility and suggestibility acid- thinking creates, and hopefully life can be that little bit less harsh and that little bit more enjoyable in the coming years. Also, it has freshened my creativity and encouraged to remember the joy of playing an instrument and composing music, the whole process feeling fresh. I don’t think I need to end on a Bill Hicks quote or anything – you only live once, try it.

lsd acid psychedelic trippy meaning

This is a guest post by Tom Philipslsd lysergic acid psychedelic trippy meaning

Nihilism & Loss of Meaning

LSD is clearly not a drug for everyone, it is unwieldy and requires a certain mental attitude at the outset of ingestion to enjoy its properties fully. However, when I first took it, I didn’t really have any idea what it would do (!). My research prior to taking acid was zero. Of course I had a cultural history of it in my head, knowing major figures in the drug’s subculture; The Beatles, Aldous Huxley, 1960s groups etc. I was also aware of the stereotypical stories about its effects and all the ‘hippy’ and ‘spiritual’ connections applied to it. Having said this, it’s only now that I’m beginning to understand the drug properly, which is exciting but also worrying.

So, why isn’t everyone taking or discussing LSD if people like myself feel the need to document the experience, am I wildly different to others? No, I believe this is partly down to ingrained social attitudes and drugs laws, as well as a lack of education about the drug and research in to it. Being such a limitless and bizarre place, the human mind is not always an attractive area of study for scientists or governments, not as appealing as something physical, easy, like strength for example. What I’m saying is, even if society were to test and investigate the many positive applications LSD has and could have, it would require labyrinthine research and time and investment because its effect on the human mind is so sprawling and subjective. Sure, governments invest in mind-control (which they’ve unsuccessfully tried with LSD), but that is subtly different, and means treating the drug and the test subject like a means to an end, rather than a being of potential. Regardless of the status-quo’s stance against the drug and laws against it, I genuinely believe that more research is not done on LSD because ultimately it is a mystery. Even the great thinkers who have taken it and written on it draw conclusions that although insightful always seem to shine the torch on one element, thus leaving others in the dark. Put simply, depending on who you ask, an LSD conversation could really end up on any topic.

My friend John who created this blog was telling me about John Lennon’s comment that at the height of his LSD use, he began to feel a complete death of ego. Further to this, Lennon said that after a few years of not taking the drug so extensively he began to feel like himself again, replete with all the idiosyncrasies and cantankerous qualities that had made him an individual in the first place. Moreover, my friend mentioned some veteran trippers he had spoken to, who seemed to have suffered a sort of ego-death also. He said they seemed fairly aloof and vague when answering questions on their LSD experiences, nowhere near the level of philosophical debate the experience had sparked in my friend and I. Obviously this is just speculation, but this could suggest that the liberation acid provides from self-consciousness could boil over into losing a sense of one’s self, which I have already alluded to in this memoir previously. If these vets have nothing to say, why are they doing acid so often? Why do they like it? What do they think about? This really intrigues me because acid is not like beer, you don’t take it merely to get inebriated – when tripping you can’t help but think, although perhaps a trip can become more pedestrian and beer like after taking many tabs. For me personally, at times my relationships have been skewed by acid thinking. I have felt very distant and lonely in my outlook, distant from my parents and old friends. Something has changed – become less real and simultaneously more real – e.g. the everyday conversations about the weather take on new disturbing meanings because I’m analysing the human interaction taking place rather than just going with the flow. Obviously, I have talked to some people about the experience explicitly in a relaxed way, but at the end of the conversation (although they’ve been attentive) the listener seems to switch back to auto-pilot while I’m left still reeling with concepts in my head. Again though, perhaps this existential gulf in human empathy has always been in our communication, regardless of drugs, and it’s just perception. This time though, it feels more lonely, like what I’m dealing with will forever be a source of personal madness and not alleviated by love or understanding. However, we must remember that this is all perception and acid is not a mind in itself but a reflection of our own. Basically, I feel there is a level of mundane social interaction I barely tolerated before, but now I’ll only meet with grunts.

Personally I’ve had to talk about it because I’ve been ready to explode at times. I myself have definitely felt I have partly forgotten older ways of being and have seen myself in a more pluralistic manner, but I have also tried to remember the things I enjoy, specific things I like. Put simply, if you look at everything in an objective unbiased manner, it can create a feeling of meaninglessness; nothing is above anything else in importance or differentiation. For me personally, this has turned into nihilism at times. Again, this could be blamed on a number of other factors in my life specifically, not just acid philosophy, but this kind of thinking has felt tripish. For example, I have increasingly started to have moments in conversation when interest seems to leave my mind immediately, and the context I’m existing in seems hollow or ridiculous – without gravity or importance. Of course, if this slips into ones’ perception of everything it can become debilitating, for example; reading any book or watching any film or doing anything and thinking there’s no point because it represents a mere fragment of existence and will in time be forgotten absolutely like myself. Now, this isn’t necessarily untrue, but that doesn’t mean thinking that way will make you happy either.

Recently, my friends and I played golf, I hadn’t played for years and neither had they. As we ambled around the pitch-and-putt course it really felt good to be focused on something so human, so eccentric – the clubs, the little balls and scorecards, the terms -bogey, over-par, birdie etc. something that represented the micro, not the macro – staring down at the tee, not up at the clouds for once. This reminded me that to get through life I couldn’t just expand my mind indefinitely, we can only comprehend so much and we must still live in the physical world. Sure, I could have questioned the meaning of the golf, putting the ball in the hole will change nothing for example, but I never even thought about it – I just enjoyed it. Acid reminds us to enjoy the simple pleasures also and this is the balance we must strike. My enjoyment of golf does not mean I advocate submitting to every micro-element of conventional society to be happy either, indeed, I still smoked a couple of joints before I picked up a club. I see the two extremes of this area manifested at the one end with a Big Brother contestant (ultra-reality) and at the other with an acid veteran (dead-reality) similar to the ones John talked to. The BB contestant reacts with OTT, caricatured, predictable emotional reactions to the slightest social or atmospheric happenings, whereas the LSD vet reacts to nothing because nothing is meaningful, no emotions are conjured, as if the top has been blown off the marquee and nothing is big enough to fill the hole. I think common LSD fuelled themes like circularity and seeing two sides to everything certainly seem to support the idea of balance, which is difficult to achieve.

Considering how much more there is left to learn about LSD, I feel the need to do a lot more of it, discover, learn to control it and try and apply it in different ways to expanding my mind further as a method of self-development. However, I do not want to turn into a soulless veteran, not even knowing or being able to articulate what they experience anymore as the drug has become so all-encompassing.