Lsd In The 1960s

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History has long marked the 1960s as a decade of sex, drugs, and rock “n” roll. However, the period was significantly more complicated and historically substantial than simply its relaxed attitude towards sex, drugs, and musical content. Despite the illustrious history of the 1960s, the drug culture in particular has suffered serious inaccuracies in its historical representation. History has branded LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) in particular as a drug used by hippies simply for its hedonistic effect. However, LSD was actually more commonly used for religious purposes and as a gateway for spiritual illumination. On a base level, effects of LSD consumption can include an altered sense of time, altered thinking process, synesthesia, and…show more content…
In 1832, Americas’ most prominent psychologist and philosopher William James experimented with nitrous oxide. James concluded from his experiment that the hallucinogen induced an “intense metaphysical illumination.” James developed a theory in his epochal The Varieties of Religious Experience, which argued that religion had an experimental basis. This basis involved achieving a certain cognizance of living in harmony with divine reality, rather than defining coherence in terms of church membership or yielding to doctrinal ideals. It was this notion of equating the achievement of spirituality through an increased awareness using hallucinogens that was the backbone of the connection between religion and LSD during the 1960s. LSD was used as a springboard into alternative forms of spirituality that gave users a feeling of freedom from conformity and a state of consciousness that inspired them to explore the philosophies of religion and attain spiritual awakening. Advocates of LSD created groups or cults in colleges and universities, championing the powers of the drug by “talking of religious conversions, the awakening of artistic creativity, the reconciliation of opposites.” Despite rampant advocacy for the drug during this period, dissenting voices also pervaded the media. For example, a 1966 article in The Nation argued that it seemed unlikely that LSD could be taken…show more content…
During this period, popular culture was increasingly influenced by drugs and drug-related experiences. Hallucinogenic drugs like LSD were largely connected to influential musical icons like the Grateful Dead. The popular Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, also championed usage of the drug in a subtler manner, with the first letter of the words in each title spelling out LSD. However, use of LSD extended beyond the music scene. American Author Ken Kesey and his group, called the Merry Pranksters, promoted the use of psychedelic drugs as a means of achieving enlightenment. The group and their use of the drug went down in counterculture history after Tom Wolfe published the experiences from their acid-filled road trip in his book, titled The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The pertinence and endorsement of drugs as a way of attaining enlightenment in popular culture was reflected in the use of the drug among the youth during the 1960s. There was a sharp increase in the use of LSD, and records indicate that between 2 and 10 percent of student bodies at some colleges has tried LSD at least once. A 19-year-old San Francisco hippie stated that LSD, “was a tool” that could “boost you up”. Even those who abandoned LSD adopted meditation in order to replace the drug in their quest for

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