Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Yes, everything is one."

Chris Apollo Lynn from Republic of Austin just sent over the most amazing video.

This is from a series of experimental LSD sessions performed in 1956.  The doctor you see in the video -- Dr. Sidney Cohen -- was dosing volunteers at the VA Hospital in Los Angeles, and the volunteer below is a California housewife.

Some of my favorite bits:

DOCTOR: What does this all mean to you?

HOUSEWIFE:  I've never seen such intimate beauty in my life.

And then, later:

HOUSEWIFE:  Can't you feel it?  Everything is so beautiful, and lovely, and alive.

The best moment of all, in my opinion, happens around moment 5:10, when she starts pointing at something, asking the doctor to look. "Do you see it?" When he admits he can't, she simply shakes her head (knowingly?) and responds, 

"If you can't see it, then you'll just never know it. I feel sorry for you."

At the end, when Dr. Cohen is interviewing philosopher Gerald Heard -- a contemporary of Aldous Huxley -- Heard says something I hear in Buddhism over and over again.

"Suddenly you notice that there aren't these separations. That we're not on a separate island shouting across to somebody else and trying to hear what they're saying and misunderstanding ... we're part of a single continent."

Click here for original post.

Click here for link to Don Lattin's book, The Harvard Psychedelic Club.  (Which suddenly became the very next selection on my reading list).


Your Host said...

LSD has always been incredibly fascinating to me. Thanks for this, and we'll have to compare notes on The Harvard Psychedelic Club, as it is now on my list as well.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Your House -- I really can't wait to read that book. And yes, regarding LSD: It's a hard topic to broach, for me at least, because my in-laws had relatives who went to extremes with psychedelics (i.e. badly hurt themselves), so I worry about being insensitive when I bring up stuff like this. But like you, I also find this research fascinating. Particularly because research subjects like her, the housewife above, didn't have a 1960s peace-love vocabulary yet, and STILL said of her impressions things like, "we are one. Everything is one." Which is the same things some yogis say post-meditation.

Anyway, one of the guys studied in The Harvard Psychedelic Club is Andrew WEIL, of all people! The nutrition guru. I'll let you know when I get my copy and start reading.