To understand the role of psychedelics in the 60s, we must recall the lessons of prehistory and the importance that ancient people attached to the dissolution of boundaries in a group ritual based on the consumption of hallucinogenic plants. The effect of these compounds is mainly psychological and is only partly due to culture: in fact, these compounds act as solvents, removing cultural conditionality of any kind. They boost the destructive process of reforming social values. Such compounds should be recognized as agents contributing to the removal of conditionality; revealing the relativity of generally accepted values, they become powerful forces in the political struggle for the direction of the evolution of social images.
The sudden introduction of such a powerful agent of withdrawal of conditionality as LSD had the effect of creating mass apostasy from generally accepted values, especially those based on a hierarchy of dominion dedicated to the suppression of consciousness and awareness.
LSD is a uniquely powerful drug among psychoactive substances. The effect of LSD on a person is found at a dose of 50 micrograms, or 5/100000 grams. About compounds that could cause a similar effect in smaller quantities, it was not necessary to hear. So, theoretically, you can get 10 thousand doses of 100 micrograms from just one gram. This stunning ratio of the physical mass to the market price, more than any other aspect explains the rapid rise of LSD consumption and its subsequent prohibition. LSD has neither color nor odor, it can be mixed with a liquid; hundreds of doses can be hidden under a postage stamp. For LSD, neither the prison walls nor the national borders were a barrier. It can be produced anywhere with the necessary technology and immediately transported anywhere.Millions of doses of LSD can be made and made by a very small number of people. Colossal markets formed around these sources of supply: criminal syndicalism quickly emerged – a precondition for the rise of fascism.
But LSD is more than a commodity. This is a product that destroys the social machine through which it passes. This effect was confusing to all the factions that tried to use LSD to push through some political program.
The agent of withdrawal of psychological conditioning is, in essence, an anti-program agent. When the different parties, trying to gain control of the situation, understood this, they were able to agree on one thing: LSD must be stopped. How and who did it is a living story that was especially well told by Jay Stevens in “Stormy Skies” and Martin Lee and Bruce Schlein in “Acid Dreams”. / Jay stevens. Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. 1987); Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shiain, Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD, and the Sixties Rebellion (New York: Grove Press. 1985) / These authors clearly showed that when the methods that worked on colonial empires selling opium in the 19th century, were used by the CIA for domestic purposes – the direction of the state of mind in America during the Vietnam War – they almost completely smashed the entire psychosocial needs.
Lee and Shlein wrote.
LSD consumption among young people in the United States reached a peak in the late 60s, shortly after the CIA organized a series of covert operations designed to split, discredit and neutralize the new left. Was this a historical co-ownership, or did the agency take any steps to ensure the illegal trade in acid? No wonder the CIA representatives launched such an idea. “We are not making targets of American citizens,” former CIA director Richard Helms told the American Society of Newspaper Publishers in 1971. “The people must accept in some way on faith that we, the leaders of the CIA, are honest, dedicated to serving the people.”
Holmes’ assurances are hardly comforting in the light of his own role as the first instigator of Operation MK-ULTRA, which used Americans as guinea-pigs for testing LSD and other substances that change their state of mind.
As it turned out, almost all the drugs that appeared on the black market in the 1960s were marijuana, cocaine, heroin, Pi-Pi-Pi (PCP), amyl nitrate, mushrooms, DMT, barbiturates, laughing gas, “speed” [Methamphetamine. – Approx. ed. ] and many others were previously thoroughly investigated, verified, and in some cases improved by the CIA and military scientists. But none of the methods studied by the agency in the quarter-century multi-million dollar search for the overcoming of the human mind had received so much attention, and none aroused such enthusiasm as LSD-25. For a while, CIA personnel were completely blinded by this hallucinogen. Those who first experienced LSD in the early 50s were convinced that it revolutionizes the mask and dagger case … During Holmes’s tenure as director of the CIA, the agency conducted a massive illegal domestic campaign against the antiwar movement and other dissident elements in the United States.
As a result of Helms’ successful campaign, the new left was in turmoil when he left the CIA in 1973. Most of the official reports related to the CIA’s drug-related and mind control projects were soon destroyed by order of Helms shortly before his departure. The files were destroyed, according to Dr. Sydney Gottlieb, chief of staff of the CIA’s technical service, because of the “growing paper problem”. In this process, numerous documents relating to the operational use of hallucinogenic substances, including all existing copies of the systematic CIA manual entitled: “LSD, some non-psychedelic applications” were lost.
The times were extraordinary, and the situation was further aggravated by the fantasies of those who tried to control it. The sixties can be regarded as a time when two pharmacological minds of the mind collided in an atmosphere close to war. On the one hand, the international heroin syndicates tried to anesthetize the black ghettos of America, while at the same time engaging the middle class in a campaign to support military adventurism. On the other hand, self-organized crime syndicates produced and distributed tens of millions of doses of LSD, while at the same time conducting a well discernible underground campaign to incite hidden psychedelic anarchy.
The result of this collision can be considered in some way to reduce these efforts to nothing. The war in Southeast Asia was a catastrophic defeat for the American establishment, but, paradoxically, hardly any remnants of psychedelic utopianism survived this clash. All psychedelic drugs, even such unknown ones as ibogaine and bufotenin, were declared illegal. In the West, the tireless revival of structured values began; In the 1970s and 1980s, the need to abandon the influence of the 1960s almost got the taste of some kind of mass obsession. During the 70s, a new management program was clarified: since heroin had lost its charm, now it was television for the poor and cocaine for the rich.
By the end of the 60s, psychedelic studies were completely erased from life – not only in the United States, but throughout the world. And this happened despite the tremendous excitement that these discoveries caused among psychologists and specialists studying human behavior, anxiety similar to the feelings that engulfed the community of physicists with the advent of the splitting of the atom. But if the power of the atom, reversible to weapons of mass destruction, was attractive to the establishment of dominion, then the psychedelic experience ultimately looked like a terrible abyss.
A new period of repression has begun, despite the fact that many researchers have used LSD to treat conditions that were previously considered incurable. Canadian psychiatrists Abram Hoffer and Humphrey Osmond tabulated the results of eleven different attempts to study alcoholism and concluded that 45% of patients who used LSD in their treatment showed improvement. / A. Hotter and H. Osmond. New Hope for Alcoholics (New York: University Books. 1968) / Promising results were achieved when attempting to treat schizophrenics, childhood autism, and patients with severe depression. Many of these findings were criticized after LSD became illegal, but new experiments were no longer planned, and the work could not be repeated because of its illegality. The promising use of LSD in psychiatry for the treatment of pain, addiction,alcoholism and depression in fatal diseases, was postponed indefinitely. Contribute to improving our understanding of hallucinogenic plants fell to the share of modest science – botany.