To lysergic acid diethylamide, higher often called LSD, we owe a lot of what has endured from Western widespread tradition of the mid-Twentieth century: think about, for example, the latter half of the Beatles’ oeuvre. In Revolution within the Head: The Beatles’ Information and the Sixties, Ian MacDonald describes LSD as “a robust hallucinogen whose perform is briefly to dismiss the mind’s neural concierge, leaving the thoughts to manage as it will probably with sensory info which in the meantime enters with out prior association — an uncensored expertise of actuality which profoundly alters one’s outlook on it.”
So profound is that alteration that some got here to imagine in a utopia achievable via common ingestion of the drug: “If there be crucial revolution in America,” declared Allen Ginsberg, “it can come this manner.” However most People didn’t see it fairly the identical method. It was for them that CBS made its broadcast “The Hippie Temptation.” Aired in August 1967, three months after the discharge of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Coronary heart’s Membership Band, it constitutes an exposé of LSD-fueled youth tradition because it effervesced on the time in and round San Francisco’s countercultural mecca of Haight-Ashbury.
“The hippies current an odd downside,” says correspondent Harry Reasoner, later often called the host of 60 Minutes. “Our society has produced them. There they’re, in quickly growing numbers. And but there appear to be only a few particular concepts behind the superficial glitter of their costume and habits.” Seeking the core of the hippie ideology, which appears outwardly to contain “standing aside from society via mutual assist and love,” Reasoner and his collaborators delve into the character of LSD, whose customers “might even see a wild complexity of photographs, hear a multiplicity of sounds. That is known as ‘taking an acid journey.’”
Alas, “for a lot of, the worth of taking the shortcut to discovery the hippies put ahead seems to be very excessive.” A younger physician from UCLA’s neuropsychiatric institute named Duke Fisher argues that the majority LSD customers “discuss loving humanity typically, an all-encompassing love of the world, however they’ve quite a lot of problem loving one different individual, or loving that particular factor.” Additionally included in “The Hippie Temptation” are interviews with younger individuals (albeit ones cleaner-cut than the typical denizen of late-60s Haight-Ashbury) positioned into medical services as a consequence of hallucinogen-related mishaps, together with suicide makes an attempt.
“There may be the actual hazard that increasingly more younger individuals could observe the decision to activate, tune in, drop out,” Reasoner declares, in step with the printed’s portentous tone. Even then there have been indicators of what MacDonald calls “the hippie counterculture’s incipient commercialization and impending decline into exhausting medicine.” However to this present day, “that there was certainly one thing uncommon within the air can nonetheless be heard from lots of the information of the interval: a lightweight, joyous optimism with a tangible non secular aura and a thrillingly contemporary informality” — a high quality MacDonald finds concentrated within the work of not simply The Beatles however the Grateful Lifeless, who sit for an interview in “The Hippie Temptation.” LSD could not be as tempting because it was half a century in the past, however lots of the creations it impressed then nonetheless have us hooked at the moment.
by way of Laughing Squid
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Aldous Huxley Journeys on Acid; Talks About Cats & the Secret of Life (1962)
Uncommon Footage Exhibits US and British Troopers Getting Dosed with LSD in Authorities-Sponsored Exams (1958 + 1964)
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New LSD Analysis Offers the First Photos of the Mind on Acid, and Hints at Its Potential to Promote Creativity
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Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embrace the Substack e-newsletter Books on Cities, the ebook The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll via Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Fb.