LSD and Ego Death

LSD brings ego death together with loss of control.

LSD, psychedelics, acid rock, ego death

LSD and Dissociative Cognition

LSD, loose mental-construct binding, and dissociative-state phenomena (67 pages)
LSD as a trigger of dissociative-state perception and epistemology (29 pages)
LSD produces loss of control of thinking and willing (7 pages)
Religion and the dissociative state (16 pages)

Ego Death

The Virtual Ego (5 pages)
LSD and Ego Death (7 pages)
LSD reveals the illusory aspect of the Moral Control System (16 pages)
LSD shines light on Levels of Control (4 pages)
Reconciling Levels of Control (4 pages)

ego death, acid rock, psychedelics, LSD

LSD relates to self-control cybernetics, ego death, fatalism, self control, philosophy, determinism, mystic experiencing, enlightenment, free will, zen, psychedelics, consciousness, contemporary metaphysics, Eleusian mysteries, mental models, visionary states, mystic altered state, mysticism, psychedelic drugs, acid rock, religious experience, transpersonal psychology, predestination, religious experiencing, schizophrenia, spacetime, altered states, block universe, cognitive science, determinism, ecstasy, enlightenment, entheogens, free will, Ken Wilber, panic attacks, and kundalini.

This material also covers mental constructs, metaprogramming, morality, will, and Zen.

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LSD: The Problem-Solving Psychedelic - Peter Stafford (author of The Psychedelics Encyclopedia) and B.H. Golightly. -- excerpts with commentary:

Physical sensations: slight chill; dilation of the pupils; vague physical unease concentrated in the muscles or throat; tenseness; queasy stomach; tingling in the extremities; drowsiness. [excellent, evocative description.] Thoughts seem to race, carelessly tossing off extraordinary by-products of subsidiary thoughts. Suggestibility, Vulnerability. In the kaleidoscopic whirling of sensations, thoughts and emotions [notice classic theme of 'circularity'], to which the LSD subject is hyper-attuned, he feels himself completely fragmented, totally helpless, yet masterfully in control. He reacts to literally everything that comes within his range of senses. He is highly suggestible and responds in some way to all stimuli , whether it is through auto-suggestion, by some movement or remark made by his guide, or by what is going on in the room. Because he is so "opened up," he is indeed vulnerable. Therefore, it is extremely important that disruptive and disturbing factors be avoided as much as possible and that the guide be on the qui vive and keenly receptive. If conditions are not harmonious, smooth, and at the same time "natural," the person under the influence of the drug can easily have paranoid reactions to all-and everyone-around him and this can lead to untold terror. Normally, however, he will be more at ease and freer with others and his surroundings than he has ever before found himself to be in his everyday associations.

Memory and the Sense of the Self. The "flight of thoughts" quite often flushes a large covey of personal memories from the deep recesses of the subject's mind. They may be trivial, joyous, painful, ludicrous-anything-but they will probably be more alive than any recalled previously, except perhaps in dreams; and, as in the dream state, they will seem to be happening in the "now," with the subject violently participating at one moment and standing aside in the next. It is as if he has a second self superimposed on the one he brought to the session. He may find himself examining the "selves" he has conjured and react with guilt, pride, pleasure, regret or a multitude of other emotions. Insight, Judgment, Concentration. Unburied memories often produce the conviction that the subject is seeing himself for the first time as he really is-with all mental blocks and defenses down. His findings will strike him as absolutely astounding; his insights so sharp, his judgments so valid, that only a miracle could have occurred to change him into such a genius. His excitement over this transformation may make him want to laugh and cry at the same time, for he may feel he has at last hit upon the way to know everything to its fullest: ecstasy, sorrow, radiance, serenity, happiness, poignancy, wisdom, patience. He will want-and be able-to concentrate on any "staggering discovery" of his choice. He may find that all life and its secrets, all mankind and himself, are concentrated in the ear of corn he is holding in his hand, and he may contemplate it and stare at it for long moments, even hours.

Philosophic, Religious, Mystical Sense. The subject will want to employ his new abilities in exploration. During this time, he may have a deep and moving religious experience in which he understands the pattern of all life and with awe, gratitude and total understanding, accepts the "Divine Being" responsible for it all. He may also reach philosophic conclusions of rare profundity and of "absolute truth," perhaps in areas completely foreign or little known to him previously. Since he feels he has been metamorphosed into an incredible being with gigantic gifts, it will probably not surprise him at all that he can see into the future and the past with equal ease, make predictions and exhume long-interred historical secrets [for me, this would concern the interpretation of the Turin Shroud and the revised meaning of the Crucifixion.]

Sense of the Past. As said before, a}most anything from staring at a painting to a fleeting thought can trigger the so-called "sense of the past," with seeming total historical recall. Archetypal memories from the vast mass unconscious, in the Jungian sense, would appear to be aroused and activated. For an observer sitting in on a session, this portion of the experience can be the most interesting if the subject is communicative and reasonably articulate. Comments: Eight to ten hours-perhaps longer-after all this strenuous activity, the LSD subject "comes down," the apex of the experience probably having been reached in the fourth hour. The coming down is usually a thoughtful, sober-minded, reflective process without the explosions of mirth, joy, surprise, and intense pain that accompanied the "going up." The subject will realize with equanimity and sensible acceptance that some of his insights and conclusions were absurd and ridiculously funny; he will wonder about others. In any case, once down, he will find himself restored intact to "normal" reality, just as he left it, if the session has been a successful one. One LSD experimenter has called the drug a "psychic broom"; for indeed it does seem to sweep out the cobwebs and bring alive those senses so little used that they are all but atrophied. ... 1) sensory changes, 2) personal memories, 3) "transformation of figures," 4) spatial changes and 5 ) cosmic experience. ...

Of all the strange permutations which occur with LSD use, two of signal importance for researchers have been found to be heightened sensitivity and vulnerability. Unlike the hypnotic trance, this "defenselessness" is coupled with consciousness and will power. Therefore, the subject, if he has a problem to solve, can put his altered responses to this task. Among the endless variety of problems which LSD can help solve, the most clear-cut and spectacular-for which there is unequivocal proof-are creative and technical problems. Hopefully, as more and more technical and creative problem solving is done with LSD and word of it comes to light, valid non-medical uses of the drug will be publicly recognized and understood.

Factors in creativity, in general: a) Low degree of psychological defensiveness; lack of rigidity and permeability of boundaries in concepts, beliefs, perceptions and hypotheses; tolerance for ambiguity where it exists, ability to receive and integrate apparently conflicting information; sensitive awareness of feelings and openness to all phases of experience. b) Evaluative judgment based primarily, not on outside standards or prejudices, but on one's own feelings, intuition, aesthetic sensibility, sense of satisfaction in self-expression, etc. c) The ability to "toy" with ideas, colors, shapes, hypotheses; to translate from one form to another; to think in terms of analogues and metaphors. ... Poetic economy (getting the most out of the complex in a direct, singular manner, what the mathematician would know as "elegance"); seeing things in a larger or more meaningful context; a powerful feeling of commitment and an enduring desire to leave behind a testament, and if possible a proof of the validity of the conviction; finally, a fluid sense of humor, one which enables the creative individual to view his work lightly as well as seriously.

Directed use of LSD might result in a tremendous impetus to creative thought-both for the artist and the ordinary individual who gets very few "flashes of insight" in his lifetime. Such has proved to be the case, as indeed has the obverse. "One of our engineers, who was a subject, could get 100 per cent under LSD in certain of the tests we used, which he never did without LSD... There was another subject, a young woman, who was a technician working at Columbia, who was determined to get all her mathematics examples correct, and practiced at home. Although she was very disturbed [over other matters]... under 100 mcg. of LSD, she got 100 per cent on her mathematics test." When under LSD the universe seems to be exploding, when one has suddenly made the first intuitive breakthrough in years, when the world seems sublimely pure and cleansed of the corruption of the ages, it is no time to be repeating a long run of numbers, as called for in the Stanford-Binet I.Q. test. As Dr. Hoffer observed in this regard, "I would suspect that learning in tasks which are trivial for the subject would be impaired, e.g., psychological learning tests, whereas matters of great importance to the subject might be learned even more quickly. Memory after the event is usually extremely good and insights learned are never forgotten even if they are not always used." But before going deeper into the way LSD can be used to harness creativity and put it to use in problem-solving, it is appropriate to note that numerous instances have indicated that a "flash of insight" [without LSD] has been the thunderbolt that cracked open major discoveries. Since the solution of technical and artistic problems lies mainly in keeping channels of thought free and letting ideas flow, LSD has been found to be of incalculable assistance if problem solving is the point of the-session and if a few fundamental directive techniques are used. It has become increasingly apparent that these breakthroughs are by no means uncommon. They have come about both in planned sessions and by happy accident. There is abundant word-of-mouth testimony which eventually will appear in print with proper documentation. Even though investigation into this aspect of LSD's effects has so far been rather timid, this does not mean that such responses are not strong and valid-and on the increase as sophisticated use of the drug becomes more and more prevalent. ... At the time of this particular lecture, the agitation and legislation against LSD was well under way, and there seemed to be little promise for continued study of the drug-certainly private use and experimentation was legally out of the question. Most of those who came to this lecture were dedicated to the future of the drug for serious, scientific reasons, and ABC-TV was on hand to record the proceedings. The lecture was a little like a televised wake, with the audience as depressed yet keyed-up as survivors of a shipwreck. Dr. Beresford that night spoke very briefly, candidly admitting that although there was well-founded reason to believe in LSD's efficacy in creative and technical problem solving, so far only scattered evidence had appeared in scientific journals. He then threw the discussion open to the floor. The audience reaction was electric. Everyone wanted to talk at once, to testify as to how LSD had helped solve individual problems.

Partnership for a Drug-Free America: LSD information - excerpts, with commentary:

LSD is the most common hallucinogen. LSD was discovered in 1938 by Dr. Albert Hofmann. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD is classified under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, which includes drugs with no medical use and/or high potential for abuse [based on its power alone, I would agree it has high potential for "abuse"; however, this all remains highly debatable, including the idea of jailing citizens of a nominally free country for *any* drug.] LSD, commonly referred to as "acid," [or "doses"] is sold on the street in tablets, capsules, or occasionally in liquid form [I would say "in blotter, liquid, or gel tabs]. It is odorless and colorless, with a slightly bitter taste [good point], and is usually [almost always] taken by mouth. Usually LSD is sold as "blotter acid," where the drug is imprinted on small, colorful sheets of paper [with art]. A single dose costs around $4-$5 and the effects can last from 3 to 12 hours [no, 3 hours is impossible. 8 to 12 hours]. [higher up in the distribution chain, buying larger quantities, the price can be as low as in the Rush song "Lakeside Park": "A thousand 10-cent wonders, who could ask for more, a pocketful of silver, the key to heaven's door." That would be like buying enough liquid to dip 10 sheets, for $100, in 1975 when the song was written.] The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, loss of control, severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings--fear of losing control, fear of insanity and fear of death. LSD is not considered to be an addicting drug because it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior like cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, alcohol, or nicotine do. [so the irrational exagerrated stigma against "addiction" can't be applied here.] The strength of LSD samples obtained currently from illicit sources ranges from 20 to 80 micrograms of LSD per dose. The effects of LSD are [in some ways] unpredictable. Usually, the user feels the first effects of the drug 30 to 90 minutes after taking it. The physical effects include dilated pupils [always], higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure [and heart palpitation after repeated heavy frequent use], loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth and tremors [especially at the fingertips]. Sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs. The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in a large enough dose, the drug produces delusions [agreed] and visual hallucinations [no, more like distortions, more to the point]. The user's sense of time and self change [agreed - time freezes and fragments, self sense and self/world boundary is suspended]. Sensations may seem to cross over, giving the user the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds [no, more accurate is to say that *all* perceptions sensed as equivalent in that they are all recognized as mental constructs]. Many users feel like the drug causes boundaries between the self and other to disappear. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic. [particularly the *loss of control* that is identical to loss of ego causes panic - loss of control over one's thoughts and will. Ego *is* controllership; to lose ego *is* to lose control.]
Addiction Research Foundation: LSD - excerpts with commentary:
Of the psychedelics, LSD is by far the most potent; it is approximately 100 times stronger than psilocybin and 4,000 times stronger than mescaline. Pure LSD is a white, odorless crystalline powder that is soluble in water. Because an effective dose of the pure drug is almost invisible, it is mixed with other substances, such as sugar, and packaged in capsules, tablets, or solutions, or spotted on to gelatin sheets or pieces of blotting paper. Physical effects including: numbness; muscle weakness and trembling; rapid reflexes; increased blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature; impaired motor skills and coordination; dilated pupils; nausea; and, occasionally, seizures [I would expect so; there are certainly seizure-like effects, such as racing, circling, feeding-back mind]. Distorted perceptions of: time (minutes seem like hours); distance (hazardous if operating motor vehicles or standing near balcony edges); gravity (sensations of floating or being pressed down); the space between oneself and one's environment (for some, a feeling of oneness with the universe, for others, a feeling of terror). Diminished control over thought processes, resulting in recent or long-forgotten memories resurfacing and blending with current experience, or in insignificant thoughts or objects taking on deep meaning. Feelings of a mystical, religious, or cosmic nature. Fear, anxiety, and depression [good point] may occur, even with experienced users who have had no prior adverse reactions. users feel that they are losing their identity, disintegrating into nothingness, and that there is no reality. Early LSD trips are usually taken in the company of experienced users who can often help curb acute panic reactions. Cases of suicide have occurred during or following LSD intoxication. Other results of violent or hazardous behavior include accidental (sometimes bizarre) fatalities, homicides, and self-mutilations. [why do these write-ups never cite verifiable cases?] Long-term effects appear after repeated use over a lengthy period. Typically, flashbacks last only a few minutes or less and are usually visual images ranging from formless colors to frightening hallucinations. They frequently occur after an LSD user smokes cannabis [that, I could believe; THC seems to potentiate LSD]. Chronic LSD use may result in prolonged depression [good point, though I disagree about "prolonged" -- more like severe but temporary, synthetic depression] and anxiety [dubious].