Psychedelic singularities (was Test Scores (was Causality))

Lyle Burkhead (
Sat, 14 Dec 1996 17:45:41 -0500 (EST)

Last night I wrote,

> This is something I have never talked about,

This morning it occurred to me that I wrote a similar post a few months
ago. Is something affecting my memory? Hmm...

T.0.Morrow writes,

> I'm familiar with a case of someone similarly taking a 1/4 street dose
> of LSD-25 during a second attempt at the ACT (a test quite similar to
> the SAT). The auto-experimental subject allegedly had done well the
> first time--in the 90 percentiles--but got a 99 %-tile score the second
> time through. So far as I can tell, moreover, the person in question
> remains bright and lucid.
> This interesting anecdote hardly qualifies as a double-blind study, of
> course, but it does (if true) disprove over-broad claims about
> LSD-25's allegedly universal and harmful effects.

In case it wasn't clear from my post, I am not making any claims
about universal harmful effects. Acid, like all drugs, affects different
people in different ways, and affects the same person in different ways
at different times. For some people, acid may be just what the doctor
ordered. At the Esalen seminar, one night we were sitting around and
somebody brought up the question of how old we were. It turned out
that most of us (except for Terence himself) were quite a bit older than
we appeared. One man said he was 50, which we all found hard to
believe. He looked 35. One woman said she was 42, and she looked to
be in her 20s. (Remember this is Esalen -- hot tubs -- I *know* what
she looked like!) These people were mushroom eaters from way back.
(Except for me -- I had probably done less psychedelics than anybody
there, but I ate a lot of brownies in those days.)

The problem is, there is no way to tell in advance whether you are
going to be one of those people who get long-term benefits from taking
acid, or one of those on whom it has a neutral effect, or one of those
who end up wasting a decade of their lives.

I am not surprised at what Max and Tom report about test scores.
Acid can also improve physical dexterity. It can have all kinds of
wonderful effects, *during the trip*.

As for being bright and lucid -- for a long time I insisted that
I was as bright and lucid as I had ever been. Now I know that I was
kidding myself. Sometimes it's very hard to be objective about oneself,
especially when a belief system is at stake.

Mark Crosby adds,

> I had a very similar experience, though I never felt that I was a
> casualty of drug usage, it was mostly a lack of coherent purpose from
> too many nihilistic memes.

I think it was my basically healthy "memes" (I'm getting very leery of
that word) that kept me going. I always had faith in myself. I always
knew that the "towel-in-the-refrigerator-door" syndrome only affected
the shell, not the kernel.