Opening Skinner’s Box - Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century by Lauren Slater
“Do you use any drugs yourself?” I ask him, because he sometimes seems a little tilted. He says, “With special friends, I use acid. I don’t use it regularly, but it has provided me with the opportunity for profound self-understanding.” He pauses. I’m waiting. “Once,” he says, “I took some LSD and felt my head was in a dragon’s mouth, and when I looked down, my lower body was in another beast’s mouth and I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll just lie down and die.’ So that’s what I did. My heart seemed to stop beating. I knew not to fight the beasts. As soon as I stopped resisting, the monsters turned into a yellow bed of flowers, and I floated away. Since then I have not feared my mortality.”
“How long ago was that?” I ask him.
“Twenty-five years ago or so,” he says.
Well, I think that’s a pretty good advertisement for acid. Not only does it break you into Buddhism faster than you can crack the easiest koan, but it keeps you there without, apparently, much follow up.
I eye him, warily. As a psychologist I have worked in substance abuse facilities, and I have seen firsthand the powerful chemistry or craving. I’d like to dismiss Alexander as a pure propagandist, except there is this problematic, delightful, fascinating fact: Alexander has facts, in the form of his own ingenious experiments, to prove his theories and substantiate the studies he so likes to quote. You can resist him, or you can come with him, here and here and here, to the oddest places, where your assumptions die down and in their place, an open field - strange sorts of flowers, all of them unexpected.