Wednesday, January 11, 2006

'Father of LSD' Turns 100

Ok, this isn't exactly UCSC Jewish news, but I think it's relevant for a couple reasons, if not only because his name sounds Jewish. Albert Hofmann, known as the 'Father of LSD,' turned 100 years old today, January 11, 2006. Like many of the great discoveries of all time, Mr. Hofmann discovered the effects of LSD by accidentally spilling some on himself in April 1943. An international symposium was held today in his honor.

The New York Times reports,
"As the years accumulate behind him, Mr. Hofmann's conversation turns ever more insistently around one theme: man's oneness with nature and the dangers of an increasing inattention to that fact."
That's right, so get out there and learn some Torah! The article continues:
"'It's very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature,' he said, listing to the right in a green armchair that looked out over frost-dusted fields and snow-laced trees. A glass pitcher held a bouquet of roses on the coffee table before him. 'In the big cities, there are people who have never seen living nature, all things are products of humans,' he said. 'The bigger the town, the less they see and understand nature.' And, yes, he said, LSD, which he calls his 'problem child,' could help reconnect people to the universe."
...
"'I was completely astonished by the beauty of nature,' he said, laying a slightly gnarled finger alongside his nose, his longish white hair swept back from his temples and the crown of his head. He said any natural scientist who was not a mystic was not a real natural scientist. 'Outside is pure energy and colorless substance,' he said. 'All of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings.'"
...
"But Mr. Hofmann calls LSD 'medicine for the soul' and is frustrated by the worldwide prohibition that has pushed it underground. 'It was used very successfully for 10 years in psychoanalysis,' he said, adding that the drug was hijacked by the youth movement of the 1960's and then demonized by the establishment that the movement opposed. He said LSD could be dangerous and called its distribution by Timothy Leary and others 'a crime.'"

Full article here.

For more information on Hofmann's discovery, check out the Erowid psychoactive vaults.

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