Monday, April 19, 2010

Bicycle Day (Not Your Kid's Bike!!)

To some people, April 19th is known as Bicycle Day. It was on this day in 1943 that Dr. Albert Hoffman performed the first self experiment with LSD, having discovered it years earlier and accidentally discovering some of its effects the day before. Under the supervision of his lab assistant, Dr. Hoffman ingested an amount of LSD after which he and his assistant bicycled to Hoffman's residence. Upon this "trip" home, Hoffman began to come under the full effects of the psychotropic and so this day holds significant relevance to LSD enthusiasts and all manner of psychedelic thinkers and activists.

A couple of years back, I stumbled across Hoffman's "LSD:My Problem Child", a chapter of which included entries about the accidental discovery of some of the psychotropic effects which he discovered rather accidentally, his intention to perform an experiment in order to delve further into these effects and then of the experiment itself.

Interestingly enough, Dr. Hoffman's journal entry for this experiment shows its commencement at precisely 4:20 pm. Reading the journal, I found this fact interesting because 420 has been a marijuana reference for some time now.

I did not actually recall that the experiment had taken place on April 19 until just today when I came across this NY Times article about Hoffman's death in 2008. The article shares Hoffman's determination that LSD had opened his mind to the importance of truly connecting with nature and our place as humans within nature, that this connection had begun when he was a child and been reinforced and developed through psychotropic-assisted spiritual work.

I find this so fascinating because my own life experience has been so very similar. I had strong connections with nature and an inkling of the importance of balance as a child, but after my first year or so of college I was very much in a space of giving up on humanity, of feeling that all was shot and I might as well have the best time I possibly could before it was too late. But as I have written before, what began as recreational use of psychotropics very much evolved into spiritual reflection and a real sense of the importance of expanding my consciousness. The earliest manifestations from this evolution were to remember that connection to nature, that sense of being part of a very large and very complex system of relationships and a sense of the importance of exploring these relationships and my own consciousness.

I have not read much of Dr. Hoffman's words, other than that chapter, but the NY Times article is filled with quotations that are so similar to my own thoughts and interests. I shall have to find more of his words to read and I think that Bicycle Day will heretofore be of immense importance to me.

Peace and comfort, all.


linda said...

Strangely, I just finished a school assignment yesterday that used an Aldous Huxley quote. I like the way Hoffman insisted that LSD should be treated in as sacred a way as tribes used their traditional psychotropic plants.
And it was interesting to learn about Morning Glory seeds. I'll never look at that flower in the same way again.
Thanks for sharing this and Happy Bicycle Day:)

Jerry said...

That's one of his thoughts that resonates so strongly with me as well, linda. My two experiences with it were not spiritually intended but I know there were residual effects of that regard.

I am ignorant of Morning Glory seeds though, I shall have to go see what this is about.

You're welcome and Happy Bicycle Day to you too.

Jerry said...

Ahhh I see now. Interesting, thanks for making the reference!

linda said...

I'm very familiar with the territory myself. I was aware of its potential of course but I didn't want to go there at all. I regret that now but am content to explore the universe completely on my own nowadays. However, I think it is generally very hard for most people to disengage from the material world these days and it could be that its more necessary today than ever-the sacredness mentioned that is.

I had to laugh about the Morning Glory seeds because I have been carrying a packet in my purse for awhile now! Who would of thought that I was a budding Carlos Castenada or whoever else, disguised as a middle aged mom?LOL!Not going to experiment though.

WeekendFarmer said...

morning glory seeds..? : ) whats going on?

Jerry said...

Eating a whole bunch of them produces a hallucinogenic effect, apparently.