Letters to the Editors
"Letter from the Future"
...on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of LSD
Originally published in the Journal for the Protection of All Beings 4:138-139 (Fall 1978)
The following letter appeared in a version of the Journal for the Protection of All Beings (originally published by City Lights Books in the 1960s as "A Visionary & Revolutionary Review") that was conceived when Steward Brand suggested a rebirth of the magazine disguised as an issue of CoEvolution Quarterly. Published in September of 1978, the letter was "penned from the future" on April 17, 1993, ostensibly following a celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of LSD.
Ludlow Global Library SystemsSan Francisco Branch
Federation of California Communes
April 17, 1993
We had a time last night at the gala celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of LSD. It was held at Visionary Stadium and many of the fifty thousand people who attended were dressed in the psychedelic style of the late Sixties (just like those pictures of us in the family album). Bill Graham and Chet Helms organized a spectacular concert which featured many of the surviving musicians from the old San Francisco Acid Rock bands. There was a hologramic light show too, and people danced the old folk boogies all night long. Doses of a primitive type of LSD manufactured in the early days of the Suppression were freely distributed. The mental effects seemed rather crude compared to the products available to us today, but most did get a buzz and no one complained. There were even a few "freakouts" which delighted the celebrants. However, medics from Nervous Systems were on hand to administer the antidote Moksha-62 and raise the trippers to their normal neurological condition.
It was wonderful to see Albert Hofmann and Timothy Leary at the table of "honor," which was modelled like a three-dimensional LSD molecule. Dr. Hofmann, in splendid shape for a man of 87, was given a silver bicycle replica of the one he rode along Basel streets on the first LSD trip. When he said it meant more to him than his Nobel Prize for Chemistry there were cheers of "Rite On" from those standing beside the punch table. The entire audience was sitting on the edge of their seats while he recounted ("for at least the thousandth time") his accidental discovery of the prototype psychedelic in the midst of the Second World War.
Timothy, who at 73 looks much as he did as a Harvard psychology professor, had flown in from Base L5 on a space shuttle for the event. He was presented with a key to his archives, which the FBI had recently finished sorting and studying after two decades. Tim talked about the Second Civil War of the Sixties, and compared himself to Homer reciting the Iliad.
He brushed off reports that he had been fired from his command post on L5 for turning on some teenage space colonists to a new, highly classified time travel pill. "The past may be even more interesting than the future," he not so enigmatically concluded, "as this party tonight proves."
"The stadium was hushed as he recapitulated the legendary World Flip Out spring of 1984, when the one hundred million doses of Sandoz pharmaceutical LSD secretly purchased by the CIA in the early Fifties and stockpiled at different locations around the planet for future use as pharmacological weapons began to leak into the atmosphere during the UFO visitations."
That was followed by some psychedelic vaudeville, performed by two surprise guests flown in for the occasion. The 100-year-old Mazatec shamaness Maria Sabina chanted the ancient magic mushroom veladas, during which Yaqui [sorcerer] Don Juan caused the entire audience to hallucinate a symposium on the subject of mind control given by himself, Hassan i Sabbah, and William S. Burroughs.
After the applause died down it was back to the presentations. Sir [Humphry] Osmond received an award for his pioneering research with mescaline, for turning on Aldous Huxley, and for coining the term "psychedelic." The period of silence to the memory of Aldous was very appropriate and extremely moving. Laura Huxley came on stage afterwards to accept his award for creating in his last novel Island the most compelling blueprint for the lifestyles of the tribes and communes that quietly flourished during the Suppression. She herself was honored for giving her husband LSD and reading to him from The Tibetan Book of the Dead while he lay on his deathbed, allowing him to die with painless, anxiety-free dignity in the manner we are accustomed to nowadays.
Dr. Stan Grof received a plaque for his epochal categorization of the stages of the psychedelic experience: ancestral, racial, evolutionary, past incarnation, precognition and telepathy, planetary and extra-planetary and time and space travel. R. Gordon Wasson received a standing ovation when he came on stage. It was fascinating to hear him summarize his life's work, which traced the use of natural psychedelic substances at the inception of each of the grand old religions of the East and West.
The culmination of the awards ceremonies was the unveiling of a larger-than-life statue of The Hippie: symbol of the legions of young people who risked their minds and their freedom to experiment with the metaprogramming tools provided by the alchemists and travellers among them, preserving the psychedelic vision until the General Re-Birth of 1984.
After brushing away a 'tear' or two, we descended upon the dance floor and rocked out with our brothers and sisters until dawn.
Lots of love, and Ecstatic
Evolution all ways,
-- Michael Horowitz