Citation: VictorB. "The Beautiful Hopelessness of Everything: An Experience with LSD (exp33778)". Erowid.org. Apr 24, 2006. erowid.org/exp/33778
[Erowid Note: Claims of measured microgram dosages for LSD are usually unsupported. Quantitative measurements for LSD are very difficult to do and cannot be done casually. Without further detailed information about how the measurements were derived, it is reasonable to assume that most statements of microgram dosages of LSD on blotter or in microdots are either misinformed or overstated.]
The other day I got off of work early (summer hours at my office; work till 6:00 Monday through Thursday, go home at 1:00 on Friday), and decided I would use my free and clear afternoon for a much-needed introspective acid trip. I have been dealing with some personal and relationship issues lately and felt I was in a spirit to tackle them at last. I have done acid a few dozen times, at doses up to 600ug, and of all the psychedelic drugs I am most comfortable and familiar with LSD. I trust it and value it very highly.
Dosing, al fresco style
I did some cooking at home first, and then remembered I had to go to the eye doctor for my annual checkup. So I went, and they gave me those bright yellow drops to dilate my eyes, and I thought, “Excellent! Later when I’m tripping, I’ll have a perfect excuse for why my eyes are so huge!”
After the appointment I went to my favorite coffee shop down the street and sat out on the sidewalk sipping an iced mocha latte. The weather was in the quiet hours between some pretty severe thunderstorms, and it was temperate, sunny and perfect. Surprisingly for 5:00pm on a Friday there were not many people out – at least, the sidewalks were not teeming with people as they often are in this trendy neighborhood – and I was able to surreptitiously dose my LSD right there at the outdoor table. I took three hits of fairly strong microdots, which I estimate to be around 100µg each. This is my usual dose when I desire a “strong” trip, but do not want to be utterly overwhelmed.
I finished my coffee and went to run a few errands. It was probably just anticipation, and caffeine, and the weather, and the fact that it was Friday, but I could feel an immediate mood lift as I ambled back home. Everything was just Right. I ran into a friend on her way home from the train stop, and we chatted pleasantly. I was voluble and charming (which I admit I am not always).
The first of many insights
By the time I got home I was on the big long come-up for sure. I proceeded to continue my cooking project (a long involved soup recipe with lots of simmering), and listened to the radio (sort of; I couldn’t really concentrate on two things at once). At this point I had the first of two beers, which I find often make my acid trips more relaxed and open.
At this point I began focusing on one of my issues, which has to do with a woman, who is not my wife, who I have begun to have feelings for, despite not knowing her very well at all. We had made meaningful eye contact at parties a few times, and for some reason I have been unable to stop thinking about her ever since. It is both maddening, confusing, alarming, and fantastic all at once. Fortunately (or not) she left town for the summer and I will not have to deal with this temptation for several weeks; in this period of time I feel I need to get myself sorted about it.
I wandered back and forth a lot between my food project on one counter and the cook book on another. I could barely make sense of the recipe anymore (the soup came out pretty good anyway; I always cook better than I think I can while tripping.) As I worked, though, most of my mind was preoccupied with thoughts of this woman. The LSD and the alcohol together were removing my emotional inhibitions entirely, and I was able to experience my feelings in their full, raw power and beauty.
In the first of several deep insights of the evening, I realized that, although I do not want to fall in love with someone else and leave my wife, who I love dearly, I could if it felt like the right decision for me. I decided that there can be more than one “love of one’s life”, and one can and should be open to pursuing a new love if it really does seem more fulfilling. This was all just a thought experiment, of course, and unlikely to be tested in reality, but I had been worried whether I would have the strength to even deal with the possibility of ever getting a divorce, and I realized with a sense of personal power, that I had. I didn’t want to, but I knew I could if I had to. I filed this insight away in a safe place in my mind and moved on.
At this point I was listening to NPR and some segment came on This American Life about ghost-hunting in some remote forest cabin where children had been murdered or abused or something. It was kind of stupid but also started to freak me out a little, as I was home alone and it was starting to get dark, and stormy again. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to put on some music before the trip started getting too dark.
Rock & roll, thunder & lightning, and Complete Synchronicity
Music was, as usual, totally awesome, and I spent about an hour just shuffling through a bunch of albums and sipping my beer. Eventually I went back to the kitchen to finish my gargantuan soup project (six hours from start to finish; Christ!), and then returned to the living room and really cranked up the stereo. I put on Ratatat. Very melodic, synthy instrumental kind of math-rock with big thick beats, that had me up and marching around the apartment in no time.
Finally I settled down on the couch and stared out the window as the album continued to play. Our living room faces the six-story-high ornamental brick façade of an historic theater built with money from Al Capone in the 1920s, the original heyday of the neighborhood. Past the rococo molding around its roof, I could see the lowering storm clouds intermittently lit up by lightning in the almost-dark of twilight. With the music coursing through me, this was my setting for my next great insight of the evening.
I started thinking about this woman again, and imagined what it would be like at the end of the summer if she returned, and we talked, and it turned out she had been thinking of me all summer long as intently as I had been thinking of her. I imagined this with perfect clarity, as if it was really happening, and a huge, HUGE wave of euphoria, better than any roll, came over me. The most indescribable pleasure, acceptance and relief we all feel at the moment we reveal our feelings to someone, and discover they feel the same. I very nearly cried, and for a moment, I became my mother archetype / my feminine side, a creature of pure emotion and feeling, lifted up by that emotion to a higher state of being.
My heart was still racing from this reverie, but I pushed on with the thought even further. I remembered feeling exactly this way many times when my wife and I were first dating, and especially at the moment when I proposed. I connected my feelings for this new woman back to my original feelings for my wife, and realized that of course, they are exactly the same. Not only my feelings, but in a sense, the two women are the same too. They are strikingly similar physically and, as far as I can tell, their personalities are very similar. In a flash I realized I was falling in love with my wife all over again; this new woman was simply my wife, before I had “captured” her. I was seeking something I already had, because of my unquenchable human impulse to conquer something new.
It’s hard to describe what happened next. Still struck by this thought of the endless cycle of romantic attachment – we keep looking for the same thing in different people -- I looked out at the gathering storm above the huge man-made rooftops of the city, and connected my thoughts about love with my thoughts on the fate of the human race. We are all programmed to continually strive for more, different, better – better women, higher rooftops, greater civilizations – and it is ultimately futile and hopeless, because when we succeed, we simply move on to the next challenge. We can never really win.
At this, I put my hands to my mouth in shock. I had made a horrifying discovery about the hopeless nature of humanity, which I had never intended to do. It was indescribably sad, but also beautiful. I felt at once sorry for mankind for what we will never be able to have, and stubbornly proud of us for what we have nonetheless accomplished.
All at once the weight of it all, on top of my already high emotion, was too much, and I burst out crying. I haven’t cried so hard, sobbing loudly with tears running down my face, for years. And in between sobs, I was laughing too. It was pure lunacy. The cat came over to sniff me and find out what was wrong. The music track I was listening to at the time synched up perfectly with my emotion, building to a crescendo, just as the thunder and lightning outside peaked. It was a cosmic alignment. In the moment of stillness as I took my first deep breaths and quit sobbing, the clouds opened and the rain came, a huge cleansing downpour that mirrored exactly my own cleansing with tears. Complete Universal Synchronicity.
This had been better than sex.
Not much later, my wife came home, and I was able to see her again with new eyes as I had not done for months, maybe years – as I had before we were married. We sat together and ate some of my soup, and I gave her a present I had bought weeks earlier and been saving for a special occasion. She looked so beautiful to me. We held hands like teenagers and later, had our best sex of the year, hands down. I had never had much fun with sex on psychedelics before, but suddenly I saw the power of it. We connected even more deeply than usual, and at the same time, I was completely unhurried and almost uncaring about where things went, what we did, how long we took. I was more relaxed and “in the moment” than I can remember being with another person, maybe ever. I saw that married sex life does not have to be dull and boring and repetitive; it can also be exceedingly comfortable and natural and effortless, two people who are really one. So that was pretty great.
Later, I had time for one final, somewhat unrelated insight. After my wife went to sleep, the acid kept me awake, and I stayed up and smoked some pot and fooled around on-line. The pot took me out of my exquisitely clear, positive, self-enabled head space, into your basic stoned stupor. I lost the glow; I felt deadened and out-of-it. I was chatting with a friend on AIM and was barely able to make sense or have a conversation. I kept losing my train of thought and saying weird disconnected things. I realized a lot of the unpleasant and unproductive feelings I’ve had lately have been due to smoking too much pot. So I decided to quit smoking it for a while. This felt likely manifestly the right decision, even if it will be a hard habit to break, and I was grateful once again for the clarity the LSD had given me about my life and what I need to do.
This was not my most intense trip ever, but it was undoubtedly my most integratable, useful, and personal one. I have experienced pleasure before on psychedelics, and discovery, clarity, and emotion, but it’s never been so connected to my own personal issues. And the weather! I have redoubled my faith that LSD, used properly and in the right setting, is worth about 30 visits to a psychotherapist.
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