CG: What recommendations would you give to researchers now who want to work with these substances?
AH: When LSD was distributed legally by Sandoz, there was a little brochure which was given together with the Delysid, which explained how LSD could be used. As an aid to psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, and also as a means for psychiatrists themselves to experience these extraordinary states of mind. It was specifically stated on the package insert that the psychiatrist who was interested in using Delysid should first test it on himself.
CG: So, you would say that it is very important that the researcher, the psychiatrist, know firsthand the psychedelic experience?
AH: Absolutely, absolutely. Before it can be used in clinical work, it must most definitely be taken by the psychiatrist. From the very first reports and guidelines written for LSD, this was clearly stated. And this remains of utmost importance today.
I remember hearing once that after legislation began to be passed regarding LSD that there was some rule made stating that any person researching LSD would be automatically disqualified if they had personally tried the compound...actually this may have been a Harvard policy put in place after Leary and Albert and been ousted, I honestly can not remember, I can't even say if there is any truth here, but it does violate Hofmann's essential guideline regarding work with the compound.
CG: Back in the sixties many people became frightened of LSD and other psychedelics, including many psychiatrists. Why was that?
AH: They did not use it the right way, and they did not have the right conditions. So, they were not adequately prepared for it. It is such a delicate and deep experience, if used the right way. But remember, the more powerful the instrument, the more the chance of damage occurring if it is not used properly. And back at that time, there were unfortunately many occasions where psychedelics were not treated with proper respect, and used in the wrong way, and consequently caused injury. That is the great tragedy, that these valuable medicines were not always respected and not always understood. So, the psychedelics came to be feared, and were taken out of the hands of responsible investigators and psychiatrists. It was a great loss for medicine and psychiatry, and for mankind. Hopefully, it is not too late to learn from these mistakes, and to demonstrate the proper and respectful way psychedelics should be used.
CG: What can we learn from the so-called primitive cultures who used psychedelic substances as part of their religious practices?
AH: I think the most important thing is that they use it in a religious framework and we don't. We must learn from them, we must identify the right structures, we must find new uses. I could imagine that it may be possible to create meditation centers for psychedelic use in natural surroundings, where teachers could have experiences and train to become adepts. I perceive this as being possible, but first psychedelics will have to become available to medicine and psychiatry. And then it should be made available for such spiritual centers. Basically, all that we need to know we can learn from how the primitive people use psychedelics as sacraments, in a religious framework. We need such centers, but we also need the psychiatrists. These psychiatrists must become the Shamans of our times. Then I think we will be ready to move towards this kind of psychopharmacopeia. -A. Hofmann
CG: How do we reconcile this visionary experience with religion and with scientific truth?
AH: It is important to have the experience directly. Aldous Huxley taught us not to simply believe the words, but to have the experience ourselves. This is why the different forms of religion are no longer adequate. They are simply words, words, words, without the direct experience of what it is the words represent. We are now at a phase of human development where we have accumulated an enormous amount of knowledge through scientific research in the material world. This is very important knowledge, but it must be integrated. What science has brought to light is true, absolutely true. But this is only one part, only one side of our existence, that of the material world. We have a body, and matter gets older and changes, so therefore as far as our having a body, we must die. But the spiritual world, of course, is eternal, but only insofar as it exists in the moment. It is important that we realize this enormous difference between these two sides of our lives. The material world is the world of our body, but the material world is also where man has made all of these scientific and technological discoveries. We must see, then, that science and technology are based on natural laws. But we must also accept that the material world is only the manifestation of the spiritual world. And if we attempt to manifest something, we will have to make use of the material world. For you and I to speak with one another, we must have tongues, we must have air and so forth. All of this is of the material world. If we were to read about spiritual things, it is only words. We must have the experience directly. And the experience occurs only by opening the mind, and opening all of our senses. Those doors of perception must be cleansed. And if the experience does not come spontaneously, on its own, then we may make use of what Huxley calls a gratuitous grace. This may take the form of psychedelic drugs, or perhaps without drugs through a discipline like yoga. But what is of greatest importance is that we have personal experience. Not words, not beliefs, but experience.
All excerpts were taken from this interview: https://erowid.org/culture/characters/h ... iew2.shtml
I have many comments regarding are excerpts, but must return to lost them when I have more time.