As LSD turns 70 this year, fear and scorn fog our view of the drug. Fear is to do with the memories of its use in secret CIA mind control experiments on unwitting people in the 1950s. And those who scorn the self-indulgence of modern youth believe laxness tracks back to LSD’s recreational use a decade later, when acid advocate Timothy Leary called on American youth to “turn on, tune in, drop out”.
LSD provided the capstone for a grand European project to explore the psyche that was begun by the poet Goethe, developed by anatomist Jan Purkinje and physicist Ernst Mach, and carried to visionary territory by the psychoanalytic troika of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Sabina Spielrein – only to be nearly wiped out by the rise of National Socialism in Germany.
LSD has become interwoven with modern culture. From Steve Jobs to philosopher Arne Naess, from the computer mouse to “deep ecology”, there’s little in the late-20th century zeitgeist that is acid-free. (New Scientist).