Thursday, October 21, 2004

thanatos to eros

LSD researcher, Myron J. Stolaroff's classic book, Thanatos To Eros, 35 Years of Psychedelic Exploration is online now at the MAPS site.

From the Foreword by Alexander Shulgin and Ann Shulgin:
The search for a relationship with the universal reality about us is one of the most important goals in human life. It has to be conducted by two entirely distinct processes which, while concurrent, are totally different. The passage through your lifetime of eighty to a hundred years (give or take a few decades) involves learning relationships -- giving and taking -- with those who share your journey on this planet. And, at the same time, you play a role at this moment of human history. Living your own personal life in the immediate present, you are also, to an often unknowable extent, a contributor to the structure of the world about you. Myron Stolaroff has given us an autobiography, a tale of psychological and spiritual evolution that subtly brings together these two threads, these two roles; he is both the struggling seeker for wholeness in himself, and a discoverer of new paths to wholeness for others.

The story of Thanatos to Eros takes us through two marriages, over the course of the author's growth from a successful engineer to an independent business man, and eventually, we see his first steps and subsequent strides as a researcher and explorer of human consciousness. We move with him through the often intense and difficult changes that take place as he learns to use his chosen tools, the psychedelic drugs, beginning with LSD in 1956, and progressing to other powerful visionary plants and drugs over the subsequent years. He is trying to, in the words of Carl Jung, "make the unconscious conscious," as the way to attain realization of his ultimate self. We discover, along with him, that this is a hard goal to attain, and that it must be sought with complete inner integrity and fearless self-examination.

Spun into the narrative are reports of some extraordinary experiences, brought about by the use of appropriate psychedelic drugs. As Stolaroff learns himself, he gains in understanding of others who are suffering pain and self-rejection, and begins to guide friends who come to him in trouble, through carefully controlled and monitored psychedelic sessions. Needless to say, since the imposition of draconian laws in recent years, this kind of deep spiritual work, done with the aid of psychedelic materials, is no longer possible, and will remain forbidden until the public is better informed and directs its lawmakers to change such restrictions on these kinds of drugs.

Vineland, p. 313-314:
Well I still wish it was back then, when you were the Count. Remember how the acid was? Remember that windowpane, down in Laguna that time? God, I knew then, I knew. . . ."

They had a look. "Uh-huh, me too. That you were never going to die. Ha! No wonder the State panicked. How are they supposed to control a population that knows it'll never die? When that was always their last big chip, when they thought they had the power of life and death. But acid gave us the X-ray vision to see through that one, so of course they had to take it away from us."

"Yeah, but they can't take what happened, what we found out."

"Easy. They just let us forget. Give us too much to process, fill up every minute, keep us distracted, it's what the Tube is for, and though it kills me to say it, it's what rock and roll is becoming -- just another way to claim our attention, so that beautiful certainty we had starts to fade, and after a while they have us convinced all over again that we really are going to die. And they've got us again." It was the way people used to talk.