In 100,000 years, is that going to be an important issue? No. Okay. [click consonant] Lessened ability to describe your experience, tendency to become absorbed in the visual complexity and visions, and if you say to someone, “Would you be interested in solving this real-world problem,” there’s a tendency to regard this-world tasks as trivial. And therefore, why would you waste good psychedelic substance time on the trivia that dominates the rest of your life?
Well, on the other hand, there’s increased access to unconscious data, there’s a more fluent free association, there’s increased the ability to play spontaneously with hypotheses, paradoxes, transformations, etc.
There’s a heightened ability, obviously, for visual imagery and fantasy, heightened relaxation and openness, that’s the opposite of anxiety. Either you’re uptight or you’re in bliss, that’s the continuum. Obviously, sensory inputs way heightened, heightened empathy with external processes, objects, and people.
You know, when you fall in love with a rock, and you kind of get that it likes you. So there’s heightened awareness of experience, and in the problem-solving realm, there’s also…it turns out, an enhanced sense of rightness, the ability to see through false solutions and phony data, as well as lessened inhibitions and reduced tendency to censor ideas by premature judgment or negative judgments.
And even in the MDMA world, that’s just fundamental, relaxation, where things can be fully experienced and reviewed and looked at, and in a sense, take that over into that hard science area and you can see where there’s the advantage of that kind of lowering of, again, emotional barriers. There’s also heightened motivation promoted by suggestion and right set.
Some of you have heard me say that one of the reasons that my work has all been with synthetics is that synthetics are more easily…set and setting can be more important. You really can’t tell ayahuasca what you want it to do, because it says, “I’m so much smarter than you.” “And I’ve been around so much longer. Just throw up and listen.” But when you’re using LSD or mescaline or psilocybin from the lab you have some advantages.
And so the only variable, the only variable we could meddle with was the heightened motivation promoting suggestion in the right set. So that’s what we did. Now, how did you get into one of our studies? Actually, how did you get into the only study we were able to do, because the government said, “Well, you’re doing interesting work; stop.”
The problem had to matter. Okay, a lot of people have asked me, “Gee, I have some problems I’d like to solve,” and the answer is “how important is it?” And you really had to be pretty obsessed to get into our study, and you had to have the necessary technical knowledge for such a problem. One of the ways of testing that is, “are you being paid to solve this kind of problem?” and that suggested to us a reasonable level of competence.
You’ve worked several months on the problem and failed. That was one of our, really. because when you fail on a problem, and you’re smart and you’ve spent 10 years in graduate school, that’s hard. And you’re getting paid for it. Now, you get extra credit if you’re angry at yourself, your company, or the client. Because what we were really looking at is people who …really wanted to solve that problem. That was their issue. Okay? It’s a little bit like people who go down to Peru and they have a serious disease. Their motivation is really clear. They are not there to have a good time, they are not there to have a pleasant experience.
They are there to save their lives. That’s the kind of motivation, you know, we weren’t quite at that level, but we were pushing. Now, what kind of problems did …our scientists come in with?
Let me just give you a quick list…a sample. Photoconductivity decay processes. Hold your excitement. A new design of a vibratory microtome. Space probe experiments to measure solar properties. Improvement to a magnetic tape recorder. Dining room chair design. It turns out in the furniture design world, dining room chairs are the hardest, because they are seen from all sides, and they have to be incredibly durable. So it turns out that’s a good difficult problem.
Mathematical theorems regarding NOR gate circuits. This is something that’s used in chip design.
A conceptual model of the photon. And then we had a couple of wonderful architects: design of a commercial building, design of a private home. And again, they had to have been working on it; in the architecture ones the client had been refusing things.
The private home, what he said is we’d spent hundreds of hours, our office was losing money hand over fist with this client. It met our criteria. We had 44 problems attempted, and no solution for 4 of them. Then I want to read you a little bit from the description of what people were doing.
Now, basically, all this is taken from my book, and there’s lots more in the book.
That’s not, well, it is promotional, but what I’m saying is that if you are seriously interested, there’s a lot more of what I’m talking about. Particularly with these much, much longer descriptions of what people were literally doing, as they reported to us later. And this is from one of the architects:
“My experience during the session was an unbelievable increase in the ability to concentrate and make decisions. It was impossible to procrastinate. Cobwebs, blocks, and binds disappeared. Anything was possible, but I was working on real and rather tight problems. The designs were freer, but probably more from the standpoint of removing blocks, in the consideration of what the client might accept. Three designs were outlined in three hours.”
All were accepted by the clients. That little wow is all of you that deal with such things.
The two houses referred to are now complete, and, I feel, very successful. They’re free than my more usual work, but not untypical. The clients would be horrified if they knew the history of the conceptual designs.”
So that’s what we were doing, and there’s lots more of that. What we were demonstrating is that if you’re interested as a culture in doing good work, would you not use things that make it easier to do good work? And quoting Julie Holland, a wonderful phrase that I recommend to all of us, “It is unethical not to be doing psychedelic research.” It is unethical, and that’s where we are. So now you have your kind of elevator sentence about all this, and the question is, if we look at what are the great breakthroughs in science that have changed the world, and were any of those related to psychedelics, the answer is yes.