May 1967

The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience.

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles


By R. E. L. Masters and Jean Houston. Price, $7.95. Pp 326, with no illustrations. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc., 383 Madison Ave, New York 10017, 1966.

Arch Intern Med. 1967;119(5):538-539. doi:10.1001/archinte.1967.00290230176015

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The LSD phenomenon can best be understood as a social movement. One finds the same loyalties and commitments as one finds in social action groups such as Civil Rights organizations, anti-Viet Nam groups, etc. The LSD phenomenon is seen as an adventure in changing oneself, snapping the chains of mediocrity, and achieving greater freedom. This text follows the theme espoused by Leary, Alpert, and Metzner; one's incredibly rich inner life is revealed to the drug user, and his uniqueness is enhanced. The term "psychedelic" means to expand the manifestations of the mind.

This incredible adventure may lead one to the psychiatric hospital. This cosmic awareness, which the authors describe in quasireligious existential terms, is in reality a paranoid hallucinatory phenomenon. The eternal bliss can change in a moment to catatonic panic which may be irreversible. Suicide is not an infrequent complication.

The authors tend to ignore or to overlook the

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