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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

1968 in America: Music, Politics, Chaos, Counterculture, and the Shaping of a Generation.

Kaiser, Charles. (1988).
New York: Weidenfeld & Nicholson.

ISBN: I-55584-242-9

Description: Hardcover, xxvi + 306 pages.

Contents: Preface, introduction, 12 chapters, epilogue, acknowledgments, chapter notes, index.

Excerpt(s): Taken by large numbers of people, LSD seemed to have the potential to alter mass attitudes more rapidly than any other sixties ingredient. But the reason it never really pushed those who used it an any particular direction had already been discovered by the Army and the CIA. ... Unpredictability was always at the heart of the experience.

One CIA memo called the drug a "potential new agent for unconventional warfare." That was certainly what many people hoped it would be for the swarms of hippies who descended on the Haight in the summer of 1967. Vastly more powerful than marijuana or hash, LSD was the drug that took you, instead of the other way around. In 1966 Leary had founded the League for Spiritual Discovery, explaining, "Like every great religion of the past, we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and worship of God." Others insisted the letters should really stand for "Legalize Spiritual Discovery," which at least implied an antimaterialistic agenda. Under the proper conditions, it did have the capacity to make you feel at one with the universe, or open you up to any number of new experiences ... .

But to the disappointment of the left, there never was any direct correlation between drug use (or promiscuity) and politics. This was one aspect of the deeper dichotomy between recreations of the sixties and their political content. Worshipping under the banner of sex, drug, and rock and roll, millions of young Americans smoked marijuana, tripped on acid, sped through the decade on superfluous amphetamines, dressed wildly, danced violently, and seduced one another assiduously. Then in roughly the same proportion as their parents, they continued to vote Republican. (pages 205-206)

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