Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
The Speed Culture: Amphetamine Use and Abuse in America.
Grinspoon, Lester, and Hedblom, Peter. (1975).
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Note: What great names
for authors of a book on drugs!
and Religiosity/ Like LSD, amphetamines can produce a great
expansion of the realm of "meaningful" or "significant."
Ellinwood has observed a dose-related
"sense of portentousness and significance," even in
extreme amphetamine abusers who have not developed full-blown
paranoid episodes. ... There was a strong emphasis on religion,
particularly small or arcane cults, and astrology;
many abusers have adapted traditional studies of the zodiac to
fit private, complex, and incessantly discussed "systems."
But an amphetamine-induced increase in suggestibility
rarely leads to hypnotic or slavish adherence to the precepts
of a "leader" or "code," because
the impatience and self-confidence engendered by the drug prevent
the formation of any long-term, hierarchical, subgroup stratifications.
As Fiddle points out, conventional or systematically
rigorous religion holds very little appeal for amphetamine abusers,
because these stimulants so easily "give one aspect of the
religious experience to the abuser, namely, intensity of feeling
toward the sacred." This amphetamine-induced religiosity
is characterized by a focus much more compelling, though
more transient, than any "centering device" offered
by most institutionalized sects or religions organizations. Furthermore,
these philosophical, religious, and magical involvements or manias
often degenerate-sometimes with amazing rapidity-into paranoid
delusions, and eventually full-blown amphetamine psychoses ,
so stable group relationships are impossible to maintain. A reporter
for The Village Voice noted
that most drug cognoscenti recognize the vast difference between
the religious value of amphetamine and that of LSD, mescaline,
and other hallucinogens: "the Underground takes amphetamines
seriously. Amphetamine heads are a distinct group, semi-quarantined
and often regarded with apprehension by fellow hippies. Amphetamine
is not a psychedelic drug like marijuana and LSD. The drugs seem
to occupy opposite poles in the underground, in almost a Blakeian
perspective of heaven and hell ... An amphetamine
comedown is not compatible with the love-joy-ecstasy trip. (page
Indeed, one of the major problems in evaluating
the psychedelic experience is that for many- Huxley,
and Ginsberg, for example-the
experience was significant mainly because of what they themselves
brought to it. Their exceptional literary styles have, in a sense,
compounded the difficulty of assessing actual drug effects. On
the other hand, perhaps no clinical report will ever say more
than books like Huxley's Doors of Perception or Watts's
Cosmology, when it comes to conveying a full sense of what
it is like to take drugs such as LSD and amphetamines. (page 110)
This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP