In the 1950s every CIA agent was required to trip… it didn’t turn the agency into hippies… they had PR people who did that: Huxley, Wasson, Leary, and McKenna.
The military called entheogens « psychotomimetics » which means psychosis mimicking. They label your experience, tell you what it means -and you remain in their box.
“Leary: All right. [Room laughs] Our undercover agents in Los Angeles were very cool about, uh, and yet they did more in a very laid-back way, uh, and it’s every bit as public as some of the other, you know, the buses running around the country [Ken Kesey and the Merry pranksters – here identified as undercover agents]….
Janiger: Yeah, and then Zinnberg says that the visionary experience, and all of the things he was doing at Harvard, and the others, his residence, and the rest he was giving LSD to, they never had a visionary, or ecstatic, or mystic experience. That the whole thing was a California invention, he said.
Leary: Wonderful! They’re right!
Janiger: The only time it happened, was when you cross the Colorado River.
[Comment: Cohen brings up the book the Manchurian Candidate and the CIA to deflect investigation into this area. In fact virtually everyone in the room had some relationship to the CIA or military intelligence.]
Cohen: I’m reading John Marks book on, the Manchurian… The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, in which he says the CIA turned us all on, you know. But,..”
After the CIA did their MKULTRA LSD tests on the entire village of Pont Saint Esprit, they realized that their applications methods weren’t effective (created by Dr. Frank Olson – murdered by the CIA for threatening to go public – eventually exposing MKULTRA and leading to the Church Commission), so they had to come up with a way to get everyone to self-administer the drugs. Aldous Huxley, the MKULTRA architect and CIA / MI6 man, came up with a name that was unmarketable, called « phanerothyme ». It fell on deaf ears.
From there they remarketed them. They changed the name from psychotomimetic to psychedelic (properly psychOdelic “to manifest the mind”), a name made up by Huxley’s close buddy, Dr. Humphry Osmond, another with many MKULTRA and CIA / MI6 ties.
Osmond was also at the same meeting (above – A Conversation On LSD, 1979), where Leary admits he and the others were agents.
“Pg. 174 – MOKSHA
Then, in November, he and Humphry Osmond journeyed to Cambridge where they met Dr. Timothy Leary and his colleagues who were then conducting large-scale experiments at Harvard (the Psychedelic Research Project). There Huxley took psilocybin for the first time, in a group consisting of five other persons.”
6 February, 1961
Thank you for your letter of Jan. 23rd, which came during my absence-first in Hawaii, then at San Francisco (where we had a good conference on Control of the Mind.
Alas, I can’t write anything for Harpers-am too desperately busy trying to finish a book.
At S. F. [San Francisco] I met Dr. [Oscar] Janiger, whom I had not seen for several years. He tells me that he has given LSD to 100 painters who have done pictures before, during & after the drug, & whose efforts are being appraised by a panel of art critics. This might be interesting. I gave him your address, & I think you will hear from him.
I also spoke briefly with Dr. Joly West (prof. of psychiatry at U. of Oklahoma Medical School – killed “Tusco” the elephant – MKULTRA), who told me that he had done a lot of work in sensory deprivation, using improved versions of John Lilly’s techniques. Interesting visionary results-but I didn’t have time to hear the details.”
David Blacks’s book Acid – pg. 49:
“The speaker was Arthur Koestler, and also present was the anthropologist Francis Huxley. Koestler was also bound for America, for a conference on ‘Control of the Mind’ organized by the Joshua Macy Foundation – now known to have been secretly sponsored by MK-ULTRA.”
There’s more to this story to be found in Huxley’s “Moksha”. There it’s clear (along with the video “A Conversation on LSD”) that he and Osmond went to Cambridge and interviewed Leary for the position. Otherwise, there’d be no way that Stoloroff would have known all the details. At first they weren’t sure if Leary was the right fit.
Aldous Huxley: stooped, towering, gray Buddha. A wise and good man. Head like a multi-lingual encyclopedia. Voice elegant and chuck ling except when the pitch rose in momentary amused indignation about over-population or the pomposity of psychiatrists.
We talked about how to study and use the consciousness-expanding drugs and we clicked along agreeably on the do’s and the not-to-do’s. We would avoid the behaviorist approach to others’ awareness. Avoid labeling or depersonalizing the subject. We should not impose our own jargon or our own experimental games on others. We were not out to discover new laws, which is to say, to discover the redundant implications of our own premises. We were not to be limited by the pathological point of view. We were not to interpret ecstasy as mania, or calm serenity as catatonia; we were not to diagnose Buddha as a detached schizoid; nor Christ as an exhibitionistic masochist; nor the mystic experience as a symptom; nor the visionary state as a model psychosis. Aldous Huxley chuckling away with compassionate humor at human folly.
And with such erudition! Moving back and forth in history, quoting the mystics. Wordsworth. Plotinus. The Areopagite. William James.
•Ranging from the esoteric past, back to the biochemical present: Humphry Osmond curing alcoholics in Saskatchewan with LSD; Keith Ditman’s plans to clean out Skid Row in Los Angeles with LSD; Roger Heim taking his bag of Mexican mushrooms to the Parisian chemists who couldn’t isolate the active ingredient, and then going to Albert Hofmann the great Swiss, who did it and called it psilocybin. They had sent the pills back to the curandera in Oaxaca state and she tried them and had divinatory visions and was happy that her practice could now be year-round and not restricted to the three rainy mushroom months.
Aldous Huxley was shrewdly aware of the political complications and the expected opposition from the Murugans, the name he gave to power people in his novel, Island.
« Dope … Murugan was telling me about the fungi that are used here as a source of dope. »
« What’s in a name? … Answer, practically everything. Murugun calls it dope and feels about it all the disapproval that, by conditioned reflex, the dirty word evokes.We on the contrary, give the stuff good names-the moksha medicine, the reality revealer, the truth-and beauty pill. And we hnow, by direct experience, that the good names are deserved. Whereas our young friend here has no firsthand knowledge of the stuff and can’t be persuaded even to give it a try. For him.it’s dope and dope is something that, by definition, no decent person ever in dulges in. »
During the weeks of October and November of 1960 there were many meetings to plan the research. Aldous Huxley would come and listen and then close his eyes and detach himself from the scene and go into his controiied meditation trance, which \vas unnerving to some of the Harvard people who equate consciousness with talk, and then he would open his eyes and make a diamond-pure comment. …
Harvard Session Report
Huxley and Osmond visited Dr. Timothy Leary at Harvard where the Psychedelic Research Project had gotten underway. The following report of a psilocybin session from unpublished laboratory notes exhibits the methodology of the Harvard researchers,and reveals Huxley as a semi-anonymous subject in a group experiment.
DATE: Sunday, Nov. 6, 1960.
At this session the remaining members of the research group were exposed to the psilocybin experience. The session began at noon on Sunday and lasted until 8 p.m. The scene was, as in the preceding, the large and comfortable home of the principal investigator.
#1, 4: from previous sessions.
#11: Mr. Aldous Huxley.
So here we see Huxley involved in the research and helping to guide it, and this is still 13 years before anyone in the public had ever heard of MKULTRA. Huxley was the first to sell this idea of SOMA spirituality through his book Brave New World.
So Leary is HIRED to stigmatize the word psychedelic… to popularize it – and the drugs… Kids don’t retaliate with legal drugs.
Osmond: Remember the first time we met, which was in Cambridge? On the night of the Kennedy election.
Osmond: 1960. We went out to this place. And Timothy then was wearing his gray flannel suite and his crew cut. And we had this very interesting discussion with him. And when we went.. . and I don’t think I told you this, Timothy. But the night we went we both said “what a nice fellow he is”. He says “he’s a very nice man”, and Aldous said “it’s very very nice to think that this is what’s going to be done at Harvard”. He said “it would be so good for it”. And then I said to him, “I think he’s a nice fellow too. But don’t you think he’s just a little bit square?” [laughter – no mention of “too square for what?”] Aldous said “you may be right”, he said “but after all isn’t that what we want?” [laughter]
Timothy, when I’m discussing the need for understanding human temperament this is the story I tell. Because I said, yeah Aldous and I were deeply interested in the nature of human temperament and we meet someone who I think that was probably the least satisfactory description of you ever made, Timothy. I think even your greatest enemies would never make that description. And we made it. We were very very concerned because we held that perhaps you were a bit too unadventurous. [for what?] You see what insights we had.
– A Conversation on LSD – 1979.
Then, reenter Gordon Wasson, whom we have the primary documents for from the CIA that he headed MKULTRA Subproject 58 – which became Seeking the Magic Mushroom in Life Magazine May 13, 1957.
In the 1970s R. Gordon Wasson and Prof. Carl A. P. Ruck of Boston University (with the help of Jonathan Ott and Jeremy Bigwood) rename them to “ENTHEOGENS” – “to generate god within”
(Find a better quote from Ruck)
… again, they label your experience and tell you the experience you’re going to have:
“Janiger: Yeah, and then Zinnberg says that the visionary experience, and all of the things he was doing at Harvard, and the others, his residence, and the rest he was giving LSD to, they never had a visionary, or ecstatic, or mystic experience. That the whole thing was a California invention, he said.
Leary: Wonderful! They’re right!”
Janiger: The only time it happened, was when you cross the Colorado River. »
So after Pont Saint Esprit, they decided to do a much larger test on a city instead – with a population of many millions.
They had already done the Port Chicago atomic bomb tests and other underground tests there… so in 1965 they launched the world’s largest mind control test on the city of San Francisco, California.
740 North Kings Road,
Los Angeles 46, Cal.
30 March, 1956
Thank you for your letter, which I shall answer only briefly, since I look forward to talking to you at length in New York before very long. About a name for these drugs-what a problem! I have looked into Liddell and Scott and find that there is a verb phaneroein, « to make visible or manifest, » and an adjective phaneros, meaning « manifest, open to sight, evident. » The word is used in botany-phanerogam as opposed to cryptogam. Psychodetic 4 is something I don’t quite get the hang of it. Is it an analogue of geodetic, geodesy? If so, it would mean mind-dividing, as geodesy means earth-dividing, from ge and daiein. Could you call these drugs psychophans? or phaneropsychic drugs? Or what about phanerothymes? Thymos means soul, in its primary usage, and is the equivalent of Latin animus. The word is euphonious and easy to pronounce; besides it has relatives in the jargon of psychology-e.g. cyclothyme. On the whole I think this is better than psychophan or phaneropsychic.
I expect to be flying east on the tenth, or eleventh, and will let you know before then where we shall be staying-possibly not in a hotel at all, but in a borrowed apartment.
4 Osmond had mentioned psychedelics, as a new name for mind-changing drugs to replace the term psychotomimetics. Huxley apparently misread the word as « psychodetics, » hence his mystification. Osmond replied: « To fathom Hell or soar angelic, Just take a pinch of psychedelic
Huxley still did not get the spelling, which he made psychodelic. [Smith’s note] Huxley invariably uses psychodelic for psychedelic, as he and others thought the latter term incorrect. Huxley’s spe1ling has been retained, as this was undoubtedly his preference. However, it fails one criterion of Osmond, which is that the term be « uncontaminated by other associations. »
In a letter to Dr. A. Shulgin in 1969, Osmond provided a variant reading of the co1laborative verse:
« To make this mundane world sublime,
Take half a gram of phanerothyme.
To sink in Hell or soar angelic,
You’1l need a pinch of psychedelic. •
To make this trivia] world sublime,
Take a half a gramme of phanerothyme. »