The subject I found most interesting from this week’s lecture was about the history and use of cocaine and LSD. In the 1880s, pharmaceutical houses marketed cocaine as a wonder drug – a drug that could cure nearly everything from morphine addiction and depression to tuberculosis and fatigue. It was easily accessible in tonics, powders, wines and soft drinks, which not surprisingly resulted in many cocaine addicts throughout the years. I was shocked to learn that Sigmund Freud was a cocaine addict. Even more shocking was learning how the famed neurologist and father of psychoanalysis almost killed one of his patients with an overdose of cocaine. Freud had a dream several nights later about how his patient had blamed him for negligence; however, he dismissed the malpractice and believed the dream meant that he was just a doctor overly concerned about his patient.
Also nearly as shocking was learning about Albert Hofmann’s experiments with LSD. He was the first person to synthesize, ingest, and learn of the effects of LSD. According to Professor Vesna, a typical person only needs about 25 micrograms of LSD for a full effect, and Albert Hofmann took 250 micrograms for his first test – now known as Bicycle Day. During his trip, he was convinced that his body was possessed by a demon, that his furniture was threatening him, that his neighbor was a witch, and that he had become completely insane. However, he also saw many kaleidoscopic images exploding in intense color when his eyes were closed, especially when there were certain sounds (door closing) in his environment. The vibrant kaleidoscopic images could be a catalyst and incentive for artists to experiment with acid for inspiration with new artworks.
|How I would Imagine Hofmann Was Seeing When He Took LSD|
|1943 Bicycle Day|
Visualization of Psychedelic Drugs
One more topic this week that stood out to me was Mark Cohen’s lecture. I could not believe that he had participants that would actually agree to wear the inverted helmet for a month at a time, even while sleeping! It was really interesting how he related it to wearing glasses. Although it seems quite impossible to get used living in an inverted visual world, I remember everything changed when I put on my first glasses.
|Mark Cohen's Inverted Helmet|