November 7

Forums Homework 8: November 7 November 7

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    • #1432 Reply
      Sheila Gallagher

      Read Michael Pollan, ‘How to Change Your Mind’ Ch 3, part 2, ‘The Crack up’ and ‘Coda’. Please post a question or comment online and bring it to class, which will be an open discussion.

    • #1439 Reply
      Benjamin Twohig

      There is a trend that exists in 1968 of a massive liberalization of a number of items (including psychedelics) that leads to a longstanding backlash and in many cases criminalization. What does this say about our world today? In addition, how is that overcome in the large scale in terms of normalization of psychedelics, as it appears large portions of the populace appear against this kind of drug use?

      For my project, I intend to write about the Black Power Movement following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Specifically, I plan on doing this through the lens of the changing music of the period, with a particular emphasis on the work of artists like Marvin Gaye and Nina Simone, both of whom shifted the subject matter and style of their music drastically during this period.

    • #1440 Reply
      James Cacciola

      How did young people view psychedelics? Did they see it as a form of therapy as many of these researchers did or did they see it as something else? Were they persuaded by the backlash against psychedelic drugs?

      I want to write my final paper on how Vietnam changed young people’s view of their government and how the war affected America’s image globally.

    • #1441 Reply
      Andrew Mettias

      Do you think that the highly illegal status and draconian laws (40 years – life imprisonment for its synthesis) that are associated with LSD are based off of a genuine concern for public safety or is the oppression of this drug systematically done in order to maintain hegemony in this country? After all, Pollan quotes
      “LSD truly was an acid, dissolving everything with which it came into contact, beginning with the
      hierarchies of the mind…and going on from there into society’s various structures of

      I plan to write my final paper on the counterculture movement and how psychedelics altered the minds and culture of that generation (proving to be a powerful revolutionary tool) in regards to music, art, writings, and social relations.

    • #1442 Reply
      Victoria Trinh

      Is there a similarity, if not the exact same, between the anti-weed propaganda and the disapproval of psychedelic drugs? Thinking back, the anti-weed propaganda started with the notion that violence was a consequence of its usage. Notably, Pollan noted that there was a full-on moral panic about LSD. For example, some headlines were “LSD-Use Charged with Killing Teacher”; “Sampled LSD, Youth Plunges
      from Viaduct”; “LSD Use Near Epidemic in California”; “Six Students Blinded on LSD Trip in Sun”, etc…

      Final project–I plan to create an image that protests racial inequality, specifically fighting the injustices and oppression toward black people. Likewise to the ICA, while there was art that was outright protesting the conditions, there were some that protested the conditions through demonstrating black beauty. I am still narrowing my idea but I hope to depict strength and power despite the mistreatment.

    • #1443 Reply
      Rose Kuo

      Psychedelics have resonated down to our contemporary society in various aspects, one of which I am more familiar with is its application in contemporary art and avant-garde films. I am wondering, in terms of the social-political background and the stimuli, what has changed that motivates people, or what is distinctive to our societal culture today?

      For the final project – I will be doing an art historical research (?) on the land art that started in the late 60s and then perhaps lead to the discussion of the more recent environmental and ecoArt movements/artworks. I will look at works from both genres (or one genre that has evolved if one will) and make the connection to the problems of environmental disasters in our world today. I will ask questions such as – in what ways have the artists chosen to represent their perspectives on the environment and what are their effects? How has the role of an activist been played out and where do these artworks lead us to? What’s their purpose and meanings to the viewers?

    • #1444 Reply
      Hyun Ji Yim

      Was it correct to blame psychedelics for making young people disagree with authority and the Vietnam War or did it fit the mood many young people felt at the time?

      Many of Professor Leary’s students took LSD in order to join his popular club but also to apparently gain his respect. Were psychedelics an actual popular fad that young people felt socially pressured by their generation to take? Would Professor Leary be an example? On the other hand, when another student tried to oust the professor out for providing drugs for others but not him, he forced a student to reveal that he took the drugs, although helped his educational experience. Does this show that this was not necessarily a social pressure but rather a thing to try during time? No student had come out against the professor before?

      In addition, LSD appeared in research to show no negative (nor positive) consequences, yet the media and the people were quick to use the drugs to blame. What might have been the root cause for this?

      For the project, I will write about the black feminist movement exemplified by the ICA exhibit– “We Wanted A Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965 to 1985”. These artists came together because they believed their voices remained unheard in the Black Liberation Movement by black men and in the first wave of the feminist movement by white, middle class women. To freely discuss their intersectional issues- class, gender, and race- these women and their supporters formed a new movement.

    • #1445 Reply
      Ziyang Xiang

      After reading the two pieces, I keep thinking about a question: in such an era, if we are those graduate students and we do not know this experiment would be a revolution in the whole society or an extremely crazy party, what would we do? How do we, as naive students, distinguish such things and know what’s right in the situation?

      For the final project, I want to create a series of posters on contemporary issues by combining “Supreme” elements. I would use particular languages that “hypebeast” use when they are talking about Supreme and other street fashion brands in my work. Barbara Kruger is my inspiration and I will try to “manipulate” her work in a good way.

    • #1449 Reply
      Stavros Piperis

      With the current lack of adequate studies done on LSD usage, is it wise to encourage the public at large to take such a drug? Isn’t a substance that dramatically alters perception and brain activity something to approach with extreme caution rather than enthusiasm?

    • #1450 Reply
      Stephanie Liu

      Were psychedelics the trigger that began the movement, or were their popularity just a reflection of the need to escape and transcend. Did using the drug truly help people transcend or was it just an escape from reality?

      For my final project I plan on writing about Simone de Beauvoir’s feminism and how the culture in 1968 helpeddd and hindered the movement.

    • #1451 Reply
      Jacob Hermann

      What is interesting is how the government was alarmed about the effect LSD had on the counterculture. Since kids were dropping out and were becoming so unified under the influence of this drug, it seems as though the government felt threatened about a change or added diversity to American culture. Is this response the government trying to maintain a conservative and expected kind of culture? In addition, it feels that culture has become far more diversified and unique today in America. How much influence did the counterculture that was rising in the 60’s have on culture today in America?

      My essay will compare the culture and philosophical identity of 1968 and 2018 through the lens of mainstream music. In 68, there was a belief that one could make a positive impact on the world through art, music, literature, and of course social movements, using one’s imagination. There was a sense of passion and responsibility to humanity as a whole. These feelings and ideas were manifested in the music at the time. However, today in 2018, there is a contentment with comfortability and no interest or care for important issues. This is evident in the music today, as the music that is promoted to the mainstream is thoughtless, recycled, and cliche songs that don’t push boundaries musically or philosophically/politically. Is this progression a result of the success of 1968? Or do we need to continue to innovate and make changes in society as a whole and in art?
      Ex. Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix vs. the Chainsmokers and Post Malone

    • #1452 Reply
      Natalie Spindler

      How did psychedelics influence people’s reactions to the Vietnam War, and how much did the use of psychedelics affect those fighting in the war?

      For my final project I want to explore the how the Vietnam War and the political climate influenced music during the time. I also want to explore the relationship of music during the time to those fighting in the Vietnam War and those protesting the war.

    • #1453 Reply
      Michaela Gacnik

      It’s very interesting that LSD and the splitting of the first uranium atom happened within days of each other. I wonder why the uranium took lead as LSD was left behind and had push back. Was it for safety reasons or were people in power afraid of the innovation and creativity the science behind LSD could lead to?

      For my project, I’m actually very inspired by psychedelic art, especially that from the Beatles’ yellow submarine album. I would love to do a small series of oil paintings in this genre.

    • #1454 Reply
      Josh Elbaz

      I was really fascinated and disturbed by the calculation put into the LSD mental revolution. I always think of revolutions as kind of spontaneous and organized around current events, but the thought of calculating how many drugs you would need to produce and distribute to inspire a revolution just seems entirely strange. A revolution where imagination and creativity take the place of texts and lectures that have passed down generations of ideas and philosophies that usually inspire something new. It seems like a kind of rejection of history and past creativity for something entirely new that hasn’t yet been tapped into, ideas that history has yet to uncover that require out-of-body experiences.

    • #1455 Reply
      John Bruggeman

      What role does the government have in ensuring economic productivity among the American people?
      Was the government’s response to the psychedelic movement justified? Were they right to clear the streets of people experimenting with drugs?

      I plan to write my final essay on the questions: what is the lasting legacy of psychedelics in context of the counterculture movement? How did drugs and drug culture affect the musical legacy, the artistic legacy, and the political legacy of the movement?

    • #1456 Reply
      Chris Zhang

      I was quite fascinated with the discussion of emergence and sustenance of ‘novel’ ideas through new forms of consciousness not always directly resultant from hippies and psychedelics but almost symbolically through their expanded views (e.g. “drugs, open sexuality, feminism, ecology, etc.”) as I feel it relates quite heavily to discussions that we have on the power to the imagination. That is, once we choose to expand our horizons to the possibility of being as opposed to the matter of the fact of the being, we might then be able to negate the present and open the door to the future. I suppose this would be something that I would want to do my project on – something relating to this concept of the imagination and the power it has.

    • #1457 Reply
      Patrick Fitzgerald

      I think an interesting question was posed regarding who can regulate your cortex and whether you ought to have the freedom to experiment with your own mind. There’s a tension between a government having the responsibility to protect the safety of the general public, but based on some of the experiences of students and general citizens alike, it seems like poorly formulated and laced drugs are a major cause of the hysteria around these substances. I wonder if legalization of psychedelics for medical research would be a way to introduce the drug to the general public. The potential medical benefits of psychedelics for treating depression and addiction could represent a proof of concept similar to what the marijuana industry went through and the resulting formulations could be highly regulated to ensure safety.

    • #1458 Reply
      Nolan Constantine

      What effect did the media-generated concept of a “hippie” play in regards to psychedelics? Should psychedelics be associated with any other lifestyle than that of a “hippie”?

      For my paper, I am hoping to analyze the change in soldiers’ (or reporters’) experiences and attitudes as they spent more and more time fighting in Vietnam–they seemingly develop somewhat of an apocalyptic view of the war and their own lives–and explore how that relates to the apocalyptic postmodern philosophy of Barthes.

    • #1459 Reply
      Amy Gately

      After the disappearance of psychedelics from mainstream scientific research is there potential for it ever return after being forced underground by such strong societal opinions and feelings towards them?

      For my final project I want to create an psychedelic installation piece that will draw on surrealism as well as pop art. I am hoping to rely on recycled materials and am drawing inspiration from Sister Corita’s themes of repetition as well as Yayoi Kusama use of color and patterns.

    • #1460 Reply
      Evan Kielmeyer

      Was Timothy Leary correct in his approach to drug research? Is the best way to approach the topic to just to, as Cohen said, “get out, way out, too far out in fact” in an attempt to remove the stigma surrounding psychedelics all at once? Or is it something that requires small steps over a large period of time, similar to the legalization of marijuana?

      For my final paper, I intend to write about the long-lasting relevancy of Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Massage” and contribute my own alterations that better reflect the current culture 50 years later.

    • #1461 Reply
      Daniel Young

      Psychedelic substances helped introduce abstract concepts like transcendental experiences and altered states to Western mainstream culture. How and why did this so-called “experimental expansion of consciousness” slowly become less accepted as the psychedelic movement faltered and was pushed underground by government regulations? How did the means of LSD production change from the early 1960s to the 1970s?

      For my project, I’d like to look take a retrospective look at the Beatles’ White Album (which turns 50 this month) and how it was shaped by many of the social, political, and philosophical dynamics we have discussed so far in class.

    • #1462 Reply
      Emily Mrenna

      We live in a country with crushing mental health problem, and our current attempts at solutions don’t always work. Deep-seated mental problems are often dealt using prescription drugs (anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, anti-psychotics) that treat biological brain functions but which often fail to solve deeper existential questions that preventing people from finding meaning in their lives. Are the benefits offered by psychedelic drugs the sort of biochemical brain changes offered by most prescription drugs, or do you think they have the potential to solve certain mental health problems that prescription drugs can’t? And did our historical failure to understand these benefits have something to do with misunderstandings about what we call mental wellness and unwellness?

    • #1463 Reply

      I suspect much of the backlash of toward LSD and other psychedelics was in part fueled by the lack of information about LSD and other drugs. Today, as weed is more widely accepted and even legalized in some places, research on weed (and LSD among other drugs) has increased. Just a quick google search reveals a lot of information, although much of it seems biased and/or unreliable. However, the legalization of weed and laws pertaining to wider, legal weed use seem to be very sluggish. How can we distinguish recreation drugs and drug use from more destructive drugs and drug use when educating the public/our children?

      I plan to expand upon the idea of simulacrum in my final essay

    • #1464 Reply
      Terence O’Brien

      Is there any way to bridge the daunting gap between psychedelic experimentation and conventional knowledge? Plato advises us to “live in the metaxy” meaning to enjoy life in between two extremities. Can we have an appreciation of both our findings in academic settings, and of our own personal meta-physical discoveries, or does it have to be a decision in favor of one way? Do the two methods of thought clash so hard against one another that they cannot coexist? How do we work on erasing the pervasive societal reprehension for psychedelic experimentation?

    • #1465 Reply
      Joan E Kennedy

      How did government attitudes affect the cultural attitude surrounding psychedelics? In what ways did intervention limit the capacity of psychedelics–and will we ever see the reemergence of the topic in the mainstream, or in research? Who were the others, who, unlike Leary, held true to exploring LSD’s capacity for providing therapeutic benefit to individuals, and what did they accomplish? I think it’s interesting that LSD was taken up by independent researchers to be an avenue of exploring the mind and that the CIA took it the completely different direction and thought of using it as a means of mind control. This is especially interesting when read with the quote from the Harvard Crimson asking “Who controls your cortex?” Were there some members of the counterculture movement who would’ve been against LSD, fearing its power being harnessed by the wrong person and being used for control instead of freedom?

    • #1466 Reply
      Daniel Garzon-Maldonado

      It is quite remarkable that a group of intellectuals had the plan to change the world through the use of a drug. It was also a diverse group. For example, Al Hubbard is considered by Pollan as a “deeply conservative and devout man” (167). Could you tell more about the plans and motivations of the people working in psychedelics other than Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert?

    • #1511 Reply
      Luis Fialho

      As LSD becomes more and more bio-medically studied, as you note, and we come to understand more about the chemical nature of the drug, how do you reconcile the advancements made in biology with the descriptions of the psychedelic experience? As in, the LSD/Magic Mushrooms experience is described as a ‘transcendence’, or an ‘expansion’ of the mind. What do those terms mean to you in a more concrete interpretation of consciousness? IS the expansion like that of Alan Watts, where one ‘expands’ their consciousness into the body, in a form of centering oneself within oneself; an internal transcendence? Or is it more of a traditional understanding of expansion, where one is opened entirely to the other; an external transcendence? Do you think we will ever be able to (chemically, medically, philosophically) determine what it is that LSD does to the human consciousness?

    • #1517 Reply
      Peter Klapes

      How would the anti-psychiatry movement respond to this—the psychedelic-rise in the United States during the ‘60s? Also, how can we reconcile this desire for pleasure and an ‘ideal’ experience with a desire to eradicate capitalism and its structures (of fetishization and commodification)? Doesn’t the use of psychedelics commodify the experience of ‘expanded consciousness’? Aren’t all visions—the creation of prophetic symbols out of natural phenomena—commodifying and fetishizing? Are psychedelics not just another opiate of the masses? (It’s fine if it is—but mustn’t we admit that it is?)

    • #1537 Reply
      William Knight

      How has a ban on LSD affected how it is made today? Can it be regarded as the same when we don’t even know what goes into it? Can we even achieve this “awakening” and “expansion” in the same way as in the 60s, and how would we even know a legitimate “expansion” from a BS thought that we have while high?

    • #1542 Reply
      Ningkun Dai

      When we are using LSD, is that kind of existentialism experience? Which means existence precedes essence. Since when you are doing LSD, all the things around you begin to make sense in a way that normal people would never depict it as reasonable. And what you are doing is: trying to set up an essence for the existence of your hallucination.

    • #1545 Reply
      Abyan M Mohamed

      Is the use of psychedelics just a side effect of a generation trying to shed the consumerist, planned out life in which people do not really think about their existence and just do as their told and follow? Are psychedelic experiences the key to experimenting with your mind and is LSD necessary for it? Was the research carried out among students by Professor Leary just him making something that was popular at the time academic, or is research into LSD and similar psychedelic drugs still important?

      My essay will be examining the influence of the Black Power movement on popular culture, art, and music. The Black Power movement’s validation of blackness and black aesthetics reflected a new consciousness of self-love and racial pride that continues to shape the present which I will explore.

    • #1546 Reply
      Abyan M Mohamed

      Is the use of psychedelics just a side effect of a generation trying to shed the consumerist, planned out life in which people do not really think about their existence and just do as their told and follow? Are psychedelic experiences the key to experimenting with your mind and is LSD necessary for it? Was the research carried out among students by Professor Leary just him making something that was popular at the time academic, or is research into LSD and similar psychedelic drugs still important?

      My essay will be examining the influence of the Black Power movement on popular culture, art, and music. The Black Power movement’s validation of blackness and black aesthetics reflected a new consciousness of self-love and racial pride that continues to shape the present which I will explore.

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