Cal State Northridge sociologist Lewis Yablonsky passed away last month at the age of 89. The LA Times describes him as, “A leading figure in sociology in the 1960s and ’70s … who gained national prominence as a sociologist, criminologist and author.” In 2003, he received the ASA’s “Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology.”
The Times obituary notes that, “Although Yablonsky was opposed to recreational drug use, he tried marijuana and went on an LSD trip as part of his study” of hippies, detailed in his 1968 book “The Hippie Trip.” The book isn’t available online, but I scanned in the chapter where he describes his LSD trip with his wife Donna who he met while doing research, in “a psychodrama session at Synanon.” Spoilers after the jump.
At this juncture in my voyage I therefore decided that it was vital for me to have an LSD experience. … So on a Sunday morning at 12:45 am, my wife Donna and I very nervously ingested 500 micrograms of LSD each in a special cup of tea brewed for the occasion. … My first sensation was that a finely wound super watch spring of enormous tensile strength was in my gut, had burst loose, and had begun to unwind. … My attempts to maintain control were met with a clear feeling of melting into the floor. … I decided to ride on an available silver space ship. … I rose from the bed and informed Arnie that I was one of the greatest patriots of all time. … I chanted what seemed like a thousand times, “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever known in all the worlds I have ever experienced in all my lifetimes.” … Then, for no reason, I shifted to the 1930’s. … Nothing in the room had any sharp corners. … Donna and I focused on an orange and mutually saw molecules, fetuses, and electrical live pulses. … Donna and I returned to Turkistan and made love to the exotic sounds of Ravi Shankar, the LSD, and our hearts. About an hour later we took a bath together, ate lightly, and, high as kites, drove the five minutes from our house the Pacific Ocean. … We had dinner and then went to sleep around 9:00pm. … We woke up the next morning at 7:00 am to what we both felt was a new and better world.
In his analysis, he argues that LSD has great potential for achieving personal fulfillment, but was being wasted on and by the Hippies.