opening-skinner's-box

"My god, love is strong. You are mauled and you come crawling back. You are frozen, and yet still you seek heat from the same wrong source...There is only the dark side of truth, which is that they can kill us while they hold us. But again I find some beauty. The beauty is this: We are creatures of great faith. We will build bridges, against all odds we will build them--from here to there. From me to you. Come closer."

   "Could Memory Pharmaceuticals, or one of its rivals, make [a memory removal] drug for humans? Tim Tully already has one in the works. If marketed, the drug could be used within twenty-four hours of a trauma, and it would delete your memory of the trauma, along with whatever else happened that day. Such a drug could be used for survivors of terrible events, terrorist bombings, plane crashes, vicious personal attacks. Such a drug would effectively obliterate the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder; post-trauma would be a pill, a pharmacological capsule of water from the river Lethe, where old souls in Hades go to erase their pasts.“

- Lauren Slater, Opening Skinner’s Box 

Opening Skinner's Box - Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century by Lauren Slater

“Do you use any drugs yourself?” I ask him, because he sometimes seems a little tilted. He says, “With special friends, I use acid. I don’t use it regularly, but it has provided me with the opportunity for profound self-understanding.” He pauses. I’m waiting. “Once,” he says, “I took some LSD and felt my head was in a dragon’s mouth, and when I looked down, my lower body was in another beast’s mouth and I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll just lie down and die.’ So that’s what I did. My heart seemed to stop beating. I knew not to fight the beasts. As soon as I stopped resisting, the monsters turned into a yellow bed of flowers, and I floated away. Since then I have not feared my mortality.”

“How long ago was that?” I ask him.

“Twenty-five years ago or so,” he says.

Well, I think that’s a pretty good advertisement for acid. Not only does it break you into Buddhism faster than you can crack the easiest koan, but it keeps you there without, apparently, much follow up.

I eye him, warily. As a psychologist I have worked in substance abuse facilities, and I have seen firsthand the powerful chemistry or craving. I’d like to dismiss Alexander as a pure propagandist, except there is this problematic, delightful, fascinating fact: Alexander has facts, in the form of his own ingenious experiments, to prove his theories and substantiate the studies he so likes to quote. You can resist him, or you can come with him, here and here and here, to the oddest places, where your assumptions die down and in their place, an open field - strange sorts of flowers, all of them unexpected.