Alan Watts ~ Why Society Fears Psychedelic Drugs

Alan Watts ~ Why Society Fears Psychedelic Drugs

so now This is the whole essence you see of seeing if you really see into this secret that the World Doesn’t contain any serious threats in it because it’s all The basic you running up behind itself and saying boo to see if you can get yourself to jump out of your skin If you see that be cool That’s the whole art of zen know is cool hinduism the Hindus come on a little strong when someone like Sri Ramakrishna or Openly pretty much Openly announces that he’s the Godhead That’s a little tough and when a sRi ramana accepts the puja of all the followers [and] Sri aurobindo Sits every day for Darshan it’s coming on a little strong well the zen people feel that that’s just a bit too much and the way they come on is they they’re ordinary and They say when to zen Masters meet each other on the road They need no introduction when thieves meet they recognize each other instantly So they don’t say anything don’t make any claims There’s a matter of fact so far from making claims all good zen masters say they don’t they have not attained anything they have nothing to teach and That’s the truth because anybody who tells you that he is some way of Leading you to spiritual enlightenment is just like somebody who picks your pocket and sells you your own watch Course if you didn’t know you had a watch that might be the only way of getting you to realize now so then if though the people who do By one means or another prepared or unprepared Disciplined or undisciplined get into this kind of interior secret about the nature of the universe And they have Hitherto been insecure about themselves They’re going to use this secret as some way of creating trouble and of stirring things up and of boosting their own Inadequate character structure, which is a word I prefer to use instead we go There is trouble Because those people who are out there on the [tightrope] We’re going to get pretty scared and they’re going to call in the police and Say this has got to stop So then we have a situation [right] like that now, and I want to make a few comments about first of all The major group it seems to me that a crying panic about LSD are psychoanalysts? To then this sort of thing is extremely threatening The car psychoanalysis in its theory whether it be freudian, or whether it be union? It has [a] theory of the unconscious Which is not unrelated to the general philosophy of science of the 19th century? Which is that the unconscious called the Libido [by] the freudians? is totally uncivilized blind lust For the unions it may be something even more dangerous than that Because they have not settled for the idea that it’s the sexual unconscious It may be much more sinister than that Deep down there is the spider mother there are the Screaming Mimi’s at the bottom of that pit And Esther harding in her book pSychic energy says that civilization is a mere veneer over the abysmal depths of primeval slime Which there are the great serpents and appalling influences just waiting for a chance to get up there and raise hell? So if you are psychoanalytically oriented you are necessarily terrified of the unconscious But you’ve learned a trick is say the old-fashioned Christians. They discipline the unconscious with a club Bible and Birch Rod see And they knocked it down Friday and said no This is [a] very dangerous creature But you’ve got to [train] it in a different way [like] a good horse trainer doesn’t use the whip but lumps of sugar But it’s still the same animal in other words this whole philosophy of Western man as it crystallized in the late 18th 19th and early 20th centuries. Is that what we call humanity? consciousness [spirituality] values is simply a veneer the real thing underneath the gutsy thing is a terrible monster And watch out for that, so anything that happens that might let that creature loose is looked upon [by] pSychoanalysis as terrible I Don’t [I’m] not going to accuse them of worrying about LSD because they think you’re going to be put out of a job I Don’t think that LSD is An automatic psychotherapy at all. It needs if you’re going to use it for that purpose You need psychotherapy in the ordinary way along with it LsD. Is simply an exploratory instrument like a microscope or a telescope except this one’s inside you instead of outside you and According to your capacity and knowledge you can use a microscope or a telescope to advantage so in the same way according to your capacity and your knowledge you can use an interior instrument to your advantage or [just] for kicks [but] [when] these people you know really feel threatened by this thing They start sending around messages and public utterances which sound exactly as if they had taken, LSD and had a bad trip with it and We’re coming on paranoid And so they are spreading subtle rumors that this substance causes permanent brain damage [and] utter destruction of the Super-ego there is a There [are] people in New York likewise who are spreading around the idea that you see once this thing has touched you? You as if you’ve had a prefrontal lobotomy You are somebody who ought to be put in the concentration camp because you’ve lost your conscience You’re out of order Nothing more can be done about it. Now. Do you see how alarming that could be in our day and age think that Your brother your aunt has got permanent brain damage. I took some LSD you [see] what the situation is [exactly] power is any other thing that we learn from history is nobody ever learns from history Consider just go back a few [hundred] years to the days of the inquisition and Realize that the theologians of the church were in those days accorded the same kind of respect that we now accord to the professor of Pathology at the University of California Medical school, or to the professor of physics at Caltech We think those people are real authorities? They know it works. They’ve experimented they have knowledge they’re the wisest people in our society [though] all right few hundred years ago, so [with] the theologians and They had the same sense of responsibility towards the community that our great scientists and physicians have today and They knew there was a thing called heresy going around that was not only capable once you caught heresy of Making you damned to hell forever and ever and ever to the most unimaginable tortures that would go on without end but that it was infectious and One heretic would soon make other heretics so those entirely Humanitarian and Merciful [church] [fathers] got together said what are we gonna do to stop this? well now they knew there is an eternal life Beyond the grave and so perhaps Just in the same way as if you’ve got a cancer and that’s something terrible because it might spread and destroy the whole body cut It out Even burn it out if you have to and a little pain on the part of the patient in the several months on the end Of tubes won’t be too bad or if you get rid of it So they said we’ve got to torture these people because they might in the middle of this this extreme experience Recant and if they won’t recant we’ll burn them because it’s just the chance that in the agony of burning at the stake [they] will say at the end or God forgive me for my sins, and it’ll be [alright] Now realize the absolutely merciful intent behind the inquisitors Perfectly responsible acting on the best knowledge that they had in their day, don’t you see how that can [happen] again any time? permanent Brain damage People lost their sense of social responsibility utTerly destroyed by taking the wrong kind of drug Now dear friends there is absolutely no evidence for this kind of thing whatsoever the only Brain damage that has I’ve just checked this out with the most eminent authorities in this area on the subject that [the] [earthly] Permanent damage, that’s been perpetrated and even that wasn’t permanent was on some cats Who were given doses that would be equivalent to a human being to over [2,000] micrograms of LSD? The normal dosage for a human being being about one to two hundred But give a cat two thousand for a human being of two thousand micrograms there will be synaptic Defects that are called acute as distinct from Chronic that means they will disappear [after] a little while this has been worked out carefully and there is no evidence whatsoever of any serious Neurological damage to a human being except in cases where a They may have taken an absurdly large dose or be [taking] it in conjunction with some other form of drug and amphetamine a barbiturate or something like Methadone or narcotic Which did indeed? cut off the oxygen supply to the brain and therefore caused some damage, so [this] scare talk is simply without foundation But nevertheless there are certain reasons to be cautious and for those who understand the operation of these chemicals to issue certain clear warnings and This I want to talk about quite seriously Now this class of psychotropic chemicals which includes LSD Mescaline [and] its original form peyote psilocybin Cannabis and so on which is a very mild psychotropic these do not In moderation and proper use in any way harm the physical organism Nor form such habits that you can’t get rid of them without unpleasant withdrawal symptoms but if you take them in absurdly large doses You are in for [trouble]. I knew a methodist minister Who was a very violent tea totalitarian and became extremely sick from drinking too much milk? So after all if you sit down you buy a bottle of whiskey which you can get at any store anywhere perfectly legit and you Consume the one quart of whiskey in one hour you can expect trouble So in the same way if you’ve got lSD or something of that kind and you take a thousand micrograms Because some friend of yours took 500 and you want to one-up him [watch] out, you’re being just stupid Furthermore you’re being rather stupid if you buy the kind of LSD that is currently being circulated in the black market Because for two reasons You don’t know what else is in it? And you don’t know how much is in it? There are two sorts of producers of LSD on black market one is the enthusiastic graduate student in chemistry Who wants to turn the whole world on? And his product is apt to be pretty good, but excessive in dosage And what says 100 micrograms may well be 300? There is another kind of producer who wants to make a good thing out [of] it To give you a big jazz, but he mix it with amphetamines there’s another more sinister kind of producer will either cut the amount or mix it with heroin or anything any other substance, [maybe] Again amphetamines or whatever he’ll get you hooked on it So you there is no control of the quality of what is being circulated none, whatever, and you just don’t know what you’re getting now this situation is the result of the fact that the United States never learns from history This is [the] same old story of prohibition [to] think the naive notion that you can control Something that might turn into a social evil by handing it over to the police Now after all who pays the police you do and If you can’t control yourself the police won’t control you either, but in lieu of controlling you they can suppress you Now in all conscience the police have enough to do Not only to control the traffic which is gets worse every day by virtue of Parkinson’s law But also all the possibilities of robbery violence murder and so on and so Forth which is a full-time [job] but to ask the police to go and look for people who have LSD or marijuana or Heroin or opium or whatever or who are living irregular sex lives or who have a gambling [joint] or a whorehouse? This is to ask the police to act as officers of the state in service of the church uniformed ministers And that’s not their job and when the police are asked [to] do that they are Put by lawmakers into a position which brings them into public Disrespect as it did in the days of prohibition it is not fair to the police Because if you send the police to hunt out, LSD it is a far more tough job than looking for a needle in a haystack LSD can be disguised as anything whatsoever It can be mixed with [Garman] put on an envelope. It can be entirely absorbed vast quantities of it into a piece of Kleenex the alcoholic base is then allowed to evaporate and Nobody would know it from any other dirty piece of Kleenex that somebody stuck away in his pocket it can then be reactivated It can be made into lacquer to coat pins with Anything it can be disguised as peanut butter orange juice aspirin just sugar anything you want and It’s very difficult indeed to detect So when you try to suppress that sort of thing by law you leave the gates wide open for every kind of blackmail You want to get rid [of] your wife? Or your unfortunate business competitor Just slip them some and then arrange by a roundabout way to tip off the cops The senator you don’t like political riving You see any law of this nature any law which in the way tries To enforce by the power of the state private morals or your own business in looking after your own nervous system Is in fact an unenforceable law and all unenforceable laws? lead to blackmail and public demoralization The only way to handle a thing of this kind is to bring it all out into the open Nothing can be controlled when it’s driven underground. It ought to be controlled Just in the same way [as] we have learned how to control automobiles we license people to drive them So in the same way [we] don’t sell liquor to minors [we] expect them to have some kind of education and grown-up responsibilities before they go boozing around So in exactly the same way society has got to face in fact that it’s going to have to license people for Certain spiritual Adventures, or perhaps just plain pleasures if that’s what you want to call it After all you can’t even join some churches without can’t join the catholic church without taking a course of instruction that Takes a few weeks, and then they put you [through] an initiation and You may say when you get through that well, what was all that preparation for I didn’t feel anything But so in exactly the same way with this it is completely urgent in other words that we prevent the Occurrence of a very serious socially destructive criminal situation Created by law you’ve heard of yeah, tro. Genic diseases. That means disease is caused by Physicians There are no more [genic] diseases or shall we say no more genic crimes Like somebody said the only serious side effect of marijuana is that you may go to jail This is an Ama genic crime in other words It is a ritual crime in exactly the same way that when the early Christians Refused to burn incense in front of the roman gods in whom the Romans themselves didn’t believe They were guilty of a crime. It was a ritual crime and they refused a Reasonable man like the Emperor Marcus Aurelius said to the Christians now. Come off it really do you have [to] refuse the burn incense They said yes, we’re serious about it so these are ritual crimes and so in the same way Various ritual crimes exist and our police poor devils are supposed to enforce it and if they don’t they’re going to get it from the politicians Because the politicians have made all the old ladies up in Glendale scared and Pasadena, and so on they’re all just terrified about this and So the politician gets the votes of those old ladies Now the police have to do what the politician tells them to do and you know the police there is people [it’s] a terrible thing to put the police in a position where they’re going to earn public disrespect By enforcing or trying to enforce unenforceable laws So I would say in [general] to sum up Substances like LSD which give away a secret about The Nature of the social game the Human game and what underlies it Are potentially dangerous? of course Like any good thing is electricity is [dangerous] fire as dangerous cars are dangerous planes are dangerous But not so dangerous as driving on the freeway The only way to handle danger is to face it If you start getting frightened of it Then you make it worse because you project onto it all kinds of bogeys and threats which don’t exist in it at all So this is also a rule and please anybody here. Who’s a [fight] psychotherapist if he doesn’t know this already take note If you get someone thrown on your hands who as a result of taking any psyChotropic drug Is in a pSychotic state? Don’t be frightened because the moment you’re afraid your patient will pick up your fear by kind of Osmosis and Get worse The rule about all terrors going back to where I started from the dweller on the threshold The rule for all terrors is [head] straight into them when you are sailing in a storm You don’t let a wave hit your boat on the side you go bow into the wave And ride it So in the same way old folklore says This is an old wives tale with a lot of truth in it whenever you meet a ghost don’t run away because the Ghost will capture the substance of your fear and materialize itself out of your own substance and Will kill you eventually because it will take over all your own vitality So then whenever confronted with a ghost walk straight into it and it will disappear And so in the same way when people stir up the depths of the unconscious and Are confronted with their own monsters? Or with the terrors [of] discovering that they’re in a relativistic world where black implies white and white implies black, so who’s in charge you? [know] grandfather’s Dead Father’s Dead too this leads me who who’s the authority? See when you get that that sense of terror Go right at it. Don’t run away Explore feel fear as completely as you can feed it [head] straight in group And just it so happens that these things give you the property on the opportunity let me put it that way the opportunity to go into some of your very very most closely kept skeletons and The result of that is invariably beneficial


  1. the more enlighten i become the more of a druggie burn out that was unhappy Alan seemed. you do not need drugs to do what he is talking about. i tripped so damn hard last night with binary beats and stop caring about everything.

    just stop thinking but you can not think of stop thinking because you are thinking about trying to stop thinking. you have to know everything is you there is no death. you are the one.

    once you do you will be able to stop thinking. binay beats are very importain. tons on youtube just find one that helps you trip out the most. drugs are stupid and just damage your body. not a very smart thing to do and damage your own body.

  2. i can hear somebody writing during the video

    which makes me record the sound waves of writing. show it the answer's..and bam, you can tell what somebody has writen by the sound it makes

  3. Watts is a bit off in his LSD risk discussion – the cat experiment isn't credible in the results he claims, and substances measured in micrograms on blotter etc can't be readily mistaken for substances that are psychoactive at the milligram quantity such as amphetamine or heroin. (Drugs are of course often claimed to be what they aren't, especially under prohibition.)

  4. Can u imagine what alan whatts would say about todays society? How times have changed for the worst since his death.
    Hallucinogenics are a fret to the whole way of society in the respects to cohersion and conformity of the masses.
    If made accessible to the masses we could not be controlled by the powers that be, who want to maintain us like cattle.
    Each and every individual need to experience an 'awakening' eitheir in the form of the self stepping away from the herd or if not then hallucengens need to be made accsessibe to those people who want to take them but are being denied this substance which is their birthright.
    Alan new quite well what he was talking about on this subject.

  5. How timely again this wonderful message learn nothing take it easy but take it. Leave the useless religion get with the kindness of the earth.

  6. What? America not learning from its mistakes? No we are never wrong. Nope. Or at least we won't admit it… Lets make a good change ok?

  7. I like psychoanalysis somewhat, not a freudian way tho, just understanding ppl.
    Heck if anything it increases the activity of the super-ego. The problem is they don't look at consequences, they look at their presumptuous ideas.
    I think epileptics could have a problem with it or those with specific mental illness.
    Thats a very good example about the police.
    Very thoughtful video, and displays alot of understanding.

  8. How about why society fears being without these drugs? Lol it can go both ways and both ends need to come to terms because both sides have great points that need to be understood. Both sides basically need to focus on this. . but we aren't. We simply wanna defeat the other side. We all know that won't work. Stupid radical naive hippie liberals! And stupid dogmatic narrow minded conservatives. . .So I would recommend cutting this whole -"why society" -bullshit out and get to the bottom line of the problem ☯

    Knowing societies spectrum is hard. But knowing your left and right brain hemispheres is harder! How do you expect to understand groups, when you dont even know your self? And what the hell do you know about yourself? That's where we start. Balance is the hardest solution. But its better than the alternative in the long run. Its better for you, your partner, your family and in time society. The foundation for society is the individual (masculine) and society is the roof for the individual. (Feminine)🦅☘🥀🐸

  9. The thing is, on what basis would Alan Watts have known why exactly society fears psychedelics. In general we already know why people fear them already. It’s not like he has provided some profound explanation.

  10. Great lecture, I love how he destroys the bigotry and backwardness that is religious dogma he is so right about that and I related a lot to what he said thank you.

  11. Just listened to this with some deep house on and it's perfect. I might have to sample these lectures and put a tune out.

  12. ~ A Lecture on Drugs by Alan Watts:

    The Summer of Love and the Psychedelic Experience (Part 3/3):
    ~ Part 1: When it all Makes Sense:
    ~ Part 2: LSD: The Secret and How to Handle it:
    ~ Part 3: Why Society Fears Psychedelic Drugs:

  13. crtv if you are real invited people like me into your show.But no no no you live in your own opinion utopia that is why you got homeless camp every where cause rich people like to listen same rich people

  14. Can't find the exact words to explain with a shroom trip, but this beat was made to simulate the feeling you get when high on mushrooms. Check it out!

  15. Any adult over the age of 21 should have the right to experience such substances recreationally or more profoundly and shouldnt have to worry about getting jailed for it and not to be worried about getting fake shit like Nbome which can kill you. This is why legalisation of LSD for example will SAVE more lifes than take lifes… Same goes for Mushrooms DMT and the biggest killer MDMA/ Ecstasy which is usually never 100% pure if you buy it off a dealer

  16. His statement about fear at the end was the lesson of my first (and probably last) LSD trip.

    I was at a concert at the Gorge and at the peak of my trip, I was in tears from the beauty that was before me (picture a grown ass man staring into a canyon trembling and crying in public). But my friends had left me for their front-row tickets, and they told me I'd be fine alone. But I knew I wasn't, as this was my first experience on acid. All of the sudden I realized I was about to piss myself, and desperately needed to move from my "safe space" and head out of a place of comfort and into the unknown. At the time time I was having epiphanies about life, death, rebirth, and the decay and impermanence of all material. It was a lot to dwell on, and as stupid as it sounds, I was headed to a honey-bucket, where my most real connection to physical matter was about to reveal itself. Upon this revelation, my world turned dark, and the souls I encountered along the way began to look like demons and ghouls (maybe some of them were!).

    It took me FOUR attempts to go piss. The first time I couldn't handle the energies of the people around me, frantic, chaotic. I wouldn't say I felt anxious, but that I literally felt my soul was unsafe around these people. I walked back to my "safe space", the hill with the view to the canyon. But I was on the verge of pissing myself. So I tried again. But the second time, I found myself waiting outside the door of someone using the honey-bucket. When they were finally done, they opened the door. And yet again, the person looked demonic. I couldn't do it, I turned around and went back up the hill.

    It took a third time, and then a FOURTH time. But by the FOURTH time I was about to piss my fucking pants. And I was like, "I may be a degenerate, but I am NOT that type of degenerate that PISSES HIMSELF IN PUBLIC". Convicted in my mission, I was willing to face the demonic souls around me. I marched right up to that fucking honey-bucket, got inside, pee'd all over the place. Looked at my dick and the stream of urine flying through and out of my body, and into the abyss of piss and shit that is the decay of life. I stared right into that black hole of evil, zipped up as I finished, and walked the fuck out.

    When I got back up to the hill, something started to change. I remembered that I was about to see my favorite band play. I realized I'd been brave to take a risk, to alter my state of consciousness into something I did not understand, nor could control. I slowly began to fade back into my normal state of consciousness.

  17. I'm sure he would be proud with cannabis being legalized everywhere, and with shrooms being decriminalized. His input on the situation from that far back is still helping people make decisions today, and probably forever…or until the point where we either go extinct, or when we've advanced to the point where we know anything and everything.

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