Eric Nisenson

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Eric Nisenson (February 12, 1946 – August 15, 2003) was an American author and jazz historian

  • "I am part of the "Woodstock" generation, or whatever you want to call us. I spent my time in the Haight and the East Village. It was irresponsible use of drugs, the constant, mindless use of hard drugs which killed the utopian dreams of my generation probably at least as much as any other factor. I haven't used drugs of any sort for many years. And I can only feel despair at the drug epidemic throughout our society. But in the very early days of the psychedelic movement there was a wonderful feeling of hope and a feeling of evolution that is impossible to describe. The use of psychedelic drugs have an ancient, and for the most part an honorable place in the sprititual history of mankind. There are some who believe that even major religions were at least to some degree influenced by the intake of various psychedelic substances. In some native societies, the first use of a psychedelic substance is an initiation into manhood-an introduction to the deeper wells of the spirit. Psychiatrists, artists, and writers have all explored the use of psychedelics. Certainly everyone should be aware of Aldous Huxley's books on the subject. However, in all these cases a psychedelic drug was used within a structured situation, and used like a tool, often in conjunction with a guide. Under such circumstances, psychedelics can, I believe, open up areas of the mind and the spirit. However, they are a true existentialist drug--as Huxley wrote, they can bring one heaven or hell. It is a far too powerful experience simply to be treated as just a way to have one's jollies. And it has not connection to addictive drugs like heroin or cocaine, drugs that, in the early psychedelic movement, were as disdained as alcohol and tobacco. So it is far too easy, and I believe wrong, just to make a blanket condemnation of the psychedelic experience. But one can only validate that experience with plenty of caveats.And I am certain that John Coltrane never thought of acid as just a way to get high. He was looking for ultimate truth. LSD cannot provide that truth, but it can certainly help point the way. If it is, as Coltrane did, used wisely and with proper respect for its great power"
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