John Perry Barlow
From People on Psychedelics
John Perry Barlow (born October 3, 1947) is an American poet, essayist, retired Wyoming cattle rancher, cyberlibertarian, political activist, former lyricist for the Grateful Dead and a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
- "In a sense, there is only one real trip, the first one. After that, one is merely confirming what has already been revealed to him. I've probably taken psychedelic substances of one kind or another more than a thousand times. But I was permanently rewired -- my sense of the universe was forever changed -- the first time I ingested LSD."
- "There have been improbable encounters at propitious moments, doors that strangely opened to me, little miracles. I think these are there for everyone, but psychedelics make it easier to see and accept aspects of reality that one can't rationally explain. Of course, one can reach this state of awareness without them. Consider the great quantum physicist Niels Bohr, who, when asked if he believed in superstition, responded, "I don’t have to believe in it. It works anyway.""
- "The essence of what I received that night was a recognition that reality, in its totality, is something much larger and more complex than will ever fit through the tiny keyhole of human perception. Human perception, even enhanced by all the tools of technological amplification we might invent, will never begin to encompass It. We will always be limited by the filters of consciousness. Consciousness, I now believe, is more about what we don't experience than what we do. Thus, reality, as most people experience it in the objective, scientifically reproducible, Western sense, is really an opinion based on what little we can perceive of the Thing Itself."
- "Engaged in the politics necessary to wire the world, I encounter many people in positions of influence and visibility -- politicians, corporate leaders, scientists, engineers, writers, academics – who are motivated by the same mystical drive that propels me. They are acidheads, but nearly all of them are afraid to admit it. Its as though the future were being created by a secret cult. And even though it's my secret cult, I'm not crazy about secrecy or cults, and I'm certainly not keen on having them design the rest of society. I think it's time to be brave and honest. I know that if everybody who'd ever taken a major psychedelic stood up and said, "Yeah, I did that and this is how it changed my life," the world would be a better place the next day." in the book Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures
- "One can make a non-ludicrous case that the most important event in the cultural history of America since the 1860s was the introduction of LSD. Before acid hit American culture, even the rebels believed, as Thoreau, Emerson and Whitman implicitly did, in something like God-given authority. Authority, all agreed, derived from a system wherein God or Dad (or, more often, both) was on top and you were on the bottom. And it was no joke. Whatever else one might think of authority, it was not funny. But after one had rewired one’s self with LSD, authority -- with its preening pomp, its affection for ridiculous rituals of office, its fulsome grandiloquence, and eventually, and sublimely, its tarantella around Mutually Assured Destruction -- became hilarious to us and there wasn’t much we could do about it. No matter how huge and fearsome the puppets, once one’s perceptions were wiped clean enough by the psychedelic solvent to behold their strings and the mechanical jerkiness of their behavior, it was hard to suppress the giggles. Though our hilarity has since been leavened with tragedy, loss, and a more appropriate sense of our own foolishness, we’re laughing still."
- "Aside from the coming kerfuffle over war crimes indictments and ongoing skirmishes along the Mason-Dixon Line, the War Between the Fifties and the Sixties may be finally drawing to an end. Indeed, as I write these words, the President of the United States, in addition to being black and self-admittedly smart and well-educated, strikes me as a fellow who probably dropped acid at some point. At the least, when asked if he “inhaled,” he replied, “I thought that was the point.” Now that the worst of it may be over, perhaps it may become possible for various members of Congress, federal judges, ranked military officers, prominent clergy, and captains of industry -- aside from the peculiarly honest Steve Jobs -- to do as most of these, had they been brave enough, ought to have done decades ago and say in public: There was a moment, years ago, when I took LSD. And, whatever the immediate consequences, it made me a different person than I would have been and different in ways I have been grateful for all this time. That would be a mighty moment. Those who still live are all now older and wiser than we were in those literally heady days, and we may finally be ready to tell such truths without setting off another round of conflict."