Sidney Cohen

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Sidney Cohen (1910 - May 8, 1987) was a psychiatrist and early LSD researcher. He received his PhD from Columbia University in New York, and his MD from Bonn University in Germany.

  • "The common way we think about the nature of the human mind is that it is either sane or insane. LSD hints to us that there is an area of the mind which could be called unsane, beyond sanity, and yet not inside. Think of a circle with a fine split in it. At one end is insanity, you go around the circle tube, sanity, and on the other end of the circle, close to insanity, but not insanity, is unsanity. This is, perhaps, where all the superlative efforts of humanity come from, not only of art, but of science. And it may be that we could approach it in a thoughtful, wise study of LSD."
- BBC Documentary LSD: The Beyond Within
  • "One further speculation about the way that LSD acts in the brain can be offered. … It is proposed that LSD acts primarily on the pleasure or reward centers of the brain, producing a surge of nonspecific emotionality. If it registers as bliss or rapture, it dominates the sensory flow, the concept of self, the thinking process. This strong emotional discharge overwhelms all mental activity and produces a fusion or synesthesia of the neural pathways: perceptual beauty and glowing light, erasure of the self concept and elimination of rational thought. This is the transcendental state; its opposite, the psychotic state, occurs when the strong feeling discharge is apperceived as horrific and discordant."
- The Beyond Within: The LSD Story (1967), p. xii