Huxley on Tranquilizers & Acid

A fascinating little “retrobite” from the CBC archive of a 1958 interview with Aldous Huxley speaking about the growing prevalence of prescription tranquilizers in western society at the time.

His comments could apply just as well today to the widespread use of pharmaceuticals to treat a plethora of psychological “disorders”…

One has to ask the question: tranquilizers are certainly good for people with violent, neurotic or psychotic afflictions, but is it really very useful that immense numbers of people take it on at every provocation? I mean there are situations where it’s very good for us to be non-tranquil, to have a certain amount of tenseness… and to have something which you can always rely on to create a kind of complacency, I think might be very dangerous; I think that could be an over-tranquilization.”

Huxley also touches on various mind-altering substances such as mescaline and LSD. Very prescient, that fellow. (CH3)C6H2(NO2)3 + Hg(CNO)2 = well, what?



Filed under Literature

11 responses to “Huxley on Tranquilizers & Acid

  1. sapphireandsteel

    Bud Cort & Kier Dullea

  2. There are some things that Science can make worse. We cannot assume that what helps the truly ill is necessary for those with normal mood patterns – no matter how low they deviate.

    But that is modern Capitalism for you … the Big Corporations manipulate Regulatory Regimes to create new markets and customers – despite the dangers.

    Someone close to me was on a small dose of psychotropic drugs for a little while last year. She became a zombie. We got her off them, and got her into regular exercise. She if fine now.

    Go figure.

  3. S&S — Ford be praised that obesity has been eliminated in the future, otherwise those tight-fitting polyester outfits would look just horrific.

  4. sapphireandsteel

    it’s the Logan’s Run look. 🙂

  5. Ironically, there was a group of male patients who developed schizophrenia at an older age, after having some of the “new” chemically enhanced LSD as much younger men. It did some sort of brain damage that they now think was triggered by a virus. Virus + certain chemical exposures = many many diseases we currently are paying a lot to cure.

    Aeneus, I know exactly what you mean. Ever since they made physical straitjackets illegal, hospitals have been quite desperate to use chemical straitjackets. They don’t seem much interested in talking to patients or helping them to overcome their actual real life problems.

    Do you know how many women I know who get offered antidepressants every time they go to the Doctor instead of treatments for their physical ailments? And how many people I know who don’t get offered correct treatment for their mental illnesses because they aren’t diagnosed properly.


  6. sapphireandsteel

    um chemically enhanced LSD? It wouldn’t be LSD then. Can you point a link to this study? Sorry, but Im a skeptic.


    This is an example of it– as we go through the diagnosis of my husband’s brother there was much discussion of it. (He didn’t have it, he has other issues.) I only emphasized the words “chemically enhanced” because it’s discussed in the video.

    In actuality, LSD is always ever so slightly changed depending on the chemist making it. It’s still LSD, but like meth, it has different strengths.

  8. “(CH3)C6H2(NO2)3 + Hg(CNO)2 = well, what?”

    liquid smoke?


  9. sapphireandsteel

    Interesting article Aurelia, but it only really theorized that LSD psychosis is similar to schizophrenic traits and may lead to Schizophreniform tendencies but as of yet is still unproven. I wish I could get beyond the abstract on it.

    There’s actually been interesting research done on LSD and how its affect on people duplicates Schizophrenic behaviour. Very interesting because they were using LSD to treat a panacea of ailments in the late 1950s before Sandoz decided to do public tests in Northern California. Then it became something for Grateful Dead concerts and the umpteen urban legends came out about people believing they could fly.,23599,23270344-23109,00.html

    It’s interesting stuff for sure. I find the schizophrenia is caused by this drug stories to be disingenuous at times. I’d use this recent example of our government commissioning a fundie pastor to create a “study” to show that smoking marijuana increases your chance of becoming a schizophrenic sevenfold. It’s just propaganda and pushing some bizarre issue that the religious right have with other people doing things they don’t like.

    Here’s the star article from a week ago.

    and a less objective version of the same thing (with the pastor bit)

    The problem for me is that all of these commissioned “studies” inject false information into overall studies. Its like the whole marijuana chromasome damage thing; noone has been able to successfully duplicate the 1970s test so it’s been determined to be inconclusive.

    LSD is a chemical, changing it ever so slightly would make it cease to be LSD. Same with meth. Often the problem with homebrewed pharmaceuticals like this is the actual ingredients used by the “chef” can vary. This is where the chemical variations may come it. It’s more an impurity than an enhancement.

    Though, saying that Meth and LSD are not in the same league. LSD doesn’t mess up small communities like Meth does. I wish our government and police focused more on meth and less on, to paraphrase our PM, Beatles drugs.

    I agree with you about the combination of virii and chemical exposure but I was wondering if you knew anything about exposure to industrial chemicals and its combination with virii. I grew up in a chemically laden city in Ontario and have seen various medical conditions arise amongst a friend of mine who worked at an electroplating factory.

    Thanks for getting my curiosity onto this item Aurelia. You have definitely put me on the path to find out more. 🙂

  10. sapphireandsteel

    Oh yeah, I’d love to continue this Aurelia, but I cannot. First day of school tomorrow.

  11. Yeah, I’m writing name tags on everything today as well, back to school is a lotta work.

    Anyway, about the studies? The link between most drugs and schizophrenia is tenuous at best, and according to my brother-in-law’s Doctors, extremely rare. Again, they told me the story simply to explain that when you see late-life onset of severe mental illness, after no other mental illnesses, ever, it’s one of many things they consider because of this rare group of older men who suddenly showed symptoms and it was attributed to LSD use when they were younger. They all spoke about it as if was textbook, from long ago, and not under dispute like the more recent issues.

    Pastors as scientists? Gahhh, one more reason to have an election.

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