Magic mushrooms can induce mystical effects

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Magic mushrooms can induce mystical effects

Postby bvonahsen » Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:07 am

<!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article1171389.ece">The Independent </a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br><br><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Magic mushrooms can induce mystical effects</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><br>A universal mystical experience with life-changing effects can be produced by the hallucinogen contained in magic mushrooms, scientists claim today.<br><br>Forty years after Timothy Leary, the apostle of drug-induced mysticism, urged his hippie followers to "tune in, turn on, and drop out", researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, have for the first time demonstrated that mystical experiences can be produced safely in the laboratory. They say that there is no difference between drug-induced mystical experiences and the spontaneous religious ones that believers have reported for centuries. They are "descriptively identical".<br><br>And they argue that the potential of the hallucinogenic drugs, ignored for decades because of their links with illicit drug use in the 1960s, must be explored to develop new treatments for depression, drug addiction and the treatment of intolerable pain.<br><br>Anticipating criticism from church leaders, they say they are not interested in the "Does God exist?" debate. "This work can't and won't go there."<br><br>Interest in the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs is growing around the world. In the UK, the Royal College of Psychiatrists debated their use at a conference in March for the first time in 30 years. A conference held in Basel, Switzerland, last January reviewed the growing psychedelic psychiatry movement.<br><br>The drug psilocybin is the active ingredient of magic mushrooms which grow wild in Wales and were openly sold in London markets until a change in the law last year.<br><br>For the US study, 30 middle-aged volunteers who had religious or spiritual interests attended two eight-hour drug sessions, two months apart, receiving psilocybin in one session and a non-hallucinogenic stimulant, Ritalin, in the other. They were not told which drug was which.<br><br>One third described the experience with psilocybin as the single most spiritually significant of their lifetimes and two thirds rated it among their five most meaningful experiences.<br><br>In more than 60 per cent of cases the experience qualified as a "full mystical experience" based on established psychological scales, the researchers say. Some likened it to the importance of the birth of their first child or the death of a parent.<br><br>The effects persisted for at least two months. Eighty per cent of the volunteers reported moderately or greatly increased well-being or life satisfaction. Relatives, friends and colleagues confirmed the changes.<br><br>The study is one of the first in the new discipline of "neurotheology" - the neurology of religious experience. The researchers, who report their findings in the online journal Psychopharmacology, say that their aim is to explore the possible benefits drugs like psilocybin can bring. Professor Roland Griffiths of the department of neuroscience and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, said: "As a reaction to the excesses of the 1960s, human research with hallucinogens has been basically frozen in time.<br><br>"I had a healthy scepticism going into this. [But] under defined conditions, with careful preparation, you can safely and fairly reliably occasion what's called a primary mystical experience that may lead to positive changes in a person. It is an early step in what we hope will be a large body of scientific work that will ultimately help people."<br><br>A third of the volunteers became frightened during the drug sessions with some reporting feelings of paranoia. The researchers say psilocybin is not toxic or addictive, unlike alcohol and cocaine, but that volunteers must be accompanied throughout the experience by people who can help them through it.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> <p></p><i></i>
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Suppression of science

Postby jingofever » Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:13 am

In the Wall Street Journal story they quote a researcher making the comment that after ~40 years he thought it was 'high time' to take up psychedelic research again; of course today it is much more difficult to do than it was in the 50s and 60s. I have a hunch that in time people will recognize the government's suppression of science as being on the same level as the Church's. <p></p><i></i>
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if they

Postby TroubleFunk » Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:45 am

If someone in their way doesn't believe in God, the government and big pharma will find a way to MAKE them believe.<br><br>Every sentence in that article opens up more and more questions as to intent!<br><br>They want to know what passes for a mystical experience - to a believer - so they can induce mystical experiences and convince believers of something specific (mark my words). No good can come of this. <p></p><i></i>
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actually...

Postby chillin » Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:05 am

I think the idea is that alot of good can come from it. I find the recent relegitimization of psychedelic drugs to be an encouraging development (I was pleased to note that the article while using the word hallucinogenic, they at least included the word psychedelic). Seems like there's been quite a few stories about the positive potentials recently, mdma, dmt, ayahuasca studies are just a few things that come to mind immediately. <br><br>As far as 'them' wanting to figure out something about mystical experiences to use against the population... it's all old hat. Thousands of years old, I doubt there's any need to reinvent the wheel. I think there's more of these stories coming out because of the 60's generation getting mystical as they get older. <p></p><i></i>
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Re: actually...

Postby professorpan » Tue Jul 11, 2006 10:37 am

TroubleFunk, I know the people who designed the study, and they are sincere about their desire to legitimize psychedelic research to help people. There's no ulterior or sinister motive, regardless of what you're reading into it. This particular study was designed to be rigorous and ethical.<br><br>This is an enormous step forward for the study of consciousness. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p216.ezboard.com/brigorousintuition.showUserPublicProfile?gid=professorpan>professorpan</A> at: 7/11/06 8:40 am<br></i>
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commentary

Postby professorpan » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:24 am

<!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Press_releases/2006/Griffithspsilocybin.html">www.hopkinsmedicine.org/P...cybin.html</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>A Q&A with Roland Griffiths (the lead researcher):<br><br>Q 1: Why did you undertake this research?<br><br>In the 1950s and 1960s, basic science and applied research studies were taking place with hallucinogens, offering hints that they might be of value in psychotherapy, addiction treatment, and creativity enhancement, and suggestions that the hallucinogens can occasion mystical-type experiences. Laws enacted in response to excesses of the "psychedelic 1960s" stopped almost all that work, leaving some promising threads dangling. Despite ongoing illicit and licit use, remarkably little is known, from the standpoint of modern psychopharmacology research, about the acute and long-term effects of the hallucinogens. Our study is among the first to re-open this field. Since the Hopkins psilocybin work began, researchers at other major universities, such as UCLA, the University of Arizona, and Harvard, have begun planning or are carrying out hallucinogen research. <br><br>Q 2: Do you have any sign that the same brain "machinery" affected by psilocybin is identical to what people experience in spiritual epiphanies that occur without drugs? <br><br>That work hasn't been done yet, though there is good reason to believe that similar mechanisms are at work during profound religious experiences, however they might be occasioned (for example, by fasting, meditation, controlled breathing, sleep deprivation, near death experiences, infectious disease states, or psychoactive substances such as psilocybin). The neurology of religious experience, newly termed <br>neurotheology, is drawing interest as a new frontier of study. <br><br>Q 3: Is this God in a pill? Does it render God or "revelation" irrelevant? <br><br>The scientific method works with what can be observed in the physical realm, using tools such as atomic particle detectors, medical imaging devices, people's responses to psychological tests, interviews, and <br>behavioral observations. We are attempting neither to validate nor to invalidate the truth of claims that some people have made about metaphysical realities as a consequence of their psilocybin experiences (or as a consequence of their meditation, fasting, or prayer experiences) - that's beyond our purview as scientists. It is within the purview of science to study the changes in mood, values, view of self, and <br>behaviors that may follow such experiences. Of course it would be a profound mistake to confuse the experience of something for the thing itself. We are not aware of study participants who felt their psilocybin experience devalued their own religious traditions; interviews suggested the opposite was more usually the case. <br><br>Q 4: Are you trying to find a short cut to the spiritual journey that some people pursue for years? <br><br>Our focus in this research was to study the effects of psilocybin using the methods of modern psychopharmacology. It's true that "transformative" changes in values, self-perception, and behaviors have been reported across cultures and eras as a consequence of mystical-type experience. This bears investigation. <br><br>Q 5: Should religions feel threatened by this work? <br><br>I can't see why. The psychologist Walter Clark, in his 1958 book The Psychology of Religion, had this to say: "There is no more difficult word to define than 'religion'?With full recognition that we are on ground where the experts disagree?we will venture our own definition. It is our feeling that religion can be most characteristically described as the inner experience of the individual when he senses a Beyond, especially as evidenced by the effect of this experience on his behavior when he actively attempts to harmonize his life with the Beyond." Many of the volunteers in our study reported, in one way or another, a direct, personal experience of the "Beyond." Far from being threatened, the only thing we can imagine being of greater interest to religions is whether people live more wholesome, compassionate, and equanimous lives in consequence of such experiences. <br><br>Q 6: Why did you use volunteers who have active spiritual practices? Didn't that help assure the results you got? <br><br>Psilocybin and similar compounds have been reported to sometimes bring about experiences called spiritual, religious, mystical, visionary, revelatory, etc. Such experiences may be difficult psychologically <br>and emotionally. We felt that volunteers who had some engagement with prayer, meditation, churchgoing, or similar activities would be better equipped to understand and consolidate any mystical- type experiences they might have in the study. <br><br>Q 7: Aren't hallucinogens dangerous? How can you give them to human volunteers? <br><br>No mind-affecting drug is absolutely safe. But the risks of the hallucinogens can be managed in appropriate research settings. <br><br>Unlike drugs of abuse such as alcohol and cocaine, the classic hallucinogens are not known to be physically toxic and they are virtually non-addictive, so those are not concerns. <br><br>The primary effect of psilocybin, in medium to large doses, is strong alteration of consciousness. It is possible that such experiences can trigger latent schizophrenia in susceptible individuals. Thus in our study we disqualified potential volunteers whose personal or family psychiatric histories indicate that they may be at increased risk of that disorder.<br> <br>Our study confirms that some individuals, during some or all of the hours of the drug's action, may experience paranoia, extreme anxiety, or other unpleasant psychological effects. It is not difficult to imagine such stresses leading to dangerous or inappropriate behaviors, which may constitute the substance's most prominent risk. We managed that in our study through a short course of psychological preparation and through careful and interpersonally sensitive monitoring of each drug session. The monitors were trained to provide reassurance (e.g., supportive words or gentle touch to a hand) if needed. <br><br>Q 8: What kind of substance is psilocybin? <br><br>Psilocybin is one of a class of compounds whose primary activity is known to be on 5-HT-2a/c serotonin receptors. Their effects include changes in perception and cognition. In the pharmacology literature, this <br>class of drugs is called "hallucinogens, " though they rarely cause "hallucinations" in the sense of seeing or hearing things that are not there. Within other academic fields, the term 'entheogen,' roughly meaning "spirit-facilitating," is coming into prominence for this class of substances. <br><br>Q 9: Studies at Hopkins have shown the potential for brain damage from MDMA ( "ecstasy"). How do you know psilocybin doesn't have the same risk? <br><br>Some studies have shown that MDMA can damage certain nerve cells. There is no experimental or clinical evidence in animals or humans that psilocybin, even in very high doses, is similarly neurotoxic. Enough <br>research has been done with psilocybin, starting in the 1950s, that we can be reasonably confident that it is not physically toxic in doses humans ordinarily use. This is consistent with the fact that psilocybin- <br>containing mushrooms have not, in millennia of use, acquired a reputation of being physically harmful. Traditions that use psilocybin mushrooms do, however, caution about psychological and spiritual risks of using them haphazardly. <br><br>Q 10: Isn't your work similar to what Timothy Leary did? <br><br>We are conducting rigorous, systematic research with psilocybin under carefully monitored conditions, a route which Dr. Leary abandoned in the early 1960s. <br><br>Q 11: Isn't there a risk that a study like this could encourage abuse of psilocybin or similar substances? <br><br>Our report explains the substantial risks that could easily follow from use without the psychiatric screening, preparation, and monitoring we provided in this study. <br><br>Herbert D. Kleber, M.D., addressed this question in a commentary published concurrently with our paper. Dr. Kleber is Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and the Director of Division on Substance Abuse of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He previously served as a deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). <br><br>Dr. Kleber wrote, "The positive findings of the study cannot help but raise concern in some that it will lead to increased experimenting with these substances by youth in the kind of uncontrolled and unmonitored fashion that produced casualties over the past three decades? <br><br>"Any study reporting a positive or useful effect of a drug of abuse raises these same concerns. In this Internet age, however, where youth are deluged with glowing personal reports in chat rooms and web sites as well as detailed information about the various agents and how to use them, it is less likely that a scientific study would move the needle much. <br><br>"Psychedelic drug use has remained in a relatively constant range over the past three decades as various fads have come and gone and enthusiastic personal accounts are balanced by negative reports about <br>casualties. <br><br>Discovering how these mystical and altered consciousness states arise in the brain could have major therapeutic possibilities, e.g., treatment of intolerable pain, treatment of refractory depression, amelioration of the pain and suffering of the terminally ill, to name but a few, as well as the?needed improvement in treatment of substance abuse?so that it would be scientifically shortsighted not to pursue them." <br><br>Huston Smith comments <br><br>Huston Smith, holder of 12 honorary degrees, is one of the great authorities on comparative religion. His book The World's Religions has for forty years been the most widely used textbook on its subject, and in <br>1996 he was the focus of a five part Bill Moyers PBS program, "The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith." <br><br>See hustonsmith.net for more. <br><br>Commenting on the Griffiths et al. study, Smith said: <br><br>"Mystical experience seems to be as old as humankind, forming the core of many if not all of the great religious traditions. Some ancient cultures, such as classical Greece, and some contemporary small-scale cultures, have made use of psychoactive plants and chemicals to occasion such experiences. But this is the first scientific demonstration in 40 years, and the most rigorous ever, that profound mystical states can be produced safely in the laboratory. The potential is great." <br><br>Smith also issued a caution and suggested that further research on the topic include social as well as neurological variables: "In the end, it's altered traits, not altered states, that matter. 'By their fruits shall <br>ye know them.' It's good to learn that volunteers having even this limited experience had lasting benefits. But human history suggests that without a social vessel to hold the wine of revelation, it tends to dribble <br>away. In most cases, even the most extraordinary experiences provide lasting benefits to those who undergo them and people around them only if they become the basis of ongoing work. That's the next research question, it seems to me: What conditions of community and practice best help people to hold on to what comes to them in those moments of revelation, converting it into abiding light in their own lives?" <p></p><i></i>
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Re: commentary

Postby anothershamus » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:41 am

EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT! Or listen all about it. Terence Mckenna was a mavrick in the field of expanding the spirituality and knocking us out of the cultural rut we are in through 'heroic doses' of mushrooms. 'Light of the third millenium' is a good place to start.<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.rinf.com/articles/Terence-Mckenna.htm">www.rinf.com/articles/Ter...ckenna.htm</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--> <p></p><i></i>
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More

Postby professorpan » Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:40 pm

I've posted a link to the paper in <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>Psychopharmacology</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> and further news articles about the study on my blog.<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.charm.net/~profpan">www.charm.net/~profpan</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>Here's the paper (PDF):<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Press_releases/2006/GriffithsPsilocybin.pdf">www.hopkinsmedicine.org/P...ocybin.pdf</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br> <p></p><i></i>
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Prof Pan, thanks...

Postby TroubleFunk » Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:11 pm

I appreciate all the notes and citations. Believe me, I am a great personal believer in psychedelics as gateways to belief and empathy - indeed as a benefit to mankind (I would not be who I am today -a person I actually like -without them, I firmly believe). <br><br>I am unabashedly FOR them.<br><br>My only fear is that this research will be hijacked and misused, as so much great research is. I will now go and read everything you've posted here! <p></p><i></i>
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Thanks for the post

Postby shaver » Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:50 pm

---Many of the volunteers in our study reported, in one way or another, a direct, personal experience of the "Beyond." Far from being threatened, the only thing we can imagine being of greater interest to religions is whether people live more wholesome, compassionate, and equanimous lives in consequence of such experiences.---<br><br>It appears to me that Hopkins is taking a good angle on this research, hopefully the other schools pursuing this research into the "beyond" have similar motives. I didn't read the full study, but I agree with Huston Smith that it'd be beneficial if they followed these participants and tested them again 1/2/3 years down the line and see how the experience continues to effect them. <br><br>Maybe I'll have to start looking through the clinical studies ads in the City Paper <br><!--EZCODE EMOTICON START 8) --><img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/glasses.gif ALT="8)"><!--EZCODE EMOTICON END--> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Prof Pan, thanks...

Postby professorpan » Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:52 pm

No prob, TroubleFunk.<br><br>If I didn't know a couple of the architects of the study I wouldn't be so adamant about their intentions. They're good people who have worked very hard for many years to make this happen.<br><br>My main fear is a backlash of the sensationalistic "what about the children?!" variety -- the kind of crap that has derailed this type of research in the past. <br><br>Fingers crossed. <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Suppression of MK-ULTRA, CHAOS, and COINTELPRO

Postby Hugh Manatee Wins » Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:01 pm

Ah, the waving of the magician's other hand and yet so many watch it.<br><br>I certainly agree with Huston Smith's quote-<br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>But human history suggests that without a social vessel to hold the wine of revelation, it tends to dribble<br>away.<br><hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br>Notice all the press around psychedelics without mentioning that the CIA monopolized LSD for its own malicious purposes for years, not Timothy Leary and hippies.<br><br>And just as the alternative narrative movie 'A Scanner Darkly' is being marketed for release.<br><br>And just as the San Francisco Chronicle story of 6/27/06 tells us that judge Alex Kozinski dismissed the case by Wayne Ritchie against an MK-ULTRA drugging agent named Ike Feldman who was secretly dosing people with LSD for the CIA back in 1957.<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/06/27/BAG2FJKN641.DTL">sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...JKN641.DTL</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>MKULTRA agent Ike Feldman, who worked in San Francisco, told Ritchie's lawyer, Sidney Bender, in a sworn deposition that he had drugged 10 to 12 people. Apparently referring to his subjects, he said, "You just back away and let them worry, like this nitwit, Ritchie,'' who had been given "a full head'' and "deserved to suffer.''<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br>And today's SF Chronicle has an unattributed blurb on page A3 under 'Digest' about Johns Hopkins University studying psilocybin's effects with the whitewashing conclusion that-<br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>The experiment was one of the first of its kind since research on hallucinogens ground to a halt in a backlash against the "turn on, tune in, drop out" drug culture of the late 1960s.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br>I suggest this disinformation and obfuscation is both covering the CIA's ass and re-demonizing the anti-war movement in a carefully staged preparation for next year's 40th anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love now that we know about the dirty tricks and crimes of COINTELPRO, Operation CHAOS, and MK-ULTRA.<br><br>Maybe, just maybe. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p216.ezboard.com/brigorousintuition.showUserPublicProfile?gid=hughmanateewins>Hugh Manatee Wins</A> at: 7/11/06 2:05 pm<br></i>
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Re: Suppression of MK-ULTRA, CHAOS, and COINTELPRO

Postby professorpan » Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:14 pm

<!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>I suggest this disinformation and obfuscation is both covering the CIA's ass and re-demonizing the anti-war movement in a carefully staged preparation for next year's 40th anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love now that we know about the dirty tricks and crimes of COINTELPRO, Operation CHAOS, and MK-ULTRA.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br>But of course you'd think that, Hugh :-)<br><br>The Hopkins study took a long time to bear fruit. I talked to some people "in the know" back in 1999 when they were tossing around the idea of how to construct the study. It has taken them since that time to get the official approvals for the protocol, submit the tons of paperwork, get the go-ahead to synthesize the psilocybin, solicit and approve volunteers, and to conduct the very rigorous study, write the paper, submit it, and have it published.<br><br>Unless I am one of those CIA puppeteers, you are incorrect. I suggest you practice techniques to detect confirmation bias in your thinking before you jump to conclusions the next time. <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Suppression of MK-ULTRA, CHAOS, and COINTELPRO

Postby Hugh Manatee Wins » Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:21 pm

<!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Unless I am one of those CIA puppeteers, you are incorrect.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br>The infowar liabilities of the internet have been in play since before 1999.<br><br>And I'm pointing to the co-opting of the universities AND the media, not you, Prof Pan. <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Suppression of MK-ULTRA, CHAOS, and COINTELPRO

Postby professorpan » Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:49 pm

You're missing my point, Hugh.<br><br>I watched this process as it unfolded, and in no way was it orchestrated to coincide with the release of "A Scanner Darkly," the Wayne Ritchie case, or the anniversary of the Summer of Love. The level of micromanagement that would be required to support your theory is beyond the pale of probability. <br><br>That's the problem with surface level analysis without an understanding of the complexities of how things really work -- it's easy to find dots to connect, but it's easy to mistake phantom connections for the real thing.<br><br>To take this one more step: Was <!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/jon_dennis/2006/07/syd.html">Syd Barrett</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--> "suicided" today as well, to further advance the memetic engineering? Or does shit -- even synchronistic and strangely poetic shit -- just <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>happen</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> sometimes? I couldn't think of a more appropriate irony than Syd -- the exemplar of psychedelic-induced madness -- dying on the day when groundbreaking research into the transcendent aspects of psychedelics is also front-page news. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p216.ezboard.com/brigorousintuition.showUserPublicProfile?gid=professorpan>professorpan</A> at: 7/11/06 2:53 pm<br></i>
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