Thursday, November 1, 2018

SLOUCHING, part 5

LSD AND THE CULT OF INTELLIGENCE (continued further)

Even while Dr. Harold Wolff simultaneously searched for a cure for Allen Dulles’ son and a magic neurological button to control human minds for America’s epic battle against communistic atheism, Clover Dulles was continuing her long course of psychotherapy with a very different kind of magician-doctor, the Austrian disciple of Freud, Dr. Carl Jung.(40) Psychoanalysis and the unconscious mind were fashionable subjects in the early 1950s, and the CIA could easily remain invisible behind a group of researchers who persuaded clients like Henry and Claire Booth Luce, Aldous Huxley and Ethel Kennedy to try LSD asd a short cut highway too mental health, chemical Christianity or the Freudian subconscious. Some of the acid psychiatrists and psychologists of the fifties might argue today that they were unaware of the “spooky” link to their own supplies of the drug. In fact, several did apply directly to Sandoz with research proposals.(41) However almost the entire point of the Social Sciences, especially psychology, from the end of World War II until well into the Cold War, was to support the work of the national security establishment and help develop more effective technologies of Psychological Warfare.(42) As early as 1954 all CIA field offices had been ordered to monitor all LSD research which came to their attention. The colorful career of a man known in the mid-1950s as “the Johnny Appleseed of LSD” helps to illustrate the ubiquitous interconnections between national security interests and mental health.

Captain Alfred M. Hubbard, a former OSS officer who had helped smuggle U.S. weapons to Canada for the British during official American neutrality before Pearl Harbor,(43) was described by Aldous Huxley as “the good Captain” who had his own “passport into the most exalted spheres of government, business and ecclesiastical polity.”(44) Huxley took his first LSD tripi in 1955 under Captain Al’s supervision. Indeed, Hubbard did have access to exalted spheres. He ran an alcoholism treatment program at Hollywood Hospital in Vancouver, BC where Ethel (Mrs. Robert) Kennedy was treated, prompting her Senator husband to interrogate FDA and National Institute of Mental Health representatives in 1966 about why they were attempting to thwart valuable research.(45) Hubbard was also in the uranium business when that commodity had the highest strategic significance. Captain Al, along with the British psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond who is credited with coming up with the term “psychedelic” during correspondence with the recently turned-on Huxley,(46) plotted to bring about world peace by giving individuals, politicians and social opinion leaders LSD to transform their belief systems. Hubbard claimed to have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in this project, traveling around the world scattering the acid he bought in bulk from Sandoz, alternately building his supply and giving it out to those whom he deemed worthy. Beverly Hills therapist Dr. Oscar Janiger told attendees at a 1979 “LSD reunion” that he sand his fellow psychiatric researchers and friends in Los Angeles had waited for the good Captain to arrive during those years, “…like the little old lady on the prairie waiting for a copy of the Sears Roebuck catalogue.”(47) Hubbard introduced many practices to “LSD therapy” in the fifties which would later become psychedelic rituals in the Haight, such as high dosages for profound religious experiences, strobe light enhancements, and the “guided trips” which later became the hallmark of Timothy Leary’s LSD methodology.(48)

It was the intersection in the 1950s between the secret MKULTRA program of human experimentation and the vogue of elite culture, the nexus of professional spies and Cold War strategists, Freudian shrinks and medical psychiatrists, which started the ripple effects that would circle back years later when Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey proselytized their acid dreams and called for a revolt of the guinea pigs. The secret drug research of American defense and intelligence agencies provided the necessary market for LSD to be manufactured in any quantity in the first place. If not for old OSS heros like William Donovan and Allen Dulles, and the new American reliance on psychological warfare to combat the threat of communist domination and avoid nuclear Armageddon, the future sacrament of the counterculture might have remained in a test tube on a shelf in Switzerland. The deep hostility in the sixties toward “Amerika” — its scientific authorities, the orthodoxy of anti-communism, and the class of gentleman spies and intellectuals who had conceived and founded its intelligence community — existed without knowledge of the fact that such establishment circles had been the original home of speculation about the power of LSD to transform the world and further the cause of peace.

It was hardly Wild Bill Donovan’s intention to effect wide distribution of a recreational hallucinogenic drug when he designed a postwar American intelligence service in 1944.(49) But a quarter of a century later four million Americans, most of them high school and college age and involved in radical politics, were attempting to chemically expand their own consciousness or perhaps mutate into some alien ideal of the hippie-as-superman or the Lizard King.(50) By the late 1960s, LSD had become an explosive catalyst in the political struggles of idealistic social reformers in the streets of America. A 1962 study by the Rand Corporation had suggested that LSD might operate as an antidote for political activism,(51) and indeed some historians now cite the expanding drug culture and excessive individualism it seemed to encourage as one likely cause of the abrupt scattering of the Movement coalition of New Left and Civil Rights organizations in late 1970.(52) Whether or not the Rand study suggests any specific intention by those who paid for it, the psychedelic counterculture, to the extent that it was based on the LSD experience (which it was, completely), must be considered first of all as one ironic legacy of the founders of American Intelligence, and an unintended consequence of weapons and tactics chosen in the epic ideological struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Footnotes

40. Ibid. Clover Dulles began Jungian psychotherapy ion 1945 in Switzerland, after being introduced to Jung by Mary Bancroft, who had become Allen Dulles’ mistress during the war and who was also describes as a “groupie” of the great theoretician of abstract consciousness and metaphysics. Allen Dulles consulted Jung himself for advice on how to influence German culture toward democracy after the defeat of Hitler.
41. Dr. Oscar Janiger, who ran four of the studies in which Adele Davis participated, and Dr. Max Rinkel, the first person to bring LSD to the United States, were notable examples. (See Lee and Shlain.) However almost the whole point of the Social Sciences, especially psychology, from the end of World War II until well into the Cold War, was to support the worl of the national security establishment and help develop more effective technologies of psychological warfare.
42. Simpson, Christopher; Science of Coercion: Communication Research & Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960; New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. People like Oscar Janiger had to willfully isolate themselves from the relevance of their work to strategic Cold War policy. Another view of this same connection is the evaluation that after 1991 that the failure of U.S. Intelligence to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union amounted to no less than the failure of the social sciences themselves. LaQueur, Walter; The Dream That Failed: Reflections on the Soviet Union; New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.
43. Lee and Shlain, pages 44-45. Hubbard was later given an official pardon and kudos by President Truman for his illegal activity, and he was still important enough decades later to receive birthday greetings from President Ronald Reagan (Lee and Shlain, page 293).
44. Huxley, Aldous. Moksha: Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (1931-1963). Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer, eds. New York: Stonehill, 1977. Quoted in Lee and Shlain, page 48.
45. Lee and Shlain, page 93. The CIA had begun shutting off the supply of LSD and withdrawing support from private researchers as early as 1962, but beginning in 1965 new anti-drug laws made restrictions much tighter. Sandoz stopped marketing LSD entirely in 1966.
46. Ibid, page 54-55.
47. Quoted in Lee and Shlain, page 51.
48. See especially Stevens, Jay; Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream. New York: Harper & Row, 1987. Also see Lee and Shlain for many later comments and speculations about Hubbard from those who knew him as “the Johnny Appleseed of LSD.” It is almost impossible to imagine that Richard Helms and Sid Gottlieb at CIA were not informed of Al Hubbard’s exploits, though Hubbard himself convincingly claimed to hate the CIA for turning his beloved acid into a chemical warfare weapon.
49. The best source on this is Troy, Thomas F., Donovan and the CIA: A History of the Establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency; Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1981. This book was originally conceived to satisfy the curiosity of CIA employees about the history of their own institution. It was classified SECRET when it was finished in 1975, then re-edited and declassified. Donovan’s uniquely conspiratorial personality and his fascination with psychological warfare come through in a striking way, though the author did not purposely highlight those traits at all.
50. Morrison, Jim. “Not to Touch the Earth” song lyrics on the compact disc Waiting for the Sun by The Doors. Elecktra/Asylum Records, 1968. The final, exhausted line following a crashing rock crescendo at the end of this song is, “I am the Lizard King… I can do anything!” This may be a quintessential symbolic expression of the most radical aspects of the sixties cultural revolution. Rock writer Danny Sugarman described his first encounter with The Doors’ lead singer (“Nothing Would Ever Be the Same” reprinted in Bloom, Alexander and Wini Breines; Takin’ it to the streets: A Sixties Reader; New York: Oxford University Press, 1995; page 299) as a personally apocalyptic event.Jim Morrison enthralled and terrorized his audiences. It wasn’t even acting, he really was insane; some creature-sorcerer, he wanted to be insane, just to refuse an insulting status as mere humanity.
51. McLothlin, William H. Long-Lasting effects of LSD on Certain Attitudes In Normals: An Experimental Proposal. The Rand Corporation: May, 1962.
52. Professor Nancy MacLean. Lectures to History C91, “The Sixties.” Northwestern University, Winter 1998.

(NEXT — PSYCHEDELIC GENERATIONS: ADELLE DAVIS AND GEORGE LEISEY)

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