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Mavericks of the Mind and Voices from the Edge contain thought-provoking interviews by David Jay Brown with over forty of the leading thinkers of our time on the subject of consciousness.

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Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse

 

In his latest interview collection, David Jay Brown has once again gathered some of the most interesting minds of today to consider the future of the human race, the mystery of consciousness, the evolution of technology, psychic phenomena, and more. The book includes conversations with celebrated visionaries and inspirational figures such as Ram Dass, Noam Chomsky, Deepak Chopra, and George Carlin. Part scientific exploration, part philosophical speculation, and part intellectual rollercoaster, the free-form discussions are original and captivating, and offer surprising revelations. Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalpyse is a new look into the minds of some of our groundbreaking leaders and is the perfect gift for science fiction and philosophy fans alike.

 
 

 

Psychiatric Alchemy

"I get more from wht great minds have written about human behavior, than any psychiatric text."

with Oscar Janiger

 

Oscar Janiger was born on February 8, 1918, in New York City. He received his MA. in cell physiology from Columbia, and his M.D. from the UC Irvine School of Medicine, where he served on the faculty in their Psychiatry Department for over twenty years. His research interests have been wide, and he describes himself as a "tinkerer. " He established the relationship between hormonal cycling and pre-menstrual depression in women, and he discovered blood proteins that are specific to male homosexuality. His studies of the Huichol Indians in Mexico revealed that centuries of peyote use do not cause any type of chromosomal damage. He is perhaps best known for establishing the relationship between LSD and creativity in a study of hundreds of artists. In addition to his research interests he has also maintained a long-standing private psychiatric practice, which he continues to this day.

Back in the late fifties and early sixties when LSD was still legal, Oscar incorporated LSD into some of his therapy, and is responsible for "turning on " many well-known literary figures and Hollywood celebrities, including Anais Nin and Cary Grant. More recently Oscar has been involved in studying dolphins in their natural environment, and is the founder of the Albert Hofman Foundation--an organization whose purpose is to establish a library and world information center dedicated to the scientific study of human consciousness. He has also just completed a book entitled A Different Kind of Healing, about how doctors treat themselves. Jeanne St. Peter and I interviewed Oscar in the living room of his home in Santa Monica on January 3, 1990. Surrounding virtually every wall in his house is the largest and most interesting library Iíve ever encountered. Oscar spoke to us about his scientific research, creativity and psychopathology, the problems he sees with psychiatry, and his discovery of the psycho-active effects of isolated DMT. Oscar is an extremely warm, highly energetic man. There is a deep sincerity to his manner. He chuckles a lot, and one feels instantly comfortable around him.

DJB

 

DJB: Could you begin by telling us what it was that originally inspired your interest in psychiatry and the exploration of consciousness?

OSCAR: I was about seven years old and I was living on a farm in upstate New York. The nearest neighbor was a mile away. I would go for a walk, visit them, play, and then come home in the evening. This was a wild kind of country setting, and I had to get home before dark. Some evenings I would be coming home and the scene around me on the path was filled with menacing figures; pirates and all kinds of cut-throats ready to grab me and do me in. There was a place I called the sunken mine, where people had supposedly drowned and there was a frayed rope hanging from a tree. All of these menacing things gave the evening a very sinister cast, and Iíd finally run to get home. Certain evenings Iíd make the trip, and everything was just light and airy. Things around me were filled with joy and pleasure. The birds were singing, rabbits, squirrels and other animals were having a wonderful Disneyland time. So one day I was thinking, My God, thatís a magic road! One time itís this way, another time itís that way. So I puzzled over that. I finally came to the conclusion that, if it wasnít a magic road, then I was doing something to these surround- ings and if I was doing it then I could change it. So the next time I came back from my neighbourís place, and everything got murky, strange and sinister, I said, "No! If Iím doing this then bring back the rabbits, bring back the squirrels, bring back the fairies and letís lighten this thing up." Sure enough, it changed. That was the beginning of my interest in consciousness. It was all crystallized into a marvelous saying from the Talmud - "things are not the way they are, theyíre the way we are." From then on, when Iíd get into situations, Iíd determine what aspect that was within me was being projected outward, and what was a reflection of the world that others can validate along with me. That, of course, has been the theme of my work in therapy and as a scientist. The important distinctions regarding projection are among the fundamental things that one has to solve to understand how people behave and the contradictions in their behaviour. Other inspirations are simply those of curiosity. I was enormously curious about how things worked. I was always asking why? why? why? Then I got to medical school and the why extended to the brain and the activities of the nervous system, which seemed to me to be the largest why of all. Aslo, I had personal experiences with people who had become, I guesss youíd say, psychotic, or who acted bizzarrely or strangely. These matters have been of great interest to me.

DJB: How do you define consciousness?

OSCAR: Well, I was afraid you were going to ask me that. When you say define something, Iím caught between what I recognize as the accepted definition - the sources that come out of dictionaries, legal definitions and all that stuff that belongs in the pragmatic world - and the definitions that come from my intuition. The Oxford English Dictionary offers at least six or seven varieties of definition for consciousness, and several have entirely different connotations. When you get down to contradictions like being conscious of oneís unconscious, it getís pretty strange and labyrinthine. I would say the conventional definition contains the idea of being aware of oneís self - a sort of self-reflection. Or you can describe it operationally as being the end product of a complex nervous system that eventually produces a state that allows us to be in some way congnizant of ourselves and the enviroment. It allows us to extrap- olate into future events, into past events, and allow us to take a position in oneís imagination so we can examine realities that are not responsive to the ordinary, daily context of the world around us. Many of these things require qualifications, but let me then stay with the word as something that gives us a feeling that distinguishes us as individuals, that gives us a sense of self, and sense of self-reflection and awareness.

JEANNE:: Many years ago, while you were studying at Columbia, you had some problems with your high school teaching job. What happened?

OSCAR: Well, I was practice teaching at the same high school that I had attended, Erasmus Hall in New York, the second oldest high school in the country. I was teaching general science with the lady who taught me, Miss Thompson. I took over her class, and she would sit in the back of the room. So, I was teaching astronomy to these sophomore or junior students. I borrowed a ladder from the custodian and I bought a bunch of gold stars. I spent the entire night pasting them on the ceiling in the form of the constellations. When I wound up it was getting light outside, and I thought I had done this incredible job. So the next day when we had the class, I said with a grand gesture, "Weíre studying the stars - look up." All the kids looked up, everyone was fired up and we had a good time learning about all the stars. That evening, as I was going home, I discovered a note stuck in my letter-box from Mr McNeal, the principal of the school. It said, "See me." So the next day I went to see him. He said, "The custodian told me that you pasted things on the ceiling." He shook his head and said, "Iím afraid youíre going to have to remove those, thatís defacing school property," and he just waved me aside. I spent all the next night scraping the stars off the ceiling, thinking about the errors of my ways. A week later, I decided that we would study eclipses. I said to the kids in the first row, "You bring in the lemons." To the second row I said, "You bring oranges." The third row I told, "You bring in grapefruits." To the fourth row I said, "You bring in knitting needles." So they were all very eager and they came back with these required things. I said, okay, the grapefruits are the suns, the oranges are the planets, the lemons are the moons, and the knitting needles go through the planets to make them tilted and spin around accordingly. So we had a ball, but a big commotion ensued. During this general upheaval, the door opens and McNeal puts his head in and pulls back again. So sure enough, in my little box, thereís a note that says, "See me immediately". So I see him, and this time heís very unhappy. I said, "Dr McNeal let me explain about the sun and the moon and the oranges and the lemons," but I couldnít explain it. He said, "Did you know that the teachers on the floor were complaining about you? You were making a lot of noise." I said, "Yeah, well, you know itís very difficult to get the spatial relationships right." (laughter) He said, "I donít understand. You come from Teacherís College, thatís the finest college in the country for teachers, itís the cradle of American education. It was Deweyís shrine. Donít they teach you about discipline in the classroom?" I said, "Gee, yeah, I guess so." He says, "Well, your classroom was in chaos!" I said, "Gee, I....but let me tell you about the oranges and the lemons." He said, "What are you talking about?!" The guy was ready to explode, he just couldnít handle it. He said, "I donít under- stand this, Mr Janiger, but Iím sure that we can work it out. Now please understand weíre here to keep discipline in our classrooms." I said, "Okay." So I continued teaching and one day we had to study fermentation. That was my undoing. I brought into class that day, a loaf of bread which was covered with penicillin mold, a flask of vinegar, a few pieces of blue cheese and a little flask of wine. I put them out on the laboratory table and I said, "These are the useful and harmful results of fermentation. Then after class I said, "If any of you want to come up, you can sample a little bit, you can see how the cheese tastes, and so on. So one kid came up and nothing would please him, but he had to have a slug of the wine. Then I get the note, "See me immediately!"

DJB & JEANNE:: (simultaneously) Uh oh!

OSCAR: I went to see McNeal. He shook his head and said, "Iíve been a principal for twenty years and Iíve never run into this in my life. You will have to go back and see your professor because youíre under suspension right now." I said, "Whatís wrong?" "Wine, wine! You brought spirits into the classroom!" I said, "Now let me tell you about fermentation." "Please!" he said, "donít tell me about it, I donít wanít to hear about it!" He was apoplectic. So I go back and see my professor, the holy of holies, the teacher of teachers. He was perplexed and then said to me, "Thereís something you should know. Weíre here to teach children, not to entertain them." Well, that phrase broke loose in me and I got very upset. I got up and said, "You know what professor? You can take your goddamn class in general science and stuff it." For weeks after, heíd call me and write me letters saying, we can work this out, but I refused. That was my stint at teaching in high school. It was the best thing that ever happened, Iíd still be teaching high school today if it hadnít.

DJB: Youíve used the term "dry schizophrenia" in desribing a creative artist. Could you explain what you mean by this and what similarities and differences you see between certain aspects of madness and the process of creativity?

OSCAR: Well, of course thatís always been on my mind. I remember that I could make the wallpaper do all kinds of tricks when I had a fever, and I could sit - if youíll excuse me - on the john, and watch the tiles recompose themselves and make patterns. Therefore I suspected that there was a part of my mind which had a certain influence over the world around me, and that, under certain conditions, it can take on novel and interesting forms. The dreams I had were very vivid, very real, and there were times when I found it hard to distinguish between the dream life and what we might call the waking life. So there was a very rich repository of information that was somewhat at my disposal at times, sometimes breaking through at odd moments. I later on thought that could be a place that one could draw a great deal of inspiration from. So I studied the conditions under which people have these releases, breakthroughs, or have access to other ways and forms of perceiving the world around them and changing their reality. When I studied the works of people who profess to go to creative artists and ask them how they did it and what it was about, I realized that what we had by way of understanding creativity was a tremend- ous collection of highly idiosyncratic and subjective responses. There was no real way of dealing with the creative process as a state you could refer to across the board, or how one could encourage it. Thatís how I got the idea for a study in which we could deliberately change consciousness in an artist using LSD, given the same reference object to paint before and during the experience. Then I would try to make an inference from the difference between the artwork outside of the drug experience and while they were having it. In doing so I was struck by the fact that the paintings, under the influence of LSD, had some of the attributes of what looked like the work done by schizophrenics. If you would talk to the artists in terms of the everyday world, the answers would be very strange and tangential. Then I began to look into the whole sticky issue of psycho- pathology and creativity. I found that there are links between the creative state and certain qualities that people say they have when theyíre creating, that were very much like some of the perceptions of people who were schizophrenic or insane. I began to notice what made the difference. It seemed that the artists were able to maintain a certain balance, riding the edge, as it were. I thought of creativity as a kind of dressage, riding a horse delicately with your knees. The artist was able to ride his creative Pegasus, putting little pressure on his ability to control the situation, enabling him to just master it, while allowing the rest to flow freely so that the creative spirit can take itís own course. The artist is faced with the dilemma of allowing this uprush of material to enter into their conscious mind, much like trying to take a drink from a high-pressure fire hose. This allows them to integrate their technique and training, and still be able to keep relatively free of preconceived ideas, formulated notions or obligatory reality. In that state they were able to harness it enough so that the overriding symptoms of psychosis were not present, but every other aspect of their being at that time seemed as though they were in a semi-psychotic state. So I evoked the term, "dry schizophrenia" where a person was able to control the surroundings and yet be "crazy" at the same time, crazy in the sense that they could use this mode of consciousness for their work and creative ability. Thereís a lot of documentation about psychopathology and creativity but I think itís all from a central pool, kind of a well-spring of the creative imagination that we can draw from. It equally gives itís strenth to psychosis in one sense, or breaks through in creativity, theological revelation in the world of the near-dying and people who are seriously ill, and so on. All of that provides us with a look into this cauldron, this very dynamic, efficacious part of the brain, that for some reason or other is kept away from us by a semi-permeable membrane that could be ruptured in different ways, under different circumstances. I recall reading that James Joyce had a daughter named Lucia who schizophrenic. She was the sorrow of his life. Upon persuasion from Joyceís patron, both of them were brought to Carl Jung. This was against Joyceís wishes because he didnít like psychiatrists. Jung examined Lucia, then finally came in and sat down with Joyce. Joyce said to him that he thought Lucia was a greater artist and writer than he was. Can you imagine? So Jung said, "That may be true, but the two of you are like deep-sea divers. You go into the ocean, a rich, interesting, dramatic setting, with your baskets, and you fill them up with improbable creatures of the deep. The only difference between the two of you is that you can come up to the surface, and she canít."

DJB: Basically itís like the difference between being able to swim in the ocean or being....

OSCAR: Caught by the waves and dashed to pieces, right. Thereís a wonderful book that describes the process of this ever-changing remarkable flux of consciousness that Sherington called "the enchanted loom". Itís called The Road to Xanadu by John Livingston Lowes. I recommend it highly as an exercise in the ways of the imagination.

DJB: Could you tell us about the thought-experiment that you devised to categorize what you refer to as "delusions of explanation?"

OSCAR: Imagine that someone is taken quietly at night while theyíre sleeping, out of their bed, and are then deposited in one of the most unearthly places on the planet - Mammoth Cave. We found by repeated experiments that upon awakening, there are only five explanations that someone in a Western culture would come up with and I refer to these main headings or rubrics as "delusions of explanation." They are: (not in order of frequency) I must be dead, I must be dreaming, someone or something has played a trick on me, Iíve gone crazy or I am in Mammoth cave. Through my experience in mental hospitals, Iíve found that schizophrenics will try to explain the extraordinary nature of their experience by using one of these basic rubrics. In our culture explanations for unexplainable phenomena are rather sparse. My supposition is that other cultures may have different explanations for such phenomena.

JEANNE:: What are your thoughts on the mind-body problem?

OSCAR: This is related to the problem of consciousness, but isnít quite the same thing. The mind-body problem is, I guess, as old as the human race. It has to do with how the "soup becomes a spark." How is it that the material world, and the material substrate of ourselves, can give rise to something that seems to be of a different universal order, that of thought? Obviously consciousness stands somewhere between this maneuver of going from material things to thought. There are several different propositions that occur. Brain function simultaneously coexists with thought processes, and this interacts in a dynamic fashion. Thatís one theory. Another theory is that the brain, being so complex and convoluted, spawns or gives rise to what we experience as thinking, which seems to have a semi-independent existence. This is a dualistic approach to the problem. The third notion is simply that mind is also spirit, and this is imposed on the brain from the outside in some strange way. This is a theological sort of explanation. The vitalist notion claims that the life-force gives rise to, or at least coexists with, the soul, which after the death of the material host, leaves and finds somewhere else to reside. Iíve never had a problem with the notion that material substance could give rise to immaterial energy. Itís not odd to conceive of the fact that you can build a machine out of material substances and that out of it comes electrical energy, or that you can press a button and out of these batteries comes a beam of light from your flashlight. So the light doesnít seem to me any more miraculous in relationship to the batteries than does the thought process coming out of the material aspect of the brain.

DJB: Or the same goes for magnetic fields. Theyíre defined as non-material regions of influence on the material world.

OSCAR: Yes. You could make a machine where the electricity could turn itself back and regulate itís own existence to some extent. When I worked with Barbara Brown in her bio-feedback laboratory in Sepulveda V.A, I was able to see my brainwaves in the form of patterns on a screen. I got the notion that as Iím watching my brainwaves, Iím changing them at the same time. Theyíre constantly being influenced by my watching them, so Iím never really seeing the objective evidence of my own brain. You could argue that if someone else was watching my brainwaves they might get a different notion, but Iím watching them, Iím taking that information in and in turn sending out something else which is subtly influenced by what I just took in. This has been called the auto-cerebroscope; a device where you see something happening that projects what your brain is registering, but in witnessing it, you change its content. Do you ever see things as they really are? This philosophical dilemma is never more clearly outlined than when under these conditions.

DJB: What are some of the main problems that you see with the state of psychiatry today and how do you think we can improve it for the future?

OSCAR: Boy, youíve really got a tiger by the tail there! I think that the material emphasis of psychiatry and neuropathology of the last century, where everything was reduced to the simplistic notion of the mind as a switchboard, and all illnesses were the result of patho- logical processes in the brain itself, didnít set well. It did not provide a dynamic framework for understanding human behavior. So when the emphasis changed, and Freud and others came on the scene for modern dynamic psychology, I suspect the pendulum swung equally too far in the opposite direction. The heyday of psychoanalysis and depth psychology then ushered in a kind of behavioral construct that seemed to be dependent only upon the dynamic thought process, and left very little to any kind of physical explanation. So I think we were trapped in constant psychological formulations of all our behavior. This was mirrored very well in my own studies. I was interested in finding out the way that the chemistry of the brain and the state of the body influences our thoughts and the way we feel. The trouble was I coudnít find a suitable research prospect. I couldnít get a definitive case where I could show that the state of the body influenced thinking and feeling in a specific way. That was supplied serendipitously by a lady who came in and told me that a week prior to her period she experiences profound depression. Suddenly a light went on and I said, "Thatís what Iím looking for!" I realized that an optimal experimental subject for human behavior was a woman because of her menstrual period. She is a wonderful biological metronome that you can count on because of this reliable episodic lunar event. So using that concept, I began to plan a series of behavioral events employing this strategy. I found that some women regularly, about a week before their period, have terrible changes in their general demeanor: their behavior, feelings and thinking. I made a study of three or four good clinical subjects, who went into serious states of mental change around that time. In studying them I was struck by the fact that all of them seemed compelled to give me psychological explanations of their behavior. For example, a woman would say, "Well, I had a fight with my husband yesterday, thatís what made me depressed." And I said, "Yes, thatís interesting because you had a fight with him last week and it didnít make you depressed. And every month you have a fight with your husband exactly at the same time and you get depressed." She agreed, it seemed very odd. So then I went to the psychoanalytical texts. They explained this phenomena by saying, well a woman is afraid that in a week or so sheís going to bleed. This suggests to her that she is being castrated and her penis was removed, so why shouldnít she be depressed? (laughter) Another analytical interpretation is that this fear is a ubiquitous reminder of her feminine identity and that she was therfore inferior. Thatís a good one. (laughter) I decided to use progesterone as a means of seeing if I could break into the problem of premenstrual depression. I took this woman and I presented her case to my residents when she was depressed. I said, "Iím going to allow you to ask her any question you want, except one, which Iíll keep to myself." At the end of the presentation I asked the group, "Well, what do you make of this woman?" These residents, who knew quite a bit of psychiatry said, "Thereís no question that she has classical clinical depression." Since pure progesterone is not absorbed through the gut, you have to give it either by injection or vaginal suppository. So I devised an experiment. I double-blinded my progesterone. I injected the material randomly and didnít know which was which. Then I charted the symptoms and found, when I broke the code, that progesterone had an extremely salutory effect in relieving these women of premenstrual symptoms. I began to see clear evidence of a substance in the body that, in short supply, was markedly influencing the behavior of these women. I gave a talk before the Medical Society and outlined what I had done. I said that premenstrual depression could best be treated by looking at this as a hormonal problem, and that it had certain implications for the way the body influences the mind. The people in the group were skeptical and some said, "How do you know that it isnít some unconscious factor thatís still operating regardless?" They said, "You havenít proven that she still isnít worried about her castration fears. Youíve only proven that if you give her progesterone, that could be modified, but you havenít attacked the basis of the problem." How could I do that? Psychoanalysis has an answer for everything. I went to two of my brightest women medical students, and I asked, "How would you like to spend the summer in Europe? I want you to go to all the primate centers there, and find out, do great apes have a menstrual cycle similar to humans? I want you to talk to the keepers and find out if they have any reason to suspect that their behavior is any different during their menstrual cycle." For the next three months I had letters from all the European zoological gardens. We were excited to discover that in the Berlin zoo, Fritz, who took care of a female gorilla named Olga said, "A week before her period I canít get near Olga, sheís just a mess. All she does is throw all kinds of shit at me." (laughter) At my next opportunity to present I said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I have discovered that the gorillas have feminine identification problems, and they also have castration fears, (laughter) because they can get very upset before their period." Everyone applauded and started to laugh. That was the beginning of my understanding of how mental and emotional difficulties could be correlated with oneís biochemistry. This is the basis for the treatment of depression by altering oneís neurochemistry.

DJB: So part of the problem was that people were locked into the idea that the mind could only be affected by the body and not the other way around?

OSCAR: Yes. I think the over-emphasis on psychodynamics, in deriving everything from psychological theory, retarded us from reaching the same conclusions that the British made. For a long time this perspective stale-mated progress in American psychiatry. In fact, it was difficult to achieve any academic status in psychiatry without having taken psychoanalytic training. At present, psychiatric residents are less inclined to enter psychoanalytical training programs, which may reflect their opinion on pscyhoanalysis as an effective treatment.

JEANNE:: So, in Amercian psychiatry, there was an initial reluctance to use drugs to treat emotional problems?

OSCAR: Right. In that sense European psychiatry was much more progressive. In fact, most of the innovations in psychiatry came from Europe. And you would wonder why, considering the status of American medical research and the abundance of psychiatrists. The British were making strong gains with psychotropic medication that we adopted later on. When you come to think of it, Freud was European, as well as Jung. Menduna in Hungary and Bini and Cerlucci in Italy were the first to use insulin and electro-shock therapy. Neuroleptic drugs were first developed in France. Psycho-drama and Gestalt therapy had European and South African origins. The basis for Behavioral therapies originated in Russia. Itís quite remarkable how little innovation we have brought to the field. Weíre good at taking what they give us and grinding it out, but we have a poor record at innovation in the field of psychiatric treatment. Also, psychiatrists have been more locked into their therapeutic systems with little flexibility. In my LSD experiments we ran close to a thousand people, and we found that psychiatrists tended to have negative experiences. The ministers were next. The artists had the most positive experiences. It would seem that the psychiatrist has a strong investment in a particular norm or standard of reality.

JEANNE:: What about in the field of psychobiology and psychopharmacology?

OSCAR: In psychobiology the situation is a little different. I think a lot of the research in psychobiology is relatively free of the psychological bias than the clinical work, and in that respect, more progressive. Psychopharmacology is where the action is. The medicines have been remarkable. Even so, thereís been no remarkable new anti-depressants. Thereís been a span of about twenty years between the last ones, which were the tricyclics, to the new ones of Prozac and Zoloft, which came out recently. All in all, the psychologists have stolen a great march on the psychiatrists. Theyíre more accessible and they speak a language which the public finds easier to understand, and they pander to the publicís fear of medicines and pills.

DJB: Why do you think that thereís such a fear and resistance against using chemicals to heal the mind?

OSCAR: Weíre a drug-phobic culture. Itís a contradiction in terms because we consume more drugs than in any other country. We make a strange distinction between various kinds of pills. Somebody ought to do a research paper on that, on why certain pills are acceptable and others are not. You see people who take handfuls of vitamins in the morning, and they go to a herbalist and take herbs which they know nothing about. But many have great reservations about "drugs".

DJB: I was talking to a friend about anti-depressants. He said, "I think people should be able to do it by themselves and not rely on drugs." But then at the end of the phone call, he starts telling me about this herbalist that recommended something for his allergies that he felt had an amazing effect. (laughter)

OSCAR: Yes. We have this funny schizophrenia about pills.

JEANNE:: What is your view on bridging alternative medical modalities, such as acupuncture and herbalism, with modern methods?

OSCAR: For ten years I was Research Director on the board of an organization call the Homes Center. We gave sums of money to scientifically validate unconventional and unorthodox treatment methods. So you can see where Iím at. The Homes Center was the first and for a long time, the only organization to be doin that. One of the grants was for Stephen LaBergeís work in lucid dreaming. Some of the other work we funded was in support of energy healing, biofeedback and acupuncture. So Iím very much in favor of the scientific exploration of alternative methods, but not just accepting them unreservedly without discrimination.

DJB: You told me about the theory of an emoting machine that embodied the complex array of emotions. Could you explain this concept to us?

OSCAR: It was an extension of things I had seen and read, but I put it in a new form, which hypothesized that emotions have a kind of quantitative nexus. That means that they are composed of particles, just like photons in a beam of light. In the final analysis emotions are a form of energy that have a pulse or quanta like the electrons in an electrical field. Once you assume that emotions can be quantified and measured then they no longer need to be seen as this vague, amorphous thing that just pours over you, that seems to arise in some strange, spontaneous way, and has no form or substance. We know something of that part of the brain that specifically regulates emotions -- itís called the limbic system. Here, emotions are engendered, and in some way made appropriate for the occasion. I see emotions as relating to cognitive experience in the same way a music score relates to a movie. The musical score is not discersive, it doesnít tell you anything about the specific action, but it lends a kind of overtone, a richness to the experience that fleshes it all out. For example, itís hard to imagine seeing Chariots of Fire without the musical score. I think emotions act in very much the same way. I believe that emotions can be traced and channeled. Some day we may have a way of regulating emotions, and devise a system of emotions just like we have a grammer of logic or cognitive effects. In theory, it is possible that a machine could be made that could emote, but weíre a long way off from that. In order to do this, emotions would have to be reduced to some formula, using the analogy of color. They are like the three primary colors. Out of red, blue and yellow, every other nuance of color is created. I think somebody once said that it runs into the thousands, the discernible hues we can see. Thousands, can you imagine that? So I figured you can get a vast array of emotions from three primary emotions. Fear, anger and love would seem to be the most basic and reasonable choices. Out of fear, love and anger, mixed in the proper tinctures and proportions, you might get such complicated emotions as indignation, apprehension and so on. All these fancy sounding ones. But there are two which donít seem to fit in. One is curiosity and the other is disgust. I had a lot of fun with this, itís really off-the-wall stuff. Letís assume that this is possible, that the body is equipped to create fear, love and anger in some way. The limbic region may be the generator. We found that emotions are mediated through the nervous system and they are transmitted through specialized neurons in the form of chemical messengers called neuro-transmitters which seem to carry an emotional charge. It is a very elegant way of thinking, that emotions are transmitted through this chemical interchange. That was proven by the fact that if you alter the chemistry, then you alter the emotional content of the mind or the brain. So you now have a beginning theory for emotions as having some substrate in material things that could be quantified. This leads to some way of building an emotional model that may work.

JEANNE:: What is your view with regard to the evolutionary process of male-female relationships?

OSCAR: The word relationship in this context is a bothersome one. I think men and women have certain attributes that are native to their individual biology. How they manage to coordinate them is something that requires a tremendous amount of tolerance and understanding for what is unfamiliar to the other person. I think that men and women have to somehow appreciate the differences between them, and not assume that either of those differences have a more superior quality than the other. And there are differences, I think the danger is assuming there are none. I think itís an issue of how mature the human race gets. Itís the difficulty in discriminating between the biological and cultural differences and their resolution. The problem here is that they are hopelessly mixed up, and that has to be sorted out before you can say anything definitive about it. For example, all kinds of cultural values are placed on behavior which has nothing to do with biology.

DJB: Well culture and biology are quite intertwined.

OSCAR: Yes, theyíre intertwined, but there is a way of studying this in relative respect to the circumstances involved. Now we see you have a group of people who feel that men and women live differently in different conditions. That is to say, there was a time in the world when things were primitive and presumably better, and our modern problems are really the result of industrialization and male supremacy and egotism. Women, in an effort to become compensatory have become goddesses. These changes in historical conditions made these differences exaggerated, but I wouldnít go any further with that, because itís too easy to fall into established predjudices on this issue. I think basically women make an extraordinary contribution in their own biology, so to speak, and itís mental equivalence, and men make their contribution.

JEANNE:: What kind of philosophy do you think people should adopt in regard to social responsibility in general?

OSCAR: I think what we need more than anything else is enlight -ened self-interest. This is not the same as selfishness. Selfishness is gaining something at the expense of others. Enlightened self-interest is somehow nourishing and gaining something in terms of ourselves and what we need, not at the expense of others. Unfortunately, instead of that we have charity and sacrifice which only compounds the problem. You can see clearly that Iím not one of the holy types. Let your mothers and fathers take care of themselves. Freud said the most important story he every heard was of a mother bird carrying a little bird on itís back. There were three little birds and she carried them across the channel. In the middle of the channel the mother bird said, "When I am old and sick, would you carry me on your back?" The first bird said, "Yes mother, Iíd be happy to." And the mother turned over and dumped the bird. The second bird, the same problem. The third bird however, said, "No, I wonít carry you on my back, Iíll carry my children on my back." Think about it. If everyone here did that, weíd have no more problems. Your obligation is to carry your children, not your mother on your back. If she did the right thing, you wouldnít have to carry her. She would have already prepared, like youíre going to prepare for your children. Thatís what Iím talking about -- enlightened self-interest.

DJB: Oz, youíve worked with and interacted with many of the outstanding minds of our time. Who have been some of the most important influences in your development and where have you found inspiration when you needed it?

OSCAR: Well, Aldous Huxley has been a real source of inspiration to me. Let me give you an example. I was on the stage of the Ebel Theater as part of a three doctor team, to examine a man who professed to be able to lower his blood pressure, stick pins through his cheeks, and remain buried alive in some way where he could get no air. I was to examine him, along with the other two doctors, to see that he wasnít faking. He stuck a hatpin right through his hand. It didnít bleed, and we reported that dutifully to the audience. He said he would then lower his blood pressure to 50 over 30, a level at which I felt a person couldnít live. I took his blood pressure and it was high - about 180 over 110, and I reported that. Then he huffed and puffed and went into a trance. He got rigid, and then we took his blood pressure again. It was 110 over 70 and I reported that to the audience. That evening we met with Aldous, his wife Laura, Anais Nin and her husband Rupert, and this issue came up and I recounted my experience at the theater that morning. And then I said, "So you can clearly see that this man was faking. He said he would lower his blood pressure to 50 over 30, and he didnít." I went on to lament that so many of these so-called miracle workers are charlatans. I was very self-righteous. Then Aldous looked at me. He said, (with a British accent) "Dr Janiger." I said, "Yes?" He said, "Donít you think it was remarkable that he was able to lower it at all!" (laughter) A light went on in my head. From that moment on, I got a lesson that I always remembered. Then there was Alan Watts, who I had the good fortune to know and to be his physician for part of his life. He was a remarkably intelligent man, probably the best conversationalist I ever met. A witty, very open, candid person - great guy. He lived his life to the hilt. We went to see one of his television shows in which he was a featured guest. The audience was filled with hippy-type kids and everyone was fascinated. During the performance he was smoking these little cigarellos, theyíre like little round cigars. So at the end of the performance a hand shot up. "Mr Watts. You tell us about life, and how to be free and liberated. Then why are you smoking these terrible cigars?" Old Alan, when he would get excited, one of his eyes would drift over to the corner of his head. He had this funny look and I knew something was coming. He looked at the young man and he said, "Do you know why I smoke these little cigars? Because I like it!" (laughter) So thatís Alan for you, and it tells the story of his whole life. If thatís Zen, more power to him. Another incomparable man was Gerald Heard. He could get up, give a lecture, and you could transcribe it, with footnotes and all, and it was ready for publication. It came out flawlessly. It was a seamless performance. Somebody in an audience once asked him, "Could you say a few words on architecture?" So Gerald replied, "What kind of architecture?" He said, "Oh, British architecture." "What year of British architecture?" He said, "Well, letís say about the end of the nineteenth century." "Precisely what period are you referring to young man?" He said, "Well, the 1890ís." Gerald said, "Would you say the first half of the 1890ís?" He said, "Yes." (laughter) Then Gerald went off for an hour and a half on architecture in England during the first half of the 1890ís. It was a virtuoso performance. Aldous said to me that he thought Gerald was the best informed man alive. Coming from Aldous, that was quite a compliment. Then there were people I didnít know, but read. Great influences were Joyce, Camus and Bertrand Russell. These were people who meant a lot to me. An incomparable writer named B.Travin added a lot to my understanding of human nature. I get more from what great minds have written about human behavior, than any psychiatric text. Sometimes I feel that I have learned more psychology from Dostoyevsky and Conrad than I have from Freud. I approach my practice that way; by interacting with people as if they were protaganists in their own dramas. That way you canít be biased. It was the way Proust described the Tower of Combrey. He said, if you really want to know the tower you must see it in the morning light, and in the evening light. You must see it in the winter time covered with snow. You must see it in the summer time. You must see it in the mist, and you must see it sometimes with eyes half closed. You must see it from above and from below. You must see it from the east, north, south and west. Then youíll begin to know the Tower of Combrey.

DJB: Have you ever given any thought to what happens to human consciousness after physical death?

OSCAR: Iíve given a lot of thought to it, (laughter) but Iím afraid not much productive thought. My bias is that when the current is shut off, we somehow lose our sense of individuality. That is the only way I can put it. Shakespeare said of death, Ďthat strange bourne from which no traveller doth return.í No traveller has ever returned from this journey, so thereís no direct evidence, (laughter) except people who say they have. Well, you can decide for yourself whether they have or not. In any case, my thought is that, for myself only, that Iím simply shut down in my present state, and that somehow I -- which is now a kind of fruitless phrase -- am somehow restored to the earth, or to the matrix, or to what the Germans called the urschlime, or the fundamental substrate of all things, the fundamental primitive primordial stuff of which we are constituted. We go back to before the Big Bang I always remember the Big Bang as the biggest orgasm in history. (laughter)

JEANNE:: How has your experience with psychedelic drugs influenced your life, your work and your practice?

OSCAR: In a word - profoundly. It really took me out of a state in which I saw the boundries of myself and the world around me very rigorously prescribed, to a state in which I saw that many, many things were possible. This created for me, a sense of being in a kind of flux, a constant dynamic equilibrium. I used a phrase at that time to designate how I thought of myself at any given moment. Itís a nautical term called a Ďrunning fixí. It means that when you report your position in a moving vessel, you are only talking about a specific time and circumstance - the here and now. The illusion of living in one room has now given rise to the ill- usion that there are a great many rooms. All you have to do is get out into the corridors, go into another room, and see whatís there. Otherwise youíll think that the room youíre living in is all there is.

DJB: Could you tell us about your discovery of DMT?

OSCAR: Yeah! (laughter) It is a psychoactive ingredient of the halllucinogenic brew they use in the Amazon called Ayahuasca. An analysis by chemists revealed that it contained a substance called dimethyltriptamine, DMT. This was unusual because it was almost identical to a chemical found naurally in the body, and it didnít make sense that weíd carry around with us such a powerful hallucinogen. Nevertheless, a friend of mine, Parry Bivens and I, purified some dimethyltriptamine. We had it all set up one evening. It was thought to be inactive orally by itself. To be on the safe side, we thought weíd inject it into one another the following day. So Parry said heíd see me in the morning and weíd go ahead and try it out. We had nothing to go by as it had never been used before. So when Parry left me I was in the office looking at these bottles, and I got this devilish thought that I should take a shot of this stuff. But I had no idea of how much to take. So I said, like Hofmann, Iíll be conservative and take a cc. I backed myself up to the wall until I could go no further so (laughter) I had to inject myself in the rear. And from then on -- Man, I was in a strange place, the strangest. I was in a world that was like being inside of a pinball machine. The only thing like it, oddly enough, was in a movie called Zardoz, where a man is trapped inside of a crystal. It was angular, electronic, filled with all kinds of strange over-beats and electronic circuits, flashes and movements. It looked like an ultra souped-up disco, where lights are coming from every direction. Just extra- ordinary. Then Iíd go unconscious, the observer was knocked out. Then the observer would come back intermittently, then go back out. I had a sense of terror because each time I blacked out it was like dying. I went through this dance of the molecules and electrons inside of my head and I, for all the world, felt like a television set looks when on between pictures. Finally I lay on the floor, time seemed endless. Then it lightened up and I looked at my watch. It had been 45 minutes. Iíd thought I had been in that place for 200 years. I think what I was looking at was the archetonics of the brain itself. We learned later that that was an enormous a dose. Just smoking a fraction of this would give you a profound effect. So in that dose range I think I just busted every- thing up. (laughter) Parry came back the next day, and he said, "Well, letís try some." I said, "I got to the North Pole ahead of you."

DJB: That took a lot of courage.

OSCAR: Well, it was fool-hardiness.

DJB: I hear youíve been doing some interesting work with dolphins and Olympic swimmers. Perhaps you could tell us a little about this project.

OSCAR: Albert Stevens, Matt Biondi and I, got the idea several years ago that we might find an innovative way of approaching wild dolphins, by using Olympic swimmers - the best in the world. It is difficult to study wild dolphins because they are free-ranging and peripetetic. We went to where the dolphins were reported to be, fifty miles off the coast of Grand Bahamma Island. We waited. When they came we jumped in with them, and did sa great deal of underwater filming. We studied the film to try to find out how the dolphins behave, and weíre still in the process of doing that now. We did it for three years and developed a good working relationship with these dolphins whom we were now able to identify. Dolphins are strange and beguiling creatures. Their language seems totally incomprehensible, as we know our own language to be nothing like it whatsoever. It appears to be a different order of communication. What stories the dolphins could bring back from their alien world of water if we could only communicate with them.

DJB: The final question. Could you tell us about the Albert Hofmann Foundation and any other current projects that youíre working on?

OSCAR: Well, I co-founded the Albert Hofmann Foundation about three years ago. I was involved in LSD research from 1954 to 1962. During that time I accumulated a large store of books, art-work, papers, correspondence, tape-recordings, news-clippings, research reports and memorabilia which probably represented a fair sample of what went on in the psychedelic history of Los Angeles and elsewhere. I was aware that there is a great deal of this kind of information that is scattered and isolated and in dager of being lost or destroyed. Collected and organized this would provide an extremely valuable resource for future research and historians. I was approached by several people who were committed to preserving these unique records. We formed a non-profit organization that we felt was fitting to be named in honour of the man who discovered LSD and psilocybin - Albert Hofmann. He was most gracious in his acceptance and pledged his whole-hearted support. It is based in Los Angeles and functions soley as a library, archive and information center at this time. We have collected a great deal of relevant material from the poineers of psychedelic research; eg. Laura Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, Stan Grof, Humphrey Osmond and many others. I got back an enthusiastic response from most of the leaders of this movement. The foundation provides the only open forum for the legitimate discussion of these issues. It offers a place where people can discuss ideas about their own experiences under these various agents. I was surprised to learn how many people out there are closet psychedelic graduates. Iíve talked to people who I thought that never in a million years would understand what I was talking about. "Oh my, It was a wonderful experience!" said a sixty-five year old professor of Medieval French, and I couldnít believe that she had said that. Thereís plenty of them out there, so weíre bringing them together and many of them have become members in our organization. Other projects? Iíve been working in several non-profit organizations that have some concern for the ecological welfare of the Earth. One is called, "Eyes on Earth", and another is called, "Earth Anthem". Eyes on Earth involves a scientific visualization of the Earth and itís resources. It is the only true cloud-free picture of the Earth, projected electronically onto a huge globe. It was painstakingly assembled by the photographs of the Earth without clouds taken by satellite and it depicts how different resources are dwindling and being depleted. Earth Anthem is a contest for people throughout the world, to find an anthem that represents the earth. This project will culminate in a program designed to celebrate the finalists of this contest. We want to find a song that is representative of the earth, one that we could sing if the Martians come. (laughter) In addition, my new book  - A Different Kind of Healing - is in publication by Putnam and is to be released shortly. So thatís what Iím up to, and I keep moving. I think Einstein said it, "Keep moving!"

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