Writers block? Artists impediment? Poets jam? For manycreatives, there comes a time when inspiration seems to have packed its bagsand vacated for an unspecified period. But for some, inspiration is to be foundin the enchanted world of psychedelics.
It was in the 1960s, flower-power, hippie generation that people really experimented with getting their creative juices flowing on psychedelics. This period saw a wave of psychedelic poster art, as bands sought an eye-catching, colourful look, to reflect the vibrancy of the time. San Francisco was a hub for this exciting scene and famous poster artists of the time included Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Bonnie MacLean and Stanley Mouse.
Nowadays, those who aren’t going on full journeys are microdosing for creativity. But is there any scientific proof in the pudding for psychedelics helping people to be more creative? Trials in the ‘60s were inconclusive but with the recent renaissance in psychedelic research and strong anecdotal evidence that there is a link between psychedelics and creativity, it seems convincing. Enhanced creativity was certainly one of a number of benefits reported in a recent study on microdosing, alongside increased productivity and positive mood.
This diagram of connections in a brain on psilocybin (right) adds fuel to the fire that psychedelics will leave you firing on all cylinders and able to access new realms of consciousness.
With this is mind, here are four people you may, or may not know, have taken psychedelics:
Aldous Huxley was a respected author, poet and philosopher. Throughout his life he experimented with mescaline and LSD, which seemed to give him the creative inspiration he was looking for. He first trialled mescaline in 1953 under the guidance of Doctor Humphry Osmond, who was Huxley’s very own trip sitter. He wrote a novel, The Doors of Perception, describing his experience in great detail and recounting “The urge to transcend self-conscious selfhood is, as I have said, a principal appetite of the soul.”
“The mystical experience is doubly valuable; it is valuable because it gives the experiencer a better understanding of himself and the world and because it may help him to lead a less self-centered and more creative life.” - Aldous Huxley
Ok, so not strictly one person, but The Beatles were the band of the century. They epitomised the vibe of the swinging ‘60s, often popping off to India for some transcendental meditation and, of course, partaking in the LSD culture. They even wrote songs about their experiences, like the melodic Tomorrow Never Knows.
Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream
It is not dying, it is not dying
This Oscar-winning actress made her name in films like Thelma& Louise, Little Women and Stepmom.
She’s also no stranger to psychedelics like magic mushrooms and ayahuasca. She says “I think you can have some profound experiences” with these substances. Her vibrancy and open-mindedness have assured her place as Hollywood royalty.
Jean-Paul Sartre was a French philosopher, playwright and author.He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy and Existentialism.
He is known for experimenting with mescaline and his experience doesn’t seem to have been the most pleasant one. He was plagued by images of octopuses, crabs and a lobster. He is said to have blamed the doctor who administered the drug, who had put him in a negative frame of mind before the experience. This speaks to the importance of the setting and guide, which many today see as one of the most important aspects of a positive psychedelic trip.
In addition to these examples, there are many people in the business world who have taken psychedelics and even credit the experience to their success. Well-known people to have partaken in a psychonautic adventure include Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and, of course, Tim Ferriss. So, it is not just artists and authors who have sought to expand their realms of consciousness. As Aldous Huxley wrote, “Art and religion, carnivals and saturnalia, dancing and listening to oratory - all these have served, in H. G. Wells's phrase, as Doors in the Wall.” For some, it seems, psychedelics make these doors in the wall a little easier to find.