Forbes endorses LSD: Is the end near?

January 13, 2016 Originally published on SFGate

Is this how we know? Is this a sign that the Great Shift is nigh, that a glimmering New Age of feral creativity and unquenchable universal love is finally upon us?

Probably not. Not when Forbes, AKA the magazine of the rich white male (RWM) overclass, AKA the place where bewildered business bros go to ponder the loud, gaping hole where their souls used to be, not when not one, but fully two Forbes contributors – one a laughably alarmist, wildly out-of-touch doctor (Robert Glatter, MD) and the other a stoically concerned writer of “creativity in modern branding” (Will Burns) – not when these two strange dads are talking up the dangers, virtues and alleged benefits of… taking LSD. And mushrooms. Frequently.

They’re writing about microdosing, of course, the “hot new Silicon Valley business trip” (is it?) they both apparently read about in, uh, Rolling Stone, in which young, performance-obsessed tech bros with VC wet dreams and terrible social skills ingest tiny, “subperceptual” amounts of a given psychedelic compound (10-15 micrograms) every couple days or so, for the benefit of – well, all the usual Millennial buzzwords: Mental clarity! Enhanced performance! Heightened creativity! Disrupting their app category! Or whatever.

That’s right: Forbes is on about magic mushrooms and tripping on acid. Glatter, the bizarrely paranoid MD, does his best imitation of a hysterical ‘70s Afterschool Special, fretting about scattershot phantasms he seems to know absolutely nothing about (“LSD elevates your blood pressure and heart rate, and can cause nausea, dizziness, palpitations and sweating,” he writes, apparently cribbing from Wikipedia, not mentioning that coffee, sugar, sex, jogging, eating Indian food and hearing Donald Trump speak can all have the same effect), even going so far as to suggest, as his final sentences, that OMG you guys you could actually go a bit insane if you take even the tiniest amount of LSD.

Dude, take a Xanax. Jesus.

Just a little, every couple days

Just a little, every couple days

Burns argues straight against his clueless website e-colleague, suggesting that microdosing “deserves more serious research” (dear Will: Or you could just, you know, try it yourself), and that he’s “bullish” (oh dear God) on the potential benefits. Because business!

(Dear Forbes writers: Next time, do some actual homework, fer chrissakes. And get your facts straight, doc).

You gotta slap yourself, just a little, as you read this sort of babble, get by the fact that Forbes arguing about LSD is like your dad telling you about the joys of speed metal, or the Christian Science Monitor extolling the virtues/drawbacks of hot anal sex. Hey, Forbes: Get your vapid MBA out of my sacred psychotropic investigations, K?

Or, you know, maybe not. Maybe something fascinating can indeed transpire, should the drab ogres of the business world (read: the demons of capitalism) begin to embrace the potentials of microdosing and psychedelics, even just a little. You think? Steve Jobs says: “Worked for me.”

After all, it’s a brave new drug-addled world, darlings, one in which pretty much everyone under 40 is already taking some sort of stimulant, activator, mood-modifier brain-accelerator nerve-tamer, be they Big Pharma classics like Adderall or Zoloft, or brain-enhancers like modafinil, or cannabis oil, or any of a whole new category of home-grown, unclassifiable, unregulated “herbal ecstasy” concoctions, and well beyond.

But the mainstreaming of hallucinogens? The welcome return of the prodigal drugs from the wastelands of Schedule C? It’s been a devout wish of advocates and alt-therapists for decades. Hell, I’ve written about it myself, many times over.

But be careful what you wish for, hippie intelligentsia. Because this new trend appears to have almost nothing to do with what true believers understand as the “real” benefits of hallucinogens – that is, their ability to reconnect the Self with the divine, to discover Source, to heal the soul and experience God as the Self, and vice-versa.

In other words, this ain’t what Tim Leary & Co. advocated for all those years – psychedelics as an ideal method by which to get well beyond such vulgar, karmically meaningless notions as designing a snazzier logo, whipping up a hot new gaming app or crushing your SalesForce task list, thanks to a bit of psilocybin in your coffee.

No, this is something else entirely. This feels like a harsh diminishment, a trite lessening of the true power of these compounds. As Forbes envisions it, anyway, these are psychedelic investigations in service of the least sacred force in all of human awareness: Capitalism.

And that doesn’t bode well at all. Because capitalism has what you might call a rather savage track record when it comes anything truly spiritual, mystical, or deeply healing. It merely does what it always does: strips away all magic and meaning, adds a few thousand lawyers, and sells it back to you at a tidy, heartless profit.

Can you say Starbucks Vente Caramel Psylocybin Swirl Latte? Don’t ask Forbes.

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Mark Morford

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