It turns out that the demand for psychedelics hasn’t dropped, but that the supply of acid has dried up. I know that as a good citizen I’m supposed to be happy about that, but I’m not. Psychedelic drugs have a way of knocking down dogmatism: how certain can you be about anything when you know your whole world view depends on the presence or absence of 30 micrograms of a particular chemical in your brain? (The moral effect of a strong psychedelic is a lot like that of traveling to a very strange country, which explains why they call it a trip.)
I like psychedelia. Whether it’s John Lennon pretending to be a walrus, Kurt Cobain standing too close to his amplifier, or Samuel Taylor Coleridge dreaming of the Khan’s pleasure dome, the exploratory, multilayered, richly hued aesthetic appeals to me. And I believe it does something positive for the culture at large.
Ah, well. It’s from played-out times like these — the late ’50s, the late ’80s, the Restoration — that something new rises. I just hope it’s noisy and weird.