Seth, the personality who speaks through author Jane Roberts, has this to say about “massive doses” of LSD in The Nature of Personal Reality (Prentice-Hall). Seth’s statements refer only to LSD, used under certain conditions; there are other chemical hallucinogens that are not mentioned.
“In therapy using massive doses of LSD, a condition of chemically enforced insanity takes place. By insanity, I mean a situation in which the conscious mind is forced into a state of powerlessness. There is a literal assault made not only upon the psyche, but upon the organizational framework that makes it possible for you to exist rationally in the world that you know. The ego, of course, cannot be annihilated in physical life. Kill one and another will, and must, emerge from the inner self which is its source.
“Under such enforced conditions, you are literally facing egotistical consciousness with its own death in an encounter that need not occur — and while the physical body is fighting for its own life and vitality. You are bringing about a dilemma of great proportions.
“The landscape of the psyche is indeed revealed, bringing good data to the psychiatrist. But the experiences undergone by the patients — and all of this applies to massive doses — represent the enactment, through terrible encounter, of the species’ birth into consciousness, and its death as consciousness falls back annihilated; followed by its rebirth as the individual patient struggles to emerge again from dimensions not native under those conditions.
“The deepest biological and psychic structures are altered. I did not say they were damaged, though they may be according to the situation. Consciousness is assaulted at its roots. When periods of transcendence are felt under such conditions, they represent the psychic birth of a new personality from the sources of the old, and from the death, psychically, of the old. In some cases the genetic messages have changed, in that they are different. This is psychic slaying in a technological framework.
“Under LSD you are highly suggestible. If you are told that the ego must die then you will kill it. You will telepathically follow the ideas of your guide under even the best of conditions. The psychic “rebirth” may leave you with a completely new set of problems, rising on the bed of the old and as yet undecipherable.
“The new ego is quite aware of the conditions of its birth. It knows it was born out of the death of its predecessor, and for all its feelings of transcendent joy, natural enough at its birth, it fears that annihilation from which it sprang.
“The natural creature-integrity is not the same. The physical world will never be trusted in quite the same way. The alliance with it is not as secure. The “self” that was born into the body, and grew with it, has gone, and another “self” has risen from that previous organization.
“Such self-changes happen naturally as life progresses, and when the self modulates at any given time, it is different from what it was. When this occurs “all by itself” it is an innate reflection of the psyche’s creativity and happens with its own rhythm — connected to seasons of the mind and blood and consciousness and cells in ways that you do not as yet understand. But the whole structure and its subsidiary relationships change together, and the conscious mind is able to assimilate what is happening.
“You grow and live through deaths that happen in you constantly, and travel through births within your lifetime that you do not comprehend. Such massive doses of LSD chemically activate all levels of cellular memory to such an extent that in certain terms they are no longer in charge of themselves, and the memories can then emerge unpredictably when the system is under stress. The fine biological and psychological alliance is now weakened.”
“Assaults upon your consciousness in such a manner challenge the stability of your species, and insult the integrity of your creaturehood. You may say that such chemicals are natural because they exist within the reality that you know, but the body is equipped to deal with ingredients that come from the earth. Great doses of such “artificial” drugs are not easily assimilated, and bring about biological confusion.
“Within their native framework, some American Indians use peyote in their own way — but not as gluttons, stunning and annihilating their systems. They accept it as a natural ingredient belonging to their earthly structure. They do not try to blast themselves out of existence. They use it to increase the innate perceptions that they have.
“They became part of All That Is — as they should — without dying as they are. They are able to assimilate their knowledge, to purposefully direct it into both their individual lives and their social structure. They also use it within their own system of beliefs, of course, in which their creaturehood is understood and taken for granted. The conscious mind is seen as a complement, rather than a detriment, to biological being.”