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An Interview with Aldous Huxley
"Capital A, Capital R" or "How often have you taken mescaline yourself?"
transcribed by Plutonic
1961?
Source Unknown
The following is a transcript of an interview with Aldous Huxley from the 1950s. You can listen to the interview here : Aldous Huxley Interview MP3 (5:38 - 8MB).



Q: How often have you taken mescaline yourself?

A: I've taken mescaline twice, and lysergic acid about 5 times I suppose. I would like to take it about once a year I think. When one [oh] doesn't ... most people that I know who take it have no desire to sort of fool with it, or take it constantly, I mean the thing take it too seriously to, to behave in this way towards it, you wouldn't want to wallow in it. I mean you needed a good enough time to digest this I think, I mean I don't know, most people I know that eat it don't have any special desires to go on taking it, I mean they would like to take it every six months or every year, something of that kind. But I still have to meet one who wants to take it constantly.

Q: But isn't it a condition that one would want to be in all the time?

A: You couldn't be in it all the time cause it's so to say beyond the level of biological efficiency. The world becomes so extraordinary and so absorbing that you couldn't cross the street without considerable risk of being run over. You wouldn't want to do anything else because just experiencing this thing is so extraordinary.

Q: Is the effect the same on everyone?

A: Statistically about 70 percent, 75 percent probably get a good and positive happy result from it, and a certain percentage get no results, a certain percentage get very unpleasant and ill-like results out of it, get very frightened. Mine were always positive, I didn't have what some people have which is a great elaborate visions with the eyes closed, some people have the most elaborate and circumstantial visionary experiences with the eyes closed. I merely see sort of living geometries but never any of these great landscapes and figures and architectures which some people see.

Q: Do you sit, or do you move about?

A: I've spent a lot of time sitting quietly looking at things, and getting these sort of strange metaphysical insights into the world.

Q: Is it a habit forming drug?

A: In most occasions it has no more hangover then two cocktails, some people feel actually much better the next day. It's being used to some extent in therapy, there's a man here called Sandison that uses it a lot, there are several people in America, in Canada several groups have had very very good results with alcoholism using LSD.

There's a new drug now, psilocybin, which is derived from the Mexican mushroom which has the same effect but doesn't last quite so long. And that it is being used in France therapeutically with some success. Mescaline you take a capsule of 400 milligrams and the lysergic acid you take this incredibly small dose of 100 gamma, which is 100 millionths of a gram, a ten thousandth of a gram, a 10th of a milligram which is a homeopathic dose, it's perfectly extraordinary it should have any effect and in fact it has an effect long after all traces of it have gone out of the body, it has an effect by triggering some... nobody knows exactly what, probably inhibits one of the 27 enzymes which control the functioning of the brain, either inhibits one or stimulates one and I don't think anyone quite knows what it does.

The intensity of the experience is entirely unlike any ordinary experience, but on the other hand it quite obviously resembles spontaneous experiences certain artists and religious people have unquestionably had. It's an immense intensification of the world, a transfiguration of the external world into incredible beauty and significance. It's also beyond this kind of aesthetic experience, there may be other experience, a sense of solidarity with the universe, solidarity with other people, understanding of such phrases as you get in the book of Job: "Yeah, Though He Slay Me, Yet Will I Trust In Him", it becomes quite comprehensible. This thing opens the door to these experiences which can be of immense value to people if they choose to make use of them. If they don't choose to, I mean this is what the Catholics call a gratuitous grace, it doesn't guarantee salvation or it's not sufficient and it's not necessary to salvation but if it can be collaborated with and used in an intelligent way it can be an immense help to people. This sense that in spite of everything which of course is the ultimate, I suppose, the ultimate mystical conviction in spite of pain, in spite of death, in spite of horror, the universe is in some mysterious sense is all right, capital A capital R.