To break away for a moment from climbing the ladder of grief stages...
...it has recently come to my attention that Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin passed three days ago on 2 June 2014. Shulgin was hailed by many as the "Godfather" of Ecstasy and co-author of the controversial PIHKAL (Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved) and TIHKAL (Tryptamines I Have Known And Loved) alongside his wife Ann Shulgin.
For those who may be wondering "why are you giving any time to the guy who wrote how-to's on creating illegal drugs?", keep an open mind, and read this post in its entirety:
Sasha gave the world something that no one else could: a way to demystify the world of "drugs" by breaking down individual compounds and giving homage to the veritable gift that it could grant him and others. The book PIHKAL, which I first read my junior year of highschool, really was a love affair of sorts. It was, as you may have guessed, somewhat of a reminiscence of his experiences with a particular group of drugs -- some legal, some not so much. But it was not the drugs that interested me, rather, it was the effect that these compounds not only had on Sasha, but of others as well. The topic has always been of fascination to me, merely because when I had tried some of the same and different psychoactives I either felt nothing....or I felt something purely, truly awful.
i wouldn't have given Sasha the nickname"Godfather of Ecstasy". His works were more attune to a nickname such as "Father of psycho pharmacology", because no one man has personified this particular science more than he. Thanks to Shulgin, I had a WEALTH of research already done for me when gallivanting forth in my own studies on "how things work" in the human mind in respect to psychoactives.
Some of Sasha's lesser known works are his studies of the effects of placebo's, or the effect of the "sugar pill"...or no pill at all. I don't believe we would even have the term "placebo effect" without his studies. In fact, we wouldn't even have Oxycontin or other newer forms of opioid pain control -- or any true knowledge of trycyclic medication on pain levels -- without the decades of Shulgin's work dating back to the early 1950's. I have personally used this intentionally, and the process is quite simple and has actually been part of my own treatment of anxiety for the last couple of years -- drug free.
***a word about PIHKAL & TIHKAL: don't be stupid. the Shulgins are both experienced chemists who had license to experiment with Schedule I -- illegal -- narcotics. Do not attempt to make these compounds at home. The insert is specifically for other children of chemistry who understand and respect the work as well as the effect and nothing further***
PIHKAL and TIHKAL were both updated regularly to make room for new research much like the late Howard Zinn did for his work A People's History of the United States. Updated works can be obtained for free at erowid.org
Finally, the best gift of all...Sasha taught the difference between medicine and poison. I still maintain that psychiatric drugs -- drugs period -- should be avoided. Do I believe that a person should never experiment with non patented psychoactives?
Only if this person considers items such as Carmex and paint fumes reasonable for experimentation.
However, I do think the boundaries of human behavior and potential set before us is rather narrow.
Take that as you may. But what's important is not what I think...but what you think.