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LSD and the Sixties Generation

Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD, and the Sixties Rebellion, written in 1985 by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain for Grove Press, was an explication of the social phenomena that transpired in the American society during most of the 1960’s up to the early part of the 1970’s. It delved on subjects ranging from the sensitive issue of drugs abuse, covering substances from marijuana, LSD, and other hallucinatory substances, to its contributions in the Vietnam War, the financial backings of the illicit trade, and the Woodstock phenomenon.

While it is true that these events happened almost half a century ago, it can never be claimed that these events did not cause a societal impact on the American society and culture, especially with the immense popularity that it was able to achieve, as can be evidenced in several individuals who were contributors for this chapter in Lee’s and Shlain’s book. The magnitude of the popularity of hallucinatory drugs, such as the LSD, during the latter half of the previous century necessitated for some intervention from the American government.

This was apparent in the CIA memo, wherein it affirmed the importance of these substances to be used as incapacitating agents to pacify an unruly mob, where it states, “Trends in modern police action and warfare indicate the desire to incapacitate reversibly and demoralize, rather than kill, the enemy…” (Lee & Shlain, 1985, p. 235). What added to the alarming situation was the prevailing popularity of these illegal substances, especially since this had become a tool for expressing the socio-political aspirations of a vast section of the citizenry, as was evidenced with the popularity of Woodstock.

Lee’s and Shlain’s contention that the said generation was misled by the false promises offered by LSD, and that the corporate giants, particularly those from the music industry capitalized on this phenomenon can be defended by the sales pitch that was ran by Columbia Records, stating, “The Man can’t bust our music” (Lee & Shlain, 1985, p. 254), clearly depicting a movement that was supported by corporations with monetary dreams. Reference Lee, M. , & Shlain, B. (1985). The CIA LSD, and the Sixties Rebellion. Acid Dreams. United States: Grove Press.

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