The Acid Diaries by Christopher Gray (Prem Paritosh)
(Now available from November 1st through Amazon UK)
Micheal Horowitz (the biographer of Timothy Leary) says of Paritosh’s book -” like any strong acid trip, there is both existential angst and cosmic bliss, and many states in between. The Acid Diaries is a contemporary classic of personal psychedelic exploration.” Well that’s saying something, but is it true?
The story begins at the end of his fifties, when Paritosh took, for the first time in years, a 100-microgram acid trip. So extraordinary, and to his surprise so enjoyable, were the effects that he began to take the same dose in the same studied way – once every two weeks. In The Acid Diaries, Paritosh details this on going experimentation with LSD over a period of three years, and shares the startling realization that his visions had an inner consistency beyond what is normally called consciousness.
Following the theories of Stanislav Grof and offering quotes from others’ experiences that paralleled his own – including those of Aldous Huxley, Albert Hofmann, and Gordon Wasson – he argues that trips progress through three stages: the first dealing with personal issues and pre-birth consciousness; the second with ego-loss, often with supernatural overtones; and the third with sacred and spiritual themes. Pairing his experiences with an exploration of psychedelic use throughout history, including the ergot-spawned mass hallucinations that were common through the Middle Ages and the mid-20th century use of LSD for therapeutic purposes, Paritosh tries to offer the reader (and with some success) a greater understanding and appreciation for the potential value of LSD – not merely for personal growth but more importantly for a spiritual advancement that moves one beyond the ego.
Prem Paritosh (1942-2009) was well known for his involvement in the 1960s with Situationist International, for his various radical writings, and as a disciple of Osho. He translated Raoul Vaneigem’s Banalités de Base (as The Totality for Kids) and is the author of Leaving the Twentieth Century, the first English- language anthology of Situationist ideas, and most importantly the acclaimed biography of Osho published in 1997 called ‘Life of Osho’. The latter is available from Sannyas News.