Down The Technological Rabbit Hole: LSD Inventor Hofmann’s Letter To Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Well, it seems psychedelic drugs and the modern computer age have more in common than one might expect. Apple CEO Steve Jobs once said his experience taking LSD was “one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life.”

According to New York Times technology reporter, John Markoff:

Psychedelic drugs pushed the computer and Internet revolutions forward by showing folks that reality can be profoundly altered through unconventional, highly intuitive thinking.

Douglas Engelbart, who invented the computer mouse, was someone who experimented and explored using psychedelic drugs. Kevin Herbert, who worked for Cisco Systems in the early days, has stated:

“When I’m on LSD and hearing something that’s pure rhythm, it takes me to another world and into anther brain state where I’ve stopped thinking and started knowing.”

Herbert apparently claims to have “solved his toughest technical problems while tripping to drum solos by the Grateful Dead.”

“It must be changing something about the internal communication in my brain. Whatever my inner process is that lets me solve problems, it works differently, or maybe different parts of my brain are used.”

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, are longtime visitors and participants in Burning Man, an annual gathering in the Nevada desert devoted to communal enlightenment by creating an environment which invites its attendees to use different parts of their brains.

According to John Gilmore, the fifth employee at Sun Microsystems:

“What psychedelics taught me is that life is not rational. IBM was a very rational company.”

To this end, Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying that Bill Gates would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once.”

Chemist Kary Mullis once told Gilmore that acid helped him develop his 1993 Nobel prize-winning polymerase chain reaction, a significant and crucial breakthrough for biochemistry.

According to British wire service reporter Alun Reese, Francis Crick who, along with James Watson discovered DNA, had told friends that he first saw the double-helix structure while tripping on LSD.

Albert Hofmann

So back to Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann who, for those who don’t already know, was the inventor of LSD. Hofmann, at the ripe age of 101 (he died at 102), wrote to Steve Jobs asking for his financial support in the study and exploration of both the medical and psychiatric benefits of psychedelic drugs.

Here is that letter in its entirety:

Dear Mr. Steve Jobs,

Hello from Albert Hofmann. I understand from media accounts that you feel LSD helped you creatively in your development of Apple computers and your personal spiritual quest. I’m interested in learning more about how LSD was useful to you.

I’m writing now, shortly after my 101st birthday, to request that you support Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Peter Gasser’s proposed study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with anxiety associated with life-threatening illness. This will become the first LSD-assisted psychotherapy study in over 35 years.

I hope you will help in the transformation of my problem child into a wonder child.


A. Hofmann

5 thoughts on “Down The Technological Rabbit Hole: LSD Inventor Hofmann’s Letter To Steve Jobs

  1. Yes, it is certainly true that psychedelic drugs, as simple as Ganja (Marijuana) can greatly enhance your spiritual, extrasensory and telepathic powers. In fact, Ganja, Bhang etc., have always been part of the Indian culture for their spiritual progress. It is only with the vested interests of British that liquor was legalized while use of ganja was termed substance abuse and made illegal. In fact, man’s quantum leap from ape to human is attributed to the use of psychedelic drugs inadvertently to the use of these substances naturally found every where. They give you an insight and enable you to know things from a different dimension, it is not thinking and learning…it is just knowing everything as though all the world is just part of you.

    Prof. Kanchi

  2. I get the feeling that the whole United States would move in a more innovative and productive direction if more people took LSD or psilocybe mushrooms.

    PS – I notice that someone has used this article to advocate for marijuana in the comments. They are misguided. Marijuana is nothing LSD or psilocybin.

    1. That’s shockingly close minded for somebody that advocates LSD and psilocybin use. You clearly have never gave cannabis a good chance, certainly not edibles if you think it is nothing like LSD or psilocybin.

      You are the misguided one.

  3. It’s funny to note that some one here thinks LSD and psilocybin or may be even ayahuaska are safer than Marijuana!! Ridiculous …. In fact, Marijuana is the safest and the most non-addictive entheogen which, even after very long research could not be proved to be causing any diagnosable injury to the human brain or body. The statement “it is nothing like LSD or psilocybin” is correct to the extent that it is not as dangerous as LSD and not potent as the two, but it has its own merits.. equally inducing altered states of consciousness.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: