Santorum & The Evil That Men Do


“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” –Blaise Pascal.

It seems almost daily that I read another comment or another statement steeped in fear and hatred uttered from the lips of Rick Santorum, self-proclaimed Christian and American moralist. I do, thankfully, realize that Santorum does not represent all of Christianity and its followers, but he does represent a portion of them. Keep in mind, though he is currently at the bottom of the heap, he is still, as of this writing, a GOP presidential candidate in a playing field whittled down to four contenders. This means there is a large enough portion of Americans who share his views, his intolerances, his fears, misunderstandings and judgements of things that, well, any good Christian would normally leave up to God and not assume upon themselves.

Sadly, as Mr. Pascal once pointed out in the above quote, religion has spurned some of the most vile hatred and suffering known to man. And I think it’s rather easy to assess by the goings-on in the world today, that some things have not changed. Unfortunately for any forward-thinking individuals, men like Rick Santorum represent a part of society terrified of change. And, one could easily come to such a conclusion, of themselves.

Part of me feels sorry for men and women such as these since their lives appear to be made up largely of running away and holding on to the past with such desperation as to exhaust themselves of all humanity. Ironic, given that they claim to represent the most compassionate and forgiving of all beings. But this is in words only. Actions tell a very different story. The pain and suffering brought on by men like Rick Santorum is immeasurable, and it is considerable. Make no mistake, lives will be lost while others trampled. All in the name of one who is no longer here to protect his good name and teachings.

The bright side to all of this is that at least Santorum’s particular brand of bigotry is now out there for all to see. And those easily swayed toward his proclaimed “solutions” are no longer hidden from public view to boil and swell beneath the surface. They are out there where we can confront them, and ourselves, in the bright light of day. Good things will come from this in the bigger picture. It’s a step forward. Like a detoxing of the American psyche. We may feel a bit ill while we’re going through it, but hopefully we will come out the other side healthier and happier. If we choose to tackle it.

As for how we got where we are in the first place, well, history is full of men like Santorum. Perhaps the recent study published in the latest issue of Psychological Science explains part of it.

“Despite their important implications for interpersonal behaviors and relations, cognitive abilities have been largely ignored as explanations of prejudice. We proposed and tested mediation models in which lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, an effect mediated through the endorsement of right-wing ideologies (social conservatism, right-wing authoritarianism) and low levels of contact with out-groups. In an analysis of two large-scale, nationally representative United Kingdom data sets (N = 15,874), we found that lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology. A secondary analysis of a U.S. data set confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on antihomosexual prejudice, a relation partially mediated by both authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact. All analyses controlled for education and socioeconomic status. Our results suggest that cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice. Consequently, we recommend a heightened focus on cognitive ability in research on prejudice and a better integration of cognitive ability into prejudice models.”

As one who does not believe in God in a traditional sense (therefore a heathen and going to hell in the minds of many), I have always assumed that it took a level of non-thinking to allow oneself to so completely abandon reason and take the words and teachings of the bible and, not only accept them as literal, but to allow oneself to become swayed by the interpretations of such texts by those with ulterior motives. However, I do not believe all who believe in God to be less educated or less intelligent than those who do not. But there is a certain ilk that have always been ready to take to the streets to express their intolerance of others; those who would kill, maim and damage their fellow man in the name of their God. A God of love? A God of vengeance? Which is it, then?

What are we supposed to think when Rick Santorum tells you that contraception is “not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”?

How things are supposed to be. If Mr. Santorum believes this, then he is free to refrain from the use of such tools and activities. But when he believes his beliefs should be law… This should be of great concern. Santorum warns of fascism and socialism and why you should be afraid… But nothing endangers freedom more than men and women who think like Rick Santorum. His beliefs suggest the ultimate form of fascism.

When Rick Santorum tells you what marriage is, he presents it as fact, as indisputable evidence.

“Marriage is what marriage is. Marriage was around before government said what it was. It’s like going out and saying, ‘That tree is a car.’ Well, the tree’s not a car. A tree’s a tree. Marriage is marriage.” 

“It’s like handing up this and saying this glass of water is a glass of beer. Well you can call it a glass of beer, it’s not a glass of beer, it’s a glass of water. And water is what water is. Marriage is what marriage is.” 

“I can call this napkin a paper towel, but it is a napkin. Why? Because it is, what it is.” 

But what Santorum is really saying is that this is what marriage is for Rick Santorum. And therefore it should be for all others. By law. Like it or not, there are those who do not share and were not raised with Mr. Santorum’s limited definition. And we are Americans, no more or less so than he is. Just as Santorum’s God is not everybody’s God, Rick Satorum’s definitions and interpretations are not everyone’s. Nor should they be. That would be similar to asking a nation to publicly mourn the death of their beloved leader, Kim Jong Il, even if they did not, in fact, love him or mourn his loss. And then imprison those who did not either mourn publicly or mourn sincerely. Is that the America Santorum’s followers envision? Because if it’s not, then they best rethink their stance and support of such an individual. Or is that low IQ getting in the way of reasoned thought again?

“[Marriage] is an intrinsic good … we extend certain privileges to people who do that because we want to encourage that behavior. Two people who may like each other or may love each other who are same-sex, is that a special relationship? Yes it is, but it is not the same relationship that benefits society like a marriage between a man and a woman.” 

What he means is that such a relationship does not benefit Rick Santorum. I’ll tell you right now that he does not speak for me. Same sex marriages have benefitted me in my life and my world, the kind of society I want to live in. And it damn well benefits same-sex couples who are (guess what?) members of this society. Again, what doesn’t benefit Rick should not benefit anyone in Santorum’s world view.

“Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, whether it’s sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.” 

Once again, these may be things that Rick Santorum chooses not to engage in, but he is not in a position (no pun intended) –and it is the point of this write-up that he should not be– to tell others what sexual activities they should or should not be doing where two consenting adults are concerned. But Santorum’s answer to that would be:

“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.” 

The truth is that consensual sex in the home does NOT make polygamy or bigamy or incest legal. It DOES, however, allow one (or two or three or four…) to engage in certain sexual activities that some other folks may find startling, offensive and even a little off-putting. It seems, however, that even a healthy and imaginative sex life is off-putting to Mr. Santorum. When you allow a man like this to tell you what you can and can’t do in bed… But Mr. Santorum disagrees:

“The idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions — I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we’re seeing it in our society.” 

The world Rick Santorum envisions has more in common with the Crusades than it does with the teachings of Christ. And like many other religious zealots before him, Santorum will fight to ensure HIS way of life at the exclusion of all others:

“The battle we’re engaged in right now on same-sex marriage, ultimately that is the very foundation of our country, the family, what the family structure is going to look like. I’ll die on that hill fighting.” 

Rick Santorum is too mired in his own fears, fear of change, fear of reality, fear of difference, fear of things he wasn’t taught, fear of things he doesn’t understand, fear of the dark and the unknown. And it has turned him into a man mired in hatred and intolerance.

“You can say I’m a hater. But I would argue I’m a lover. I’m a lover of traditional families and of the right of children to have a mother and father. … Isn’t that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?” 

Marriage, he fails to point out, as Rick Santorum sees it. And Santorum’s “logic” is no better than claiming the KKK doesn’t hate blacks, they simply love white supremacy. No, even science, the ground beneath his own two feet, the air he breathes, and the very planet he lives on is not enough to convince Mr. Santorum that the world may not always be the way he wants it to be. The way he so clearly needs it to be.

“I’ve never supported even the hoax of global warming.”

In Rick Santorum’s world, there are no other valid points of view, no other opinions of note, no other interpretations than his own. Rick Santorum would fight to make his beliefs your beliefs. All the while pointing out the dangers of others. And if he gets his way, when the time comes and he has passed from this world, you will mourn his death. Whether you want to or not.

Santorum & The Evil That Men Do

Nuclear Responses: Two Sides Of The Same Coin


Let’s see, after decades of trying to get the people “in charge” to rid the world of nuclear energy and replace it with other forms of energy as well as putting both time and money into developing newer, safer forms of energy, we find ourselves in the midst of the greatest global nuclear disaster since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And that’s on top of a country already decimated by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

So what are some of the experts here in America saying about all this? Well, let’s start with everyone’s favorite expert on all things dangerous, Rush Limbaugh:

“Which is the bigger problem: Japan’s reactors, or our over-reactors in the news media? The media wants a disaster in Japan. These people are looking for disaster. They want disaster upon disaster. They want the nuclear meltdown. They want the Japanese syndrome, if you will. They want this stuff… this is just the wanton spreading of fear.”

Rush also used this “occasion” to put down President Obama. Surprise, surprise…

So while Limbaugh is underplaying the danger of the scenario in Japan, let’s here from the other extreme side of the coin, which is Harvey Wasserman of Nukefree.org, who also uses this opportunity to bash Obama. At least these two “experts” can agree on something:

Now I remember attending the No Nukes Rallies in 1979 in New York City, so my desire to see a nuclear-free world has been with me since my teens. And, at various points in my life, I have been quite vocal about it. However, and it’s sad to admit, at other times I have been altogether silent, complacent.

So it will be interesting to see if what’s taking place now will ultimately be a wake-up call for the world, or whether we all choose to hit the snooze button once again.

Nuclear Responses: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Donald Trump Wants Al Gore Stripped Of Nobel Prize


Yes, another brilliant move by one of the nations wealthier Americans. Donald Trump joined the ever-growing pack of idiots that proudly flaunt their complete and utter misunderstanding of climate change, also known as “Global Warming.” It seems the word “warming’ has confused some of our more “successful” entrepreneurs. You see, they saw some big snowstorms so, clearly, global warming isn’t happening. Cause snow is cold. Not warm. Get it? It’s cold. Brrrrr…

Not doing his little boy homework, Trump never discovered that climate change can be both warm AND cold. Yes… The effects of Global Warming result in volatile weather patterns.

But Trump saw snow.

“With the coldest winter ever recorded, with snow setting record levels up and down the coast, the Nobel committee should take the Nobel Prize back from Al Gore… Gore wants us to clean up our factories… when China and other countries couldn’t care less… China, Japan and India are laughing at America’s stupidity.”

Now I don’t know if he’s just really stupid or whether he’s just using this opportunity to appeal to the “lesser-educated” Americans out there ready to throw some stones (or snow balls). Trump laid his claims before a country club crowd of 500.

Luckily, Trump was trumped by another even wealthier, successful American. Bill Gates. According to CNN:

Gates said the deadline for the world to cut all of its carbon emissions is 2050. He suggested that researchers spend the next 20 years inventing and perfecting clean-energy technologies, and then the next 20 years implementing them.

The world’s energy portfolio should not include coal or natural gas, he said, and must include carbon capture and storage technology as well as nuclear, wind and both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal power…

Gates told the audience that climate change will cause poverty and famine that will disproportionately affect the world’s poorest people.

So what IS Global Warming really? According to Wikipedia:

Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation… The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th century was very likely caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases resulting from human activity such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation

An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation, probably including expansion of subtropical deserts. Warming is expected to be strongest in the Arctic and would be associated with continuing retreat of glaciers, permafrost and sea ice. Other likely effects include changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, species extinctions, and changes in agricultural yields. Warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe, though the nature of these regional variations are uncertain…

These basic conclusions have been endorsed by more than 40 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.

You know, if anyone’s actually interested.

In reality.

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post put it all quite humorously into perspective:

“As a scientific proposition, claiming that heavy snow in the mid-Atlantic debunks global warming theory is about as valid as claiming that the existence of John Edwards debunks the theory of evolution.”

Ouch. But point made. Milbank goes on to suggest why so many people are misinformed or confused about Global Warming:

For years, climate-change activists have argued by anecdote to make their case. Gore, in his famous slide shows, ties human-caused global warming to increasing hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought and the spread of mosquitoes, pine beetles and disease. It’s not that Gore is wrong about these things. The problem is that his storm stories have conditioned people to expect an endless worldwide heat wave, when in fact the changes so far are subtle.

Other environmentalists have undermined the cause with claims bordering on the outlandish; they’ve blamed global warming for shrinking sheep in Scotland, more shark and cougar attacks, genetic changes in squirrels, an increase in kidney stones and even the crash of Air France Flight 447. [There’s a website that lists over 600 things that have allegedly been caused by global warming, from “acne” to “yellow fever.”] When climate activists make the dubious claim, as a Canadian environmental group did, that global warming is to blame for the lack of snow at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, then they invite similarly specious conclusions about Washington’s snow — such as the Virginia GOP ad urging people to call two Democratic congressmen “and tell them how much global warming you get this weekend.”

Alas, misinformation mixed with a basic misunderstanding can be a dangerous tonic. Especially if it is in the hands of people who make some of the bigger decisions regarding Climate Change. Like Ed Rogers, once White House staffer to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and chairman of BGR Group, a self-proclaimed “premier bipartisan government relations, strategic communications, and investment banking firm”:

There is global climate science and then there is the Global Warming Movement. The movement hijacked the science a long time ago, and it has had its share of setbacks lately. Its leaders have tried to stiff-arm their way past errors, lies, fraud, pointless tax increase proposals and some really peculiar posing in Copenhagen.

Now they have suffered a coup de grace: public ridicule brought on by a record-breaking blizzard blasting their East Coast home base. The movement was already dead in Congress for 2010 (its climate-change bill has been sidelined), but Snowmageddon buried it. How could it be that heat waves evidenced global warming, but so did a cold wave? The public isn’t buying it anymore.

In November, the public will give a cold shoulder to a bunch of intellectually frozen hypocrites who demand economic sacrifice to solve a problem that voters don’t see or feel. At least for a while, the left will have to think up a new way to dictate a lifestyle for the rest of us. Maybe now the science can continue without the clumsy overreaching of the movement’s priestly class.

Hmmm… I prefer Federal global warming program director of Environment America Emily Figdor’s simple but accurate response:

The snowstorms that ground the nation’s capital to a halt only underscored the need for bold action to fight global warming. Heavier, more frequent snowstorms are just what scientists predict in a warming world, as extreme weather events – whether blizzards or heat waves – become more common.

So, will ignorance, stupidity and misinformation win out over truth and reality? Only time will tell…

In the meantime, dress warm.

Donald Trump Wants Al Gore Stripped Of Nobel Prize

Laika 2: Electric Bugaloo. Russians Sending Monkeys To Mars


Looks like the Russians are set to eject another animal into space. Back in 1957, they put Laika, a dog, into orbit. Laika died several hours later, presumably from stress and overheating (though the Russians initially reported that she lived for several days. The truth finally came out in 2002).

Now they’re looking at sending a monkey to Mars. They were planning on sending cosmonauts, but decided that “given the length of the flight to Mars, and given the cosmic rays for which we don’t have adequate protection over such a long trip, discussions have focused recently on sending an ape instead of a person.”

Hmmm… Animal rights activists, are you listening?

The monkey will be fed and cared for by an accompanying robot (an Incredible Journey for the new millennia?). This is assuming the monkey lives long enough to be cared for. While I understand the need and desire for space exploration (I’m a big fan), I’m not sure that we should be making judgments about which life is more expendable. Unless we’re planning on making Mars the new Planet Of The Apes. I mean, heck, if it’s gonna be a new home world for our simian friends, then maybe there’s an argument to be made. Otherwise, if it’s important enough to do and it’s for mankind, then it should be important enough to risk human lives (volunteering humans, that is). At least this time, unlike in Laika’s day, the monkey’s being given a round trip ticket. But it sounds very possible only the robot will return in “working’ order. The European Space Agency claims that the mission would take approximately 520 days (a year and a half).

This is, of course, not the first time the Russians have sent apes into space. The Russians first put monkeys into orbit back in 1983.

Cornelius, Caesar, where are you when we need you?

Laika 2: Electric Bugaloo. Russians Sending Monkeys To Mars

In God We Trust. Or Else. You Listening, Tiger?


Wasn’t it George Orwell who said, “As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents”?

While folks like Sarah Palin and the staff of Fox News spend much of their time screaming threats of Socialism at their more left-leaning fellow Americans, it seems the hardcore religious right are becoming a more visible entity in this country. I don’t remember there being TV news channels back in the day that were grossly committed to espousing and dignifying the misguided efforts and beliefs of this very odd faction of human beings.

As Obama and his supporters (and many of his critics) try and make changes to benefit the daily lives of Americans, offer them choices, enhance equality and freedom, we still hear the loud, frightened cries of those who have not even yet managed to bring themselves to embrace the notion of evolution. They’re still working on the universe was created in a week” plan. No wonder the Bush Administration and many of its political predecessors had so much trouble planning ahead and projecting into the future. Everything worth accomplishing should and could be done in a week! Mission accomplished anyone?

So while the shouts of “Socialism!” and “Totalitarianism!” persist, we move slowly away from an administration that restricted human freedoms by passing a law that would allow individuals to be placed under arrest with no charges officially filed or rights allowed. And those arrests and subsequent imprisonments were proclaimed “indefinite.” That same administration led us into a preemptive attack on another country for the first time in American history. But unlike Kubrick’s DR. STRANGELOVE, our leaders did so with full knowledge and intent, disregarding the recommendations of the United Nations, who, it turns out, were correct in their assessment of the situation in Iraq. And through all of this, the Bush Administration found every possible way to overturn any criticism that their particular brand of torture was inhuman. They insisted it was not only legal, but necessary. And when faced with legal implications, they actually tried to redefine torture itself so that they could legally continue in their God-mandated actions.

I wonder what Jesus would think about all of this?

It seems odd to me that so many of these Bush supporters and Palin supporters are actually running around in fear of totalitarianism, fascism and big government under the Obama Administration. Especially considering that the Bush Administration and many Republican administrations before (though Clinton can be lumped in here to an extent, as well) catered grotesquely to the massive corporations that have, in essence, become the government of the United States (and, perhaps, the rest of the world). The very fears these people are now espousing and their accompanying accusations were actually flourishing as a reality under their own God-approved world leaders.

There has been few things in my lifetime that seemed more moralistically damaged than the Bush Administration. They not only diminished our hundreds-year struggle to make and keep America “The Land Of The Free,” but they did it under the name of God and Christianity. There is nothing more offensive to my understanding of Jesus and God–any God–than the actions of the Bush Administration and the current portion of Americans still engaged in these beliefs.

Understand, this is not a Democrat versus Republican issue. Nor is it an anti-religion issue. This is an argument between a group of people who believe in true freedom and equality –regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation– and a group of people who believe in those things with a set of parenthesis attached. It seems that simply claiming to be a good Christian is enough to justify almost any act of brutality or injustice so long as you can connect it to your religious beliefs and convince yourself that you are on the side of “right.” That you are “chosen” or “saved.” What a terrifying notion. This faith-based bit of simple-mindedness has brought us such God-approved events as the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials. It seems that only in retrospect can the public at large recognize the atrocities committed in the name of the Lord.

But what is one to expect from a belief system that suggests believers will go to heaven, while the rest of humanity will spend an eternity in hell? Is this what the universe has been boiled down to in the glorious and creative minds of the human race?

A few weeks back, I wrote a short piece on Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration’s torture policies and I held them up against some of the insightful and thoughtful teachings of Gandhi. One very angry woman wrote to me proclaiming “You’re obviously NOT a Christian man!” I wondered what gave me away? My quoting Gandhi or my not endorsing torture?

Today, Fox News’ Brit Hume commented on golfer Tiger Woods’ one chance to save himself, not only from his current public scandal, but from the very fiery depths of hell itself:

“The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

Tiger has spoken openly in the past about his religious beliefs:

“I practice meditation. That is something that I do, that my mum taught me over the years. We also have a thing we do every year, where we go to temple together. In the Buddhist religion you have to work for it yourself, internally, in order to achieve anything in life and set up the next life. It is all about what you do and you get out of it what you put into it.”

Clearly the words of a blasphemer.

I wonder how many Americans are out there right now commenting not so much on Mr. Woods’ all-too human difficulties and challenges, but on the indisputable “fact” that he may well rot in hell. He doesn’t need a therapist. He needs to have faith. Not in himself, but in another. And if he does so, he can finally realize that he is not only above the law, but the rest of humanity.

In God We Trust. Or Else. You Listening, Tiger?

Where The Heck Are We? More Pics From The Hubble


slide_2627_36972_large“What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour — fast enough to travel from Earth to the moon in 24 minutes!”

slide_2627_36973_large“These two images of a huge pillar of star birth demonstrate how observations taken in visible and in infrared light by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveal dramatically different and complementary views of an object.”

slide_2627_36974_large“NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope snapped this panoramic view of a colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of a giant star cluster.”

slide_2627_36975_large“The Hubble Space Telescope’s newly repaired Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) has peered nearly 5 billion light-years away to resolve intricate details in the galaxy cluster Abell 370.”

slide_2627_36976_large“This image of barred spiral galaxy NGC 6217 is the first image of a celestial object taken with the newly repaired Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope.”

Abell 370, Advanced Camera, butterfly, Hubble, infrared, NASA, NGC 6217, telescope, Where The Heck Are We?“Active Galaxy Markarian 817.”

hs-2009-18-a-large_web“Interacting Galaxies Group Arp 194.”

Picture 18“Interacting Spiral Galaxies NGC 2207 and IC 2163.”

Picture 15“A clash among members of a famous galaxy quintet reveals an assortment of stars across a wide color range, from young, blue stars to aging, red stars. This portrait of Stephan’s Quintet, also known as Hickson Compact Group 92, was taken by the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Stephan’s Quintet, as the name implies, is a group of five galaxies. The name, however, is a bit of a misnomer. Studies have shown that group member NGC 7320, at upper left, is actually a foreground galaxy about seven times closer to Earth than the rest of the group.”

Picture 17“Eta Carinae, one of the most massive stars in our Galaxy, suffered a giant outburst about 150 years ago, which make it one of the brightest stars in the southern sky.  The signature balloon-shaped clouds of gas blown from a pair of massive stars called Eta Carinae have tantalized astronomers for decades. Eta Carinae has a volatile temperament, prone to violent outbursts over the past 200 years.

Observations by the newly repaired Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveal some of the chemical elements that were ejected in the eruption seen in the middle of the 19th century.”

To learn more and to see more photos, visit the official Hubble Space Telescope site: http://www.hubblesite.org/

Where The Heck Are We? More Pics From The Hubble

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


jobs2
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.

LSD-Albert-Hofmann7jan06
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.

Sincerely,

A. Hofmann

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