Biography/Memoir

…[the evolving] vocabulary of the psychedelic experience

Compared to other psychotropic drugs available in the 1950s, LSD induced “something phenomenal, … of unimaginable intensity,” according to its creator Albert Hofmann. Speaking in an interview in 2004, he continued, “There is a vast difference between the emotional experience of this sensation and its purely abstract, philosophical description. It would be like trying to describe colours to a blind person: words alone will never make it possible to see what they are.”

…[she] nevertheless shows a semantic divide between cold and technical scientific language and the often-inexpressible fullness of a psychedelic experience. It also highlights the difficulty many non-academic intellectuals faced when describing the effects of these substances: their attempts were too far removed from the scientific culture of psychiatrists, who were the only recognized experts on these substances… Anaïs Nin therefore judges Huxley’s psychedelic writings harshly: “Huxley was a scientist. These visions came from chemicals. They were controlled. There was no danger of a Rimbaud walking out of his poetic world.” Betty Eisner dedicated one of her articles to Nin with the following: “To Anaïs Nin, who knows more about this than any of the scientists do.”

Original Article (Chacruna):
Anaïs Nin and the vocabulary of the psychedelic experience
Artwork Fair Use: Pedro Ribeiro Simões