Jokes aside, of course, many people turned to LSD as a gateway to spiritual experiences, reputed to be better than mescaline and normally with fewer physical side effects.
Hoffman points out its trials in psychoanalytical work, which of course brings in one Dr. Timothy Leary. Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson tried it (in between his séances) and thought it could be used to fight addictions.
But, the spiritual experience is there without LSD (or mescaline, or psilocybin). I’ve undergone self-hypnosis, years ago, and gotten “deep” enough to see spiraling mandala patterns, getting ever brighter as I focused on them, spinning more rapidly, and eventually becoming — a tunnel.
Yes, I was on the pathway to one of the most commonly cited phenomena of a near-death experience. NDE, meet LSD. Both of you, meet brain hardwiring.
At the end of the interview, Hoffman sounds like a New Ager himself, when asked what LSD did for his understanding of death:
When asked if the drug had deepened his understanding of death, he appeared mildly startled and said no. “I go back to where I came from, to where I was before I was born, that's all,” he said.
Well, ’twould be nice if it were true, but since there is no “I” after death (and, arguably, no single “I” while we’re alive), nobody’s going noplace, acid or not.
And, speaking of that (and read my posts here, here, and here) just who was going anywhere on those acid trips, anyway?