Several days ago a man passed from this world into the next whose influence on the evolution of humankind is so expansive it will take centuries before his role in our future is fully told. This man, a simple chemist living and working in Switzerland, created the 1960s generation, defined an era of human conscious exploration, and may have given man access to the Philosophers Stone. He was Albert Hofmann, modern discoverer of LSD, synthesizer of psilocybin, and documenter of salvia divinorum. He was 102 years old.
Hofmann’s discovery of LSDs power is probably not its first use in the hands of humankind. It is probable that the ancient Greek mysteries (the Cult of Dionysius) utilized the ergot fungus growing on their rye bread preparations as a ceremonial key to altering an initiates mental perceptions. Yet Hofmann’s synthesis of LSD-25 stands as a key point in awakening mankind to it potential, and to the nature of existence beyond the perceptual.
The story of Hofmann’s accidental discovery of LSDs power, his legendary psychedelic bicycle ride, and his role in placing this drug in the hands of men like Timothy Leary (who would usher it into popular consumption) are already mythological. Though based in fact these events have taken on the chimera of myth by the fact of their fantastic unfolding. In time these stories will have been elevated to the status of the Greek and Roman myths. An ancient fable told to children of how men were “before.”