MAPS Forum: MDMA and Creativity

Winter 1995 Vol. 05, No. 3 Clinical Trials and Tribulations

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TheDear MAPS,

I have recognized the importance of psychedelics in my life since my first exposure to LSD on June 14th, 1962 at the International Foundation for Advance Studies in Menlo Park, California. I was required to produce a detailed history of my life and was examined by a medical doctor and by a psychiatrist for any problems. After these I had 10 weeks of Carbogen [a psychoactive mixture of gases] inhalation experiences before my day with 300 micrograms of LSD. I was a stubborn, know-it-all, college-educated, mid-westerner, ex-Catholic, that had this whole world figured out. What a shock to learn that there is more! Both my wife and I had profound experiences and with them came positive changes in our lives. We offered our services as ‘baby-sitters’. We stayed with and supported others during the evening and overnight the day of their sessions. We personally witnessed some dramatic changes in individuals, nearly all positive. We also opened our home to those who wished to meet and share their experiences.

We have to thank Myron Stolaroff for having the courage to forge ahead against some of society’s most rigid pre-conceived beliefs and social fears and start a Foundation. I was an engineering manager at Ampex, the same company that Myron left to start the Foundation. Management, and especially the Personnel Manager at Ampex, were tracking those of us who experienced LSD at the Foundation. I’m unsure what they believed was happening to us but I knew the ‘big’ boys were quite afraid to have an experience themselves. I now know that some with big egos protect themselves from change.

In November of 1965, I had the opportunity to participate in a problem solving session at the Foundation. It involved 27 individuals of various disciplines. The first day we completed one-half of a battery of the standard creativity tests without LSD. The second day we ingested 100 micrograms of LSD, then completed the remaining portions of the tests. We also worked on a specific "technical" problem that we had brought with us. I was very pleased with my test results without LSD, as I felt I was a very creative, problem solving engineer. I was utterly amazed that with the use of 100 micrograms of LSD my horizons were broadened considerably. I’ve never forgotten that experience.

During my 35 year career I managed teams of engineers in high-tech development projects, mainly in the recording field including the first instant replay equipment. I’ve been fascinated with the process of creativity and its output in engineering efforts as inventions. I have 15 or so inventions, but only in one can I clearly identify the creative process taking place. Other experiences in my life, including one or two with MDMA, have made me recognize that there is a ‘source’ for really outstanding inventions, concepts, and solutions to all sorts of problems. I intend to complete a book about creativity. A key premise in my book on creativity is based on the need to contact the ‘source’ to learn how to call on support from these higher powers of creativity when one has exhausted one’s own creativity powers. My work speaks to this method of becoming creative. I also discuss different levels of creativity and believe we can learn to activate the highest level that is quite different than normal consciousness.

I believe under specific circumstances, set and setting, that MDMA is one of the few materials that allows an individual to focus on a particular ‘request.’ MDMA doesn’t always carry me into realms of psychological problems and offers possibilities for exceptional creative results. Most others using psychedelics that I read about seem to focus on personal and/or interpersonal relationships and I believe there has been little investigation on using MDMA specifically for creative purposes. I don’t mean to belittle the benefits of using material for these purposes I am speaking of a different emphasis.

I would like to know of others who have used MDMA specifically for creative purposes or are possibly considering getting a study approved.

The reason I target MDMA as vehicle is that I believe it is a substance that does not overwhelm the individual, like LSD or other materials, allowing one to direct or focus for specific results.

Walter J. Cheney
5443 Stag Mt. Rd.
Weed, CA 96094
Phone : (916) 938-3163
Fax : (916) 938-3850