How psychedelia transformed pop culture

51wQRENPRFL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_Rob Young at The New Statesman:

Aldous Huxley had got his way, this book would have been titled Phanerothymia and Other Colours. That was the term Huxley proposed for the experience of taking lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), the hallucinogenic drug first synthesised in a Swiss laboratory on the eve of the Second World War. It was the British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond who came up with “psychedelia”, from the Greek words for “mind” and “manifest”. The term has since become associated predominantly with music. Rob Chapman’s book attempts to catalogue the far-reaching effects of the psychedelic experience as it expanded into the world over a 25-year period after the war, when books such as Huxley’sThe Doors of Perception (1954) became required reading for counter­cultural sky pilots.

Acid removes the filters that the brain normally applies to reality and users often describe a perception of interconnectedness, a slowing down of time and sensations of synaesthesia. The arts had been striving for similar effects with special vigour in the 20th century through movements such as cubism and surrealism and various branches of avant-garde music. Chapman traces a curlicued history connecting the Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy’s kinetic light sculptures with the youth parties in mid-1960s San Francisco, where fledgling psychedelic groups such as the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane routinely performed with multicoloured oil-wheel light shows.

more here.