Surpassing its historical value is the immense philosophical import of this work. Never before has a chemist, an expert in the most materialistic of the sciences, advanced a Weltanschauung of such a mystical and transcendental nature. LSD, psilocybin, and the other hallucinogens do indeed, as Albert Hofmann asserts, constitute "cracks" in the edifice of materialistic rationality, cracks we would do well to explore and perhaps widen.
As a writer, it gives me great satisfaction to know that by this book the American reader interested in hallucinogens will be introduced to the work of Rudolf Gelpke, Ernst Junger, and Walter Vogt, writers who are all but unknown here. With the notable exceptions of Huxley and Wasson, English and American writers on the hallucinogenic experience have been far less distinguished and eloquent than they.
This translation has been carefully overseen by Albert Hofmann, which made my task both simpler and more enjoyable. I am beholden to R. Gordon Wasson for checking the chapters on LSD's "Mexican relatives" and on "Ska Maria Pastora" for accuracy and style.
Two chapters of this book - "How LSD Originated" and "LSD Experience and Reality" - were presented by Albert Hofmann as apaperbefore the international conference "Hallucinogens, Shamanism and Modern Life" in San Francisco on the afternoon of Saturday, September 30, 1978. As a part of the conference proceedings, the first chapter has been published in the Journal of Psychedetic Drugs, Vol. 11 (1-2), 1979.
Vashon Island, Washington