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Hallucinogenic drug made Jean-Paul Sartre 'fall in love' with lobsters

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  1. Phungushead
    Hallucinogenic drug made Jean-Paul Sartre 'fall in love' with lobsters

    London, November 22 : A new book has revealed that European thinker Jean-Paul Sartre used to have hallucinations of lobsters, which once even chased him down the Champs Elysées.

    New York professor John Gerassi's book sheds light on the conversation between him and the French philosopher about mescaline, a powerful hallucinogenic drug.

    "Yeah, after I took mescaline I started seeing crabs around me all the time," Timesonline quoted Sartre as telling Gerassi in the book.

    He added: "They followed me in the streets, into class ... I would wake up in the morning and say, 'Good morning, my little ones, how did you sleep?' I would say, 'Okay guys, we're going into class now . . . ' and they would be there, around my desk, absolutely still, until the bell rang."

    The tome reveals Sartre, who popularized existentialism, experimented with mescaline to an extent that he almost became a lunatic.

    He said: "I began to think I was going crazy."

    However, Sartre ultimately stopped seeing the lobsters.

    He told Gerassi: "The crabs stayed with me until the day I simply decided that they bored me and I wouldn't pay attention to them.

    Sartre quit drugs before his death in 1980, but he had a strange fondness to the imaginary lobsters.

    He said: "The crabs were mine. I had got used to them. I would have liked my crabs to come back.

    "We call them crabs because of my [Altona] play but they were really lobsters. And you know, I've never said this before, but sometimes I miss them ... I remember how they used to sit there on my leg."

    The book will be published later this month.


    22 November 2009

    http://story.argentinastar.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/88176adfdf246af5/id/568302/cs/1/

Comments

  1. EscapeDummy
    How weird lol.
  2. sgurrman
    :crazyHmm, yes, I find this most strange. A friendly giraffe confirmed what SWIM suspected, namely that mescaline is not, generally speaking, very hallucinatory or reality distorting in its effects, in the way that M. Sartre appears to have experienced. DMT, psilocybin, LSD even, are more inclined to have this kind of effect. Rather, mescalin has the tendency to bring to life and illuminate what is obviously and physically there (along with occasionally opening up other doorways into weird spaces). Maybe Jean-Paul lived by the sea, and the crabs sidled into his lessons, being crustaceans curious to know more about existentialism and how it might affect their aquatic way of being.

    I was also intrigued to read that M. Sartre gave up taking drugs before he died: it would have been truly wacky if he had given up AFTER his death.

    Hey ho, back to the serious nature of reality now, and off to the shops...;)
  3. DarkWhysper
    In a state in which my brain chemicals were entirely uninfluenced by additives (XD) I once looked up at my ceiling and saw a lobster with pretty rainbow fairy wings. I laughed and got out my sketch book to draw the gentle beast and even added a rainbow coming from a cloud in the background. Thought this might be kinda relevant to the discussion. Maybe I will put this picture on my account sometime.
  4. Joe-(5-HTP)
    Did any other contemporary philosophers use psychedelics? I know Michael Foucault did LSD.. anyone know more?
  5. He006
    Philosopher Jean Paul Satre's experience with mescaline

    As one of the great European thinkers of the 20th century, Jean-Paul Sartre popularised existentialism, became a working-class hero — and was chased down the Champs Elysées by a pack of imaginary lobsters.
    A previously unpublished account of the late French philosopher’s improbable drug-induced crustacean visions has surfaced in New York, where a new book of conversations between Sartre and an old family friend will be published later this month.
    John Gerassi, a New York professor of political science whose parents were close friends of Sartre, talked at length to the philosopher in the 1970s about his experiments with mescaline, a powerful hallucinogenic drug derived from a Mexican cactus.
    Although it has long been known that Sartre experienced visions of lobsters — which he sometimes referred to as crabs — Gerassi’s account offers startling new details of the philosopher’s descent into near-madness as he battled to make sense of what he had come to regard as the intellectual absurdity of his life.


    “Yeah, after I took mescaline I started seeing crabs around me all the time,” he says in Gerassi’s new book, Talking With Sartre. “They followed me in the streets, into class ... I would wake up in the morning and say, ‘Good morning, my little ones, how did you sleep?’ I would say, ‘Okay guys, we’re going into class now . . . ’ and they would be there, around my desk, absolutely still, until the bell rang.”


    Like numerous other free-thinking writers from Aldous Huxley to Hunter S Thompson, Sartre was intrigued by the mind-expanding properties of the peyote cactus. His mescaline experiments started in 1935 and affected his thinking for more than a year.


    They proved a big influence in the writing of his 1938 novel, Nausea — now regarded as a manifesto of existentialism. Shellfish visions also featured in his 1959 play, The Condemned of Altona, in which a race of crabs sits in judgment on humanity.


    In between, Sartre told Gerassi, “I began to think I was going crazy.”


    He consulted a young psychiatrist named Jacques Lacan — who later became another of France’s foremost intellectuals — and they attributed Sartre’s crab-infested depression to his fear that he was being pigeon-holed as a teacher.


    “That was the worst part, to have to be serious about life,” said Sartre. “The crabs stayed with me until the day I simply decided that they bored me and I wouldn’t pay attention to them.” By then it was the 1940s, France was occupied and Sartre had other things to worry about.


    Gerassi’s unusual access to Sartre derived from a remarkable family bond. His father Fernando Gerassi was a Turkish-born Jew who became an anti-fascist general in the Spanish civil war. His mother, the Ukrainian-born Stepha, then pregnant, had travelled to Paris and ended up in a clinic across the road from La Closerie des Lilas, the celebrated bar where Sartre and his lover, Simone de Beauvoir, mingled with the Parisian cultural elite. De Beauvoir became a close friend of Stepha.


    “So my father, André Breton [the poet], Marc Chagall and Joan Miró [the painters] were all drinking there and every now and then my father would rush upstairs to find out if I was born,” said Gerassi. Sartre arrived late, just as Stepha gave birth. The atheist philosopher normally shunned Christian ritual, but agreed to become Gerassi’s “non-godfather”.


    The relationship served Gerassi well when he began a series of intimate interviews with Sartre for a biography but ultimately he wrote only a first volume. The interviews languished unpublished for years before Yale University Press took an interest.


    After surviving imprisonment by the Germans and throwing himself into post-war anti-American agitation, Sartre told his non-godson that he had been plunged back into depression by the rise to power of Charles de Gaulle, the hero of the conservative bourgeoisie.


    No longer taking mescaline, Sartre, who died in 1980, found himself pining for the distracting visions from his youth. “The crabs were mine. I had got used to them,” he said. “I would have liked my crabs to come back.”


    Yet by then the crustaceans that he had once found so inspirational were nowhere to be seen. “We call them crabs because of my [Altona] play,” he said, “but they were really lobsters. And you know, I’ve never said this before, but sometimes I miss them ... I remember how they used to sit there on my leg.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6926971.ece


    Mescaline left Jean-Paul Sartre in the grip of lobster madness
  6. Heretic.Ape.
    Re: Philosopher Jean Paul Satre's experience with mescaline

    please include the text along with the source, links go dead. Also please post news stories in the News forum.
    Thanks.
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