Carl Jung’s Letter to Betty Grover Eisner [On Mescaline]
Dear Mrs. Eisner:
Thank you for your kind letter. Experiments along the line of mescaline an related drugs are certainly most interesting, since such drugs lay bare a level of the unconscious that is otherwise accessible only under peculiar psychic conditions.
It is a fact that you get certain perceptions and experiences of things appearing either in mystical states or in the analysis of unconscious phenomena, just like the primitives in their orgiastic or intoxicated conditions.
I don’t feel happy about these things, since you merely fall into such experiences without being able to integrate them.
The result is a sort of theosophy, but it is not a moral and mental acquisition. It is the eternally primitive man having experience of his ghost-land, but it is not and achievement of your cultural development.
To have so-called religious visions of this kind has more to do with physiology but nothing with religion. It is only that mental phenomena are observed which one can compare to similar images in ecstatic conditions.
Religion is a way of life and a devotion and submission to certain superior facts—a state of mind which cannot be injected by a syringe or swallowed in the form of a pill.
It is to my mind a helpful method to the barbarous Peyotee, but a regrettable regression for a cultivated individual, a dangerously simple “Ersatz” and substitute for a true religion.
C.G. Jung [Letter dated 12August1957]
1. Betty Grover Eisner had stated that for her LSD was “almost a religious drug.”