ithout the ability to fully love or be fully loved, so
many of us think that the acquisition of money can bring
self-esteem and happiness. I’ve enjoyed friendship with
some exceedingly wealthy people. If money brought
happiness, then each of them should be ecstatically happy.
But I doubt whether any of them is any happier than any of
my less well-to-do friends. Money, it seems, attracts more
envy than empathy. More lust than love.
the practice of psychiatry was little known or respected.
The public seemed to regard it, just as I probably did,
with skepticism. For years I absurdly treated subjects
with which I was unfamiliar, or sports in which I was not
proficient, or books which I should have read but
didn’t, with disdain. But by 1956, lacking the
foundation of early spiritual training and suspecting that
there was more happiness available than I seemed able to
grasp, I had grown much more tolerant of, and receptive
to, the knowledge of others. Other searchers, other
sharers. Humanitarians in all fields of endeavor. At the
age of 53, after three unsuccessful marriages, either
something was wrong with me or, obviously, with the whole
sociological and moralistic concepts of our civilization.
Now, I believe in caring
for my health; and I trust you do too. Physical health is
a product of, and dependent upon, mental health — one
nurtures and nourishes the other. And so, together with a
group of other interested Californians — doctors,
writers, scientists and artists — and the encouragement
of Betsy, who was interested herself, I underwent a series
of controlled experiments with Lysergic Acid, a
hallucinogenic chemical or drug known as LSD 25.
Experiment is perhaps a misleading word; to most people it
signifies patronization and objectivity. For my part I
anxiously awaited their personal benefits that could be
derived from the experiences, and was quite willing to be
less than objective. Any man who experiments with
something that cannot benefit himself, or add to his
happiness, and that of his fellow man in turn, is a fool
and a menace to society. I’ve heard that a man here and
there died during LSD25 sessions; but then I’ve heard
that men died during poker games and while watching horse
racing; but that didn’t seem to stop such occupations.
Those men might have died anywhere while doing anything.
Men have also died testing airplanes and parachutes,
vaccines and common cold cures. In attempting to traverse
the next step into progress and knowledge, men have always
died. But there is a difference between the man who knows
what he’s about with a high-powered airplane, and an
idiot who puts wings on a bicycle and takes off from the
edge of Niagra Falls.
LSD 25 is a psychic
energizer and the exact opposite in reaction to the
addictive drugs and opiates. Indeed, Seconal, or similar
sedative, is usually given as an antidote, to quell and
offset the effects of LSD 25, if necessary. The action of
the chemical releases the subconscious so that it becomes
apparent to yourself. So that you can see what transpires
in the depth of you mind — and what goes on there
you wouldn’t believe, ladies and gentlemen — and learn
which misconceptions, guilts and fears, with their
resultant repressions, inhibitions and insecurities, have
formed the pattern for your past behavior. A successively
recurring pattern since childhood.
The feeling is that of an
unmarshaling of the thoughts as you’ve customarily
associated them. The lessening of conscious control,
similar to the mental process which takes place when we
dream. For example, when you’re asleep and your mind no
longer concerned with matters and activities of the day,
your subconscious often brings itself to your attention by
dreaming. With conscious controls relaxed, those thoughts
buried deep inside begin to come to the surface in the
form of dreams. These dreams, since they appear to us in
symbolic guise, are fantasies and, if you will accept the
reasoning, could be classified as hallucinations. Such
fantasies, or hallucinations, are inside every one of us,
waiting to be released, aired and understood. Dreams are
really the emotions that we find ourselves reluctant to
examine, think about, or meditate upon, while conscious.
the effect of LSD 25, these dreams or hallucinations, if
you wish, are speeded up, and interpreted, when properly
conducted ba a psychiatrically orientated doctor who sits
quietly by, awaiting whatever communication one cares to
make — the revealing of a hidden memory seen again from
an older, more mature viewpoint, or the dawning of new
enlightenment. Then, if the doctor is as skilled as mine
was, he carefully proffers a word or key, that can lead to
the next release, the next step toward fuller
The shock of each
revelation brings with it an anguish of sadness for what
was not known before in the wasted years of ignorance and,
at the same time, an ecstasy of joy at being freed from
the shackles of such ignorance.
One becomes a battleground
of old and new beliefs. Of nightmares beyond description.
I passed through changing seas of horrifying and happy
sights, through a montage of intense hate and love, a
mosaic of past impressions assembling and reassembling;
through terrifying depths of dark despair replaced by
glorious heavenlike religious symbolisms. Session after
session. Week after week.
I learned may things in the
quiet of that small room. I learned to accept the
responsibility for my own actions, and to blame myself and
no one else for circumstances of my own creating. I
learned that no one else was keeping me unhappy but me;
that I could whip myself better than any other guy in the
I learned that all clichés
prove true; which is, of course, the reason for their
repetition, even when the meaning has been forgotten by
the constant usage.
I learned that everything
is, or becomes, its own opposite. A theory I can sometimes
apply, but would find difficult to convey.
I learned that my dear
parents, products of their parents, could know no
better than they knew, and began to remember them only for
the most useful, the best, the wisest of their teachings.
They gave me my life and body, the promising combination
of the two, and my initial strength; they endowed me with
an inquisitive mind. They taught me to feed myself, to
walk, to bathe myself and to clothe myself; and I shall
think of them always with love now, not only for what the did
know but, even, for what the didn’t know.
For a slow learner, I
learned a great deal — and the result of it all was
rebirth. A new assessment of life and myself in it. An
immeasurably beneficial cleansing of so many needless
fears and guilts, and a release of the tensions that had
been the result of them. Not a cleansing and release of
them all, certainly, for that would be the absolute —
the innocence of the newly born baby with an unformed ego
still close to God — and I cannot experience the
absolute until I have unreservedly returned to the comfort
In life there is no end to
getting well. Perhaps death itself is the end to getting
well. Or, if you prefer to think as I do, the beginning of
I have heard and now
believe it to be so, that drowning men in the last seconds
of life relive the whole of it again; probably in order to
cleanse themselves before meeting the great Maker, just as
our religions instruct; and everyone is accustomed to the
phenomenon of elderly people remembering their childhood
with extraordinary clarity, yet forgetting what went on
only yesterday. We call it second childhood, but it is
undoubtedly the same process, undergone at a slower pace,
as that experienced by the drowning man.
LSD 25 is no longer
obtainable in America. Orthodox psychiatrists using the
slower customary methods resisted its usage, and it’s
unlikely that it will be reintroduced unless some brave,
venturesome and respected psychiatrist publicly speaks out
in its favor. Meanwhile, the authorities have banned its
use; at least for therapeutic purpose. Although how men
can be authorities on something they’ve never tried
mystifies me. However, in the hands o f thrill-seekers it
could, like whiskey and the automobile, be exceedingly
dangerous. I suppose all new methods, new theories, new
inventions go through the filter of trial and error,
acceptance and rejection. Past the inevitable parade of
scoffers and stone-throwers.
Yes, it takes a long time
for happiness to break through either to the individual or
nations. It will take just as long as people themselves
continue to confound it. You’ll find that nowadays they
put you away for singing and dancing in the street.
“Here now, let’s have none of that happiness, my boy.
You cut that out; waking up the neighbors!” “Those
darn neighbors need waking up, I can tell you,
I suppose if a healthy
youngster walked along a street in a bathing suit to allow
his or her youthful pores a little more oxygen from the
meager amount obtainable in our smog-infested cities, he
or she would be arrested. “Here now, none of that trying
to keep a healthy body in this city. Go to the beach!”
“In which direction , officer? This is Kansas City.”
Even bare feet and a rare acquaintance with the earth
beneath them would be sufficient to disassociate you from
the association of your embarrassed associates.
Civilization! Oh, brother! And you, too, sister!
I have made over 60
pictures and lived in Hollywood for more than 30 years.
Thirty years spent in the stimulating company of
hard-working, excitable, dedicated, loving, serious,
honest, good people. Casts and crews. I recognize and
respect them. I know their faults and their insecurities.
I hope they know and forgive mine. Thirty years ago my
hair was black and wavy. Today it’s gray and bristly.
But today people in cars, stopped alongside me at a
traffic light, smile at me!
I feel fine. Alone. But
fine. My mother is quite elderly. My wives have divorced
me, and I await a woman with the best qualities of each. I
will endow her with those qualities because they will be
in my own point of view.
As a philosopher once said,
“You cannot judge the day until the night.” Since it
is for me evening, or at least teatime, I can now look
back and assess the day. It’s been a glorious adventure
up to here — even the saddest parts — and I look
forward to seeing the rest of the film. Just as I did in
1932 when I sat in that Paramount Studio office. I took up
the pen and wrote for the first time “Cary Grant.” And
that’s who, it seems, I am. Well, as some profound
fellow said, “I’d be a nut to go through all that
again, but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”
And that goes for this autobiography.
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