When the inventor of LSD wrote a letter to Steve Jobs

Thu, Jul 9, 2009


In a lot of ways, Steve Jobs isn’t your average Silicon Valley CEO.  He doesn’t wear suits, has no adherence to convention, has travelled on a spiritual quest to India, and has even been known to drop tabs of acid every now and again.  Well to be fair, Jobs’ experimentation with LSD, as far as we know, was limited to his travels abroad in India.  But still…

In any event, Jobs has famously said that using LSD was “one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life”, and in the Pirates of Silicon Valley movie, he even makes fun of good ole’ boy Bill Gates for not partaking in the sweet LSD nectar himself.

Now comes word that in 2007, at the ripe old age of 101, Albert Hofmann, who invented LSD,  penned a letter to Jobs asking him to expand on his previous statements that LSD had helped expand his mind and helped him creatively run Apple.  The letter reads,

Dear Mr. Steve Jobs,

Hello from Albert Hofmann. I understand from media accounts that you feel LSD helped you creatively in your development of Apple computers and your personal spiritual quest. I’m interested in learning more about how LSD was useful to you.

I’m writing now, shortly after my 101st birthday, to request that you support Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Peter Gasser’s proposed study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with anxiety associated with life-threatening illness. This will become the first LSD-assisted psychotherapy study in over 35 years.

I hope you will help in the transformation of my problem child into a wonder child.


A. Hofmann

According to the Huffington Post, the above letter sparked a 30-minute conversation between Jobs and Hofmann’s good friend, Rick Doblin.  Nothing substantial, however, resulted.

“He was still thinking, ‘Let’s put it in the water supply and turn everybody on,'” recalls a disappointed Doblin, who says he still hasn’t given up hope that Jobs will come around and contribute.

The Huffington Post has a lot more on Hofmann and the history of LSD over here.


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