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Tripping his brains out | When Michel Foucault took LSD

‘In May 1975, Michel Foucault watched Venus rise over Zabriskie Point while Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Gesang der Jünglinge blared from the speakers of a nearby tape recorder. Just a few hours earlier he had ingested LSD for the first time and was in the process of undergoing what he saw as “one of the most important experiences” of his life. And he wasn’t alone. Two newly acquired companions had brought Foucault to Death Valley for this carefully choreographed trip complete with a soundtrack, some marijuana to jumpstart the effects, and cold drinks to combat the dry mouth. It was all spurred on by the hope that Foucault’s visit to “the Valley of Death”, as he called it, would elicit “gnomic utterances of such power that he would unleash a veritable revolution in consciousness”.

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