Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How doth the little busy bee*

What an incredible amount of time I waste on the computer.

But if I had not been poking around on the computer this morning, April 19th, I would not have thought to google "April 19th" and then click on the article in Wikipedia about April 19th, or found the very long list of events, births, and deaths that occurred on April 19th in history, or seen the smaller section at the bottom of the article entitled "Holidays and observances", and my eye would not have happened to fall on the bulleted item "Bicycle Day" which intrigued me enough to explore further.

Nor would I have discovered, if I had not clicked on the bulleted item "Bicycle Day" that the article it leads to is entitled "History of lysergic acid diethylamide" which gave me enough pause to stop and say "Whoa!" or at least think it. I don't think I said it out loud.

Anyhoo, here, for your reading pleasure and enlightenment, without further ado, is the section on Bicycle Day *waves to All Consuming from the article "History of lysergic acid diethylamide" in Wikipedia:

"Bicycle Day"

On April 19, 1943, [Albert] Hofmann performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (an actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms). Less than an hour later, Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked his laboratory assistant to escort him home and, as use of motor vehicles was prohibited because of wartime restrictions, they had to make the journey on a bicycle. On the way, Hofmann's condition rapidly deteriorated as he struggled with feelings of anxiety, alternating in his beliefs that the next-door neighbor was a malevolent witch, that he was going insane, and that the LSD had poisoned him. When the house doctor arrived, however, he could detect no physical abnormalities, save for a pair of incredibly dilated pupils. Hofmann was reassured, and soon his terror began to give way to a sense of good fortune and enjoyment, as he later wrote...

"... Little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux ..."

The events of the first LSD trip, now known as “Bicycle Day”, after the bicycle ride home, proved to Hofmann that he had indeed made a significant discovery: a psychoactive substance with extraordinary potency, capable of causing significant shifts of consciousness in incredibly low doses. Hofmann foresaw the drug as a powerful psychiatric tool; because of its intense and introspective nature, he couldn’t imagine anyone using it recreationally. Bicycle Day is increasingly observed in psychedelic communities as a day to celebrate the discovery of LSD.

The celebration of Bicycle Day originated in DeKalb, Illinois, in 1985, when Thomas B. Roberts, then a Professor at Northern Illinois University, invented the name "Bicycle Day" when he founded the first Bicycle Day celebration at his home. Several years later, he sent an announcement made by one of his students to friends and Internet lists, thus propagating the idea and the celebration. His original intent was to commemorate Hofmann's original, accidental exposure on April 16, but that date fell midweek and was not a good time for the party, so he chose the 19th to honor Hofmann's first intentional exposure.

(Original work by Yttrium Ox, used in accordance with CC-by-SA 3.0)

(end of Wikipedia excerpt)

This is not a psychedelic community -- at least I don't think this is a psychedelic community -- but I thought a certain segment of this non-psychedelic community might enjoy learning about or, if you were already aware of it, reading about Bicycle Day. It was a new one on me.

I will now share with you the wisdom of the ages on this Bicycle Day as filtered through my own finite, mortal mind in the form of a new proverb I just invented:

"Individual journeys may come to an end, but the road goes on forever."

It's not as good as the one in the 1983 movie High Road to China in which a guru told Tom Selleck, "The ox moves slowly, but the earth is patient," but it will have to do.

Until next time...

*for those who care or wonder, the title of this post is from the following poem by Isaac Watts:

Against Idleness And Mischief
by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.

In works of labor or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.


  1. I was intrigued by your title. Of course I immediately thought of "How Doth The Little Crocodile" by Lewis Carroll. I enjoyed the whole post.

  2. Serendipity. Late last night I learnt about bicycle day and its links with LSD for the first time.

  3. I took LSD twice (or maybe three times—I took other things too, and this was over thirty years ago), but it was what was called “blotter acid” because it had been dripped onto blotter paper, and I have no idea how much there was of it, but surely nowhere near what Hoffman took, although I had very similar experiences. My interest in such things was spurred by curiosity and by the then current belief that psychedelics represented a short-cut to higher consciousness. Now, it appears, they are regarded as just another thing to get wasted on, suggesting that it’s not just the drug that matters, but also one’s expectations and context (I got to where I wouldn’t take psychedelics at night or around people I didn’t fully trust). I don’t know that I’ll ever take psychedelics again, but I doubt it because reality itself has become scary enough that I’m afraid acids, schrooms, or even pot might be more than I could handle. In fact, I gave up pot because I could not longer handle it.

    As for the poem, it’s not like bees decide to be industrious (which might not be relevant in your view), but that they’re like machines that run, and run, and run until they break, at which point they’re unceremoniously tossed out of the hive. In a way, they represent socialism at its worst.

  4. Interesting comments from everyone.

    Emma (Dusty) Springfield good for you. Lewis Carroll's poem was written as a parody of the one by Isaac Watts.

    Pachyderm Baby, isn't it odd how that happens sometimes?

    Snowbrush, I never dabbled in the drug scene, but it is interesting to see how your point of view changed over time. Your description of bees sounds like what happens in our corporate world if you change "break" to "reach a certain age."

  5. I would have been amazed if you had "dabbled in the drug scene” because I regard you as being like Peggy who has the fantastic notion that laws should be obeyed, and that people should go through life without drug-addled brains (how someone like she got hooked up with someone like I is a mystery). I'll just say that there are different reasons that people use drugs, that mine were in some ways laudable, and that I always found hallucinogenics more frightening than fun. If it had been otherwise, I would have used more of them and taken higher doses, but I was very much afraid of going on a trip that I couldn't find my way back from. Even so, the allure was there. As for my point of view changing over time, the last hallucinogenic I used was pot, and it was way strong, and, after a few years, it got to where it would leave me despondent for a day after I ate it. After the third time this happened, I was permanently through. I have enough problems with depression without putting up with that. Now, it’s just sleeping pills and oxycodone, and they’re the scariest drugs I’ve taken due to their potential for addiction. I’m told that people can get addicted to pot, but I never was, and I certainly wasn’t addicted to acid or psylocibin. Today, I start a new anti-depressant because the last one was causing my eyeballs to twitch, my hands to tremble, my limbs to jerk, and otherwise making me a wreck to the point of near non-functionality. I really don’t how I’ve survived all of the drugs taken, but I must say that I truly need the ones I'm on now.