Bicycle Day 2017: Amanda Feilding remembers Albert Hofmann

It is 74 years to the day that the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann inadvertently set off on on the world’s first LSD bicycle ride. With Psychedelic Science 2017 kicking off today – featuring presentations on the latest LSD research – Amanda Feilding looks back on her relationship with Albert Hofmann.

What was the Albert you knew like?

I always thought he was the happiest man I’d ever met. Albert had a great sparkle – he seemed completely content with himself at a very high level. I think it was because he had realised what an amazing gift he had given to humanity, to enable humans to reach a deeper level of the psyche and stimulate a mystical experience the same way mystics have endogenously. It’s an amazing gift to healing.

His interest in the psychedelics wasn’t totally approved of by his family. Nor did many in the scientific community approve, or he would have probably got a Nobel Prize. Apart from his work with LSD and psilocybin, he’d done some really valuable work.

Was that a black mark against him?

Definitely a black mark against him. He had made three major discoveries for Sandoz, which he never really got fully recognised for, which he would have done, had he not been involved with psychedelics.

 

What would Albert have thought of Bicycle Day?

He would have loved the spirit of it. He didn’t really go in for large doses of LSD, because the first experience on his bicycle had been quite a shock to him. What he loved was little microdoses to go in the woods and experience nature, and he said what gave him absolute joy was when young people from the cities would write to him and say for the first time they had experienced the beauty of nature. He used to say, a scientist who isn’t a mystic is no scientist.

Albert wrote this very beautiful book of his thoughts called Insight Outlookco-published by Oxford University Press, where he set down his more philosophical insights. It’s truly a treasure of a book.

I always thought he was the happiest man I’d ever met. Albert had a great sparkle - he seemed completely content with himself at a very high level. - Amanda Feilding