Retired professor leads discussion on psychedelic drugs


The Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) held a discussion group Wednesday in the Holmes Student Center about the difference between psychedelic and psychoactive medicine and their uses.

Tom Roberts, a retired professor of education of psychology, led a small group of people on a question-and-answer-based discussion on the medical uses, different types and the foundation of psychedelic drugs. This is a four-week program for the winter term.

“A psychedelic drug magnifies or amplifies whatever is going on in the subconscience or conscience mind,” Roberts said. “It can also stimulate mystical experiences.”

Roberts continued to discuss the common types of psychedelic drugs, which are lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin from sacred mushrooms, mescaline from peyote cactus and ayahuasca from two Amazon plants.

The drug ayahuasca is commonly used in religious ceremonies and for sacred use in churches, Roberts said.

Roberts provided his own experience with psychedelic drugs as he lectured about his dreams.

Roberts said in the middle of the night he often wakes and writes down what he remembers of his dreams. He said he also remembers his childhood nightmares.

Roberts said people who take these drugs can remember their experiences, such as the birth experience which he remembered in a dream.

“I felt I was being pushed through some plumbing,” he said. “I remember the dream and how frightening it was.”

The discussion closed with a video of a woman facing the anxiety of death from a terminal disease and the use of psychedelic drugs to prepare her for death. Roberts said these drugs can drop a person’s fear of dying.

Heinz Osterle, a retired professor of literature and culture, said he attended the discussion because he is a friend of Roberts, and he wanted to help his wife with her alcohol addiction. He also added his own personal experiences with these drugs to the group.

“I have experience with mystical experiences,” Osterle said. “It’s like going through heaven and hell.”

The LLI hosts programs for retired professors and people in the area who still want to learn. Roberts said the group of people are professors who come together to share different ideas of knowledge.