I can’t say I’m surprised by this insider account of drug use in Silicon Valley. Seems like much of the tech industry has taken off in flight. We’re not talking about share prices now.
It’s a field that has always required a certain degree of wild confidence and speculation. I recall a veteran Silicon Valley attorney helped us a few years ago to establish a new residential facility. For him, our project was a welcome break from tech startups. “This is real,” he explained. “You can see it. Buildings and everything!” Most tech startups, you see, are little more than an idea in search of money.
The go-go world of high tech seems like it would foster a fair amount of drug use. In that respect it’s akin to the movie or music industries, or to political campaigns, or high finance. Remember The Wolf of Wall Street? Investors trusting hundreds of millions of dollars with people who routinely ingested vast quantities of cocaine and other drugs?
I suppose it’s natural for such folks to be attracted to stimulants. That lasts until they encounter the toxicity associated with too much of a good thing. “First you get way up, then you take something to get yourself back down. Then you need get back up again. And then… well, you know how it works.” Yes, we do.
There seems to be a resurgence in popularity for hallucinogens. There’s LSD microdosing on a daily basis, supposedly to foster creativity. Ayahuasca to yield insight, Ectasy (MDMA) to alter perception and boost energy. Adderall’s a staple and so is cannabis, the stronger the better. A vape pen can deliver all sorts of boosters to the eager brain.
Does any of this stuff actually work? Do these substances make the user more intelligent, perceptive, imaginative, and therefore likely to succeed? If testimonials impress you, there are plenty to be had. Of course that was true during the early days of Leary and Alpert. We even tried smoking banana peel before exams (hint: don’t bother). Same testimonials dotted the first years of the cocaine epidemic, when it seemed liked everyone was making way too many trips to the bathroom.
It was a gullible era, and that was enough.
It does seem ironic that now, in the midst of one drug epidemic , perhaps the most damaging ever, we could be setting ourselves up for the next.