What the Brain Does By Itself Is Infinitely More Fascinating and Complex Than Any Response It Can Make To Chemical Stimulation

Ursula K. Le Guin? Elaine Partnow? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: People have employed psychoactive substances for centuries to pursue alertness, pleasure, insights, thrills, and sundry goals. Yet, a famous speculative fiction author asserted that the brain by itself could achieve infinitely fascinating responses without chemical intervention. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: The prize-winning science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin serialized the innovative novel “The Lathe of Heaven” in “Amazing Science Fiction Stories” in 1971. 1 The main character George Orr was able to cause major alterations in reality while dreaming.

Orr participated in mandatory therapy sessions with a sleep researcher who wished to construct a utopian world using Orr’s remarkable powers. The researcher was pleased to discover that Orr was responsive without the use of drugs. The sleep sessions employed a biofeedback-like device called an Augmentor. The researcher spoke the quotation. Boldface added t excerpts by QI: 2

“I’d rather work without drugs. What the brain does by itself is infinitely more fascinating and complex than any response it can make to chemical stimulation; that’s why I developed the Augmentor, to provide the brain a means of self-stimulation. The creative and therapeutic resources of the brain — whether waking or sleeping or dreaming — are practically infinite. If we can just find the keys to all the locks. The power of dreaming alone is quite undreamt of!”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading What the Brain Does By Itself Is Infinitely More Fascinating and Complex Than Any Response It Can Make To Chemical Stimulation

Notes:

  1. 1971 March, Amazing Science Fiction Stories, Volume 44, Number 6, The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin, (Part 1 of 2), Start Page 6, Quote Page 25, Column 1, Ultimate Publishing Company, Flushing, New York. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1973 (1971 Copyright), The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin, Chapter 3, Quote Page 34, Avon Books: A Division of The Hearst Corporation, New York. (Verified with scans)