question, it seems to me, cannot be answered totally, because should I believe that i am totally at the mercy of my destiny, then I may become lethargic and be just a leaf in the wind. On the other hand, should I believe that I have full powers over my destiny, I would become a harsh judge of others who would appear to me to be just drifting. Years ago, I tried to devise a recipe entitled Be What You Are which was based on a line of Shakespeare. “Who is he who can tell me who I am?” I tried hard but never succeeded. I believe in the perfectibility of the human race and in the support we can give each other in evolving. But that is all I believe.
RMN: Do you believe that people who have seen further, and have more awareness, have a responsibility to others?
LAURA Absolutely yes. Those of us who have been given more gifts certainly have a responsibility for others.
DJB: If you could sum up the central message that you got from the time you spent with Aldous, what would you say that you learned from him?
LAURA He said it himself. I can do no better than what he said. It was at this important meeting of outstanding scientists in Santa Barbara. Everyone was very serious, and they said, well, Mr. Huxley, what is your final advice after all these years of inquiry? He said, “I’m very embarrassed because I worked for forty years, I studied everything around, I did experiments, I went to several countries, and all I can tell you is to be just a little kinder to each other.”
DJB: That takes a lot of learning.
LAURA You’re absolutely right. It takes a lot of learning and living and loving and suffering.
DJB: It seems obvious but it’s not.
LAURA Often the obvious things are the ones that are the most difficult to understand and appreciate. It seems obvious that we breathe. You know we do breathe, but do we understand it? Do we appreciate it? No—we only begin to appreciate it when we suffocate.
DJB: How do you think the LSD that Aldous asked for as he was dying influenced his dying process?
LAURA It went so smoothly. He did ask for it and he knew exactly what he was doing. It is my belief that it made it very easy for him. This doesn’t mean that it would make it easy for everybody else. Remember that this is, again, the process of one person–a person who had prepared himself for this event throughout his life. He asked for it at the right time, too, just six hours before he died. He asked for a big sheet of paper; he evidently knew that he could not handle small handwriting. Then he wrote his own recipe: “Try LSD 100 mm intramuscular.” During the week prior to his death, I had been thinking that maybe I should mention it. I was alert as to when he was going to ask me for it. It was not until that moment, at about 11:00. Then he died about 5:00.
DJB: I read in one of your books that people seem to have two basic approaches to death. Some want to die in their sleep, and go as unconsciously as possible. Others see it as an adventure, and want to go as lucid and aware as possible.
LAURA Yes, that’s right. Probably one of the reasons is whether one is naturally afraid to be unconscious or not. It seems to me at this point in my life, when I’m feeling good, my choice would be to be very conscious, aware of this process that must be fantastic. But it is easy to speak this way when you’re alive and well. It is easy to speak this way when you are not in agonizing pain, when you’re not undergoing the division of the body from its vitalizing essence. So I do not know what I would say then. But today I feel this way. What is the date today? Write down the time and date, because I may change my mind.
DJB: What do you think happens to human consciousness after death?
LAURA I think and feel that it goes on. I can’t imagine that this extraordinary complex of feeling, thought, and whatever else, just vanishes. I believe that it goes on; but how is a mystery. Perhaps it goes on into vibrations, or into other bodies, or into something totally different and unknown to us.
DJB: I read about the medium and the bookcase experience that you wrote about at the end of This Timeless Moment; that suggested the possibility of contact with Aldous after he had passed on into the afterlife.
LAURA That was extraordinary wasn’t it? I never speak about that because I wrote it with such exactness. I think that if I were to speak about it, I would not remember the moment, the time, and all that exactly. What I have written is absolutely correct.