Sunday, July 17, 2016

Week 4: Neuroscience + Art

The topic that I found the most intriguing from this week’s resources was the history behind cocaine and psychedelic drugs such as LSD also known as acid. Dating back to 1800’s, these drugs were a lot more accessible compared to today. Back then, these drugs were seen as cures to a variety of health concerns from depression to fatigue. Although they were easily accessible, I was still surprised to find that Sigmund Freud was a cocaine addict. I would have never thought a world famous neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis would ever succumb to the use of cocaine. His discovery and works in psychoanalysis is still significant in several areas of studies form psychology to psychiatry to humanities. Despite his great accomplishments in psychoanalysis, he also almost killed one of his patients with cocaine.

Sigmund Freud 

After reading the relationship Sigmund Freud had with cocaine, I took it upon myself to do individual research on other noteworthy individuals and their experiences with cocaine or LSD. One name that stood out to me was none other than Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is famously known for finding Apple Inc. One of the most masterful products that was produced by Apple Inc. is the iPhone. The iPhone was iconic in the sense that it allowed consumers through the use of the touch technology to surf the web, listen to music, and communicate with other people all in one device. Steve Jobs noted in one point of his career that ‘LSD was one of the two or three most important things he’d ever done.’ This brings to question whether the iPhone would exist today if he had not taken LSD. John Markoff from Times Magazine concluded that it would not. When Steve Jobs consumed LSD his curiosity for how chips worked and processors were made grew. He became obsessed with making every aspects of his product aesthetically appealing. It was this continuous drive for perfection that led to the creation of the iPhone. Given Steve Jobs accomplishments with various Apple products, this may create incentive for future artists to experiment with acid as well.

Evolution of the iPhone 

Movie about Steve Jobs which mentions his LSD experience


Hutton, Noah. "Gallery + Interview: Megan McGlynn." The Beautiful Brain. The Beautiful Brain, 09 Sept. 2013. Web. 17 July 2016.

Landau, Elizabeth. "What the Brain Draws From: Art and Neuroscience." CNN. Cable News Network, 15 Sept. 2012. Web. 17 July 2016.

Markel, Howard. "Sigmund Freud's Cocaine Problem." The Chart RSS. N.p., 22 July 2011. Web. 17 July 2016.

Noë, Alva. "Art and the Limits of Neuroscience." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 4 Dec. 2011. Web. 17 July 2016.

“Would the IPhone Exist If Steve Jobs Did Not Take LSD?” High Existence Site Wide Activity RSS. N.p., 17 Apr. 2015. Web. 17 July 2016.


"AppleCare + iPhone." Apple Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2016. 

"Sigmund Freud." Sigmund Freud the Father of Psychoanalysis. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2016. 

"Steve Jobs prend lu LSD." NY Post. N.p., 1 April, 2015. Web. 17 July 2016. 


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  2. Woah! I had know idea that image iPhone was a biproduct of an LSD use! Talk about the manipulation of biology... You bring up a great point regarding art's association with drug use. I know for a fact that many artists, from painters to writers to movie-makers, claim that they owe their innovative thinking to brainstorming under the influence of alcohol or hallucinogens. And as you mentioned in your blog, this really seems to have a correlation with the importance of aesthetic being elevated. So I guess the question then would be whether such biological alterers in the name of art are dangerous violations to the "natural" body, or advancements aided by medical technologies.