Mon 17 Apr 2006
Electric Acid Test is like a documentary into the life of Ken Kesey and the Mary Pranksters. By following this group of individuals the author is also able to see where the hippie evolution stands in American culture. In the beginning of the story it was the author’s goal to write a story on Kesey as a novelist fugitive. Instead of entertaining Wolfe with insight into the psychedelic movement and the rebellious lifestyle of a fugitive, Kesey offers another alternative. He forms the idea of the Acid Test, a movement that abandons the psychedelic scene and moves beyond acid. The ideas, plans, and ambitions that Kesey has becomes his current fantasy.
So far the most interesting feature of the book is the story behind Kesey’s experience at Menlo Park and his inspiration for One Flew Over a Cuckoos Nest. It was at Menlo Park where Kesey first experienced the drug LSD. The LSD clinicians at Menlo park were under the impression that they had full control over the people who volunteered for the drug experiments. Ironically the drug opened a doorway to an indescribable feeling of freedom and the ability to fully feel your senses. The experience that Keseys and many others had with LSD sort of parallels with the Norman Mailer’s White Negroe, where the hipster is constantly fighting against the totalitarian conformity of society. Kesey’s expresses this tension in his novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest. The main character Randle McMurphy encourages the manipulated patients to weaken the control and System of the hospital. The system in the hospital could be looked at as the control and conformity in American society where everyone is thought to be mindless. Interestingly, like McMurphy, Kesey uses his current fantasy to encourage people to overstep the control of the system in American society and “move out to Edge City.” It is there where the people are more real and there minds remain untouched by the world.