As far as being incredibly smart and taking psychoactives goes, I thoroughly recommend it.

Hmmmm, not quite what I meant to say. True, but what I meant to say was that a lot of the things really smart people say tend to sound like drug experiences. Start talking about cognitive dissonance or the reproduction of consciousness in machines or subatomic physics or the philosophy of language or the deeper meaning of the Matrix to your high-school buddies and see what conclusions they draw about your current state of mind. Throughout secondary school, people would think, just for a moment, that I was high, before their stereotype-checksums kicked in and pegged me as 'geek'.

Now, of course, they would be correct in many cases, though I still stand by my claim that, when you get down really small, the problem with thinking about what's there is that we are inclined to think of everything as solid, because of our experiences in day-to-day life, but at the level of the subatomic, nothing is 'solid'. It's not there in the sense of being solid, it's there in a way we aren't equipped to deal with. Even though I avoided describing it as 'eternally mutable energergetic vibration' and didn't even mention the uncertainty principle it still borders on stonertalk.

In fact, any observations about social conditioning or the nature of individuality carry the associated risk of you being considered to be a psychonaut of some description, because of the associations many people have between abstraction, especially concerning societal controls on the individual, and drugged rebellion.

But I digress. Maybe I should request a node title edit for my homenode to Digressor.

But, I digress. Fruan and I were sitting in my room the other morning, admittedly high, and I mentioned that some of the discussions we have normally wouldn't be entirely out of place in a circle of hippies. Each hippie tells a story, hippie #1 about Buddhism, hippie #2 about synaesthesia (though he doesn't use that word), hippie #Pseudomancer about qualia with a digression (of course) to the quantum nature of the universe, hippie #Fruan presents the converse, the 4-dimensional spacetime matrix and our limited perception. No incongruity in the tripped-outness of the stories may be observed.


Another point to be made about being really smart and taking lots and lots of drugs is the social one. naked ape makes this point in (b) and (e), above. I have never known what I want to do when I grow up. I have never wanted a 9 to 5 (see Geniuses for manual labour). I have never cared for the house, the car, the dog and the kids. I have never seen the point in adhering to an arbitrary obsession with tomorrow, with the pay packet, with promotion and obedience. As a geek, rebellion is not a conscious pose, it's just a necessary condition for my existence. Because I have looked at this thing they call society and want no part of it (thanks for that one Fruan), I genuinely don't care about the prevailing attitude towards drugs. It is founded on hysteria, misinformation, and an excessive stress on traditional values. I am judged by many people for my use of psychoactives, and I judge the people who do this for judging me. Tomorrow is only a minor worry, life happens now (he says, tapping away at the keyboard =) and as I can get by just fine intellectually (see (a), above) while continuing to use these substances, I don't need to worry too much about becoming a fuckup.
Which leads on to another point. Drugs fuck some people up. The overly-analytical, introspective nature of my personality acts as a safeguard here - I look so hard at my life that I can see if my usage starts to become a problem (not wishful thinking, I have just recently had to impose some control over my smoking of pot in order to continue to live the life I want. But I did it because I saw what was happening).
I have a semi-clear idea of how I want to be, if drugs get in the way of that they will suffer the same fate as any other aspect of my life would. The problem will be fixed.
Yet another point: having lots in your mind = lots to play with when high. I'm not completely sure what stupid ignorant people think about when they take the drugs I do, I just really don't know.
Smart

I wouldn't say I was particularly clever academically, but probably the most academically trained in my current living situation. But who says that's smart? Smarts come from life, taking things as they come, being able to deal with your day to day life without breaking down at the futility of it all. But hey, academia helps (if only because University life is just another couple of years of living in a sheltered environment. Don't want to get up? That's fine, your lecturers don't care. Don't need to worry about the money you'll lose today, you don't get paid. You got given/lent a lump sum a while ago, spent most of it on frivolous things and now have to scrape by. But the longer you spend in bed, the less meals you have to eat).

I've digressed slightly. Already. A point I'd like to make is - you can be as clever as you want academically, but if you don't know what the hell's going on in your life, you're still a moron.

Fear

Drugs have given me a healthy dose of paranoia (it's difficult to say what's healthy when it comes to fear, but a small background desire to question what's going on certainly can't hurt. Can it? CAN IT! Ahem), but that paranoia can lead to nasty, nasty experiences. Realisations of the pain everyone around you feels because of money while you're in a high paid computer job for an intrinsically evil company on a year out from a degree and magic mushrooms don't mix particularly well (breathe). The most annoying thing about realisations like those are that even though you can't think about anything else sometimes, there's nothing that can be done. Society marches on like a funeral dirge towards a bloody end, with the few outsiders looking on and screaming for people to change their direction. Not going to happen. Not in your lifetime, not in the lifetime of your 2.4 children.

Hate

Theories on psychadelics collapsing mental barriers are well documented, but some barriers are there for your own protection, and the more people analyse and study themselves from an outside perspective, the more they may realise that they don't like themselves too much. And culture doesn't give much leeway for change ("You are free to do what we tell you!"), so you can wind up feeling trapped, alone and that nothing's worth doing because you're just a drop in an infinite ocean of shit.

And then you'd be right. Take pride in being right, because when the pride fades, all that's left is the ocean.

Epilogue

I love magic mushrooms. My bad trip was probably about the fourth or fifth time I'd taken them, and the first in these living arrangements (fourteen people aged nineteen to twenty-one spread across three terraced houses in a road of four). Since then most of my trips were alright, but never as good as they were before (there are two buts now). But, the last time I took them I was really drunk already, and had spent an earlier part of the evening running away from a car I can't remember getting into. So, I was quite happy to still be alive, and I think that helped. This rekindled my faith in them. But! Two days ago, one of my friends had exactly the same sort of bad trip I did, and it brought back unpleasant memories. I'm not sure if I want them again. I'll probably end up taking them, and then I'll just have to take it as it comes. If it's good, it's good, if it's bad, so what? It'll be over eventually.

The only advice I'd give someone who's thinking about getting deeply embroiled in drugs culture would be this - You can read, you can listen, you can absorb all you want, but you'll never know what you're getting into until you're there. Once there, you might not like it. But hey, at least you're keeping it real. Whatever the hell that means.

Addendum

I've been smoking weed regularly for about three and a half years now. There have been ups, downs, turn arounds and fall downs. I'm paranoid about my dependency, but not paranoid enough to do anything about it. I cut down a lot a few months ago, and as a result I'm fitter, happier, more productive. No, that's a lie - I feel numb. Most times I want a joint, I'll roll a cigarette. It helps, but it doesn't help my lungs. Weed is addictive, if only because it becomes a habit. You buy, you get wasted, you run out, you buy, the cycle continues onwards forever. It takes a huge shake-up to get you to realise something's not quite right if you have to get stoned before facing anyone.


Well, that node didn't really go anywhere. See kids? Drugs make you lose all coherant thought. I don't even think I was high when I wrote this.

Aye, there's the rub.

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