I have had some excellent hugs in my time. I have also had some excellent trips. Let's compare.

I recieved a hug from April when I left California: it was long, and warm, and confused, and sad. It was last words, deep space, every long goodbye in the history of our species. I knew that although I would see her, our lives would never merge again.

I had a trip wherein all the construction blocks of my personality came loose and I was able to manipulate them to compose every person concievable. I saw that my order of being, my self, was a matter of conflict and inertia between ambition, desire, habit, and predeliction towards laziness. I knew then that I could really be anyone I wanted to be, which was both deeply empowering and sadly condemning. After the trip passed, I remembered the lesson.

A friend gave me the longest hug ever after a nasty breakup. She didn't let go until I understood that I was still capable of giving and receiving warmth from others, which was my greatest doubt, as well as the root of my romantic failure.

When tripping, I grasped the edge of the entire tradition of shamanistic worship. I saw why hallucinogens are the ancient root of such religion, the ways of stripping away your mundane constructs and giving of your whole self to all you see and feel: animals, tree, whatnot, or these confusing pink apes surrounding us all too often. I saw how love and religion are the same.

I didn't speak to my parents for a few years, several years back. My stoic capacity for recieving hugs from my mother has increased measurably since then, as you might imagine. I've learned that sometimes you just have to accept that some people are going to love you, even if you can't return the favor.

Most responsible people trip with a sober person acting as 'babysitter' for the group. One young woman to whom the task fell one evening spent the evening genteely playing with our heads, and watching us with a curious glint in her eye. It was the kind of expression that says "I've got a chessboard covered with hand-carved figurines of each of you". I spent some time trying to talk her into playing a high-stakes game of soul chess, but she declined. I didn't actually learn anything here, I just found it mildly entertaining.

The jury is still out. I recommend hugs *and* drugs.

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