This is a post I wrote on the Ecstasy group on Yahoo Groups, just thought I would share.

Hey, before I post this I just want to say I know where you guys are coming from and I've been there and I don't claim to know everything, or really anything at all. I just want to tell you how I feel, just like the guy who posted this initially - so don't take offense to anything I say here, just my opinion. Oh, and this isn't religious B.S., I don't deal in myths.

I understand your position completely, I was in your shoes once. People didn't understand me, or at least I didn't think they did. Everyone seemed so goddamned selfish and shit - no one cared about anyone else unless they gained something from it. For the most part, that's true. People are money-grubbing assholes and they always will be. Mankind, all throughout history, has been in constant pursuit of power and has stepped on anyone or anything that's come in his path to that power - why can't he just chill out and be happy with his surroundings?

Well, he's not going to. Mankind is the way it is and nothing is going to change that until popular culture changes. Cultural and societal influences over time have caused us to have to evolve in order to succeed. And by succeed I don't mean driving the most expensive car on the block - by succeed I mean SURVIVE. Live comfortably and have everything you NEED - not everything you WANT. That's success.

Now, taking into account our new definition of success... What kinds of things do we need to survive? Well, I guess the most obvious would be food, shelter, etc. But what do these really equate to? I would say most of these things combined (food, shelter, etc.) would fit under the term "health." I would venture to say that health is probably the most important aspect of survival in any species, and mankind is no different. Health includes physical and mental health - and in order to be mentally healthy we must have happiness.

I guess we should really be examining the "happiness" aspect of survival. Of course, unless you're happy with your environment it's really difficult to rationalize survival. "Why should I try to stay alive if shit sucks this bad???" Definitely a good point... And I agree. Why try if nothing makes you happy?

But what makes us TRULY happy? Not the happiness that lasts 6-10 hours, but happiness that lasts for 6-10 years, even a lifetime.

In order to figure that out, we first have to figure out what happiness is. Happiness is truly created by a mixture of chemical and electrical reactions in the brain which in turn tell the brain to create certain emotional and physical responses in the body and mind.

Certainly E makes us happy and makes us more loving towards others - but how does it do so? It causes the brain to flood with one of the chemicals that causes such a response - serotonin. So, in essence it is just as real as any happiness you'll ever feel - but, this kind of happiness causes damage to the receptors in the brain that allow us to feel happy. So - you feel intensely happy for a short period of time, and then hinder your ability to stay happy later. (and by later I mean later in life, not after you come down) That doesn't seem like an acceptable tradeoff.

True happiness, I argue, comes from acheivement. When you got an A in a class in HS or college, did you feel accomplished? When you got a job that you wanted because you worked hard for it, how did that make you feel? Did you wake up the next day thinking, "Fuck, my head hurts and I feel like dogshit?" Nah, I'll bet that feeling lasted a while longer. And I'll bet that whether or not you think about that A or that job you got, it's following you and backing you up. Intelligence and perseverence pay off - I'll guarantee it.

If you wake up one day when you're 30 on the floor of some fucking rave at 7am you're going to think about all the shit you could have done with your life, and I'll feel for you because I know a lot of people who've done that. Lots of really intelligent people - artists, programmers, etc.

Anyway, I'm a long winded bastard. I prefer my serotonin in time-release form, the natural way. I used to eat pills in college - up to 6 at a time, and I know people who did way more. I took acid so much I know I fucked myself up - but - it can be repaired to a certain extent. I'll tell you to your face right now that I am ten times happier than I ever was. You don't have to be a selfish money- grubbing pig of an asshole to succeed - you just need to be smarter than they are.

And let me tell you - That's not hard at all.

Peace, J