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July 8, 2001
11:10 PM   Subscribe

I love looking around when I'm in public places and trying to pick out the people that I think smoke pot. Its fun because statistically there have to be a few people in every crowd that smoke, even if they don't look like they do. I've noticed quite a few drug related threads on Metafilter lately and I've been dying to ask this question: How many Metafilter users smoke marijuana or use or have used other illicit substances regularly. I do realize that I'm supposed to post a link, but I just had to know.
posted by bytecode (98 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I do realize that I'm supposed to post a link

You should be flogged.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 11:24 PM on July 8, 2001 [1 favorite]


I hereby claim this thread and all its riches for the honor and glory of myself and my heirs.

<toke />
posted by bradlands at 11:33 PM on July 8, 2001


I guess curiosity killed the cat, may the flogging begin!
posted by bytecode at 11:35 PM on July 8, 2001


Why, wanna buy some?
posted by Optamystic at 11:36 PM on July 8, 2001


Jon, if you're really curious, you may wish to consult one or more of these past MeFi threads about marijuana, legalization, 420 philosophy and pot policy in other lands, all but one of which includes a link to inspire discussion. Several MeFi friends of Mary Jane -- including yours truly -- and several dissenters weighed in on their usage or non-usage as part of the running dialogue.
posted by bradlands at 11:40 PM on July 8, 2001


I'm curious about who doesn't smoke, and their reasons why. Any (non) takers?
posted by mb01 at 12:00 AM on July 9, 2001


me. no incentive.
posted by lotsofno at 12:03 AM on July 9, 2001


One and only time I ever tried it was in Belize earlier this year, at a friend's place. Zero effect for me, just kinda nasty experience. However, I'd certainly been around potsmokers before, and I never liked the smell of it, and now I know I don't like smoking it either (although I don't smoke cigs either, so maybe that didn't help...).

Now, N,N Dimethyltryptamine... THERE's something I'd like to give a whirl... :)
posted by hincandenza at 12:10 AM on July 9, 2001



I don't understand the allure of deliberate smoke inhalation, no matter *what* the burning material is. (Thank a combination of asthma and a chainsmoking parent for that. To this day I have a desire to beat anyone who smokes Marlboro Lights to death.) And I can space out pretty well on my own, without chemical assistance.
posted by darukaru at 12:45 AM on July 9, 2001


<toke />

Let it never be said that bradland's illicit drug use is not well-formed XML.
posted by brantstrand at 12:49 AM on July 9, 2001


I think there definitely needs to be an AmIPotOrNot.com, to answer exactly the question of whether you can tell by looking at someone whether they toke or not.
posted by kindall at 1:00 AM on July 9, 2001


I'm curious about who doesn't smoke, and their reasons why.

From an internal POV: I like myself as I am, don't like feeling different in my head. I like wine, for example, and have a glass most evenings, but it stays at a glass because any more and I can't think as clearly as I like; I like coffee too, but hate the hyped up feeling if I have too much.

From an external POV: Experienced little pressure to try, little association - unlike wine and coffee - of pot with pleasure. Now old and set in my ways (and have a million things I want to do, make, think about, so spending time spaced out seems like time better spent sleeping; especially when people who are doped up seem so stupid).
posted by andrew cooke at 1:09 AM on July 9, 2001


Kindall,


Maybe AmIHighOrNot.com instead. I picture AmIPotOrNot.com as pictures of herbs.

"Hmmm, no that's Oregano...Nope, that's Thyme...Ah there ya go. That's Humboldt county's best."

I'd like to be a weed sommelier.

"A bag of fritos, 2 seven layer burritos and mountain dew...Hmmm, I suggest the Sticky Fingers followed by some B.C. red hairs."
posted by john at 1:23 AM on July 9, 2001


aaaaahh. Ooh.
posted by leafy at 1:28 AM on July 9, 2001


personally, i'd prefer to class myself as a stoner who uses MetaFilter regularly
posted by sawks at 2:04 AM on July 9, 2001


Muh brain is a little iffy to begin with, so I stick with coffee.

I'd probably try Absinthe, if I could find the real stuff.
posted by dong_resin at 2:14 AM on July 9, 2001


John: I'm sure many would subscribe to a "meet me at PotorNot" function on your upcoming site. For the meantime, check out this site (sorry for anyone who is offended by the rudey word in that thar site name and beware the popups, you'll be warned about the important navigational one though).

dong_resin: I'm not sure you'll never find true absinthe. Wormwood, the active ingredient, is illegal most places. I have no idea what's in the stuff commercially available now, but it still gets you very "feeling pretty wierd".

Though I may partake of occasion nowadays, I realised a good few years ago that being a total pothead is something that just doesn't fit in with any hopes of a decent (from my point of view) career. Its kind of a shame, since being constantly twatted on pot in my late teens was great fun at the time. I think. Can't really remember.....

BTW, for all you old Oxfordian MeFiers, theres a picture on the drunkard link above of the great DJ Remould (Gallery 1, pics 1-8, caption, "picture of someone called colin"). Probably means nothing to the majority assembled here though, sorry ;-)
posted by davehat at 3:01 AM on July 9, 2001


A bit of Zappa:
Rolling Stone: Is that why you've always been opposed to your musicians using drugs, and why you've been such an outspoken non-drug-user yourself ?

Frank Zappa: I've smoked ten marijuana cigarettes in my life, and probably the last time I had one near my face was twelve, fifteen years ago. And the reason I did was because, since I do smoke, people would say, "Here, smoke this, you'll get high." So I smoked it, and it gave me a sore throat and made me sleepy. And I must either presume that that's what high means, or something was wrong. But I've never had a positive result from smoking marijuana. It just wasn't my cup of tea. And I never used LSD, never used cocaine, never used heroin or any of that other stuff.

RS: What did you think, back in the hippie days, when you saw all those people getting stoned and purporting to play far-out music.

FZ: Well, basically, I saw assholes in action.


I personally think the world is bizarre and fascinating and compelling enough without screwing with your input devices.I happen to prefer my own strangeness over and above chemically induced strangeness.
posted by artlung at 3:30 AM on July 9, 2001


I agree, but Zappa's dead and Keith Richards is still alive
posted by matteo at 3:38 AM on July 9, 2001


Zappa's dead and Keith Richards is still alive

OK, so is there a way of screwing with my input devices that will shed some light on this comment? ;o)
posted by andrew cooke at 4:19 AM on July 9, 2001


personally, i'd prefer to class myself as a stoner who uses MetaFilter regularly

Agreed. Usually on my way to ~.
posted by thc at 4:32 AM on July 9, 2001


i think bytecode has seen me high enough times to know that i'm as hardcore of a potsmoker as they come. i have literally spent months high. i remember the days when i would say to myself "ok, i'm only going to get high once or twice today." i actually had to cut back recently to spare my health. too much of anything is bad for you.

but come wednesday, i am getting really high and going to the final fantasy movie.

*zang!*
posted by will at 6:04 AM on July 9, 2001 [1 favorite]


Perhaps every few days, there should be a front page link to the most interesting conversations on MetaTalk. That way, people get to see what's going on on MetaTalk and general conversations can take place there instead.
posted by wackybrit at 6:06 AM on July 9, 2001


1. Keith Richards is alive? Prove it. ;-)

2. Any substance that interferes with a human's ability to reason is downright wrong/evil/stupid/etc. People who inhale/drink/etc in an effort to destroy their ability to reason are, in effect, turning themselves into sub-human being. Deliberately. I truly don't understand this desire to debase oneself.
posted by davidmsc at 6:29 AM on July 9, 2001


> I'm curious about who doesn't smoke, and their reasons
> why. Any (non) takers?

When I was in school and single I lived in the country and had a plant here and there in the woods. I grew my own because the kind of people you have to pay money to if you buy it made me feel pretty creepy.

Now I have kids and can't take the risk of growing it, and the kind of people you have to pay money to if you buy the stuff still makes my skin crawl.

I know, maybe one or two of your buddies do some dealing and they're OK guys. But just go a couple of places upstream from them and you start meeting folks with karma like they squirmed out of Cthulhu's basement in the wet season. I understand from some of my fellow weed horticulturists that you can't grow in the woods around here any more because your plants disappear -- and you don't want to meet the guys who took 'em because they are Very Bad Dudes with Very Big Guns, and they don' have no steenkin' badges.

Growing vegetables and roses is more fun, and you can take the kids instead of the AK-47 and the doberman. The lack of weed to smoke was no great sacrifice.
posted by jfuller at 6:31 AM on July 9, 2001


...turning themselves into sub-human being

that's just a little arrogant, don't you think? we're all just humans, david, we just make different choices than you do. i suggest dismounting from that high horse and joining us for a while.
posted by will at 6:35 AM on July 9, 2001


2. Any substance that interferes with a human's ability to reason is downright wrong/evil/stupid/etc. People who inhale/drink/etc in an effort to destroy their ability to reason are, in effect, turning themselves into sub-human being. Deliberately. I truly don't understand this desire to debase oneself.

Actually, 'debasing oneself' as you put it is far more human than not. From the earliest humans until now, we've been looking for ways to change our perceptions and give us some insight into the unknowable around us-- virtually every documented culture has had a chemical that allows this.

While certainly many pyschoactive substances interfere with ability to reason, others allow the user to go beyond reason, or to look at reason from afar. Not for everyone, obviously, but please, spare me the 'sub human' stuff.
posted by chaz at 6:37 AM on July 9, 2001


Pancakes.
posted by frykitty at 6:43 AM on July 9, 2001


I truly don't understand this desire to debase oneself.

Really? Do you not think it to be so very human to want to medicate one's self? This is a timeless, cross-cultural phenomenon. There's go to be something to it.
posted by glenwood at 6:57 AM on July 9, 2001


Will & Chaz: Wrong. No high horse here - just a firm grasp of reality and an appreciation for what makes us human. And spare me that "insight into the unknowable around us" garbage..."go beyond reason"...pure bunk. Seeing distortions, hallucinations, colors, etc. is nothing to be proud of or sought after. "Joining us for a while..." No thanks - I don't like to be around people who collapse into uncontrollable paroxysms of laughter for no reason, or can't distinguish between reality and fantasy.

And the bit about "we're all just humans..." Don't tell me: we're all equal, and once choice is as valid as another, and no one person is *better* than another. Wrong again. Some choices ARE better than others, and the cumulative effect of certain choices, and the basis for those choices, can lead to one person being *better* than another in a moral sense. And the fact that "every" culture has engaged in some sort of mind-altering practice/s is not an argument for doing same...by that logic, should we still practice human sacrifice or slavery?

And, by the way, in a very practical sense, those who do alter their perceptions and destroy their ability to reason place at risk other humans who share the road with them. This reason, if no other, should factor into people's decision to "get high" or "drunk" or "stoned."
posted by davidmsc at 7:03 AM on July 9, 2001


I don't like to be around people who collapse into uncontrollable paroxysms of laughter for no reason, or can't distinguish between reality and fantasy.

damn. I guess we'll never be friends. (and no, I don't smoke anything, for the exact reason that darukaru mentioned -- inhaling smoke of any sort is unpleasant and makes me ill.)
posted by rabi at 7:11 AM on July 9, 2001


i think this guy sums it up quite nicely. david, you in particular should read this. i would be quite interested in your response.
posted by iceblink at 7:27 AM on July 9, 2001


the only thing that has made me collapse into uncontrollable paroxysms of laughter lately is your uninformed and hyper-judgemental opinions.
posted by will at 7:44 AM on July 9, 2001


They're talking about you (us)
posted by andrew cooke at 7:45 AM on July 9, 2001


Me? I like to burn a bowl of sticky green cannabis flowers and explore physics, math, and philosophy. Do you know that Einstein's special relativity—the relationship between light speed, velocity, rest mass, relativistic mass, and momentum—is fully represented by a simple right triangle? None of my physics books boil it down so succinctly. I inferred the relationship while studying the Lorentz transformation, while I was under the influence of marijuana.

Bless.
posted by Mocata at 7:52 AM on July 9, 2001


Any substance that interferes with a human's ability to reason is downright wrong/evil/stupid/etc.

No high horse here - just a firm grasp of reality and an appreciation for what makes us human.

David, if you're not seeing a high horse here, then you're just plain not looking. By implication, anyone who smokes pot (which I don't--it's just not fun for me) or drinks (which I do--it's just fun for me) lacks your self-proclaimed "firm grasp of reality"? I don't get to share your pious apprecaition of "what makes us human"? This is hokum of the most ridiculous sort.

I don't like to be around people who collapse into uncontrollable paroxysms of laughter for no reason, or can't distinguish between reality and fantasy.

Are you sure they're not just laughing at your incredible bombast? I don't like people who do this either, which is why I don't have friends who do this, despite having an enormous pile of friends who smoke pot and drink. But we all sure appreciate the finger-waggling. That's probably because we've destroyed our ability to reason.

Purple monkey dishwasher. Hey, I'm drunk!
posted by Skot at 7:59 AM on July 9, 2001


dong_resin: Looking for absinthe? Try here: it's sorta the meeting place on the net for Absinthe enthusiasts around the world. You'll find a buyer's guide, as well as all kinds of historic information on the stuff. There are plenty of sources for the stuff (yes, with thujone/wormwood) on the net (it's still legal to produce in Czechoslovakia, Portugal and a few other places), and apparently it's relatively easy to import - most people, including customs agents, don't even know what the stuff is... and since it's banned as a food product, not a drug, even if it gets caught, the worst that could happen is confiscation...
posted by Haveed at 8:04 AM on July 9, 2001


i actually enjoy "debasing" myself. i find it very easy to think myself to the point of insanity so it's nice sometimes to reduce my thought processes to the crustacean level for a little while. there's a time and place for everything and anything in excess is generally not good so i do my best to regulate this kind of behavior (as well as my other "behaviors") so as not to interfere with my daily productivity. as long as you don't turn into a complete waste then i don't see why it would be any more of a problem than anything else we spend our time doing. what is "proper" use of one's time anyway?
posted by ggggarret at 8:13 AM on July 9, 2001


"Years ago i was stranded in the wilds of east Texas and bill gains was sending me a little pantapon through the mail and invented this clever code and telegrams are flying back and forth: "Urgently need pants."
"Panic among dealers. No pants available."
....I remember the telegraph operator...He didn't care what pants stood for. He was a Johnson.

-William S. Burroughs
posted by clavdivs at 8:22 AM on July 9, 2001


What makes you so certain you have such a firm grasp of reality davidmsc? You are nothing but a sack of meat behind some eyeballs just like everyone else. You have no objective way of knowing how well anything that makes it through those eyeballs to your brain is related to base physical reality. So your reality is almost certainly completely different than mine, and you have no way of knowing whether or not my altering of my perceptions makes them more accurate or less accurate. And your judgement regarding the morality of my decision to alter those perceptions is even more irrelevant.
posted by donkeymon at 8:23 AM on July 9, 2001


I used to smoke lots of pot but about eight years ago it started making me too existential for my own good. Well, maybe not for my own good, but it definitely made me too existential to function in this plane of existence. I wasn't ready to shuffle off this mortal coil and see what else was out there, so I stopped smoking pot.

Luckily, I started drinking heavily (I never drank at all before) which dulled reality enough that all the idiots around me and their pointless endeavors actually looked amusing instead of frightening.

Now I don't do much of either and have managed to balance my desire to remain on this planet with my disgust for it, for the most part, and stick to coffee and the occasional gin binge when things get too freaking weird.
posted by jennyb at 8:29 AM on July 9, 2001


Oh and just for the record, I'm very pro-legalization and generally think whether or not to ingest mind altering substances (which can be very useful) is a personal decision, barring the operation heavy machinery.
posted by jennyb at 8:32 AM on July 9, 2001


Any substance that interferes with a human's ability to reason is downright wrong/evil/stupid/etc.

Well, only if you hold up "reason" as the yarsdstick of all that is right/good/intelligent/etc. I find this problematic, as there's been a whole lot of evil things done in the name of "reason." One need only investigate the "scientific" justifications for slavery to make this point, and there's thousands of other examples.

I don't reject reason, I just don't see it as the pinnacle of all possible mental activities.

I've been known to smoke every now and again, and get falling-down drunk as well. Not too frequently. But I definitely believe that it's "consciousness-expanding." It makes you feel a different way in your head for a time. Simple as that. But that adds depth and dimension to the perceptions you have when you're back to your "normal" state, simply by virtue of giving you something to compare your normal state against. Just like how trying cuisines from other cultures makes you experience the cuisine of your own differently. That's neither a degrading nor a subhuman approach to the world. And, in fact, I'd argue that in the long term it improves my ability to reason.
posted by jbushnell at 8:32 AM on July 9, 2001



Iceblink: That post is talking about addiction and attempting to equate "smoking pot" with any kind of behavior, addictive or otherwise. I'm hooked on coffee - drink up to 12 cups a day - but it doesn't impair my ability to function...such as driving a car, making informed judgments, raising the kids, walking a straight line, etc. And being "addicted" to videogames? Nope...by that logic, we're all addicted to breathing, or eating food, or scanning MeFi.

Rabi: Uh-uh...I'd wager you are deliberately over-interpreting my comment about "uncontrollable" laughter. You'll likely find few people who enjoy humor in all it's forms more than me (puns, satire, whimsy, Simpsons, MST3K, lampoon, gags, riddles, jokes, etc) - but when it is induced by mind-altering substances and occurs for no *reason*-- no thanks.

Donkeymon: You are wrong. There IS an objective reality, and we are far more than "meat-sacks." Those who believe that we are nothing more than bags o'flesh who can not discern enough about reality to make informed choices probably are probably better off poisoning their brains with drugs rather than shuffling through this world in a state of unknowing, unreasoning, blind-faith ignorance. I just hope that those same people aren't driving on the same road as me...scary.

Hold on a minute - time to go feed my high (no pun intended) horse that many of you seem to think I have.
posted by davidmsc at 8:36 AM on July 9, 2001


Now, I have a great respect for the straight-edge as much as the next person.. but the straight-edgers I liked the best used to hang with us and not lecture anyone.

Because they understood their decision was right for them.

Some had addictive personalities and knew they would over-indulge. Others just wanted to be high on life.

But calling people who drink or smoke or whatever subhuman, or saying your choices are better than someone else's choices (or that there are wrong and right choices in a case like this where there is no moral question) is closeminded and, well, wrong. (excuse the irony)

Let's relate drinking alcohol to eating. You can get pleasure from both activities. And let's say you like hot wings.. that's not really natural - putting your body through a semi-burning experience, torturing your stomach.. and why? The taste? The experience of sweating your balls off because the sauce was so hot? But is it really wrong?

The only time morality (right or wrong) comes into play in the area of somking pot or drinking is when you put someone in serious danger, like driving a car, or forcing them to do something they don't want to do, or you're such an addict that you're harming your body.

And those things just don't apply to drinking or smoking.. eating too much red meat when you're a heart attck candidate is wrong, just like driving and talking on a cell phone at the same time.
posted by rich at 8:43 AM on July 9, 2001


As for drinking 12 cups of coffe, I'd say it probably does affect your ability to drive. I'd like to see a comparison test when you're not hyped on caffiene and after your twelve cups.
posted by rich at 8:44 AM on July 9, 2001


Zappa: [pot] gave me a sore throat and made me sleepy. And I must either presume that that's what high means, or something was wrong.

That's not been my experience. Pot, for me, tends to enhance my senses. My senses of hearing, taste, and smell become particularly vivid.

Awareness of my body, posture, breathing, etc. improves dramatically.

Short-term memory definitely suffers while high; sense of narrative goes out the window; visual perception sometimes becomes confused.

Things attain a sense of significance and import that they don't otherwise appear to possess in such magnitude. This, for me, troubles David's whole question of "distinguish[ing] between reality and fantasy." I believe that by "reality" David means "that which is empirically verifiable." But the significance of a particular set of stimuli cannot be objectively measured or verified; it's a matter of perception, not reality.

Same goes for people who complain "people who smoke pot laugh at nothing." No, they're definitely responding to stimulus that seems funny to them. I don't think I should need to refute an argument that certain sets of stimuli can be classed objectively as "funny" and other sets can not be. Humor is simply too personal.
posted by jbushnell at 8:45 AM on July 9, 2001



I don't drive while high or drunk, by the way.
posted by jbushnell at 8:47 AM on July 9, 2001


Don't hate me because I'm sober.
posted by davidmsc at 8:50 AM on July 9, 2001


Reason I don't smoke pot? Drink? Whatever?

Simple. I've seen how people act when they use, and I don't really want to act like that. I'm perfectly capabale of acting stupid without chemical assistance.

More to the point though, I was barely offered any opportunity to try any sort of illegal drugs while I was growing up. This was mainly because my dad worked at a juvenile prison, and everyone knew he kept his kids on the strait and narrow. I had few enough friends to begin with since many of the local kids feared my father -- he was completely unafraid of them. Not having been made familiar with the social aspects of drinking or smoking, I was thereafter taken aback when I found myself in a situation where people were doing either, even after I left home, and it made me very uncomfortable for a long time to be in a situation in which I knew nothing about how to act in such a situation. I was unprepared for the idea that regular people, good folks, drink, let alone that they might use other drugs. So I avoided those situations for a long time. I don't so much anymore, but and now I'm 32, and my life has been fine without ever having been drunk or high, and it keeps getting better, so I hardly see any reason to start now.
posted by kindall at 8:57 AM on July 9, 2001


I don't hate you, davidmsc, I just think you're being an asshole.

The desire to alter one's state of mind is as human as the desire to alter one's location, and goes back just as far. If anything, it's you who are not living up to your human potential.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:04 AM on July 9, 2001


I just hope that those same people aren't driving on the same road as me...scary.

why does someone always have to refer to driving when talking about drugs? just b/c someone is high doesn't mean they are completely worthless. i know plenty of people who can't drive at all even when sober and who i am uneasy about sharing the road with. i'm sure the majority of car accidents take place during the working hours of the day as sober people race frantically around trying to be productive, so caught up in responsibility and stress and schedules and "reality" that they are oblivious to the world around them.

I can space out pretty well on my own, without chemical assistance.

exactly my point! does that make you a road hazard? of course it does. i guess we could just lump all kinds of people in the "unfit to drive" category... how about all the manic depressives of the world? i hereby declare them unworthy to drive b/c they cry too much and it blurs their vision.

lots of things can impair one's ability to drive so i think we can stop associating pot with bad driving and get back to the real issue... ummm... which is? good clean fun.
posted by ggggarret at 9:05 AM on July 9, 2001


david, your standpoint just sounds a little too much like some christians I know... "if you do these things, you are immoral, and so you are a lesser human"... "there is only one right way and if you don't follow it, you're wrong" ... why is any one person's moral values greater than another? we're all in the same boat here. we're all just trying to make sense out of this crazy life... jennyb got it - this world is frightening, and we all find our ways of coping. Some of us pray. Some of us dedicate our lives to our work. Some of us take comfort in our community. Some of us strive to learn about our world. And yes, some of us decide to indulge in a little mind-altering... why does that make us less human? I have a problem with people who claim superiority because of something they believe or practice... who says they're right? Hey, I agree with you that I don't want to share the road with someone who's altered. When something impairs your ability to function, then do it when you don't need to be functioning... but to claim outright superiority over others because you believe what they are doing is wrong is a croc. It's all about perception.
posted by Haveed at 9:06 AM on July 9, 2001


kindall: Then don't, already. Sheesh.
posted by raysmj at 9:06 AM on July 9, 2001


> Do you know that Einstein's special relativity—the
> relationship between light speed, velocity, rest mass,
> relativistic mass, and momentum—is fully represented
> by a simple right triangle?

Got it beat. Met Pythagoras while working on 4th pipeful. Raved about his theorem. Great great theorem, dude. I woulda sacrificed 40 cows too! P. looks at me like I'm some total novice, explains that everything -- everything -- is fully represented by a single point. P. demonstrates point. Oh wow, he's right, it really does contain/imply/represent absolutely everything there is! Contemplated point for a looooong time.

Later, got giggles and lost track of point. Could never find exactly the right point again.
posted by jfuller at 9:11 AM on July 9, 2001


pot makes me itch. however, I think there is a valid argument that it has been arbitrarily labelled [or misunderstood] as more dangerous than other legal and semi-legal drugs [alcohol and caffeine, to name two immediately] just because of hype and misinformation and ... lack of experience.

I've always thought it was important for relatively normal folks to tell the larger world that they've smoked, or do smoke, just to make the outfreakers aware that pot smoking is a relatively widespread mostly harmless social activity. And it kills and injures a lot fewer people than alcohol. Now there's pot smoking as an activity and then there's pot smoking as a lifestyle. I'm more of a fan of the former.

but I'm the wrong person to ask, as I prefer obscure drugs with long acronyms for names, or a good book.
posted by jessamyn at 9:15 AM on July 9, 2001


Mars: If anything, it's you who are not living up to your human potential.

Please to explain...am I to understand that unless someone takes drugs and blitzes their brain, they are failing to live up to their potential?
posted by davidmsc at 9:37 AM on July 9, 2001


ggggarret: leave me out of this. I don't drive, thus cannot be a road hazard (unless I'm jaywalking).
posted by darukaru at 9:59 AM on July 9, 2001


Never smoked pot (or anythng else for that matter).
Never been drunk (can't stand the taste of alcohol).

My vice? Coca-Cola.
posted by owillis at 10:05 AM on July 9, 2001


davidmsc: Alcohol is a drug. Nicotine is a drug. Caffeine is a drug. Hell, sugar is a drug if you eat enough of it. Consuming a substance which alters your state of mind does not exactly mean "blitzing your brain". Human beings in all places and all times have used mind-altering substances - marijuana in Mesoamerica, ethanol in just about the entire eastern hemisphere, coca in northern South America, betel nut in southeast Asia, tobacco in eastern North America, tea in Asia, kola nuts, psilocybin mushrooms, rye with a touch of ergot, hashish, opium, blah blah blah - every culture has its indigenous psychoactives, and with the wonder of modern transportation infrastructure, we can all share.

For an activity you hold in such disdain, altering one's state of mind is pretty damn universal. You even admit to doing it yourself - there's a lot of caffeine in those twelve cups of coffee, and if they didn't have some effect on your perception and performance, you wouldn't bother to drink them. Should I deride you for wiring yourself up, or just point out your hypocrisy?

Seeing distortions, hallucinations, colors, etc. is nothing to be proud of or sought after.

Fine. So you don't enjoy those experiences. Bully for you - don't search them out! But who are you to say those experiences have no value for the people who participate in them? Clearly, people who ingest a hallucinogen more than once must believe there was something interesting or enjoyable about the experience or they simply wouldn't bother.

Any substance that interferes with a human's ability to reason is downright wrong/evil/stupid/etc.

So give up the caffeine and make an honest man of yourself. But your point is bullshit anyway - if I were to take your comment literally, you'd be rejecting pretty much all of modern medicine, while giving the A-OK to cocaine and amphetamines.

People who inhale/drink/etc in an effort to destroy their ability to reason are, in effect, turning themselves into sub-human being. Deliberately. I truly don't understand this desire to debase oneself.

Truly, you do not understand it. Your idea that it is about "destroying the ability to reason" misses the mark. It can be about wanting to relax, wanting to let one's mind make connections between ideas more easily, wanting to become more social, more energetic, more sleepy, more creative, less concerned about trivia. I don't know anyone who takes drugs because they want to stop thinking.

Apparently you do think you understand the desire, at least a little bit, because you are certain it's bad and wrong. For something you don't comprehend, your judgements are awfully certain.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:28 AM on July 9, 2001


Ah, Coca-Cola: la leche negra del imperialismo...

(I tried looking for a link but according to Google this phrase occurs nowhere on the net - yet it's a well-known (if old-fashioned) saying in S America (I think!). Anyway, I thought MeFiers might appreciate it).
posted by andrew cooke at 10:29 AM on July 9, 2001


I don't know anyone who takes drugs because they want to stop thinking.

Perhaps not to stop thinking, but to certainly turn it down several notches, which is frightening. Most humans do not function at a very high level to begin with, so purposefully impairing one's abilities in that regard seems a rather backwards notion. It would seem natural in life to seek enhancements not impediments.
posted by Dreama at 10:41 AM on July 9, 2001


Thank you, dreama!

And re: caffeine, nicotine, etc. They may have a physiological effect, but to reiterate my main point, they do NOT impair a human's ability to think, reason, or apply needed judgment to a given situation. And don't hand out the crap about pharmaceuticals - the primary reason that people ingest *medicine* is to counteract or eliminate an illness - in which case the consumption of said drug outweighs the consequences of the illness. And since I know where you're going to take this...my stance on "medical marijuana" is somewhat more liberal, although I am not quite convinced that the evil weed is the Holy Grail of pain relief/appetite-inducer that medical marijuana proponents claim.
posted by davidmsc at 10:47 AM on July 9, 2001


But calling people who drink or smoke or whatever subhuman, or saying your choices are better than someone else's choices (or that there are wrong and right choices in a case like this where there is no moral question) is closeminded and, well, wrong. (excuse the irony)

Actually, since David seems to be an Objectivist judging by his rhetoric (or am I wrong? If so, you must be channeling Rand), a choice to alter one's own mental state is immoral by his standards -- and like any good moralizer, there'll be no convincing him otherwise. (This is one of Objectivism's major problems, by the way.) I suggest we leave him to his soulless, flawed logic and continue discussing the ways that we all try to get through life, whatever substances we choose to partake of included.
posted by tweebiscuit at 10:49 AM on July 9, 2001


Actually many drugs can turn thinking up a couple of notches. Perhaps not to perform mundane tasks such as driving (although truckers might offer powder evidence to the contrary), but in far more advanced modes of thinking many peopl have found chemicals can be quite useful.

As a creative person I happen to think that the best art is created while sober, but that experiences with various states of being can inform art, philosophy, science etc.

This may not be your cup of tea; most people I know who regard drugs as evil don't have much interest in metaphysics either.
posted by chaz at 10:56 AM on July 9, 2001


Most humans do not function at a very high level to begin with

Really? Most humans would be utterly charmed to hear this. Is this a standard-issue "people are morons" declaration? If so, why would you expect them to operate according to "natural" dictates?

Oh, never mind, anyway. Natural is as natural does, and "natural," for this argument, is that people throughout history have ingested mind-altering substances. Just as there has always been a minority of harpies tirelessly tsk-tsking them.

It would seem natural in life to seek enhancements not impediments.

Oh, yes, that's it. I wake up every day and begin my quest for impediments. I'm that stupid.
posted by Skot at 10:57 AM on July 9, 2001


"natural," for this argument, is that people throughout history have ingested mind-altering substances.

But Mommmmmm, everybody's doing it!
posted by kindall at 10:59 AM on July 9, 2001


Never used drugs, will never use drugs. In fact, I get really squeamish and uncomfortable around people who are using and end up thinking less of them - they seem, to me, to be weak. I think drugs are enormously lame and make people god awful boring. There is, hands down, nothing worse than being attacked with hugs and screeching "I love you"s by your shrooming, dancing, sweaty roommate during a reggae concert.
posted by gsh at 11:05 AM on July 9, 2001


Can someone tell me why, exactly, in whatever opinion you hold (objectivism or just religious reasons or whatever), that it's immoral to alter your perception or even impair your judgement?
posted by daveadams at 11:12 AM on July 9, 2001


Sure. there IS an objective reality, but its existence is irrelevant as we are separated from it by our interface and only able to experience a small warped subset of it. People have no use for the whole reality and thus choose what to accept as the reality they will live by. The only reality that matters is personal reality. It may be argued that similarity between many peoples' perceptions of reality would indicate that those perceptions bear some resemblance to actual reality, but it is merely caused by similarities in perceptual apparatus.

There is an objective reality, but nowhere in it does it say that smoking pot is "wrong."
posted by donkeymon at 11:14 AM on July 9, 2001


I bet I can sum it up for you, dave: Objectivists have a pathological belief in reason as the highest and only virtue of mankind. To succumb or even allow the presence of anything else is to defile oneself. A standard way for an Objectivist to win an argument is to accuse you of "evasion" if you disagree with them -- since they are by definition perfectly rational beings, than any person disagreeing them must be irrational, and is therefore not worthy of attention or consideration, ad hominem. Which goes a long way towards explaining why the rest of the world dismisses them out of hand, again ad hominem -- although for more sensible reasons.
posted by tweebiscuit at 11:16 AM on July 9, 2001


I'm an objectivist and I smoke pot. Rand died of cancer.


posted by maxBell at 11:16 AM on July 9, 2001


Actually, since David seems to be an Objectivist judging by his rhetoric (or am I wrong? If so, you must be channeling Rand), a choice to alter one's own mental state is immoral by his standards -- and like any good moralizer, there'll be no convincing him otherwise.

I rather think that Ayn would take the opposite view, that those silly enough to impair their thinking might as well be let to do so, as long as they don't require subsidization from the more productive members of society. It's none of our business, more or less.
posted by norm at 11:17 AM on July 9, 2001


I bet I can sum it up for you, dave: Objectivists have a pathological belief in reason as the highest and only virtue of mankind. To succumb or even allow the presence of anything else is to defile oneself. A standard way for an Objectivist to win an argument is to accuse you of "evasion" if you disagree with them -- since they are by definition perfectly rational beings, than any person disagreeing them must be irrational, and is therefore not worthy of attention or consideration, ad hominem. Which goes a long way towards explaining why the rest of the world dismisses them out of hand, again ad hominem -- although for more sensible reasons.
posted by tweebiscuit at 11:19 AM on July 9, 2001


(sorry about the double-comment post -- browser error. Sigh.)

I rather think that Ayn would take the opposite view, that those silly enough to impair their thinking might as well be let to do so, as long as they don't require subsidization from the more productive members of society. It's none of our business, more or less.

The problem is that before dying, Ayn left an ethical legacy which the Objectivists insist on imposing upon anyone they have a conversation with. After all, how can you discuss ethics if your views preclude the validity of opinion of anyone disagreeing?
posted by tweebiscuit at 11:22 AM on July 9, 2001


davidmsc:
And don't hand out the crap about pharmaceuticals - the primary reason that people ingest *medicine* is to counteract or eliminate an illness

Then you should have left room for such pharmaceuticals in your overblown rhetoric about "downright wrong/evil/stupid".

Or are you now arguing that mind-altering chemicals are not downright wrong/evil/stupid, and that in some circumstances they're in fact good and beneficial? If so, then this is quite a different argument than your previous moralizing suggested. Perhaps we're not actually arguing over the ethics of psychoactive chemical use at all, but merely quibbling over the details of when and where.

Dreama:
Perhaps not to stop thinking, but to certainly turn it down several notches, which is frightening.

Why? Have you never laid in bed at night, mind racing, wishing you could sleep? Have you never attended a party you were too wound up and nervous to enjoy? Have you never had your day ruined by the discovery of some situation or problem you can't do anything about until tomorrow? Sometimes turning one's brain down several notches is a real relief.

It would seem natural in life to seek enhancements not impediments.

Life is about play and relaxation as well as work and achievement.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:29 AM on July 9, 2001


Good catch, tweebiscuit. Objectivism is, by & large, my philosophy - but not Randism. See - I won't even accuse anyone in this thread of "evasion." ;-)

daveadams: Can someone tell me why it's immoral to alter your perception or even impair your judgement?

Because it runs counter to the very things that make us human - and the very tools that we have used to rise up out of the primordial soup...namely reason, rational thought, and judgment. Don't misunderstand - one person smoking one joint isn't going to toss us back into said soup to live as a colony of amoebae - but it DOES set mankind back one teensy-tiny little bit.

And, true to my libertarian leanings, if people choose to ingest mind-altering substances, that's OK - but can we have lock-up facilities where they can be safely held for the duration of their trip and not pose any threat to sober folk - or themselves? Yep - alcohol, too. Let everyone into the bar, lock the door at a certain time, and don't let anyone out until they can pass a breathalyzer. Um...is that a bit too much? (I think Australia recently introduced something like this, but can't find a link.)
posted by davidmsc at 11:32 AM on July 9, 2001


So what about the creation and consumption of art and entertainment? Is that immoral? Surely it's irrational to expend so much energy on such pointless things.
posted by daveadams at 11:42 AM on July 9, 2001


How does it set mankind back? By helping us to learn more? By letting us see that reality is merely perception and that there is so much more out there? By helping out thought process to work in a more abstract manner, that can at times be beneficial? I agree that mind-altering substances may not have been helpful to humanity, but maybe we've reached a point in our evolution where they can be.
I smoke pot regularly, often with will, as stated earlier. I also indulge in other substances because they can open up new paths of thought and because they can help you to realize things. What you see when on mind-altering substances may be warped, but in sober retrospect sometimes you can learn things and sometimes its just fun :)
posted by bytecode at 11:46 AM on July 9, 2001


Heavy metal's deep, you can get stuff out of it.
posted by chaz at 1:52 PM on July 9, 2001


they can open up new paths of thought and because they can help you to realize things.

This is the sort of thing that reduces me to paroxsyms of uncontrollable laughter, tinged with a bit of pity, sadness, and regret...that there are people like this in the world who honestly believe that "mind-expanding" crap.

And that's all I have to say about this thread.
posted by davidmsc at 2:30 PM on July 9, 2001


Its a pretty commonly known fact, err other to me-fiers, that pot "turn on" doesn't usually happen the first time you smoke it. It may take 4 or 5 attempts to get something other than just numb hands or whatever. Then once you start you get more used to the state of consciousness it brings. The first "turn on" could come along with a whole bunch of paranoia. Like any drug you have to play the "wait out the side-effects game" to see if they go away. So it takes a little bit of effort for some to get the enjoyment out of it.

I think a lot has to do with the placebo effect of what to expect and what not to expect. Its a lot like that famous study of giving a group of drinkers non-alcoholic beer and telling them its regular beer and watching them get drunk, fall over, etc.

I've noticed this with *every* drug I've taken. The first time doesn't do squat or my expectations make it do something it will never do again. After the mind-placebo effect wears off, geez wish I had a better word for this, the chemical truth works pretty consistently.
posted by skallas at 2:56 PM on July 9, 2001


that there are people like this in the world who honestly believe that "mind-expanding" crap.


Its just a semantics game, davidmsc. Someone full of THC is suddenly experiencing things differently or more accurately enhancing one's experience. Someone describes this as "expanding" and it becomes old hippie lingo. So what? I don't use that phrase and a lot of people just prefer "high" because of its mood and enhancing effects. If someone thinks it expands their mind to some other dimension or somesuch that's their interpretation. Come up with your own.
posted by skallas at 3:02 PM on July 9, 2001


david, I don't really see how anyone can decide what a good reason for laughter is. I think the world is terrifically funny most of the time without the aid of any wacky substances except whatever my own brain is producing by itself. I don't think slapstick is funny at all though. should I tell everyone who does laugh at it that they have no good reason for doing so?

also, I realize none of us are spiders, but given the way it affects webspinning ability I think it's hard to argue that caffeine is not at all mind-altering.
posted by rabi at 3:33 PM on July 9, 2001


Whoa, rabi...I was misinterpreted somehow. Humor is great - when there is something to laugh at. I agree with you - and my whimsical nature often produces stares, amazement, and scratched heads. Heck, show me a picture of a cow and that's all I need to be reduced to a laughing heap. Or, conversely, a goat. Frank is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
posted by davidmsc at 4:37 PM on July 9, 2001


Why? Have you never laid in bed at night, mind racing, wishing you could sleep?

I've been a chronic insomniac for nearly 15 years. I know precisely what that's about. I don't find it sufficient reason to numb my senses with pharmaceutica of any variety.

And if I were at any party where my options were getting high or feeling completely nervous, I'd leave. We're given nervousness and other sensations for a reason -- if I'm not comfortable in a situation, I take that as an indication that I don't belong in that situation and I should either leave, or change the atmosphere, not obliterate my senses with chemicals.

That's just me. I like being in control of myself. If you don't care, don't. But don't expect me to want to me around you, either.
posted by Dreama at 4:52 PM on July 9, 2001


I guess the reason I have never smoked was due to the idea that at some point later on in life I would regret having done it. Maybe those DARE programs worked, and the threat of not getting a good job years later because a simple drug test found traces of an illegal substance. I also think it is due to my parents influence and supporting the idea that my behavior is a reflection of them. Who wants to be known within the community as the parents whose kid made the paper in the local crime reports? Maybe your parents smoked pot too and nothing much happend or you haven't been caught yet. So be it. But I guess later on when facing questions of your past actions most people can cover up with a little lie or just state you didn't inhale.
posted by brent at 5:21 PM on July 9, 2001


Brent, you seem to have traded liberty for security.
posted by sudama at 6:57 PM on July 9, 2001


We're given nervousness for a reason? Then why are grapes available for winemaking? It was pretty simple for humankind to figure out how to figure out that process too, apparently. Sometimes a glass of wine or two doesn't hurt. It doesn't make you "out of control," unless of course you forget how much you're drinking. Wow. Judgmental City.
posted by raysmj at 7:50 PM on July 9, 2001


"Brent, you seem to have traded liberty for security."

I don't see how. He hasn't given up any of his rights, he's just chosen not to exercise them.

That is, if you consider illegal drug use a "right." If you don't, then it's a moot point anyway.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:55 PM on July 9, 2001


Agreed. Brent has given nothing up. He has his liberty, and he is secure in the fact that he will never be barred from (or run out of) office for engaging in an illegal act. Kudos to Brent for his correct assocation between action & consequences, or cause & effect.
posted by davidmsc at 8:25 PM on July 9, 2001


I...have managed to balance my desire to remain on this planet with my disgust for it...

That may well be the most brilliant statement I have ever read.
posted by Optamystic at 8:28 PM on July 9, 2001


I'm really late to this thread, but had to respond---Jessamyn wrote:

I've always thought it was important for relatively normal folks to tell the larger world that they've smoked, or do smoke, just to make the outfreakers aware that pot smoking is a relatively widespread mostly harmless social activity.

Me too. Absolutely. It drives me insane that nearly all the people out there visible as pot smokers/pot advocates are the sort of people you'd *look* at and go, "Pothead". It perpetuates the stereotype that all potsmokers are sub-standard human beings of some kind.

I smoke and I pay my taxes and I sweated my ass off to get a good job again after being laid off in March and I live a full life and I am no one's idea of a deadbeat. Further, I have been around pot-smokers from the time I was too young to know what it was, and while some of them *were* losers, plenty of non-smokers are too. On the other hand, I can't even tell you how many smart, successful people I have known who smoked... and even after all these years, I *still* continue to be occasionally surprised to find out that a person I'd previously assumed to be straight as an arrow likes to toke up on the weekends.

I've made this confession before, but again, feel very strongly about Jessamyn's point, so here I am making it one more time.
posted by Sapphireblue at 4:41 PM on July 10, 2001


tweebiscuit: excellent statement about objectivism, very well put. I'm going to have to write that down :)

As for the drugs, I've tried them all except PCP and crack, I'm the type who is waaay to curious not to. I like to try and seek as many different angles on a subject in order to better inform myself about it, and the lure of altered perception is just too great. I'd have to say that most drugs are pretty boring or downright nasty, and can be tried once, and then walked away from. Pot in particuler is one that I've had a love/hate relationship with. It's great when you don't have may responsibilities at hand, but when you need to get things done, it can be one of the worst things ever to have around. I find it best these days for video games and laying in the sun.

As for becomming a debased subhuman: I find it's not that bad, it's merely gotten a bad rap. Some of my best friends are debased subhumans. I don't mind at all.
posted by Hackworth at 12:46 AM on July 12, 2001


Follow ups:

"There is, hands down, nothing worse than being attacked with hugs and screeching "I love you"s by your shrooming, dancing, sweaty roommate during a reggae concert.

depends on how much you like your roommate.


" 'I don't know anyone who takes drugs because they want to stop thinking'.

Perhaps not to stop thinking, but to certainly turn it down several notches, which is frightening. Most humans do not function at a very high level to begin with, so purposefully impairing one's abilities in that regard seems a rather backwards notion. It would seem natural in life to seek enhancements not impediments."


not all (recreational)drugs techincally impair. depressants impair. hallcinogens distort. amphetamines speed up. Impair seems like an inaccurate label to slap on in a general sense.

Just to argue a personal point, I don't think that drug use has always been an impediment in my life. There have been times when it has been, but on the whole, i think that there have been some very positive experiences that are totally due to it, and I don't mean positive in a hedonistic kind of way. The ability for some drugs to illicit strong emotional repsonses is what has allowed me to be able to properly address some of my own emotional short commings in the past. I choose to use that effect of the drug experince to benefit myself. All experineces change you, it just matters how you let it.

Is drug use a sign of weakness? In some individuals, no doubt. I know more than one close friends who has had their lives completly turned upside down by drug use at one point in time. The strongest have come back even stronger, and others haven't been so lucky. I personally have been very fortunate and I recognize that fact, and I am proud of it too. I don't see myself as less or more than anyone, I see myself has having that extra experience, which is just different.

I'm not so naive to say that all people should try drugs, for some people it's just not right, but I think for most people it's a choice rather than some sick complusion. If you have never tried drugs, good for you, all I ask though is that you don't let your sobriety make you prejudice. In the end, shouldn't we all try to put ourselves on a level field?

Ok, I need to get off this soapbox now. Excuse me.
posted by Hackworth at 1:22 AM on July 12, 2001


I, too, am quite late on this thread, but as a regular toker I feel compelled to contribute my little bit.

1.) I wouldn't go so far as to call marijuana "mind-altering." The transition from sober to stoned doesn't change my personality entirely too much. If I were to walk up to you under the influence of THC on any given afternoon, unless I told you, you wouldn't have any clue that I was high. The phrase "shift in perspective" would be a little more accurate for me. I tend to evaluate people and events with much more tolerance or acceptance when stoned, and that is a trait marijuana has helped me develop. I realize pot is not for eveyone (my roommate typifies the slacker absence of motivation common to anti-marijuana propaganda), but personally my use is more akin to self-medication: the world seems a better place to live through these goggles.

2.) Though I'll catch a lot of shit for this statement, I assert that I am a MUCH better driver when I am stoned. Instead of operating at 15 mph above the speed limit, and taking stupid chances against traffic (a necessity in LA), I am a more attentive driver when stoned, and above all speed limits make sense.

3.) On the whole I tend to be more eloquent, happier, and certainly more serene when using pot. For me it is an enhancement, not an impediment. I work hard all day, and have been climbing up the ranks in my field faster than even I would have thought, so if a bowl at the end of my day gives me solace, then I'm sorry if that makes me sub-human in anyone's eyes. I can control how much and how often I use it, and it doesn't require a prescription or involve untested side effects like many other mood enhancing drugs (a la Prozac, et al.). I must say one definite benefit to my personal philosophy aided by my marijuana use is this: it has made me far less judgemental of others, and far more relaxed as a human being.

I guess that wasn't so little a bit.
posted by Awol at 10:53 AM on July 12, 2001


As much as I abhor drug use and take it almost as a Mission From God to preach against drugs, Awol's explanation of his drug use was almost eloquent. Except the driving part. That still scares the shit out of me.
posted by davidmsc at 11:24 AM on July 19, 2001


...by that logic, should we still practice human sacrifice or slavery?

David, I made no statement for or aggin drugs, I was questioning the statement that you "couldn't understand the desire to do it". I don't do drugs anymore but I certainly understand the desire.
posted by glenwood at 10:00 AM on August 2, 2001


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