Lions and spaceships and talking trees, oh my!
June 2, 2000 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Lions and spaceships and talking trees, oh my! For those of us who sneer at MDMA, a more expansive list of chemicals. Am I the only one here who admits to using some of this stuff?
posted by Ezrael (16 comments total)
I personally recommend the indolamines as the most 'user friendly' of the substances, but I'm interested in hearing other viewpoints. If you use, why? If you don't, why not? Is your choice based on ethical or legal grounds? All opinions sought.
posted by Ezrael at 1:48 PM on June 2, 2000

I do not use drugs because I have no interest in altering my perceptions. I have no problem with the drug use of others, unless they become dangerous ala drunk driving. At that point, I think people should be executed. I think thats fair, mess yerself up as much as you want, just don't get any on me. To different degrees over time,most of my friends have been habitual drug users.
posted by thirteen at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2000

I have used MDMA, it was nice.
posted by frank spank at 2:49 PM on June 2, 2000

I agree with Thirteen. Mess yourself up if you want but don't run me over with heavy machinery. I don't do drugs because 1) My brain's already funky without it. 2) I don't make enough money. 3) Cops make me nervous.

Tried pot a couple times. Absolutely nothing happened which ticked me off. Cigarettes and alcohol is enough for me. And I'm trying to cut back on those a bit. Really my brain's already messed up. It doesn't need any help. If I want to I can even hallucinate on cue. Others call it an overactive imagination. I used to wait around for others to goof themselves up so they'd be down on my level. In recent years I got tired of waiting.

For example, if you need Ecstacy to realize how cool it is to put a metal slinky in your mouth and lightly tap on it, I feel sorry for you. That's cool! It tingles! Or maybe most people need an excuse to be silly and that's what drugs provide: an excuse.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:39 PM on June 2, 2000

ZachsMind: If you say you can make yourself hallucinate, you've probably never hallucinated. Or else you're a paranoid schizophrenic! Seriously, though, I respect all your reasons for not trying drugs, but don't discount the real perceptual shifts that certain chemicals can bring about in the brain. Many creative people have benefitted from an altered mindstate-- although the best work is no doubt created when sober, there is potential value to drugs that isn't just being 'messed up,' or acting silly.
posted by chaz at 12:45 AM on June 3, 2000

I don't need an excuse to be silly; I do that all the time.

I tried LSD once, but I didn't inhale.
posted by baylink at 12:35 PM on June 3, 2000

Man, I was hoping the debate here would be less 'drugs are bad and I don't do them' and more 'What are the perceptive effects of and benefits of altered states of consciousness, and what are the costs?' I mean, I'm not a recreational user and I wasn't curious about recreational use.

Personally, I don't see anything silly about the drugs I've taken and I haven't been taking them to get silly, either. I usually use them as part of a ceremonial attempt to communicate with higher spirits (being a practicing magician, albeit a beginner) or to alter the context of my thoughts. In a similar manner to the use of sweat lodges or pain rituals or other shamanic techniques, chemicals like DMT allow me to get around the idea that I exist seperate and unique inside my little meat shell. I also occassionally use them in a tantric context.

Now, I'm not arguing that hallucinogens are universally good and that we should all take them. Far from it. I wasn't ready for their impact on my preconceived ideas the first time I tripped, and even now I try and treat the experience with reverance and respect. But there's a lot of evidence that the rise of syncretic thought in humans can be linked to psychedelic mushrooms, and I think it's foolish to buy into the government propaganda that drugs are a priori evil and do no good for anyone.

Using chemicals to escape from reality is bad, yeah. So is using sex, or food, or video games, or anything else. Using chemicals to help explore reality can be beneficial, and that's something that we are no longer allowed to understand in these moralistic Do as we say because we say it on every channel and in every print source times.
I see the Harmines and Indolamines as tools, and that's how I use them. I don't do them to get goofy or silly. I'm silly enough, although lately I'm afraid I'm sounding humorless.

Anyway, that's my rant on the subject. I'll shut up now. I gotta go apologize to the UN and European Community anyway.
posted by Ezrael at 6:15 PM on June 3, 2000

I do not think of drugs as evil, nor do I think of them as mystical. I come at it from the prospective of personal atheism. I think of them as natural or artificial means to alter ones state of mind. What I do not understand is why people want to let go of that control of themselves. Being around people who are drunk or high when you are not is tragically dull. I know it is a cliche, but it is true. When you hallucinate your senses are lying to you, how could that be desireable? I don't dislike people who take drugs, nor do I avoid them. I do humor them, listening to people talk about how lifechanging the experience is, is like hearing my aunt talk about the brilliance of Steven Spielberg. I figure something insurmountably different is between us, but I like them all the same. I am pretty hard line on the subject (actually on a lot of subjects), I seldom even take an asprin. One of my bigger peeves, is that people turn to medicines too quickly (especially antibiotics, but that is a different subject). I know people can take drugs responsibly, but I think the effort to do things properly is more work than most people are gonna put in. I have had people fuck themselves up on rotten homemade K and puke blood on my couch. They caused me a miserable evening, wondering if they were gonna die in my house. When they woke up, they were suitably apologetic, but they did not remember things the way I did, did not remember just how horrible it really was. You can talk about the vistas that are opened up by these alterations, I will still maintain that the world is more often, and more greatly changed by those who focus their abilities through disipline.
I don't buy the government reasons for not doing drugs, I believe the government flows drugs. I was pretty open minded about the possibilities of drug use when I was younger, but decided not to take them without watching how they affected others. When I saw the effect I decided it was not for me. Square old me.
posted by thirteen at 9:01 PM on June 3, 2000

Thirteen said, "Being around people who are drunk or high when you are not is tragically dull." I acknowledge your opinion, but in my experience I would have to disagree. I find them very entertaining. I can talk with them about things that they have no interest in when sober or straight or whatever the appropriate buzzword is. Overall it can be a positive experience for both those who partake and those who don't. I guess it depends on the people involved, and whether or not you find them interesting in the first place.

Oh. The hallucination thing. You might see it more as active daydreaming. I don't actually "see things" in a hallucinatory way except in my mind's eye. Apparently I still have a firm grip on the difference between reality and fantasy. At least at the moment. =) I like to think I have a healthy imagination, and like to incorporate that into my writing.

As for the possibility I am paranoid schizophrenic, I've been psychoanalyzed and they only found me to have classic depression. When I'm drinking large quantities of caffeine, I may even be a manic depressant, but I had sworn off Mountain Dew by the time I started seeing shrinks.

I thought I was worse than that, but clinically it's been proven I'm just very neurotic. Needless to say I was disappointed.

Much of it has to do with diet and exercise. Less active people who eat a lot of unhealthy food have a tendency to be psychologically aberrant. Not in all cases of course, but the odds increase. An unhealthy body can also lead to an unhealthy mind.

You're speaking of chemical dependency focusing on the 'big bad dangerous' illegal drugs, but point of fact you can alter your perception much more subtly with things that are very legal. Herbs for example. Alcohol and nicotene are also examples. Alcohol has a more prominent immediate result, but can also alter one's perceptions in the long term. Causing them to do things they might not normally do, like take actions which alienate them from their family and friends.

When I remember to take my St. John's Wart regularly, I've noticed a distinct tendency to respond to my environment slightly differently. Without it I tend to respond more pessimistically to things. It's a very subtle difference and can take days or weeks for the changes to be apparent, but it's there. And I find the very subtle changes rather intriguing. Do I have a mind and a soul or am I just a bag of complex chemicals? It's really rather fascinating. I like to think the answer is a combination of the two. Does eating that Big Mac instead of a more sensible meal affect how I react to life and feel about myself?

We are what we consume, be it a drop of acid or a slurpee. Whether we drink water or breathe air. What we put into ourselves fuels our actions, mends wounds, pumps the blood, and affects who we are.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:59 PM on June 3, 2000

Zach: I like what you're saying about more mellow pyschoactive substances. Did you know that marijuana is the mellowest of all-- in terms of toxicity, addiction, effect, and long-term damage, it's at the lowest on pretty much any scale. Caffeine and Nicotene, for example, are much more toxic and addictive. Marijuana has been used medicinally since the first century, AD, making it one of mankind's oldest remedies. It has been used recreationally for at least that long. Late 20th century cultural baggage attached to the herb is pretty insignificant in relation to its long history. Yahooka is a an excellent source for more information.
posted by chaz at 12:07 AM on June 4, 2000

It's really good that the Net provides comprehensive information on the drugs that aren't sold over the counter or in dark alleys. (It also proves that drug users are bores...) And while I'm less impressed by the tales of people who neck gallons of cough syrup for the buzz, it's good to be aware of the cultural significance of consciousness-altering substances around the world and across history.

And thirteen: your senses lie to you all the time, it's just that they're usually telling you the tale known as "consensus reality". It's all provisional.
posted by holgate at 2:29 AM on June 4, 2000

"Consensus Reality"? Now you guys are sounding like me. Where's Tim Leary when we really need him?

In my experience marijuana is so mellow it does absolutely nothing. All I did was smell bad after smoking it. If I'm gonna break laws, I want it to mean something.

To sum up, I don't personally recommend doing drugs, but I do recommend doing people who are doing drugs. Especially if she's really cute.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:40 PM on June 4, 2000

My girlfriend's mother is a spritual healer and I've had long conversations with her about my experiences on acid and hers through meditation and they concur pretty much totally. She has spent many years learning techniques to alter her 'vibrations' and the effect she describes is no different from the effects I've observed on Acid. The difference is, I took the lazy route and she has worked at it for a long time.
The brain is an incredibly powerful organ, and can be used in place of hallucinogens, you just have to learn to do it. Most people (and I include myself here) prefer to take the easy route though, but then thats common to most things in life I guess.
posted by Markb at 1:34 AM on June 5, 2000

Well, nobody changed my mind about anything,but I do appreciate the thoughtful arguments everybody brought to the table.
I do somewhat regret my use of the phrase "mess terself up" without giving equal time to the idea of responsible experimentation. Tho I still do believe that anyone who endangers another through that experimentation/abuse should forfeit their own life.
As for consensus reality. What else could we all agree on? I know my eyes do not show me colors that are ultraviolet, that does not mean they lie. I know my vision is illusion, but it is the only tool I have to see the world.
posted by thirteen at 9:40 AM on June 5, 2000

Here's a thought: How do you know the world you go to sleep in is the one you wake up in? If you are shifting from eigenstate to eigenstate, you may not even know it, especially if the differences lie below or above the human perceptual level.

Example: if, as has been argued, every possibility that can exist must exist in the metaverse at large, than every near-miss car accident, every asteroid formation, every photon accretion will generate dozens, hundreds, maybe even more realities. How are you going to be able to tell the difference between a universe where a photon passed through a sheet of paper and one where it didn't?

Reality is undefineable. It might as well be treated as such.
posted by Ezrael at 11:13 PM on June 5, 2000

Since I had to look up and research "eigenstate" the conversation might be heading in a direction I am not qualified to take part in. Ockham's razor would have me believe reality is constant, and that the world I fall asleep in is the same as the one I wake up in, is the same that will exist when I dead. I think reality is defineable, we are just alittle to small to do it just yet. The thing referred to earlier as consensus reality works like a stone hammer. Functional, but the bronze age is just around the corner.
posted by thirteen at 3:31 PM on June 6, 2000

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