After haven written a blog on psychedelics in July I got several reactions from people around me. A few of my friends let me know they thought I was being unfair in my testy accusation towards hippie-trippie space cowboys, in particular when I said there is no such thing as “inexplicable”.
My boyfriend said the following about it:
“Words are used to describe reality as we see it on a daily basis. The stuff you see and experience when doing “the trippy thing” is not every day reality. A trip will have you process information with your senses that is so odd that the vocabulary that a brain has access to will always feel inadequate to describe it.”
Sure. I can accept that.
What I do not accept is being dismissed by people.
Let me be clear, I am not talking about my boyfriend here. On the contrary, he never lets the limits of our vocabulary stop him from sharing his experiences and insights with me. He tells me about his psychedelic experiences in such a matter of fact way that an outsider may not even notice we are talking about something so “out there”.
There are others though who sort of set (people like) me aside as being naive, uptight and bigoted for not diving into the psychedelic hemisphere with them. They don’t always do this explicitly, which makes it harder to pinpoint, but it’s definitely there.
It annoys me because it is not true. I do want to understand. More even, I feel I may actually already understand it up to a certain degree and definitely more than I am getting credit for.
Aren’t they the ones demonstrating narrow minds towards me then, when they decide I am not worth the trouble of formulating a description for?
That last sentence makes me sound like an entitled nosey body, I realize that. I suppose me saying that isn’t the case, isn’t worth much, but emmmm… that really isn’t the case…
Maybe I should let it go but something about all of this is still nagging me. It has something to do with interpretations of what is real and accompanying feelings about who is right (and possibly my own overblown reactions to condescending behavior).
I’m going to chew on this one a bit longer and dedicate a new blog on the matter when I’ve figured it out.
Growing up in Bolivia, the sight of people chewing on coca leaves was something I saw (and smelled) almost every day. It was something very normal, somewhere between drinking a cup of coffee and smoking a cigarette. Hardly noteworthy.
Coca is of great importance for the indigenous population of Bolivia. It is a staple “snack”, as well as a gift you bring to business acquaintances and parties (like a bottle of wine). It is also used in rituals and offerings to the ancestors in the spirit realm.
All around the world ancient tribes have made use of plants as medicine. Some of them have hallucinogenic traits that helped shamans and elders reach into the spirit realm. (Coca is not one of them, btw)
In the 21st century western civilization, drugs are present and available in many shapes, sizes and contexts. There are drugs for those who want to dance longer, for those who want to experience the music more intensely, the ones who want to relax or those that want to make love.
Mary Jane, Molly and Alice
Growing up, many of my friends went through a Mary-Jane phase. Some of them still invite her in every evening or at least quite regularly. All though I am not one that ever partakes in this, I am quite accustomed to seeing the whole ritual unfold in front of me, in a matter of fact kind of way.
The step up to hard drugs is one that also happens, but less openly. None of my friends have ever bought or used hard drugs in front of me, but I don’t doubt some of them did go down that lane on nights out with me. Luckily, this never caused any problems (other than slightly annoying behavior).
Psychedelia is a different ballgame. My childhood friends were not into this. As the child of a flower-power father however, I think I did vaguely know about hallucinogenic drugs and what they do (in general terms). My dad has always been extremely open and outspoken about drug and sex related topics to a point that I just lost interest (does that make sense?).
However, I never actually saw anybody “going on a voyage” (not taking tripping street junks into account), let alone that I did anything like this myself. Those of you who have ever taken a peak at my bucketlist may have noticed that it does feature there, though.
Courage vs Comfort
The composition of my bucketlist may need some context. You see, the things I put on my bucketlist aren’t all things that I really WANT to do. For a large part, my bucketlist is actually a list of things that would bring me out of my comfort zone (and perhaps into the discomfort zone, but not per se).
Ticking one of those off my list would suggest I did something out of the ordinary. It might be something I am frightened of. Overcoming fear takes courage. Courageous deeds make for interesting stories, that you talk and laugh about later on in life. This in short, is why there is stuff I DON’T want to do on my bucketlist…
Now… I could go on a rant about the sanctity of my comfort zone and present you with all the reasons why this lovely space is a perfectly acceptable place to reside in for ever, but I’ll save that for some other time.
Actually, I take that back… I just did a quick search on “comfort zone”, looking for a good pic to insert in this post and I did not like what I saw… So I decided a small rant is actually justified.
What bothers me is that “being in your comfort zone” has somehow become synonymous to “being afraid” (I know, I kind of suggest it myself a couple of paragraphs back, but that doesn’t mean YOU are allowed to say it too!). I also don’t like how all these online depictions insinuate that my comfort zone is small and unexciting. F*** you, internetz!
OK, now we can continue.
Plugging into the cosmos
Despite not being a smoker, drinker or pill popper (etc), I somehow did befriend some joyful trippers in the course of my life, my current boyfriend, G, being one of them.
All though G can be extremely rational he also has this very spiritual (spacey?) side. I like this about him, but I must admit there are times when I can not completely grasp what he is trying to tell me. My logic does not allow it.
This brings me to the main topic of this blog (I know, finally right?? I swear I am not a stoner, but I do have the hardest time getting to the point 😛 ).
People who have used psychedelics tend to say it changed their view of reality. It makes them “understand” things in a more “profound” way. They describe having plugged in to “something bigger” and feel more connected to the cosmos because of it.
I could roll my eyes and dismiss this type of explanation as hippie trippy bullshit, but I don’t want to do that. I do take the witness accounts of people’s hallucinogenic experiences seriously. I am intrigued by them (but not enough to go in and experience it for myself, apparently).
A sentence that is likely to come up when talking to people with mindtripping experiences is “I can’t explain it to you if you haven’t done it”.
Wait, what? Did that part of your brain that stores vocabulary and grammar get erased? I thought you plugged into the cosmos and activated all these fancy parts of your brain that are normally dormant… but somehow you became dumber?
“Inexplicable” is not a thing! If you believe it is, then whatever drug you took didn’t do shit to your understanding of anything.
I mean, I get it; How do you explain the color green to a blind person? You can try, but there are really no words to use that explain it in a way that doesn’t require the other person having laid eyes on something in the color green at some point in their life.
My annoyance always fuels my stubbornness. This makes for a bit of a confusing situation in this case. Pigheadedly standing up against the idea of using drugs is not the way rebellion usually works.
The result is me rocking the “straight-laced goody-two-shoes”-look on the highway of my comfort zone. YEAAAH, I’m a rebel like that.