1. A Cosmic Being
You are a Being of Nature.
You come from dimensions
Of powerful strength and light.
Return to those worlds
By discovering yourself within.
You are an explorer
In service to our planet.
Explore new concepts
For our world is endangered
By the absence of new ideas.
Our world is in turmoil because
Of the lack of conscience.
Within the body
Every atom was born
Of an exploding star.
We are made of stardust.
2. Listen to everything you can hear
Regardless of what you believe.
In every case. In any case.
Listen with purpose. Speak with intention.
We’re developed from our first findings
Discovered as children.
The sounds of ordinary living,
And one’s own thoughts …
Perhaps the hidden sound of music
Create an elevated consciousness state.
Everything that occurs leads to something.
We’ve been protecting ourselves.
By increasing awareness,
New neural pathways can replace the old.
The answer to the question is profound,
It needs time.
3. Meditation on Awareness
This should be a simple session
In a simple space.
Sitting upright in a dimly lit space
With eyes closed, and mouth shut.
Breathe deeply and naturally through the nose
Bringing awareness to the sensations of the nostrils.
There is no need for counting, mental image, or mantra.
Simply breathe deeply and naturally.
The moment you become aware
That you have drifted in your mind,
That you are lost in thought,
That you are daydreaming,
Simply return to the breath.
Breathe deeply and naturally
With eyes closed, and mouth shut
Bringing awareness to the sensations
on the area of the nostrils.
One begins the journey
By taking the first step of the way.
Sensations come and go
Like waves in the stormy sea.
Conscious breathing is our anchor.
The source of our life is breathing.
4. Meditation Psychedelic
This should be a simple session
In a simple space.
Lay back in an atmosphere of a natural setting
That was not substantially affected
By human behavior.
It’s best to be alone, still
In the wilderness.
You note the echo
Of the thousand harps
If tomorrow is at rest
You have been extracted.
Surround yourself with:
Air, fire, soil, water,
wood and textiles
Ancient sounds or silence
Greenness, fruit, scent
Connect to Spirit’s seeds
Beautiful latent flowers
Taking a lane
Regarding your reflections
Only to get the feelings
Choose the guide
Where is the limit?
Choose your own story!
Adoration and friendship
Let it go! Let it fly!
Let it float!
Sounds of the drops
A number of consciousnesses
In tomorrow’s prosperity
You do. You will.
Deceived and naive
Ultimately, the nature
Now. Then. Too.
Revolutionary art will promote
A spirit of rebellion.
Revolutionary art will promote
Class and universal identity
In order to combat injustice
And outdated philosophies.
Revolutionary art will promote
Humanity, morality and safety,
Not secrecy or deception.
Art creates love.
Art creates hope.
Art creates perspectives.
The artist assumes
A significant position in society
And can contribute
To transcendent conditions
For the proletariat.
A culture that is in harmony
With its citizens capabilities and needs
Wellness for every being is not a fantasy,
but a necessity
6. Waving of the Banner
Ignorance is society’s
Most destructive component.
Patriotism believes that
Our planet is split into tiny spaces.
A closed barrier to everyone else.
Citizens are brought up to feel nobler,
More prosperous, more intelligent,
More valuable than those
Residents of other places.
All residents in this chosen position therefore
Will battle, destroy, and die
To rule over other people.
This is a greedy arrogance
And the most harmful ignorance.
There is never a winner.
7. Hymn To The Gray Skies
Who’s going right now?
This will be there.
Is the toxin of the corrosion
Every amazing experience.
With the system moving on,
Humanity organizes before occupation
With a system of Excellence
The Environment Control
Will it have to move on?
So it occurs eventually.
Lead our planet
The death of the animals.
prior to society reconstruction
Through an undivided society
Using his experience of culture,
Performance of society,
technical experience technical experience,
Creation for its own good
Across the developed nation
Any environmental issue has its roots
About the subjects of culture.
It is not gradually degenerating.
Our search is Utopia
Spirit is our truth.
It is a transition that our vision is.
We need not to pursue warriors,
But pursue revolutionary thoughts.
Prosperity is one view of the world.
Yet, one can not move over
And embrace obligations
Unless you learn deeply of the
If you assume there is no path,
Then you know that there is no route.
You will move for a prosperous world
If you find you want to change.
You have the capacity for everything.
9. Check and Denounce
The discovery and denunciation
Of the rule of
Power, dominance or inequality
In all fields of existence
Is only logical and a must.
If an argument could be created,
To expand the rights of all humanity,
Those in power
Would declare it to be unconstitutional
You either recite the same traditional lectures
Or you say something new from the ether.
However you put it,
You are discovering something newer and deeper.
10. Life Force
From a celestial viewpoint,
Each of us is essential.
It is much more than seeking to delude
But to consider the world
With a greater view of the essence,
And advantages of the cosmos,
As it really is.
11. Without Music
Without song, the world can not change.
A pattern, a certain tone,
And a little note moving the world.
If the world will crumble,
The music will end.
It is time to do what is impossible.
Save the world.
12. With Music
Everybody has to teach.
Knowledge cleanses poverty.
Is the source of knowledge always traveled?
The trouble with this earth’s people
Is they appear to believe all
Except what they don’t recognize.
Trigger intervention rather than effects
Or it’s just a song about the effects.
When one listens intently,
They don’t have any questions.
As communities, economies, media , and social networks develop,
We try to look for significance that has already been there.
Life may be a difficult sleepwalk.
Fill this life with song.
The room is full of song
When all matter is music.
14. Inherent collective aid
For eons, within the human psyche,
Mutual aid is an inherent quality.
Our very existence has maintained this,
Regardless of the neo-liberal propaganda.
This does not mean that there should be no progress
Or that adaptation is not desirable.
It is to say that we can create a better life
through cooperation and mutual aid.
People desperately wish
To survive after death.
Yet, they pass away without understanding
The spirit of human wellbeing
Is still very much alive.
The next generation is inspired.
The spirit is transmitted again to the next
And to the next.
This is the objective of all moral lessons.
You are made of
And emotional capacities.
Your experience, your zeal,
Your will for change.
Your will to be strong.
It is worth this battle to attain our legacy.
Is this a true afterlife?
Many would say “yes.”
To be clear, I am not a professional writer, nor am I a professional political theorist, nor am I a professional historian... I am simply a human being who sees serious warning signs in the current political arena and feel that we need to continue to fight before it is too late.
What is fascism? Is it the ideology of Benito Mussolini in 1922 Italy? Is it German National Socialism pushed forward by Adolf Hilter which lead to some of the most horrendous crimes against humanity in the 20th century? Is it the strange philosophy of Savitri Devi in search of a living pagan Aryan culture combined with Hinduism? Is it the current trend of alt-right trolls, dogmatists, and terrorists that have infected our current culture?
The answer is yes. All of these are fascists, and there are many more variations.
The definition of fascism has been debated by many historians, political scientists, philosophers, and other scholars since the term first came to be in 1915 in the essay The Doctrine of Fascism by Benito Mussolini.
“Granted that the 19th century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the 20th century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the 19th century were the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State.
The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people.
...everything in the state, nothing against the State, nothing outside the state.
Fascism is a religious conception in which man is seen in his immanent relationship with a superior law and with an objective Will that transcends the particular individual and raises him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. Whoever has seen in the religious politics of the Fascist regime nothing but mere opportunism has not understood that Fascism besides being a system of government is also, and above all, a system of thought.”
-Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism
Now, for some odd reason, there has been a movement attempting to push the narrative that fascism is actually a left wing ideology. It's just not true, historically or logically. I personally have zero qualms criticizing the Left and gladly point out any hypocrisy when it happens. We don’t need to create false narratives. It is completely dishonest, and just to point out, the people who publicly identify as fascists, call themselves right wing. I digress…
Italian novelist, cultural critic, philosopher, and semiotician Umberto Eco coined the term Ur-fascism in his 1995 essay “Eternal Fascism” giving a list of 14 properties that can be used to identify fascism when it arises.
I highly recommend reading/listening to Eco’s essay and watching this in depth video by Angie Speaks for a better understanding of Ur-fascism.
My purpose of this blog post is to look at these 14 properties and see if and where they can be applied to Donald Trump and his administration. Remember, this is my unprofessional conjecture. I simply consider myself a well researched amateur, but there is a lot of area to improve.
"The Cult of Tradition", characterized by cultural syncretism, even at the risk of internal contradiction. When all truth has already been revealed by Tradition, no new learning can occur, only further interpretation and refinement.
I don’t see any connection with Donald Trump and tradition, though the Mike Pence/evangelical portion of his administration is frighteningly full of syncretism with wild combinations and incoherent combinations of thought, such as being pro-Christ, but anti-welfare.
"The Rejection of modernism", which views the rationalistic development of Western culture since the Enlightenment as a descent into depravity. Eco distinguishes this from a rejection of superficial technological advancement, as many fascist regimes cite their industrial potency as proof of the vitality of their system.
Donald Trump does not seem to be against modernism and would seemingly support any technology that would help support his reign of power.
"The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
Yep. This is Donald Trump. With his travel ban on countries that have never sent us a terrorist, push for a border wall on Mexico when immigration is down, and drastic assault on climate science and journalism.
"Disagreement Is Treason" – Fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action, as well as out of fear that such analysis will expose the contradictions embodied in a syncretistic faith.
Yep. Donald Trump will not allow anyone to question his decisions and dissenters are highly propagandized against. I’ve been the Trump/Pence mailing list for research purposes since 2016, and the amount of propaganda sent out on a daily basis about people who have disagreed with the administration is spine-chilling.
"Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
Yep. The constant focus on the border wall when immigration is down and the constant focus that those who come to this country undocumented are violent, lazy, stealing votes, and not paying taxes is definitely a tenet in this administration.
"Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
Yep. My home state of Ohio loves Trump right now, even when he says and does things that would have caused a ruckus under any other president, especially a liberal. I’ll give credit where credit is due. Trump actually went to the rust belt and listened to the economic concerns of the middle class there. He was lying, and it should have been obvious, but alas, he did ACTUALLY GO THERE AND LISTEN.
"Obsession with a Plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often combines an appeal to xenophobia with a fear of disloyalty and sabotage from marginalized groups living within the society. Eco also cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
Yep. Look at the constant propaganda being put out by the president directly via his Twitter account about the Democrats, the Mueller investigation, and even conservatives that didn’t/won’t tow-the-line.
Fascist societies rhetorically cast their enemies as "at the same time too strong and too weak." On the one hand, fascists play up the power of certain disfavored elites to encourage in their followers a sense of grievance and humiliation. On the other hand, fascist leaders point to the decadence of those elites as proof of their ultimate feebleness in the face of an overwhelming popular will.
Yep. Donald Trump constantly calls the Democrats (and liberals in general) radical leftists who can’t control themselves emotionally whilst also masterminding plots against him and his administration. This is all a tactic. He’s not paranoid. He’s playing paranoid to trick people.
"Pacifism is Trafficking with the Enemy" because "Life is Permanent Warfare" – there must always be an enemy to fight. Both fascist Germany under Hitler and Italy under Mussolini worked first to organize and clean up their respective countries and then build the war machines that they later intended to and did use, despite Germany being under restrictions of the Versailles treaty to NOT build a military force. This principle leads to a fundamental contradiction within fascism: the incompatibility of ultimate triumph with perpetual war.
This is a no. I don’t see Trump as any different than any of the last presidents. They’ve all be warmongers and I’m ashamed of all of them for this very reason.
"Contempt for the Weak", which is uncomfortably married to a chauvinistic popular elitism, in which every member of society is superior to outsiders by virtue of belonging to the in-group. Eco sees in these attitudes the root of a deep tension in the fundamentally hierarchical structure of fascist polities, as they encourage leaders to despise their underlings, up to the ultimate Leader who holds the whole country in contempt for having allowed him to overtake it by force.
Yep. This is Donald Trump’s entire position. He’s here to ‘drain the swamp’. Of course, he’s not doing anything of the sort, and is, in fact, filling the swamp with more swamp. Look at his cabinet and every appointee he has brought into high government positions.
"Everybody is Educated to Become a Hero", which leads to the embrace of a cult of death. As Eco observes, "the Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death."
I don’t see Trump as anything exceptional in this area. This is a no.
"Machismo", which sublimates the difficult work of permanent war and heroism into the sexual sphere. Fascists thus hold "both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality."
Yep. Donald Trump has a long, toxic history with women, whether it be speaking down to a female news anchor all the way to admitting on camera to sexually assaulting women.
"Selective Populism" – The People, conceived monolithically, have a Common Will, distinct from and superior to the viewpoint of any individual. As no mass of people can ever be truly unanimous, the Leader holds himself out as the interpreter of the popular will (though truly he dictates it). Fascists use this concept to delegitimize democratic institutions they accuse of "no longer representing the Voice of the People."
Yep. Donald Trump claims to speak for the working class whilst actually making huge tax cuts for the rich, raising our outward economy while simultaneously hurting the working class. This is Donald Trump’s rhetoric. And just so you know… he’s lying.
"Newspeak" – Fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.
I don’t see this one. No on Newspeak.
In conclusion, is Donald Trump a fascist in the same way that Benito Mussolini, Jorge González von Marées, Ioannis Metaxas, or Francisco Franco were? No. I don’t think so.
However, do he and his administration fit into any of the 14 properties of Ur-fascism (Eternal Fascism). I would say coming in at 67.86%, that’s a frightening yes. Remember, Eco didn’t create this as a checklist, he said "it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it".
This is a warning of the dangers of the Trump administration.
PS I predict that he is going to win in 2020, and I also predict that he is going to figure out how to stay in office longer than that. I hope I’m wrong on both.
So, I want to admit that I was wrong about the boys at the March for Life rally.
Here's the breakdown to what we now know:
The racist group known as the Black Hebrew Israelite's harassed a whole bunch of high school kids, calling them racial slurs (specifically the African American boys and Native American activists) and homophobic slurs.
Nathan Phillips went up to the Covington High School kids and began playing a drum/singing a song, seemingly to keep the peace.
An out of context video put into the world, appearing that the boys had surrounded Phillips, chanting racist things, etc.
Phillips gave an interview telling his side of the story, and everyone was outraged, myself included.
It's a mess.
Here's my genuine reaction to it now.
I have had many direct interactions with the Black Hebrew Israelite's, as their home base is literally a few blocks from my apartment in Harlem. They're awful, and I would love more media attention to be focused on them in general. Like most radical racist groups, they sprinkle tiny bits of truisms in to push their awful separatism agenda, and clearly have hints of violence within their message. Literally, they were harassing High School kids with racial and homophobic slurs. These guys are super gross.I genuinely believe Nathan Phillips account of what happened. I don't think it's fair when people are calling him a liar. He definitely DID put himself directly in contact with the Covington kids, but I don't think he meant agitation. This is all speculation based on my experience studying psychology, military training, and experience being directly involved in protests where people whom I am horrendously opposed to are present. I like to call it 'a really educated gut feeling'.
Now, on the kids.They're kids.I don't blame them for acting the way they were. They were chanting things that are generally associated with modern day sports (which I do consider these chants to be horrendously racist, but that's another debate entirely). The 'smirking kid' was reacting as any awkward teenager would act in a circumstance that they were feeling uncomfortable in.I still stand by my initial reaction to the adults in charge. This should be used as a learning experience. If one is willing to attend an obviously heated protest, wearing gear that is obviously politically charged. Please don't pretend that wearing a MAGA hat doesn't attract negative attention. There's a reason I don't wear political gear. It brings attention to the person wearing it and brings people who don't know you to make automatic assumptions about you.
What these kids can learn from this is... If you go to a political protest wearing gear that shows direct support for a controversial politician, you are setting yourself up for backlash. Backlash is okay. It happens in the real world everyday. The question to ask is this..."Am I willing to deal with the backlash I could potentially bring upon myself?"
I know this was a rambling post, but I wanted to apologize for putting more outrage out into the world. I'm currently working on a follow up email to send to Covington High School's principal to clarify my initial email I sent him yesterday.
Below are some links that helped me navigate through this ridiculousness.
Written by Carl Sagan in his mid-thirties, this essay was published in 1971 for in Marihuana Reconsidered. Sagan continued partaking in cannabis use for the rest of his life.
It all began about ten years ago. I had reached a considerably more relaxed period in my life – a time when I had come to feel that there was more to living than science, a time of awakening of my social consciousness and amiability, a time when I was open to new experiences. I had become friendly with a group of people who occasionally smoked cannabis, irregularly, but with evident pleasure. Initially I was unwilling to partake, but the apparent euphoria that cannabis produced and the fact that there was no physiological addiction to the plant eventually persuaded me to try. My initial experiences were entirely disappointing; there was no effect at all, and I began to entertain a variety of hypotheses about cannabis being a placebo which worked by expectation and hyperventilation rather than by chemistry. After about five or six unsuccessful attempts, however, it happened. I was lying on my back in a friend’s living room idly examining the pattern of shadows on the ceiling cast by a potted plant (not cannabis!). I suddenly realized that I was examining an intricately detailed miniature Volkswagen, distinctly outlined by the shadows. I was very skeptical at this perception, and tried to find inconsistencies between Volkswagens and what I viewed on the ceiling. But it was all there, down to hubcaps, license plate, chrome, and even the small handle used for opening the trunk. When I closed my eyes, I was stunned to find that there was a movie going on the inside of my eyelids. Flash . . . a simple country scene with red farmhouse, a blue sky, white clouds, yellow path meandering over green hills to the horizon. . . Flash . . . same scene, orange house, brown sky, red clouds, yellow path, violet fields . . . Flash . . . Flash . . . Flash. The flashes came about once a heartbeat. Each flash brought the same simple scene into view, but each time with a different set of colors . . . exquisitely deep hues, and astonishingly harmonious in their juxtaposition. Since then I have smoked occasionally and enjoyed it thoroughly. It amplifies torpid sensibilities and produces what to me are even more interesting effects, as I will explain shortly.
I can remember another early visual experience with cannabis, in which I viewed a candle flame and discovered in the heart of the flame, standing with magnificent indifference, the black-hatted and -cloaked Spanish gentleman who appears on the label of the Sandeman sherry bottle. Looking at fires when high, by the way, especially through one of those prism kaleidoscopes which image their surroundings, is an extraordinarily moving and beautiful experience.
I want to explain that at no time did I think these things ‘really’ were out there. I knew there was no Volkswagen on the ceiling and there was no Sandeman salamander man in the flame. I don’t feel any contradiction in these experiences. There’s a part of me making, creating the perceptions which in everyday life would be bizarre; there’s another part of me which is a kind of observer. About half of the pleasure comes from the observer-part appreciating the work of the creator-part. I smile, or sometimes even laugh out loud at the pictures on the insides of my eyelids. In this sense, I suppose cannabis is psychotomimetic, but I find none of the panic or terror that accompanies some psychoses. Possibly this is because I know it’s my own trip, and that I can come down rapidly any time I want to.
While my early perceptions were all visual, and curiously lacking in images of human beings, both of these items have changed over the intervening years. I find that today a single joint is enough to get me high. I test whether I’m high by closing my eyes and looking for the flashes. They come long before there are any alterations in my visual or other perceptions. I would guess this is a signal-to-noise problem, the visual noise level being very low with my eyes closed. Another interesting information-theoretical aspects is the prevalence – at least in my flashed images – of cartoons: just the outlines of figures, caricatures, not photographs. I think this is simply a matter of information compression; it would be impossible to grasp the total content of an image with the information content of an ordinary photograph, say 108 bits, in the fraction of a second which a flash occupies. And the flash experience is designed, if I may use that word, for instant appreciation. The artist and viewer are one. This is not to say that the images are not marvelously detailed and complex. I recently had an image in which two people were talking, and the words they were saying would form and disappear in yellow above their heads, at about a sentence per heartbeat. In this way it was possible to follow the conversation. At the same time an occasional word would appear in red letters among the yellows above their heads, perfectly in context with the conversation; but if one remembered these red words, they would enunciate a quite different set of statements, penetratingly critical of the conversation. The entire image set which I’ve outlined here, with I would say at least 100 yellow words and something like 10 red words, occurred in something under a minute.
The cannabis experience has greatly improved my appreciation for art, a subject which I had never much appreciated before. The understanding of the intent of the artist which I can achieve when high sometimes carries over to when I’m down. This is one of many human frontiers which cannabis has helped me traverse. There also have been some art-related insights – I don’t know whether they are true or false, but they were fun to formulate. For example, I have spent some time high looking at the work of the Belgian surrealist Yves Tanguey. Some years later, I emerged from a long swim in the Caribbean and sank exhausted onto a beach formed from the erosion of a nearby coral reef. In idly examining the arcuate pastel-colored coral fragments which made up the beach, I saw before me a vast Tanguey painting. Perhaps Tanguey visited such a beach in his childhood.
A very similar improvement in my appreciation of music has occurred with cannabis. For the first time I have been able to hear the separate parts of a three-part harmony and the richness of the counterpoint. I have since discovered that professional musicians can quite easily keep many separate parts going simultaneously in their heads, but this was the first time for me. Again, the learning experience when high has at least to some extent carried over when I’m down. The enjoyment of food is amplified; tastes and aromas emerge that for some reason we ordinarily seem to be too busy to notice. I am able to give my full attention to the sensation. A potato will have a texture, a body, and taste like that of other potatoes, but much more so. Cannabis also enhances the enjoyment of sex – on the one hand it gives an exquisite sensitivity, but on the other hand it postpones orgasm: in part by distracting me with the profusion of image passing before my eyes. The actual duration of orgasm seems to lengthen greatly, but this may be the usual experience of time expansion which comes with cannabis smoking.
I do not consider myself a religious person in the usual sense, but there is a religious aspect to some highs. The heightened sensitivity in all areas gives me a feeling of communion with my surroundings, both animate and inanimate. Sometimes a kind of existential perception of the absurd comes over me and I see with awful certainty the hypocrisies and posturing of myself and my fellow men. And at other times, there is a different sense of the absurd, a playful and whimsical awareness. Both of these senses of the absurd can be communicated, and some of the most rewarding highs I’ve had have been in sharing talk and perceptions and humor. Cannabis brings us an awareness that we spend a lifetime being trained to overlook and forget and put out of our minds. A sense of what the world is really like can be maddening; cannabis has brought me some feelings for what it is like to be crazy, and how we use that word ‘crazy’ to avoid thinking about things that are too painful for us. In the Soviet Union political dissidents are routinely placed in insane asylums. The same kind of thing, a little more subtle perhaps, occurs here: ‘did you hear what Lenny Bruce said yesterday? He must be crazy.’ When high on cannabis I discovered that there’s somebody inside in those people we call mad.
When I’m high I can penetrate into the past, recall childhood memories, friends, relatives, playthings, streets, smells, sounds, and tastes from a vanished era. I can reconstruct the actual occurrences in childhood events only half understood at the time. Many but not all my cannabis trips have somewhere in them a symbolism significant to me which I won’t attempt to describe here, a kind of mandala embossed on the high. Free-associating to this mandala, both visually and as plays on words, has produced a very rich array of insights.
There is a myth about such highs: the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devastating insights achieved when high are real insights; the main problem is putting these insights in a form acceptable to the quite different self that we are when we’re down the next day. Some of the hardest work I’ve ever done has been to put such insights down on tape or in writing. The problem is that ten even more interesting ideas or images have to be lost in the effort of recording one. It is easy to understand why someone might think it’s a waste of effort going to all that trouble to set the thought down, a kind of intrusion of the Protestant Ethic. But since I live almost all my life down I’ve made the effort – successfully, I think. Incidentally, I find that reasonably good insights can be remembered the next day, but only if some effort has been made to set them down another way. If I write the insight down or tell it to someone, then I can remember it with no assistance the following morning; but if I merely say to myself that I must make an effort to remember, I never do.
I find that most of the insights I achieve when high are into social issues, an area of creative scholarship very different from the one I am generally known for. I can remember one occasion, taking a shower with my wife while high, in which I had an idea on the origins and invalidities of racism in terms of gaussian distribution curves. It was a point obvious in a way, but rarely talked about. I drew the curves in soap on the shower wall, and went to write the idea down. One idea led to another, and at the end of about an hour of extremely hard work I found I had written eleven short essays on a wide range of social, political, philosophical, and human biological topics. Because of problems of space, I can’t go into the details of these essays, but from all external signs, such as public reactions and expert commentary, they seem to contain valid insights. I have used them in university commencement addresses, public lectures, and in my books.
But let me try to at least give the flavor of such an insight and its accompaniments. One night, high on cannabis, I was delving into my childhood, a little self-analysis, and making what seemed to me to be very good progress. I then paused and thought how extraordinary it was that Sigmund Freud, with no assistance from drugs, had been able to achieve his own remarkable self-analysis. But then it hit me like a thunderclap that this was wrong, that Freud had spent the decade before his self-analysis as an experimenter with and a proselytizer for cocaine; and it seemed to me very apparent that the genuine psychological insights that Freud brought to the world were at least in part derived from his drug experience. I have no idea whether this is in fact true, or whether the historians of Freud would agree with this interpretation, or even if such an idea has been published in the past, but it is an interesting hypothesis and one which passes first scrutiny in the world of the downs.
I can remember the night that I suddenly realized what it was like to be crazy, or nights when my feelings and perceptions were of a religious nature. I had a very accurate sense that these feelings and perceptions, written down casually, would not stand the usual critical scrutiny that is my stock in trade as a scientist. If I find in the morning a message from myself the night before informing me that there is a world around us which we barely sense, or that we can become one with the universe, or even that certain politicians are desperately frightened men, I may tend to disbelieve; but when I’m high I know about this disbelief. And so I have a tape in which I exhort myself to take such remarks seriously. I say ‘Listen closely, you sonofabitch of the morning! This stuff is real!’ I try to show that my mind is working clearly; I recall the name of a high school acquaintance I have not thought of in thirty years; I describe the color, typography, and format of a book in another room and these memories do pass critical scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that there are genuine and valid levels of perception available with cannabis (and probably with other drugs) which are, through the defects of our society and our educational system, unavailable to us without such drugs. Such a remark applies not only to self-awareness and to intellectual pursuits, but also to perceptions of real people, a vastly enhanced sensitivity to facial expression, intonations, and choice of words which sometimes yields a rapport so close it’s as if two people are reading each other’s minds.
Cannabis enables nonmusicians to know a little about what it is like to be a musician, and nonartists to grasp the joys of art. But I am neither an artist nor a musician. What about my own scientific work? While I find a curious disinclination to think of my professional concerns when high – the attractive intellectual adventures always seem to be in every other area – I have made a conscious effort to think of a few particularly difficult current problems in my field when high. It works, at least to a degree. I find I can bring to bear, for example, a range of relevant experimental facts which appear to be mutually inconsistent. So far, so good. At least the recall works. Then in trying to conceive of a way of reconciling the disparate facts, I was able to come up with a very bizarre possibility, one that I’m sure I would never have thought of down. I’ve written a paper which mentions this idea in passing. I think it’s very unlikely to be true, but it has consequences which are experimentally testable, which is the hallmark of an acceptable theory.
I have mentioned that in the cannabis experience there is a part of your mind that remains a dispassionate observer, who is able to take you down in a hurry if need be. I have on a few occasions been forced to drive in heavy traffic when high. I’ve negotiated it with no difficult at all, though I did have some thoughts about the marvelous cherry-red color of traffic lights. I find that after the drive I’m not high at all. There are no flashes on the insides of my eyelids. If you’re high and your child is calling, you can respond about as capably as you usually do. I don’t advocate driving when high on cannabis, but I can tell you from personal experience that it certainly can be done. My high is always reflective, peaceable, intellectually exciting, and sociable, unlike most alcohol highs, and there is never a hangover. Through the years I find that slightly smaller amounts of cannabis suffice to produce the same degree of high, and in one movie theater recently I found I could get high just by inhaling the cannabis smoke which permeated the theater.
There is a very nice self-titering aspect to cannabis. Each puff is a very small dose; the time lag between inhaling a puff and sensing its effect is small; and there is no desire for more after the high is there. I think the ratio, R, of the time to sense the dose taken to the time required to take an excessive dose is an important quantity. R is very large for LSD (which I’ve never taken) and reasonably short for cannabis. Small values of R should be one measure of the safety of psychedelic drugs. When cannabis is legalized, I hope to see this ratio as one of he parameters printed on the pack. I hope that time isn’t too distant; the illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.
“If you say 2+2=5 with enough conviction, eventually people will just sort of go with it.”
-George Orwell, 1984
"You're saying it's a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”
“It’s a slippery slope from ‘knowledge is bad’ to ‘let’s burn books and also people.”
-Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
“We did it! Thank you to all of my great supporters, we just officially won the election (despite all of the distorted and inaccurate media.)”
“We are just one failed uprising away from watching kids get fireballs thrown at them on live TV.”
-Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
“Left to their own devices, schoolboys will eventually begin hunting each other for sport.”
-William Golding, Lord of the Flies
"I was sitting at the table, we had finished dinner. We’re now having dessert—and we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you've ever seen—and President Xi was enjoying it."
“One minute we’ll be mastering interplanetary space travel, the next we’ll be training children to fight aliens.”
-Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
"My administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.”
“If a theocratic military dictatorship takes over and you don’t have the good sense to be male, well, yikes.”
-Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
“Many young men find many young women to be attractive sexually. Many young women find many young men to be attractive sexually. Put them together, in close quarters, for long periods of time, and things will get interesting … Moral of story: women in military, bad idea.”
I post when I post.