mariua cu1ttrn

BY FRED BLOOM

S store to of toppingat a neighborhood recently pickup a carton milkandsomeotheritems,I askedthe clerk,a boy of aboutfifteen, for one of the pickledeggs froma largejar standing the counter. on As he turned get one, a flashof annoyance crossedhis face; he to seemedto be thinking. Thenhe askedone of theotherstoreclerksto handhim a package Baggies.Whileshe was gettingthemhe took of the moneyfor gum andsodafromtwo smallchildren. turned He to my milkandotherpurchases rangthemup, ignoring Baggies and the tossedupon thecounter. paidthetotalandhe started putmy stuff I to into a bag. "Whataboutthe egg?" I asked. "Oh, I forgotall aboutit," he said, clappinghis handto his with It forehead a surprising flourish. allcamebackto him;he became awareof the Baggieson the counter."I didn'teven chargeyou for it." I paidhimanother thirty-five cents.Hegotouta Baggieandbegan to twistopenthe wrongjar. I Afteranother "No, I wantan egg, not a sausage,>"protested. overlyabashed apology,I finallygot my egg. himselfthateveningto be Verylikelythisyoungmanconsidered in a heightened of consciousness, thecurrent and state would language that support view. He was "high." What wouldotherwise beena dullevening have behind counter the of this bareandbright corner witha few tokeson a store,promises, A of joint in the backroom,to be transformed. phantasmagoria interesting detailwill rise off the surface objectsto bathethe mind. of will and full Colors,textures, patterns becomefascinating absorbing, of meaning, but for crypticmeaning perhaps, all the moreabsorbing that,its cipher outof reach,richin associations. just Thereis thejar

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of eggs, each egg a perfectand enigmaticegg shape, reflecting a strange lightfromwithinthe liquorin whichit is bathed,a final egg andabsorbing meditation, through reverie,like a prodat a and this sleepingcat, comes the thought,"I've got to putone of theseeggs in a Baggieforthisguy andI'm outof Baggies,"a thought calls that theyoungmanout of his reverie intotheveryordinary munand and danetaskof waitingon me. The clerkexperiences capacity attention absorption, for this and whether knowsit or not, or even thinksaboutit, duringat least he the best phaseof a marijuana At intoxication. best, it is why he gets stoned.Fromhis pointof view, if he couldarticulate the suchness it, of theeggs in thejaris morerealthantheBaggieproblem, whilefrom my pointof view, this kid is in outerspace,he is wastingmy time, andhe is no morein touchwithmyrealitythanif he werehalfasleep or a dimwit. An organization Growers Ascallingitself the MaineMarijuana sociation out in forcerecently frontof the statecapitolwhere in was the legislature in sessionconsidering bill to recriminalize was a the whichwas "decriminalpossessionof smallamounts marijuana, of ized," though exactlymadelegaleither,a few yearsago. As part not of thislobbying effortmanylegislators in discovered themorning mail a marijuana themthatthey cigarette,tuckedinto a letterinforming could now be subjectto criminal The who prosecution. legislators, wereseriously considering recriminalization nevertheless this did bill, not want to appearsquareto the reporters who came to get their reaction the letters,so theymadevarious to at such attempts hilarity as suggesting the cigarettes testedfor quality,implyingthat be that although they were not "for" marijuana, were not a bunchof they prudes either. California's Office of Agricultural Resourceshas recentlyacthat has knowledged marijuana becomethatstate'snumber-one cash and crop,aheadof oranges grapes,whilenationally, ranks marijuana second,behind corn,whichis stillnumber butahead soybeans of one, andwheat.And, we aretold, theodorof marijuana smokeis now as as at pervasivein WallStreetlunchrooms in the audience rockand roll concerts.Yet, the widespread social dissemination marijuana of hasprovoked littlepublicdiscussion, even less critical and relatively studiesof American thought. Major recentcritical culture eitheromit to any reference drugs(Christopher Lasch'sCulture of Narcissism, forexample) interpret in thecontextof somegeneral or it polemicas a sign of decayor a sign of alienation. Empirical studies,withsome

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notable exceptions suchas WeilandZinberg's studyof theeffectsof marijuana speech,havebeenso purely on medical to missthemost as crucial questions, whicharenotmedical questions -whether it causes cancer,birth defects,psychosis,orthefamous diseaseof thehippies, "amotivationalsyndrome"- but are social and even religious questions. Eventhe medicaleffectsof a drugcan be largelydetermined by the social formof its use. Tobacco,for example,probably not did causecancerwhenit was usedby the PlainsIndians, the because use of the drugwas restricted ceremonial to functions therefore and did notbecomehabitual addictive. mosttellingsocialfactof maror The ijuanause is thatthereare no effective social forms, no generally understood to times,places,or reasons smokemarijuana would, that by giving definition meaning its use, restrain controlit. and to and Theofficialillegality marijuana, whereit is decriminalized of even to theextentthatyouget onlya citation, a parking like ticket,forgetting with widespread social acceptance the caughtwith it, combined of of the drug,mayactually prevent development socialconventions and restraints inhibiting by respectable of publicacknowledgment drug use. The socialconditions maximize and appetite minimize restraint no less withmarijuana withanyothercommodity a consumer in than culture. If we areto understand marijuana what does, we muststudyit in the particular socialcontextin whichit is used. It does littlegoodto knowwhatmarijuana in a laboratory we arenot also goingto if does ask whatit does in a marriage. mustunderstand the effect We both of the drugon ouractualsocialexistence,andtheeffectof the social realityin whichwe live andconsider howthedrugis understood and used. Betweenme and the storeclerk, and our irritation with one and another, betweenourlegislators' wish to appear bothanti-marijuanaandat thesametime"hip"enough wantto see if potof good to had in had quality arrived themail(theinitialpolicereport concluded thatit was "vegetable matter," one of thelegislators but claimed that his "independent that testingsources"had confirmed his cigarette contained real stuff), the social contradictions marijuana of the use areapparent. in Thesecontradictions notinherent thepharmacolare ogy of the drug,but in the social realitythatdefinesthe nature and use of the drug,andthatis in turnbeingshaped thatuse. by of whatmay Marijuana producean intensification perception, may seemto be anillumination perception, if one werereallyseeing, of as

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smelling,or tastingfor thefirsttime. If thispsychedelic effectis less profound thana peyotevisionor an LSD trip, it is also usuallyless or For terrifying psychologicallydisorganizing. this reason,marihas juana,rather thana morepotentpsychedelic, becomethe staple of the American does drugdiet. Marijuana not dissolvethe conventionalworld; justmakesthatworld it gentlydifferent- slightly buoyant, butstill recognizable. in Music,forexample, maybeheard a newway,withanincreased as intensityof absorption immersion, thoughfrom withinthe and interstices a Bachcello suiteor as though listener of the wereresonin hands.Thereis a kindof atingwiththeinstrument RaviShankar's fromthe experience. to ecstasyin this, andsomething be learned the It was there- the mindaccompanied long, drawn-out high note of the phraseas it cameout the bell of Miles Davis'strumpet; the notethencascaded and downward outward, spread,accelerated, andbrokeinto a showerof brightsparkles the moment saxoat the to off phonecamein. Foran interval musiccontinued spark tranthe sitionsin visualimagery; became it thenonlythedriving background to an internal cascadeof associations, eachflyingoff tangentially to the one before, each as absorbing as apparently Miles Davis, but of increasingly independent the music, untilit was evidentthatfor sometimeone hadnot beenlistening. This latterexperience not ecstasy;it is an ordinary is euphoric pothead reverie,andthereis something be learned to fromit as well - a harder lesson. Gettinghigh can makeone acutelyawareof the gap betweenourtruecapacity attention the withdrawn, for and distracted,andlazy condition the ordinary mind.We recognize of that of attention be possiblewithouta drug.Ravi Shankar to degree is obviouslycapableof it. Andyet, we knowthatit is not available to us, at leastnot now, as we are. It is not available a harassed to high school mathematics teacher,or an anxiousand frazzledbureaucrat, or anembittered worker factory comingoff a twelve-hour shift.What is available all these,andwhattheyincreasingly to, is a joint, to turn or a beeranda joint. We couldsimplysay thesepeoplearelooking for an escape,butwhatwouldthatmean?Escapefromwhat,andto what?For these people, no different theirfundamental in religious needs fromany otherpeoplein any othertime, a joint is a means, howeverdistorted ill-conceived,to seek concentration, and vision, of andtranscendence the ordinary. Whatappears marijuana in to intoxication be anincreased energy

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for attention partly increased is an or receptivity sensitivity may that haphazardly allowa heightened awareness reality.But it is just as of to likely, haphazardly, heightensome specificneurotic distortion of realitythatis thenexperienced with the same increased sensitivity. The drugcannotdistinguish betweenfactandfantasy, betweenvalid and Like turning the volumeon perception paranoid projection. up theradio,thedrugincreases intensity thesignal,thenoise,and of the the distortion This indiscriminately. is, in part,whatproduces the characteristic irritability overwrought and of hypersensitivity habitual users. marijuana But, in addition increased to sensitivity, marijuana induces mild a andmostlybenigndissociation thought. of This is experienced subjectively as an openingup of space betweenevents. Eachnew experiencestandsout distinctlyand vividly because it has become uncoupled fromwhatever camebefore.Eachnewdistraction, whether fromoutsideor inside, wipes the slate clean. Suddenly, am only I listeningto Miles Davis;the musicoccupiesthe entireuniverseof I worried about whether dateis impressed perception.amno longer my withme, or thatI shouldbe homestudying a calculus for exam.I am I to only listening MilesDavis;or whenthatis interrupted,am only visualimagery, only eatinga peanut or butter sandwich. fantasizing Thedissociation thought of induced thedruginterrupts jumble the by of anxieties preoccupations normally and that occupythebackground of awareness compromise capacity freeattention. may our for and We thenbecome,however in immersed the instantaneous briefly,totally present. The increased is capacityfor attention produced marijuana by fromthatwhichhasbeendeveloped themusician clearlydifferent by the of mustbe sustained whoseattention throughout duration his perIt for formance not subjectto distractions. is nevertheless, the and The moment it survives,of the samequality. experienced that mariis nature his of juanasmoker acutelyawareof boththeextraordinary of and to experience totalimmersion of its vulnerability destruction or of dissociated by someintrusion recollection his temporarily preocmusicthatis now beingdirected The to cupations. popular primarily to a market stonedadolescents of attempts use overwhelming sensory the this Whereas musicof Bachand inputto overcome distractability. the of who already Vivaldiwas designed sustain interest a listener to hadthecapacity sustained current rockis designed hard for attention, in to sustain attention a listener of who hasinduced himselfpharthe

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interest anything in that macologically indiscriminate, an free-floating maycome along. of The musician learned,at leastfor the duration the perforhas that mance,to somedegreeto let go of preoccupations wouldotherwise compromise attention. followsin thisthe ancient his He pathof and all all spiritual, psychological, intellectual, aesthetic disciplines, whicharecharacterfor traditional modesof struggle consciousness, is ized by a protracted effortto let go of whatever preoccupying, whatwasteful,illusory, in thebroadest or senseof thewordneurotic, ever interferes with being presentto immediate reality.Marijuana effort. By intoxication to appears sidestepthis need for protracted circuitof worryandpreoccupation gettingstoned,the littleneurotic is interrupted. is suddenly of it, andthatfreedom expeOne free is in rienced energy.But if we havemadesomeadvance meditation, as or in psychoanalysis, in growingup, it is not becausewe have or interrupted holdof neurosis us, butbecausewe havelet go our the on holdon neurosis.Withthe drugit is the reverse. Letus takethecaseof Arnold The Stonedmind. holdthatArnold's neurosishas on him is the anxiety,worry,and insecurity must he experiencewhen he is made awarethathe mightbe to blamefor has something. Thathe wouldlike to get ridof. TheholdthatArnold on his neurosis the illusionthathe canbe aboveblame,theperfect is Thatillusionhe wouldlike boy, andthusinvulnerable accusation. to to keep.WhenArnold stoned,he decreases holdhis neurosis the gets has over him. He becomesless anxious,worried,andpreoccupied. at Transiently, least,he is moreableto listento MilesDavis.But, he has not relinquished holdon neurosis. his Whenhis roommate comeshometo discoverthatArnoldforgot to put the roastinto the oven, andgets angrybecausehe will now is haveto eatcanned the that soupforsupper, reality Arnold to blame comes into conflictwith his image of himselfas a blamelessboy. While in realityhis roommate angryonly aboutnot havinghis is wantsto supper,Arnoldfeels, or wantsto feel, thathis roommate makehimfeel guiltyandinadequate. thesemotivesto his Attributing roommate allowsArnoldto ignorehis own actualguiltandjustifies he his self-righteous defenseof the imageof perfection seeksto protect. If he can maintain to empathic contact,if he can pay attention theotherperson,he will continue see thathis roommate wants to only supper.He will have to experiencereal guilt over whathe has neglectedto do. He maythen, in time andwitheffort,let go his wish

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to be blameless, thatit is onlyanevasionof his morehumble, see but real, responsibility not be negligent.He will haveprogressed to out of a neuroticand into a real involvement the situation, will in and havepreserved experience the reality the otherperson. of his of But the increased sensitivity produced the drug- which,as by long as everythingwas "cool" and "mellow," allowedfor an increased for capacity attention hastheopposite effectnowthatthere is sometrouble,a "hassle."Arnold's increased sensitivity theexto perienceof blame, his increased rage at havingto feel it, and the suddeninterruption his euphoric of state, all makehim less able to payattention therealneedsandfeelingsof his roommate more to and disposed see him as his persecutor. to At this pointthe effect of marijuana opposingthe effects of is traditional and that formsof training discipline strengthen, rather than contactwith what is outside debilitate,one's capacityto maintain oneself. Culture all formsstrengthens capacityby providing in that themeansto findmeaning experience in outside narcissistic the mainof function culture been of tenance the self. Here,the mediating has effect of the drug, whichhas increased replacedby the mediating He Arnold's but moreinsensitivity, not his mentality. experiences to a the of tenselybutwithout greater capacity comprehend meaning theexperience. thoughtful, of The reflective mind,in search compreand hension,understanding, meaning,whichis servedby the institutions culture thateffort,is weakened thepharmacologically of in by fromoutside, with and heightened of intensity bombardment sensation withneurosis frominside. Thestimulating, effectof the drugcompromises efthe euphoric fortof thereflecting of mindto takeinthecomplexities external events and internal feelings, and to findmeaningin them.The druggives Arnold timefor reflection. no However,withthedrug,in addition to in beingcompromised his abilityto reflect,he no longerneedsto do so. He no longerneedsrealcontact withtheotherperson,because he no longerreallydepends him. He depends on on instead getting high. Arnold ignorethe realpersonandreplace withhis paranoid him can fantasy imageof a persecutor wantsto makehimfeel guiltyand who He he inadequate. canthenfeel guiltless; is thentheenraged, righteous The effectof thehighreplaces boywhois beingpersecuted. mediating of the mediating function the truth. Itis marijuana turns that Arnold thenhe listensto MilesDavis. on; Itis MilesDavisthatwilleventually the present difficulty, demand and

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will to no the workof attention. Marijuana continue present difficulty anddemand throws MilesDavis out nothing.Sooneror laterArnold andjust gets high. In thebeginning gettinghighmadeit possible,for a moment,reallyto hearMiles Davis. In the end, it will not matter whether MilesDavisor AC/DCis on the stereo. No one woulddeny thatgettingstonedis a moreradicaldeparture froman ordinary stateof mindthangettingdrunk.But even though thanthe effectsof alcohol, the effectsof marijuana moreradical are and theyarealso moresubtle.Theobviousgiddyeuphoria the rapid of flowof ideasandassociations characteristic marijuana intoxication areapparent only in the beginner. Experience developsa familiarity with the new stateof mind.It is no longerso dazzlingor so out of control.It becomespossibleto "playstraight," behaveapparently to whileintoxicated. normally Later,even the awareness play-acting of diminishes. Thisis notbecause drughasless effectwithlonger the use. There is no evidencethatpharmacologic tolerance developsto marijuana. In thisrespect is unlikealcoholandnarcotics, whichovertimehave it to be takenin larger dosesto produce sameresult.Onthecontrary, the a it often appears thatmarijuana to produces sensitization itself, a will an less reversetolerance; experienced smoker require of the pot to drugto get highthana novice.So thedrugcontinues haveaneffect thatis as profound, withtimemayeven becomemoreprofound, and butbecomesat the sametimesless noticeable. It has been suggested becauseresidual that amounts pharmaof in are activecompounds stillpresent thebodyevenseveral cologically habitual smokers remain daysafter smoking marijuana, slightly stoned all thetime;theytherefore notnoticea big change eachtimethey may for of smoke,andthiswouldaccount theapparent lessening thedrug's knowwhentheywantanother effects.Buthabitual smokers certainly joint;theyknowwhentheyarecomingdown, so theymuststill exthe perience effectsof beinghigh.Rather, theyhavebecomeadapted to thoseeffects. Gettingstonedhas becomenormalized; ceasesto it life of with an produce apparent disruption ordinary or to interfere the of performance dailytasks. The young clerk who waitedon me was in this respectstill a In beginner. a yearhe will be ableto get stonedat workwithout being himself.Thelongeralcoholism continnoticed,andwithout noticing use it ues, theharder is to hide.Withhabitual marijuana (andwe have no corresponding namefor that)it may be just the reverse.Being

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into stonedcan be invisiblyintegrated dailylife in a way thatbeing drunk,aftera point,cannot. ceaseto seemlike Inthiscircumstance, beinghighmaygradually state an unusualor extraordinary of mind. On the contrary, being a straight beginto seemliketheabnormal, stateof dis-ease,being may out."Ordinary "bummed experience thenseemlifelessandempty, may to be reinvigorated by gettingstonedagain.Thisis certainly only the caseforpeoplewhostaystoned thetime.Butit is alsotrueto some all who degreefor manypeoplewho arestill morediscriminating, wait untiltheyget off work,or for the weekend,or for whentheygo out, to smokemarijuana. Theyalso feel thattheyarein somesensereally alive only whenthey arestoned.Beinghighat somepointceasesto and be a meansto go beyondthe ordinary, becomesthe meansby whichordinary is mediated; becomesthe ordinary. life it to of According the rhetoric whatcame to be calledthe "drug culture,"the effectsof the so-calledconsciousness-expanding drugs wereoppositeto alcoholandnarcotics which,it was claimed,dulled Becausetheyexpanded rather thanexpanded consciousness. awareto the inness, becausethey allowedawareness transcend ordinary, to withthe new drugscouldbe compared religious vision. toxication for whereastaking Takingthese drugswas searching illumination, was alcoholor narcotics only an escape. or Thereis a difference, however,betweenreligiousexperience of religiousinsightthatrevealsthe realitybehindthe appearance orand dinarylife, its mysticalessence, or its redeeming meaning purpose, and a psychedelic drug experience that simply shifts of consciousness another into of gear,independent the meaning what of is experienced. the firstcase, an experience the nonordinary In in transforms ordinary; thesecond,thenonordinary contrasts the only to the ordinary. Someonehighon LSD maytakea bite out of a ripe sensation taste. of with be peachandsuddenly enraptured anexquisite the a He may experience peachas he has neverexperienced peach before. But when the drugeffect is over, a peachwill go backto that tastingas a peachalwaysdid, anddespitehis intuition the drug or was more "real," the druguser does not understand experience in life experience ordinary differently the lightof thatreality, except and to feel its difference, he hasno waybackto thatreality otherthan to takethe drugagain. Tothinkof consciousness "expandable" drugsis to underas by standconsciousness,not as a synthesisof sensoryperception and sociallycreatedandtransmitted meaning,but as a kindof inherent

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physiological or that potentiality canbe augmented, heightened, a by chemicalcranking of the mind/brain machine.Operating its in up of the augmented ontherawmaterial reality, mind/brain state produces or of meaningas a product output.Meaningis thus thought as the of thanas a constitutive product consciousness rather elementof it. The dependence the mindon culture denied. of is do a Intense drugexperiences stimulate searchfor meaning. The a of LSD crazeproduced veritable pandemonium mystical/religious shopping on around. However,"religious experiences" drugsseem to an to devotion. paradoxically produce invulnerability realreligious to Instead, becometheeasy, if fickle,converts a whole druginitiates of and hodge-podge pseudo-therapy pseudo-religious systems,none of whichis ableto takeholdforlong.Theymaytumin reaction antito intellectual irreligious and cults authoritarian thattakeholdtoo much. Nevertheless, impetuous self-righteous the and religious rhetoric of thedrug culture and to survives, continues rationalize glamorize and druguse. The corresponding rationale puritanically that condemns druguse is equallyself-righteous.A housewifewas bitterlyreprifor mandingher husband gettingdrunkand stonedon a Saturday afternoon. Aftermuchbadgering rosefromhis stuporous he indifference to herfor a counter-attack. "Don'tyou everget sickof your.own mindandyourown life?" he asked.He was outof work.Theylivedin a dreadful, dingyapartmentwiththreesmallchildren alwaysunderfoot. conTheybickered stantlybecausetheywerehavingto live too close together."What I can'tunderstand whyyou don'twantto get high." is "I get highon life," she asserted withsomearrogance. Helookedatherfora long,futilemoment before finally he replied laconically, "Well,I get highon whatever takes." it The druguser and the drugabstainer each has his own line of cant. The abstainer lives in realitybecausehe does not escapewith drugs.The userlives in Realitybecausehe does escapewithdrugs. Howwouldthewife be ableto assert shegetshighon life if there that werenot thoselike herhusband get highon drugs? who Andwithout her little hypocrisy, whatwouldassurethe husband his high is that less a self-deception hers? than Eachprotects other's the illusion.Each is argument a polemic,directed toward not the understanding drug, buttoward opposingargument. the sinksbackinto invisMarijuana ibility untilthe next time it is neededto serve as a banner as a or scapegoat.

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IFIF, Learyorganized AlpertandTimothy In 1961, the yearRichard the Freedom, yeartheywere for Foundation Internal the International and also kickedout of Harvard moved into an upstateNew York to by that mansion hadbeenmadeavailable somebenefactor continue beforetheymoved,or weremoved and theirresearch theirtripping, a was dormat Harvard already cafagain,to Mexico,the freshman IFIF recruiting Alongwithbrochures eteriaof drugexperimentation. cryptic weresending at students Harvard and members contributors, on to directives theirfriends whattheyoughtto trynext. "Grindup a whole nutmegand take it in a frappe.Don't be Or: by frightened hallucinations acceptthemwithequanimity." substances. cough syruphas tracesof hallucinogenic "Romilar to Drinkone whole 16 oz. bottleandbe prepared be highfor six to eighthours." mail in couldbe purchased cartons, In thosedayspeyotebuttons in order,fromsomeplace Texas,andseveralrecipesfor theirprepawereon and Mescaline psilocybin ration werebeinghotlycontested. takingone of thesein andof itselfconthe list of sacredsubstances; of ferredthe statusof shaman.LSD, the epitomeandprototype all but was expanders, notFDA-approved, it was alsonot consciousness seeds drugs.Morning-glory yet illegaloron officiallistsof dangerous were said to containalkaloidsrelatedto LSD with similarpharmathat but cologic properties, also tracesof strychnine sent gangsof for description schoollibrary thetextbook off students to themedical with poisoning.Therewas experimentation amphetaof strychnine finals, way the mines,whichwerealready traditional to get through which of NoDoz (caffeine),and Sominex(scopolamine), overdoses and,of course,marijuana. in a produces hallucinosis largeamounts, dorm from down"of marijuana thefreshman the During "trickle and at Harvard the clerkin our cornerstore, a social adaptation to the of accommodation thedrughastakenplaceparalleling adaptation user. Timothy that and normalization takesplace in the individual on dreamof turning every kid in Americahas Leary'sapocalyptic never kid Butthe turned-on hasprobably realized. beensubstantially turn he heard Leary, though will certainly on, andmayto some of and degreetunein, if he dropsout it is no longerwiththe illusionthathe beliefthat He is off to join a counter-culture. just dropsout. Leary's to the masses idea the drugwouldcarrythe apocalyptic withinitself anti-intellectualboth American in its romantic wascharacteristically of ism andin its underestimation the extantmeansof socialcontrol.

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Drugtaking visibleso longas it wasanactof socialrebellion. was it at Becauseit was not respectable, carried leastthe appearance of social toleranceof marijuana political meaning.Once widespread smokingdeveloped,whichit so quicklydid, it was no longeran act of rebellion,even if it was still a crime.It is no longera statement, is it andtherefore is becominginvisible.The moremarijuana used, the less it is discussed thought or about.Themorea partof life it is, the less we question whatpartit plays. Its effect is like the effectof language; is pervasive therefore it unnoticed. and Peoplewhosmoke, like peoplewho drink,hardlymention just as peoplewho watch it, televisiontalkaboutwhatis on television,butnot abouttelevision. Duringthe sixties, for the firsttime in our history,the segment of societywiththe highest,rather thanthe lowest,aspirations began usingdrugs.The old rationale drugswerean escapefroma life that of hopelessness despair and could hardlybe appliedto the nation's mostpromising undergraduates,leastnotwithout at somefurther explanation. contrast the beerdrinking pantyraidsof thepreIn to and of an cedinggeneration collegeundergraduates, seemed assertion which of theright befrivolous, newdrug to the taking, thequasi-religious and for language appropriated it, seemedmoreanassertion therightto of be serious.If therewas hopelessness, was not the economicand it socialhopelessness the underprivileged, the metaphysical of but and religioushopelessness the overprivileged. of Drugs became means accommodate contradiction a to the between theabundance whichlife wasprovided with externally thedreadand ful emptiness life felt inwardly. of Students lookingfor religious exin LSD tripsweremorecontrolled a consumer perience by mentality than they knew. If cars and ranchhouses were meaninglessconsumption, wouldconsume they visionary substances. question of The therealdifferences between religious a culture a consumer and culture, and between a religious mind and a consumermind, were left unexamined. Thedrugculture of rhetoric consciousness expansion impliesthatthe moreavailable music,to his friends,to to drugmakesthe individual hisjob, or to his life generally. factof druguse overthelongrun The is thatthe music,the friends,the life, becomemerelythe meansfor the individual enjoyhis high, or conversely, to that impediments interferewith the enjoyment. into Drugstendto makeall experience of and merelythe furnishings ornamentation the intoxication.

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could "relate"to We mighthave believedthatthe youngfather whenhe was stoned,becausehe couldreally"get better his children he into"playingwiththem,untilwe also saw how irritated becomes for demand his atmakessomedistracting whenone of the children tention.Thenwe areforcedto admitthatwhathe hasbeen "relating to are to" reallyis beingstonedandthatthe children only incidental to to thataction.Whenthey presume that. They are the backdrop existence,theybecomea "hassle." demand theirseparate becausehe has is The musician able to play free of distraction to learned love the music;so it is the musicthatnow holdshim. For to the smoker musicis only incidental a stateof mind the marijuana thatdependsnot on the music, but on the drug. The lettinggo of is or neurosis,or self-absorption, preoccupation alwayscorrespondingly a takinghold of whatis outsideandreal, an act of love. Art, culture, of study,all institutions traditional religion,psychoanalysis, the workto assist in thatact of takinghold through discoveryand in and of preservation meaning validity whatis outsidetheself. Marijuana,as it is now used, makesit thatmucheasierforthe individual to and in his perennial laziness negligence letlife slipoutof hishands. tendsto leavelittletime intoxication of marijuana Theexcitement and difficulty conflictto to necessary workthrough for the reflection obsoletebecause reflection a discovery meaning.Butdrugsmake, of beand that it is no longermeaning is needed.Conflicts difficulties rid to comeimpediments be gotten of beforetheyruinthehigh,before only to keep things they bringyou down. The need is increasingly "cool" or "mellow,"only to avoid"hassle."Thereceaseto be any that Everything tiesoneperson formsof socialinvolvement. tolerable to another -responsibility, duty,love, dependency will eventually or as come underattack a "hassle,"a "guilttrip,"a "bummer," a " Theindividual from uncoupled becomes atomic, increasingly "drag. of sense, deprived exceptin a formal,mechanistic socialconnection and on on whichdepends trustandtherefore responsibility, intimacy, into as unaware evenof theneedforintimacy, all needsaretranslated termsof stimulation. to feels thathe is gettingstonedin order put Whilethe individual more himselfintoa goodframeof mind,his actualstateis becoming His roommate "Arnold, didn'tput you irritable intolerant. and says, to threatens fly intoa rage.He will theroastin theoven," andArnold to out" being"bummed by "guilttrips."Inorder contain nottolerate the and and to justifythis stateof irritability intolerance, everyday

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language interpersonal of responsibility replaced a language is by of of autistically detached mental states.Instead saying"I forgot," which wouldimplysome acknowledgment a failedresponsibility of of and the self as a moralsubject,ArnoldStonedmind replies,"Oh, I must a have spacedit," whichsubstitutes languagein whichthereis no moralactingsubject,butonly the mind/brain machine subject meto chanical failures. Thatthe so-called consciousness-expanding haveproduced drugs can this consciousness-destroying language be explained only if we of firstacceptthatthe drugreplaces culture.The invulnerability the acid freaksof the sixtiesto religiousdevotionis a resultof the fact in that, thoughthey were lookingfor meaning the variousreligious as traditions, old functionof meaning thatwhichmakesoutside the realityavailable,as thatwhichbringsthe worldto you, is now the is function the drug.The new function meaning entertainment. of of bound get is to Anyparticular tradition, however elaborate, therefore
boring prettyquickly. After all, how many times can the prajnaparamita sutra be fun, or the Lord'sPrayer?So a steady supply of new

than rather reality,is what But inputis required. once entertainment, on is sought,anycrackpot will serve.Oneis equallywell turned idea by ghoststories,astrological forecasts,or a new theorythatBigfoot is in realitya visitorfromouterspace, as by the Hindupantheon or speakingin tongues.Whenyou get bored,you simplyswitch the channel. Whatever powerthesestrange drugsmighthaveto enhance,enin liven, or enrichexperience a religiousculture,one in whichthe on sacred still a socialpossibility, is definitions depends thereligious in anddescriptions the worldcarried thatculture ritual,myth, of by and ceremony, given to the userwith the drug.In our society, and and whererealityis definedby consumer markets described adby will vertising, thoseadvertising descriptions consumer and definitions control as culture" drugconsciousness well. Thehopethatthe "drug couldbe a "counter-culture" counter, is, to consumer that culture - was bothpolitically naive.It is nowpossibleto see andreligiously that the "drugculture,"which was bornof the wish to revive an of a experience the sacredby employing pharmacologic sacrament, hasbecomeat bestonlya subculture consumer of oratworst, culture, its nihilisticmind,language, culture-destroying and avant-garde.

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