Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Disturbing YouTube Trend

Frankly, there are a lot of stupid people. And very few of them are inherently stupid-- most people just don't think before they act, and they don't realize how far-reaching the consequences of their actions can be.

Something that I've found extremely irritating recently is those particular idiots who video tape themselves acting like fools while on Salvia and post it on Youtube. Apparently it's quite a trend.

This is a horrible way to keep Salvia legal for everyone who would use it responsibly. The uninitiated would find it very tough to tell what is a side effect of the drug, and what is pre-existing stupidity. Many hysterical parents and sensationalist journalists have cited these videos as reasons that Salvia is the scourge of teenagers and should therefore be illegal.

Our culture does not know how to use psychedelics correctly. In societies where use is common, it has become ritualized, and there are methods of dealing with the experiences. I'm not saying that anyone who wants to trip should find a guide or join the League for Spiritual Discovery. But I am saying that when people trip for "kicks," they will get more than they bargained for.

Politically, I consider myself pretty far to the left. I was raised by a devout union man and self-described commie (although that tag isn't quite accurate), and I can't help but love when the government helps people and makes sure that greedy corporations don't exploit us humans. Taxes are cool with me. But what I hate is when the government gets into peoples' personal lives to supposedly protect them. Some forms of protection are not actually protecting anybody-- like the campaign against marijuana. And other things, like helmet laws and heroin use, should be common sense. If somebody wants to risk splitting their head like a melon in a motorcycle accident, or facing a lifetime of addiction, it's their own problem. So is eating too much junk food. Well-meaning sensationalists and their quest to protect everyone from everything is completely inappropriate and steps on the rights of every single citizen. I'd rather we just be treated like adults.

If you are inebriated (on any substance) and happen to think it would be a really great idea to tape yourself and post it to Youtube, think again. There are so many videos of people freaking out or acting like idiots, and none of people laying peacefully in the grass or calmly explaining their new revelations to their friends. Don't be part of this problem please.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Psychedelic Artist Alex Grey

You don't need to be tripping to appreciate Alex Grey's intricate artwork, because he will take you there himself. He combines his passion for artwork with his medical knowledge of anatomy and with the insights from his drug experiences.

His most acclaimed series, Sacred Mirrors, invites introspection through depictions of various ways of looking at the self. It took him ten years to complete. Much of his artwork continues in the same style.

I love the way that he states complex concepts in a manner that is both beautiful and non-lecturing. His paintings go past the literal, and they say to me a lot about the miracle of life and the beauty of science. The fact that we understand the tiny tickings of our bodies doesn't diminish how transcendent our bodily experiences can be.

To hear about his life, artwork, and philosophy from the man himself, here's an interview that will also show you a lot of his best works. Listening to him speak is great, because even though his artwork is pretty far-out, he doesn't conform to the stereotype of a spacey, strung-out artist. He is eloquent and cohesive, and a pleasure to listen to.

Here's another one about his Ayahuasca experience:

Alex Grey makes me wish I was an artist, because words can't describe the things that he shows so eloquently. All I can hope for is to someday be as intelligent and thoughtful as he is. Wish me luck, I'll need it!
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Monday, July 18, 2011

I have done a good deed.

This weekend the Boyfriend and I each shared with the other person something we both love: he showed me the joys of kissing girls, and I showed him how great LSD can be.

Boyfriend is someone who all parents would delight in seeing their daughter with. He's studying a medical profession (but not to be an MD) and his hero is his grandmother. He's also a pothead and has some wildly unconventional religious beliefs. And he reminds everyone who meets him of Jack Black. :) He told me before the trip that he's not in it for any crazy "revelations" or soul-searching, because he's creative enough to do it on his own. He came away very satisfied with the new sensations that he experienced, and the lovely body high he felt. I maintain that only the most uncreative would "need" acid to think outside the box, but that it will catapult you in some directions you never saw coming. But I'm really glad that he tried something so important to me, despite initial trepidations. After the trip, he said he could see himself doing it "every other week." I'm so proud!

We spent the day with four of his good friends, who had all done acid in some form. We did low doses and spent the day relaxing in the air conditioning and playing Super Smash Bros. Interestingly, though it was the same batch that resulted in our crazy experience the other day, and similar doses, the experience was not nearly as intense. This provides some evidence for the mango theory, even though I'm lacking corroboration.

The high point of the trip was laying with him on the couch feeling like melted butter, while our friend experimented on the piano. He is apparently extremely talented, and was seamlessly stringing together the riffs of popular songs while we listened in amazement. I witnessed the grin on Boyfriend's face at the moment when he realized how tangible music could be. Our friend eventually got up and left nonchalantly, and when we applauded he acted surprised. :)

On the comedown, we bought pizza and walked to the nearby lake to eat it. In the bay, there were two pirate ships. I swear. I have no idea why they were there, but someone was sailing full-size replica pirate ships. I thought my friend was kidding when he pointed them out. Some serious sanity questioning occurred, let me tell you. Actually...

Whenever I trip, I count on some sort of revelation. Seldom am I in an environment that fosters it, but this time I think I had one that definitely counts, even though I was almost sober at the time. After I got home and sat around alone for a while, I got to thinking and I realized something pretty life-changing. I don't have a label for it quite yet, but I am definitely transgender in some way. Meaning, I am profoundly uncomfortable with being treated as a woman despite my female body. I've been thinking this for a while, but I hadn't realized the magnitude. This weekend was my first real sexual experience with a female, which also helped solidify some of this for me.

I'm a freak. Between being a drug enthusiast and queer in so many ways, it's easy to find people who share some of my interests but very few that support and understand all my endeavors. I am so glad to have found someone who helps me be myself as completely as Boyfriend does, whether he's accompanying me on a drug deal or kissing girls that are straddling me or letting me wear his boxers. I'm glad that we can grow together like this, in directions that most people never even look into. Sharing LSD experiences with lovers is always special. Besides the obvious upside of body exploration and potential sex, you have someone with you who you can be completely yourself around. In that respect, I'm really blessed.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Responsible Drug User's Oath

This has apparently been floating around the internet for a while, but I didn't encounter it until recently. I think it's a pretty good system for maintaining responsible drug use, although you might want to edit it for your needs, or add some rules of your own.

I don't know who originally wrote it, so instead of making a link, I'll just reproduce the text here. If you happen to know, tell me so I can give proper credit.

I swear or affirm that:

1. I will understand the effects of all recreational drugs I take prior to ingestion, to the best of my ability. I shall research all relevant neurochemical, psychological, physiological, and spiritual effects, the legal issues surrounding the drug and its use, along with other relevant information.

2. When taking a drug I am inexperienced with, I shall begin with a reasonably low dose suggested to be psychoactive by the aforementioned research before progressing to higher dosages. I will measure the drug carefully, with an accurate scale, when possible and applicable.

3. If it is possible that the drug may contain harmful adulterants or in fact be a different drug altogether, I shall have the drug chemically analyzed for purity and content. If this is not possible, I will use caution and/or follow the appropriate course of action.

4. I will learn the overdose limits for my own body weight and adjust them for any possible synergistic effects due to diet, prescription or other drugs. I will also adjust for dangerous side effects and my own health condition. I will also learn of any possible drug interactions and make sure I am not at risk.

5. While under the effects of a drug, I shall not take physical risks such as driving, climbing, swimming, or any other physical activity in which my actions may cause harm to myself or others.

6. When first using a drug I am inexperienced with, I shall take it in the company of an experienced user, also known as a sitter. The sitter will remain sober during this experience, and will also have fully researched the drug. If this is not possible I will make sure there is a responsible way/backup plan to deal with any haphazards which may occur during my experience.

7. I shall not attempt to sway, force, trick, or otherwise coerce another person or animal to take any drug; rather, I shall discuss previous drug experiences and research frankly and honestly, allowing all people to make their own personal decisions about drug use.

8. I shall defend the rights of others to make educated, responsible decisions about drug use. I shall not support any person or movement that attempts to remove or abridge said rights.

9. I shall not allow my drug use to overshadow or disrupt the other important aspects of my life, including social interaction, employment or even other personal pursuits.

10. I will also take responsibility for the drug use of friends and relatives, if their drug use becomes dangerous to their health or personal relationships.

11. I will take drugs only in my free time, when I am not answerable to an employer or responsible for another person's health and well-being.

12. As a drug consumer, I will embrace responsible drug production and distribution methods, such as growing or pharming your own, and shun suppliers who use violence when not necessary for their self-defense.

I swear this with the hope of creating a society in which safe, responsible drug use is a personal decision, not a criminal offense.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hunter S. Thompson Quotes

Part of my continuing series about my hero, Hunter S. Thompson. By the way, have you seen Rango yet?

Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me. 

If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up. 

The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. 

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. 

No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride...and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well...maybe chalk it off to forced consciousness expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"

We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and -- in spite of True Romance magazines -- we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely -- at least, not all the time -- but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.

Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives... and to the "good life", whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.

Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.

Some may never live, but the crazy never die.

We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

Hallucinations are bad enough. But after awhile you learn to cope with things like seeing your dead grandmother crawling up your leg with a knife in her teeth. Most acid fanciers can handle this sort of thing. But nobody can handle that other trip-the possibility that any freak with $1.98 can walk into the Circus-Circus and suddenly appear in the sky over downtown Las Vegas twelve times the size of God, howling anything that comes into his head. No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs.

I haven't found a drug yet that can get you anywhere near as high as a sitting at a desk writing, trying to imagine a story no matter how bizarre it is, or going out and getting into the weirdness of reality and doing a little time on the Proud Highway.

A cap of good acid costs five dollars and for that you can hear the Universal Symphony with God singing solo and Holy Ghost on drums.

Too strange to live, too rare to die!

We have bigger things to brood on and enormous reasons for wallowing in terminal craziness until we finally hit bottom.

The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge. And I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon. Probably at the next gas station.

Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run...but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever that meant...
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Bathroom Theory

I have a theory that going to the bathroom is a pivotal point in any drug experience. Besides being super daunting when you're high, bathrooms are the place where everybody freaks out. Suddenly, you're alone, in a place full of pure white and clinical surfaces. A familiar task, which you've probably done a million times over your lifetime, becomes infused with strangeness. It's not until you go to the bathroom that you realize how fucked up you really are.

This video is one man's story of his bad acid trip, which is pretty funny now but probably wasn't funny at all at the time. It corroborates my theory. :)

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Friday, July 1, 2011

An Issue of Liberty

This is a guest post by Eva from Into the Infinite. She's a wonderful writer-- check out her stuff!

There are many good reasons to legalize drugs. There is the fact that most hallucinogens are non-toxic and non-addictive, that drug addicts should be treated like patients and not like criminals (granted that they didn't commit any violent offenses), and that the "War on Drugs" puts billions of dollars directly into the pockets of organized crime. Each of these reasons on their own should be enough to make anyone change their mind about the legal status of drugs. In this post I want to talk about the issue of liberty and of freedom over your own consciousness. Taken with all the other points, it should leave no doubt in anyone's mind that there is something seriously wrong with drug prohibition.

You should have the right to decide if you want to change the state of your own consciousness. You should be allowed to explore your inner self and the amazing worlds and ideas that can be opened up through the use of hallucinogens. And even though I prefer to use such substances for more spiritually inclined purposes and have certain ideas about the best set and setting for their use, you should have the final choice in taking them how and where you want to take them, even if you just want to simply have fun.

Are people going to make mistakes? Are they going to use drugs and have bad experiences, or maybe take them when they are not in a proper mindset? Yes, the truth is that they will. But just because people make mistakes and don't always make the right choices, doesn't mean that those choices should be stripped from them and that the government should have the final say on what is and isn't right for you.

Are there going to be addicts and drug abusers? Yes, just like they exist, and are never going to go away in the current system. And the crazy thing is that while we treat alcoholics as patients and not like criminals, victimless drug addicts can expect to face the same, or worse punishments as convicted rapists. (And not only drug addicts, cannabis smokers and dealers can find themselves in the same boat).

Another thing to consider is that if the drug laws were to change, everyone won't suddenly run off to do heroin just because it is legal, as Ron Paul says here:

The idea that the government should get out of people's personal lives is one that I can not stress enough.

It needs to stay out of people's bedrooms, out of their personal choices, and out of their consciousness. You, as a smart, rational, thinking person are much more qualified to decide what sort of substances you are going to put in your body than some elected official who knows nothing about you and believes the propaganda of the War on Drugs.

Now, is everybody a smart, rational, thinking human being? No, of course not. It doesn't take much looking around to realize that. But do we take away people's freedoms and control their mind just because they aren't very intelligent? Do we take away the freedom of everyone else who happens to know how to use drugs responsibly?

People can also be stupid with alcohol, and with a whole host of everyday things from forks to baseball bats. I could smack someone over the head with my laptop. I probably fry my brain more staring at my laptop screen more than I ever do by using cannabis or taking LSD.

For people to have let their liberty and control over their own consciousness be taken away like this is astounding, and I am convinced that they would never have let it happen were it not for the propaganda surrounding drug prohibition. It is quite telling that the people who started the War on Drugs never actually told the truth, because if they did, they knew they wouldn't get away with it. They painted cannabis as this super dangerous drug that made you go insane. When the sad truth is that the history of cannabis criminalization is riddled with racism.

And while I do like to think that the war on drugs would have never started if people knew the truth, I get this sense when I look around now that the sheep-like people wouldn't care even if they did. They would just keep eating up new lies told to them by those in power, who would just scramble to find new reasons to continue the War on Drugs and keep big pharma happy. In this following video, while not completely about drugs, Ron Paul does a good job at outlining how complacent people are while they lose their liberty.

You don't have to agree with everything he says, but I think no one can argue that people nowadays seem too complacent and uncaring about what is done with their rights. The fact that there is not mass outrage over the War on Drugs illustrates this perfectly, and taking back the rights over our consciousness would be a great first step in affirming our rights and liberty.
"There can be no more intimate and elemental part of the individual than his or her own consciousness. At the deepest level, our consciousness is what we are - to the extent that if we are not sovereign over our own consciousness then we cannot in any meaningful sense be sovereign over anything else either. So it is highly significant that, far from encouraging freedom of consciousness, our societies in fact violently deny our right to sovereignty in this intensely personal area, and have effectively outlawed all states of consciousness other than those on a very narrowly defined and officially approved list. The "War on Drugs" has thus unexpectedly succeeded in engineering a stark reversal of the true direction of Western history by empowering faceless bureaucratic authorities to send armed agents to break into our homes, arrest us, throw us into prison, and deprive us of our income and reputations simply because we with to explore the sometimes radical, though always temporary, alterations in our own consciousness that drugs facilitate."- Graham Hancock
You may not agree with the legalization of all drugs, and several nuances and arguments may surround the issue. I for one would have no qualms about taking certain deadly pharmaceuticals off the shelves. We can get into discussions about which drugs should be legalized verses which should just be decriminalized, but the bottom line should be one of liberty and the fact that you should have sovereignty over your own consciousness. If you are not hurting others, then you should not be treated as a criminal because of your personal choice to ingest a substance and change your state of consciousness.
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