Let’s get High

Posted: February 23, 2011 in Creative Inspiration, Philosophy
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Today, my cool creative cats,

I’d like to welcome you all into the back hatch of my Mystery Machine. Go ahead, try a brownie — they’re divine. Let’s all take a seat around the huka here and politick for a bit about something that’s been stuck on my mind for quite some time now. It’s just a simple question really, one that has far-reaching implications if the answer is yes.

What's a guy got to do to get a Scooby Snack?

Are psychoactive drugs important for society?

Now dude… I totally get it. Your not-so-groovy instinct is to say “NO”, and then go run and tell mom that I’m high on something funny. But I’m serious here, and I think that this question should be taken into honest consideration for a change.

The thought got lodged in my mind indefinitely at some point over the last two years when I was having (as per usual), far too deep a conversation with someone in a setting that was highly inappropriate for the idea itself to be expressed (probably a bar, or a nightclub) — Sometimes I have trouble turning my mind off. Anyway before I go on I would like to apologize to whoever it was (as I can’t remember — sorry on two counts), but also I would like to thank you, as things and thoughts like this truly make me feel alive. The topic of conversation which I had brought up at such an inopportune and inappropriate time, had to do with our cave-dwelling ancestors and, more specifically, their potential relationship with the good ole’ wacky-tobacky.

We started off, as I remember, speculating on the likelihood that ancient man/woman had burned some of the weed (as we would do well to remember that marijuana is a natural weed which grows with nearly no provocation whatsoever), in their nightly campfire to stay warm. Perhaps they had wandered into a new part of the woods, perhaps they had noticed other animals hanging around the stuff, but for whatever reason: they found it, they burned it, and they partied on it — inevitably creating what had always been destined to become the first Cypress Hill concert in history.

Being that at this point of the evening I had more than a few Johnnie Blacks doing the backstroke in my liver, I was more than happy to speculate VIA modern dance what these wondrous first nights must have looked like. I tend to draw a crowd. Then my unwilling hostage to this inappropriate conversation (who likely wanted to run from my caveman dance impression, which could only be described as “The Elaine Dance” from Seinfeld, only worse), posed an interesting question — that surely he instantly regretted asking as it dragged him deeper into the depths of intellectuality when surely he wanted to, as previously mentioned, run away from it with all haste — and it was this; “Do you think they would have done it again the next night?”

And that was it. The lovely Sarah Ann dragged me out to the dance floor (where she’d been dancing alone while I was pointlessly pontificating with an unwilling listener over the exceptionally loud music bar-side), and I mumbled something crude back over my shoulder as I went, like “No doubt”, or “You know it”, or, and far more likely, “Duh, I dunno…”. The conversation had died, and I promptly turned off all further thought so that I might go out to the dance-floor and live in my Medulla Oblongata for the remainder of the evening (the only portion of my brain that knows how to dance).

Now surely this makes me a nut (lol, like there was any doubt up until this point), but ever since that night the seed of a thought has been stuck in my brain, like that sesame seed that now lives between your molars because no amount of floss has ever been able to get it out. My detainee might not have realized it at the time, but the chain of thoughts that he’d activated with that simple innocuous question has kept me up many-a-night wondering about life, creativity, technology, and all of their true origins.

Consider this: Ideas cannot come out of thin air. Generally speaking a “new” idea will come when something that’s known, is added to something else that’s known, with potentially a slight perversion (the individuals creativity whose idea it is dyes the mixture), to create something “new”. But is it really “new”, or just a better way of looking at/thinking about two other things that already exist? I would suggest the latter. So if our world (or its “NEW” ideas), is indeed based entirely on “what is known”, than I believe that we can safely say that “what is known” can be defined as the input that we take from our five senses (as originally that is all we knew about the world, and especially so when we look back at the original example of the cavemen-us which is where all this started. Remember that? Way back up there? I do. Good times, good times…).

That's it, I'm going vegan!

I can tell that I’m falling deep into the topic here, but I encourage you to stick with the conversation as i would love to hear all your opinions on this 🙂

So anyway, if the input of our five senses is all we know about the world than one has to begin to wonder, where did creativity come from? Specifically the type of creativity that relates to abstract thoughts, such as art (cave paintings), symbols (ancient jewelery), and tools (Spears, No not Brittney, hammers, and thirty-piece socket sets). This all brings me back to the original question, that was posed to me at an inappropriate setting for the conversation I’d needlessly started, with an individual that I can’t remember the name of, face of, or gender of (sorry), and of which I never got to answer: “Would they have gone back to the Forrest, plucked the weed again, and dropped it once more into their camp-fire?”

YES!

Of course they would have. In a time without the modern predispositions and prejudices against or for drugs, why wouldn’t they?


Let’s face it, life in ancient times must have been staggeringly boring. Fulfilling — as to complete your job with full competency all you had to do was learn to hunt and gather (Sign me up for that job! Not to mention that it comes with a 501k that starts to pay out in the twilight years of your late teens) — but nonetheless relatively monotonous. Each task that they would undertake would surely have had an expressed purpose. Forget fun, fun wasn’t yet invented, all they knew was necessity. Learn to fish so we can eat. Learn to run so you can flee. Learn to identify non-poisonous leaves so that we can make a shelter without getting a nasty rash. Learn to spot differences in the scenery so that we can stay alive (Knowing the difference between a hiding tiger, and an odd colored patch of grass is not only life-saving, but also the speculative origin of racial profiling — more on that in another post as I’m getting off topic). But what could be the logical purpose for creating art be?

Some might speculate that sex would be a main motivational factor, as these days being unique might find you a date, but since when has being different rewarded an individual within a group of like-minded (and, dare I say, simple), people? Think back to high-school…Today is slightly different from what it must have been like for prehistoric man anyway. Today members of the opposite sex can see the benefits of being different — one only has to look at the Bill Gates’, the Steve Jobs’, and the Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world for evidence of why — but this surely was not the case back in those days, being that no track record to the advantages of being different had yet been established. In those times acting different than the pack hinted at the notion that you might not fulfill your duties within the group when the group needed you. This would have made you a severe liability — these were life or death times folks. These were a people who lived and behaved in such a way so that they might stay alive. That’s it. That was enough back then. Any preformed behavior that was outside of their societal norm would have not only been wasteful, pointless, and just plain odd, but it would have also likely been seen as a severe risk to the rest of the lives within the commune. And if that different person was you, it would have meant that your life would be at severe risk in turn. Preservation of the species and all. Sorry.

This all brings me back to that wonderful night around the campfire.

An actual recreation of the night in question

Up until this point, these people must have been living the life of a logistical analyst. Live by the numbers. Do what works. Stick to the plan. Find a routine. There’s safety in numbers. Stay alive at all costs. There was no language, there were no symbols, there was no music, just the steady beat that was the rhythm of their hearts.

They light the fire…

Now all of a sudden you’ve got Ug in the corner using sparrow blood to paint on a scallop shell, Ehh-gu dancing around like a maniac (in the background going crazy), and Mary (there’s always at least one Mary), singing out of key along with the rhythm of Ehh-gu’s feet. None of them knows why they want to do it, and it doesn’t even matter: they’re having pointless fun!

Soon: Ug (the budding artist), is painting warnings on caves that bears live therein — so stay out; Mary has realized that her tones effect people in particular ways, and she’s working on her technique (which will someday become language); and Ehh-gu has figured out that the ladies flock to the rhythm of his funky flow (also his footwork has improved for when he goes on the hunt). All this occurred because a psychoactive drug had taken a group of individuals out of their heads, out of the norm, out of what they did solely for logic, and brought them into a parallel state of being. A silly one mind you, one that does not always produce results (Notice I hadn’t mentioned Rarr who choose to repeatedly slam his head into a rock while under the drugs effect [However Bam-bu took note of this and made a hammer the following day, so really it all evened out in the end]) but a state of mind nonetheless that can shake things up and make something happen.

Obviously if the pack of Neanderthals had lived their lives in this state of stupor the planet might be run by hyper-intelligent dolphins, rather than us somewhat intelligent humans, but because it was all done in moderation (once a night, and a very little bit), we were allowed to survive, and form the basis of society as we know it.

Us! (In a nutshell)

Now, before anybody gets any ideas, I’d like to clear something up: I am not advocating the habitual use of psychoactive drugs — regardless of how much it may seem like I am. I do however wish to point out that there is a possibility that they might be able to help us as a species (on occasion), shake our thoughts free from the prison of “The Known”, where they simply can’t help to be born. The mind is one giant pharmacist to begin with, and a temporary imbalance might be just the thing to help those scientists with “Writers block”, that are working on a cure for cancer, or aids, or whatever, think a fair margin out of the box so that maybe, just maybe, they might stumble upon a cure. Who knows?

Anyway, like I said, all this is only a question. Yes; they might help society, No; there’s not a snow-balls chance in hell, and why. That is all I ask of you all 🙂

The purpose of this blog is mainly to spark creative inspiration in my readers, so if nothing else I hope that at least I achieved merely that. Whether or not you agree that drugs might be beneficial (again; on occasion) to the uprooting of fixed and narrow-sighted thought processes, hopefully you’ll formulate a fresh opinion on the matter, and if you have… well then at least I got you thinking.

~J

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Comments
  1. Peter Holden says:

    Love the Elaine Dance. This is well written, it brings me back to my younger days when herbs were on the menu and letting the thoughts just flow was so great.
    As for whether or not we need psycho-active drugs to unlock creativity, I’ve heard of theories about the “universal mind” and the “akashic records”, and the “astral plane” but have not (knowingly) experienced them. I have however, experienced (a couple of times) lucid dreaming and that is beyond anything synthetic.
    There’s a good chance that prehistoric man didn’t need any help exploring inner space because he was probably less susceptible to the neurotic behavior most if not all of us are up against. That said, they probably had no taboos against mushrooms and stuff (unless, in some tribal cultures the leader would hoard during times of lower yields).
    I, personally, feel more healthy when I’m clean and if the inner critic is more prevalent because of it I’ll live with, but I know that what works for me isn’t right for everybody.
    Keep writing awesome posts man!

    • Glad you liked the post Peter. Every time i picture ancient people dancing around a campfire now i just can’t help to wonder what if? What if that’s what really sparked creative thought? But who really knows? It’s that image, which always makes me slime, that I’d hoped to share. But, yea, I’m with you, I feel much better when I’m clean. Still though, some of my best ideas come to me when I’m a Lil tipsy. Makes me think about stigmas, and the slight (but hugely perceived), difference between alcohol/casual drugs…
      See this is why i cut this post short, i could have easily blabbed on for hours!
      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. I see no reason why Neo-Man didn’t use funny grass. He probably just threw it on the fire first and sat too close and then invented laughter. “Huh, what’s that funny sound? Where come from ? Huh, me ! ” I used to write in cafes and bars, sat quietly scribbling away and pinching ideas for poems from people watching, whilst sipping my way through a fine somwthing or other. I later learned that Roger McGough used to do the same and I’m pleased to say that we both came up with the same result – we got drunk and fell asleep. Nowadays, I might do the same thing but experience has taught me when to stop buferore hte blurr sets in. Smoking weed just always used to put me on my back – hence none for years. But the search for sparking the neurons goes on. I still do that kid things sometimes where I’ll sit on the floor in an unusual part of the house and just look, wait, think, scribble. I’ve not started rocking back and forth yet but it flips the routine nicely.

    • Hey Al, always nice to see you. I actually came up with this post while doing that very same “Kid thing” you mentioned, i.e. lying on my back day dreaming. I get a surprising amount of inspiration from that position 🙂 When i work, i limit myself to two, two fingered glasses (then i add the ice cube, you can’t mess with the volume!), and that’s it! I used to keep the bottle in the room, but i soon learned that this act was just plain indulgent, and useless to productivity. Weed never put me on my back, per-se, but i always found that deep thought — for a period usually equal to or more than, but never less, then 3 days after — was nary impossible. But while i was under the influence (way back when), the crazy ideas that i had would prove over time to be the inspiration for a lot of my work today. Really makes you wonder… Alcohol. Marijuana. Magic Mushrooms. They all have known causes. They all play a part. Are we not all adults? Meh. Really makes you wonder…

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