Monday, August 15, 2011

The Pot

If you want to get anywhere studying a degree, I have one piece of solid advice for you. No, it's not study hard, no it's not don't party hard, and it certainly isnt 'stay off the pot'.

Stay the fuck away from TV Tropes. If you're anything like me, you will likely find the site irresistible and remark, 8 hours later, where the fuck has my life gone?

Ah, another symptom of Internet addiction. Kinda distracts me from the important things in life, and indeed the important point of this post, which actually has nothing to do with internet addiction.

This post is about weed. It could be about drugs in general, but for now I'm going to focus on weed.

Now of course I've never been high before. (It's illegal, and I don't break the law). But, lets, just say, hypothetically, that I were to try this, I suspect that with enough use I could come to recognise the dangers, but also the potential of this. And by 'this' I mean being high, having one's state and/or perception altered, and importantly, allowing it to be altered by choice. The drug user voluntarily enters this state. And then strange things start to happen.

You see, you start seeing the world in a different way. You notice that things around you have a strange flow to them... some are functional and efficient. The dysfunctional ones don't affect you quite as much. Your senses are all enhanced and you feel quite sharp, reflexive and agile. And then you make a key realisation. The world around you - when high - is the world that you want to see. It's no Utopia, but it's a projection of your desires.

One paying any attention at this point could figure out the obvious danger involved here: Such a world is highly desirable and preferable to the so-called 'real' one. The drug user will reach a point that he/she rationally concludes that living in such a world is simply better than the other, and begin to smoke pot regularly. (Addiction? Or rational choice to continue using? You be the judge). The point is that using this drug allows you to see things in a different way. A good metaphor for it, for those who have read Harry Potter, is in the first book where Harry finds the Mirror of Erised (desire backwards). The mirror is a projection - nothing more.

But in this same post I argue that this is entirely necessary. To boost creativity and efficiency, to imagine a better world, is entirely necessary if one is ever to create such a thing. Creativity naturally comes to those that know where to look for it. And by serving as a 'distraction' to a person, the drug may allow a person to enter such a space. And then it is used in the service of the present (to have fun/be more calm/enjoy a party more/succeed better at attracting people) and the future (inspiration for creative works, whether for one's career or just for the world in general).

Perhaps those that postulate a causal relationship between weed and schizophrenia see these experiences as delusions. (Perhaps they are). Except, for a schizophrenic person, these delusions become all to real, indistinguishable from so-called reality. While I, of course, am in doubt about such a reality existing in the first place, certain people think that because weed has hallucinatory effects, users cannot separate them from the more commonly experienced life (presumably one not affected by psychoactive drugs). However, let me make a bold suggestion: if a person develops schizophrenia through use of weed - what if they were paranoid and delusional in the first place, and smoking helped to naturalise it? This would be a strong argument for people not to smoke if they were schizophrenic. However, I very strongly doubt that a person with no preexisting psychosis could induce delusions by smoking pot -  the test would be: while high, is the subject able to tell the two 'realities' apart? If yes, then where's the risk? It does not make sense that one would lose the rational ability to separate imagination from, well, 'reality' (another layer of imagination?)

So I don't buy the whole schizophrenia thing. Interestingly, my psychiatrist believes that ADHD and schizophrenia are on opposite ends of a continuum - ADHD patients have an underproduction of dopamine, and schizophrenia patients and overproduction.

Nor do I believe that weed is physically addictive. Psychologically, perhaps - if only for the fact that regular users enjoy their experiences and therefore choose to repeat them.

But of course, I have never experienced any of this for myself. Because I don't do drugs. Drugs are bad.

Fuck it, there's no getting through to you kids, is there? Drugs are... Forget it. I'm going for a beer.

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