This is a little article a friend posted the other day to facebook that sparked my interest, but I wasn’t going to write about it until the other day when a friend of mine told me “%80 of drug users are assholes”. He had known that I was a big fan of psychedelics and for this last year or so that I’ve known him, has never mentioned his distaste for people like me. It seemed strange considering how often we hang out.
So naturally I asked, “So am I one of the assholes then or am I one of the exceptions?” but instead of addressing the question he just said, “way to make it all about you, Kalin.” But that seems like a reasonable question. If I were to say that %80 of Christians are assholes (which I don’t believe despite how deeply atheist I am) I think it would be reasonable for my Christian friends to want to know if I see them as one of the exceptions. I asked him again and he still refused to answer, making me think that perhaps he does see me as an asshole and has some other reason for hanging out with me. (Edit: It has come to my attention that I was a little harsh here. He did in fact answer by saying “I wouldn’t be friends with you if I thought you were an asshole,” but it didn’t really register at the time and it somehow didn’t feel like an answer since I was surprisingly emotional at this point in the conversation. But since I don’t want to get in the habit of agonizing over old blog posts, I’m not going to change anything in this post, but I will say that since then, he’s made it clear that he supports legalization of drugs in general, which is what really matters to me.)
Then the subject changed and we started talking about whether or not a bystander has an obligation to help someone in need. He told me that if he saw someone dying and had the opportunity to help, that he probably would not. It made me ask myself how he might define the term ‘asshole’.
He believes that people in our society are far too concerned about death, that there are actually worse things, that our obsession with preventing death prevents us from enjoying life and that death is something that we need to accept as a part of life. (Okay, he didn’t actually say all that but I needed to expand on his statement a little so people could understand where he’s coming from.)
So I said, “I completely agree, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to use that as an excuse to just stand by and watch someone die.”
“It’s not an excuse. It’s a reason. That’s why I wouldn’t save someone from drowning.”
Ironically I was right in the middle of writing a true story about something that had happened to a friend of mine, where he was punished rather harshly for smoking marijuana. I had been in complete support of his punishment, but years later realized that I did not have any problem whatsoever with marijuana and that my desire to see him punished resulted from nothing more than a sadistic desire to see someone suffer.
But the reason I figured that out about myself was because I took psychedelics and spent the time to focus on learning about myself and my past. My friend, of course, has never tried any of these drugs that he has such a problem with. However, he has told me that he’s had sexual fantasies involving death. I can’t fault him for that, but what I do have a problem with is that he is not connecting with his own thoughts and feelings enough, that he’s not honest with himself about it. Instead, he allows this sadism to bleed into his real-world opinions and then denies it to himself. His decision to not help someone who is dying has nothing to do with helping society to understand death, and instead is motivated by a simple desire to watch people die.
So I certainly can’t fault him for having sadistic fantasies because most of us become sadistic at some point in our lives, but people need to be aware of how those fantasies affect the real world.
So I guess I wandered off on a tangent there. My original subject was supposed to be about psychedelics and how much they mean to me because they helped me to get to know myself, to recognize my sadistic tendencies so that I could manage them, but more importantly, to help me recognize all the good parts of me and embrace them and to see those things in others. I don’t think I can even begin to describe the benefits that psychedelics have had for me but it annoys me that people claim they are so dangerous and horrible and give examples of people doing terribly irresponsible things with them. This is like judging automobiles based on drunk people who don’t wear their seat-belt. (But don’t get me wrong. I still think automobiles are bad, but that’s more because they are destroying our planet than because they kill people.) Of course things are going to go wrong with anything this powerful. That does not give society the right to take it away from those of us who can benefit from it, particularly when that benefit involves profound life-changing experiences that make you a better person, help you to understand your life and your place in the world,ol and at least in my case, can allow you to put an end to chronic depression.
As the article states, it’s not a good idea to take them without researching them and ensuring you have a safe, positive setting. I would also add the need to be extremely careful about mixing them with prescription drugs, particularly antidepressants.
So anyway, I guess I’ll conclude this rambling blog post by saying that yes, I am pro-psychedelic and I’m not ashamed to say it.