Friday, July 21, 2006

Clarification: I Mock God, Not Drugs

It appears that I wasn't too clear on what I was ridiculing in my last post: drugs or God. In this blog I have repeatedly equated spiritual experiences and God belief with drugs and insanity. Some of my readers got the impression that I was criticizing drug use.

While criticizing drug use in itself was definitely not my intention, looking at what I previously wrote, it is now apparent to me that I didn't clarify enough what I was ridiculing.

The reason I have compared drug experiences to God in this blog is not to ridicule drugs, but to ridicule God and afterlife belief. You see, when I do drugs, I am aware that there are chemicals in my body that are distorting my perception. I am aware that the effects of the drug are because of the drug, and nothing more. I enjoy the perspective shift that the drug brings while being aware of the source of that perspective shift.

Some people nowadays don't do that too well. And I am willing to bet that in the past, before modern science and medicine existed, many people would pop a few mushroom caps and then genuinely believe that their experiences were God-based rather than Mushroom-based.

A recent example that comes to mind is Alex Grey. Alex Grey does the artwork for my favorite rock band of all time, Tool. I once saw Alex Grey at an art and music exhibition in Hollywood (or was it Santa Monica?). I listened to a speech from him where he talked about using LSD as a creative tool for his art. That message was cool enough: Using a perceptual tool to assist one with their creative expression. And Alex's artwork is nothing if not creative (Have you seen the artwork for the latest Tool album, 10,000 days? It's fucking amazing).

But then Alex Grey got all batshit on me. His speech turned toward talk of a "oneness" that can be felt/seen/experienced through the use of LSD. Alex began to get very spiritual in his speech and alluded to this "oneness" being some kind of God or a conscious and singular spiritual power. Alex Grey, right in front of my eyes, explained how he really believed that a chemical he put in his head somehow got him to perceive an outside spiritual entity.

The lesson here is that even cool people who make art for cool rock bands (with very anti-religious messages) can still get confused and forget that what they see while on these drugs is all an illusion and inside their heads.

When I am on drugs, I am aware of the fact that my experience is an internally-based illusion. And after the drugs wear off, I reflect on that fact. But too many people seem to be unaware of this, or they at least forget it. People forget that these drugs are called hallucinogens for a reason. They make you see things that aren't there!

When you look through a kaleidoscope for example, you have to remember that those patterns aren't really there; it's an illusion brought about by the lens in the kaleidoscope that distorts your perception.

So, for the record, I support responsible drug use. And responsible drug use means understanding that you are experiencing drugs, not God, when you are trippin' your ass off.


olly said...


Well said my friend. So tell me, this poor backwater unenlightened Seattlite, what is this 'Giant Village' you speak of?

Man, I got to get to L.A. again sometime!

Oh, and I saw that you mentioned Tool, very appropriate since a Tool concert mixed with a healthy dose of Quebensis and Blue Ringers is about the most mind-opening experience I've ever had...

...there's something pretty amazing about actually FEELING lateralus rushing through your viens, not just in through your eardrums. ;)


olly said...

OH, and speaking of drugs and music, I'll be quite happily hippy'd out this weekend, at Pearl Jam at The Gorge with a good amount of Cush. ;)


Hellbound Alleee said...

Hm, the Gorge, eh? That's about an hour away. But considering it's going to be 108 degrees there, watch certain drug use there--it can enhance the effects of the heat and the sun on the enibriated and "enlightened."

It is true that drugs and mirages prove that existence is real--because we know what they are and why they make things look the way they do.

Aaron Kinney said...

Giant Village is an annual party held in Los Angeles. You should check out the link that I provided.

Giant Village historically has been a New Years Eve paty in downtown Los Angeles on the streets. In 2004/5 for example it was the biggest single NYE party in America!

But for the 2005/6 NYE event, Giant got cancelled at the last second due to weather and it pissed of alot of people.

So Giant switched their schedule to summertime instead of wintertime to avoid weather problems and there is a HUGE HUGE HUGE 4-city-block large party in the heart of downtown Los Angeles this weekend. The whos who of electronic DJs will be there. It is an absolute fucking blast.

Yes Olly, you need to get your ass to Los Angeles.

And yes, Tool is the shiznit. Ive seen them about 4 times now. I am going to buy tickets to see them again in September at the Staples center. The tix go on sale tomorrow.

Woohoo! Boy do I love music and partying.

Aaron Kinney said...

Yea and the Tool thing was very appropriate I think as well. I mean, Tool is like psy-rock and Alex Grey is a well known LSD-artist and Tool extensively uses Alex Grey artwork and Ive seen Alex Grey speak at an artshow.

So I think its pretty familiar territory to me. hehe.

olly said...

Alleee --

Where are you guys located? For some reason I thought you were in Eastern Canada. Anyway, ya, the 108 is gonna suck, but once the sun goes down it won't matter as much (that's the time for inebriation!)

Aaron --

Very cool about the block party, and my previous comments about electronica notwithstanding, sounds like a blast!

As for Tool, I can really identify with them on a lyrical level as well... Maynard is a genius, and it comes through in what he writes. Each album is thematic, with Undertow being very much about escaping from addiction (be it sex, alcohol, a bad relationship, etc); Lateralus (their absolutely best album in my opinion) is an entirely existentialist album, each song lyrically is themed around questions of viewing the world, questions of spirituality (in the way that existentialists talk about spirituality, not about God or anything), etc.

Anyway, all great stuff. Off to the Gorge I go!


vjack said...

For what it is worth, research on LSD and other hallucinogens shows that one of the most common experiences reported by users involves a sense of "oneness" and perceptions of the interconnectedness of all things. This was the experience I characterized as spiritual. It has nothing to do with god, but I certainly experienced this variety of what I called spirituality on these drugs.

shilo said...

It's been a while sense I did any hallucinogens (back in the 70's & 80's)but I distinctly remember that feeling of experencing God. These experences got me involved in weird spirtual head trips like Eckencar(I think that's spelled wrong but it's late)trying to meditate out of my body, etc...when I quit doing those drugs I quit feeling spiritual, duh.

Now i find listening to all that crap very irritating. With that said I'll read your previous post.

Rose said...

I always thought that people who spoke, prayed to, or even believed in god had to be on something... no? really? except wine maybe. :P

I missed the Giant Village celebration (kind of pricey), but I bet it was awesome! I'm not going to rattle off any list of drugs but I will say this: I love life and love enjoying it. Wheeeeee!

Anonymous said...

Just because these drugs increase your perception of syntactic oneness doesn't mean that that perception is an illusion. While the spiritual energy someone my feel is illusional, the underlying understandings may not be.

It may be that we don't normally sense these connections because our brain is too centered on mundane problems and is too locked into it's normal schema.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous above.