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luka
03-12-2004, 09:05 AM
k-punk.abstractdynamics.org

i don't endorse weed hehe! i think its bad, just look at me.
but its good to see mark lashing out, still a few debased, gutter traits in that purified gnostic mind!
any thoughts (leaving aside the fact that marks never smoked, lets not get stuck on the details)
he hasn't left a space for comments in the post so i thought i'd make a comments box here.

luka
03-12-2004, 10:10 AM
incidently to answer marks question
whats good about cannabis?

well, reality is painful, thinking is painful, emotions are painful. smoking means you don't feel anything. it tranquilises you so you don't have to think, don't have to feel, don't have to be involved. its a way of saying, look, fuck off, i don't give a shit, i don't want to know.

mark says it makes people babble senselessly, some people do. not me. i don't say anything. i can't. talking becomes impossible.

some people find it makes them paranoid, or intensifies their appreciation of music, or frees up associative thinking, but i'm a long time regular smoker, it doesn't do any of that stuff to me, hasn't done sine i was a teenager, now i use it as a tranquiliser. i get bored, i get frustrated, i get angry, i get mopey, the easiest answer is get zooted.

(i do wish mark would stop claiming that any behaviour he disapproves of is helping to maintain 'Kapitalism' and everything he aproves of is a revolutionary act. it's, well, you know, its just silly)

in summary then, although mark is confused on some of the details, having never indulged, i think the overall thrust of the argument is more right than wrong. its not good to be lean the whole time. nor is it good to be a hectoring, self-righteous eternal student, institutionalised to the point of not being able to think a thought before reading it in one of the approved texts, but thats a whole nother debate...

stelfox
03-12-2004, 10:30 AM
one simple, empirical, scientific point blows that whole thesis out of the water. smoking weed does not "make you male" (and what's with the all the anti-masculine pathology, anyway?).

take this bitesize summary for example: "In human males, cannabis smoking has been shown to decrease blood levels of the three hormones LH, FSH, and testosterone. Moreover, an increased incidence of low sperm count has been reported in men who were heavy marijuana smokers. Acute THC treatment produces a consistent and significant dose- and time-related decrease in LH and testosterone levels in male rodents. In the male rhesus monkey, an acute dose of THC produced a 65% reduction in blood testosterone levels by 60 min of treatment that lasted for approximately 24 hrs."

so, smoking actually makes you FEMALE!!!

&catherine
03-12-2004, 11:19 AM
so, smoking actually makes you FEMALE!!!
I'm fairly sure that the term 'male' used in this context doesn't mean literally male in a biological sense. Mark isn't saying that marijuana makes you sprout balls or hurry up your sperm. His elaboration of the sense of 'male' in this context is: "Self-satisfied, concerned only with yourself, unable to care about others even if you wanted to". In other words, 'male'/'female' designate sets of behaviour and social norms. Ideal social conceptions of gender roles. It's not a claim that all men in the biological sense are remote-happy apes, either.

Or, to put it another way: lack of testosterone does not a woman make. Quite a lot of later feminist theory has concerned itself with the way in which 'woman' is defined through lack: of a phallus, of rationality... It's a manifestation of the post-structuralist concern with pointing out the way in which binaries are constituted only by defining the privileged term ('man') against the second term ('woman'), so that the qualities of the second are nothing more than negations of the first (women are not aggressive, hairy, intellectual, hard...) with no positive attributes of their own. De Beauvoir talks about it, as do Helene Cixous, Irigaray, and many others. It's a fairly prominent concern, as can be seen even from the titles of the more well-known works: Beauvoir's The Second Sex, Irigaray's "This Sex Which is Not One". Not that I want to get too didactic about it, but it is interesting to note how your comment about testosterone fits into the logic of the above:

"man - testosterone = woman" :eek:

And as regards what you call 'anti-male pathology', these 'attacks' fit within the wider scope of Mark's positions against stereotypical, hegemonic male/female behaviour... The all-encompassing term for the logic of the latter slips my mind at the moment, though it's got plenty of tags - heterosexism, phallogocentrism... It's hardly pathological, in other words: it's a political position. It's not anti-male, it's against the dominant conception of the way in which sexual identity is constituted. Which I for one think is a fair target :)

dominic
03-12-2004, 11:25 AM
I think the "Chronic" piece is good so far as it goes, but I think the last paragraph, if expanded upon, could swallow the entire piece . . . . Certainly there have been many "creative" individuals, in the 20th Century, who smoked marijuana or hash on a daily basis. Louis Armstrong, the whole of jazz. Jungle music! Tricky. Wu-Tang (although I've never been a fan of the Wu -- and a stoner roommate of mine drives me to the brink by constantly playing Wu Tang). And not just musicians. Writers, poets. Foucault . . . . Were all these people "chronically demotivated, lethargic, filled with idiot porcine self-satisfaction"? That is, if Weed is the bane of restless/creative desire, how to account for all the artists and creative scenes high on the demon weed?

MOREOVER, if weed substitutes stupefication for tension, how to account for the high anxiety of jazz, the jittery rhythms of jungle??? Perhaps with reference to other drugs? Heroin for jazz, speedy Es for the breakbeat hardcore rhythms out of which jungle emerged???

As for K-Punk's remark "that only those dissatisfied with life want to READ and THINK," this seems the more compelling argument. Though I may well be ignorant of the facts, I know of no thinker or writer of great conceptual power and/or clarity who smoked weed on a regular basis. That is, I believe Foucault smoked weed only on occasion. What about Burroughs? . . . . So perhaps weed jives with musical and artistic creativity, but not with serious thinking and conceptual power

I personally have never much cared for marijuana or hash. Have rarely turned it down, but also have never paid a dime for the stuff . . . . . And when a vice is not one's own, and poses no temptation, it's easy to feel righteous . . . . I often detest stoners . . . . And as for the "aggressiveness" of stoners, I think K-Punk is right on the mark in describing how "irrascible, irritable and bad tempered" they become when their "right to pleasure" is under threat of interference

And, as with the phenomenon of "cool," whether weed strikes us as good or bad has got a lot to do with the race of those who smoke it . . . . Marijuana may be integral to disciplined Rasta culture, but secular Blacks are pretty much like secular Whites. Their daily lives are not that much different. Yet it's against White weed-smokers that K-Punk, correctly it seems, directs his ire . . . . Why is this? Is it because Blacks, for a host of reasons, are less prone to becoming "self satisfied" than are middle-class Whites? Or is this too kind to Blacks? Too patronizing?

Also, if marijuana kills tension and promotes easy self-satisfaction, what about other drugs?

Are cocaine and crystal meth too hard on the nerves?

Is ecstasy too hard on the mood-center, and in any case "revelatory" in its effects, and, further, not suitable for everyday use (though I know people who *claim* to have used it on a daily basis way back when)? Same with mushrooms.

Are other drugs TOO HARD or TOO INTENSE to be bad, and marijuana bad because so EASY?

stelfox
03-12-2004, 11:59 AM
well, when we're using biological terms such as male and female, it's best to formulate a cogent scientific thread to back up the theory - y'know, develop some kind of consistency, otherwise don't bother.
i personally do not believe that male and female psychological make-up differs much if you discount social conditioning and the influence of these chemicals on brain function.
therefore maleness IS defined by testosterone. anything which depletes this basic building block of maleness *actively emasculates* the subject. no matter how many words you throw at it, this is pure, *rational* fact.
mark likes to view human beings as machines, therefore the compounds that drive the machine i would have thought were of primary importance - far more important than, say, traditional ideas of gender identity (which are apparently bad conventions that we should all abandon, anyway, but are still used extensively to justify these points).
i was obviously being reductive when i said that lack of testosterone turns a man into a woman, but it certainly and absolutely makes a male *less male*. this is a fundamental error and one that can't be talked around. any attempt to just exhibits mark's latest positions for the random game of theoretical pick-up-sticks that they have been.

stelfox
03-12-2004, 12:01 PM
well, no one's ever done anything of cultural worth under the influence of marijuana if you discount all dancehall, all hip-hop, anything from the hardcore continuum (particularly jungle grime and dubstep), jazz, blues.....

luka
03-12-2004, 12:07 PM
for what its worth a smoker could write a piece on the faults of non-smokers, and that would be fairly convincing too. there tends to be a rigidity in their thought, an underdeveloped sense of self-awareness, a tendency to literalism and lack of perspective. they tend to block out the outside world, theres a narrowness of perception, they don't hear birdsong or see crickets in the grass, empathy and insight tend to be in short supply, imagination is a foreign territory and they can be pretty boring to be around.

hmm, just to elaborate on that last point, boring not becuase smoking makes you interesting, but boring becuase people who are into strict self-policing, (no this, no that, no loss of self-control, oh horrorr of horrorrs) tend to be dull, predictbale and lacking in charisma or a sense of fun.

its not good to be addicted to skunk but its not good to be a robot either.

&catherine
03-12-2004, 12:45 PM
therefore maleness IS defined by testosterone. anything which depletes this basic building block of maleness *actively emasculates* the subject, no matter how many words you throw at it, and is a metter of pure, *rational* fact.
Well, hats off to you for resolving the age-old philosophical dilemma, of just what is Nature and what is Nurture. No, really.


well, when we're using biological terms such as male and female, it's best to formulate a cogent scientific thread to back up the theory
And what makes you think that we are using purely biological terms here? Biological conceptions of gender are damn near impossible to free from cultural valences. Just look at the terminology that you use: you equate 'less male' with 'female'. This is something that Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (a feminist/queer theorist) highlights (http://www.duke.edu/~sedgwic/WRITING/gender.htm), when she asks "Genders--insofar as there are two and they are defined in contradistinction to one another--may be said to be opposite; but in what sense is XX the opposite of XY?" In other words, I think it's wise to be a little more sensitive when terms like 'male', 'female', 'feminine', 'masculine', 'sex' are thrown around... They're slipperier than you'd think ;) Our conception of our body is saturated with 'cultural' input, after all.


mark likes to view human beings as machines, therefore the compounds that drive the machine i would have thought were of primary importance

Sure, Mark talks about machines, but that does not mean that he is not talking about social conditioning (though he talks about other things as well - as I understand it, 'machine' in Deleuze and Guattari's sense is not figurative). I think his frequently-displayed concern with ideology illustrates this point nicely.


this is a fundamental error and one that can't be talked around. any attempt to just exhibits mark's latest positions for the random game of theoretical pick-up-sticks that they have been.
With all due respect, I think this is the most arrogant thing that I have read for the last 24 hours. For starters, your own argument is hardly what I would call watertight. It strikes me, even though I don't necessarily agree with everything that he says, that Mark's position is a considered one, formulated from quite a lot of reading and research. It's quite astounding - though unfortunately not all that unusual - to read of your apparent belief that merely holding aloft the talisman of 'Biological Facts' allows you to "blow Mark's thesis out of the water".

I don't understand why it is that people persist with this caricaturing theory as being nothing more than an exercise in pulling philosophers' names out of a hat. If I were to browse a medical journal, I wouldn't point at all the unfamiliar medical terms and claim that these charlatans were just making up funny-sounding words to sound superior... Why would you think that 'high-level' social theory and philosophy would be any different? If these things were as simple as you make out, then this mountain of philosophical writing wouldn't have grown up over the years...

matt b
03-12-2004, 01:42 PM
&catherine, i think the general point seems to be that rather than clarifying or elucidating the points made, slapping in fistfulls on PoMo theory suggests that you are trying to baffle people. there does seem to be a growing conflict between 'critical theorists' and 'others' here, but you seem to be very quick to talk down to people.

btw, comparing social theorists/ philosophers to medics is the most arrogant thing i've read in the past 24 hrs.


smoking is very nice too. and doesn't make you stupid etc.

luka
03-12-2004, 01:55 PM
if you're going to judge the tree by its fruit doctors can at least point to cured patients its true.

i thought catherine was making sense till that last bizzare paragraph though. i think she does a good job of elucidating marks convulted thought processes.

simon silverdollar
03-12-2004, 02:05 PM
G A Cohen, who is the top boy of social and political theory at Oxford, and is one of the 'big three' of contemporary left-liberal political philosophy [the others being Rawls and Ronald Dworkin] smokes weed like a trooper, my old tutor told me.

not to say that's a reason to smoke of course. but just to answer someone's query above about whether there was any major intellectual figure who was well into his/her zoots.



my tuppence worth: all drugs are pretty awful if you do them lots. most drugs are pretty excellent if you do them occasionally.

stelfox
03-12-2004, 02:07 PM
<i>With all due respect, I think this is the most arrogant thing that I have read for the last 24 hours.</i>

oh i can get much worse, trust me.
if you read my response, i mentioned both nature and nurture (fuck me, that psych module really has come in useful after all).
and i'm not dismissing theory altogether. i have even been known to employ it myself on occasion, but this endless circle-jerk of quoting deleuze, zizek et al to address what is essentially a personal beef strikes me as somewhat pathetic (it's a complete waste of valuable learning and intellectual energy, not to mention more passive-aggressive than even the most irritable spacehead).
and, yes, science is fundamentally theory, but it's theory based on research, concrete data and logic. i'm seeing fuck all of that here, just precisely as you said catherine, pulling names out of hats.
(btw, i HATE smoking. it generally puts me in a bad mood - just not quite as much as this kind of codswallop.)

rewch
03-12-2004, 02:35 PM
I don't understand why it is that people persist with this caricaturing theory as being nothing more than an exercise in pulling philosophers' names out of a hat. If I were to browse a medical journal, I wouldn't point at all the unfamiliar medical terms and claim that these charlatans were just making up funny-sounding words to sound superior...

they don't make them up but often the medical profession does exactly that...i dislocated my hip a couple of years ago & overheard my consultant talking to my nurse (on the NHS) saying that there was a chance of avascular necrosis...if i hadn't interrupted them & said is that something to do with blood & death i have no reason to think they would have told me...the consultant in question clearly relished his ability to make use of terminology that is anything but clear to the layman...power tripping wanker

that irrelevance aside i do think that this ranting about pot smoking is essentially bollocks...why does everyone get so exercised about it? k-punk's attitude of superiority seems anything but rational...if someone wants to enhance/destroy their perceptions (obviously depending on pov) why should they not be permitted to? it is hardly a kapital konspiracy to pacify populations...clearly stirs things up though...

&catherine
03-12-2004, 02:36 PM
Matt B - "slapping in fistfulls on PoMo theory suggests that you are trying to baffle people"

Without a doubt, I agree. Ideally, theory is a tool used for insight, not mysticification, and I can't claim that my usage of it always (or even often) reaches the latter level. I guess this is the difficulty of writing in a forum where contributors have vastly differing levels of knowledge about theory. Even so, I think it is fair to assume that when responding to posts and threads that concern themselves with or are related to theory, that some specialised knowledge can be used. After all, I don't get grumpy when genres and artists that I've never heard of are discussed in the 'Music' forum.

In any case, I don't think mark k-punk's writing falls into the category of 'random PoMo philosopher rattle-off'. Sure, it uses theory that I've never heard of in my two years or so of reading the stuff ('lemurian' anyone?), but there are always ways around it - namely, looking up the references, and judging Mark's usage of them from there.

And while arrogance is honestly the last thing that I wanted to assume, some of stelfox's comments really did get my goat. Not that this is much defense, but yes.

Luka - if the last paragraph seemed a bit off, perhaps it's because it wasn't aimed so specifically at the topic of 'marijuana and maleness', but rather at stelfox's parting salvo, calling k-punk's writing a "random game of theoretical pick-up-sticks". Perhaps it was a bit hasty to slide from this to the more general phenomenon of knee-jerk reaction against the use of unfamiliar theory, but that was the context in which I made the comment.

Incidentally, I wasn't talking about practising doctors so much (obviously, the analogy between these and philosophers is not a very straightforward one), but rather medical researchers. My point was merely that people who read a lot in a certain field have more knowledge of it than those who don't, and that just because the terms of reference are unfamiliar, it does not automatically mean that the discussion is all babble for the purposes of mystifying. Of course, you could object to this and point out that this is not a specialised journal or a forum just for critical theory or what-have-you. But I hope you'll agree that it is difficult to strike the right balance in tone sometimes.

rewch
03-12-2004, 02:40 PM
http://www.lemuria.net/

stelfox
03-12-2004, 02:49 PM
well catherine, i wasn't referring to all of mark's writing (which i have read for several years) as a random game of theoretical pick-up-sticks. i used to enjoy reading mark's stuff but lately i am finding it increasingly contrary, wilfully esoteric, completely inconsistent and full of holes. i also refer you to the above post, where i say it's all a bit daft in the context of a personal beef that could be resolved without all this.

matt b
03-12-2004, 03:13 PM
. My point was merely that people who read a lot in a certain field have more knowledge of it than those who don't, and that just because the terms of reference are unfamiliar, it does not automatically mean that the discussion is all babble for the purposes of mystifying. Of course, you could object to this and point out that this is not a specialised journal or a forum just for critical theory or what-have-you. But I hope you'll agree that it is difficult to strike the right balance in tone sometimes.

i would agree yes. but remembering back to my university days, there was unsaid assumption that the best thinkers/writers were those that made complex theories more understandable, not less- not that i'm saying you or mark do this (i just think mark is wrong on a number of points, with or without theoretical backup)

luka
03-12-2004, 03:45 PM
my personal opinion is that mark has everything he needs to write brilliant things. i get visions of some paranoid claustrophobic sci-fi kafka buisness but instead of writing he spends all his intellectual energy trying to universalise his vision into some crackpot pseudo-philsophical teaching for all mankind. its immensly frustrating. you got your themes, you got your vision, you've got the ability so just get on with it. thats what i reckon. no more silly neologisms and references to continental philosophers, no ego and games and all that, a bit of focus, cut the fat off the meat, reduce it down and you'll have something wonderful. make the sentences beautiful. make them intense. fuck the teacher bit off.

that will be all.

owen
03-12-2004, 03:47 PM
(on a slightly irrelevant tip) i think its funny mark quotes the fall in support of his argument, cf their being responsible for one of the best defenses of smoking ever, 'Like to Blow'- 'concentration flows', i.e you notice the crickets in the grass, as luka points out
oh and the anti-hippy rhetoric is so absurdly dated and windy as to be worthy of steven wells
(mind you, i won't touch the stuff- usual reasons, paranoia, enroaching psychosis etc)

Grievous Angel
03-12-2004, 04:03 PM
Dissensus isn't about Mark.

(Well, maybe it is. But let's leave the mystery intact for a little while if it is, shall we?)

Anyway. It's always interesting to see a wholesale, kneejerk slagging off of entire classes of substances without any apparent concern for its harm or (heaven forfend!) benefit , either absolutely or relative other substances.

Insert here your favoured reasonable, measured argument about use, mindset and setting.

In the meantime, it's Friday night, I've been working all week and I'm going to stick one together before going downstairs to play with the boys.

Luka, you with me or are you going to be a girl?

:D

dominic
03-12-2004, 04:47 PM
a couple of points. first, on k-punk. then, the marijuana debate.

(1) so far as i know, k-punk's the best thing going on the internet. if anyone knows of anyone or anything near as good, show your cards now

and if we didn't have k-punk to play gadfly, i expect "dissensus" would die a quick death (at least the "thought" & "politics" sections)

so perhaps some gratitude is in order . . . .

does k-punk often strike a superior tone? yes. is it arrogance? no

does k-punk flaunt his learning? no. it's more like sharing the wealth. he probably has notebooks full of gems that he mines from other thinkers, and then he illuminates these gems in the light of his own prose poetry . . . .

do i agree with everything k-punk says? usually his conclusions, and usually his take on what ails contemporary culture and politics. like nietzsche, he's a first-rate symptomatologist . . . .

do i agree with k-punk on fundamental philosophical issues, his Modern Rationalism, his use of quasi-transcendental categories, his allegiance to the tradition that runs from Spinoza to Kant to Nietzsche to Deleuze? i haven't read widely enough or thought hard enough to really say, except that the professors and books that have most influenced my thinking run counter to this tide

do i agree with k-punk on the need for Communist Revolution? i agree with his diagnoses, not sure about the medicine . . . . certainly Strong alternatives to the current economic/political order need to be developed . . . . but until political alternatives are developed in thought, it's hard to say what to do (at the same time, an elaborate program of "what is to be done" would be undesirable and unworkable, contrary to human natality and the role of contingency)

am i perplexed by k-punk's invocations of Christ in the desert, the Christ who sets brother against brother, son against father, husband against wife? YES . . . . but i'm want to see how he puts it all together, Christ in the desert, the Gnostics, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Deleuze

(2) as for whether marijuana is good or bad, i think the Spinoza/Nietzsche approach is the best ------ whether something is good or bad depends on how it affects the "health" or "operation" of this or that person or machine or assemblage------- what's good for the goose may not be good for the gander ----- in most cases, regular marijuana use appears to result in stupefication, easy satisfaction, slavishness to small pleasure. but in other cases, especially in the case of painters and music-makers, marijuana appears to promote creativity, artistic sensitivity, etc ------- and perhaps marijuana helps take the edge off Black anxiety, resulting in "cool," but makes the lives of middle-class White folks entirely too soft

however, i think that k-punk's "Chronic" post was written not with an eye to the individual, which varies from case to case, but at the level of the wider culture . . . . marijuana may be good for this individual, bad for that individual, but for the culture as a whole its effect is pernicious ------ that's how i'd read the post

also, it's worth noting that any activity that has the effect of "easing tension" is bad on this view, not simply the drug marijuana . . . . so regular masturbation is bad (unless you're a would-be rapist) . . . . listening to music is bad insofar as it has a regular & predictable narcotic effect . . . . gluttony sans indigestion is bad ------ [[[[although marijuana use is especially bad b/c users imagine that they're rebelling against the system -- the masturbator is under no such illusion]]]]]

finally, when it comes to drug use, almost everything depends on how the user "conceives" of his drug use. what does the user think he is doing when he takes drugs? certainly one of the best things about illegal drugs is that their use serves to break down social barrierls. the white professional parties with the
black hustler. they get high together, listen to the same music, frequent the same bars and clubs. each knows he could be in the other's shoes -- and, indeed, getting high, getting out of oneself, promotes this consciousness ----- and this is true even when the drug is as supposedly superficial as cocaine

dominic
03-12-2004, 05:20 PM
my personal opinion is that mark has everything he needs to write brilliant things. i get visions of some paranoid claustrophobic sci-fi kafka buisness but instead of writing he spends all his intellectual energy trying to universalise his vision into some crackpot pseudo-philsophical teaching for all mankind. its immensly frustrating. you got your themes, you got your vision, you've got the ability so just get on with it. thats what i reckon. no more silly neologisms and references to continental philosophers, no ego and games and all that, a bit of focus, cut the fat off the meat, reduce it down and you'll have something wonderful. make the sentences beautiful. make them intense. fuck the teacher bit off.

Despite my comments above, I can see where Luka's coming from here . . . . Mark is exceptionally talented, has "everything he needs," and so he'd probably do well to "cut the fat off the meat, reduce it down" and WRITE BOOKS to rival Baudrillard and others

As for the "silly neologisms," I tend to agree that the whole "Leumerian" business is a bit puerile. However, perhaps Mark is trying to create his own conceptual vocabulary. That is, high-order philosophy is about creating new concepts, new words. So who really knows what Mark is up to . . . .

As for the references to Continental philosophers, I see that as necessary, not extraneous. All philosophy after Plato [indeed, including Plato] has been in conversation, in response to what others have written and said. Reference to the thoughts and words of others is a vice only when made in slavish deference to the requirements of academia . . . . And I think it should be obvious to all that Mark writes as a free spirit, not as an academic seeking institutional standing

And as for whether this entire blogging gambit distracts Mark from grander projects, I hope that he saves everything that he posts for future publication in BOOK form (or rather, saves the raw material for later refinement)

sufi
03-12-2004, 07:22 PM
having had time to catch up with this juicy thread, i must share with you the following:

as a habitual smoker i found k-p's post a little inflammatory ('porcine' ouch :mad: ), but happily don't recognise much of myself in the apathetic stereotype, sounds like marc has confused ganja w smack! he doesn't mention any psychic effects of the herb, except in a negative way as psychoses.
shame,
i enjoy many positive symptoms meself, a certain level of paranoia & healthy psychosis is highly beneficial to a creative & productive 21stC existence ;)

...but this thread has moved on to another whole discussion now, (altho i guess philosophy is another great hobby for apathetic escapists :D )
i tend to skip bits once people start citing names i know nothing about, so if we can't have a proper bibliography at least mebbie as this is after all the internet perhaps the odd hyperlink might avoid condescending explanations for the less well-read of us?

ta
suuf

dominic
03-12-2004, 07:34 PM
this endless circle-jerk of quoting deleuze, zizek et al to address what is essentially a personal beef strikes me as somewhat pathetic (it's a complete waste of valuable learning and intellectual energy, not to mention more passive-aggressive than even the most irritable spacehead).

Don't all considered positions begin as "personal beefs" or "personal affinities"? Otherwise, thought would be empty and formal, free of content, pale, bloodless . . . . Even if K-Punk would probably argue otherwise himself, I think the proper procedure is to tenderize the beef. Make it articulate and precise, less chewy. Soak it in theory . . . . Make the personal valid, make it true

K-Punk's post on marijuana, while informed by theory, is compelling because rooted in experience. He captures and mocks the speech of a familiar figure, the stoner

And I don't think that writing on the meaning of drug use constitutes a "waste of valuable learning and intellectual energy." I think that the meaning of drug use in society today is a monumental question that begs for serious thought . . . . When it comes to drugs, I think we're all pretty conflicted. Unsure what to think of our own behavior.

Drugs & music as religion for the godless? Meeting ground for strangers? Or mere monkeymatic pleasure seeking?

Also, as I indicated in a post above, marijuana is a much "softer" drug than other drugs. Because it is softer, less apt to derail the user if consumed frequently, marijuana is viewed as benign . . . . The merit of K-Punk's posting is in how he links up the "softness" of marijuana as a drug with the preferences of the Last Man. No harsh comedown, no wracked nerves, no needle to the arm, no revelation. Only satisfaction easily had.

Is K-Punk's account partial? Yes. But is it for that reason overly subjective or trivial? No

stelfox
03-12-2004, 08:57 PM
it's condescending polemic based on stereotypes (these aren't a good thing, incidentally), not experience, dominic. it's not smart writing and if you'll permit *me* to come on like the teacher for once, annoying because i know mark is capable of so much more.

Greg
03-12-2004, 09:20 PM
and here i was thinking he was of the Burroughs-ian persuasion....

marijuana ain't bad - the apathetic 'do-nothings' are.

they would have reached that point through whatever narcotic (kapital!)... 95% of society are stoners potentially.

sufi
03-12-2004, 10:03 PM
if you're going to judge the tree by its fruit doctors can at least point to cured patients its true. stop harasssing mark with suurealism you dadaist relativist :confused:
;)

infinite thought
03-12-2004, 10:36 PM
Well, you can't blame Mark entirely for the weed thing, he was responding to summat I wrote and a discussion we had recently. (Though, er, don't go blaming me for everything he writes that you don't agree with, eh), ho ho.

My initial post came off the back of something I've been thinking about for a while, that is, work out certain constitutive features of particular drugs. Not so much experiential stuff like recounting different experiences of the same drug, but trying to identify invariant features. Like, in what way does weed make you paranoid, or the way in which speed boosts assurance without making you over-confident like coke. Things like that. Not really scientific, but y'know.

It's not really a judgemental point, though have had some bad times with stoners, as I mentioned. But it's probably a question of discipline: if you can channel the muses and write poetic stuff about animals and nature, or play neat music, then why not? It's obvious that the history of literature/poetry/music would be bereft of a lot of the best stuff if it had all been written by a load of sober people....

john eden
04-12-2004, 12:16 AM
But it's probably a question of discipline

Yes! [standing ovation]

polystyle desu
05-12-2004, 09:43 PM
it's different strokes for different folks , innit ?

for me nothing better after having a nice smoke last night
then staying up using "The Mummies Of Urumchi" and web to catch up on proto- Celtic Hallstatt culture in the 5th Century as it extended into Halych /Galych - Galicia in what is now Western Ukraine , just looking for my mom's roots ...
Ck the clock , past midnight , 2 hours had passed . Slotted another round of music ...

MBM
05-12-2004, 10:28 PM
I have no deep theoretical insights here, so I'll make do with some random observation.

I used to smoke a fair bit and I was completely autistic on it. I'd sit in a corner with a J and not want to talk to anyone. It had the opposite effect on some of my mates.

What it was wonderful for was listening to music. I remember tuning into a London pirate in 2000 after a sesh. They were playing non-stop 2-step and the sounds formed these lithe, dancing alien creatures in my head. Like Aliens - but beautiful and sexy.

Er... anyway, other people's drug experiences are the height of tedium.

A nation on pot?

Well, it'd be fat, boring, incessantly talking about its minor emotional proble- oh, hang on. K-punk may be on to something there.

Backjob
06-12-2004, 05:12 AM
Um, referring back several posts, but I'd just like to interject that people can say science is a discourse as much as they like, but science is not and will never be epistemologically equivalent to critical theory.

The thing that makes science science, is that it is based on empirically testable statements verified by independent individuals. So any statement about science such as "testosterone makes you male" can accurately be prefaced by "to the best of our knowledge". Statements based on science are made with precisely defined terms. Science is a collective endeavour.

Theory, on the other hand, is utterly different. It's based on individual viewpoints. A statement based on theory can only accurately be prefaced by "I think" or "Deleuze thinks". Statements based on theory need to have their terms defined, because every theorist seems to have a different definition of "gender" or "bodies without organs" or whatever.

If science is a discourse, the reason why it occupies its elevated position is not because of cultural prejudice, it's because it's the most convincing discourse out there (and I don't think "convincing" is an equivalent statement to "true" or "oppressive" btw). If you ask anyone to choose between what a superannuated frenchman considers masculinity to be about or what thousands of individuals working within a scientific framework think, most are going to choose the latter. That is why science superseded religion and continues to occupy the position it does. To claim otherwise is to invite justifiable ridicule, particularly if you claim to be "rationalist".

Not that anyone should need any evidence that scientists have a thorough grasp of theory, but theorists have very little grasp of science, but if you want proof, you need look no further than the <a href="http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/transgress_v2/transgress_v2_singlefile.html">Sokal hoax</a>.

johneffay
06-12-2004, 01:10 PM
If science is always so empirically justifiable, why are there so many debates within it based upon the same data? I appreciate the hypothetical nature of scientific theories but am intrigued by your claim that the empirical evidence always sorts out disputes 'to the best of our knowledge'. The first example which springs to mind is the dispute between punctuated equilibrium and graduated evolution, but I could come up with others if pressed. Has anybody arrived at the Grand Unified Theory yet?

Theory is based upon individual viewpoints to the same extent that science is. If anyone says to you "Deleuze thinks", you should ask them why he thinks that. Deleuze (and other serious thinkers) argue on the basis of evidence; they do not draw theories out of a hat. Often, as with science, the evidence is contradictory.

Sokal? The initial hoax was very funny: Not because it showed he knew about theory whilst the editors of Social Text knew nothing about science, but because it showed that the editors were so happy to get a 'real scientist' submitting a paper to their science issue that they would publsh any old tat. This says more about the power of science than the paucity of theory, although I admit that several people made absolute twats of themselves in the aftermath; one of these was, of course, Sokal.

stelfox
06-12-2004, 01:30 PM
theory is by any definition, simply opinion. science is based in fact, as far as we can discern, therefore give me science any day over theory.

sufi
06-12-2004, 01:52 PM
theory is by any definition, simply opinion. science is based in fact, as far as we can discern, therefore give me science any day over theory.

science:
a load of spurious opinionated bolix if you ask me
i mean the pope says he's infallible but that don't mean shit

sufi
06-12-2004, 02:08 PM
mebbie a new thread for the great 'theory vs practise' debate?
&mebbie if we made it a poll we could see whether ganja-smokers are more or less inclined to talk theoretical bollix :D

luka
06-12-2004, 02:14 PM
yeah and it might be a nice idea to start a thread for theory bods to discuss theory amongst themselves without boorish oafs with chips on their shoulders about never finishing university butting in and shouting about theory being a load of pretnetious drivel. a little safe haven for them, free from carping and mockery.

johneffay
06-12-2004, 02:28 PM
theory is by any definition, simply opinion. science is based in fact, as far as we can discern, therefore give me science any day over theory.

My point was about critical theory contra scientific theory. I have a suspicion that when you say 'science', you actually mean 'engineering'.

Do you know many scientists? They are very opinionated people in my experience.

stelfox
06-12-2004, 02:54 PM
when i say science i mean science, because that's what i said. if i meant engineering i'd have said engineering. and yeah, i know tons of scientists, one of whom recently came up with the best question i've ever heard: "so, art... what does it actually do?"

johneffay
06-12-2004, 03:43 PM
So you'll be aware of the hierarchy within science where chemists look down on biologists because they deal with 'more primal' elements and physicists look down upon chemists and biologists for the same reason. Then there's the question of 'fringe scientists' such as psychologists. Is this objectivity?

What do artists do? Given all your posts on the music thread, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you're just trying to wind me up.

I'm anything but anti-science, however it's patently obvious that
1. The structure of scientific methodology means that it is not, and cannot ever be, purely objective. Most scientists admit this.
2. So far, there are things in this world which science has not got a handle on, but that art, the humanities, and (dare I say it?) religion seem to engage with more successfully.

Grievous Angel
06-12-2004, 05:02 PM
My point was about critical theory contra scientific theory. I have a suspicion that when you say 'science', you actually mean 'engineering'.
... a point you could do with expounding on a little. I think putting the word "engineering" into Dave's mouth is a terrible faux pas, you gotta do better than that brotha!


theory is by any definition, simply opinion. science is based in fact, as far as we can discern, therefore give me science any day over theory.

Glib or what! C'mon Stelfox you can do better than that! Posting in a hurry were we?


1. The structure of scientific methodology means that it is not, and cannot ever be, purely objective. Most scientists admit this.

Excellent response...

I would point out however that it's not at all clear that "most scientists" would accept that science cannot be purely objective in a way which made that acceptance truly meaningful. Most, if not all, philosophers of science, yes, but I'm not sure all scientists do so.

Otherwise, why would zeteticism exist?


2. So far, there are things in this world which science has not got a handle on, but that art, the humanities, and (dare I say it?) religion seem to engage with more successfully.

... and not a bad expansion of your argument.

Of course, to refer back to the origin of this thread, if you get three scientists and three academics from the humanities in a room, and got them stoned, then you'd really be on the way to getting a handle on "art, the humanities, and (dare I say it?) religion".

Required reading for this thread: The New Inquisition (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1561840025/qid=1102356042/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/026-9074756-4889263) by Robert Anton Wilson.

stelfox
06-12-2004, 05:07 PM
well i'd rather have proper, real science that attempts to be empirical than nonsensical pseudo-scientific rambling from people who don't even bother to check widely available facts. i am not letting go of this one. high-level consumption of THC has been seen to drastically lower levels of three major male hormones in a number of human and animal subjects. therefore weed smoking DOES NOT make you male, if anything it makes you LESS male. i am correct and i have science on my side. why is that so hard to accept?

Grievous Angel
06-12-2004, 05:20 PM
well i'd rather have proper, real science that attempts to be empirical than nonsensical pseudo-scientific rambling from people who don't even bother to check widely available facts.

Woah fella! Easy now. We're all friends here. Back to your dislike of theory... theory isn't opinion. C'mon, you must know that! Same thing as... well, a lot of philosophers of science would say that what science comes up with -- the best that science comes up with -- is theory. It has a hypothesis, goes out looking or evidence either way, comes up with an idea of what's going on -- and that's always a theory. Newton's laws? Theory. Quantum mechanics -- the single most useful, most proven, most mind-boggling idea to come out of a dandruff-strewn lab -- it's a theory. 'S what they call it in the trade, and why paradigms collapse. You read any Thomas Kuhn? Thought you had.

By the way -- on weed making your balls shrink or something -- well, it's been a while since I talked seriously with a genito-urologist about this, I think it was 2000 in fact, but what I heard back then was that it was a suggestion, not yet proven. But let's face it, if you're facing a lack of testosterone in the trouser snake department a quick blast of Sizzla should boost yer levels, so what Mary taketh away, she also giveth!

And anyway, I have two bouncing baby boys, so I may be limp, but I got balls of steel and every seed-shot's a winner!

mms
06-12-2004, 05:37 PM
i was reading about the brain making it's own natural marijuana-like compounds called endocannibaloids, research has exposed a new type of signalling system in the brain based around them, it's a retrograde system that only usually occurs when the nervous system is developing, so it's quite unusual.

work being done on it could produce some of the benefits that cannibis has on the brain when it contacts cannibaloid receptors (the proteins imbedded in the membranes of the cells, like neurons etc).

the benefits are the ones that scientists have proposed for a while , ie pain regulation, control of anxiety, inducing hunger and controlling vomiting, nausea, anxiety and neurological disorders etc, things which are useful for treating various disceases but without the side affects like paranoia etc and the side affects that Mark points out + possibly some of the nauseous social aspects that have grown around dope smoking .

My question is, if a readily avaliable pill that gave some of the benefits and pleasures of smoking weed by working with the endocannibaloids, would the smokers here take it, and quit smoking, sitting around in rooms watching the bill, barely talking and all that shit? ;)

stelfox
06-12-2004, 05:49 PM
i'd have hoped it was obvious that i was being deliberately glib re the theory/opinion thing. however, i do prefer science to philosophy and critical theory. i find it a lot more interesting, simple as that, and i admire the approach more... there's something more tangible and rigorous about scientific research than there is in formulating ideas that tokers are all part of the global-kapitalist konspiracy or that lawyers are evil etc.

Grievous Angel
06-12-2004, 05:52 PM
My question is, if a readily avaliable pill that gave some of the benefits and pleasures of smoking weed by working with the endocannibaloids, would the smokers here take it, and quit smoking, sitting around in rooms watching the bill, barely talking and all that shit? ;)

On the one hand, I'm interested in legalisation and better ways of smoking organically grown skunk for those rare moments of repose in my busy parental life.

On the other -- sitting around in rooms watching the bill, barely talking -- I just don't get any of this. I cannot for the life of me sit down and mong out, and even less so when I am stoned. Can't do it. I think my wife would actually like it if I could actually sit down and just let it all hang out in front of the telly for a few hours but I find it tooth grindingly frustrating.

Similarly, just sitting and smoking and not doing anything is... purgatory. Maybe I can just mellow out into music but not often. I have to be doing something -- usually making music, writing or, all too frequently, working.

This idea that stoners just sit there and vegetate is just weird from my POV.

mms
06-12-2004, 06:07 PM
On the one hand, I'm interested in legalisation and better ways of smoking organically grown skunk for those rare moments of repose in my busy parental life.

On the other -- sitting around in rooms watching the bill, barely talking -- I just don't get any of this. I cannot for the life of me sit down and mong out, and even less so when I am stoned. Can't do it. I think my wife would actually like it if I could actually sit down and just let it all hang out in front of the telly for a few hours but I find it tooth grindingly frustrating.

Similarly, just sitting and smoking and not doing anything is... purgatory. Maybe I can just mellow out into music but not often. I have to be doing something -- usually making music, writing or, all too frequently, working.

This idea that stoners just sit there and vegetate is just weird from my POV.

yeah i was winding up, hence the cheeky wink.

but it does have adverse neuroticisms in all the heavy smokers i've met, different ones mind, but a cluster of them that are easy to identify as cons of smoking weed. I've found it incredibly frustrating in the past.
Also for a non smoker like me, sitting with a group of people smoking weed is totally incredibly boring. although i have been known to smoke it sometimes when bubbling near a speaker.
Used to smoke it alot, started at 14 stopped smoking everyday at about 17.

johneffay
06-12-2004, 06:13 PM
... a point you could do with expounding on a little. I think putting the word "engineering" into Dave's mouth is a terrible faux pas, you gotta do better than that brotha!


Fair enough, the distinction I'm making is between theoretical and practical science; I would suggest that engineering is shorthand for the latter.

Stelfox, I agree with your point about THC and masculinity. Masculinity encompasses many things, but on one level at least, it is tied to certain hormones. If THC reduces these hormones in the body, it is a significant point against a puportedly materialist argument. I have a great dislike of all this supposed anti-essentialist discourse which then goes on to make generalisations about sexual difference. It's the idea that scientific theory is purely objective, but critical theory is all doxa which I'm not happy about.

Actually moving on topic for once: Sweeping statements about the effects of any drugs are obviously so reductionist as to be useless. If you want empirical evidence for this, you only need to look at the wealth of material on the placebo effect.

If most people who smoke dope sit around doing fuck-all; so what? A lot of people who don't smoke dope sit around doing fuck-all most of the time as well. Many people who take speed run around a lot but accomplish very little; some get loads done. As (I think) 2stepfan said it's all down to how and why you do it.

Then there's always the question of what's wrong with demotivation if it breaks the Protestant Work Ethic.

Grievous Angel
06-12-2004, 06:19 PM
As (I think) 2stepfan said it's all down to how and why you do it.
I might have said that, but I'm too stoned now to remember.
:)
It's work that's the real drug. Can't get enough of it!

captain easychord
06-12-2004, 06:20 PM
Similarly, just sitting and smoking and not doing anything is... purgatory. Maybe I can just mellow out into music but not often. I have to be doing something -- usually making music, writing or, all too frequently, working.

This idea that stoners just sit there and vegetate is just weird from my POV.

exactly. this has also been my experience. i think if you've been smoking for a while you kind of get over this phenomenological hump and master the drug's effects. i remember the first few times smoking back in the day involved me sitting on a couch thinking awful thoughts, still, totally incapacitated. now i find the effects (much like 2stepfan) to be amphetamine-like if anything. i get stimulated, my lateral pathways become unhinged (DJ'ing gets a lot better, music production, sonic texture comes to the fore).

there's this great bit a rap documentary called "the show" dating back from the early 90's. there's an interview with method man where he discusses the positive effects of pot on his rhyming. he refers to really powerful hydro as "that head banger boogey shit", about it unleashing his ability to freestyle. i think that's what pot means to a lot of people, especially rappers.

sufi
06-12-2004, 06:42 PM
phenomenological hump

seen!


adverse neuroticisms

seen!
please list a few, just for a larf, maybe i can add some to my collection! ;)


lateral pathways become unhinged

seen!

apart from this positive philosophical effect, weed's status has always meant that it has been an outcast clandestine thing, so smokers are like a secret anti-society, a stigmatised independent culture excluded from norms. :cool:
in this way, pot is a very positive social force, providing autonmous networks of like minded freaks communicating exclusively across lateral unhinged pathways :D . whether de-criminalising,legailsing or whatever would change that, who the fuck knows?

mms
06-12-2004, 09:45 PM
apart from this positive philosophical effect, weed's status has always meant that it has been an outcast clandestine thing, so smokers are like a secret anti-society, a stigmatised independent culture excluded from norms. :cool:
in this way, pot is a very positive social force, providing autonmous networks of like minded freaks communicating exclusively across lateral unhinged pathways :D . whether de-criminalising,legailsing or whatever would change that, who the fuck knows?


and then it wears off eh? ;)
this is of course dopehead rubbish, you could say the same thing about bunch of drunks in the park.

MBM
07-12-2004, 12:09 AM
I got stoned for the first time in months last night. It was horrible!

The feeling the next morning of being woozy and uncoordinated. At least with a hangover you want to get stuff done the next day (if only to take the pain away).

And apparently, it's turning me into a girl as well...

&catherine
07-12-2004, 06:09 AM
well i'd rather have proper, real science that attempts to be empirical than nonsensical pseudo-scientific rambling from people who don't even bother to check widely available facts. i am not letting go of this one. high-level consumption of THC has been seen to drastically lower levels of three major male hormones in a number of human and animal subjects. therefore weed smoking DOES NOT make you male, if anything it makes you LESS male. i am correct and i have science on my side. why is that so hard to accept?
The point that I tried to make was not about the 'facts' themselves. What was not 'accepted' - what was in dispute - was the definition of what it is that these concepts/categories of 'male' and 'female' mean.

Science as a discipline doesn't really deal with problems of meaning. It's the difference between giving a list of the the material things that make up a book (paper, ink, thread for binding...) and explaining or attempting to understand what this book is 'saying', how one should interpret it... The physical 'facts' themselves can't tell you the latter. K-punk's points were not only about the behaviour that smoking influences/engenders, but also set out a characterisation of the hegemonic cultural positions that weed makes easier for people to perpetuate through idleness and inertia. There was never a squabble about the 'facts'. (Aside from people posting here with their own pot-related experiences that they believe to corroborate/contradict Mark's characterisation of "Chronic Demotivation".)

In other words, perhaps there isn't such a conflict between what you're saying about the effects of THC on hormones, and Mark's comments on stoner behaviour. It's just that you're both making points in different 'categories' or from disciplinary perspectives.

And to generalise a little from here, I'd say that the conflict that is set up between 'science' on the one side, and 'cultural' disciplines on the other (including psychology, much philosophy, theology, literature...) is often a false one. You don't have to 'choose' between adherence to biology or philosophy, so long as you recognise that each answers a quite different set of questions. (Though some people use the banner of Science in order to support a partial political-subjective position by dressing it up in the robes of Objective Fact, so that it can appear to be 'irrefutable'. A pertinent example of this could be the claim that women are somehow hard-wired to be nurturing and caring through their biology. The authority of science normalises and makes such cultural products - ideologies - seem 'natural'. File it in the same box as politicians' claims that for reasons of "national security", the draconian legislation that they are proposing should receive "bipartisan support" ;) )

Given this, perhaps the comments that you categorise as 'pseudo-scientific rambling' appear as such because they were never trying to masquerade as science in the first place.

&catherine
07-12-2004, 06:29 AM
the best question i've ever heard: "so, art... what does it actually do?"

There's actually quite a large body of literature about this, if you're interested. The condition of art in 'modernity' (a much-disputed category in itself) is often defined as being 'without purpose', so that art has become 'autonomous'. (I use the overabundance of little quote-marks, in case they seem characteristic of some affection plaguing so-called 'post-modern' academic writing, in order to indicate that this is the terminology that is used in the debates themselves, rather than something that I'm pulling out of my hat right now.) So, whereas art served a purpose in previous centuries - religious, or portraiture for the wealthy - it now finds itself in the paradoxical situation of having ultimate freedom that comes at the cost of being trapped in this 'useless' bubble (kind of like academic writing, no? :confused: ).

A few big-name German cultural theorists have quite a bit to say about this. Theodor Adorno, for example, finds that this it is this 'useless' quality of art - its inability to be employed for utilitarian purposes - that makes it 'democratic' (I think this is the word he uses. Check out his Notes to Literature for more detail). He also argues that art which unequivocally supports a 'cause', no matter how good the cause is, may as well be propaganda in its 'form'. He makes this argument against Jean-Paul Sartre's idea of committed art.

So yes, art doesn't 'do' much. It hasn't been popular with a lot of key philosophical figures over the ages, including Plato, who argued that actors and playwrights should be banished from the ideal republic. But even so, it can raise questions and do things that many other works just cannot do. So I don't really think you can hold it over art that it isn't that useful.

&catherine
07-12-2004, 06:39 AM
what was in dispute - was the definition of what it is that these concepts/categories of 'male' and 'female' mean.
Oh, and to clarify in advance - I'm not endorsing the position: "masculinity and femininity are just constructs, maan, we're all just texts, there are no such things as bodies". Just pointing out that it's more than hormones.

Oh, and apologies for going on a rather distant tangent with the post above ;)

Backjob
07-12-2004, 09:20 AM
Oh, and to clarify in advance - I'm not endorsing the position: "masculinity and femininity are just constructs, maan, we're all just texts, there are no such things as bodies". Just pointing out that it's more than hormones.

Thank fuck for that!

And to generalise a little from here, I'd say that the conflict that is set up between 'science' on the one side, and 'cultural' disciplines on the other (including psychology, much philosophy, theology, literature...) is often a false one. You don't have to 'choose' between adherence to biology or philosophy, so long as you recognise that each answers a quite different set of questions. (Though some people use the banner of Science in order to support a partial political-subjective position by dressing it up in the robes of Objective Fact, so that it can appear to be 'irrefutable'. A pertinent example of this could be the claim that women are somehow hard-wired to be nurturing and caring through their biology. The authority of science normalises and makes such cultural products - ideologies - seem 'natural'.

Yeah well, this is the difficult bit. I'm no "scientist" but I did do a degree in it, and studied a lot of philosophy of science, and the tricky bit that people without science training always get mixed up are these two issues of, firstly, whether science is "fact" or "theory", and secondly the statistical meaning of statements like "women are more nurturing than men".

Science isn't "fact" because it is disputable. But it's not just theory either. It's a particular type of theory arrived at using a methodology. Science means that you produce a testable hypothesis about something and then test it empirically, and publish your results and your methodology so that others can replicate and confirm your results. The key words are "testable" and "replicate". If you adhere to those principles, then a hypothesis that has been tested and replicated can accurately be said to be the current "best guess" at the truth given current resources. Hence my "to the best of our knowledge" comment earlier.

You probably know this, but I say it to make the point that no real scientist should ever claim that science is "objective fact". Science is science, not fact. But science is much closer to fact than a theory not arrived at and tested using scientific method...

As for "women are more nurturing than men" - people can and do make such statements, but they only make sense in a statistical context, meaning on average women exhibit more of a certain type of behaviour. Which is not the same as saying either that all women behave like that, or that this behaviour is caused by having two X chromosomes...

set out a characterisation of the hegemonic cultural positions that weed makes easier for people to perpetuate through idleness and inertia.

So let me get this one straight:

Men are in control (are the hegemony).
Smoking weed makes you more like a man (in terms of the social construct of masculinity).
Smoking weed makes you inert.

So weed gives men more control by making them more inert? Weird...

...adverse neuroticisms...

Ask a smoker how they are today and recieve a ten-minute rundown on their mental state...

Wrong
07-12-2004, 09:24 AM
Not that anyone should need any evidence that scientists have a thorough grasp of theory, but theorists have very little grasp of science, but if you want proof, you need look no further than the <a href="http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/transgress_v2/transgress_v2_singlefile.html">Sokal hoax</a>.

The irony is that one of the things the Sokal hoax showed was that Sokal didn't understand theory - he thought he was writing nonsense, when actually he was just writing mediocre theory. It's a demonstration that postmodernists are right to be hostile to judging texts by reference to authorial intention.

stelfox
07-12-2004, 10:07 AM
backjob has actually distilled one of my points perfectly.
patrirachal hegemony hasn't exactly been maintained by men doing nothing!
the *whole* of mark's diatribe was based on massive, sweeping generalisations and stereotypes.
this is obviously not useful
anyway, from now i will view everything from a perspective of cold scientific reason.
all this has made me realise that anything else is pointless.

sufi
07-12-2004, 11:12 AM
...adverse neuroticisms...

Ask a smoker how they are today and recieve a ten-minute rundown on their mental state...

:D

rewch
07-12-2004, 02:21 PM
It's work that's the real drug. Can't get enough of it!

f**k...i read something about that once...it's really heavy isn't it? one fix & you're on it for life...

just say no!

glueboot
08-12-2004, 01:53 AM
I thought I should add something to this (despite being tired so apologies for it being garbled but if I don't say something now I won't be bothered tomorrow). I argue over this whole science / theory thing with my mum all the time... she being a scientist and me making a pretense as a student of philosophy. I tried to explain metaphysics to her by briefly saying that it was 'beyond' physics, what lies outside of experience. To this she replied, 'I just don't like how you people do things....' no doubt we'll argue about it again sooner or later. But while I don't want to argue about the shortcomings of science or the 'greatness' of theory (I prefer philosophy but I'll keep with the whole theory theme) it is important to remember that they are doing entirely different things. Science, as has been pointed out, deals with empirical facts; it can tell us what it biologically means to be male whereas theory can help us to understand what it 'means' to be male, or if there is any meaning to be attributed to it at all. For example, apart from the whole weed business which I am not particularly interested in: Alcohol makes you more female as it increase oestrogen levels (see here (http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/alcohol/alcohol.jsp?id=22145200) , man breasts et al) but when I drink I feel more male... at least what we are told it means to be male i.e. more aggressive, more abusive and generally rowdier. The whole binge drinking issue going on in England at the minute involving women demonstrates this perfectly.... loads of girls completely smashed acting like men (or what is preconcieved to be men).

At the same time I'm not sure why this argument is even happening... or perhaps I am naive in this area having the pleasure of being taught philosophy by a physicist. Science, advances in technology, engineering, or whatever have incredible affects upon the way that our minds are patterned and work. We are quite happy to use science, to use the internet, to turn on the TV, to engage in mass communication networks; "Ah yes! this new advance is great! Soon everyone will connected to the web," but what needs to be thought exactly what effects these things have on us.... and science doesn't do that. Science ploughs forward while theory thinks the affects and examines just what is being done to our condition. Fine if you don't like theory, you don't have to but it's not useful to say it's useless just because you don't like it. There needs to be someone still thinking what it means to be human/inhuman and all the various other questions that just cannot be answered empirically. There were probably scientists telling Marx to shut his mouth, or announcing that Foucault just wasn't useful but that doesn't mean that they didn't change the world because the 'facts' (whatever that means) weren't quite right. (As an aside Leibniz is an interesting example: while everyone was writing about Newtonian physics Leibniz was far more interested in forces and movement, he was discounted as useless in many areas since he didn't adhere to the Newtonian universe.... it is only now, with advances in physics we can see the importance of his work). Anyway, what are we without this constant questioning? Is it really more interesting to find out what something does rather than what it means ? I believe that both are equally important.

Of course, you can still say 'Well, it's all just opinion... far too subjective.' Fine, say that... on some levels it is. But if you're going to do that then you should take a book such as Deleuze's 'The Fold,' and you'll find a person who's not just writing theory but incorporates maths & physics in a highly educated way, which are of course traditionally areas of the 'sciences.' These books are not just sweeping statements that someone pulled out their arse one day but works of incredible scope that take a lot of theoretical and empircal research, you can't just discount them because you don't like them. I don't like reading texts about maths but that doesn't mean I don't find it important.


Also to keep it kind've on topic.... I don't care about weed. Smoke it if you want; I'm interested in lethargy and boredom as ways of subverting the constant movement of the system. But that's all I've really got to say about it.

dominic
08-12-2004, 02:17 AM
I'm interested in lethargy and boredom as ways of subverting the constant movement of the system.

at last a worthy rejoinder to k-punk's argument that smoking pot is in the service of the system

&catherine
08-12-2004, 03:48 AM
Men are in control (are the hegemony).
Smoking weed makes you more like a man (in terms of the social construct of masculinity).
Smoking weed makes you inert.
I think the second two are in keeping with what Mark was arguing, but not necessarily the first. What is 'in control' in a hegemony - even one that is patriarchal - is the hegemonic position itself. Which, as I take it from his previous posts and arguments, Mark would probably categorise as some network of power that replicates the mummy-daddy-me Oedipal structuring, which involves people being encoded (certain anatomical differences between the 'sexes' being inscribed with cultural significance) as masculine, feminine, so on.

You'd be quite right to point out that it's contradictory to say that "1. men are in control and hold onto the reins of power by 2. being inert". But Mark's position doesn't involve the first part of this, so I don't think this is a problem. In fact, I'm guessing that the k-punk position would argue precisely that no one is in control - not "even" men - if they are adopting/following/submitting to the behaviour implicated in "identities" like gender, sexuality, race.

Perhaps some of this 'gender'-related discussion would serve as a fruitful jumping-off point for a new thread...?

mms
08-12-2004, 10:27 AM
Also to keep it kind've on topic.... I don't care about weed. Smoke it if you want; I'm interested in lethargy and boredom as ways of subverting the constant movement of the system.
i think lethargy and boredom are probably symptoms of the system, the total vaccum of bad schooling to shitty job to bad tv etc...

luka
08-12-2004, 11:18 AM
alright theory people, stop defending yourselves. its boring now. go and start your own thread, defeat kapitalism with unreadable prose!!

stelfox
08-12-2004, 11:23 AM
<i>Alcohol makes you more female as it increase oestrogen levels (see here , man breasts et al) but when I drink I feel more male... at least what we are told it means to be male i.e. more aggressive, more abusive and generally rowdier. The whole binge drinking issue going on in England at the minute involving women demonstrates this perfectly.... loads of girls completely smashed acting like men <b>(or what is preconcieved to be men</b></i>

this is *precisely* what horrifies me about this whole debate and what i've been getting at all along. why the hell is obnoxious behaviour deemed "male"? if i found a given something made me feel passive, weak, ineffectual, helpless and then stated that this substance "makes you female", you'd go absolutely batshit at me - and with good reason. mark's initial idea was and is incredibly flimsy, formulated around the most base of stereotypes. do booze and drugs make you working-class, too?

johneffay
08-12-2004, 11:27 AM
<i> booze and drugs make you working-class, too?

Special Brew and crack - Yes
Champagne and cocaine - No
:D

stelfox
08-12-2004, 11:40 AM
at last a worthy rejoinder to k-punk's argument that smoking pot is in the service of the system

i'm not worthy... evidently.

labrat
08-12-2004, 12:42 PM
drugs sometimes cause delirium. Why shouldn't I rave about drugs? What can you do with your very own "reality"? Yours is dull realism. And then, why do you read me? Your argument of cautious experimentation is an invalid, reactionary one.
"I have nothing to admit" Gilles Deleuze This text originally appeared as "Cher Michel, je na'i rien a avouer," in _La Quinzaine litteraire_ 116 (April 1-15, 1973), pp. 17-19.

bassnation
08-12-2004, 01:00 PM
I got stoned for the first time in months last night. It was horrible!

The feeling the next morning of being woozy and uncoordinated. At least with a hangover you want to get stuff done the next day (if only to take the pain away).

And apparently, it's turning me into a girl as well...

i've smoked weed every day for the last decade more or less, and i've got a high pressure job, wife and kids, do shitloads of stuff for the web etc. ok, i haven't overthrown the system just yet, but all you righteous non-smokers, i don't exactly see you manning the barricades either.

i can't believe the lazy generalisations and stereotypes that are getting rinsed out in this thread, sort it out people.

Backjob
09-12-2004, 07:54 AM
Special Brew and crack - Yes

= middle class slumming



Champagne and cocaine - No
:D

=working class flossing

luka
09-05-2006, 07:19 PM
what a tremendous thread this was.

tryptych
10-05-2006, 12:51 AM
what a tremendous thread this was.

Wow, I've just read the whole thing and totally agree. Now I have to dig up Mark's original post and read that (whilst stoned, natch).

Padraig
10-05-2006, 01:18 AM
k-punk.abstractdynamics.org

i don't endorse weed hehe! i think its bad, just look at me.
but its good to see mark lashing out, still a few debased, gutter traits in that purified gnostic mind!
any thoughts (leaving aside the fact that marks never smoked, lets not get stuck on the details)
he hasn't left a space for comments in the post so i thought i'd make a comments box here.

Oh gee, I'm a little temporally challenged in mis-contributing to this till-now un-seen thread, so please forgive my hangover for being near-on two years past my potty sell-by-date ...

But as someone who's been nicotine-addicted for longer than the age I was when I first started, and having viscerally noted the substantial social effects of the now-two-years-old ban on smoking in Eye-ear-land [ for the better, but, alas, for all the wrong, capitalism-disavowing reasons], I share Mark's position on drugydum as "psychedelic fascism" [Kubrick], as fundamental to abstract pomo Kapitalism's condition of workable possibility - you only have to note the origins of most of contempory gliberal capitalism's cheerleaders in whiter-shade-of-pale hippydom [from Bill Gates to that Jagger guy, from Branson to Geldof, from George Bush to Tonee] to begin to get the wider picture ...

The False Choice:

Moloko Plus Vs Serum 114? A cocktail?http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/cura2.JPG

D84
10-05-2006, 02:04 AM
I agree with most of the things Mark K-Punk says on his blog and elsewhere, eg. the recent stuff about youth anhedonia etc esp. seeing as it's based on direct experience from teaching young adults and so on.

And yes, sure, for many people drug use releases their inner fascist (http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/003948.html) - but usually these people are emotionally retarded to begin with anyway. Where can you lay the blame for that?

If you want to preach about the evils of weed or whatever, fine - sure they exist: like many other things in life there are pitfalls - but try it first. Smoke a reefer, take a trip or pill or whatever and then come back and tell us whether you feel more comfortable about capitalism, or you find the supermarkets or advertising more seductive.

I've written what I think will be your answer on the back of a postage stamp and sealed it in an envelope to be opened when you report back. ;)

Buick6
10-05-2006, 05:08 AM
The only problem with Weed now is that its its all fucking hydro/skunk, highly addictive and has turned into 'green smack'..

Only when it's back to being grown in soil will it reclaim its transcendent capabilities as a drug.

Lichen
10-05-2006, 09:13 AM
Quite. It's now a monoculture. Whither flat-press, purple sensi, red-seal, gold-seal, sputnik, double zero et al? I coulld smoke that kit without kerawling up the wall.


Down with the hydro-skunk monoculture!

droid
10-05-2006, 11:16 AM
Thats a myth.

Hydro/soil it makes no difference whatsoever to the quality and strength of weed. Its more to do with the strain and what nutrients the plant is given at various stages of its life - how it is flushed etc... the advantage of soil is that it can be fully organic, wheras hydro plant food is invariably chemical as it has to be processed to work in water.

Skunk is whats available because people want skunk, plus its relatively easy to grow, gives good yield and is almost guaranteed to be potent. If you want more variety - grow it yourself, and theres a whole world of breeds to choose from... Weeds diversity alone makes a mockery of Marks argument IMO - you can get the super heavy 'hash' coma effect from a pure indica strain like 'chocolate chunk', or an insane tripping buzz of a mainly Sativa like 'Kush' or 'Jack Herrer' - totally different effects - like 2 different drugs in fact!

Buick6
10-05-2006, 12:58 PM
Thats a myth.

Weeds diversity alone makes a mockery of Marks argument IMO - you can get the super heavy 'hash' coma effect from a pure indica strain like 'chocolate chunk', or an insane tripping buzz of a mainly Sativa like 'Kush' or 'Jack Herrer' - totally different effects - like 2 different drugs in fact!

Hash is far from super heavy coma effect. I had hash recently for the first time in 15 years, and it was a *TERRIFIC*. Came on strong, tapered off nicely, and I was nice and mellow, no paranoia at all. And I felt completely fine the next morning. It was WAY milder than yr average skunk that bludgeons you, wears of, and then you want more in an addictive cycle, to the point you get a headache.

droid
10-05-2006, 01:22 PM
Hash is far from super heavy coma effect. I had hash recently for the first time in 15 years, and it was a *TERRIFIC*. Came on strong, tapered off nicely, and I was nice and mellow, no paranoia at all. And I felt completely fine the next morning. It was WAY milder than yr average skunk that bludgeons you, wears of, and then you want more in an addictive cycle, to the point you get a headache.

Again, depends on the hash and the plant it came from and how it was processed. Polum? Kif? Soapbar? Squidqie? Black? Blonde? Bubble? Ice? Hand bonded?

Point is cannabis is a drug which can have wildly opposing effects depending on what kind you consume - or even how you ingest it...

tryptych
10-05-2006, 01:45 PM
Hash is far from super heavy coma effect. I had hash recently for the first time in 15 years, and it was a *TERRIFIC*. Came on strong, tapered off nicely, and I was nice and mellow, no paranoia at all. And I felt completely fine the next morning. It was WAY milder than yr average skunk that bludgeons you, wears of, and then you want more in an addictive cycle, to the point you get a headache.

Placebo.

And like droid says, "has" is far to broad a category. There is some evidence that THC/CBD ratios produces different subjective effects, and in your "typical" hash, the ratio is going to be different to a "typical" skunk.

But all this "skunk is evil and addictive" is pure bollocks - it's drug war propaganda, plain and simple. There's absolutely no scientific evidence to back it up, and if you look at the people delivering this message, they are always government/anti-drug crusaders. green smack? please, that's straight out of the Daily Mail...

sherief
10-05-2006, 03:41 PM
I'm intrigued by the fact that this discussion is in the "Thought" section...

gek-opel
10-05-2006, 06:14 PM
Padraig nails it with Psychedelic Fascism.

And others for the way in which nowadays skunk basically = the cheapest way to get as fucked as possible in the shortest amount of time. Its completely nihilistic and utterly boring and pointless... But there's almost nothing psychedelic in that, its about as psychedelic as crushing a brick into yr head...

tho I remember sensi fondly...

The paranoia effects of weed are almost its most interesting area, that sense of total objectivity, where you are watching the scene about you as if it were a film you are analysing, replaying each agonising moment of cliche, each mind-numbing thing said, every banality of the moment magnified.

D84
10-05-2006, 06:37 PM
Padraig nails it with Psychedelic Fascism.
Care to unpack it for the rest of us mortals?

No offence Padraig but the following is particularly opaque:


I share Mark's position on drugydum as "psychedelic fascism" [Kubrick], as fundamental to abstract pomo Kapitalism's condition of workable possibility

I'm guessing that's short-hand for more complex concepts..?

bassnation
10-05-2006, 08:39 PM
Care to unpack it for the rest of us mortals?

No offence Padraig but the following is particularly opaque:


I share Mark's position on drugydum as "psychedelic fascism" [Kubrick], as fundamental to abstract pomo Kapitalism's condition of workable possibility

I'm guessing that's short-hand for more complex concepts..?

i sometimes wonder whether some users here are really AI crit theory bots pumping out automated gibberish that no-one dares question just in case everyone thinks they are stupid.

DJ PIMP
10-05-2006, 09:01 PM
its not good to be lean the whole time.everything in moderation. including moderation.

gek-opel
10-05-2006, 09:09 PM
I took it to mean that it was a necessary functional element of capitalism, (as a system by which revolutionary counter-hegemonic energies could be nullified) but the stuff about linking it to post 60s babyboomer/hippie takeover (ie- Gates/Blair) muddies the waters a little- perhaps that bit is a demonstration that those associated with drug-fueled counterculture (tho very, very loosely) are now the leaders and chief architects of late capital. But I think that their links to psychedelics themselves are pretty damn tenuous.

zhao
10-05-2006, 10:50 PM
very late to this thread... but I started smoking weed early in life if that makes up for it :)

don't know if someone else already covered this but when I smoked heavily for about 10 years, the Buddha was anything but sedative for me - I would literally bounce off of the walls with creative energy when stoned - I became obsessive with making stuff, drawings, paintings, graphics, mixtapes, anything visual or aural. the thought of spacing out in front of the TV is absolutely horrifying! (atleast before the crash, which would come hours and hours later. but I always preferred to work until I collapse into a deep sleep anyway).

I would actually plan out all the projects I wanted to do before smoking, like get the paints ready, make a list of records I want to use, etc., to make the most of the precious, precious high time.

and ofcourse it made sex and dancing and all that very good too but it was mainly a geek-out in the studio thing for me. really miss the feeling sometimes... (getting misty eyed)

sixbillionbodies
11-05-2006, 12:00 AM
I think it's interesting to see the different reactions it causes. Some people have that couch consignment and others tend to buzz. I'm of the latter category, and this is why I have a somewhat ambivalent relation to the stuff, because when I smoke these days then it means no sleep for fucking hours. I get creative, though, and generally it's quite productive. I love to read when very stoned and I was monged out of my fucking mind when writing the bulk of my work for university last year. Mania, my friends, is your friend: there's nothing like a perceived increase in ability when it comes to sustaining the motivation to keep working. Just make sure you revise when straight. Or drunk, at the very least.

zhao
11-05-2006, 01:27 AM
oooo I could never read while stoned... words mean nothing to me in that state... but colors, shapes and sounds take on new dimensions. same here, if I smoke after dinner it's no sleep until 3 AM. damn all this talk is making me... :rolleyes:

Padraig
11-05-2006, 03:12 AM
... If you want to preach about the evils of weed or whatever, fine - sure they exist: like many other things in life there are pitfalls - but try it first. Smoke a reefer, take a trip or pill or whatever and then come back and tell us whether you feel more comfortable about capitalism, or you find the supermarkets or advertising more seductive.

I've written what I think will be your answer on the back of a postage stamp and sealed it in an envelope to be opened when you report back. ;)

Your patronising innocence and strawman construction here is indeed charming. Drug culture [the capitalist world's largest industry] , both the official pharmaceutical one and the dissident narcissistic disavowing one - is capitalism at its destructive purest. Supermarkets and advertising not bad enough for you, not sufficiently seductive?

Envelope is Postage Pre-paid :http://www.postcardsfrom.com/gfx/tnbird.gif

satanmcnugget
11-05-2006, 06:15 AM
absolutely spot-on, Padraig...drugs are the (not-so-new) slavery...and many of the people who were smoking blunts in the 60s and talking about liberation now work for the CIA and the FDA, and the cops, etc....

thing is, though, that the reason drugs are such a HUGE international market is that PEOPLE LIKE TO GET HIGH (probably almost as much as they like to eat)

given that, using the generic phrase "drugs" to describe and talk about ALL drugs is far too simplistic


while agreeing with you, i also have to say that im far more friendly towards pot use than, let's say, crack/cocaine use....buying/using pot is probably about as ethically problematic (even for anti-capitalists) as buying a hamburger/car/house/television


none of these things are all that cool when really analyzed (opened up my wallet and saw all the blood, etc...), bu they are things that people do every day and almost HAVE to do everyday

im an anti-capitalist and hate the world of work and money...but i go to work every single day of my life...and while most of my money goes towards such decadent luxuries as rent, food, etc., the fact of the matter is that i like a lil money in my pocket....id RATHER live in a society with NO MONEY, though (godless commie that iam)

but it's ALL a matter of degrees, too...and we are all freaking trapped in this nut-house with no seeming way out

so, if someone wants to smoke a lil weed, well......shrugz...who cares?...so they shoved an extra ten-dollars in the pocket of the man? wow

now, crack/cocaine?....well, do that too, if it makes your day...but if you want to talk about slavery, THAT might be a far more rewarding path to criticize from the perspective of an anti-capitalist

SIZZLE
11-05-2006, 11:14 AM
As far as the people talking about the effect they get from weed, it's worth noting that after a certain period of heavy use (I'd say a year or two of smoking every day would do it) the effect of the drug basically flips. While it earlier made you feel sleepy, lethargic, laughing at nothing, etc it can now make you feel alert, hyperactive, inspired and more 'awake' than when you are not stoned.
All of you who complain of not being able to sleep, this is a clear indicator of this change, I've got it too which is why I've looked into it. The problem with this is that your system has adjusted to having these chemicals in your system so that when you are not smoking you are experiencing depressed functioning, which can seriously enforce the addiction cycle, making you want to smoke in the morning, etc. I have been smoking heavily (every day) for more than five years now and I feel this process very acutely. I do still enjoy smoking and do enjoy the 'charged' feeling I get after my first smoke of the day (diminishing returns after that) but am not a 'weed optimist' I don't think that any drug is worth attributing things like creativity, artistic development, etc to it. I know I'll hear from some of the E, LSD and Herb evangelists on here about this but I think that the drugs are usually incidental and most good work happens in spite rather than because of them. I certainly wouldn't say that smoking herb enhances my creativity, it FEELS like it does and will get me enthusiastic about working and I'll feel that what I've done is amazing but the morning after re-appraisal often holds nasty surprises, I'd say about 50 percent of the time. Usually in the first hour or two after the first smoke of the day I get very active, inspired etc but this is inevitably followed by the long slow tapering off into stupor, compulsive eating, TV watching etc. Smoking more helps, but with definite diminishing returns. I've found often that I'll get that brilliant rush, start something and then watch it degenerate into rubbish as my buzz wears off and I no longer feel excited about it.

As far as K-Punk's article I think there are some truths in there but criticizing weed without ever having smoked is like criticizing a book you've only heard about from others, basically weak. If he wanted to make an informed critique that people who smoke would take seriously he would have to engage with his subject and try smoking Otherwise he's basically preaching to the converted and will certainly not reach people like me. I do feel that a critical discussion about herb is important though, too often people adopt the 'it's a harmless herb from the earth' attitude which I think is idiotic. Weed is a drug like any other and depending on your approach to using it can also be very damaging to life, health, sanity etc. Regarding the rasta approach to smoking, talk to a few people who live that lifestyle and you will learn that theirs is not always an uncritical attitude either, many, especially older people have health problems related to smoking but feel addicted and unable to stop. Lee Perry is also known to have taken breaks of several months from smoking because he worried about it's effect on his creativity.

The only drug I can reccomend without qualification is COFFEE! Sizzling mud of life, I don't know where I would be without you. Talk about a drug that enhances creativity, I've made way more good music on coffee than I have when smoking.

zhao
11-05-2006, 11:38 AM
Drug culture [the capitalist world's largest industry] , both the official pharmaceutical one and the dissident narcissistic disavowing one - is capitalism at its destructive purest.

well sure, this is the point Hubert Selby Jr. made with Requiem For a Dream, a portrayal of the parallel self deception and descent into destruction of mother and son.

but while capitalism may want us to be asleep, unaware, and addicted, with no autonomy of thought or action, at the same time it wants us to be productive, to unwaveringly conform and participate in the official culture, and most of all whole-heartedly believe in the dominant ideology and take all of its illusions for granted.

reefer smoking can be a serious impediment to the bold and italicised portion of the above. and IMHO it is part of the reasons why it has been a corner stone of the anti-establishment "scene" (however problematic it is), and why it is still illegal (with alcohol being the preferred and sanctioned vice).

drugs can be used toward either end - zombify or awaken to new ways of perceiving reality -depends on the user and how it is used.

D84
11-05-2006, 01:31 PM
Your patronising innocence and strawman construction here is indeed charming.
Drug culture [the capitalist world's largest industry] , both the official pharmaceutical one and the dissident narcissistic disavowing one - is capitalism at its destructive purest.
OK I'll drop the patronising innocence if you drop the hyperbole.

Capitalism and the corporate structure work towards monopolies. The most lucrative ones are those for goods everyone wants: food, clothing, transport etc. Cottage industries aren't that interesting to Capital. I also believe that some drugs are probably illegal because that way the industry is tax free...

I don't think the Opium Wars killed nearly as many people as the Petrol Wars.

Are you willing to give up your car habit?

http://www.seattlewebcrafters.com/chadlupkes/articles/oiladd1.jpg
(Or, like me, can you only afford public transport?)

Look around. Nothing has changed the face of this planet - and the air - for the worse more than the automobile and petroleum cartels.

Can you say the same about marijuana?

It's a strange kind of metonymy where the goods are blamed for the evils of the system.


Supermarkets and advertising not bad enough for you, not sufficiently seductive?
I think you misunderstood what I was trying to imply, namely that smoking weed will *not* make you find supermarkets, shopping centres and advertising seductive at all...

The postage stamp remark was my fancy-pants way of saying that I think your answer would be "no": the letters N O fit nicely on the back of a stamp...

I'm not an optimistic smoker either and try to vary my smoking habits as much as possible. But yeah it is addictive (esp. the tobacco!). On the other hand, I find it impossible to enjoy if I have too many commitments, too much work and too much stress - like any other pastime.

The effect for varies greatly depending on variety, and frequency of use - the effect is sharper after a good break and then yeah diminshing returns until bleah and another break...

gek-opel
11-05-2006, 04:58 PM
Its not that drug use (either medicinal or recreational) is innately bad. Hell, you could probably get away with shooting smack once a year, with no ill effects... however...

The current context in which they exist (both legal and illegal) is a vital cog in the machinery of capital. The culture in illegal drug consumption is a grotesque parody of consumerism, with its hideous braggadocio, "won't get fooled again" ironic distancing and self delusional denial, vast international networks leading to the exploitation of the third world.... so D84 when he says "It's a strange kind of metonymy where the goods are blamed for the evils of the system" is correct, however the system (capitalism) has deliberately or inadvertently created cultures which are destructive and abusive on many levels, surrounding these products. SO while they are not themselves to blame, it is difficult to engage with them on a different level (outside of the cultures surrounding them).

In other societies recreational drugs were used in spiritual ritualistic contexts, rather than the all-consuming context of consumer-capitalism. This approach would make more sense. The difficulty is engaging with these products in a way which is not distorted by the underlying thought processes between consumerist-subject and consumable-object under late capitalism.

Slothrop
11-05-2006, 05:22 PM
The current context in which they exist (both legal and illegal) is a vital cog in the machinery of capital. The culture in illegal drug consumption is a grotesque parody of consumerism, with its hideous braggadocio, "won't get fooled again" ironic distancing and self delusional denial, vast international networks leading to the exploitation of the third world....
Roll on legalization so we can buy Fair Trade weed in Oxfam shops, then. Or can you smoke without helping out the International Kapitalist Konspiracy if you grow your own?


The only drug I can reccomend without qualification is COFFEE! Sizzling mud of life, I don't know where I would be without you. Talk about a drug that enhances creativity, I've made way more good music on coffee than I have when smoking.
As far as I'm concerned, for appreciating out-there music nothing beats the relaxed but alert vibe you get from a nice cup of tea

gek-opel
11-05-2006, 05:29 PM
I was previously sold on coffee as the uber creative drug (well that and Amphetamine, but coffee slightly less harsh on the old system...) but even coffee taken to extremes can lead to problems... I think one of Kraftwerk had a coffee-induced heart attack...!

zhao
11-05-2006, 07:16 PM
The difficulty is engaging with these products in a way which is not distorted by the underlying thought processes between consumerist-subject and consumable-object under late capitalism.

good point mathew... I mean gek-opel.

I went on a juice fast for 45 days last year. no solids, only vegetable and fruit juices, mixed with a little herbal powder. I had unmistakably higher than normal energy levels, ability to focus and concentrate, and did not need to sleep as much.

point being: food is a drug and an addiction. we are addicted to the pacifying chemicals our brains produce in reaction to all food (not only fatty foods), and we are addicted to the emotional satisfaction of eating.

what our bodies need (minerals and vitamins and a tiny amount of protean) are not found in 99% of the food we eat, which are instead filled with things which slow us down, give us health problems, cause deadly diseases, but taste good.

thus food can be convincingly argued as a much worse addiction than any kind of narcotic - number of users, and lack of awareness of its side effects - fatigue, bowl problems, colon cancer, pre-mature aging, etc - and taking these symptoms for granted, as "natural".

gek-opel
11-05-2006, 07:32 PM
Sadly I agree, and the current attitude of food-neurosis/obsession that is doing the rounds of late doesn't appear to be helping- people are thinking more about the food they consume, however, Junk Food is now elevated to status of "guilty pleasure", and therefore a treat, just like crack cocaine... And bowel problems are no laughing matter...

Troy
11-05-2006, 08:33 PM
(I finally found the K-Punk article referenced in the Thread Title. It took a while, because on the internet 3/12/04 sometimes means March 12th and sometimes means December 3rd....)

I think that K-punk is trying to describe a cat by looking at a dog. One puff of a joint can reveal insights and connections that might never be made by a sober dissatisfied anti-Kapital warrior working intently all life long to assimilate the entire output of all Western philosophical thought. It’s somewhat like getting the benefit of meditation and the breaking of discriminating thought... like solving a Koan...

Philosophy means “love of wisdom”, and all true wisdom is gained by first-hand experience.

tryptych
11-05-2006, 11:26 PM
In other societies recreational drugs were used in spiritual ritualistic contexts, rather than the all-consuming context of consumer-capitalism. This approach would make more sense. The difficulty is engaging with these products in a way which is not distorted by the underlying thought processes between consumerist-subject and consumable-object under late capitalism.


And this also happens in Western societies. My problem with this later discussion in this thread is the portrayal of "drug culture" as a homogenous mass. Yes, "drug culture...is capitalism at its destructive purest" if by "drug culture" we mean the general usage and mechanisms of supply of coke, E, heroin and cannabis.

However, this is not the case with the niche undeground use of psychedelics. Mescaline and DMT are prime examples - almost impossible to buy from drug dealers, and vastly overpriced when available, there are plenty of enthusiasts who extract their own from plant sources for relatively low cost. Many of these people also participate in some degress of spirtual ritual, whether imported from indigenous cultures (like the ayahuasca churches of brazil) or of other, more individual syncretic kinds.

"Designer" phenethylamines and tryptamines fall between the two previous categories - lab manufactured on a small scale as cottage industries for legal ones, or illicitly made and distributed through limited networks of interested parties, with minimal profit margins (compared to cocaine etc). Depending on the particular drugs subjective effects and the user group, there use will be more or less "spiritual" on one hand or facilitating of the acceptance of consumer-capitalism on the other.

Padraig
12-05-2006, 09:08 AM
Sherief: "I'm intrigued by the fact that this discussion is in the "Thought" section..."

Yes, its vintage aside, it might be more suitably positioned under Biology without Biopolitics? , the thread you started recently, only that it too is in the "Thought" section :-)

Have a Smoke

http://amico.davidrumsey.com/images/amico/Size0/D10024/JPGM.05323201.jpghttp://www.getty.edu/art/collections/images/l/05334101.jpg http://www.artnet.com/Magazine/news/krockow/Images/krockow10-20-5.jpg
The Deluxe Man Ray Selection

Gek-opel: "Padraig nails it with Psychedelic Fascism. "

The term originated in 1972, in Stanley Kubrick's response to liberal nihilist Fred M. Hechinger's New York Times article accusing A Clockwork Orange of being "the essence of fascism" :

"Hechinger asks, 'Is this an uncharitable reading of...the film's thesis?' Mr. Hechinger asks himself with unwanted if momentary doubt. I would reply that it is an irrelevant reading of the thesis, in fact an insensitive and inverted reading of the thesis, which, so far from advocating that fascism be given a second chance, warns against the new psychedelic fascism -- the eye-popping, multimedia, quadrasonic, drug-oriented conditioning of human beings by other beings -- which many believe will usher in the forfeiture of human citizenship and the beginning of zombiedom. "

Gek-opel: "I took it ["psychedelic fascism" as fundamental to abstract pomo Kapitalism's condition of workable possibility] to mean that it was a necessary functional element of capitalism, (as a system by which revolutionary counter-hegemonic energies could be nullified) but the stuff about linking it to post 60s babyboomer/hippie takeover (ie- Gates/Blair) muddies the waters a little- perhaps that bit is a demonstration that those associated with drug-fueled counterculture (tho very, very loosely) are now the leaders and chief architects of late capital. But I think that their links to psychedelics themselves are pretty damn tenuous."

Yes, it makes capitalism more "bearable" (by pretending not really to be a part of it, disavowing it) while conditioning one to its fundamental psychic cause, its psychic modus operandi. I take your point about the post-60s linking being somewhat ambiguous, though I was referring to ex-hippies, of which a larger proportion relative to the overall population are proponents of liberal capitalism [and I might add that the majority of people I've known who were heavy drug-users, a few of them pushers to boot, particularly in college and environs, are now - the ones that survived, that is, - conservative, fully-paid-up endorsers of same, as much as they might like to still imagine otherwise].

Satanmcnugget: " ... given that, using the generic phrase "drugs" to describe and talk about ALL drugs is far too simplistic. "

For sure, yes, and I'm reminded here of Sherief's question in the Biopolitics thread: "I'm not here to praise biopolitics, but to bury it. The question I have is, assuming there is escape or emancipation from this vast biopolitical paradigm, what Agamben gloomily calls the "nomos of the camps," how do we save medicine? [ ... ] Then, perhaps I/We can rephrase the question- How does one protect/save life without separating bios from zoe? Can we perform medical procedures without the political procedure of exception?"

I'm also reminded of seeing the late Dennis Potter during his last TV interview scooping back glassfulls of liquid morphine to ease the excruciating pain of his cancer-riddled body, or further back still to Freud's discovery of cocaine as an anaesthetic [for which some neurologist took all the credit] ... and, as Gek-opel concludes concerning the perils of drugs under commodity fetishism, "In other societies recreational drugs were used in spiritual ritualistic contexts, rather than the all-consuming context of consumer-capitalism. This approach would make more sense. The difficulty is engaging with these products in a way which is not distorted by the underlying thought processes between consumerist-subject and consumable-object under late capitalism." But the problem, of course, is the "all-consuming context of consumer-capitalism" which by definition then problematizes other "approaches."

Have Another Smoke

http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/cartoon/images/Popeye/popeye-cigarettes.JPG
... From Spinach to Candy



Sizzle: "As far as K-Punk's article I think there are some truths in there but criticizing weed without ever having smoked is like criticizing a book you've only heard about from others, basically weak. If he wanted to make an informed critique that people who smoke would take seriously he would have to engage with his subject and try smoking. Otherwise he's basically preaching to the converted and will certainly not reach people like me."

Theory shouldn't, however unwittingly, be confused with subjectivized, anecdotal "personal experience," which is invariably self-justifying as it ignores the palimpsest of social forces that ultimately determine it. Try your approach with War: you must first engage with war-mongerers and try slaughtering in order to be able to make an informed critique that people who slaughter can take seriously, etc.

Confucious: "... but while capitalism may want us to be asleep, unaware, and addicted, with no autonomy of thought or action, at the same time it wants us to be productive, to unwaveringly conform and participate in the official culture, and most of all whole-heartedly believe in the dominant ideology and take all of its illusions for granted."


Yes, that is its official narrative, broadcast by all its institutions, though it clearly isn't how ideology works. What makes it work [and here I agree with Zizek] is the act of disavowal, is the "awareness" that we do not fully conform to it, is the sense of distance, the belief that lurking outside of it is an autonomous, real and authentic human being, a belief that leads to all kinds of fetishistic practices [ from drugs to spiritual fads to the quest for Self] while all the time leaving ideology fully intact. And yes, capitalism is pretty successful at doing this, keeping us, as you say, asleep, unaware, and addicted. Without the - widespread - belief in that underlying "authentic, trans-ideological hard kernal" of precious selfdom ideology cannot work. Pass the reefer, dude ... :-)

And Then Have Some More

http://www.paulwhkan.com/abm/abm021208/abm021208-033.jpghttp://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39068000/jpg/_39068641_dsc0104.jpg

Sarah Lucas, Nature Abhors a Vacuum, 1998, cigarettes
... Damien Hirst, Horror at Home, 1995

droid
12-05-2006, 09:17 AM
As other posters have mentioned I think the suggestion that the spiritual dimension to drug use has been utterly subsumed by hedonistic consumer capitalism is false, it jarrs utterly with my own experiences, and with those of most of the people I know. Theres some truth to it Im sure, but It's too polarised a view in my opinion.

And might I also convey my shock that Padraig supports this theory. I had him down as the kind of guy who sprinkles acid onto his cornflakes in the morning and a few drops of DMT into his bedside cocoa! ;)

Padraig
12-05-2006, 09:20 AM
Sizzle: "The only drug I can recommend without qualification is COFFEE! Sizzling mud of life, I don't know where I would be without you. Talk about a drug that enhances creativity, I've made way more good music on coffee than I have when smoking."

I particularly liked this quote from Balzac on coffee: [via Charlotte Street (http://charlotte-street.blogspot.com/2006/03/balzac-on-coffee.html):]


"Coffee is a great power in my life; I have observed its effects on an epic scale. ....... coffee sets the blood in motion and stimulates the muscles; it accelerates the digestive processes, chases away sleep, and gives us the capacity to engage a little longer in the exercise of our intellects. ...Coffee changes over time. Rossini has personally experienced some of these effects as, of course, have I. "Coffee," Rossini told me, "is an affair of fifteen or twenty days; just the right amount of time, fortunately, to write an opera." This is true. But the length of time during which one can enjoy the benefits of coffee can be extended. For a while - for a week or two at most - you can obtain the right amount of stimulation with one, then two cups of coffee brewed from beans that have been crushed with gradually increasing force and infused with hot water. For another week, by decreasing the amount of water used, by pulverizing the coffee even more finely, and by infusing the grounds with cold water, you can continue to obtain the same cerebral power. When you have produced the finest grind with the least water possible, you double the dose by drinking two cups at a time; particularly vigorous constitutions can tolerate three cups. In this manner one can continue working for several more days. Finally, I have discovered a horrible, rather brutal method that I recommend only to men of excessive vigor, men with thick black hair and skin covered with liver spots, men with big square hands and legs shaped like bowling pins. It is a question of using finely pulverized, dense coffee, cold and anhydrous, consumed on an empty stomach. ...this coffee falls into your stomach ... it brutalizes these beautiful stomach linings as a wagon master abuses ponies; the plexus becomes inflamed; sparks shoot all the way up to the brain. From that moment on, everything becomes agitated. ... Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop; the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination's orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink - for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water, as a battle opens and concludes with black powder. ...When you have reached the point of consuming this kind of coffee, then become exhausted and decide that you really must have more,... you will fall into horrible sweats, suffer feebleness of the nerves, and undergo episodes of severe drowsiness. I don't know what would happen if you kept at it then: a sensible nature counseled me to stop at this point, seeing that immediate death was not otherwise my fate. To be restored, one must begin with recipes made with milk and chicken and other white meats: finally the tension on the harp strings eases, and one returns to the relaxed, meandering, simple-minded, and cryptogamous life of the retired bourgeoisie. The state coffee puts one in when it is drunk on an empty stomach under these magisterial conditions produces a kind of animation that looks like anger: one's voice rises, one's gestures suggest unhealthy impatience: one wants everything to proceed with the speed of ideas; one becomes brusque, ill-tempered about nothing... One assumes that everyone is equally lucid. A man of spirit must therefore avoid going out in public. I discovered this singular state ... some friends, with whom I had gone out to the country, witnessed me arguing about everything, haranguing with monumental bad faith. ... We found the problem soon enough: coffee wanted its victim."
Nescafe, Maxwell House anyone?

As a footnote we might add that Balzac, following an addiction that led to him consuming up to 50 toxic cuppas a day, eventually took to his bed - and died of Caffeine poisoning.

http://images.allmoviephoto.com/1999_Eyes_Wide_Shut/EWS_Nicole_Kidman_051.jpg

...... "I've an idea! The most important thing we should do right now - let's go home to our cuddly bedroom and smoke more pot and stuff! "

Padraig
12-05-2006, 09:34 AM
As other posters have mentioned I think the suggestion that the spiritual dimension to drug use has been utterly subsumed by hedonistic consumer capitalism is false, it jarrs utterly with my own experiences, and with those of most of the people I know. Theres some truth to it Im sure, but It's too polarised a view in my opinion.

And might I also convey my shock that Padraig supports this theory. I had him down as the kind of guy who sprinkles acid onto his cornflakes in the morning and a few drops of DMT into his bedside cocoa! ;)

Er ... um, but I still like William Hurt's drug-induced, sensory-deprivation epiphanies in Ken Russell's 1984 Altered States, I do I do I do. Apologies Druid, but I don't eat cornflakes in the morning, thought I do recall obsessively gazing up-close - for what seemed like a life-time - at the world's largest orange once, owing to a never-since-repeated lucy-in-the-skies trip ... SHOCK HORROR, "spiritual dimension" revealed!

droid
12-05-2006, 10:06 AM
Er ... um, but I still like William Hurt's drug-induced, sensory-deprivation epiphanies in Ken Russell's 1984 Altered States, I do I do I do. Apologies Druid, but I don't eat cornflakes in the morning, thought I do recall obsessively gazing up-close - for what seemed like a life-time - at the world's largest orange once, owing to a never-since-repeated lucy-in-the-skies trip ... SHOCK HORROR, "spiritual dimension" revealed!

http://weareie.com/assets/images/smilies/laugh.gif Well if you really dont do drugs - you seriously need to start!

What are you doing posting at this hour btw? I thought you turned to stone once the sun came up like the rest of the goblins...

tryptych
12-05-2006, 10:45 AM
. I had him down as the kind of guy who sprinkles acid onto his cornflakes in the morning and a few drops of DMT into his bedside cocoa! ;)

DMT is not, of course, orally active on its own - it's cleaved by MAOs in the gut and never makes it to the brain.

/drug pedant :)

droid
12-05-2006, 12:02 PM
DMT is not, of course, orally active on its own - it's cleaved by MAOs in the gut and never makes it to the brain.

/drug pedant :)

Well duh! I wouldve assumed he would have pre-mixed it with beta-carbolines! :D

D84
12-05-2006, 12:09 PM
: The term originated in 1972, in Stanley Kubrick's response :

"the thesis, which, so far from advocating that fascism be given a second chance, warns against the new psychedelic fascism -- the eye-popping, multimedia, quadrasonic, drug-oriented conditioning of human beings by other beings -- which many believe will usher in the forfeiture of human citizenship and the beginning of zombiedom. "

Good movie - great director but if that really is the case imho that film makes more sense as a mediation on violence and society..


Yes, it makes capitalism more "bearable" (by pretending not really to be a part of it, disavowing it) while conditioning one to its fundamental psychic cause, its psychic modus operandi.

If you mean that it's because people a getting a buzz from seeing something on TV and buying it - people don't need drugs for that. I've worked in retail for a long time - not all of it out of choice - and I can assure you that there's a lot of people wandering around shops and shopping centres in a trance (and an arrogant one at that) even without the help of drugs... There's a name for it I'm sure.


I take your point about the post-60s linking being somewhat ambiguous, though I was referring to ex-hippies, of which a larger proportion relative to the overall population are proponents of liberal capitalism [and I might add that the majority of people I've known who were heavy drug-users, a few of them pushers to boot, particularly in college and environs, are now - the ones that survived, that is, - conservative, fully-paid-up endorsers of same, as much as they might like to still imagine otherwise].

I was thinking about this today walking around uni and my main contention with it is that it doesn't take account of a simple class analysis...

Let's look at the backgrounds of some of the people you mention:

Bill Gates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_gates) :

William Henry Gates III ... was born in Seattle, Washington to William H. Gates, Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates. His family was wealthy; his father was a prominent lawyer, his mother was the first female Regent of the University of Washington, and his maternal grandfather, J. W. Maxwell, was a national bank president....

According to the 1992 biography Hard Drive, Maxwell set up a million-dollar trust fund for Gates the year he was born.

Richard Branson (http://www.angelfire.com/hero/supermen/ch03.html) :

Branson was the oldest of three siblings. His father, Edward (Ted) Branson was an attorney, in the tradition of the Branson family ancestry...

Tonee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_blair) :

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair... spent his early childhood in Adelaide, Australia, where his father was a lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Adelaide... Blair spent the remainder of his childhood years in Durham, England, his father being by then a law lecturer at Durham University. After attending Durham's Chorister School, Blair was educated at Fettes College in Edinburgh (sometimes called the "Eton of Scotland"), where he met Charlie Falconer, whom he later appointed as Lord Chancellor... After Fettes, he read law at St John's College, Oxford.

George W Bush:
Son of Bush sr, ex-president, old money, Yale, Skull & Bones etc etc.

Geldof:
Couldn't find much to prove my thesis here but what can you say about a man who accepts a knighthood?

So I think a more convincing theory about their "conversion" to the conservative capitalist elite is that they were always a part of it: they were what some people would call trustafarians. In other words they never changed and simply taking drugs won't change a person.


and, as Gek-opel concludes concerning the perils of drugs under commodity fetishism, "In other societies recreational drugs were used in spiritual ritualistic contexts, rather than the all-consuming context of consumer-capitalism. This approach would make more sense.

Well, maybe what's happening is that drugs are being used by those people you deride in a spiritual context but standing in that spiritual space instead is Capital.


"Theory shouldn't, however unwittingly, be confused with subjectivized, anecdotal "personal experience," which is invariably self-justifying as it ignores the palimpsest of social forces that ultimately determine it. Try your approach with War: you must first engage with war-mongerers and try slaughtering in order to be able to make an informed critique that people who slaughter can take seriously, etc. "


But we all commit small acts of violence everyday when we interact socially esp. in a capitalist context - eg. if you work somewhere where you have to exert some kind of authority or discipline over people. So in some sense we can make an informed critique on similar grounds.

johneffay
12-05-2006, 12:58 PM
simply taking drugs won't change a person.

Unless, of course, they take enough to give them a habit or tip them over into psychosis ;)

I have a real problem with the distinction being drawn between recreational and spiritual drug use. Whilst I broadly agree with Padraig's claims about drugs and capitalism, I simply don't understand this comment:


"In other societies recreational drugs were used in spiritual ritualistic contexts, rather than the all-consuming context of consumer-capitalism. This approach would make more sense.

Why would such an approach make more sense? Isn't this simply buying into the idea that altering your brain chemistry allows you to see the world more clearly? If you think that religious rituals actually do this, then I suppose that is at least consistent, but I would suggest that the use of mind-altering substances in the context of such rituals is simply a more efficient way of brainwashing individuals into buying into the religious elements being pushed. In fact drug use in such contexts has a lot in common with the effects that you identify within capitalism.

Something that always amuses me about the 'drugs are spiritual' argument is the way in which certain drugs are held up over others as vectors of spirituality for no good reason, e.g. the plants versus laboratory products argument: If the stuff made in labs has a more intense effect, how could it fail to be more spiritual? I think the whole thing is basically down to people over-romanticising the chemicals of their choice.

Furthermore, there are some forms of drug use which are never seen as spiritual, but why not? Perhaps you can argue the case for things like tranquilisers cutting you off from the spiritual, but how about glue? Intense glue sniffing can create sensations easily on a par in terms of derangement with low to medium grade LSD, and yet nobody claims that Evostick was given to us by God to aid in our evolution.

luka
12-05-2006, 01:25 PM
can't say i've ever known lsd to cause 'derrangement'

luka
12-05-2006, 01:26 PM
ok, thats not strictly true. people are in mental hospitals cos of that stuff. what i mean is, i certainyl never took acid to be deranged and i don't think derangement is an inevitable consequence of taking acid.

droid
12-05-2006, 01:32 PM
Intense glue sniffing can create sensations easily on a par in terms of derangement with low to medium grade LSD, and yet nobody claims that Evostick was given to us by God to aid in our evolution.

Oh how I wish that were true... :(

Also, Evostik hasnt been growing all over the world for the last few million years, so it was hardly going to aid anyone's evolution now was it?

Grievous Angel
12-05-2006, 02:10 PM
John Effay, sorry Fella but it doesn't sound like you really know anything about drugs, certainly nothing about the spiritual or religious usage, and based on the opinion stated about glue sniffing and LSD, not much about the pharmacology either.

Just my opinion like, based on a fair amount of reading on the subject...

tryptych
12-05-2006, 02:12 PM
ok, thats not strictly true. people are in mental hospitals cos of that stuff. what i mean is, i certainyl never took acid to be deranged and i don't think derangement is an inevitable consequence of taking acid.

There is no established causal link between LSD and mental health problems - you often hear about people who claim that LSD therapy in the 60s-70s destroyed their lives, gave them psychosis etc. But the studies that were conducted at the time (by Cohen and others), over sample sizes of around 1,000 participents showed a lower incidence of psychosis etc than in the general population.

Subjectively, I'd also agree that LSD doesn't cause derangement.

luka
12-05-2006, 02:41 PM
all i have is anecdotal evidence,plenty of people have been left institutionalised after trying hallucengenic drugs. causal relationships are hard to establish,even for something like smoking and lung cancer, but i think, in this case, there probabl is one.

luka
12-05-2006, 02:44 PM
but take acid and mushrooms by all means. they're the best drugs going.

tryptych
12-05-2006, 02:48 PM
Unless, of course, they take enough to give them a habit or tip them over into psychosis ;)

I have a real problem with the distinction being drawn between recreational and spiritual drug use. Whilst I broadly agree with Padraig's claims about drugs and capitalism, I simply don't understand this comment:



Why would such an approach make more sense? Isn't this simply buying into the idea that altering your brain chemistry allows you to see the world more clearly? If you think that religious rituals actually do this, then I suppose that is at least consistent, but I would suggest that the use of mind-altering substances in the context of such rituals is simply a more efficient way of brainwashing individuals into buying into the religious elements being pushed. In fact drug use in such contexts has a lot in common with the effects that you identify within capitalism.

Something that always amuses me about the 'drugs are spiritual' argument is the way in which certain drugs are held up over others as vectors of spirituality for no good reason, e.g. the plants versus laboratory products argument: If the stuff made in labs has a more intense effect, how could it fail to be more spiritual? I think the whole thing is basically down to people over-romanticising the chemicals of their choice.

Furthermore, there are some forms of drug use which are never seen as spiritual, but why not? Perhaps you can argue the case for things like tranquilisers cutting you off from the spiritual, but how about glue? Intense glue sniffing can create sensations easily on a par in terms of derangement with low to medium grade LSD, and yet nobody claims that Evostick was given to us by God to aid in our evolution.

I agree/disagree with this.

I agree that there is too much made of the distinction between recreational and spiritual use - within modern psychedelic culture there is a strong strand of "psychedelic elitism" which values certain drugs and ways of using them more highly than others, and is extremely derogatory about other ways of use. I don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with recreational drug use, and experiences can be both recreational and "spirtual" at the same time.

As for Gek-Opal's comment (that you've misatributed to Padraig), I suppose the point is to be involved in ritualistic drug use which is outside of the context of capital. I think you're also making some unwarrented assumptions about the nature of the "religious" background that these rituals use. Taking the most prominant drug used in such contexts, ayahuasca, the indegenous use has nothing in the way of "religious elements being pushed" as we would understand them. Even in the various syncretic churches which use ayahuasca as a sacrement, such as the Santo Daime or the UDV, it is perfectly possible to partake of the ritual use without subsrcribing to the religious beliefs of the church - the emphasis tends to be on personal mystical experience (although note I am not endorsing these churches - I remain dubious of any organised religious groups).

As for why some drugs are deemed less useful than others for facilitating spritual/personal enlightenment, most psychedelic enthusiasts refer to "integration" - that is, how well the insights and experiences you have whilst under the influence can be applied in your everyday, non-drug life. The principle distinction to be made is between psychdelics and non-psychedelics. Stimulants (coke and amphetamines), tranqs (benzodiazepenes etc) and antidepressents (SSRIs etc) fall into a different class altogther. Psychedelics are distinguised both by pharmacology and subjective effects - although there is plenty of argument about which of these two is most important for categorising them.

Thus drugs which produce powerful, but confusing (and generally incommensurable with ordinary experience) states, such as solvents and ketamine, are looked down upon. These drugs usually have a high addictive componant too.

Ayahuasca, mushrooms, MDMA (outside the rave enviroment), LSD, mescaline, and various synthetic phenethylamine and tryptamine derivatives, are regarded as more useful in this sense, but note the context and setting is very important - moderate, careful use with long gaps to ponder and intergrate are favoured over the reckless abandon of using psychedelics as a means of escape (or to make the experience of capitalism bearable, like Padraig says - although this is not often stated explicitly).

All the above is not my personal position - It's just a strong vein of thought that persists within contemporary psychedelic culture. I would agree that plenty of people over-romanticise particular drugs or methods of use too, and this plays a huge part as a major componant of drug experience is shaped by your expectations and "set".

johneffay
12-05-2006, 02:58 PM
John Effay, sorry Fella but it doesn't sound like you really know anything about drugs, certainly nothing about the spiritual or religious usage, and based on the opinion stated about glue sniffing and LSD, not much about the pharmacology either.

Sorry Paul, but my comments are based upon close to thirty years of systematic and enthusiastic ingestion of any and every substance that has come my way. This includes a substantial amount of 'ritual and religious usage' with your TOPY buddies and a couple of other groups. I stand by my comments based upon my own experience. I wouldn't like to over-generalize too much ;) , but I do think that many people ascribe a 'spiritual' nature to their drugs of choice in order to justify a recreational lifestyle choice.

I think that to claim drugs of any kind are inherently 'spiritual' is fallacious. They are mind altering substances which may have specific effects in specific circumstances, but that is down to the circumstances as much as anything.

LSD and glue? I'm talking about subjective experiences rather than pharmacological action. I have done glue and then watched alien entities descend from helicopters and converse with me. I've also participated in Solstice rituals on LSD at sacred monuments: The effects were not that different.

As for my comment about derangement: I wasn't talking about insanity, but derangement as in a disordering of the senses. I take it as non-controversial that this is one of the effects of the ingestion of psychedelics.

luka
12-05-2006, 03:13 PM
30 years?!! is adolescence really supposed to last that long?

johneffay
12-05-2006, 03:17 PM
30 years?!! is adolescence really supposed to last that long?

I've had to work bloody hard to keep it going...

The worst bit is getting used to people saying "When are you going to grow up, John?"

luka
12-05-2006, 03:21 PM
in that case sir, you're an inspiration to us all.

martin
12-05-2006, 03:57 PM
Everyone who's posted on this thread (except me) should be sentenced to 72 hours community service.

Here are the facts about drugs for teenagers - Ecstasy? Only of any use if you fancy someone who normally wouldn't look at a fuckface like you - take it together and you're suddenly long lost soulmates. The downside is meeting cunts who wear sandals and want to talk to you about the first time they heard 'Papau New Guinea' while having a ritualistic circumcision in Ibiza.

Glue? Causes chronic acne and turns you into a BNP supporter. Grass? You're smoking herbs - grow up. Acid? Best given to someone you dislike, so you can have hours of fun pretending to be the devil, thus sending her / him into the realms of madness. Ketamine? Only fools and horses. Coke? Doesn't work -it's an urban myth! Drink 10 pints instead.

Which means the winner is amyl nitrate! The only true spiritual one, cos it feels like a heart attack at the gates of death, only without the painful bits.

IdleRich
12-05-2006, 04:19 PM
"Which means the winner is amyl nitrate! The only true spiritual one, cos it feels like a heart attack at the gates of death, only without the painful bits."
Always had a soft spot for this, along with the other ones you mentioned obviously but especially amyl.

tryptych
12-05-2006, 04:50 PM
Always had a soft spot for this, along with the other ones you mentioned obviously but especially amyl.

nitrous oxide is more fun, imo. although nitrous + amyl is the way to go... the nitrous anethestises you from the poppers headache..

johneffay
12-05-2006, 06:24 PM
As for Gek-Opal's comment (that you've misatributed to Padraig), I suppose the point is to be involved in ritualistic drug use which is outside of the context of capital. I think you're also making some unwarrented assumptions about the nature of the "religious" background that these rituals use.
Apologies to Padraig for the misattribution. To clarify: I fail to see a radical distinction between drug use within a religious/mystical or secular setting because in terms of the drug's actual action on one's neurophysiology, the results are roughly equivalent. However, there is certainly a distinction in perceived effects. This seems to indicate to me that there is nothing intrinsically spiritual about the drug(s) in question. The comment about brainwashing is more about my reaction to the majority of mystical/religious sects or whatever. I don't really want to get drawn into an argument about the validity of religion or mysticism.


As for why some drugs are deemed less useful than others for facilitating spritual/personal enlightenment, most psychedelic enthusiasts refer to "integration" - that is, how well the insights and experiences you have whilst under the influence can be applied in your everyday, non-drug life. The principle distinction to be made is between psychdelics and non-psychedelics. Stimulants (coke and amphetamines), tranqs (benzodiazepenes etc) and antidepressents (SSRIs etc) fall into a different class altogther. Psychedelics are distinguised both by pharmacology and subjective effects - although there is plenty of argument about which of these two is most important for categorising them.

Yes, I am aware of this argument and find it totally implausible. What sort of experience would I need to have in order to be unable to integrate it into my non-drug life? The only ones I can think of are those I cannot remember, such as being very heavily drunk. On the other hand, for example, if I learn that under large but not completely debilitating quantities of alcohol I become violent, is this not a useful personal insight into my own character and a learning experience which tells me to lay off the gin?

My basic point is that I do not believe that certain psychedelics should have the privileged status that they do with certain people. I agree that drugs can be useful under certain circumstances, but they are not necessary. I believe that my appreciation of music has been enhanced by my use of drugs, but I do not believe that my appreciation of music is better than K-Punk's (although I might question his taste from time to time ;) ). Therefore it is not necessary to take drugs in order to reach that point. Likewise with religious/mystical experiences.

I know that last paragraph sounds incredibly hackneyed, but I do think that it's true. As you may have guessed, I'm not anti-drugs, but I'm honest enough to accept that I take drugs to get fucked up; nothing more, nothing less.

gek-opel
12-05-2006, 06:33 PM
Its slightly different with the more hardcore psychedelics tho, I mean I know there are plenty who would use them as John would say to simply "get fucked up", but they are at least considerably less pleasurable (in a chemical sense) and their effects less programmatic and determined (IE more psychologically/situationally dependant), which means they are (I think) slightly less amenable to "productive" use by capitalism.

As for the old "drugs enhance music" idea, I have to disagree heavily here, having never found any positive effects (asides from cannabis, which simply makes EVERYTHING sound more spatially intriguing, as well as dulling certain other more critical faculties). All others simply appear to make the music fade into the background, or even to disappear all together... (perhaps this is a personal trait... numerous E-users obviously report improved sensitivity to musical information...)

Padraig
13-05-2006, 01:53 AM
http://www.mage.com/0934211647_cover.jpg

Immersed in current geopolitical developments, I've been leafing through this stimulating text, not that it has anything whatsoever to do with this thread or anything ...

The Pursuit of Pleasure
Drugs & Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500-1900


Author: Rudi Matthee
Format: Clothbound Hardcover,
366 page
6" x9"

ISBN 0-934211-64-7
Price: $39.5
Date: 2005

RUDI MATTHEE is Professor of History at the University of Delaware. He is the author of The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran: Silk for Silver, 1600–1730.


From ancient times to the present day, Iranian social, political, and economic life has been dramatically influenced by psychoactive agents. This book looks at the stimulants that, as put by a longtime resident of seventeenth-century Iran, Raphaël du Mans, provided Iranians with damagh, gave them a “kick,” got them into a good mood. By tracing their historical trajectory and the role they played in early modern Iranian society (1500–1900), Rudi Matthee takes a major step in extending contemporary debates on the role of drugs and stimulants in shaping the modern West.

At once panoramic and richly detailed, The Pursuit of Pleasure examines both the intoxicants known since ancient times—wine and opiates—and the stimulants introduced later—tobacco, coffee, and tea—from multiple angles. It brings together production, commerce, and consumption to reveal the forces behind the spread and popularity of these consumables, showing how Iranians adapted them to their own needs and tastes and integrated them into their everyday lives.

Matthee further employs psychoactive substances as a portal for a set of broader issues in Iranian history—most notably, the tension between religious and secular leadership. Faced with reality, Iran’s Shi`i ulama turned a blind eye to drug use as long as it stayed indoors and did not threaten the social order. Much of this flexibility remains visible underneath the uncompromising exterior of the current Islamic Republic.

luka
13-05-2006, 07:50 AM
i think john effay is totally wrong cos no one sniffs glue then grows dreads, ties little bells into their dreads and starts reading the vedas do they? no, never.

its the argument of a jaded person though defineitly which is unsuprising after 30 years of drug use. thats enough to make anyone washed out and jaded.

johneffay
13-05-2006, 08:19 AM
i think john effay is totally wrong cos no one sniffs glue then grows dreads, ties little bells into their dreads and starts reading the vedas do they? no, never.

Actually, I know loads of people who have done just that. Admittedly, they moved from glue to dope first, but perhaps that just mean that solvents are a gateway drug to the spiritually enlightening ones :p

Where your argument rather falls down, is that the majority of people who do [insert spiritual drug of your choice here] don't grow dreads, etc. either. I think that the people who do do this were probably looking for some sort of spiritual thing in the first place, heard that drugs would achieve their ends, and hey presto!

The jaded comment is undoubtedly fair play, but just because I am jaded, doesn't necessarily mean that I'm wrong. Anyway, if acid was intrinsically spiritual, I ought to be a wandering around in a permanent state of Nirvana, rather than being a sad old cynic sniping from the sidelines ;)

tryptych
17-05-2006, 02:27 PM
Yes, I am aware of this argument and find it totally implausible. What sort of experience would I need to have in order to be unable to integrate it into my non-drug life? The only ones I can think of are those I cannot remember, such as being very heavily drunk. On the other hand, for example, if I learn that under large but not completely debilitating quantities of alcohol I become violent, is this not a useful personal insight into my own character and a learning experience which tells me to lay off the gin?


Some my experiences have been like this (incommensurable with the everyday) principly with salvia divinorum and ketamine. The two are pretty different - salvia I would almost describe as totally non-recreational, I've never really "enjoyed" it as such. It's a powerful experience and can show you some things that the mind is capable of thought. Ketamine is, for me, very recreational - it's a lot of fun. But it shares with salvia the common effect that while you're under the influence, it can appear to you that you're tapped into some secret metaphysical knowledge, but as the drug wears off, you can literally feel not just the knowledge, but the basic tools and ways of being that you'd need to even be on the level to understand such knowledge, slipping rapidly away. And the only way to get it back is to go back to the drug state.

I agree with you about that some psychedelics having an over-priviledged position, and also with their not being a radical distinction between spiritual/recreational use.

On the other hand, personally I've found that I would rank drugs from totally usless, even negative (eg cocaine) through fun, but not necessarily "helpful" (eg DMT, 5-meo-DIPT) to actually useful (eg ketamine, DOC, MDMA) in terms of mental development (I'd hesitate to call it "spiritual"). I'm sure you too would rate some drugs as personally "better" for you on some sort of axis like this.