Monday, April 13, 2009

Drug Use in the Modern World

"I'm not in love with the modern world"

- Wolf Parade

The modern world has been defined by its singularity, by its righteous one-sidedness. The push for unification has also manifested itself as a crusade against diversity. As Wendy Brown of UC Berkeley might say, the modern West's emphasis on pluralistic tolerance is often used as a substitute for pluralistic justice or equality - a different or unnatural subject will be tolerated rather than made equal. As John Gray has suggested, the characterization of Al Qaeda as backwards and medieval in comparison to the modern West is a similar suggestion that there is only one meaning to what it is to be "modern."

The modern push for unification is more than just political. It suggests a scientific monism which can all be understood through the physics of matter and energy. They have foretold of a universal history, a unified theory of everything - one truth, one reality. Their view of reason suggests, if everyone was completely reasonable, then none of us would disagree. This kind of absolutism seems to be equally terrible as imperial politics, if not for any other reason than because it claims not to be political but only scientific. Everything will be better once you accept it. If one does not ask the right kinds of questions, if one's experimentation does not emphasize repeatability or universal applicability, one will be left in the proverbial dustbin of history (or perhaps more accurately, one will be cast into it like a useless rag).

Which brings me to my point. When I learn about consciousness-expanding drug use, and I get this conscience poking its finger into the back of my head telling me, "what you're thinking about is wrong...," it seems be doing it for my own good. Modernity tells me that the reason why illegal drugs are illegal is that morally, evolutionarily, and in reality , drugs are actually wrong or bad; the conscious-states they provoke in the mind are false and devilish; that exploring the mind cannot produce real knowledge because it is not scientific, i.e. detached or strict/analytic. Reality is "out there." It is a series of normal effects on you and your body. It's not up to you to decide. Do you remember the wooden ruler leaning in the corner by the blackboard? This seems to be the psychology of Modernity.

I'm tired of this. It is not only boring but I see absurdism at its core. If we seek vigor and excitement when we set out into life, then we won't believe that we already know what is out there. Our liberation will not consist of diagnosis and therapy; it will consist of tucking freedom under our arm and going. Now, I'm challenging you to take this seriously, not simply a drug-fueled fury. When that old wooden shaft cracks against your ass, let the snap set you off like a rocket-horse, willing to leave the ground beneath you.

No comments: