I’m On Drugs

Actually I’m not on any serious drugs right now. But yesterday I was. I’ve always been headache prone. But in the last couple weeks it’s gotten really bad. So I’ve been going to doctors trying to figure out what was happening.

Yesterday, on the way to zazen at Hill Street Center the pain got so intense I went to a walk-in clinic in Hollywood instead of out to Santa Monica. The doctor there is of the opinion that I’ve got a lingering sinus infection. He prescribed me some stuff for that. And to deal with the immediate pain he gave me a couple little white pills. He said they might make me a bit woozy but that they would take care of my headache.

Gosh did they ever work good! Within an hour I was feeling no pain at all. And I was as high as Scooby and Shaggy at a Grateful Dead concert. I was buzzed good. This stuff was some kind of opiate and after yesterday I can fully comprehend why people get addicted to that stuff. I went from feeling really shitty to feeling extra, extra good just by swallowing a couple of pills. I remember thinking, “Who wouldn’t want to feel like this all the time?” It was great! Then I passed out for several hours and when I woke up I was itching all over. Just like a real-live junkie!

Which brings me to the email I want to discuss today. Here it is:

Hi brad, I would just like to tell you that I very much enjoyed your book hardcore zen, but the chapter on psychedelics was absolutely terrible. You cannot discount the millions of people who psychedelics have changed for the better based on a single experience with acid. You’ve done your readers a huge disservice by writing off something you really had no knowledge of in the first place. To imply that you experienced all one could learn on psychedelics in your single experience is absurd, as you did not even experience an ego-death.* Maybe it was not for you, but to imply LSD has nothing to offer anyone is the height of ignorance.

Pretty sure the Buddha would not agree with writing these substances off completely. It’s such an all-or-nothing proposition, and I think you should acknowledge that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Psychedelics, while they can be misused are certainly a boon to humanity, not only can they be used spiritually and therapeutically but they have been the catalyst for a great number of human discoveries, such as the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. Francis crick himself claimed to have been under the influence of it when he first conceived the structure.

Please do not go around telling anyone else psychedelics aren’t useful, and that they have no place in Buddhism. They may not be a part of your Buddhism but you have no business telling anyone else not to use them. You do not have the requisite knowledge and experience to speak on this subject at all and for the sake of your credibility I suggest you leave this topic alone.

And here I am not leaving it alone yet again. Regular readers have already tuned out by now, having read my anti-drug rants more times than anyone ever should. I have all the requisite knowledge I need to tell people what I think of psychedelics. You don’t need to step in dog shit twelve times to figure out not to step in dog shit anymore. And I actually do know just a little bit about Buddhist practice after nearly thirty years of doing it, thank you very much.

I always wonder when I get these messages why the writers have such a desperate need for validation from me. They’re never going to get it. But who cares? There are plenty of people out there advocating drug abuse as a spiritual practice. You can always listen to those goofballs instead.

One thing that always gets conveniently overlooked when this subject is brought up is responsibility. It is utterly irresponsible to publicly suggest that psychedelic drugs are beneficial to the spiritual path. It is no longer 1962 when Richard Albert could get pure LSD straight from the Sandoz labs and give it to grad students at Harvard under controlled conditions. It’s not even 1968 when Owsley was making pharmacy grade acid for hippies at the Avalon Ballroom to get stoned on while they danced to Blue Cheer.**

This is 2012. If you go around saying, “Hey kids! Take acid!” What are the people listening to you going to get from the dealers hanging around behind some junior high school in Knoxville, Tennessee or outside a gas station on the east side of Louisville, Kentucky? Is it even going to be LSD at all? Or MDMA? I read Ram Dass’ book and decided I oughta try the stuff myself. I got some purple blotter from a guy who found a dealer somewhere on campus. It was apparently laced with strychnine. How much rat poison are you suggesting to people they ingest in their quest for God? How much horse tranquilizer? For all practical intents and purposes LSD and the other chemical psychedelics don’t exist anymore. Nor would I trust any sort of fungi or cacti presented to me as “organic psychedelics.”

This kind of utter lack of responsibility frankly makes me sick. I can’t understand why anyone indulges in it.

And how’s this for acknowledging the truth lies somewhere in the middle? Maybe — just maybe — a person might have a bit of real insight while high on drugs. But any kind of traumatic experience can, under just the right conditions, produce a flash of insight. Jill Bolte Taylor claims she experienced some profound insights while having a stroke. I once heard a story about a guy who experienced a moment of great awakening during the Nazi attacks on London in World War II when a bomb landed right in front of him but failed to explode. People have had deep realizations during near fatal car crashes. But nobody goes around recommending folks to have a stroke or hang around in war zones or crash their cars on the off chance that they may have an enlightenment experience.

Besides that, all of these kind of insights are the very antithesis of Buddhist practice. Any sort of insight that you have suddenly as the result of some outside agent cannot hope to be anything useful except perhaps — perhaps — as a catalyst to going deeper into it. The point of Buddhist practice isn’t the big moments of profound insight that sometimes occur. It is about the gradual grounding in reality that comes from steady practice. Those moments of insight mean nothing at all outside of that context. Without any grounding in reality, such experiences are just confusing.

Drugs suck.

 

* Just for the record, in Hardcore Zen I wrote about four LSD experiences, not one. Which means I’ve taken as much acid as Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, with pretty much the same results.

** I’m not a fan of drugs, but I am a huge fan of psychedelic rock.

***

Donations to Brad will not be spent on hallucinogenics but may be spent on sinus medicine (though hopefully not on any more opiate pain relievers).

36 Responses

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  1. chasrmartin
    chasrmartin October 7, 2012 at 10:53 am | |

    You know, I’ve been sitting for a Long Time, and something I’ve noticed is that I seem to get way more fucked up on any particular drug than other people. Valium? Other people relax a little, I sleep for twelve hours. Opiates? Two days of fog.

    I wonder if that’s a common experience?

    1. bookofzero
      bookofzero October 7, 2012 at 11:05 am | |

      chasrmartin, the body and brain work in contrasts and trying to maintain balance. The longer you sit, the clearer the contrast, the more you realize how off center these things make you. Alcoholics and drug addicts will refer to it as their tolerance, but that’s just another way of saying the same thing.

  2. bookofzero
    bookofzero October 7, 2012 at 11:02 am | |

    It’s a year old, but bound to be brought up:

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/235232.php

    The thing that I have found interesting in researching this whole psychedelics thing is that they’ve found that they (psilocybin, at least) work not by speeding up the brain, but slowing and even shutting parts of it down. That’s what causes the visuals and hallucinations. Instead of letting things slowly bubble to the surface and be dealt with (a la zazen, or other meditation, or whatever a person chooses to do), you’re dropping an M80 into the pot and making everything explode everywhere. You’re lucky if you don’t destroy the pot in the process.

    I haven’t practiced long enough to speak from my own experience, but that could be a cause for this misconception that psychedelics are a “fast track to enlightenment”. The thing is, you’re a) putting yourself through an enormous shock and strain and b) you have no control whatsoever over the experience. Even with your “demons” nightmare situation, you were able to wake up and deal with it. If you were on a psychedelic, you’d have been stuck with it for hours with little to no possibility of escape. Worse, you don’t develop the means of dealing with the shock and strain of confronting those “inner demons”.

    For the record, I’ve tried “magic” mushrooms a few times and, like you, I’m surprised I even survived the experience.

    1. bookofzero
      bookofzero October 7, 2012 at 11:09 am | |

      (and those “magic” mushrooms weren’t even from a dodgy source or laced with anything)

  3. Bad Zen Man
    Bad Zen Man October 7, 2012 at 11:49 am | |

    Right on Brad!

    Gassho

  4. Kman
    Kman October 7, 2012 at 11:56 am | |

    “Francis crick himself claimed to have been under the influence of it when he first conceived the structure.”

    As a medical student and biologist, I call shenanigans. Watson and Crick stole the xray crystallography data – which revealed the structure – from Rosalind Franklin, with the help of her lab tech. Any use of acid was coincidental, and happened after the fact.

    However, that isn’t to say there’s NO application for these substances. There are currently a few studies going on right now – such as at Johns Hopkins – studying the effect of psilocybin on depression in terminally ill patients.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/how-psychedelic-drugs-can-help-patients-face-death.html

    Just a less-technical snippet from some of the work being done. A few other places – as far as I can recall, Mayo and UCLA among them – were/are looking into this as well. So far, the results appear to be that it’s completely life-changing for these people – even dropping this stuff once helps bring them to a deeper understanding, a sense of peace, closure. Some of the anxiety associated with dying prematurely from horrific, unstoppable causes goes away. People are capable of functioning for the last few months and weeks leading up to their untimely demise. A few have reported that they are now more in-tune with their existence. At one with the world.

    A quick Google search will bring up a whole lot more. It’s interesting stuff to read.

    So I would disagree. Drugs don’t necessarily suck. Even those considered illegal. Especially when time is running out.

    That said, I don’t think they can be a substitute for meditative practice. Shit, I don’t think they’re even on the same level of the parking garage. It’s like comparing apples to baseball bats.

  5. PeterL
    PeterL October 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm | |

    Nothing about Zen, nothing about drugs … but if “lingering sinus infections” are causing your headaches, you might consider something like http://www.hydromedonline.com/ or http://www.neilmed.com/usa/sinusrinse.php (I prefer the first one, but the second one is cheaper). Some reviews, e.g.: http://piaw.blogspot.com/search?q=nasal

    Doctors suggested all kinds of things tome for years (antihistamines, decongestants, antibiotics, surgery) … finally a doctor suggested a nasal irrigator (the HydroMed), after looking at my CAT scan, and it worked great.

    Just beware of brain-eating amoeba, although the odds are extremely low: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/28/us-cdc-ameba-neti-pot-idUSBRE87R13620120828

  6. sri_barence
    sri_barence October 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm | |

    I’ve tried acid, mescalin, peyote and ‘magic’ mushrooms perhaps a dozen times, and smoked a shitload of pot over the years. I’ve also drank a few different kinds of whiskey, and had a few martinis. Once I accidentally tried PCP (not my idea).
    So here are my opinions. NEVER EVER TAKE PCP!! This is an extremely dangerous drug that seems to induce psychosis. PCP is illegal in most jurisdictions as far as I know, and I think that is a very good thing. Pot is ‘mostly harmless,’ but I avoid it because it makes me feel fuzzy-minded, which I dislike. Mescaline and acid are very similar. I think it might be possible to “get enlightenment” on acid or mescaline, but I suspect such experiences would be very rare. I think LSD and mescaline can also be dangerous, especially when people use them as “party drugs.” Taking acid is like plugging your mind into a Fender amp and turning all the knobs up all the way.
    Peyote is still used by Native Americans in traditional ceremonial vision quests. I have read that these kinds of experiences can be valuable and deeply meaningful. I think using peyote in that kind of circumstance would probably be safe, provided the user was reasonably sane to begin with. I would not recommend using peyote in any other context.
    Magic mushrooms seem to work as a ‘truth serum,’ at least for me. I found it very difficult to be dishonest while on shrooms, even with myself.
    The last time I tried mushrooms, I had a very interesting experience. I was trying to let go, and not control the experience. I decided the best way to do that would be do do zazen. During zazen, I tried to let go of my sense of self, and just let the experience happen. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not seem to find any self to let go of! I described this experience with my wife, and she said that maybe I was trying to hard, or that maybe I misunderstood what was meant by letting go of self. I thought about this, and realized that I always thought I understood Zen practice, but that this understanding was actually getting in my way. Shortly after that, I made the decision to resume formal practice.
    So I think that psychedelics can be useful, when used properly, but they can also be dangerous. I could go on, but this is Brad’s blog, not mind. So I’ll shut up now.

  7. AnneMH
    AnneMH October 7, 2012 at 12:40 pm | |

    First of all, I hope the sinus medication is clearing up the pain long term. Those are very painful. My son also gets migraines which are pretty bad. There is only a 50% success rate with the best medications so he doesn’t take them. However there is supposed to be this awesome cap that cools the head to about 54 degrees that is more effective than any other migraine medication. I have been watching for that, but meanwhile those in the older generation who swore by freezing cold bedrooms may have been onto something. I don’t know if your headaches are migraines, if I ever find this cap is on the market I will let you know.

    Ugh to drugs, lol. Really, I was one of the pretty straight edge punks. I wasn’t very cool even among punks. I was not the one using drugs, I was the one who sat with someone who overdid it and then got scared or sick. I have only the tiniest idea of what was going on inside, but none of what I saw encouraged more than maybe 5 tries of anything. Even the ones I saw having ‘fun’ were really messed up. By a year into college they had burned their bridges with me and many others. Maybe there really is a difference between people trying for some type of spiritual experience with these substances, all my years in the hippy capital and I frankly did not see that at all.

    For me bringing back the work you do in zazen to your everyday life is very important. Can anyone explain how this works with drugs? I see a HUGE risk here, as Brad said the drugs that take away your pain are powerful. It would be very easy to get hooked on those or any other type of drugs. I simply don’t see the benefit considering the risk involved\.

  8. senorchupacabra
    senorchupacabra October 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm | |

    Well, I, for one, always enjoy your anti-drug rants, Mr. Warner. It’s because I have had to deal with this shit most of life. First it was pot, than coke, than various pills (stimulants and opiates) and on and on. Everybody always promising me some form of liberation through some sort of pill or plant or chemical.

    Where I come from, most of these people end up 40 years old working in a gas station or video rental store (not that there’s anything wrong with those jobs, they’re just not for me…). They’re either obese or deathly thin. They look 10-20 years older than they are. They’ve got kids they rarely see and several kinds of STDs and the closest thing they have to a life is whatever experiences they have on whatever drugs they do when they’re not working or sending angry emails to you or people like you.

    This isn’t an exaggeration at all. Drugs are fucking terrible. If that’s “liberation” or “freedom” or even “joy” then I want nothing to do with it. Of course, as I’ve grown and expanded the people I interact with, I have come to know a lawyer or a doctor or two with a speed or coke habit, but they are the exception, and they’re more or less smart enough to know that they’re not getting enlightened from their habits and therefore they keep their use limited.

    The short of it is, I think, that people simply do not want to work for anything. People want to believe they can take a pill and learn something “real.” It’s no different from any other kind of religion. People are too scared to have faith in themselves. There’s always a need for something external to their faith in. Sometimes it’s a god. Sometimes it’s a Tibeten Buddhist of some kind, sometimes it’s a creep like Merzel, sometimes it’s a drug. Whatever it is, it serves the same function: to relieve me of my responsibilities to live the “examined life” for myself.

  9. fregas
    fregas October 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm | |

    I’ve been sitting steadily for about 4 years now and on and off since high school. I have had no enlightenment experiences, though I have had a few moments of quiet insight or peak experiences.

    The only drug I have tried is pot. Though I don’t do it regularly anymore, I think it should be legalized and I think the problems with it are minimal. However, i won’t get side tracked on that. The issue is whether it is spiritually beneficial.

    My answer to that question is “it depends.” I think the points Brad and others have brought up are very valid. People look for cheap and easy experiences, quick enlightenment, bombs going off in your brain digging up shit you’re not ready to deal with–these are all potholes on the way to dealing with reality the way it is.

    I myself am very susceptible to any drug, from tylenol to alcohol, and pot was no different. So maybe the reason I feel there might be some benefit to using such a “weenie” drug is because I’m such a lightweight, yet at the same time its not a very dangerous drug. I had some really awesome highs and feelings of oneness and compassion with everything, and some pretty crazy paranoia… sometimes all in the same evening. The great thing with pot is you can just sleep it off. Not sure you can always do that with acid or mushrooms.

    Weed showed me just how strange my mind was. During some moments of paranoia, I saw very clearly the things that I am most afraid of. During the highs I saw the things I want most to be real and how I most wanted to live and experience life. I think these experiences were valuable, personally and spiritually. I don’t think they necessarily lead to “enlightenment” whatever that is. But those experiences did help me to face up to some things that I might not have noticed as much otherwise. Maybe the reason it was not traumatic to me is because I am a pretty stable person and had already been sitting for some time. And after all, its just weed…not crystal meth.

    I think LSD or shrooms might be like that, but I’m too big of a pussy to try them. MJ is about as far as I want to alter my mind chemically. I know Sam Harris, who practices Vipassana meditation and is knows as a big hairy atheist has talked about the benefits of LSD. He has also talked about how terrifying and horrible it is when a drug trip turns bad, but he still seems to think the benefits are worth it.

    I think one of the best stories on the topic of drugs and spirituality is by M. Scott Peck:

    [quote]
    …I had a friend like that named Theodore. By day Theodore had an absolutely brilliant scientific mind with a precisely honed rational capacity, and was probably just about the dullest human being I ever had to listen to. But occasionally in the evening Theodore would have a little bit to drink or he would smoke a little bit of pot and all of a sudden he would start talking about life and death and meaning and glory. He would become so spirit-filled that I would sit at his feet enthralled. But the next morning he would come in to see me and say, “I don’t know what got into me last night. I was talking about the craziest things. I’ve got to stop drinking or smoking pot.” I do not mean to bless the use of drugs but simply to indicate that in his particular case, they seemed to loosen him up enough to flow in the direction in which he was being called, but from which, in the cold clear light of day, he would retreat in abject terror right back into his accustomed Stage Three rationality.”
    [/quote]

  10. recurvata
    recurvata October 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm | |

    I don’t think psychedelics are generically useful, and there’s certainly the issue of what exactly you’re buying from the guy in the parking lot or the dorm room down the hall.
    That said, they’re drugs, and can at least potentially be used for therapeutic purposes. I’ve read some of the articles Kman refers to, and properly controlled (even though I hate that phrase, maybe clinically supervised is better) use of psychedelics may be helpful for some people.
    But I also agree with Brad that they’re not a panacea or miracle route to a better way of experiencing life and dealing with stress or suffering. I’ve done acid (well, as far as I know it was acid) 3 or 4 times, mushrooms a couple. The only ‘insight’ that occurred was one time. I was looking at the night sky, and it was flashing light and dark patterns very quickly. After a few minutes, I realized that it was my perception rapidly switching from the scattered clouds to the dark of space and back again. The insight was a direct realization of how much of what I see as reality is constructed by my brain, or mind, whatever you want to call it. This did not make me an Enlightened one, but it did deeply change how I looked at the world.

  11. billzant
    billzant October 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm | |

    I suffered from migraines all my working life. When I retired I continued to suffer so I learnt that it wasn’t just stress that led to those migraines. Fortunately I never got hooked on the painkillers that BigPharma peddle to “help with migraines”. After a bad migraine and a bout of reflux I visited a natural healing clinic who advised a diet without toxins. I have been on that diet for nearly 7 years. Very quickly the reflux disappeared and over that time so have the migraines.

    Just to be pedantic, what is the connection with Brad’s article? There are drugs in factory-produced foods, so when we don’t do drugs we don’t do industry drugs as well. Drugs in our food. Drugs in our medicine.

    Don’t do all drugs. Eat healthy, live healthy. Kick out migraines.

    Simplistic sloganising? Or an improved way to live without ALL the drugs the Buddha advised against?

  12. boubi
    boubi October 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm | |

    I think it’s the difference between fireworks and having a stroll in a forest.

    Recently i had the possibility to try some legal-religious plant, the guy told me you feel one with the world and so on, but it’s the plant that brings you there, like climbing a mountain by helicopter.

    Just a firework, some cosmic circus.

    This is now, before climbing mountains i liked fireworks because i didn’t know the real thing.

  13. zacharythax
    zacharythax October 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm | |

    People do drugs for one reason: to change the way they feel. But if you really are into zazen one loses that desire. Also, one line is Ram Dass’ book that no one seems to ever mention is that when he gave some of that Sandoz LSD to some easter yogis they’re response was, “It is good, but not as good as meditiation.”

  14. Kelly
    Kelly October 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm | |

    I’ve done these psychedelic drugs, too, and this is how I see it:
    Doing drugs to achieve “enlightenment” is like looking at a mountain top through binoculars. It can be quite beautiful. But, if you really want to experience the mountain top, you have to get up off your ass and climb the mountain.

  15. Andrew
    Andrew October 7, 2012 at 7:47 pm | |

    “After a bad migraine and a bout of reflux I visited a natural healing clinic who advised a diet without toxins”

    billzant, why not discuss what you eat, brad just doesn’t seem to get his diet is killing him !

  16. Charlie Cardoza
    Charlie Cardoza October 8, 2012 at 6:11 am | |

    Be careful with the opiates, Brad. I work as a substance abuse counselor and the road from prescribed opiates to IV heroin use is a common one – but I’m sure you already know that.

    A big “Namaste” to you on your hard line against incorporating drug use with zazen.

  17. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote October 8, 2012 at 7:39 am | |

    I’d like to caution people about the use of zazen to obtain anything. In some people, this kind of “use” can exacerbate a tendency to social withdrawal and lead to a total abdication of personal responsibility. Various claims are constantly made for enlightenment experiences or at least some kind of higher perspective concerning the issues of life through the use of zazen, but in fact it’s impossible to tell what one is actually getting into. The explanations that are provided by the “guide” in sitting zazen, usually a shaman or guru or roshi, are clearly influenced by their own “use” and usually discourage the participant from any kind of understanding at all, a methodology that reinforces the participant’s dependence on the guru and their “use” of zazen.

    In sum, I’d like to advise everybody to stay clear of the hucksters in small store fronts and large monasteries pushing the use of zazen as a way to short-circuit the work necessary to bring the practice of intent concentration on in-breaths and out-breaths to the West and obtain something (anything, really).

    Yours Truly, Monty Python

  18. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel October 8, 2012 at 8:07 am | |

    “Migraine” is the French deformation of Italian “Emicrania” which comes in turn from Greek for “half skull”. Thus a migraine is precisely that: a pain located in only one half of the skull, which differentiates it from a headache which is the whole skull.

    Just my grain of bombastic knowledge…

  19. senorchupacabra
    senorchupacabra October 8, 2012 at 9:03 am | |

    Mark,

    I get the feeling (perhaps a wrong one) that you’re being more facetious than satirical with your comment, but I think it works just fine as satire. Let’s not forget that zazen itself is something external–it’s an external act. From my own limited experiences, certain, ahem, experiences/realizations/observations/revelations/epiphanies (whatever you choose to call them) that are “true” don’t come from specific exteranal acts of any kind (i.e. ingesting chemicals, sitting in a certain positions, etc.). If only it were that easy….

  20. Trance-end
    Trance-end October 8, 2012 at 10:20 am | |

    I tried Zen meditation once, but it brought up some dark shit that didn’t jibe with my existing reality so I never did it again. Since then I always tell people, “Zen is bad.”

  21. J-Ro
    J-Ro October 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm | |

    I appreciate and commend Brad on his stance. This coming from a person who has done LSD at least 20 times, mushrooms even more, (although I wouldn’t do either ever again) and I’m an almost daily pot smoker. The first time I took Acid I had an insightful conversation with my friends who were also “frying”. It was the first time I realized that I had been socialized to believe a lot of stuff that wasn’t necessarily true. For example, the thought that money has any value to it is the fact that everyone agrees that it has value, although a $100 bill is just a piece of paper. After that initial experience, using those psychedelics just got boring. As Allan Watts said in reference to using Acid: “Once you get the message, you hang up the phone”.
    I think the human mind is capable of so much insight on its own. Even though I still smoke weed, I don’t recommend it to others. So, good job Brad!

  22. Khru
    Khru October 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm | |

    “”"I remember thinking, “Who wouldn’t want to feel like this all the time?””"”

    Yes, that’s my exact point.

    …aaaand CHECKMATE.

  23. anon1253
    anon1253 October 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm | |

    We are biochemical creatures, and psychoactive drugs are tools
    that can be used for better or for worse to try to understand
    how our nervous systems work, to explore the human
    “hardware-software” interface.

    But remember…

    “There are no casual experiments.”

    Of course, they can also be used for good or ill
    to just alter the way we feel and/or perceive –
    for “recreation”.

    FWIW, I once had a delightful evening with a friend’s methadone
    dose, but then spent the next day scratching every square
    inch of my skin with a hairbrush. (“Itchy” is an understatement.)

    If only there were wonderful drugs with no bad side effects…

    drugs

  24. anon1253
    anon1253 October 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm | |

    The best drug of all:

    Murray Rothbard

  25. Fred
    Fred October 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm | |

    You can probably train your brain to hallucinate or feel continuous bliss, without
    taking drugs.

    Phantom limb pain can be cured in some people with a simple visual trick using
    a mirror-box.

    Drugs are for kids.

  26. A-Bob
    A-Bob October 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm | |

    Some Tibetan Buddhists around here have very thin skin. wtf is that about?

  27. My_name_is_Daniel
    My_name_is_Daniel October 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm | |

    It’s quite a simple, yet apparently difficult thing to pull off: Do the drugs, don’t let the drugs do you.
    Whatever mind altering substance you injest, put it to use, get something out of it. And get the best stuff you can get.

    ***WARNING*** I am NOT responsible for any under or over age users who are anythng like I was years ago.***

  28. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote October 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm | |

    Fred, you gotta source on that phantom limb mirror-box thing? I’ve been watching the Swiss guy, Blanke, here’s his video about the rubber hand illusion:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCQbygjG0RU

    I’m trying to piece together how the sense of location of self works apart from the visual reflex (it’s interesting that zazen is eyes-open). My guess is that it has to do with the weight and position of all the parts of the body, maybe proprioception. Ah, here we go, homunculus: “a homunculus may refer to any scale model of the human body that, in some way, illustrates physiological, psychological, or other abstract human characteristics or functions.” (Wikipedia)

    “In Carl Jung’s studies of alchemy, he believed the first record of a homunculus in alchemical literature appeared in the Visions of Zosimos, written in the third century AD, although the actual word “homunculus” was never used. … In Islamic alchemy, Takwin (Arabic: ??????) was a goal of certain Muslim alchemists, a notable one being Jabir ibn Hayyan (later known as Geber in Europe). In the alchemical context, Takwin refers to the artificial creation of life in the laboratory, up to and including human life.
    There are also variants cited by other alchemists. One such variant involved the use of the mandrake. Popular belief held that this plant grew where semen ejaculated by hanged men (during the last convulsive spasms before death) fell to the ground, and its roots vaguely resemble a human form to varying degrees.” (Ibid)

    trail gone cold, like the… aww, skip it.

  29. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote October 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm | |

    Ok, better, pdf by David Brown here (have to download to read?): files.cadbs.org/200000352…/1_proprioception_dbrown.pdf

    “Other writers have
    claimed that proprioception
    is actually a specialized
    variation of the sense of
    touch that encompasses the
    sensations of joint motion
    (known as kinesthesia)
    and the sensations of joint
    position (known as joint
    position sense). As I talk
    about proprioception you will
    notice how often I mention
    the sense of touch as well,
    since they operate together
    so closely.

    …Children often adopt
    specific postures (for
    example, flat on the back
    with both legs bent and
    one ankle up resting on the
    other knee, or the legs tightly
    crossed, or the legs twisted
    around the chair leg, or the
    fingers crossed or bunched
    together, or the hands tightly
    fisted, or the arms folded
    in front of or behind the
    body). These postures provide
    essential extra tactile and
    proprioceptive information
    to the brain about where the
    child’s limbs are in space, and
    they also confirm for the child
    that their body is securely
    ‘fixed’ and not moving or
    floating around.”

    hello, cross-legged posture…

  30. Fred
    Fred October 9, 2012 at 5:53 am | |

    “The illusion needs to be total”

    http://www.23nlpeople.com/brain/Phantom_limb_pain.php

  31. Fred
    Fred October 9, 2012 at 5:59 am | |
  32. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote October 9, 2012 at 7:21 am | |

    OMG.

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