The Seeking of the Soma
The question of why we, as humans, are so drawn to states of intoxication is an intriguing and revealing one; the pursuit of which leads to meanderings on far more significant matters.
On a crudely basic level, the induction of altered states represents an escape from the tedium of nine to five sobriety; the perversion of reality via a self-medicated fireworks show in the scorched synapses of the brain. As the old adage goes, we drink to forget; to blot out our careers, our relationships, our failings, our self; to ease, fleetingly, the constant dull ache of mere existence.
But this unrefined and propagandized theory, that strange and heavy intoxicants are consumed almost exclusively by the troubled and the unhinged, comes to pieces when subjected to the bright white light of educated logic.
Far from the slippery edge of oblivion and remote from the paranoia-fuelled train-of-thought which espouses terms like “gateway drug” whilst wanking itself into a self-righteous frenzy over “inevitable” downward spirals; history depicts a very different reality.
Bereft of the stigmatized taboos attached by the currently accepted cultural model, we choose to warp our senses and challenge our pre-conceived notions by ingesting reality dissolving psychoactive compounds. The seeking of the soma is a human trait which can be found chronicled throughout our more objective ancient past, with the 1960’s being the most widely documented mass-revival of such pursuits in modern times.
By starving ourselves of the sort of pleasures that we are seemingly hardwired to pursue, are we thus missing out on what would otherwise be an integral and beneficial component of our existence?
In the grips of a society obsessed with the world outside the Self, where celebrity culture and the mass-promotion of “ideal” lifestyles are symptomatic of a grave illness of the soul; is deeply introspective thought not something which would aid in dragging our species away from a complete surrender to mediocrity and everything we were surely never meant to amount to?
Aside from the notion that humans are apparently programmed to seek alternate states and ecstatic highs; to chase dragons and take flight on the chemical wings borne to a backdrop of ritualistic and meditative drug use stretching back through the annals of time; we have yet to confront the real issue: free will.
The concept of intoxication transcends mere drunken stupor; highlighting instead the confines within which modern culture demands that we play the game.
The very idea that anyone can dictate to an adult what they can and cannot consume is Orwellian and repugnant and nauseating; the edge taken off by alcohol, tobacco and prescription painkillers. When one talks of intoxication, the inherent hypocrisy of our views on drugs should be the immediate matter of focus.
Antiquated drug laws do nothing but erode our personal freedoms, line the pockets of criminals, and send otherwise good people to prison.
The response from Middle America to calls for decriminalization, legalization, regulation and taxation, remains, predictably and with horror: “think of the children!”
And all the while, we sip Budweiser in Marlboro Country.
Pass me my dual-chambered bong and my revolver. I’m through playing this petty fucking game.
Inhale, Mr. President…