To paraphrase ancient Greek troublemaker Socrates, “The unexamined life is shit.” Socrates was put to death by his government for impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens, but – ha ha! The last laugh is on you, Athenian politicians, because his ideas, especially those that pertain to living a proper and happy life, have become a cornerstone of Western thought (even as the concept of a world divided by geography sloughs itself off in front of our living eyes).
It can be a very important element of any regular process or habit to occasionally pause and ask ourselves why we participate in said process or habit, and whether the outcomes are positive, neutral, or negative, and whether we should continue with it as a part of our lives. The chemicals we decide to ingest may play a central role in the course our lives. Hidden in the euphoria of every first line of cocaine or meth is the bleak, bright despondency of another night without sleep, and a curse on the sunshine of another new day as it lances its way through every uncovered space in the corner of a window shade to pierce the spell woven by the stimulant. Or, consider the opiate, which first brought relief from pain, but later left the user unable to distinguish between the 100,000,001 types of physical, mental, and spiritual pain that populate the path of the poppy. Or the all-too-familiar comedown of the spirit after a night spent swallowing spirits.
We live in a time when pretty much every chemical known to man is available to us with the help of some money, a web link, and the intestinal fortitude to survive the time lapse of mailing, along with the risk that your parcel might fall afoul of legal authorities. You want some LSD, PCP, DMT, ketamine, ephedrine, benzedrine, mescaline, dextromethorphan, coca, cacao, kava kava, datura, absinthe, ibogaine, yage, peyote, salvia, khat, coffee, or tea? Just order it, send some cryptocurrency, and pray to the gods of invisibility to mask your package from the federales. Simple. My advice? Somewhere in that process, take a moment to actually ask, “Why?”
I have spent large parts of my life involved with drugs. Some of those times were experiences of immeasurable wonder and have changed the course of my existence. Others have been field excursions to the outer circles of hell and have taken heavy toil to slog back from. Cannabis, which I smoke, eat, and rub into my skin several times a day (and a few extra times most weekends) has been proven, through the workings of time, space, and experience, to function effectively with more than one element of my makeup. Marijuana soothes my body, elevates my spirit, and stimulates my mind. That is why it has a place alongside a bunch of daily herbs that support my bodily function. It also plays a fairly regular role by interacting with some of the more intense plant teachers, which help me to analyze the past and map what may be to come in my life.
I will leave you (once again) with the words of the wise and illustrious Mr. Hunter, “I can tell your future / Look what’s in your hand” – and know why you carry what you do.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected].