As is oft the case, I found myself musing on the potential benefits of a DMT experience to my ever present desire for self growth and development into a more spiritual being, one grounded in expressions of love, acceptance and understanding, as opposed to my more familiarly indoctrinated tendencies towards greed and selfishness. It’s an urge representative of discontent with the materialistic and shortsighted, emotionally driven, nature I succumb to regularly, an urge easily seen as harmful to my relationships with others and, ultimately, myself.
In following this fantasy, which need not remain a fantasy as – and this is often the trigger of such imaginative wanderings – the chemical is available to me, I found myself spelling it out in practicality. From what I’ve read I understand that the trip quickly overcomes the individual’s abilities of regular motor function and thus ought to be conducted in a safe and unchallenging environment, with certain safeguards in place. For example, it’s likely that upon smoking DMT, as per the desire to allow the drug to have the strongest influence possible, the pipe will still be in the hand as the effect takes place and will be dropped as a result of the aforementioned loss of control.
I just moved into a new apartment and am not fully comfortable with exercising such behaviour around my roommates, with whom my relationships are still in their infancies. The other indoor space available to me is the house of my parents which, in my idyllic mind, is the perfect place for such an activity. Who else but your parents should be supportive of your endeavours for personal growth, especially when it takes the direction of expanding one’s capacity for love and compassion? But unfortunately this is not the truth of the environment in question, and here we see a lovely chance to use a great word from the Greeks: Pharmakon.
Pharmakon is the notion of duality between what is a medicine and what is a drug; what is remedy and what is poison. It’s a concept I, and I’m sure only I, find interesting. The notion of the power of context: morphine on the battlefield is an essential anesthetic that serves great benefit to the wounded and those trying to tend to them, while morphine on the streets of Toronto is fuel for addiction in service of self-medicating issues the user faces, likely to the tune of emotional pain, not the physical pain intended as the target.
This framework becomes more intricate in the personal case outlined above because the ‘correct’ use for the compound is less clear. The medicinal quality of DMT is a more difficult argument to make than the blatant value of morphine to battlefield medics, although the drug quality of DMT, the potential for harm, carries a latent acceptance. Being on DMT will objectively make carrying out normal life tasks very difficult, however, the question to DMT users is of course the effects rendered from the drug trip, not the effect of the trip itself. It’s a means to an ends, not an end in and of itself. This seems logically simple to grasp, yet the emphatic emotional response of people such as my parents keys off what can be witnessed from the outside during the twenty minute trip and nothing more, thus spawns the tension – a tension of perception.
Now I suppose the easy solution is to just not do it at the parents’ house. If the twenty minutes is the trouble, extract that part from their experience, exact your means in privacy, and share with them only the ends. My trouble with this approach though is the narrowness in the potential for change it offers. Here I can ostensibly achieve my goals but the potential ripple is managed unfittingly. It would be like throwing a rock into the stream feeding the pond instead of the pond itself. Sure the stream water that experiences the ripple will eventually come one with the pond, but the pond will lose the chance to experience the ripple directly. Well I’d rather like to change the pond if that’s where my stream of conscious is to end up, so a spot of trouble we now have on our hands.
Taking a turn, Takashi 69 taught me something of value in understanding this predicament, something to do with perception and indeed the root of his rampant 69 tattooing. The purpose and meaning of the 69 symbol to him is far from reciprocative oral pleasure, however I still think that misunderstanding is itself illuminating of the value of his philosophy. No, the 69 symbol, to him, is a characterization of the power of perception; where you see a 9, I see a 6, and visa versa, and in 69 this truth is constantly present and unavoidable: there is no angle to take in which someone across from you will not see the reflection.
This can be related back to the idea of pharmakon, where you see a drug, I see a medicine, or visa versa. I remember having the argument with my parents, as I started smoking weed, that, while they villainized my smoking habits, I could just as easily villainize their coffee consumption. Oh you need it everyday to feel normal do ya?
If the idea of pharmakon is thus dependent on at least the two variables of context and perception, then it would seem the best approach to my DMT pursuit problem would be to define the context before trying to sway perception. If it can be agreed that the nature of the pursuit intrinsically carries the objective of long term benefit, and that the short term disabling effect is not the totality of what is desired, then there is hope of bringing the outside viewer to share in the same perspective.
Now the question comes, is this mutual understanding to be achieved through convincing factual presentation or a more Freudian meddling of the unconscious to the tone of Edward Bernays? This is the question because the qualms of my parents do not lie with my goals of self-betterment, but with the representative quality of undermined progression their perspective lends to the act of mine taking drugs. They’ve seen me in the trough of my addiction, which could not be easy for any members of a love based relationship, and to act as what, in their eyes, would be the same way now – now that I’ve shown many signs of improvement – would be devastating. Thereby the difference in perception roots itself in emotional disconnect, not a logical one. So the task becomes aligning DMT with a notion of positive growth and not malignant addiction.
At this point this feels impossible, yet in the search for evidence of its achievability I need not look further than myself, for within me it holds the metaphorical 6 value, not the 9, or whichever way one wishes to artificially ascribe the digits. It’s curious too that we’ve both experienced my addiction but in different ways. Let’s say I saw my use, at the time, as the 6, and they the 9, yet now we stand closer to sharing the same outlook on it; I still hold out that value did come of it, despite the egregious costs, but ultimately our perspectives are close enough to read the symbol the same, despite one of us perhaps reading an italicized version. Either way, it is clear that such perceptual shifts are possible, and it is indeed for that reason that I wish to throw my rock in the pond – do the DMT at their house with their knowledge – for I want to feel loved, accepted and supported in what I hold as a valuable pursuit. I want my perspective to be shared by my family.
The mechanics of effecting this shift evade me still. Perhaps it’s a matter of exposure similar to Bernays’ Easter Sunday stunt; I must construct DMT as a torch of freedom, I must show them individuals of merit who, to some extent, credit DMT for their desirable psychological position.
It seems to me I have reached a research phase and that hypothetical musings can take me no further. I will let y’all know of the successes or failures of which I am met. Hopefully I am on the right path despite the painful irony: I bet DMT could help me figure this puzzle out! But then again, where’s the glory in chemical solutions? The saying is mind over matter after all.