Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Psychedelic Without Drugs... Not An Oxymoron

Living in Japan has its plusses: an interesting, refined culture, mountains, seas, kind and generous people, safety, low unemployment, generous social services, and a physically healthy lifestyle. It has its minuses too: a rigid, maladaptive culture, overworking citizens, ethnocentrism, and harsh drug laws.

In a nation that encourages overindulgence of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, it is unwittingly draconian in its punishments of illicit drugs which include marijuana and non-addictive psychedelics such as psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA. Hemp, like in many places around the world, was widely used until post-war Japan. Magic Mushrooms were legal until just after the year 2000. They could be bought in vending machines. Currently, in a reaction to the strict laws, there is a surge in the popularity of designer, synthetic drugs known as "legal herb" in Japanese, or Spice in the U.S. Unregulated and unpredictable in effect, I now stay away from these loophole drugs.

Tobacco's been out for years now.

And alcohol feels more and more like a death curse as Father Time does his worst to me.

All of that said, I'm not particularly mad about the conditions of my life in Japan, but with a family and a career, I don't take my chances with illegal substances in Japan.

I still identify with the ethos of psychedelia, however. Transcendence, the soup of consciousness, lifting the veil, brushing away the mist, these metaphors grip me strongly. I see them as stepping stones across the river of man's evolution, though we keep slipping and getting our feet wet, forced to dry off and try again (often without proper reflection, making the same mistakes over and over and over again).

This gets me to my main point: the English language needs a term for this. We need a word to describe those of us who are psychedelic/transcendent, but who do not want the pharmacological or religious labels and connotations that come along with those aforementioned monikers.

If you have any good ideas, please let me know in the comments section.

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