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psychedelic anarchy?

+1 vote
have people here had their the concepts of anarchy influenced -to a greater or lesser degree- by psychedelic experiences, or other unusual experience?

personally these experiences have helped guide a lot of my metaphysical ideas, which are the foundation of my ideas of anarchy and the individual. -will go into more detail if prompted-
asked Apr 16 by shinminmetroskyline (1,100 points)
i like the question.

i have had several periods in my life when i was heavily into psychedelics. my first real psychedelic experience most definitely changed my perspective radically. i don't know that the change was in any way anarchic, other than somehow liberating me from certain intellectual constraints that i unknowingly held to.

as one who now has strong individualist leanings, the indescribable "connectedness" that acid (primarily, in my case) made me feel with the living world around me has given me an interesting aversion to the binary individual vs collective perspective that seems predominant. i never did experience the full "ego-death" that many psychedelic travelers speak of; but i surely experienced some dissolution of intellectual barriers, and heightened awareness of things outside myself that matter to me.

perhaps, in some way, my context-focused perspective was born from - or was given the space in which to grow from - those experiences.
may I prompt you for more detail? as much or as little as you like

dd: you may indeed, i just might need a bit more prompting. not sure what kind of details you are looking for? around my acid experiences? around how those experiences contributed to my perspective now?

one anecdote that may or may not be relevant:

there were a lot - i mean a lot - of homeless folks in my neighborhood back then. one day i was tripping, walking towards the subway station. i saw a homeless guy sitting on the sidewalk up against a building. i just happened to catch his eye. we shared a glance for probably no more than a second (of course it seemed like hours to me); after which i was never the same person again. i felt a connection with that individual that was somehow deeper than any connection i had ever felt with anyone up to that point. the fact that he was homeless was completely irrelevant (at least consciously); i simply saw him as another individual, living an unhappy life. and it was the fact that his life seemed unhappy that struck me so hard. i didn't have any analysis about why he was unhappy; the mere fact that he was unhappy troubled me so viscerally that i cried for what seemed like hours. i always had a certain amount of empathy for others, but this was on a whole different level.

instead of getting on the subway, i walked over to central park to cry in solitude. i sat down by a big old tree, leaning back against it. i cried for a bit, and slowly started to become aware of the green beauty around me. i relaxed and let myself drift. at some point, i felt as if my body had merged with the tree, literally. i felt like part of the tree, but still conscious of myself as well. it felt so incredibly ... what's the word... fulfilling? relaxing? comfortable? at peace? it was the first time in my life that i felt a real connection to the "natural" world (since my world consisted of concrete and subways). it was rather profound.

i guess those experiences speak to the "connectedness" i referred to, while still not losing my individuality as part of it. but again, not sure how it relates to anarchic thought.

ya exactly, maybe others wouldn't but I assure u I understand exactly its relation to anarchy. it is exactly what I experienced and is the only way to understand what you said about the division of collectivism vs individualism being a false dichotomy. you are everything, and everything is you, simultaneously. the barriers that you draw between self and others blah blah why am I explaining u get it.

thanks man that was perfect exacytly what I wanted.
To those of you who have used psychadelics: I'm curious to know how it made you feel about fairness/justice. Did it make your desire for fairness stronger or weaker?

fairness and justice were nowhere near my awareness while tripping. those are socio-political-legal concepts, and my psychedelic experiences were anything but. feeling connection and empathy with other beings was almost omnipresent, but fairness and justice... not even remotely present. maybe that is an indicator of my anti-political, anti-economic perspective.

if i had ever felt anything along those lines, i am fairly certain it would have been stronger, since the majority of my trips (i have tripped several hundred times in my life, mostly before i was 30) were when i was still a progressive lefty.

@syrphant, im pretty much just going to echo @funky on this one; fairness and justice have figured very little in my experiences with psychedelics.  sure i notice manifestations of inequality and 'injustice' when im on a long walk on whatever substance, but i notice that anyway, drugs or no.  and even psychedelics have never made me feel that the notion of justice or fairness is any more real than any other abstract human value.  if anything i care about it less as im too busy just experiencing.

one thing i used to hate adults saying when i was a kid was 'life aint fair'.  but you know what?  they were right.  fairness is an impossible standard to hold the world too.  it will never be 'fair' that some people are born stronger, or to better conditions, or later or earlier that others.  but who cares?  whether its fair or not doesnt change that it is.  one thing that psychedelics, lovecraftian horror, and existential ponderings have taught me is that the universe doesnt care about me, or you, or anyone.  it is totally indifferent to our existence, it doesnt care whether we think the way things are is 'fair' or not.
Thanks. That's interesting. It seems to me that, in general, anarchist writers and thinkers - at least the anti-capitalist ones I'm familiar with - are intensely concerned about social justice. Based on your experiences I would think psychadelics probably do not lead to anarchism but to an acceptance of things as they are. Rather, I imagine that the personality traits and fringe social circles that lead one to use mind-altering substances are often the same ones that lead to anarchism. In other words, we have correlation but not causation. The two things: anarchism and psychadelics are quite possibly antagonistic, each weakening (or balancing) the other; they just tend to be associated because both appeal to the same kinds of people.
i never meant to suggest i thought psychedelics 'caused' anarchic tendencies, or visa versa -and personally i wouldnt use the term 'anarchism', but there you go-.  i merely wondered if peoples ideas -of anarchy, so as to justify the question being on the site, and avoid dot's wrath- had been influenced by psychedelic or similar experiences.

and i dont think psychedelics in general cause an acceptance of 'the ways things are'.  often the new and strange experiences that are brought about can radically alter a persons perception, tending to lead to more questioning, but thats just my experience.
syrphant, most people would say they're concerned with social justice, and anarchists are not different from that. you happen to have found yourself on a site that doesn't lean that way. a lot of the anarchist sites that do lean that way don't allow commenting, certainly not by anonymous people (crimethinc, etc). post-left and/or egoist-y anarchists, and those influenced by them, tend to be a bit more open to the chaos, as far as i can tell.

anarchist is a broad enough label that it doesn't necessarily describe much, except when it does.
wym by social justice dot
wanting things to get better, to be more "just," i dunno dude, it's not my term. i just know that people are into it, especially people who haven't thought about (or who reject) questions of mass and generalities...
if i had to estimate based on people i've known and talked with enough to find out about their thoughts and actions....

people who say they used psychedelics - around 1 out of 10

people who say they feel concerned about "social justice" - 1 out of 50

people who say they desire anarchy - 1 out of 10,000

people who say they want more money - 999 out of 1,000
interesting estimates, ba@.

the only one i would estimate very differently - based on my own experiences - is the social justice. i would put my estimation there at at least 5 out of 10. likely a factor of the family i grew i up with, the people i have known throughout my life, the places i have lived, activities i participate in, etc.
yes, funky, i sort of questioned that one in my mind as i wrote it....

but i considered the term "social justice" specifically in that estimate, and people i know who use that term. if i went off of more general (or specific?) comments of "wanting to make the world a better place" or wanting "equal pay" across gender and race, or that sort of thing, i'd estimate the number higher....maybe 1 of 5.

within my (and my mate's) immediate families, i'd estimate more like 1 out of 3 or 4. but they all seem to still aspire to make 50 dollars an hour in order to buy products from people who make 1 dollar an hour (or services from people who make 10 an hour), even if they say they want "social justice".
for sure, talking about wanting social justice - or any similar idea like the examples you gave - can be very different from how folks actually behave.
@dot: yes, this is a very tolerant, open group that certainly makes a misfit like me feel at home ;) I like you guys. This is probably not the right place to pursue the idea, but since we all like chaos... I've been struggling with fairness/justice of late - since the brawl we had over currency and toenails and plant-pimpin' - and I forced myself to listen to Kropotkin' Conquest of Bread audio book (I can't stand that guy, but I recalled he was anti-money and I needed the challenge).

I'll say, just to bounce it off you, that "fairness and justice" don't apply to what's likely random or unintentional (like Shinmin's statement that life isn't fair and the universe is indifferent, with which I certainly agree). That's more about being lucky and unlucky. On the other hand, when we look only at human behaviour and interaction we can talk about fairness: breaking one's word, the strong exploiting the weak, some taking more than their share, blame for something you didn't do, etc. etc.

I really see nothing in non-human life to suggest anything other than humans give a damn about justice; I suspect it is related to reason, another thing only human's seem to care about. That is, not being content with what, human's also like to know why. Oddly, fairness is sufficient to satisfy humans as to why, and in the interest of simplification I'll generalize that humans think injustice is a satisfactory reason for anger, irrational action and even suicide. I'll not even pretend to be an exception to this generalization.

It could've been the case that acid droppers, after seeing interconnectedness, feel a heightened sense of indignation and want more strongly to struggle to set things right. Agreeing with Kropotkin here, I'd say any social organization with privilege, assymetrical power, rulers, etc is naturally unfair. And the very idea pisses me off.

Yet I can't picture justice without the concept of exchange value of products of labor: what is a fair exchange? What was taken by force or knavery?

If I were to have a beer with Funky it might end badly: I would buy the first round, then Funky, rejecting the very concept of accounting, would feel nothing when I buy the second round, and the third. He'd say thanks, probably, but I'd say, "hey man, this isn't fair." He'd say, "you should give without expecting anything in return." I'd say, "it ain't about the money, it is the principle." He'd say, "money is an illusion." Me: "I know, but what I did to be able to compensate the brewer for her work was real, and That's what I'm giving. Doesn't my gesture make you feel a little desire to participate in a mutual project rather than just benefit from my project?" Funky: "you are a myopic, greedy bastard and a horrible father" Me: " You don't get to judge me if you reject morality."

edited to add: ;)
To head-off the inevitable accusation that I'm being authoritative: I'm thinking out loud. Putting it out there to see how it sounds. I expect no agreement, I'm not out to convince anyone of anything. Just you are the only people that are occadionally interested enough in my brain-excretions to make counter statements or recommend I go read something.

fairness seems to be - or at least can be - related to subjective "value", though not material value. if i say "i value friendship", that is not a material value, at least not in any way i can fathom. it can't be used for exchange, eg. well, i guess maybe in your strictly economic world it could, i just don't know how.

if we were having beers together, me buying you a round would have nothing to do with "fairness". it would have to do with me getting pleasure from giving you something that you enjoy. if i had bought the first round, would you offer to buy the second solely because you saw it as "fair"? your desire to give me something that makes me happy isn't enough (or is it a factor at all)?

it has no relation to economics or exchange value, for me.

but you are a horrible father and a myopic greedy fuck!  :-)

syrphant: knowing f@ as i do, your hypothetical situation would not go down that way. i appreciate the effort that goes into considering hypotheses, and the vulnerability in putting them out there to strangers.

your hypothetical could totally happen with other people though, and it makes me wonder why you continue to pay for beers, if part of being f2f with anyone is about the negotiation, the determining what you're there for and how that meets what the other person is there for. maybe the other person doesn't like beer but is drinking with you because they think it's what you want? maybe they think you enjoy being the generous one and demonstrating that you have more than you need? that doesn't need to matter if you have determined that who pays for the beer is a really important indicator of how interested someone is in the conversation, but a) that can be arbitrary, and b) you determine how much you're giving (and how much you're determining the beer means--why not just stop drinking beer, if that's not the point of the interaction), and c) assuming other people agree with your assumptions is highly dangerous along exactly all these lines.

ok - i'm supposed to be doing other things. must stop procrastinating!

syrphant: "If I were to have a beer with Funky it might end badly: I would buy the first round, then Funky, rejecting the very concept of accounting, would feel nothing when I buy the second round, and the third. He'd say thanks, probably, but I'd say, "hey man, this isn't fair."

why would you keep buying rounds if it bothered you? 

and why does someone rejecting accounting mean they would feel nothing?

i'd say even calling the beer buying a "round" implies you've started accounting...why not just call it a beer.

i often bring homemade cannabis edibles to small gatherings of friends....i never feel like they "owe" me something in return....i get a lot of pleasure simply by seeing their enjoyment of the snacks...

concepts of "fairness" and "justice"  hold no appeal for me....but i sometimes still need to shake those concepts implanted in my brain from years of conditioning through hierarchical institutions and other authority figures in my life.

syrphant" "just you are the only people that are occasionally interested enough in my brain-excretions to make counter statements or recommend I go read something."

i appreciate that syrphant...i often feel the same way when writing my thoughts here....which i just realized i've done for four years now.....leading me to again feel grateful for this "place".... :)

@syrphant rejecting morality does not imply that you cannot judge other people, or their actions.  there being no objective answer to questions of 'best pizza' doesnt stop you from making judgements as to what kind of pizzas you like best.  same goes for people, you can still think someone is awesome or kinda sucky, you just wouldnt claim it to be an 'objective moral fact', simply your own judgement.

also a quick 'yes' to the things said by @funky, @dot, and 'specially @bornagain
this feels like a digression from the question, but oh well...

shinmin, your point there is one i find myself trying to make all too often when talking with moralists.

i make "judgements" all the time; they are subjective, they apply only to the context in which i am making that "judgement", there is absolutely no intended implication of that judgement being universally applicable or "objective", and ultimately it is nothing more than "i like that" or "i don't like that" (with varying levels of amplitude).

you said it more succinctly.
your binary question is worded weirdly to me. this part:

"have people here had their the concepts of anarchy influenced -to a greater or lesser degree- by psychedelic experiences, or other unusual experience?

i read that as you implying that if i boofed some psychedelic then it automatically had some sort of influence concerning anarchy and me. that probably wasn't your intent.

my use of psychedelics hasn't been an influence on me concerning anarchy. nor towards a higher sense of "enlightenment". it's kinda funny when some people who take acid and pull start preaching how acid caused them to be "deeply enlightened". but it gets old fast.

details about your experience and guide would be nice.

2 Answers

+3 votes

psychedelics had a huge influence on my life in general, around the same time i started reading @ lit. While there are a lot of components and a lot of insights i gained i would say chief among them was ego loss/death. really helped me view everything as equal heirs to the earth, gave me a renewed meaning to my own personal life to cut through my nihilism, and thus a more positive view of the fact that all the stars burn out eventually, the breaking down of barriers between me and other beings (the interconnectedness) helped me care more about the struggles of others and solidarity, maybe some other stuff i cant put my finger on, but i would say it less directly influenced my anarchy and more just overall as a person, and thus indirectly relates to my concept of anarchy.

a better illustration: now. after LSD and others, when i see two cops shoving someone in a car, i dont see two cops and a criminal, i see two people attacking and abusing another (and their wellbeings all depend on eachother (the interconnectedness))

edit:optimistic nihilism from realizing how unimportant i am

changed that to: gave me a renewed meaning to my own personal life to cut through my nihilism, and thus a more positive view of the fact that all the stars burn out eventually,

answered Apr 19 by DonnieDarko (870 points)
edited Apr 20 by DonnieDarko
wait, i don't understand. you say you gained ego death and insights from psychedelics. or did you mean you experienced ego death while on psychedelics? in ego death there is no you, yourself and u. nor any sense of self or awareness of your existence. to find meaning to your personal life during ego death is odd and doesn't make sense since there is no "i" or self to find meaning for yourself.. trying to find meaning for your personal self would imply you're aware, have a sense of self and your existence.  ego death isnt something you gain and it doesn't stick around for long time. ego death is hard to explain. im not sure what you meant by "gaining ego death"

what you're describing is more on par with stuff like lsd or ald-52 and a few other ones. to end up in ego death you'd likely have to take a lot.
didn't say "gained ego death" and didn't describe the experience so negating it is weird. those who have experienced it disagree that one cant experience it, as "you" aren't there, as you don't experience it as you, you experience it as everything, or everythingyou and that's part of the point.

obviously something profound will be analyzed by most people, even if not at the moment, and likely have some effect on them as a person.
and I did take alot
oh im sorry, the wording of the 2nd and 3rd sentence in your answer was confusing to me. so the 2nd sentence meant there are a lot of components and insights you gained and one of the components & insights you gained would be ego death? or would it be the insight alone or component alone? thanks for clarifying.

your follow up sentence reads like you were still meaning ego death rather than whatever it was you were actually trying to convey. hence my comment.  George is glad you clarified and now knows you weren't meaning ego death in the 3rd sentence of your answer, but something else.

i've experienced ego death a few times off a combo of dmt and other fun stuff and discussed it with a few people that have experienced it. it's fairly difficult to explain to others.

"those who have experienced it disagree that one cant experience it, as "you" aren't there, as you don't experience it as you, you experience it as everything, or everything you and that's part of the point."

George doesn't know what you're meaning by that sentence.
0 votes
Great question; excellent conversation topic.  I've never tried pscyhadelics. I have some pschological issues that produce wierd experiences for me without them; my "natural" trips are not always comfortable, so I never wanted to push my mind further in that direction. In high-school I hung out with kids who enjoyed acid; they actually asked for me to be there - sober - to help them trip. I just remember them mostly laying on the floor and me producing sounds and visual effects and deep thoughts. I felt no desire to join them on the floor; I kinda felt they were going to a lot of trouble to get where I tend to drift off to sometimes and go to trouble to get back from.  Now in my older age I'd like to experiment with LSD but I wouldn't even know how to go about finding a dealer.

I reckon anyone who thinks deep is going to end up anarchist. I reckon anyone with a particularly heightened empathy for others and particularly intense awareness of things like time and change are going to end up thinking deep.  If psychadelics can dissolve the man-made reality we take for granted and reveal the truer, greater complexity, I'm sure they'll lead many people to anarchist thought.
answered May 9 by Syrphant (600 points)

i wish i still had glasses as deeply rose-colored as yours, syrphant. and i wish i had some pure liquid to send you!

"I reckon anyone who thinks deep is going to end up anarchist. "

if only...

i also think that idea implies a sort of patronizing attitude shared by so many folks with strong ideas about how the world "should" be. as i mentioned above, my own psychedelic experiences opened doors in my mind that could never be closed again. yet all of my living experiences through 57+ years also play into the complex soup that is my mind, hopefully preventing me from allowing any one element of my experiences to color all of my "reality".

Look, if I sound patronizing maybe I'm trying to convince myself, 'cause in all honesty I'm the most confused, insecure member of this group. As you often remind me. Don't rub your moral.and intellectual superiority in my face; it's patronizing ;)

fuck superiority! i have no morals, and my intellect is constantly in question (primarily - though definitely not exclusively - by me).

however, i AM always right. (or is it left...?)