Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Elliot Ingersoll in his paper, On Being Integrally Stoned: Marijuana and the Further Development of the Integral Movement, unwittingly exhibits his unfamiliarity with marijuana while at the same time surprising me with its conclusions and insights into some of the more refined aspects of the complexities of marijuana. Perhaps, I find it irksome that I did not write the paper myself or that Ingersoll seems to be coming from an ignorant perspective at times, though, I believe that is because I would define myself as coming from an “insider's” perspective and he seems to be on the outside looking in with his P. H.d and his hilariously titled brain he calls Jimmie. A joke the reader may not pick-up on but which I immediately noted as a great opener. The 3rd person perspective looking-in is exactly what I'm talking about, and for the moment Ingersoll hits the head on the nail.
Now, I must inform that I have not smoked weed in 4-6 months after a lifetime of smoking the good herb. I often take stints from usage, but not exactly like this, as I am planning on moving to Japan and never quite using the herb again or at least for a very very long time. Though, I've probably used enough for a lifetime. Ingersoll states that a 10mg lemon drop sent him on a semi-psychedelic vision quest, beautifully described, however I could take lemon drop after lemon drop and add a couple bowls to that and still be at a liberally centered condition. Concerning my own recent usage, I find the point we first agreed upon was the review of addiction. As Ingersoll states, there is no physical addiction, while most people do not become psychologically addicted. I find that there are no impediments from my constant habitual usage to going “cold turkey,” whatsoever. Here, I believe we would agree.
While Ingersoll would surprise me at certain points with philosophical references which I enjoyed some of his knowledge-base concerned me. I believe that is because I have developed a different sort of knowledge about the drug since being immersed in its culture. First of all, there are many unmentioned “homeopathic-like” benefits of usage. He makes a statement concerning negative cardiovascular effects: “brain arteries to constrict there may be damage to smaller arteries”. What he fails to mention is that the number one personal discovery I have made about the benefits of marijuana usage is that it literally oxygenates the blood stream increasing blood flow, and can be used in deep, deep moments of recovery such as after a work-out or even surgery. He mentions that respiratory problems can be caused. Well, it is true that 1 joint is equal to 10 cigarettes in the tar department, but also, and I think we agree somewhat, has no real red flags in that department either, as stated before, there are enormous benefits through lifestyle choice that can induce certain conditions. Also, there are certain cultural knowings about the benefits one would not know. Such as, I have met many people who smoke habitually who have never been to the dentist and do not brush their teeth, yet, they have perfect white teeth. The benefits for ocular development are known. I have not had to change my eye prescription in 15 years, and it goes on and on and on.....
The third part of the paper I felt he left out was a true cultural experience. If you are going to talk about the UL in your paper why not get detailed and open up your heart to the true meaning of marijuana. I used to smoke with my spiritual teacher Bro. Wayne Teasdale, and coupled with his fostering of myself and my lifestyle I have come to a deeper understanding of the true heart of consciousness. This leads to a greater compassion, and open heart, and a spiritual vibrancy that exudes itself. He fails to mention marijuana consciousness in this brand and as well as the Rastafarian culture. I know his paper is coming from the UR, but I thought I'd mention that culturally there are all kinds of Incarnational and multiplistic spiritual views that come out of marijuana culture.
Not that there are not extremely negative consequences. I find that over-usage can lead to a sedentary disposition, and an inability to really connect with others. Ingersoll mentions its connection to the homelessness epidemic, somewhat a connection here. Though, stopping usage can lead to “the asshole effect.” Being loud, obnoxious and overbearing. He mentions that the effects can be likened to certain anti-psychotics, something I'm familiar with though it is important in the new development of studies as certain disorders cannot be treated in such a fashion. In fact, marijuana lessens the effects of a prescribed anti-psychotic and can be dangerous for treatment by nullifying its very benefits. This has much to do with the serotonin and neurotonin absorption that doctors are delving into as we speak in order to control such psychologically damaging behavior. So, be wary!
The paper also delves into the Erotic and sexual relationship benefits of marijuana usage. Something I have heard, and found interesting, though have little knowledge of at the time.
Where the paper hits home is in bringing to me snippets of knowledge and quotations I have never heard. I like the part about resin being developed because of a predatory instinct. Something I might have heard in passing. I really liked the part about the discovery of marijuana by an Arab Sufi in 1155 C.E. I extremely liked the part about B.F. Skinner and his famous pigeons, also, how crazy would that be if the founder of behavioral psychology was a pot-head.
One of the most needed treatments is for the pain of “treating spasicity and movement disorders” (10). A field we could all go into for its service to the needy.
I found the research into the incorporation of marijuana from the 7th century to be enlightening, though briefly referenced. There is only so much you can do in a short paper. The research of Jacques Moreau peaks my interest and is something I would be interested in further.
Where the war on drugs is concerned it is a very, very important topic and Ingersoll delves into it nicely. Of course, we can all attribute it to Reagan for starting this mass incarceration and I personally have a distaste for his genocidal characteristics and fervor, though it is hard to argue where to place Reagan as a president. The mention of Ariana Huffington's quote, “It's not that they do not want us on drugs (elgl marijuana) – they just want us on theirs (e.g. atypical anti psychotics)” is the very gist of this problematic (17).
Where the paper hits home and exudes itself is near the end and the Norman Mailer quotation on page 18:
“One's condition on marijuana is always existential. One can feel the importance of each moment and
how it is changing one. One feels one's being, one becomes aware of the enormous apparatus of
nothingness — the hum of a hi-fi set, the emptiness of a pointless interruption, one becomes
aware of the war between each of us, how the nothingness in each of us seeks to attack the being
of others, how our being in turn is attacked by the nothingness in others” (Plimpton, 1977, p.
Really coming to a conclusion, now. This is where Ingersoll and I find the most common ground. In his section “On Being Integrally Stoned,” we find that there could not be a better impetus for community. He states that, “Perhaps a more positive inclusion of chemically induced non-ordinary states of consciousness will nudge the consciousness of the movement and the people who identify with it,” and that it is “an important part of the human record” (19). Could not have said it better. There are all types of not only physical and psychological benefits, but spiritual and heart-conscious benefits the world-sphere has yet to come to in an ordinary state. Here, the culmination is perfection in cessation, “the time has come for a more visible forum or platform in Integral media to discuss drug-induced altered states” (20).
I will not dally, now, that I have written a lengthy review, but to say that I have come across all kinds of setbacks and dead weights in my experience and notably in the integral community. My time spent on the Integral Life forum has been compelling and uplifting as well as littered with unresponsiveness and at times abusive ignorance. I can say that Ingersoll has neither of these latter qualities. Though, we may have met a few obstacles in this review, I believe we have made leaps and bounds in our development, here and elsewhere. Two thumbs up for trying his darnedest at understanding a very involved culture.
I think I let the critic in me get out a little much.....
just something I'm so passionate about
but if I didn't say it or mean it
and a great stride for the community
Someone brought up a good point on my page although a mute one about how I was treated on IL......just like to clarify that not everyone who posts there is integral or even claims to be
I found the paper usefully informative, but more importantly I appreciated its quirky humor and give-a-fuck attitude.
I have noticed in my personal life to-date that most deep, intense and fun people whom I like to hang around with have either smoked or still smoke pot. But the converse is not necessarily true. There may be a selection bias here, but I largely agree with the likes of Terence McKenna that psychoactive substances have the potential to quickly 'wormhole' a person to be a more open, flexible and versatile cognitive-emotional orientation, than most other experiences can.
Groovy experiences with music, laughter, food and sex are well known among users. However, marijuana does play with the mind, and often turns the mind against oneself. More than visual imagery which happens more with hallucinogens, distortion and intensification of cognitive perception and affect is perhaps the most significant impact of marijuana. It requires a fair bit of resilience and courage to deal with that experience. Those who cannot deal with that intensity can make a fool of themselves, suffer, regress, and may even undergo psychological breakdowns; I've seen a few such examples in my circle of friends. Those who can deal with that intensity and ride the wave, however, get an enormous opportunity of a 'presence practice', and can then begin to enjoy it. A handy metaphor that comes to mind is a roller coaster - the razor's edge between fear and exhilaration. Aldous Huxley's 'Heaven and Hell' metaphor is another one which conveys the needful to someone new to this, and wondering what it is like.
I would go as far as to say that anyone wishing to stretch and test his/her own boundaries, deal with one's demons, discover lateral and unexplored terrains of sensory acuity and joy, should consider giving it a shot.
Yah, that was one of the things I really liked about the paper was sensory-visual synesthesia experience he researched and described. I felt music could defiantly play a huge role in the experience. There is so much out there in the spiral sort of dynamic that one cannot be attuned to unless opened up to the experience. Personally, I find Japanese Anime to be extremely exhilarating as it can open a child's heart as well as a man's if they are open to the fun and experience of believing. As a Japanese linguist myself, and a mostly fluent speaker I also find the extension of culture to be a surprising door into the human soul.
I find your presence here welcoming Neelesh. I must say that this is not something I normally wish to discuss. I usually take a deeply personal view when it comes to such things as marijuana and somebody's personal experience. It is very sensitive, and I hope that Elliot would welcome my review as I would welcome him into my home for a nice sesh anytime. Honestly, it was just the first paper I opened up which caught my eye, and because I knew so much about it I thought would write the review. You may not know, but I am also very versed in philosophy and integral theory. I have been studying since the age of 21 or 22 in integral circles and that has been for the last 15 years or so. I find that some people may not exactly respond if you are made to believe that knowledge doesn't exactly come from experience or visa versa.
Thank you for your response,
Ryan M. McEntee