|>> || I actually was thinking over something similar to this on my last nitrous oxide session. |
I start with the basic assumption that I'm pretty much wrong about everything. Not entirely obviously, but I think that no matter what it is, no matter what I think, I could always be more right. So I was wondering what makes people think that they're "right"? As in, actually definitively right, like this one's done, don't have to think about it anymore sort of right. I don't feel that way about anything. This is taken from what I wrote that has to do with psychedelics specifically
Ironically, you could see this as me simply falling into the same trap whilst claiming to have found a way out of it. I think in a way I might have, but by tripping it rather than trying to avoid it. I've come to a point where I feel as though I'm the closest I'll ever be to having an "answer", I feel absolutely sure that I can't be absolutely sure about anything else. I've found a sense of peace through a sort of certainty about uncertainty that I can only imagine is how people who are devoutly religious feel.
In essence, I see the era of humanity that we have now entered in postmodernity as being defined by the idea that we now have full scope of the question of life. The project of philosophy can never be finished, we will continue to refine our knowledge of existence from now until the end of time, but at this point we know as much as is logically possible about what that project is. There are no answers, but the only thing we can possibly do now is to continue to strive for those answers we know aren’t there, to continue building knowledge for no reason, and in general to just persevere from now until the end of time in spite of there being absolutely no apparent reason to.
I think that great sense of enlightenment or revelation that people have experienced throughout history has been mistaken for the answer. In reality, I think we feel as though these bursts of inspiration are so profound because we misinterpret that sense of awe and ecstatic dread we feel when we’re confronted with the reality of our existence, as in during religious experiences and in any other altered state of consciousness, as being a result of somehow comprehending the scope of it.
In actuality, I think that feeling comes from having had the slightest comprehension of just how much we don’t know, how much we can’t know, and how much we just will never be able to know.
You can see how you can get into very dicey territory very quickly if you don’t start from this premise. If you’re a layperson who has just realized how unsatisfied they are with the answers given to them by the truth makers in society, and you start looking for a DIFFERENT ultimate truth or single cohesive grand narrative to life to replace the old one you’ve grown dissatisfied with, you’re barking up the wrong tree, and you’ll find nothing of value.
If you throw something like acid or nitrous oxide into the mix on this quest, however, there’s a good chance you’ll THINK you’ve found the answer though, which is where the danger lies. Again, because if you just feel that sense of wonder and panic, you will feel as though whatever god you’ve chosen to replace the old one is talking directly to you and telling you that you’re right, because without any background in philosophy at all, there’s no other reasonable conclusion you can make when confronted with such a profound experience.
I think this is rapidly changing though as postmodern thought becomes more and more ingrained in our culture. A lot of people now detest all the hippy bullshit and navel gazing and just do drugs for fun end of, and if they happen to learn something along the way so be it. I tend to fall somewhere in between these two groups. I think on a basic level you should approach the experience for what it is without any forethought and follow whatever threads your mind happens to send you down. I think you kind of get what you get out of it. This whole diatribe sprang forth from a single breath of nitrous oxide, I didn't set out to write this and use the drug to help me, I was using the drug to have fun.
I think despite not being able to explain it in these terms, and probably even while vehemently disagreeing with it when it’s laid out like this, most people now kind of implicitly recognize that no one has all the answers, there can be no one grand narrative to life, there is no such thing as absolute truth, and that we all kind of live in these different, interconnected, universes based on our individual and cultural interpretations of the incoherent mess of signals that make the actual noumenal universe as it actually is.
People already act this way no matter what they feel about postmodern”ism” (which is not an ideology at all, it’s descriptive not prescriptive). It doesn’t matter if you’re an orthodox Marxist, an objectivist, a Nazi, a Monarchist, Christian, Muslim, atheist, etc. and you think that you’re incontrovertibly right and everyone else is incontrovertibly wrong and must suffer for it. What you believe is not the same truth that your ancestors had inherited over the course of hundreds or thousands of years, it’s a copy of a copy of a copy, distorted into something wholly separate from its original nature through this game of ideological telephone.
We are living in the postmodern era and so by axiom all of our thought is postmodern thought. All of it is characterized by the sort of inconstant, syncretic, and seemingly contradictory nature people associate with postmodernism itself, because all postmodernists are saying is that this is where we are right now. Not that it’s good or that it’s what “ought” to be. The overwhelming majority of them are harshly critical of our current condition, but still realize the way forwards can’t be backwards.