A Mental Journey into Creativity by "Brandon Thomas"
“Brandon Thomas” is a 20-year-old junior at Michigan State University where he is studying Social Science. Echoing the recurrent themes of new-found appreciation for music and nature, as well as the stimulation of creative processes frequently observed by our contributors, he suggests that the relaxation of conditioned thought underlies such positive aspects of usage.
Marijuana, the killer herb. Marijuana, makes you go crazy. Marijuana, makes you lazy. Marijuana, none of those things. I have to laugh when I hear all these afflictions that marijuana supposedly causes. I’ve never experienced any of them, either personally or in any of my friends or acquaintances. True, I haven’t been smoking it for very long, about two years. But I smoke pretty regularly, and have had no adverse effects. In fact, marijuana has changed my life for the better. It’s changed my views on a great many subjects, from music to spirituality to everyday things. It has helped me challenge long-held beliefs and to think in new ways.
One good example of how marijuana can help me think in different ways is when I’m high and listening to music. I notice that in these instances, my thoughts take on the nature of the music. Suppose I am listening to Dave Matthews Band, a favorite of mine. Some songs move fast, some move slowly, some are long, others, not so long. And the tempo varies, of course, between songs and even within the same song. So my thoughts, which are often moving through uncharted territory, move like the song. At first, there are some more or less “normal” thoughts, where I’m considering some problem or idea, but as the song moves into instrumentals, away from the organized pattern of verse-chorus-verse, so do my thoughts. They flow like a river as the music itself flows like a river, and here I have had some very unique, creative insights. As the song speeds up, so does my thinking; as it slows, my thoughts ease off. Then, as the song ends, so too does the thought pattern. Sometimes I lose my train of thought, and there is a moment of sadness, a feeling of loss. Sometimes I don’t lose it and as the next song starts my thoughts move elsewhere.
Music, then, can greatly facilitate and enhance certain kinds of thinking while high. There have been times when I was stoned and listening to music that I have had multiple insights in this way, sometimes at the level of a personal epiphany. Because of these experiences, I now almost never get high without having some music playing, and I almost invariably choose some sort of “jam” band. The long, loping instrumentals fit perfectly with the kind of free-flow thinking that marijuana induces. Classic rock bands like the Allman Brothers Band or Pink Floyd are also favorites; however, I may also note that marijuana has enhanced my appreciation of music of a much wider variety. Music I had before never liked or understood suddenly “clicked,” and I found myself listening to folk, classical, techno, and hip hop. In fact, I find I am better able to enjoy music in general since I started smoking; whether I’m high or not, I love music so much more these days.
There have, however, been times that I have not had music on while high. One time I happened across an old roach and decided to spark it up. It was around noon on a sunny, blue-sky day, and even though I hadn’t smoked much, I experienced a very unique high, unique, at least, from what I am used to. I generally smoke in the evenings, and in fact up to that point I had never been high in the middle of the day. So smoking that day was totally new to me. My eyes were opened to what “blue” really was, for one thing, and I could not take my sight away from that beautiful bowl of electric blue sky. The sound of the wind in the trees and the birds singing was amazing in and of itself, which was why I didn’t play any music. Listening to nature gave me a totally different experience from listening to music. I sat down, my body tingling with joy, and wrote several poems about random things that I saw out my window. There is no lie in saying that marijuana can increase creativity. I love to write poetry, or sometimes even short stories, while I’m high. It flows in a very different way from when I’m sober. Not necessarily better, just different. I suppose that’s all that creativity is: different modes of thinking.
That is the beauty of marijuana, and why it is such a shame that this herb has been maligned for so long. Marijuana opens the mind to new pathways of thought. In daily (read: sober) life, our thoughts fall into the same old, preconditioned patterns we learned when we were young. There is nothing wrong with this in general, but it is rather limiting. We get stuck in the same thought patterns and that stifles creativity. Smoking marijuana can relax our preconceived notions of “rational” thought and free us to explore new avenues, delving into courses of thought that we would otherwise consider silly, illogical, or just plain stupid. Of course, not all of these new conclusions hold up the next day. Sometimes, the critical nature of sobriety reveals our ideas to be silly and wrong, or sometimes we realize that whatever it is we thought up while high is a very obvious notion when examined with a sober mind. But there have been many times where I have come up with new ideas, solutions to problems that do hold up in the light of sober day. The stereotype of stoners either forgetting all their insights or only thinking of totally ridiculous things is not accurate, at least in my experience.
The fact is that marijuana has added much to my life. I have always loved nature, but now it’s a deeper appreciation, because I feel more connected with it. This in turn has added to my ongoing spiritual journey. I’ve gone from Catholic to atheist to some sort of undefined spiritual seeker in the last 4 years. Marijuana helped me see that there may be more to the world than what we can normally see. I look forward to using marijuana in the years to come to further expand my viewpoints on things. I can only hope that America will come to its senses and legalize this wonderful herb, so that we may all enjoy its benefits without worrying about jail time. If ever there were a tragic set of laws, it’s our drug laws. Maybe everyone out there just needs to smoke a bowl to figure it out.