A Scientist Reports on the Contribution of Cannabis to his Work by Anonymous
As a scientist I have spent years training the analytical side of my mind. I have learned to be suspicious of my data, to look for ways to test the reasonableness of my results and arrive at the same conclusions by alternative means. It is an active process of mental discipline: idealizing physical situations, making assumptions to formulate a soluble problem, and applying logic to determine the outcome.
What I have sometimes neglected is an awareness of the wider significance of my work and the sense of wonder that led me into the field to begin with. Often I have been unable to see an answer that lies before me. Part of the blame lies in the very training that enables me to do complicated analytical work. To concentrate on the aspects of a problem that I have included in my model, I ignore apparent distractions that sometimes hold the key to a solution. This happens especially when I work with computers, which can do nothing with the mere suggestion or hint that something important has been left out. It is a human habit to go over old ground repeatedly, seeing what you believe to be there rather than what is actually there (the reason people cannot proofread their own writing). I get high for short periods to remedy this problem. It allows me to turn off the rational side of my mind and think creatively (and randomly). It temporarily cancels the limiting effects of my training and allows me to see my work in a different light.
It would be inefficient to follow up these new ideas while high, because I am too easily distracted and my analytical capacity is impaired. Instead I enjoy the relaxation and keep notebooks recording my thoughts in lists and outlines. Both the relaxation and the observation of otherwise overlooked details have been valuable contributions to my work.