Spacing Out by Joe Niezgodzki

Joe Niezgodzki is 41 years old, lives in Kapaa, Hawaii where he works in website design and sales. He has degrees in Theology and Philosophy after starting out as a computer science major. His interests include politics as well as physics. “I am a little left of Karl Marx.”

Marijuana! There are many images that this word brings to mind. The most common image is of people sitting around doing “nothing,” people looking as if they are in a trance or just out of it. The image is that of a person spacing out.

What does this spacing out mean, though?

I have found through my personal experiences that what I am thinking about when spacing out is very focused. The focus that is involved is unlike any other I have experienced. Usually when asked what one is doing, a person who is stoned will answer “spacing out,” yet this is not an accurate description. More often than not they are thinking in-depth about something very personal if not down right strange.

Spacing out is the generic term that a marijuana smoker uses to describe deep focus on a thought. What that thought is has little to do with marijuana and much to do with the individual’s beliefs.

When I space out, I gain a deeper insight into what I’m thinking about. The focus that is involved makes me think of the ancient Greek Philosophers, men who sat around and thought about the world without the distractions of our modern society. Did these men space out? I don’t know the answer to that but what I do know is I have had many an insight into the world when spacing out.

I find spacing out is the ability to focus on one idea to the point at which even other people are no longer heard. I have found this type of focus in only one other place, religious meditation. Unlike religious meditation though, spacing out has no preconceived purpose, such as prayer for the sick or reciting a Mantra to find inner peace. The purpose that a person spacing out has is one of a spontaneous nature. I find that what I choose to surround myself with guides me when I space out. The structure of these thoughts is as ordered and complete as the person who is thinking.

Marijuana has allowed me to get a degree in Philosophy. Because of marijuana I was able to space out on questions ranging from the nature of causality to the meaning of the word “is.” This spacing out on such subjects allowed me to follow one line of thinking to a logical conclusion. Spacing out on the premise, and if one has trained one’s mind to be logical, thank you Mr. Spock, the conclusions fall right in place. Spacing out gives me the ability to conclude a line of thinking only given a few underlying facts. With this as my learning tool, I easily passed classes that others called difficult, Metaphysics, 19th century philosophy, Phenomenology, etc… I didn’t even take notes! Now I don’t want you to think marijuana made me smarter than the others in my class but it did make/allow me focus on the subjects.

So the next time you ask someone what he or she is doing and they answer “spacing out,” know that they were engrossed in thought. Know also that the thought was particular to them and you may never understand when you ask them to explain that thought. Know that when spacing out one is still interested in the world but interested in their thought of how what they are spacing out on influences their world, if at all.

4 Responses to “Spacing Out by Joe Niezgodzki”

  1. Anthony says:

    I really enjoyed reading this account. I have became engrossed in my thought while spacing out and for some reason could not come up with a better explaination than just ” ‘rolling’ some thought over & over in my head” Reading this article has better helped me articulate my understanding of what it is to “space out”
    Thank you.

  2. Jay says:

    Thank you for your contribution Joe. I share much in common with your post regarding both my thoughts and experiences.

    It seems that in general, people assume that ‘zoning out’, whether drug-induced or not, is something only slackers do. The notion of introspection or just ‘being’ in a meditative sense rarely comes to mind regarding this. I also hear people mock the manner in which ‘stoners’ ponder basic meanings of words (like ‘is). Although they think "gee that idiot doesnt even remember what the word ‘is’ is. A more enlightened individual may reply " No, in fact they are having a rather captivating conversation on the semantics, etymological origins and metaphysical ramifications of certain words of the english language"

    Of course like almost everything related to Cannabis, where is was previously scorned, modern science is now vindicating or supporting many of these facets of Cannabis use/Cannabis effects; this whole topic you just discussed is one such instance.

    For example, the Fall 2010 Discover magazine issue of The Brain has an article title Mindless: Why letting your attention wander may be the best way to set goals, make discoveries, and live a balanced life.

  3. James says:

    Spacing In Joey, Spacing In.

  4. Nolan says:

    I really enjoyed reading this!
    I never really put together “spacing out” and deeply contemplating an idea as one in the same. When interrupted from deep thought and someone asks what I am doing I would usually reply, “spacing out.”
    It has been a couple months since I have had a chance to smoke, I cannot wait until my next opportunity so i can have a good think.

Leave a Reply