Up From Illegitimacy by Anonymous
The author of this piece is a 21-year-old political science honors student at a New England university. He prefers moments of beneficial introspection and solitude in his occasional experiences, while ruefully noting the harmless utility of the plant must be kept secret.
On the topic of why I get stoned, there are many reasons why I enjoy the feeling of being high; some are quite simple and obvious, and others are more revealing about my personality and the inner workings of my thoughts. Describing to somebody the sensation of being high is akin to explaining color to a blind man, but I will do my best.
I like to use marijuana depending on the different context during which I will be high. These contexts are juxtaposed as what one could call the “social” and “introspective.” As I move on in age and experience (I am presently 21 and have been using marijuana since age 17), it is increasingly rare that I smoke marijuana in social situations, such as when going out with friends; I do not find the marijuana high in most circumstances congenial to extroversion or gregariousness. Nonetheless, with certain friends and during certain activities, I find marijuana to be a social drug, particularly when everyone in the group smokes together and is on the same wavelength, so to speak. Being stoned among people who are not stoned (and who do not know you are stoned) can be an extremely uncomfortable experience. But for he most part, those days ended early on in my college years. I now smoke for different, more personal reasons.
When I smoke and I am in a certain mood – a ruminative mood, usually when I need to think or much has happened that I should have thought about – being stoned both focuses my mind by filtering out the trivia in my life and also slightly alters the conclusions I reach while thinking. I think that, as time moves on and events unfold, I build up a need for solitude in order to think and wander around the expanses of my mind. My desire for the particular intoxication which marijuana provides is thus occasional in nature, not everyday and familiar – it is employed not as a constant companion or everyday indulgence but instead as a utilitarian substance providing both physical pleasure and psychological tranquility.
Being stoned creates a sort of switch in my thoughts; in a sense, I become intellectually and emotionally a slightly different person, a person that is more calm and introspective and inclined to pursue different avenues of thought. Getting stoned, in an odd sense, is like getting a second opinion, from myself. Of course, I manage life’s affairs soberly and competently like any person who has their psychological house in order, yet the desire to get stoned builds up as the events compile in my psyche. Getting high for the purpose of introspection (which is usually the only time I smoke anymore) causes me to focus on or discover ideas that never occurred to me, and put events in their proper order of importance; it’s an antidote to pedantry. Getting stoned gives my rational thoughts a rigorous examination from my marijuana-altered psyche. I think about my plans for next semester and next year, my professors and classes, relationships with friends and lovers, past and present. Indeed, while stoned, thoughts and memories become tinctured with a more emotional nostalgia, perhaps a longing for the past or at least a better understanding of it. I’m not sure if that’s the right way to describe this phenomenon, but while stoned I tend to view the events of past years more viscerally, more recent, cutting and profound.
Getting stoned makes me feel alive, in touch with a part of me that is normally inaccessible, a part that is differently creative and differently able to judge life’s events and future possibilities. Being drunk is heavy and sluggish on the mind and the next day’s memories of the previous night are cloudy, desultory, and numbed. But the marijuana high is immaculate, poignant, lucid, revealing, and thoughtful. It is pleasant because I usually become content simply shutting myself in my room, browsing my bookcase, leisurely reading a magazine, or just bumbling around playing songs and organizing stuff in my room.
The most demoralizing and outrageous aspect of this is that it causes me to live a kind of double existence and put up a fake countenance in certain situations. It’s like I have a secret life that I believe is entirely legitimate, virtuous, and healthy, but I cannot allow most people to know about it because they are convinced, through supine gullibility or dubious information, that my informed, rational, and deliberate choice is immoral and harmful. Imagine if everybody who liked having a gin and tonic once in a while had to do so with the knowledge that they would become an instant pariah (or maybe end up in jail) if their behavior became known. That’s the life of the marijuana smoker.