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More Words At Play. Love words? Need even more definitions? So when I got to my LSD epiphany about the supreme importance of love, following a series of encounters with my wife and son in which I was overwhelmed with gratitude for their existence, I paused in the narrative to reflect on the problem at hand, dilating on the delicate line between profundity and banality.
I confessed to the reader that the nakedness of the emotions I was describing, undefended against the pitiless glare of irony, made them embarrassing to write about. I wondered aloud. To resaturate that dried husk with feeling is to see it again for what it is: the loveliest and most deeply rooted of truths, hidden in plain sight. Perhaps a more sure-footed writer would have stuck to his psychedelic guns, remaining inside the visionary logic of the experience, but when I tried to write it that way, the narrative lost all friction, making it impossible for anyone but a mystic or psychonaut or ardent New Ager to grab hold of it.
Once I had worked out this double stance, moving back and forth between the interiority of psychedelic consciousness and the ironies of ordinary consciousness, scenes I had approached with dread became great fun to write. For a journalist accustomed to working within the tight box of checkable facts, constructing a narrative from the pure productions of my imagination was liberation itself.
I had passed beyond the reach of the fact checker and felt a bit like I imagine a novelist does transcribing her waking dream. Whenever I got to a place in my journey that flirted with implausibility or took me beyond the bounds of grammar or language, I simply turned to the reader, much like an actor breaking the fourth wall, and frankly acknowledged the narrative pickle in which we found ourselves.
Perhaps the trickiest of these passages came during a psilocybin trip when I experienced the complete dissolution of my ego. All at once I had burst into a sheaf of paper slips, no bigger than Post-its, that were being scattered to the wind. So who was this other I?
Here, the limits of language become a problem: In order to completely make sense of the divide that had opened up in my perspective, I would need a whole new first-person pronoun. I was present to reality but as something other than my self. This was big news. Multiplying my authorial persona — or was I dividing it? The acknowledgment of doubt is precisely what allows us to suspend it.
The two authors who taught me the most about psychedelic narratives were Aldous Huxley and Henri Michaux. As it happens, both books are accounts of mescaline trips that the authors took just a few years apart. But there the similarities end.
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Its evocations of an altered state of consciousness are lovely, especially in their visual detail, but on reflection perhaps a tad too lovely: You come away with the feeling that the experience conformed to expectation, and served to illustrate a metaphysics already in place. In order to receive tips on your comments, you must have a wallet address saved. Or, you can: Copy wallet address from MetaMask.
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