Are you experienced?
Are you experienced?
I ran into a fellow stand up comic at the airport yesterday, and he was there with his wife and his baby boy. Ever since my daughter was born I have acquired this immense fascination with babies. I see them everywhere, and I can’t take my eyes off them. I spot them all over the place, and occasionally these babies will be with a full grown human that I already know. That’s what happened yesterday at LAX.
I looked up and saw this cute little baby being held by one of the Sklar brothers, an LA comedy team of twins.
I wasn’t sure which twin it was, but they’re both really nice guys, so I’m equally happy to see either one.
“You made a person?”
“I made a person.”
“Wow. That’s awesome man, congrats. I made one too.”
And just like that, we were “those guys.”
We were the kind of men that I used to see in my younger days and shake my head in confusion. Two flowery, baby-loving weirdoes – wild eyed and intoxicated, tripping on the true opiate of the masses.
His wife came over and the baby love-talk escalated to the point where I started to feel light-headed. The three of us just sat there and expressed our new parent delight with each other in the presence of their beautiful, 6 month old boy like a trio of junkies waxing poetically on hitting the thickest vein with the sweetest smack.
Making a human is a truly surreal experience. It’s so titanically bizarre that I always compare it to a psychedelic trip, in that if it hasn’t happened to you there’s almost no way that I can accurately express to you what it’s like. You just have to experience it.
I used to dismiss a lot of experiences that I hadn’t had yet, simply because it’s easier to do than consider them or actually go out and have them. The world was confusing enough to me when I was a young man, and the last thing I thought I wanted back then was to have my ego obliterated by some monumentally humbling experience. Back then I just wanted to feel secure and get my life in order. I didn’t need more questions, I just needed a life.
Once I felt like I had some semblance of a life, then I started asking questions, and from there the true nature of this life began to slowly unfold. One of the craziest things that I’ve learned from any enlightening experience, it’s that every time I learn something new whatever knowledge I gain from it brings with it many, many times more new questions.
I remember my first mushroom trip. I was somewhere around 30 years old. I tried as much as I could to be a good person back then, but I was (and still am) very much a work in progress. I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of life other than to be happy, and I wasn’t exactly sure how to pull that off. I found a tremendous amount of people to be annoying, and I had to do my best to calm my natural tendency to be hyper-aggressive. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always strived to be a good person and do the right thing in my life, but occasionally I struggled with douchy-ness.
Enter, my friend the magic mushroom.
They don’t taste like much. They’re almost like a slightly more boring version of some kind of hippie vegan rice cake snack that you might get at a local health food store. I bet if you could add some sort of a spicy, salty seasoning to them they could be even be quite tasty. You don’t do it, though.
Why? Because for some reason it just doesn’t seem right. It seems insulting.
Some people do change the flavor of it, and I’m pretty sure they still get there, but the way I’ve always looked at it is that if you’re really having that much of a problem with the taste, then you’ve either got some really weird taste buds, or you’re a whiny bitch that has a shitty attitude, and you’ll complain about just about anything, and that’s a terrible attitude to have going into a trip.
People on fear factor ate rotten animal dicks for a chance at $50,000 dollars and you’re telling me you have a problem eating bland fungus for a chance at contacting god?
Wait… Contacting who?
Now, if my young self had ever heard my current self saying something this crazy, I would have thought that I was a fucking crackpot, and I would have probably immediately dismissed me. I was far more convinced that I had the answers that I needed from life back then than I am now, and anything that challenged that perception was just labeled “bullshit” for my own protection.
I’ve had many intense psychedelic experiences, and one of the most profound effects of these trips isn’t just that the world feels strange when you’re on them, but that the world is forever changed once you’re back. Once the genie is out of the bottle it’s impossible to forget.
Mushrooms were the first real psychedelics that I tried, so I really had no idea what to expect. I heard that you “hallucinate” on them, so I expected to see a bunch of shit that wasn’t there. What actually happened was far stranger than that.
I didn’t see anything that wasn’t there, but I did see the things that have always been there in a totally different way. The first thing I noticed after I started to feel “funny” was that there seemed to be an underlying geometric pattern to everything that I could never see before. It was almost like I had put on some goggles that allowed me to see secret connections that everything shared.
Everything seemed to be made of these patterns, and despite the solid nature of the world I was looking at, it almost felt like what I was seeing was that everything that seemed separate was actually just one huge, all encompassing thing expressing itself in different frequencies.
As the trip got deeper the natural world around me seemed to be made out of thoughts, and as the effects of the mushrooms made these thoughts stranger and stranger, the world itself seemed to merge with these thoughts and become indistinguishable.
The hills were breathing. I watched them pulsate in and out in fascination, until I realized that it was my own breath that was making this happen. It was like I was now looking at the world as it was being projected onto a very thin screen, and every time I breathed it was teasing me with what was behind the screen like a hot chick wearing see-through lingerie.
By this time I was psychically naked for the first time in my life. I realized how much of what I thought of as “me” was just psychic armor that I had applied long ago and forgotten about. Social status, accumulated material possessions, accomplishments, friendships and feuds alike – all stripped away to reveal a core; a core with no language, no culture, and no fear.
Then this core was shown the true nature of this world, and I watched things that I always thought of as “normal” as if I was a visiting alien from another galaxy.
All the predetermined patterns of behavior that we follow were all revealed like tracks on a grid, and the more we follow these tracks the less we have to think. The tracks can be completely bizarre, but as long as they’re there even the most unlikely of patterns will be followed.
African women will cut their lips and stretch them out to fit plates. American men will wrap a traditional cloth around their neck and hang it in front of their chest in order to be taken seriously in a business meeting. It was all the same thing manifesting itself in different actions.
I saw the whole world like I would see it if I was an alien. Eventually I came back, and the world stopped breathing, and the mushrooms stopped talking to me – but I don’t think I’ve ever looked at anything the same way since.
I’ve always said that if we were seeing our world not even as an alien, but just from the perspective of people living a few hundred years ago it would seem almost impossibly bizarre. I have this routine that I follow where I hire a car to take me to the airport, and while he’s driving I sit in the back seat and get on the internet on my laptop.
Seems pretty normal and straight forward to most folks.
Now if you really think about it, just 400 years ago this “normal” routine that I have would have been the stuff of the strangest fiction.
I’m moving faster than a sprinting horse inside a big metal box that’s powered by tiny controlled explosions and we’re rolling over a hard, man made surface that’s interconnected throughout the entire continent. I’m typing away on a machine that is interfaced with the entire world through some invisible signal that almost instantly connects me to the entire current sum of accumulated human knowledge, and while all this crazy shit is happening, I’ll occasionally pull out something smaller than my hand, and I’ll use it to talk to people that are on the other side of the fucking world.
I will eventually get to a giant group of buildings where I will be scanned for explosives. I’ll then be strapped into a metal tube that’s also powered by explosions, and along with hundreds of other people I’ll be hurled through the sky so high that you can see the curve of the earth, and so fast that you literally go forward in time for the slightest fraction of a second.
To pay for all of this I don’t give them gold coins, or a goat, or even let them fuck me. All I have to do is let them hold on to a small card that I have, and then I’ll scribble something that’s supposed to represent “me” on a piece of paper. This stands as an agreement that I am willing to pay in the future for this experience, and I will use this strange method to aquire everything in my life.
At the end of each 30 days I will pay for the total that I owe by, wait for it… writing on a piece of paper. Most of my bills are paid online now, so in that case I’m not even writing anything. I’m just pressing on little buttons, and those little button presses support me and fortify my life.
That’s our everyday life, and if you lived 500 years ago and explained that this is what the future would be like there would be a very good chance that a group of people would burn you at the stake.
I’m sitting in a hotel room in Nashville right now finishing this up. I will copy and paste it into a location that my web browser is pointed to, and it will be read by thousands of people almost immediately. I’ll then head out to a club in town where people have agreed to come and listen to me make noises with my mouth that represent the focused thoughts bouncing around in my mind.
These thoughts will make people think, and by laughing at them, they will actually make people feel better.
I will never say that I truly understand this world, because the more I learn about it the more I feel that’s actually impossible.
What I can say though, is that as strange as it is, I appreciate every bizarre moment of it. I appreciate the freedom to think this way, and I appreciate the patience and attention of all you people reading and considering all this crazy shit.
It would be a lot easier to understand what the fuck I’m talking about if you did some mushrooms. Or had a baby. Either one, really.
Mad love to you all.