Ladies and Gentleman, we apologize for that lenghty digression on the sexual proclivities of Osama Bin Laden and West Texas farmhands. The author, upon reading that a fatwa by fifteen mullahs throughout the Islamic world, and a lynch mob has been assembled in Denton, has once again gone into hiding. We now return to our regularly schedule program of hysteric ravings by psychoanalyist and part-time college professor Jimmy Gabacho. He regularly posts on Wednesday, but will be traveling this week.
Chapter V: On the Beach
I was starting to feel better. The room where we were staying had an espresso machine and a balcony with a great view of the bay. While my wife slept, I sat outside, sipping coffee and reading the paper. There wasn’t anything disturbing in the newspaper. The world hadn’t changed; the economy was still shot to hell and wars were still raging in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was calmer, though. My nerves were less jangled. I was less pissed off. I had let Chicken Man get under my skin, and it was my own fault. I lost my temper with him, calling him a sick pervert who had nothing better to do than waste his analyst’s time. He son of a bitch just laughed as he walked out the door. The Joke was Over.
So, this was my time to make a concerted effort to live the moment, unplug and try to feel like a human being again. It is hard because I’m a rat-brained email junkie. But, if I can let go, I slowly start to feel human again. I learned this years ago when I was still dropping acid on a regular basis. I discovered that even after seven hour of intense work, the intensity doesn’t go away when the work is over. All the energy, stress, focus, and emotion stay at full steam. It was like my body was a locomotive, rolling along at full tilt, fires burning and me shoveling coal into the firebox. So after years of experimenting with psychedelics, I taught myself a ritual for letting go. I remove my watch. If there are any clocks around, I turn their faces to the wall. When you think about it, the idea of measuring time is fiendish and deranged. These screwball devices function to keep us moving like rats in a circular maze. After that, I would set out to untangle all the different twines of my thinking, which would always bring me closer to detachment.
That worthless bastard “Chicken Man” hadn’t helped my state of mind. What I desperately needed was to melt into the instant, let go of it all and, since I have been clean and sober for over 25 years, the best way for me to do it is by reading. I put on a pair of shorts, a tee-shirt, grabbed my book and headed toward the beach. My wife joined me early in the morning, and we marked our territory. Later we went for a walk, admiring the Pacific surf as it crashed onto the sands.
When I returned I read an article that the New York Times published about psychologists that were no longer involved in helping their patients solve their problems. Instead of using the “speaking cure,” so-called therapists had taken to prescribing “medication.” These scum-buckets were avoiding their client’s issues. Instead of helping them talk out trauma, these morons were only adjusting their medication. Ironically, when I first delved into drugs, it was because it seemed therapeutic. I guess things had come full circle. The dope dealers had become therapists and the therapists had become dope dealers. And, the stuff they prescribed is a lot heavier than grass.
After lunch, I started Robert Greenfield’s biography on Timothy Leary, the LSD guru from the 1960s. I couldn’t help but compare the article in the Times to the book. It struck me to there were some similarities in Leary’s notion of better living through psychedelic chemistry and what these psychologists were doing these days. America, despite its puritan origins, had a deep perverse chemical romance that didn’t go away no matter how often a jabbering dingbat like Nancy Reagan said, “Just say no!”
Invariably, Americans have said yes, repeatedly. The problem is that Tim Leary’s foray into a psychedelic lifestyle was fueled by the desire for quick fixes, the drive-through window approach to well-being. Unfortunately, this is the same approach used by the compulsive shopper, Oxy addicts, and credit card junkies. Maybe it’s a terminal symptom of our culture: a side effect of the American Dream that suggests that everything should be easy.
Leary was a West Point drop out, aspiring Roman Catholic priest, college professor, alchemist, mystic, conman, scumbag, advocate of chemically-induced nirvana, drug-fused meditation, and promoted himself as a new-age Moses who would lead America to the Promised Land. In doing so, he set back serious research on psychedelics for forty years. It is only now that legitimate researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that under controlled settings people who suffer from the emotionally debilitating effects of chemotherapy, migraines and terminal cancer have been able to find meaningful relief through psychedelics. It seems that a number of the patients are using psychedelics so that they can die meaningful deaths, which is different from those who use drugs to hide from their fear of life.
This is not to say that these dope-dealing psychologists are comparable to what Leary tried to pull off in the center ring of the circus. He was a product of the Roman Catholic establishment that became just as papal and dogmatic in his anti-establishment protest. In doing so, he drifted from being a white middle-class university professor to deranged lunatic. In the end, he saw no contradiction in portraying himself as a spokesperson for the hippies, the anti-war protest, violent revolution, drug trafficking, wife swapping, intergalactic travel, and the internet. In the end, the only constant in Timothy Leary’s life was shameless self promotion. In the end, he was little more that an Irish leprechaun, a pied piper, with a penchant for leading children astray.
Leary’s thinking was already contaminated with middle-class achievement orientation, and his “turn on, tune in, and drop out” mantra gave people the impression that a new state of mind could be obtained, as if it were just one more piece of furniture. What did America learn from all of those trips? Nothing that wasn’t staring at us already in the mirror! Leary tried to make it look easy and didn’t consider what happened to those who found the intensity but failed to give way to the implications. It was no surprise that they stopped searching, and then decided that they just wanted to numb the pain of life. And, this is where the comparison ends. The psychedelic experience was fundamentally different from the pill mills that dispense hillbilly heroin in Southern Ohio and the pharmacies that dispense Zanax: none of them is preaching a better way. There won’t be a high-priest of Prozac or a Church of Zoloft.
I had chicken for lunch. I was starting to relax.
Cross posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy: http://jimmygabacho.com/?p=520