WORDS | Jack Camero Stanton
Jay lives out of home, and has for some time. He has a long-term girlfriend, has travelled rather extensively for his age, and completed a university degree in the ordinary time period whilst holding down a job. When you speak to Jay, it is immediately apparent he is intelligent and perceptive. It becomes troublesome to reconcile his veneer of aloofness with the truth, and you may feel you are being played.
There is something else unique about Jay, which many individuals will never understand. He deals drugs. I use this abhorrent mentality, ‘drug dealing,’ for your convenience. I speak for myself when I argue that the unjust treatment of illicit drugs as all the same, or illegal for good reason, is a blindfold over our eyes. For some, the blindfold has tightened over the years, morphing into the fibre of their never winking, never opening eyelids. Without proper education, any substance can be an echoing cavern of fear. And when fear becomes involved it is often easier to run and hide than confront it.
The switch from bud, to LSD and MDMA would seem to be a financial initiative. The payout per gram is, quite frankly, the smallest of all illicit trade. In the past, he trialed weed, but the reality dawned on him that stoners often begin dealing in order to fuel their own insatiable smoking.
“What if I tell you all of his profit goes towards a charity? How then do
we justify his actions?”
Moreover, what if Jay does not ascribe to a set of frequent customers, and instead sells these drugs in an ad hoc, happy-go-lucky sort of way? The presumption that addicts deal drugs to satisfy their addictions is no longer adequate. The drugs he sells do not form chemical addictions, after all.
A set of qualities would define a stereotypical drug dealer as:
1. A user with an addiction.
2. Open to using many illicit drugs.
3. Financially dependent – to varying degrees – on dealing.
4. Leading a volatile lifestyle without concrete routine or structure.
5. Indifferent to many spheres of modern life.
However Jay’s traits oppose this thinking:
1. He uses select drugs. Note: this element is not necessarily ‘opposite’ to our stereotypical dealer.
2. He uses drugs he is knowledgeable of, such as LSD, MDMA, DMT, and marijuana.
3. He is NOT financially dependent on dealing.
4. His life is as structured as yours or mine.
5. He is outgoing, intelligent, socially and culturally sensitive, and motivated.
Before we arrive to the issue of financial incentive, it is worthwhile questioning the manner of drugs that Jay prefers, and the implications of their effects. Jay is an advocate of psychedelics. The mind-expanding impact of LSD, psilocybin and the mythic DMT are considered by Sam Harris to be of ‘extraordinary power and utility.’ Hold on a minute. Think how encouraging the word ‘utility’ can be! Where are the extensive studies into LSD? How can we ascertain its negativity on the human mind without exploration? Why has its therapeutic benefits been pushed and shoved to the gallows? It’s a Titanic
endeavour, identical in tragedy and obliviousness.
I’m sure some of you have seen the British army’s test of LSD on marines in 1964, in which the effects of the psychedelic are monitored over the course of basic military instructions. All efforts to coordinate and maintain severity are three sheets to the wind. One man climbs a tree to feed the birds and another man tries – and almost succeeds – to chop down a tree with a spade. The men are amused and creative, yet the experiment, unfortunately, is disinformation. Conceptions of ‘set and setting’ dissipate. Other tests with different focuses have produced similar, yet more inspiring, results. There is a 1950’s test with an artist titled the ‘Schizophrenic Model Psychosis Induced by LSD-25’. The researcher has already lost his credibility with such a blatant, partially skewed preference, to dismiss psychedelic experience as psychosis. What is Psychosis? The inference of something psychotic is the disintegration of the mind, not its expansion. How can a foundational distrust of psychedelics, viciously labeled hallucinogens, be the cornerstone of their social demonisation? The answer to this question simply eludes me.
Back to the artist. His perceptions are heightened to a level of creative and inventive thought unprecedented for most ordinary human minds. When handed a sandwich and coffee after fasting for twenty hours, he dismisses them as ‘repugnant and realistic.’ However, when instructed to express his experience, he is eloquent. Ashen charcoal appears purple to his eyes, the rug billows and pulsates, and when prompted by the researcher to stop the movement of the rug, the artist states it is too ‘clever’ for that.
Nine successive sketches using charcoal were requested throughout his trip, and the progression of his changing consciousness is remarked on the alterations and explanations he provides.
Psychedelics are neutral. They tease out the pre-existing consciousness to further lengths. This works on euphoria as well as depression. An individual’s mind must be prepared appropriately.
Caution, an adherence to Leary’s set and setting, and a vast bank of knowledge are the minimal pre-requisites to experimentation with psychedelics. Individuals taking LSD with a troubled mind are like swimming with a bleeding leg.
So where does this take us? Well, our friend Jay may not be a financially dependent drug dealer because his ideologies stretch beyond the immediate consequences of selling psychedelics. Their market is minimal, their popularity fluctuant and use infrequent, due to its intensity and duration.
The money is donated to Fred Hollows Foundation. A primary aim of the Foundation is to reduce cases of preventable blindness. I feel as though Jay’s is quite similar. He intends to spread a mind-altering substance, he believes, is beneficial to the individual for their personal and spiritual growth. Take it as you may, but I think he is trying to reduce blindness. He wants to lift the blindfolds off those he can, before their skin heals over and they become permanent, living in unwinking darkness.