Home > books, friends, insanity, travel > going crazy part 1

going crazy part 1

I have not blogged in a while and I think even more than being busy is that I am apprehensive about telling the story I am going to try and tell. A couple of weeks ago I went to pick up my friend Terry from KCI. On the drive back he asked how I was and I told him that work had me feeling crazy. He asked me what that was like knowing I wasn’t just making a figure of speech. I told him since we had a drive ahead of us I would tell him about when everything went insane. The first thing you have to realize about being crazy is that you don’t just go crazy. The world goes crazy and you are just able to realize it. But first some background people always want to know how these things happen and I am in the somewhat unique state of kind of being able to answer that.

Leading up to the Fall of ’96 there was a lot of wild stuff going on in my life. I was into my 3rd year as a full time radical grassroots activist in a wildly intense experiment in identity politics and voluntary poverty. I had stumbled into a job with the Cannabis Action Network working for room & board and free drugs working on coordinating the grassroots campaign for medical marijuana. It was high stress often busting it from the time I got up till the time I went to bed, of course smoking huge quantities of cannabis and cannabis bi-products. On top of that I had taken to doing ecstasy on the weekends and continued to do some bad LSD from time to time and occasionally some mushrooms. I also worked weekends at an adolescent psychiatric unit for the culture shock and pocket money. I was also experimenting with sleep deprivation. After work on a Sunday morning I would often go the neighborhood bar for a couple of beers. I would smoke a few hits of something premium and then lay in bed. I would do progressive relaxation until my conscious mind turned off and I would fall into the most intense hallucinations I had ever experienced even more than when on mega doses of hallucinogens.

All of that was well and good as far as I knew, looking back that lifestyle didn’t leave a lot of time for self reflection as I was also an active reader and there are only 24 hours in a day no matter how intense your life, until we went to Amsterdam. We went to celebrate our victory in the polls, we had changed the world. We went to get away from the grind of politics. We went to work security at the Cannabis Cup, the international pot growing championships of the world. We went early to pre-party and stayed late. What happened there is of course fragmented and poorly understood but aspects of my subjective experiences still shine out of my memory like no other time in my life. I will do my best to convey my experiences but in the end they are my experiences and I make no guarantees to their external veracity.

 We stayed at a mind spa for the 3 weeks we were apparently there. It was pretty cool. There was a sensory deprivation tank and syncopation machines by synchrotech. Syncopation flashes lights and plays rhythems in particular beats to generate certain consciousness states. Sensory deprivation was very big in the 70s and involves floating in salt water in a soundproofed chamber in total darkness. There was also television but no channels came in and there were only Terrance McKenna videos to watch and there was a well-stocked library of esoterica and mind expansion literature whose titles I do not recall. I do remember I read 5 or so books including Gurdijeff’s Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson.

The mind spa was not open for business and made an excellent crash pad and we got to sample the wares. The syncopation didn’t do much for me I remember seeing some red and some green. My compatriots reported vivid hallucinations with narrative but didn’t really have the ring of truth to them when they told their tales. The sensory deprivation tank is difficult to judge because I was far gone into madness before I ever tried it. I remember floating in the salt water and being able to hear and feel my heart beating and feeling my pulse pulsing from my finger tips into the water making ripples. It dawned on me that that was what “vibes” were picking up on people’s emotional state through feeling waves from their blood pressure. I remember feeling utterly alone, like being in the womb without a mother’s heartbeat. It seemed cruel, an infernal device and I fled from its confines, but as I said by then I was quite mad.

 I remember being pretty sane when we arrived. We all ate pot cookies to make the long flight endurable. We hit the first coffee house after leaving the train station from Shipbol and were smoking massive quantities of cannabis. Aaron would roll up these huge cone joints and we were on a constant quest to see how many different varieties we could smoke at once. I believe the record was 14 kinds of cannabis and 6 kinds of hash. We had been smoking a lot of pot just living and had definitely taken it up a notch. We didn’t do much touristy stuff besides hit the coffeehouses. We had also just one a big legal victory for pot and carried ourselves like gangsters.

 Debbie had a gig selling poetry books and CDs for Fishbone as her man was a guitar tech and roadie for them and they always played Amsterdam during the Cup. I went to the Van Gogh museum with one of their roadies, as we were the only 2 in the scene into doing anything besides smoking pot. The museum was set up chronologically and Van Gogh’s early stuff was very Dutch Master’s stuff, all browns and blacks and heavy on the shadows. The most emblematic was a basket of potatoes. And then boom, his pallete exploded and their was the Van Gogh we all know in his one-eared mad-eyed glory. I pondered what in the hell happened to him that he could suddenly see full spectrum and at some level even then I knew it was coming to me.

 To be continued. I promise not to make you wait 2 weeks for the next entry. I still despise George Lucas for ending Empire Strikes Back to be continued and then waiting 5 years to make Return of the Jedi. More by weeks end I promise.

going crazy part 2

Categories: books, friends, insanity, travel
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  1. November 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm
  2. November 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm
  3. January 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm

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