So recently I went on a LSD trip, and it was quite an experience. The most impressive moment was the realization that I was deeply self-aware that I was becoming a lot more sympathetic and conscious of others’ feelings. The second most impressive moment was me trying to form up an opinion and verbalize it, while some 4-5 hours into the ingestion, and finding myself being painfully aware that I was uttering nonsense and trivialities, and nothing coherent came out of my mouth. This was difficult, and challenging, and I realize that the moment I was lighting up on some concept, the very thought took me on a deeper trip, of dashing realizations, but altogether unrecorded and impossible to realize. Maybe the self-awareness was hinging on the very political correctness of it, maybe the very person I was conversing with was someone whom I was very careful not wanting to hurt–but I felt weak, and sad, and awkward, and helpless.
As I am coming back from the experience, I muse on words, and writing.
Written word has been something very important to me. We have a complicated relationship. From a very young age I learned to read and I became a strongly avid reader, and the world felt powerful and different. And yet there were moments where words failed me, moments where words and stories and descriptions took me to a place of nonverbal truths, the signifiers, the signposts, the helplessness in realizing that I might be understood and thought of differently by the hordes of readers without the same experience as mine. With studies in Taoism I learned to deny the necessity of words. I was a pessimist, a naysayer, and somewhat of a spiritual troll. I hated words, for I was (and is and will be) a lover of truth, and I found desperation and hopelessness as I combed through the world of words, where people use concepts to manipulate and rally and empower and weaken others. And so for 2 long years I read nothing, and I renounced all of my fascination with the written word. Novels, nonfiction, essays, anything with substantial thought, any abstraction. To replace the void, I took on studies of the mind, I accepted alternative knowledge – transcendental meditation, spiritual horticulture, prayer, and lifting weights–the latter being an extreme medium for me to find connection to my body.
In 2018 I began my journey back to the real world. Like getting back from a LSD trip, I began to embrace the need to take on real-life responsibilities. What urged the change? I am not too sure. Perhaps it was the realization that I would not survive on my own ideals. Perhaps it was the pain in being labeled a cultist by neighbors and my very own family–that I needed to show people my own reason for being. Perhaps it was the recognition of tradition and humanity and that there has been a deep, long history of ancestors who truly fought for my current time on Earth. Perhaps it was love, or the death and dearth of it. Perhaps it was the disillusionment in realizing that the very folks who were deeply pursuing these alternative charting of spiritual history via meditation were a disorganized, incoherent, and not-held-to-standards-shown-in-the-sciences bunch.
I might not have done very well in mathematics, as a students, due to personal, intrapersonal, and interpersonal reasons, but I understood and embraced its magic. I have surveyed the history of science to an extent. And to me these fruits of civilization were equally if not more magical than the I Ching or the Bhagavad Gita. This is an odd comparison, but it serves to highlight my point: that I was done with confusion, and I want to create real things, and hence I wanted to journey back to the real world.
And so back too was the written word. I became a curator of sorts- of book lists, ideas, readings, filters for me to recapture this changing world and the society that rides on its environment. I read and find reads from the true creators–the people with a modus operandi, a purpose, a reason of being in this world. I looked at the mind repositories of startup founders, designers, legislators, lawyers, investors, science students and teachers, and theorists. And on and on. And the more I dug the more I found how much of our world was still inspired by magic and fantasy and imagination. And I became at ease.
Because no matter how spiritual we are, the future isn’t a return to the agrarian, voodoo-magic ways. It must be synthesis – between the fruits of science and spiritual sense, between carrying nations of people with deep customs and cultures and belief systems into a productive and coherent coexistence and advancing the frontiers of knowledge.
I really don’t know. But I think I know, in a deeper sense, where I am, and where we are headed.
I am no prophet. But prophets are too passive for my taste anyway. Let’s do meaningful things, in good taste.