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Drugs & Music - AGAIN


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I just finished listening to a history of Count Basie on NPR. They spoke about the Kansas City scene back in Basie's formative years, about how the clubs would serve drinks among crowds of smokers - POT smokers. remember, this is a time before smoking or selling marijuana was a criminal activity (that changed in 1937)... the radio account told how the smoky haze made its way to the Basie bandstand and "seemed to enhance the creative process, and the band would play better".

 

Folks, mind-altering activity has been associated with the creative process for all of recorded history. From Plato to Mozart to VanGogh to Basie to Charlie Parker to Hendrix to Cobain, use of mind-altering substances & techniques has fueled the creative process. The illegalization of many of these substances is only recent in history.

 

I am NOT saying that drugs are essential to the creative process. I rarely imbibe nowadays; I've taken perhaps three tokes over the past two years (and lightweight that I am, one toke sends me flying). And yes, many people are incredibly creative without any mind-altering substance usage.

 

What I fail to comprehend is the judgmentalism cast at those who DO use pot or alcohol or whatever to fuel their creativity. If smoking hash and sipping cocaine-laden CocaCola was not immoral in 1905, why do so many consider it immoral now?

 

Just some thoughts to chew on....

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Hmmm. I thought it was fucking as many chicks as possible. Well, anyway, I've done my part. Fortunately much of that was before AIDs.

 

You might ask yourself whether the drug crutchlure doesn't have some fatal edges that outweigh whatever attractions some might find there. Does our society need more of the violent crime that seems to come with the turf of even MJ these days?

.
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You might ask yourself whether that violence comes from the drugs, or from the prohibition of them? As a guide to rational thought on this subject, remember that this nation once prohibited alcohol via Constitutional amendment. That amendment, the 18th, was repealed by the 21st when it was determined that the problems brought on by enforcement (such as the rise of the Mafia and organized crime) far outweighed the problems of drunkenness.

Originally posted by greenboy:

You might ask yourself whether the drug crutchlure doesn't have some fatal edges that outweigh whatever attractions some might find there. Does our society need more of the violent crime that seems to come with the turf of even MJ these days?

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Originally posted by coyote:

the radio account told how the smoky haze made its way to the Basie bandstand and "seemed to enhance the creative process, and the band would play better".

Well....it makes you THINK you're playing better, anyway. :D

 

There's that old joke:

 

Q. What does one deadhead say to the other deadhead when they run out of drugs?

 

A. "Man! This music sucks!"

 

 

What I fail to comprehend is the judgmentalism cast at those who DO use pot or alcohol or whatever to fuel their creativity.

I dunno. Maybe it has to do with the issues of so many good people being snuffed out due to their addictions. And the toll it takes on families and those around them.

Alcohol largely robbed me of my Dad, when I was growing up. And, it was a related cause to his eventual death, which took him from my life completely.

This, of course, has not sat too well with me.

 

But I'm not against using drugs.

I guess I'm against relying upon them.

If you need a drug to get you creative, there's a strong chance you aren't all that creative.

 

I've been known to smoke some herb from time to time. I've never seen the harm in it. Maybe some would say it's immoral, but I don't see why it should be illegal.

 

Of course, where do you draw the line?

If pot is legal, should acid or crack cocain also be allowed?

Super 8

 

Hear my stuff here

 

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You could listen to the Beatle's song, "I Am The Walrus", which John Lennon claims was written in subsequent weeks during acid trips, and make the case for dope and creativity. Then you could listen to much of what Frank Zappa composed, while claiming never to have done any dope, and make the case that it isn't neccesary. Charlie Mingus once recorded Charlie Parker playing while high on skag, and played it back for him later claiming it was some other cat. Only after Bird finished maligning the sloppy and pointless play of the recorded sax player did Mingus let Bird in on the secret. It worked, for a while...

 

Putting dope and creativity on the same platter is sometimes a rationale for the doper. But the fact that it DOES work out for some gives all the feeling of leeway. For all you can say about the dangers of driving while drunk, I do have a friend that handles a car much better while schnockered than sober. But that's just one example, and by no means an endorsement. You'll have to scope out where you fall on your own.

 

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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i am not judgemental against those who use drugs recreationally. i do however have little patience for those who cannot manage their day to day responsibilities, lapse into irresponsible and self-destructive behavior, and harm themselves or those who are close to them...and then are completely unwilling to accept blame for the consequences. when it comes time to rely on someone who has a drug or alcohol addiction for any sort of responsibility, you may as well forget it. if looking out for your own well being at the expense of someone w/little regard for their own can be called judgemental, then so be it.

 

now...as far as the creativity thing goes...i agree certain substances can expand the creative process. here's the problem. the development and freedom of the creative process comes at the expense of the freedom of the physical body. from mozart to vangogh to basie to hendrix and on and on, these people shortened their lives, and for the most part were pretty miserable people. whether hash, heroin, pot, or whiskey, the body just can't tolerate it. what if hendrix had lived a full life, or curt cobain, or john belushi for that matter? was the body of their work worth such a sacrifice, and given the chance to live full lives, what might they have accomplished?

 

and before i step down off my soapbox...for every vangogh, hendrix or charlie parker, there's a million poor bastards out there that will never, ever make anything out of themselves...it will always be easier to get high than to get off your ass and try to make something of yourself.

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A book I highly recommend "Electric Cool Aid Acid Test" by Tom Wolfe. This book centered around the acid exploits of Ken Kesey and his band of merry pranksters back in the early 60's. Drugs, mainly lsd were used to "open" their minds. However, Mr Kesey was wise enought to understand that once you figure out that a door is there, you should be able to open it without the use of the drugs. Drugs don't give you any kind of creativity. They may put your mind in a state where you may become creative. You should be able to find that state of mind without the drugs. Incidentally, Ken Kesey is the author of 'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest' and 'Sometimes a Great Notion'.

Off topic, I notice Tom Wolfe just came out with another book, 'Charlotte Simmons' about college life in our big universities. If none of you have read his work, it includes 'Bonfire of the Vanities', 'The Right Stuff', and 'The Pumphouse Gang'. He's a worthwhile read.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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coyote: You might ask yourself whether that violence comes from the drugs, or from the prohibition of them?
Actually I did ask myself that maybe a couple of decades ago. Or was it longer? Then I decided that though I had an opinion that legalizing would change that to a different mix with a change of focus, it really didn't matter what I thought. Because they weren't going to legalize anything - maybe not even pot, in my lifetime.

 

So the fact would remain, that drugs and power and voilence would remain wrapped in a destructive cocktail that would hit families, segments of society, neighborhoods, peer groups, etc.

 

As it has.

.
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I worked on this post for quite a while.

I worked out everything in my head before I typed this response.

I took into consideration all that has been posted.

 

I came up with the following....

 

Super 8 is right. :D

 

Ricky

 

P.S.- I could say a lot more.... but.... Nah, that's ok. :)

Click on some ads once in a while!! :) -------------->
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Personally not a pot smoker, and wouldn't encourage anyone to be a recreational pot smoker, but this whole ultra hypocritical mess with alchohol consumption being not only legal, but tightly woven into the fabric of our western societies - while people are being jailed for smoking pot - is completely insane if you stop to look at it for just a nanosecond.

 

I know someone with a severe chronic pain condition that is tremendously alleviated by marijuana. They have to buy it on the street and risk arrest, while the only effective LEGAL alternative is opiates, with their way worse side effects. Something's very wrong with that picture.

 

My bottom line: A valuable medicinal herb with proven therapeutic effects, but it can make most people lazy and unproductive, so best to avoid it for recreational use. It has WAY less of a detrimental effect on society though than the legal liquid drug that when over consumed makes many people violent, and destroys millions of lives with severe addiction.

 

MJ should've been legalized here in the U.S. a long time ago.

 

Maybe some folks from Amsterdam would like to chime in. :)

Just a pinch between the geek and chum

 

 

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What I fail to comprehend is the judgmentalism cast at those who DO use pot or alcohol or whatever to fuel their creativity. If smoking hash and sipping cocaine-laden CocaCola was not immoral in 1905, why do so many consider it immoral now?

Well, exactly. There's nothing intrisically *immoral* about it. However, just based on my experience, it doesn't enhance creativity as much as it "enhances" stupidity. A pretty-substantial correlation exists between being a stoner and being a dumb fuck. But I acknowledge that it's not a 100% correlation.

 

I agree entirely with the parallels with prohibition. I think *all* currently-prohibited recreational drugs should be legalized. And I think the funding for the "war on drugs" should instead be spent on making hard narcotics free for the taking.

 

The problem would solve itself.

band link: bluepearlband.com

music, lessons, gig schedules at dennyf.com

 

STURGEON'S LAW --98% of everything is bullshit.

 

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: The Jackhammer of Love and Mercy.

Get yours.

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It is my experience that most artist's who use mind altering substances to enhance their creativity are merely attempting to quiet their left brain (the logical/rational part) so that their right brain (the non-linear creative/symbolic part) can take over.

 

Though I don't feel that using drugs or alcohol to enhance creativity is morally wrong, it is not a very good long-term strategy for successful art.

 

There are many ways to quiet the left brain that do not involve substance assistance of any kind that are healthier and smarter ways of accomplishing the same objective.

 

That's how I see it anyway.

Jotown:)

 

"It's all good: Except when it's Great"

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A slew of thoughtful replies! Very cool.

 

I'm in no way advocating drug use of any sort. AND I'm also not advocating the specific avoidance of them. I acknowledge that substance abuse can take a heavy toll on those in the immediate vicinity of the user, as well as the user himself. Yet I also submit that we all go through the pain of death eventually; was Charlie Parker's descent into neverland really any more painful than if he'd died after a four year battle with cancer? Was it tougher on his family than what many families are experiencing with their dead sons & daughters in Iraq?

 

Any objective look at the history of creativity shows a high incidence of mind-altering (along with a sub-thread of 'insanity'). Would Electric Ladyland have happened as it did had Jimi been straight? Quite unlikely. I submit that, in spite of whatever pain is wrought locally by the correlation between creativity and various substances, the world would be a poorer place without the art created under those circumstances.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Originally posted by coyote:

...was Charlie Parker's descent into neverland really any more painful than if he'd died after a four year battle with cancer? Was it tougher on his family than what many families are experiencing with their dead sons & daughters in Iraq?

Yes, because it was self-inflicted. Charlie chose a powerful, destructive addiction over a positive relationship with loved ones and his art. :cry:

 

Originally posted by dennyf:

...I agree entirely with the parallels with prohibition. I think *all* currently-prohibited recreational drugs should be legalized. And I think the funding for the "war on drugs" should instead be spent on making hard narcotics free for the taking.

 

The problem would solve itself.

That's overboard. Prohibition doesn't work, but a free supply is suicidal. The problem would solve itself after much unnecessary pain in that instance. I suggest that instead of "making hard narcotics free for the taking" a better use for the money would be education about the power of the substances. This would be similar to providing driver education before allowing someone to take control of an automobile.
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Originally posted by Bejeeber:

My bottom line: A valuable medicinal herb with proven therapeutic effects, but it can make most people lazy and unproductive, so best to avoid it for recreational use. It has WAY less of a detrimental effect on society though than the legal liquid drug that when over consumed makes many people violent, and destroys millions of lives with severe addiction.

With drugs and booze it's one of those "been there done that" things and nowadays, I simply enjoy not being under the influence of either. However, I have had many a heated argument with those that feel alcohol is ok but pot is not. For some reason people refuse to admit that booze is a drug and quite harmful at best. Oh yes, it's fun to kick back and have a beer or two. It's also fun to kick back and burn a j. In the end tho, I like to kick back and enjoy life without using anything to distort my perception of what's going on around me.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Well first of all it seems like a distinction needs to be made between the "legality" of drugs and the "morality" of them. There are tons of legal drugs (including alcohol, pain killers, antidepressants, etc.) which have caused just as much mayhem as the illegal ones. So far as the legal aspects are concerned, I don't think drugs should be illegal. I won't get into all the reasons why right now because I don't think that was coyote's point, so I'll just leave it at that.

 

I WILL say that it's tough for me not to be judgemental about drug use, because I've RARELY met a person who uses them and it doesn't affect their personality negatively, although there are certainly a lot who THINK it doesn't. I know some people who'll smoke pot or take psychedelics once in a blue moon and it's no big deal, but those folks are FAR outnumbered (among people I know anyway) by those who are addicted and in denial about it.

 

And the thing about drugs enhancing your creativity... most of the time that is BULL. There's a tiny handful of people who've managed to make great music or art while on tons of drugs... but the vast majority of art made while stoned or tripping is only interesting to other people who are stoned or tripping, if it's interesting at all. And of those who did do great work, we'll never know whether they could have done as well or better without the substances. And most of those folks seem to have a VERY limited amount of time where they can do great work before their health, and their work, goes downhill fast.

 

In Paul McCartney's autobiography he's very honest in his thoughts about drugs. He said basically that he felt in the 60's you couldn't NOT do them, the peer pressure was intense, and on no one more so than the Beatles because the Beatles were considered the hippest of the hip. Looking back, he said all the acid use and other drugs were interesting in some ways and a unique experience, but that he kind of wishes he'd never done it. And even more so wishes some of his friends (like Lennon) who became addicted had never done it. He doesn't think the benefit was worth the cost. I think that's how it is for most people. There used to be a certain naivete about drugs because "the man" told you not to do them, and no one really knew their long term effects. Now, everybody knows, so to do them any more than a time or two as an experiment seems pretty foolish and self-loathing.

 

All I know is, these days, NONE of the musicians I play with regularly use drugs, and only a couple even drink at all. It's weird, I'm not sure how that happened, but it just worked out that way. And not only are these guys some of the most creative people I know, and likely to stay that way because they take care of themselves, but the sheer feeling of RELIEF and TRUST I have with these guys is incredible. I'd gotten so used to having to deal with addicts and alcoholics in music, or at least regular "recreational users," I'd never even considered what it would feel like to not have to deal with that at all. Well I can tell you, it feels GREAT. It's a major high all by itself. Now on the rare occasions when I do run into a regular user, by comparison most of them seem dissipated, self centered, untrustworthy and just plain lazy. And I realize that they ALWAYS seemed that way to me, I just didn't have many points of comparison like I do know, to make it glaringly obvious.

 

In 2004 there's nothing romantic or rebellious about it, it just makes you look like a dumbass. Just my .02. There are exceptions of course, so please don't bother with stories about some guy you know who's smoked pot every day for 40 years and is a rocket scientist and wins marathons. I know people like that too... but the number of them pales in comparison to those who THINK they're better people for doing drugs (and that includes alcohol and all the new designer drugs prescribed by doctors) and are nothing of the kind.

 

I've helped innumerable friends try to kick drugs/alcohol, bailed some out of jail, driven some to rehab, gone to AA/NA meetings with them, cleaned their puke off the floor. And lost a few friends too... so I wouldn't say I've exactly been judgemental about it. I just got tired of it, and I don't think I have the energy to deal with it anymore. And after all, it is a personal choice to start using, so I don't think it's out of line to tell someone you care about that you think they are making a bad choice. If that's judgemental, so be it.

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I don't think using drugs or alcohol to excess is immoral.

 

I think it's stupid.

 

I just don't see the point. I know a few musicians who say weed relaxes them, or that a line of coke here or there is just a fun thing to do from time to time. And lots of people think that getting blotto on beer or liquor is a wonderful, fun time.

 

I just don't see the point. I can't imagine inhaling smoke of any kind on purpose... even if it does relax you or make you see things differently. Screw that... If I wanna relax, I'll take a hot shower. If I wanna see things differently, I'll stand on my head. If I want a little energy boost, I'll splash some cold water on my face or drink a Red Bull. And as for getting drunk.... well... I really don't get that at all... I have no interest in doing something that makes me slur my words, act like a moron, get violent or try to pick up ugly women. I prefer to remember my life, not sort of remember my life.

 

However, some of my closest friends like these thingsthey smoke lots of weed, drink a lot and enjoy cocaine on a regular basis.

 

However, I love them for who they are, not what they do.. but it does make me very sad when I hear them tell stories about waking up in an ambulance after taking some kind of mystery pill at a club. I don't judge them morally for their behavior I just think they're engaging in stupid behavior, and I do tell them this.

 

I hate the drugs, not the people, and I always hope that they'll stop messing with they're taking at some point.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Originally posted by coyote:

What I fail to comprehend is the judgmentalism cast at those who DO use pot or alcohol or whatever to fuel their creativity.

Not hard to comprehend at all. It's because the overwhelming majority of drug use is not for the purpose of fueling creativity, but the opposite, diminishing lives and making people miserable.

 

If the reality were that inner cities saturated with drug use were bastions of creative production, I think there'd be a lot more proponents of the drug-creativity connection. However, the reality is that the visible by-product of drugs is not creativity but misery, hence the understandable "judgmentalism."

Dooby Dooby Doo
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Originally posted by Duddits:

If the reality were that inner cities saturated with drug use were bastions of creative production, I think there'd be a lot more proponents of the drug-creativity connection. However, the reality is that the visible by-product of drugs is not creativity but misery, hence the understandable "judgmentalism."
That's a very good point, never thought about that aspect of it before.

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

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I know we're supposed to click on the ads to the right, but i'll warn y'all to not click on the one for "http://www.cleanse-usa.com/colon-2i.html".

 

It's the one advertising "Clean intestinal buildup like the photos on this site".

Dr. Seuss: The Original White Rapper

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WWND?

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This area is rife with meth labs. And nutcases most of these meth cookers and dealers are, too. Dangerous to themselves and everybody around them. They blow themselves up, they make motels, homes and apartments toxic nightmares that sometimes need to be rebuiilt, and often razed, they get in gunplay, they get addicted to their own stuff or nuts from toxic exposure.

 

Hell, they even seem to be the Forest Service's NUMBER ONE problem at times, with all the portable methlabs contaminating the woods these days.

 

We haven't even talked about their crazyass guntotin' lowlife customers yet.

.
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Originally posted by Duddits:

Originally posted by coyote:

What I fail to comprehend is the judgmentalism cast at those who DO use pot or alcohol or whatever to fuel their creativity.

If the reality were that inner cities saturated with drug use were bastions of creative production, I think there'd be a lot more proponents of the drug-creativity connection. However, the reality is that the visible by-product of drugs is not creativity but misery, hence the understandable "judgmentalism."
Not to mention the number of highly visible creative people whose lives were ruined rather than helped by drugs.

 

If you figure the number of creative type people whose work is (arguably) enhanced by drugs "X" compared with the number of creative type people whose lives were visibly destroyed by drugs "Y" compared with the number of regular people whose lives were visibly destroyed by drugs "Z" then X < Y + Z and by far.

 

That's 1 smart cat.

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I've thought about it. And I agree to some extent. However, we reserve much more judgment for smack addicts than we do for guys who down a quart of vodka daily; we condemn the numbers player but not the lottery player. Of course this aspect of the discussion is ultimately destined for the Political forum :D But I was not thinking of it on a societal level in terms of this post. I was just taken by the exposition yet again of the link between creativity and drugs...

 

Paul McCartney is actually a great example. Can anyone tell me his creativity wasn't at its peak BY FAR from 1965 to 1973 or so?

 

The day breaks

Your mind aches

You find that all the words of kindness linger on when

she no longer needs you

 

vs

 

ebony, and ivory

together in perfect harmony

 

Originally posted by Botch.:

Originally posted by Duddits:

If the reality were that inner cities saturated with drug use were bastions of creative production, I think there'd be a lot more proponents of the drug-creativity connection. However, the reality is that the visible by-product of drugs is not creativity but misery, hence the understandable "judgmentalism."
That's a very good point, never thought about that aspect of it before.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Originally posted by coyote:

I've thought about it. And I agree to some extent. However, we reserve much more judgment for smack addicts than we do for guys who down a quart of vodka daily;

Not me. I think being an alcoholic and a smack addict are equally a waste.

 

Paul McCartney is actually a great example. Can anyone tell me his creativity wasn't at its peak BY FAR from 1965 to 1973 or so?

 

The day breaks

Your mind aches

You find that all the words of kindness linger on when

she no longer needs you

 

vs

 

ebony, and ivory

together in perfect harmony

Sure, but most really talented people have a creative peak in their lives (or several if they're lucky), regardless whether they do drugs. Are you saying Paul couldn't have written "For No One" without drugs? I disagree. And OTOH you can't prove that he WOULD have written "Ebony and Ivory" if he'd never done drugs. People who've had bad experiences with drugs quite often go in the other direction and become fearful of their own depths, not wanting to go there again; thus, you get stuff like "Ebony and Ivory" or "Wonderful Tonight." :D

 

Bottom line, I think Paul McCartney has done what he's done because he's Paul McCartney, not because of any substances he's taken. People do tend to creatively peak when they're younger, because they're more intense and more willing to take risks (which may or may not including drug taking) whereas when you get older, you can get too comfortable and too fearful of things you once embraced. Especially if those things ultimately hurt you. OTOH if you protect yourself better and take care of yourself when you're younger, you might actually become less fearful and more open to a creative peak when you're older.

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