In Search of Inspiration

sayarsan's picture

A huge part of our conscious thought is devoted to making ourselves known or understood at least by others, an equally huge part is devoted to knowing what others may know or at least think of us. Casual aquaintances such as neighbours who have no prior knowledge of us become blank slates which are only too impressionable when they have nothing better to think about than the racket the crows make in the morning. What juicy trifles do their minds concoct out of an excentric neighbour. This sort of digression is a source of amusement when relating to people who have little or no purchase in life but a different perspective applies to those people who do have the ability to affect our opinions of ourselves. Some people we would like to think well of us and we sometimes go to great extremes to win their approval. Parents are the archetype here but in their abscence we are apt to find someone to fill their shoes as an onboard guide to how we should behave. Siblings are usually the first choice especially for those of us who have a sibling with proven qualities worthy of admiration but for some whose horizons are so limited that siblings are about as far as they can see even the most bestial qualities are something worth emulating. I am wondering what is it that drives us to look outside this geneticlly and socially approved package for qualities that to ourselves seem admirable while to our 'significant others' they often seem deplorable. Most of our concious behaviour if not all is the result of mimicry of someone we know or some more remote figure we know of so I occasionally try to think of who my role models are when it comes to taking drugs.
First to spring to mind are figures in the popular culture from actors to writers to singers and musicians but these are the famous ones who are rarely if ever known to us personally so we can only ever manage a glimpse into their personality and character. It doesn't do to settle for superficial characters like Easy Rider or Rock 'n' Roll Animal varieties but archetypes like these are universally recognised maybe because they are fictional and so remote we can each make of them pretty much as we wish. It must come as quite a shock for some people who do get to spend some time with such a figure only to find they look really different, talk really different, in fact are really different from ones expectations. After spending a period of time mixing in a millieu of drug takers I began to notice people who are more capable, usually older than me and generally coping well with their chosen persuasion. Looks can and often do play a part but don't really count for a hell of a lot especially as we get more mature, older at least but in my case behaviour is the main qualifier so a degree of competence is pretty necessary. Some people will already have a pretty sound idea of what constitutes admirable behaviour while others are still willing to change their beliefs and ideas depending on the prevailing mores. My preference has always been for consistency while many prefer a more flexible approach to the point where loyalty is nothing more than an expedient.
Since I first became aware of illicit drugs they have been associated with a subculture which is searching for some change in the ways society organizes itself and how it values people and things including ideas. Illicit drugs explicitly lead us foul of the law and the police all too often seem to be enjoying themselves when they victimise people who run foul of the drug laws. Foul laws I say and considering that the drug which has always brought me foul of the law is cannabis an innocuous drug really, I still like the idea of breaking the law on principal. This is ultimately a stupid behaviour but i feel sure there are many more who are as stupid as i am in this respect and some are a lot more tenacious and outrageous than me. Movies such as 'The Harder They Come' and 'Rockers' spring to mind portraying the exploits of the descendants of insurgent slaves who are living in poverty while being victimised by the descendants of the slave owners and their police enforcers as well as the criminal element which lacks all values outside money ones. The distinction is very blurry in reality but the movies make for a simplified version of cops, robbers, and retribution.
The only other drug which has ever brought me foul of the law is heroin which doesn't have the same peaceful aura as pot but where there's a will there's a way and my mind quickly found cases where the drug is linked to a horrible injustice. Reading 'The Politics of Heroin in S.E.Asia' by Alfred McCoy showed me that heroin had been used by the C.I.A. and others no doubt to make money when they began intensive operations in that region during the Vietnam War which didn't do much for my rationalisation but sure enough there were instances of the North Vietnamese and probably the Viet Cong using the drug to raise funds to prosecute their resistance to U.S. occupation. The book did alert me to an incidental character to the Vietnam War but a major figure in the heroin trade in Indo China who called himself KhunSa. Born to an ethnic Shan mother and Chinese father he operated in Thailand and Myanmar where there are numerous armed insurgencies battling one of the longest running pariah regimes in the world. Dodgy as KhunSa definitely was (he died in 2007) there is no doubting the credibility of the people in Shan State whether they be farmers or soldiers both men and women when it comes to a legitimate campaign to free their home from the predations of a vicious military dictatorship. Khun Sa's long running offer to sell all the drugs to the U.S.A. or Australia showed both countries were unwilling to take a simple and effective measure to keep Shan heroin off their soil when they continually refused to "deal with a criminal".
Looking around today Afghanistan provides another example of a war stimulating the production of heroin and I expect there are numerous parrallels with S.E.Asia. Events overseas are hard to look at clearly and news especially about something as demonized as heroin usually requires close scrutiny so really it comes down to those closer to home which we can observe closely. After using drugs in a fairly systematic way for about 40 years I feel they have become more than a past time. Many drugs are dangerous and it is important to excercise a deal of caution and knowledge but in the current climate users of illegal drugs are met with so many urban myths and blatant untruths they often learn important things through difficult and often tragic experience. For decades there has been an acute need for reliable information which is easily accessible to all drug takers and there is cause to believe there is some hope but I remember thinking 40 years ago that cannabis would be legal in 10 years.