Facilitating magical thinking

For different reasons, both M. Simon and Sarah have made me want to sound off about something that has long annoyed me. 

Magical thinking. Seeing things that aren't. Making connections that are not there. In movies, the Michael Moore approach. (Bush swings golf club. Truckload of dead Iraqi babies. Voila! Connection made!) 

I hate the way stoned people like to jump to whatever conclusions manipulative Commies like Michael Moore might want to place in their heads, OK? Perhaps I am biased, but I remember at the peak of the AIDS epidemic when huge numbers of impressionable fools were absolutely, totally convinced that government scientists had created the virus in biowarfare laboratories at Fort Detrick Maryland. That was what they wanted to believe, and smoking dope made it seem more "real." Now, you could say I was running with the wrong crowd, but the point is, I observed this phenomenon, and it annoyed me at the time. Seeing evidence of the fragility and instablility of the human mind always does.

Sarah was not talking about marijuana-induced magical thinking, but the human tendency to look for "messages." We do have that tendency even without cannabis, and some of us have it worse than others.

If you have nothing better to do and want to see "messages," first smoke some pot. Then take some nice stream-of-consciousness music (this Captain Beefheart CD works quite well), and play it to randomly selected television with the sound muted.

The way it all seems to "fit" will amaze and even astonish you.

But hey, I don't actually recommend doing what I just said. You can skip the marijuana-induced "magic" and just take my word for it, and your "insights" will be just as valuable.   

I would never deny, however, that marijuana can also fairly be said in many cases to facilitate creative thinking, as well as what we might call "magical thinking." Great music can be created by great musical minds with a nudge from cannabis at the right time. Ditto art, and certain writing. (See M. Simon's post.)

But the stoners' conclusions can sometimes flow in the wrong direction. (Bad logic and conspiracy thinking.) I have long believed that the stoner mindset needs to be tempered with what used to be called "critical thinking." Only by rigorous application of logic and reason can it be determined whether Bush's golf game is related to dead Iraqi children. But alas, some people are able to do this better than others. Some don't want to, and some don't even try. This is aggravated by the unfortunate human tendency of wanting to "belong."

If the substance could be made legal and above board, at least that part of the illogical magic that results underground allure factor (aggravated by a misguided cultural sense of "belonging" to a persecuted "group") would fade away.

Stoner culture needs to be subjected to ruthless scrutiny under the bright light of legalization instead of being persecuted. The more mundane and boring it becomes, the better. Ridiculous laws that make boring substances cool only encourage magical thinking.

The problem is that many people believe that such laws will "help society" fight a "menace" and that their enforcement constitutes a "war" that can be "won." 

Sounds suspiciously like the magical thinking of the stoners, except the anti-stoners are not supposed to be smoking pot. So what's that about?   

Is the common denominator that marijuana makes people irrational whether they smoke it or not?

Pot, kettle, golf!*

It's all clear now. 

* Please note that I didn't use the racist expression "pot, kettle, black," because I am trying to avoid inflammatory rhetoric!

posted by Eric on 01.19.11 at 09:36 AM


South Park made the same point with the Underpants Gnomes.
1.Steal Underpants

Step 2. is always the difficult one.

Veeshir   ·  January 19, 2011 10:08 AM

Play scratch and sniff and win the Fruit of the Loom lottery!

Eric Scheie   ·  January 19, 2011 10:22 AM

You were running with the wrong crowd of potheads, Eric.

DJ   ·  January 19, 2011 2:24 PM

Depending on POV, I have always been running with the wrong crowd, and still am.

Eric Scheie   ·  January 19, 2011 3:08 PM

The proper form these days (so I'm told) is:

Pot, kettle, African-American.

M. Simon   ·  January 19, 2011 6:24 PM

I clicked on the Captain Beefheart album. Amazon says it's "Temporarily out of stock." Ooooh, what's the secret meaning behind that?

Charlos   ·  January 19, 2011 9:29 PM


There's only forty real people in the world, and some of them are hamburgers. BUT you knew that.

Sarah   ·  January 19, 2011 10:31 PM

Yeah, but all kidding aside, you gotta admit that Bush shot JFK so he wouldn't reveal that the moon landing was fake. And he blew up the World Trade Center using homopathological medicine. It's not like Americans would ever allow a pot or a kettle of whatever grammar to be predisent.

hanmeng   ·  January 20, 2011 5:23 PM

...or should I say homeo-pathetic?

hanmeng   ·  January 20, 2011 5:27 PM

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