From: Peter_Douglas@intermedia.co.uk (Peter Douglas)
Subject: Ecstasy; Spirituality or Just Getting Bolloxed?
Date: 01 Jun 1996 01:48:56 GMT
Like every other controversial issue, the e debate isn't black and white. It's not either "I discovered a new way of being because of MDMA and it made me a beautiful person" or "I got so fuckin trollied I couldn't talk and then dabbed a gram of whizz and talked everyone's arse off then drank 5 pints of Guiness so I could get to sleep". E is used for both purposes, sometimes by the same person at different times. Personally I was appalled when I arrived in the UK to discover that MDMA was used as a dance drug. To me it was anathema to have loud music blasting away while under the influence of a drug that facilitates such straight-up communication, free from the bullshit games that people play in normal conversation. How on earth can you have a real connection with another human being if you have to bellow in someone's ear to make yourself heard?
Then I discovered that the MDMA induced freedom from ego allows people to dance without self-consciousness, to achieve a Zen state of "ecstasy" where only the moment is experienced and all the baggage that comes with living in this twisted society is left behind. I understood (I think) why it had become the intoxicant of choice for the current dance scene.
I'd love to see some statistics on "crimes against the person" perpetrated by a given population before and after that population starts using MDMA on a fairly widespread basis. Nicholas Saunders has provided some anecdotal evidence for suggesting Ecstasy use has attenuated violence in football fans, and in the Irish Catholic/Protestant conflict. I've seen a marked difference in "attitude" between clubs where the dominant drug is alcohol and where Ecstasy is the pervading influence, and in the short-term range it looks to me like MDMA has a far more preferable effect on personal interactions. What I'd be interested to know is whether the empathy and all-round "niceness" people display while e'd up carries over to everyday life, with fewer assaults and general nastiness showing up in the crime stats.
I believe MDMA has a valuable potential to show users a new way of being. Once the brain has discovered that it is possible to be a little more tolerant and, dare I say it, loving without losing face, maybe it's just a little bit easier to act the same way without being chemically predisposed because those neural pathways have been tracked at least once.
If I was Supreme and Divine Emperor of This Green and Pleasant Land, I'd probably impose some quasi-religious ceremony as a co-requisite of MDMA use, with no apologies to you heathens who deplore the "new age weirdy beardy spiritual crap" that some of us rather like thank you. At certain times in the E-cumenical calendar there would be a Critical Mass, where participants would intone the Prayer of the Pill before necking a known dose of pharmaceutical quality MDMA and losing it bigtime to some wicked stompin repetitive beats.
* Prayer of the Pill * or * The Spirit of Ecstasy * (nothing to do with Rolls Royce ;-)
O Spirit of Ecstasy Make still my troubled mind in the Peace of the Eternal Now and let the commonly accepted crap fall away. Release in me the unconditional Love for my fellows so that I may care for them and see that no harm befalls them, and share with them the water of life. Expand my soul as well as my grin, radiating out to join with those around me that we might dance as one, United by our concurrent existence in this spacetime. Help me to see the beauty and humanity that we all share That I might Respect all others Even the bouncers and beer monsters O miraculous molecular mind morpher. And when this bright vision of Perfection begins to fade Help me to carry the vibe as I go out into the world, surprised and blinking in the light of dawn. And please, Thou Essence of Plur - Don't let the bastards grind me down. Amen, Bom Shankar, Whatever.
- waxing lyrical, or just ear wax - sometimes it's hard to tell.
IMO spirituality is about the person. An experience is spiritual if you believe it to be so - nothing more or less - it's just a matter of how we choose to categorise things....
I know several people who say that taking e changed their lives - dunno if that's spiritual or not - I guess if you don't believe in the spirit you're not going to have a spiritual experience..... It doesn't mean that your experiences aren't either deeply affecting or contemplated. OTOH for people who are less contemplative and who do just want to get bolloxed it probably won't make much difference.
Anyway what I am trying to say is that I think e can have a profound effect on the user but like the effects of any drug it depends on the circumstances it's taken in and the state of mind of the person taking it.... For me it wasn't earth-shattering, it was lovely :) but it seemed to fit into the path I was already on - it enhanced things for me but wasn't revelationary in the way it seems to be for some people.
However I always said I would never encourage anyone to take any drug yet I too am beginning to think that I would encourage everyone to try at least one e (in the right circumstances as Peter says). An annual e-fest sounds like some old pagan (fertility?) festivals that I have vaguely heard about.... I don't think it would work for everyone but I think it could change things....
Oh yeah and last of all - dancing - I think the loss of inhibition/ego allows both mental and physical release and they both feed each other...
Susan 'H?ODSNO'SNLAGCEOWI London