I think you bring up some good points. I’m not here to push this or any other view on you, or even defend my viewpoint - you seem to be thinking about what is being said which is all I really care about if I were to be pretentious enough to say that my “writing” has a “goal” other than my own need to express my bullshit.
Context context context
For context it is worth mentioning that there is a reason I call it “plan B” - because its not what I am planning on. Right now I have a wife and a child on the way and work as an executive of a company that is in the process of going public (I’m more of a grouchy old man than a burner lately. I say “kids these days…” way too often). Point is, its mainly talk - I’m on another path.
I don’t choose to be a Zen monk, but if someone were doing it I would say go all the way. I don’t choose “plan b” either, but if someone is choosing to go down that route I’ll defend my version of it as one of the most fulfilling and interesting ways to do it. That’s what “plan b” is all about.
For more context (if you’re interested) see my comments on general hedonism - “plan b” may sound like the typical adolescent give-no-fucks self-destruction that you are used to thinking of as “hedonism”, but there is more to it if you take a look.`
Are drugs cool?
Well that’s a definition game isn’t it? For context, here is the standard entry point on that discussion. You poke at this question with the “glamorous” language. I think it comes down to what a person is looking for - are you trying to have a “cool” experience or are you trying to be perceived as cool or glamorous? For young people especially drugs become a social status and part of a personal definition - many do in fact draw identity and status from their drug use. Being a rebel is badass blah blah blah. It is also fun to be oh so self-righteous droning on about the war on drugs and how immoral it is on and on and on ad nauseum.
But this is not everybody, and it need not be you or your friends. Some of us don’t do drugs because of who is or isn’t watching, but because we find something beautiful and valuable in altered mental states. Maybe some people aren’t “glamorizing”, but just showing how they have found value in odd places. With so much propaganda blindly skreeding against drug use, someone has to hold up the other side of the conversation…
Maybe, depends on your definition. A lot of people think masterbation or video games are juvenile, but I disagree. Everything has its place and there is more or less room for various things at different ages. Just because the age when something is initially explored or when it is most expressed is at an immature age, does not mean the whole kit and caboodle is juvenile.
Again, its what you make of it, just like I was saying in “plan b” - take ownership of your life and make it yours whatever that is. Anything else at some level involves making cowardly excuses. For some of your friends that means going to school and doing the normal “American Dream” such as it still exists. For others it means hanging out getting high and doing comedy. Different strokes for different folks.
I think you are on the right path because you are doing something very intelligent - looking at your peers’ choices and comparing what it has done in their life. This is the way to do it - don’t use theory (drugs good or drugs bad) - use empirical observation. What tradeoffs have your friends made, how has that effected them?
For example, you can probably think of a friend who has fucked up their life on drugs. You can also probably think of a friend who got a college degree and got a normal job and did everything “right” and is miserable and trapped by all their commitments and things.
Does that make either of their life plans wrong? No, probably just means that you shouldn’t do it that specific way.
On the other hand you can probably think of a friend who uses drugs responsibly has an amazing time, and through it finds creativity and inspiration and living in the moment and manages to keep their life from flying off the rails. You can also probably think of a friend who has a normal job and a family and loves life by the book and is very happy.
Maybe you choose one or the other, maybe you are somewhere in the middle. Point is, don’t make assumptions, and keep observing :)
Maybe try asking yourself simple questions like “if I needed to crash on my friends couches because I needed a place to stay, who would respond the fastest” or “of all my friends, who is most likely to give to a beggar on the street”. Which of your friends are the healthiest, the most “spiritual” (if you care about that)? Who are the most unconditionally loving? Who makes you laugh? Who has you back no matter what? Who is “at peace”? If you needed someone to explain what love means, who would you turn to?
Which of that characteristics do you want for yourself? Questions like that probably give you some answers.
Whenever you make one choice, you unmake countless other good choices. Such is the way of things - most spots in the universe don’t let you have your cake and eat it too. The only way to escape the feeling that you are missing out is to make good decisions based on your true values (not the ones you believe you believe) and take all that comes with joy.
Life is a simple game with one win condition - be happy. Don’t overcomplicate it. A win is a win is a win.
I’m still torn on whether or not drugs are cool.
Tonight I came across a forum question about drugs. The main gist was:
“I just have it in the back of my mind that someday, I’ll die of an overdose. It scares the shit out of me and thrills me at the same time.”
(No, I will not discuss which forums I spend my time on.)
It wasn’t a super interesting post, but Hedonist Philosopher’s response to it (at the link above) was pretty interesting. Like, mildly fascinating. While reading it, I thought:
- Descriptions of glamorous self-destruction will always be fascinating
- Buying into glamorized self-destruction will always be…juvenile?
Idk what it is, but there’s some sort of conflict here—maybe just between the “drugs are cool” camp and the “drugs are stupid” camp.
And now I realize that I’m using my San Francisco comedy friends and my Amherst College friends as mental references for the two camps.
The SF crew (and probably most comedians, in general) are really good at glamorizing the dark shit. It’s cool in a rebellious way. (And when you do enough drugs, you’re not only rebelling against legal authority—you’re rebelling against yourself. What’s cooler than truly not giving a fuck about your own mortality?!)
The Amherst crew (note: my sample size is small) has a lot of disdain for drug use. From the way some of them distance themselves from it, I can’t help but project a subtext of ‘nerdy high-school overachievers justifying their lacking social and personal development by degrading the cool kids’. And I see them achieving this subtextual bolstering of their own self-worth by inflating the overall value of things like scholarly aptitude or future earning potential—things that cool kids and drug abusers are worse at than they are.
Anyways, I’ll contemplate glamour vs. prestige now and you can read that post. It’s a good one.