Friday, May 13, 2011

Endless Forrest. Endless Graveyard

Few things are more paradoxical than a very alive Pee-Wee Herman telling you that the thrill of crack can kill. For one thing, people only die of a thrill when they are 80 years old and willingly ride a roller coaster designed for Ritalin popping Mountain Dew pounding 14 year olds. Second, is that Pee-Wee Herman was probably using his Nancy Reagan dollars to buy enough crack to kill a small camel.

For the longest time, America has held an odd relationship with drugs. It's the uncomfortable syndrome where everyone is doing them, yet when politicians get lazy and face a reelection year, we inevitably find ourselves stuck in some kind of conflict, or if you subscribe to the alternative reality that is Ronald Reagan, “war” on drugs. Yet, drugs are not at odds with American ideology or values. No, they are just a natural extension of corporate capitalistic logic. Released into a free market based on laissez faire values, drugs become the perfect inelastic product, with the consumer initially wanting to exchange a set amount of money for a set amount of feeling. However, as the drug use continues, the consumer loses control, and that once fickle want makes the pivotal shift to an unsatisfiable need. This new level of desire for the product is the mark of perfect inelasticity, as the consumer, regardless of price, is unlikely to exit the market.

The rationale for outlawing drugs is usually reduced to their addictive quality, but in reality addiction is an integral component of the contemporary American zeitgeist. People constantly watch television, drink numerous cups of coffee, and spend countless hours at a job they swear they hate. However, all of these addictions share a common denominator, they allow us to choose what we love. Living in a predominately boring and alienated world, addiction allows us to inject some feeling into our lives, to drown our consciousness in something other than the immediate reality. This is ultimately why we develop addiction, to harbor the rare freedom of controlling what we feel. Yet, drugs differentiate themselves from everyday addiction (isn't it odd that such a thing even exists?), instead of allowing us to feel something in our daily lives, they enable us to numb.

As western society has grown increasingly competitive, isolated, and divide, the collective subconscious has amalgamated against this shared suffering. Similar to a sports team uniting against an especially hard workout or a malevolent coach, the people of the world, frustrated with their loneliness, have formed a community in response to pain. Addiction is integral to this, allowing the world to continue to function, as individuals lose themselves in an activity of their choosing. Out of a world of addicts, drugs are only singled out because as the individual may have initially chosen this feeling, want inevitably makes the monumental shift to need, removing them from real feeling entirely. Drugs are not only the perfect inelastic product, a natural extension of corporate capitalistic logic, but the unrivaled escape in a world of escapists. The real challenge is not overcoming addiction, but changing the way we think. Trying to remind yourself everyday to stay aware of what is real and important and essential.

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