Normalization & Drugs
The brain is fan-fucking-tastic with its ability to normalize things. You can imagine the brain as a blank slate, with a few evolutionary rules plugged in: swimming movement, breathing, blood pumping, hunger, tiredness, thirst, etc. The rest of it is all a spongy mass, just waiting to normalize the incredibleness of the world. When a baby pops out of the womb, they are highly apt to cry, the world is brand new, and nothing is “normal” – and everything is important. That is why any of the littlest disturbances in their state of awareness can make them cry – because the feeling is important.
As they grow, and reach adolescents, they are much less likely to cry if they are hungry, instead they may whine, or pout, or pull on your shirt and ask for food. As the years go by, hunger is not even that great of a discomfort. This is the power of our mind’s normalization – but it does not only apply to our instinctual responses such as hunger, thirst and sleep. It applies to all experience.
When we are young, we can play with an ant hill for an hour. We can climb trees for the majority of a day. A new flower, or plant, can hold an awesomeness for some of us. Our child selves can become immersed in what an adult would ignore, or even find rather boring. This is not a matter of becoming more intelligent, which often people seem to imply with the term “Grow up”, but rather it is an increasing normalization of our world. It is a sign of our brains filtering out more of the world as we stop to place importance on objects and ideas in our everyday world.
The first day your rode a bike, the first day you drove a car – those are likely to be magical times. You may even remember the feeling of awe-someness that arose in you, that feeling of “This is important!” As we age, however, we begin to dread car rides, and bike rides to and from work – because we have lost the importance of them, we have transmuted them into the mundane, the ordinary, the normal.
Do you ever go to a concert or a theme park, or a vacation, and wonder why you’re not enthralled by the scenery, the music, or the setting? It’s that normalization. Your brain has been working against you for the entirety of your life, threading ideas, scenes, architecture, personalities together, to make as much of the world as normal as possible. After all, if everything is normal, what do you have to worry about? That is a goal of the mind – store as little information as possible for survival, and filter everything else out. If it isn’t helping or hurting your chance to reproduction and survival, it’s no longer important. Yet the child in you, that nascent level of curiosity and awe can beg to differ.
DRUGS! This is where drugs come in. This is why LSD, Psilocybin, DMT, Ayahuasca, and others can radically change your perspective on life. That filter that you’ve built up over the years is lifted when partaking in these substances. That normal everyday drive now stimulates you to the core – no longer is traffic a trivial mass of cars, but rather a collection of human beings, in metal boxes, with wheels, attempting to perform duties, in trade for currency – and they’re stuck on tar. The “normal-ness” of our lives drops out from beneath us, and suddenly all things become important once again.
The duality of this is the perspective that nothing matters, or everything matters. The prior is called a bad trip, while the latter is an experience of one-ness: That all things are inter-related and genuinely important.
When in an entheogenic state on any of these substances, the grass is no longer something to be mowed, but a large, diverse organism, which is pleasing to the eyes. A flower is no longer an abstract beauty, but raw magnificence of life, attempting to attract your attention – and the bees. Your house is no longer an object to be bought and sold, but a dwelling of your life, a place you inhabit and connect with. All things suddenly become paramount to your existence, and reality itself.
But this normalization is only partly subconscious. You can actively seek out new meaning and purpose to all things in your life. Tripping every day is not an option, but realizing the vastness of our reality is. One method I’ve discovered to remove the normalness of my day is to imagine I am a visiting scholar on my way to work. To tap into the mind and tell myself that this is a fleeting experience – my work – and that the setting and people I meet are new, important, and meaningful.
Make an attempt to be a child, and see the flower in the yard as a magnificent structure of biology, something to stare at, and embrace. Realize traffic is not something to resist, but something to see on a grand scale of Human’s folly, (and try to laugh at it…). See restaurants not as logos and chains, but rather individual houses, with people’s dreams held inside – to sustain their life by feeding people. Strip away the normalness – and paint the world with importance.