Drugs and Social Reality

In a message dated 7/1/03 5:38:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time, katmara@xxxxx
> Marijuana (and the marijuana leaf) signifies a certain lifestyle and a
> certain
> set of values. Generally speaking, the predominant cultural meaning of
> marijuana is (and/or traditionally has been) that of resistance or
> contestation
> of the dominant order.

Drug-use lay at the essence of the rebellion of the Sixties. In 1962,
there was no "drug culture." Persons barely knew what marijuana was. Then,
gradually, persons began to smoke marijuana. Drugs were not a response to some
"discourse." The use of drugs arose spontaneously as a reaction to inner psychic

The idea was to "blow the mind," that is, to destroy the ordinary
structures of cognition and perception.

There was, fundamentally, one American culture in the early Sixties.
This is hard to understand for young persons now.

Marijuana use took off at the same time (1964) as Peter Berger wrote
THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY. When there seemed to be only a single
reality principle, no one could understand that reality was a social construction.

The "Oh wow" of early marijuana use was the recognition that there was
more than the concept of reality that had been presented as American culture.

Now, however, I wonder if drugs are still necessary to shatter the
reality principle. There are other spaces of separation or separateness.

It is not so much a question of escaping "the gaze." It is escape the
DESIRE TO GAZE, that is, to see what everyone else is seeing, partake of the
shared reality principle. Marijuana represents a space within where culture and
discourse cannot so easily penetrate.

Best regards,

Richard K.

Richard A. Koenigsberg, Ph. D.
Library of Social Science

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