I’ve gotten a few requests lately for access to an essay I wrote, gosh, maybe 20 years ago for Julie Holland’s book on marijuana, The Pot Book: The Complete Guide to Cannabis.
It’s called Cannabis: Stealth Goddess, and it argues that:
Like a girlfriend or boyfriend who sees the “real” you, marijuana desperately wants you to shed the artifacts of the Western European colonialists among whom you live, and just stop where you are. Every action has a reaction. Assess the impact. What happens when you throw that plastic bottle in the trash? Where and under what conditions was this videogame cartridge assembled? Which side of what equations am I on?
After a few hundred conversations on precisely this subject with pot users and ex-users alike, I’ve come to a conclusion about the mechanism behind pot’s ability to raise and question conscience—particularly in older, more experienced users. To put it most simply, pot stops time. Or at least it creates the illusion that time has ceased to move forward. When you are stoned, you are no longer in motion. Even if you are moving, you are no longer moving towardsomething—but simply moving.
The lean-forward of your directed, intentional life ceases. You are still doing what you are doing, but the goal no longer exists. The simplest effect of this time-stoppage is to bring focus to the task at hand. There is no goal; there is only process. The stoned farmer isn’t growing pumpkins; he is planting a seed—or, better, clearing dirt with his finger, placing the seed in the impression left behind, and covering it with fresh soil. Then doing it again, with Zenlike attention to detail, texture, and grace. The act in this moment is all there is.
Likewise, however, once time is removed from the equation, goals can no longer be used to rationalize your tactics. Without ends, no “means” can be justified. They must be judged on their own merit. So what are you doing?”
The whole piece is here.