[psychedelic drought]

Topic: Culture
Have you noticed how very unpsychedelic our current cultural moment is? As were the ’80s that we’re so tediously rehashing, this is an era of cocaine and Republicanism. Indeed, our whole society seems to be living in a cocaine cycle: blasts of grandiosity interspersed with hollow periods of baseless paranoia.

It turns out that the demand for psychedelics hasn’t dropped, but that the supply of acid has dried up. I know that as a good citizen I’m supposed to be happy about that, but I’m not. Psychedelic drugs have a way of knocking down dogmatism: how certain can you be about anything when you know your whole world view depends on the presence or absence of 30 micrograms of a particular chemical in your brain? (The moral effect of a strong psychedelic is a lot like that of traveling to a very strange country, which explains why they call it a trip.)

I like psychedelia. Whether it’s John Lennon pretending to be a walrus, Kurt Cobain standing too close to his amplifier, or Samuel Taylor Coleridge dreaming of the Khan’s pleasure dome, the exploratory, multilayered, richly hued aesthetic appeals to me. And I believe it does something positive for the culture at large.

Ah, well. It’s from played-out times like these ā€” the late ’50s, the late ’80s, the Restoration ā€” that something new rises. I just hope it’s noisy and weird.