between some little blocks of flats, just outside the center of the city of Sofia. It had stopped raining about an hour before, luckily we had found a dry bench - sheltered from the rain by the branches of a chestnut tree - and were sharing a joint, wearily eyeing a bunch of old ladies that were sitting and staring into empty space on the other end of the garden. One never knows with old ladies. Until 1989 many of them had the habit of ratting on you to the secret police for saying jokes about the communist party, or listening to capitalist music, and such a habit dies not, but rather adapts to new realities – like a “war on drugs”. “Agents” is the street slang for such over-curious old folks, who stare at you from behind the curtains of their windows,– “Watch it man, there’s an agent on third floor.” – “Which one? Oh yeah, well, light a cigarette then, be natural.”
As the grass hit home, the colors got brighter as usual, the sounds of the city and the insects became more pronounced, the rate of heart-beats increased. On the wet ground below, many snails and slugs were wondering around in their slow motion dream, leaving glistening trails on the grass and cracked concrete. “Watch”, I said, and placed a “victory white” cigarette just in front of a snail. After a typical for stoner perception eternity, the snail had reached the cigarette and instead of just going over or around it, it stopped on top of it. Fifteen minutes later, three snails and one naked slug had joined into the party. Frozen, they sat stuck to the cigarette. “They are getting high”, my friend said, “yes”, I replied.
- “Could it be dangerous to them? Like poison or something?”
- “It certainly is poison for us, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be for them.”
- “So they may die soon after this cigarette?”
- “No idea, but they probably will die, or become ill or something.”
- “Doesn’t that bother you?”
This question made me collect my thoughts, which does take a bit of effort when one is high, and I answered something like: “My position is the following: these snails are pathetic little creatures. The little time that they are alive, they try to survive and to breed. They keep getting stepped upon, infected by bacteria, crushed by cars. For all I know, they don’t even have a mind, but are like little robots which feel pain, pleasure and maybe sometimes confusion, which desperately try to do what they were programmed to do – breed – before they snuff it. Right now, as they are getting high on the poison, they are outside the program which controls their lives, if only for a little while. This is as close to freedom, to something like individuality, as they are ever likely to get. Maybe they will all die in half an hour. I don’t feel like a murderer. In fact, I hope that if I am ever a snail, there will be someone to offer me a cigarette.”
There is some arrogance, and unnecessary bravado in that argument, but nevertheless I still stand behind the attitude, which had made me say this. In fact, I stand behind it with more conviction and more developed arguments, than I had back then. Concider me. Where am I in this game of destinies? There is an eternity before my birth, there is an eternity after my death. Planets slowly float in space, turning their different sides to the suns around which they spin, the suns themselves follow their patterns of movement for millions of years, on our planet mountains change, continents collide and re-group, seas evaporate, thousands of species of animals, birds, insects, appear, develop for thousands or millions of years, and then disappear. Who am I? My life is a tiny spark which is there for a second, even a thousand times less than a second, and then disappears. Poof! And I’m gone. As far as I see it, during this life of mine I can do the following:
a) follow mybiological programs – the instincts of the species I belong to – the ‘inherited
programming, which has shaped my psyche since birth, generated by my parents, my education and society as such. Such social programming shapes differently in different societies and different ages the thinking, emotions and habits of the individual human from birth to death: so that I do, think and see what other people tell me to do, think and see.
That would make me a biomechanical doll, which feels pain, pleasure and maybe sometimes confusion, but is different from an animal in that it follows not its instincts– nature’s programming, but its social reflexes – society’s programming.
c) The third choice is to keep trying to break out deprogram myself, to study myself and see which parts of me are from the “outside”, which are from the “inside”, and maybe some day achieve the transition from being a typical representative of my civilization – a sad ill monkey with emotional problems and delusions - to being an ‘authentic’, ‘real’, ‘person’. Not only recognizing how crazy everyone is, and how crazy I am, not only trying to figure out a way to counteract all this craziness, but also trying to experience life itself, without middle-men, experiencing life as such, and not the twisted torn and sewed together in random fashion version of life shoved into my face, to be followed under threat of violence, prison or the mental ward.
Of course this path of drug use is dangerous – even ignoring that jail or nuthouse are always a hair away - one mistake during the practice itself may lead to illness and death. But we all die. And no one is qualified to choose instead of me when and how I die. In most, or maybe all constitutions of the world’s nations, the citizen has “a right to life.” But our lives are not eternal. They are eternal in a religious sense, but in the existing laws it is not the eternal life beyond, which is protected, but the finite biological lives of the citizens. And since we humans are not immortal – we are mortal – and we all die, the “right to life” does not mean the right to not die – that is impossible. It means the right not to be killed. Meaning – the right to not have someone else decide instead of you when and how you die.
My birth was not my choice but my death certainly can and must be. As long as I do not directly hurt anyone – and I certainly do not kill, steal or rape – I should be left to myself. I entirely agree with the view, that if everyone was a stoned metal-head like me, society would collapse. If everyone was an abstaining geologist or a drinking parking officer with a bird watching hobby, society would collapse just as surely. It is precisely the interaction of wildly different types of people, that makes our civilization unique, and at the same time renews it, does not allow it to fester and stagnate.
People who take illegal drugs, ‘drug abusers’, officially are criminals of the worst kind, who must either go to prison, so that ‘decent folks’ don’t get infected by their wickedness, or to have their brains washed by normalizing psychiatrists, who in the previous decades kindly cured in various parts of the globe, with their pills, electric shocks and syringes: children and teenagers from masturbation; dissidents from anti-communism; women from their ‘hyper
sexuality’; homosexuals from homosexuality. Normalizers. When one of the biomechanical dolls begins behaving strangely, or communicating with weird signals, it must be disposed of, or ‘fixed’.
- “Another one with a broken brain for you, doctor.”
- “Oh is that so? Lets just take a look… Hmm, yes, oh, ah yes… Nurse! Half a foot of wire, a set of B class depth perception circuits and a sexual inhibitor type 3.”
In this book I mainly attempt to present and analyze the various arguments which support the need for my imprisonment or brainwashing, while at the same time presenting my own case of why I in fact should not be imprisoned or brainwashed. There are also some afterthoughts and additional comments. One final point: even if person X does not use drugs for anything ‘useful’ and only drifts around in a haze, this still should not make him or her a criminal. The most useless person in the world is not a criminal until killing, stealing or raping takes place. Everything else is a moral judgment of personal lifestyle, which should have no place in the laws of states which describe themselves as ‘impartial’, ‘democratic’ and ‘free’.