drugs and contingency

There are at least two experiences of the relation between psychedelic drugs and the idea of contingency. Let's say that one is called the coercive experience, and the other is called the dispersive.

The coercive experience is paranoiac, conspiratorial. It is ontologically suspicious. It is coercive because it is interrogatory, and more often than not, is forcefully searching for a foregone conclusion. The coercive is a great architect, building meaning upon meanings, in the way the Egyptians must have built the pyramids: with a great arsenal of violence. The coercive is religious, occult, reverent. It produces symbols by utilizing the capacity for psychedelics to temporarily erase your world. Anything that wanders into your space after your world-erasure is capable of adopting an auratic glow, because of the isolated nature of your encounter with it, and as part of the coercive's erasure of contingency, the sign before you becomes destiny.

At its most defective, the coercive is based on an irrational belief that self-authorizes the creation of a cosmos and then covers its tracks. The defective mode of the coercive is religious mania, the healthy mode, artistic creation.

The coercive works by attempting to gather the Many into the One. The dispersive works in the opposite direction, splitting unities into multiplicities. The dispersive views phenomena in the world not with suspicion, but with skepticism. The dispersive suspects that ontological inconsistencies can arise: I arrive at the office and it does not surprise me if my office were suddenly on the opposite end of the hall. This is the same lack of surprise, says Picasso, he would feel if, in the bath, his body suddenly dissolved into atoms.

The dispersive recognizes and investigates contingency by feeling the absurdity behind every particular and the potential for it to have been otherwise, to have played out a different way, belong to an alternate constitution of reality. The defective mode of the dispersive finds itself splintered off into some dead-end corner of the multiverse, unable to trace its way back to the collective stream of human experience. Dispersive experience's healthy mode finds its outlet in speculation. Its speculative regard for potentiality, which considers unrealized possibilities as real as mere actuality, makes it closely akin to science fiction.

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