Typing Out A Trip

Can drug writing really capture the psychedelic experience? The essay collection Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness attempts an answer. Michael Thomsen is disappointed:

Many of the essays in Edge Realms try to explain the paradoxes of scientific modeling with the transcendence of getting really fucked up. It is not enough to have done a drug and had a fine experience, one must recast the nature of reality in its afterglow, to find in the sober world inadequacies revealed through the shamanistic updraft of a trip.

Aldous Huxley remains the patron saint of this yearning conviction. The one-time satirist of using drugs to pacify the vigor and anger of a ruled class, Huxley became a bourgeoise guru when he discovered LSD. Catalyzing his years-long wonderment about human perception, LSD and mescaline prompted Huxley to spend the latter parts of his life praising drugs as a human utility for consciousness raising. And with the shift the bright cuts of language and thought in his early novels become overburdened with dim metaphors of acid highs being like a trip to the "antipodes" of one’s mind, in which one must catalog the wild fauna of giraffes, kangaroos, and duck-billed platypuses.

The unaddressed problem with drugs as co-pilots for metaphysical inquiry is that the high always ends, and after a certain point straining to pull meaning from a state that isn’t actually meant to be sustained becomes obsessive and distracting.