It has certainly been awhile since I have posted on my blog. I would like to say sorry to everyone who has been holding their breath while waiting for my next post. Since you are probably all dead now from lack of oxygen, my only hope is this post will reach you in the next life. Today’s post is inspired, as most of my blog posts are, by ignorance on social media. I am writing this post on April 20th 2015, yes 420! The great pothead holiday and there is plenty of ignorance to be had on this day!
The post that are really firing me up today are the ones where I see people criticizing others for enjoying cannabis. There are a few reasons why I was so fired up that I had to take to my blog to express myself. I would like to share them now with anyone who is still reading.
The #1 posts which are driving me crazy today are alcoholics who criticize potheads. I don’t know where to begin here. Let’s start with the: “Blah Blah you are enjoying an illegal substance, at least I am wrecking my life and making horrible decisions while consuming a substance that is legal. Not only does this make me fell better about my alcoholism by pointing out your abuse problem, but I also feel the need to let all my facebook friends know that I am the kettle who calls the pot black.” Or something along those lines. The irony here is so thick that even Alanis Morissette could pick up on it. I can go on about how alcohol was illegal and the terrible crime that was inspired by that prohibition. I could rant about how the negative side effects of alcohol far out weigh those of cannabis. BUT if you have an internet connection I am sure you have heard that a million times. If not, please Google it… You are really missing out on some SURPRISING statistics.
What I will do for you is what I always try to do. Introduce a different point of view to the matter. This debate has a huge “Us vs. Them” mentality just like politics, sports, religion, and all the other wonderful debates where both sides have great points. When any of these two sides debate they stick to the same great points. Screaming them at each other and not listening to what the other side has to say. As well as not acknowledging that the other side has some great points. You know, the way mature, open minded people do. Now that you are all caught up on how the world works I will introduce my point of view. First I will saw that once again it is not so “Black & White.” There are valid points on both sides as well as unhealthy rationalizing and judgement by people on both sides.
What I want to talk about is NOT the talking points of both sides. Because both sides have great points. This is why it is such a huge debate. If you ever find yourself in the middle of a huge debate, no matter what it may be: i.e. Guns, Healthcare, baby Jesus, pitbulls, death penalty, abortion. The reason it is such a huge debate is there is no black and white answer that fits into the realm of common sense. It is more nuanced, the answer lies somewhere in the middle if there is any answer at all. What we need to do is have a discussion like mature humans. Maybe ask questions like: “Why do people choose to alter their consciousness?” “Is it because they are trying to escape an unhappy life?” OR “Are they trying to further enjoy a happy one?” When we answer these questions we can then, based on the answers, ask ourselves: “Are there aspects of my life I need to change to gain happiness?” “How can I change these aspects?” “What will that mean to my identity?”
The last question is one that i feel isn’t addressed much in mainstream discussions. We started to address it in a podcast that i produce named: ” Pat Oates is Sad” that can be found at comedylol.com. This question about identity and how people need to fit into that identity is a great one to ask. I believe it sets the true “Leaders” apart from “Followers” in our society. Maybe those terms are way to over used in our language, but I feel the true leaders are those people who aren’t afraid to go their own way and stay true to themselves, even if it means they will face criticism and being ostracized by their peers and friends. We talked about a great example of this on the podcast, which is when someone has a job, or a belief, or a stance they let that define who they are as a person. They will stick to this and it becomes their whole identity. There are so many examples of this it is hard to find the right one to express my point. Most of these identities come with certain ways of thinking and even jargon. I will speak on a few where I have great first hand knowledge. For example poker players can talk to each other for hours about poker scenarios. A casual outside observer would think they were speaking another language. Also you can go to any neighborhood gun shop and hear people talking in the same way about politics, beliefs, and culture. There are tons of other examples AND I am not saying that there is anything wrong with any of this. Where it does become a problem is when a person lets an identity consume them. When they start making decisions on what they think a “Democrat”(or insert any identity here) should do to make them a good “Democrat” as opposed to what is the best decision for them as a person. A great example of making decisions not based on your identity, but on what’s best for you as a person would be the small percentage of Gun Owners who refuse to join the NRA. Everyone you talk to in the gun world thinks you have to join the NRA, but a tiny percentage will say that the NRA is just a lobby who only cares about money and not your rights. Those people are brave leaders and not followers. They are taking a controversial stance on top of a controversial stance because, based on reason and common sense, they feel it is the right thing to do for themselves and what they believe.
I feel the same examples apply in the discussion of altering consciousness. Some people say you should only use alcohol, some say only cannabis, some choose both and then some. However there is a lot of the “All or Nothing” debate going on. People feel the need to identify on one side or the other. Getting neck deep an idealism that they don’t fully agree with, but they “Think” it’s the right thing to do in order to support their “side.” Or they may choose one side in order to shame the other side as a way of trying to make themselves feel better about choices they make in order to cope with reality. So a person who regularly drinks alcohol as a way of coping with their life will criticize a person who smokes cannabis and justify it by saying: “At least I’m not breaking the law.”
So what can we do? We can talk like mature humans to one another about why we do what we do. We can talk honestly about what is best for each individual. Be true to ourselves and ask the hard questions of ourselves, which i listed throughout this post. It sounds hard and that is because it’s easier to ignore the real problems and just jump on the side that is the closest to your beliefs. Just shoehorn yourself into one side and then begin to immediately attack the other side. But I promise if you take the hard road you will find happiness in truly expressing you opinions and yourself. Instead of bottling yourself up to maintain an image you believe will help you fit into society, let it out! You will enjoy your alcohol and/or cannabis in a different and more healthy way. You will sleep much better. Or you can just get wasted and pass out.