VIN 17- Cannabis Helps

There is nothing wrong with pot. Cannabis itself lacks the association of something so base as even alcohol. It has not been tied to the antisocial behaviors alcohol or tobacco smoking has. Whether this will change is irrelevant now however unlikely. Facts do not align with the required dynamics of an addictive or dangerous system such as they do with the aforementioned.

Behavior changes with Cannabis are too often positive, and recorded as such, to believe its use could become anything more than it is. Alcohol is often connected as cause or result of trauma. Tobacco has killed millions, and continues to– but so do automobiles.

To say nothing of the unfairness of restricting access to what a person might want or need, to experience.

Though the same cannot be said of those things and experiences that might harm others through them, it is no less unfair to restrict them from doing such things in public, within reason. In simplest terms: smoking tobacco in public should be no more restricted than not smoking in public.

In theory, this is only fair. In practice, it’s understandably uneven: I.e, smoking sections in restaurants do not reasonably separate smokers from non as a result of building ventilation, but can if designed to, as in the case of smoking rooms in airports.

Beyond these obviously reasonable effects, unlike Tobacco, Cannabis has little to no market value for “criminal” enterprises if not prohibited. Simply, there is no money in illegally trading a legal product. By that stage in its marketability it is too abundant. Too easy to manufacture, grow, or get hold of. A plant, literally nicknamed for its ability to grow abundantly anywhere, despite medium or climate, is an obvious loss to any unrestricted market.

Again, in simplest terms: certain items, made legal, are unprofitable to trade as illegal ones because they require prohibition to have value.

The only entities that care about such attributes are industry. Industry: the same systemic machine-arm of society that formed the paper-trade that outlawed Hemp. Cannabis, outlawed in the 30s as a result of Immigrant-fueled white-hysteria, became the poster child for anti-criminal law enforcement.

Because such entities excel at that type of contradictory hubris.

A century ago, the fad was packaged and rolled Tobacco cigarettes. This time, it’s Wacky Tobacky cigarettes. No true change has occurred in the system, just in the throughput, and thus its output. Pot’s going into the rolling machines now, not tobacco, that’s it.

The difference lies in people’s use of it. Cannabis, or Pot, is tribal. Ritual. It has an effect Human beings thrive on. That idea, spreading as it is, is powerful. Its zen qualities are reflected in the people whom use it and hope to pass on its values. To the Rastafarians, this is the “Sacred Herb.” One that brings the spirit closer with that of Jah, or God incarnate.

People, learning to think and feel for themselves. No matter the confines of their circumstance, it is they whom dictate its revolving, when and how to grease its wheels to aid in time’s passage. Of course there are elements of systems that oppose that, but only because they fear losing the power their control over it gives them.

Fact is, power exists regardless. They’ll survive: are just scared. Their fear, because of its nature, causes them to exert squeezes on their surroundings. Just as the fearful wise-man grips his armchair these creatures grip their power-bases through small, almost meaningless acts that ripple panic down to the masses. It is in drops at a time, but builds to overflow or spillage.

Like fear, anger is understandable. As are all emotions. Anger however, should never turn to wrath against those seeking goodness in earnest. Like all, they too know fear and can be unpleasantly controlled by it. The danger comes when thousands suffer and die needlessly, from ignorance of these facts as in the case of so-called “Drug Wars.”

So. No person is inherently bad for their use of a thing. Let alone something with as many proven uses as Cannabis. An ill-intended person will be ill-intended despite their day-to-day habits. This is Human Nature.

This knowledge alone is a kind of soul-vaccine, like that usually reserved for the pious or saintly. Yet that vaccine, discovered and deduced easily not only through the effects of Cannabis, but in its name, is of the dual instruments of practice and meditation; observation and recollection. Of one’s self. Their depths.

Such is akin to the essence of Truth. Of Human knowledge. An understanding so deep that only Gods and myths can accomplish its reach and still stand before our suspended disbelief. Yet all the same, it is measured in bits and bytes because it can be: because our world can be. Each of us admits that this is our reality: our Matrix and shared illusion. Science agrees.

Our world can never be as beautiful outside as in until each of us knows, accepts, and works toward that regardless of gratification or not. We must be willing not to see the fruits of our efforts, and so therefore make our species’ inner-beauty shine all the brighter meanwhile. Force, as an aura, to radiate in auras of healing energies; thoughts, emotions, tender actions, no matter how difficult.

We must do this, because otherwise, we deserve nothing as a species. Creator or no. We are wounded. Damaged and in need of repair. No tool, no matter its capacity for danger, should be stripped from our tool box entirely. Merely kept from the hands of those untrained in its use, but in the same, restrained way as any yet-untrained contributor.

This is the task from our Mother– not that of each of us as individuals, but that of all of us: the creating forces of not only Earth, sentience, the universe, but their collective power. For truly, they are inert. Products of circumstance. Effects of natural forces eroding one another like repeated floodwaters of a ravine.

There is no further room for our indifference toward these ideas as a species. No matter how odd it must seem, we as their products must bow before the unseen forces only Science comprehend. Therein, we must accept that it is not each of our places to comprehend it, but that we can if we wish to.

We must trust only in the tangible. Have faith, but based only in what is known to be true: Ideas. Powerful ones. But ideas nonetheless. True ideas. Conclusions. Logical deductions. Theories. Concepts evolved and changed but concluded in their final iteration. The type of aspiration of a species and for a species; to each one contribute something world-changing, however “fallen-short” it might end up.

Cannabis, or pot, does not make one a bad person. Only condemning ideas for change and the betterment of all. If the former led to the latter, condemnation would be understandable. But if it does not, it is irrelevant to character.

VIN9- Digital Souls

Our world, and our people, are dying.

We have no place for Seers now. No place for Shamans or thinkers. We have only shackled slaves and the chains that bind them. Their masters, whom blind us with lies, propaganda, and misinformation.

Our psyches are batter and bruised by advertisements and media– by Humans, yes. Yet simultaneously, not; for these masters are wealthy beyond remaining society combined; ignorant beyond capable for Human-kind. And they are something more and less as a result; an avaricious blob-monster collectively formed of each individuals impressive atavism and hate.

Bound and blind, the rest of us are their slaves and cattle. Force-fed only the choicest cuts of corruption that invade and liquefy our minds and bodies, we suffer eternally for but the momentary hint of flavor on our consumers tongue.

Step back a moment and consider that again:

Humans are stuffed full of poison their whole lives. Then battered, basted, cooked, and digested. Their existence, nothing but suffering; only to serve the momentarily vain and futile hope of satisfaction– elusive and illusive as it is– to some amorphous, Cthulian-scale Great Oz.

But in the end, the creatures behind the curtain are men, women. Human. They bleed. They burn. They breathe and die. Somewhere, at even the very heart of their total corruption, they remain but frightened children forced to cope with changing realities.

Ultimately, they’ve failed, yes. But there are many paths to success. None exclude failure. The aforementioned creatures are ignorant to this, but ignorance is cause for neither ridicule nor alarm. It is, in fact, wholly human.

But so is knowledge. Its power, eternal. With proper application, it can foretell the eternally distant future.

And yet, we’ve no place for Seers anymore. No place for Shamans, or Mystics, or creatures part-Human and part Universal-conduit. There is no excuse for this.

The digiverse– that metaphysical hallucination of postdigital civilization we inhabit, has room for everything, every one. Big and small. Bad and good. So long as a thing, or its concepts can be digitized, it can exist in that realm in harmony.

But we need Digital Seers, Digital Mystics; people understanding not only code, but the spirits inhabiting it. If only those conceptual ones, dictating via the force exerted on the system as a whole. Humans require digital-to-analog converters for their souls.

Only then can the Seers emerge and guide us. After all, what good is technology– a thing meant to ease Human burdens, when a burden itself? Whatever the answer, certain rules are clear: do not poison the well, lest you harm your own. We are doing one or the other, but allowing both.

It must end.

Short Story: The Program

Memories make us what we are, who we are. They differentiate us from one another. They buoy us against the storm of moments where we feel life is least worth living; slogging through the daily grind, being stuck in traffic, waiting for our pills at the pharmacy; those things no amount of progress or technology can cut from the human experience. The memories are always there; smiles, tears, laughter. They bob about us just beneath the surface, acting as flotation devices. They are the record of our experiential datum, of our lives.

Sometimes, we need them more than ever. More than any time we have before. It’s in those moments their vigilance and strength ensures we ride the storm or sink beneath to its depths. Sometimes we do one. Sometimes the other. Sometimes though you can do only one or the other, never both.

Rare as it is, ludicrous as it seems to those with average lives and memories; sometimes there is only good. Or only bad. There are no hints of the other. Only a steady stream of one. The lives of these afflicted are imbalanced, abnormal, damaged. In a word, unique.

Almost invariably, that uniqueness leads to total, mental instability.

In a world where normality is sought, it is almost predictable such notoriety should be quashed. Recall that uniqueness is merely an adjective, not an identifier. It is a description, not a condemnation nor ambition. It just is, like us.

That’s what we’re taught, anyway. Where?The place isn’t given a name. They don’t want us identifying it afterward, drawing attention to it. We’re not supposed to want to anyhow. We’re only supposed to recognize it for what it is; a program for preparing our return to society. A return, I might add, that is meant as a rebirth.

As they say, “The Program” is gestation; the facility, the womb.

From the moment you’re discharged and step outside the facility’s doors, you’re born. Your life begins anew.When you have no memory of your life before, it’s easier to become what they want you to be, what you should be. Who are they, and why do they care about your functioning? You can’t remember. You do know however, that you’re comfortable with the idea. That they want to help, only for the sake of helping. After all, human beings can only learn so much when their established mnemonic processes align with the imbalances common to normality.

I was unique. Nothing sinister of course, it’s an adjective, not an identifier. A better term is aberration. We aren’t really unique, those of us in the program. Not in the grander sense, but in our narrower, social sense.

We were the worst of the worst. Socially. That’s why we’re here. There’s no other reason, no explanation. It was this or die. Losing one’s memories in hopes of becoming whole seems more sensible anyhow. Those were the stakes for all of us, they tell us. We’d had every chance, squandered it. So, we wound up here; memories wiped. Pasts forgotten. Futures cemented– the immediate ones anyway.

The Program itself is rather simple; we live our lives to our current age in an accelerated way. We play. Laugh. Love. Cry. Hurt. We’re given a free-reign of life from childhood to adulthood where only the worst kinds of mental scarring’s avoided so we don’t repeat our past.

In other words, we reform life by reliving life, if on fast-forward. Along the way, we establish new mnemonic patterns through an expressed understanding we’re doing so.

In this way, they say, growth’s facilitated. We can eventually re-enter society. Of course, that society’s wholly different and scarring in its own way. It has to be, otherwise we’d never’ve ended up here. Difference is, this time the Programs instilled us with an identity, an inner-peace, and the emotional fortitude we were lacking before hand. We leave new people, knowing our lives might then truly begin.

I do not remember my life before the Program, but I do remember my life during the program. Necessary as it is, I do wonder about that first life. We all do. It’s human nature to wonder, especially about the past, our past. It’s not important, we are continually taught. In fact, the importance is deliberately understated because it is so wholly important, we have no choice but to be left wondering. Knowing otherwise leads us back into old patterns, nullifying growth.

It’s doublespeak; the past’s unimportance is its importance.

In order to remember properly we must forget, let our pasts remain forgotten. We were all sent here for a reason. We’ve all progressed together. Some have paired off, in love with the world we’ve come to know. Others have gained a self-love they lacked.

Personally, I have only imagination fueled by wondering. I can’t know what life might was like before, but I can imagine it. That’s important, if nothing else.

I step through the facility’s front doors and am forced to pause:

This is the only home I’ve ever known. I know of no family outside, no friends. The Program gives us tools to handle this, but I can’t help wondering; maybe this isn’t the way things are meant to be. Even if by all, known accounts, I’ve come far and changed for the better the gut instinct exists.

Because those accounts may be dubious; I know only that I came from somewhere to live life over, gaining a supposed clarity. Yet somehow, everything seems muddier. I know I have a place to go, where I’m likely to live alongside others I “grew up” with, if only temporarily; all of it provided by the facility and The Program’s overseers.

But what of all the people that came before? I must have a mother, a father. Perhaps I disappeared to them, when I was sent here. Perhaps they sent me here. Perhaps not. After all would they not be here now, collecting me? Shouldn’t they have been part of this? I know they would have been, as I know everything else inside me, things sheer memory alone cannot affect.

I know too, something is deeply wrong with the Program, the facility. I feel it in my gut. I felt it before too; every moment, isolation. Every interaction, controlled. There’s no way to know what causes the feeling, nor what insidiousness lies beneath the Program’s seeming benevolence, if any. Still, I sense some things cannot be so, even if I’ve no real proof to it.

Nothing save a vivid memory; an older man, screaming terror in the night. He was part of the group, forced to grow with us. Something had frightened him so wholly he began screaming. The Program was a lie. A control. Meant to reign us all in socially.

I can’t attest to that, obviously, but we were told his outburst was the result of a brain aneurysm hemorrhaging. He was never seen again, and it fit their story, but I can’t help wondering, imagining.

Thinking of him, I remember something said often in reference to our pasts; we’d formed our past selves by deluding ourselves in degrees, through small doses of dark behaviors until wholly believing the growing lies we’d told ourselves. It was a psychological manipulation, our instructors said, done for the sake of our deepest darkness.

I can’t help wondering about that. Maybe the old man was right. After all, if the instructors knew of that manipulation, couldn’t they employ it? Wouldn’t they? Hadn’t they admitted to it already?If not directly,by virtue of the Program’s aims? If so, who was to say he wasn’t right? That the Program’s benevolence wasn’t just a lie, a control?Judging by what we were taught, and the supposed reasons for it, it’s no doubt our species is capable of extreme acts of darkness. So, what truth do we have to the Program’s benevolence then, but its own word?

None. Perhaps uniqueness isn’t an adjective. I aim to find out.

Short Story: Rock ‘n Roll Lifestyle

Scents of fresh cigarette smoke mingled with stale beer and dry sweat; the same scents that greeted Ethan every early afternoon at work. The painful truth of the rock ‘n roll lifestyle was that it didn’t really exist, never had. In fact, one of the few things it accurately claimed to have was long nights and late mornings, and even those weren’t the same, really. Fringe benefits, Ethan called them, hard truths of sound engineering for the local dive.

That’s all he could ever think to call the Club. It had an official name, but nobody used it– a claim to Ethan’s generational droves offlowing apathy. The Club wasn’t a club. It wasn’t even a bar, though it had one. It was a collection point for the aimless and brainless to nightly smash into each other. If they weren’t doing that, they were smashing other shit into their brains or veins. Regardless of its seeming differences, the road taken was always the same: ride the groove of the latest, least-audibly offensive metal jocks stuck in Podunk like the rest.

Every night was roughly the same. Unless the joint was bust from a cancellation, the band or bands arrived, set up, ran sound check, then lingered until their slot whilstdoing their best not to drink away the night’s profit. Most did. If, after the long wait, they were still fit to play, they went onto the makeshift stage and did their best to murder a set or two. By the end of it, the drinkers were drunk, the stoners were high, and everyone else was everywhere in between.

More often than not, Ethan watched from behind the mixing board. Drugs and booze made their way through the crowds. He could always tell the inebriated minors from the crowd; they didn’t move in time with it, as if knowing they stood out and completely incapable of helping it. No one cared. What was a few wasted teenagers to a crowd?

It wasn’t just the music and intoxicants that drew the kids either. The girls did their best too. If the bartenders and concession girls didn’t appeal, there were always the few regulars– cougars and their younger counterparts on the hunt for more stamina and cum than brains. Sometimes, even the occasional flamer or dyke surfed the crowd. Like the others, they too, found their select few to get something from or give something to.

Ethan still laughed at the thought of his closest brush with the rock ‘n roll lifestyle: He went to piss, walked in on a freshmen poking “Lightning Lucy.” She was fast, easy. Before Ethan knew what was happening, he was suddenly double-teaming Lucy with the freshmen– who was more and more jealous of the fact.

But Lucy was quick and easy because she wanted to be. It made life easier. The last thing she wanted was strings. By the end of it, Ethan figured he’d done the kid a favor: gave him a story to tell and made the break easier. The last thing anyone wanted was a love-sick hanger-on, Lucy especially.

That was the closest Ethan had come to the rock ’n roll lifestyle he’d been promised. Even then, he had a hard time believing it had happened. Life was hardly as fast and easy as the legends made it sound. Mostly, it was standard fare; sit at a board, keep the lights green, and ensure no-one skipped out on the tab.

Maybe that was why it felt like every other day to Ethan. Maybe it was just his generation’s total apathy from the knowledge that they’d missed “the good ole’ days.” Maybe it was nothing, or everything, or some of one thing and a little or none of another. All he knew, was after the fact, he knew even less than he’d thought he did.

He took his place behind the board to watch the lights. The latest incarnation of wannabe rock-star nobodies were on stage. They droned on with the same bullshit metal sound Ethan heard night after night. There was nothing original in town nowadays. The only thing that distinguished one set of screeching vocals and open-string pounding from the next were the various shades of gray eyes or their faces. The bands around were as dead as the horse their music beat.

The guys on-stage that day were no different. The only thing even relatively noteworthy was their singer’s utter lack of vocal enthusiasm. He looked like a caricature of late Floyd-era Syd Barret; on stage, head down, guitar hanging; no life whatsoever to him. The only real indication of his continued existence was the noises emanating from below his head. He seemed to be doing his best to do nothing at all, and was succeeding expertly– not that he’d have noticed nor cared. Someone had left a hang-dog expression hanging too long, and this was the result.

The drummer finally exploded with rage, angry at another night potentially ruined. It was then the singer came to life… in the most awful way Ethan’s apathetic generation could muster. He rounded toward the drummer, suddenly raised a loaded .45.

Where it came from, Ethan still wasn’t sure, all he knew was the sound of a round fired off into the drummer’s forehead. Then another, into the bass player as he booked it for the door. The third cut down the rhythm guitarist at the edge of the risers. After him, one-by-one, went all of the crew and the hangers-on that had tried to flee but weren’t quite fast enough.

The barrel angled onto Ethan and the frozen, deer in the headlights expression remained unchanged. The rampaging frontman stopped, stared. To an outsider, he looked as if trying to decide if Ethan were a man or an armless marble statue. Something suddenly shifted in the guy’s face. The gun turned on the shooter, and the guy let himself out as he had his mates.

Through all of it, Ethan was frozen, petrified. Terror had coursed through his veins. He was terrified, of course, but also utterly confused and entirely confused. A creature of such despair and hang-dogged emptiness had managed to erupt into a ball of fire. It was as if the last pocket of existence inside a formless shell had burst forth to ensure it be remembered, for good or ill. It was safe to say it had completed its task.

Ethan was more concerned for himself; a dozen people were murdered in front of him, and he could do nothing but blink. For a while, he wondered if someone had slipped him acid or peyote again. Instead, the police and EMT’s arrived to find him standing, staring, traumatized.

It took a long while to coax him back to reality. In the end, he returned from his curious fugue state unharmed carried on with life. The Club eventually began functioning again too, as much as it could be said to. Ethan wasn’t sure what life he nor it led, but something told him neither qualified as rock ‘n roll.