In General Knowledge for the Family, Physical & Mental Health

Behind the Word: Psychedelic

The word psychedelic is tossed around a good amount, yet it is not always used correctly. There are different usages for the term and different times where it is possible to properly use the word. In general, the world is used to describe a hallucination and what seems to be an expansion of consciousness, or at least an alteration to what is in reality going on in real life. This usually is due to the utilization of drugs and different items that cause a release of a variety of chemicals in the brain, causing it to perceive reality differently than what really is around. Of course, psychedelic is used in conjunction to more than just illegal drugs. It is also has connections to different artists, paintings and a variety of other elements that need to be looked at, in order to truly understand the definition and what psychedelic is.

Psychedelic Drugs

Most illegal drugs have a direct connection on how the mind perceives reality. However, not all drugs are considered psychedelic. Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs, as is alcohol and cocaine, and while all these are rather popular, none are truly considered psychedelic as it does not alter the way the mind views reality. It speeds up and slows down the chemical connection of the brain, but it does not alter. Psychedelic mushrooms are some of the most common drugs used for this nature. Also known as “magic mushrooms”, this drug, which is just a normally grown fungus, contains a variety of psilocybin, which are what causes the brain to view an alternative reality. Psychedelic mushrooms, as is the case with some other forms of drugs, cause hallucinations connected to reality. This is a heightened sense of color, yet integrating other external images that are not truly there in with what the person sees. Psychedelic mushrooms do not cause the kind of permanent damage as other recreational drugs, plus the drug is non-toxic, so it does not cause addiction or organ problems, although higher doses can cause fear induced trips, if too much of the drug is taken. Other variations of psychedelic drugs include LSD, morning glory, DMT, methoxetamine and several others.

Famous Rock Bands

Psychedelic drugs do have a strong connection with musicians and other artists. Due to the way these drugs affect the mind, many musicians and artists use their alternative mental experience to create new works of art, music, drawings and all sorts of variations of their own artistic vision, all through using the drugs that, in general, are not usually legal. Psychedelic rock is actually its own style of rock music, and while it is not directly followed, it does have specific bands that fall into this particular category. In fact, some of the most famous bands in the world are considered psychedelic rock bands. Possibly the most famous band in the world, the Beatles, falls under this category. However, most bands fall under what is considered a “jam band” category, such as the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane and others. Many of these musicians even produced songs depicting their psychedelic drug use and how it affects the mind.

Famous Pictures and Paintings

There are many different extremely famous paintings that have come to fruition due to the artist using psychedelic mushrooms or other, similar drugs. Possibly the most famous is Vincent Van Gogh. However, this painter did not create the majority of his works of art using mushrooms, acid or LSD. During his artistic career, he became a strong advocate for the drink absinthe. This is an alcoholic beverage that sits in wormwood casks. The wormwood contains a hallucinogenic that functions in a very similar manor to mushrooms and other psychedelic drugs. While consuming the beverage, Vincent Van Gogh painted possibly his most famous painting of all time, “Starry Night” from the window of his mental hospital, while consuming absinthe. Many people believe his particular style, which utilizes extended brush strokes, is due to his consumption of the beverage.

Famous Psychedelic Quotes

There are some rather famous quotes regarding the usage of psychedelic drugs. While the majority of these drugs neither condone or directly support the usage of the drugs, many of these quotes do focus on the side effects and how it has effected mankind and its quest throughout civilization. Ray Manzarek once said “Through all of history mankind has ingested psychedelic substances. Those substances exist to put you in touch with spirits beyond yourself, with the creator, with the creative impulse of the planet. Jerry Garcia added his own thoughts regarding psychedelic drugs, stating “nobody stopped thinking about those psychedelic experiences. Once you’ve been to some of those places, you think ‘How can I get back there again but make it a little easier on myself?'” Jim Morrison, the famous musician, had a direct quote about the usage of LSD on the state of the mind. He said “In the beginning we were creating our music, ourselves, every night…starting with a few outlines, maybe a few words for a song. Sometimes we worked out in Venice, looking at the surf. We were together a lot and it was good times for all of us. Acid, sun, friends, the ocean and poetry and music.”

Of course, there are more than just a few general writers of limited fame and some musicians who have written and spoken about psychedelic drugs. Hunter S. Thompson is probably one of the most famous writers to tackle the subject, often times at his own experience. The movie “Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas” is about an extended experience he had. In a quote from his book, titled the same thing, Thompson stated “That was the fatal flaw in Tim Leary’s trip. He crashed about America selling ‘consciousness expansion’ without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all the people who took him too seriously…all those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit. But their loss and failure is ours, too. What Leary took down with him was the illusion of a whole life-style that he helped to create…a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody – or at least some force – is tending the Light at the end of the tunnel.”

When it comes to psychedelic drugs and just the word itself, it is important to keep in mind that it points to how something is perceived by the mind in an alternative state. While the majority of psychedelic drugs are not legal, only a few come in pill form (such as LSD). Despite what some people claim about the drugs, almost all are considered illegal throughout the world, and while many people do take the drugs, it is important to read the font and understand how it does affect the mind and how certain drugs can ultimately cause both an alteration in the way the mind views the world around it and how it can also cause negative trips, based on the drug and amount taken.

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