To Try or Not to Try?

There are questions you can’t answer until — well — until after you’ve answered them. I don’t mean for that to sound cute. I mean that it applies to some very simple questions like “I’ve never had blue cheese. Will I like it?” You simply can’t answer the question until you’ve actually tried blue cheese. Its taste, and whether you enjoy it or not, will always be a mystery to you until you’ve actually gone ahead and tried it.

Any attempt to research this type of question is at best going to give you a rough idea, in your mind, but not a precise, direct experience in your mouth.

If you ask someone else they might try to describe the taste, presuming that they’ve had blue cheese themselves, that is. But at the end of the day, they can’t tell you what you’ll like.

And just think about how useless it would be asking someone who never themself tried blue cheese. They don’t know what it tastes like — they have only other people’s word on the matter.

Imagine, for a second, for fun, that this person you asked about it was a “cheese expert” that looked at charts of cheese sales and at surveys of other people’s likes and dislikes in cheese, but who never actually ate any cheese themselves, let alone blue cheese. Imagine if this person was actually put in charge of whether you, or anyone else for that matter, could eat certain types of cheeses.

Some cheese you would only be allowed to eat with a prescription. Other cheeses, if you were even caught in possession of them, would land you criminal charges with a possible jail sentence! All because of what this person who never tried the cheese themself thought should or shouldn’t be allowed. Imagine such a crazy world for a minute.

Now, imagine you were born into this world and blue cheese was illegal in it. How good would you have to believe blue cheese is, before you ever tried it even once? What would you have to believe to be prepared to take the risk of getting some — possibly ending up in jail for obtaining it?

You’d have to expect that it was going to be really damn good, wouldn’t you? Like, not just “yum-yum-tasty” good, or “hmm, that-can-become-quite-a nice-acquired-taste” good, or even “Oh My God, this-makes-me-weak-in-the-knees” good. Ok, maybe the last one would. But it would have to be at least that great. And, if you’d never tried it, you’d really only have other people’s words to go by. What would they have to say to you about blue cheese to get you to try it? Maybe things like “It was one of the single greatest experiences of my life,” or “It’s better than anything that’s legal!”

Why would you bother otherwise? Especially, why would you bother, when the Secretary of the Department of Cheese, Tobacco, and Firearms has explicitly forbidden this and several other cheeses? Didn’t he, as a public servant, do this for your own good? Isn’t that why it’s illegal in the first place?

It couldn’t be that it’s illegal because Blue Cheese is eaten traditionally by a certain demographic group the Secretary hates because his grandfather was killed by one person in that group in a war 75 years earlier and it devastated his mother and he’s subconsciously sworn all the people in that group as his enemies, and that’s what has secretly been driving his hunger to become a powerful bureaucrat in the government exerting control over what millions of people can do — because he really wants to stick it to a whole bunch of people who he doesn’t know at all in any way, but who he hates because they share some close ancestors or cultural similarities to someone who once did something that hurt his mother, and he loves her, and wants to avenge the harm done to her!

No. It couldn’t be that.

Where were we?

Oh yeah, you live in this universe where some cheeses are illegal to eat. In particular, blue cheese. And we were asking “why would you bother to pursue the acquisition of something that’s supposed to be bad for you, and whether it actually is or isn’t, bad things can happen to you if the government catches you acquiring it?

I mean, I don’t have to say it. Do I? This is obviously a metaphor for psychedelics. Throw them in with a bunch of other dangerous and addictive drugs like the opioids and methamphetamine and you’re going to discourage an awful lot of people from pursuing them. But there’s still very many who will pursue them. Many of them regularly.

And we’re talking here about what would get someone to try them for the first time. And since the experience is one that even experienced users say is very hard to describe, there’s really no way to know. So you either take a leap of faith, or you don’t. You either answer the question by taking them, or you don’t — that question being “What will it be like to try psychedelics?” And that’s a deeply personal question.

Trying to convince someone else to take psychedelics because you had a good experience just isn’t fair. It isn’t a guarantee or promise that the other person will have a good one, and undoubtedly, the details of any experience they go forward with will be very personalized and very different than any one you’ve experienced. So you can’t tell someone “You’ll love them” or “I guarantee it will be wonderful” — not honestly at least. And on the flipside, trying to convince someone to not take psychedelics because you’ve had a bad experience is similarly way off base — their experience is not necessarily going to be like yours. There’s just no way for them to know until they try.

Microdosing is not a solution. A microdose, going back to the blue cheese example, is not the experience I am talking about. It is barely a whiff of something slightly strong in the cheese family, versus a real dose, which is equivalent to eating a mouthful of blue cheese.

And finally, if you’re someone who hasn’t tried psychedelics and you’re offering other people advice on whether or not they should, you’re doing what is affectionately called “talking out your ass.” Who are you to even talk about it?

You’re back to being like that cheese expert who’s never eaten cheese and has his head filled with thoughts of revenge upon some minority group to earn back the respect of his mother which he thinks he lost because he didn’t win that hockey tournament in third grade and isn’t consciously aware of any of his layers of deep psychological problems because he’s never actually tried psychedelics! Uh, I mean blue cheese — he’s never tried blue cheese. Uh, I mean you. You never tried blue cheese. So how are you gonna know what might happen if you take some. Maybe you’re afraid it will reveal that you’re repressing layer upon layer of shame, anger, disappointment, and even deeper repressions of instincts so basic we don’t even have words for them? What if blue cheese blows the lid wide open on all these things? Won’t it be devastating? You’ve worked so hard all your life to put them out of your consciousness and you’ve basically succeeded, but now, you’re thinking of taking a hit of blue cheese and possibly revisiting all that again??? Are you crazy?!?

This is what you’re asking yourself as you now stare at the plate of blue cheese you’ve gotten, illegally by the way, that sits in front of you. And you look around to see if anybody is watching, because you feel guilty about breaking the law, but you have to find out what this blue cheese experience is no matter what. And really it’s you that you’re looking out for. Do you see what you’re doing? That’s literally the question you’re asking of yourself “Do I see what I am doing? I’m about to take blue cheese for the first time and I have no idea what’s going to happen.”

And then, you throw caution to the wind, and you take it. And you’ve got some butterflies in your stomach because you’re now a little nervous about what you just did. What if the bureaucrat who regulates cheese was right? Wait, isn’t that you? Aren’t you him? Haven’t you pursued this office in the ministry simply because of your fear and hatred of blue cheese, because those darned Frenchmen eat it, and it was a French soldier who killed your mother’s father in the second world war, and you have this idea that if you do all this harm to them your mother will see it and she will forgive you for the shame you presume she has because you didn’t win that hockey tournament in the third grade? Wait, it wasn’t the hockey tournament you thought she was ashamed of you for. No, it was that time she saw you do that thing you’re too embarrassed to even let yourself remember what it was and you’re so ashamed she saw you that you think you have to win back her love somehow. And now you want her to forget that awful thing by being proud of you for doing something so big it will make her forget about that. And what could be bigger than getting back at all the Frenchmen who share the same language as the man who killed her father in the war. Yes, this and only this is how you can earn back her love. A love you miss so much. You remember how much your mother loved you when you were a little boy. That was so blissful. Oh, life can be such bliss, you think. It is all so beautiful. And it’s silly of me to think that my mother even remembers that masturbation incident. And she still loves me and would love me anyways even if she still did remember it. So this whole crazy thing I’ve been doing all my life to get back at all these people I don’t know is terribly misguided and a huge waste of my time and energy. And it’s harmful to other people — people who all have mothers who love them, and they in return love their mothers.

“No!” you say to yourself, “I don’t want to do that any more. I should not do that anymore. I should go tell my mother how much I love her. And I should tell everyone else to tell their mothers how much they love them.”

Oh, what a beautiful world this is, you realize. And you cry tears of joy at its beauty, and you cry tears of sadness at what you’ve done and what you’ve lost. And you cry tears of an indescribable emotion because you forgive yourself for never before seeing the tangled feelings and experiences that led you to becoming the Secretary of Cheese, Tobacco and Firearms. And you cry tears of relief in knowing that everything is going to be ok. “Oh wow!” you think to yourself, “what a trip this blue cheese is!”

And now that you’ve tried it, you know what it’s like to try blue cheese.

Did you like it?

/Fin

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store