Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  

It’s a Red Pill World

teafaerie | Musings | Thursday, October 30th, 2008

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re making some headway.

I’m not talking about the recent slew of largely positive articles about psychoactives in the press or the controlled human studies that have finally been given the go-ahead by the Powers that Be.

I’m talking about the way that psychedelic consciousness has permeated and informed popular culture.

Now I know that this is not exactly a recent development. I myself was raised on a cartoon about a swarm of little blue elves that live inside of what appear to be giant Amanita muscaria mushrooms. I’m just pointing out that it seems to be coming on a little bit stronger in recent years.

I’m a nanny for very young children, which is rather like being a professional tripsitter most of the time. The pre-school set is given to rapidly fluctuating emotional states. Commonplace objects can provide them with hours of amusement. They live in the eternal Now. And they positively adore the Teletubbies. In case you’ve been busy being a grown-up for a while, the popular television show features brightly colored and oddly elf-like tykes who live in an organiform spaceship and have TV monitors in their bellies. They seem to be trying to communicate something about the nature of language. I might be too old to understand exactly what these little mediamorphic ambassadors from the land of eternal sunshine are trying to get across, but whatever it is it’s coming in loud and clear to the carpet cruising contingent in millions of otherwise straight-laced households every day, for the simple reason that that it affords Mommy the only twenty minutes of peace and quiet that she is likely to enjoy before bedtime.

Fundamentalist parents were aghast at the wild success of Harry Potter and company, decrying the pervasive occult themes and the notion that strange potions can work wonders. They were so focused on the hocus pocus that they missed the real magic, I’m afraid, but their kids soaked it up like blotter and are largely the better for it.

Video games have been chock-full of psychedelic imagery since Mario powered up on his first pixelated mushroom. Today some games look and feel like a full blown ayahuasca trip, complete with animal spirit allies, terrible gateway guardians and bejeweled palaces packed with unexpected treasure.

TV shows all seem to have their psychedelic episodes, whether it’s as literal as Homer Simpson getting puddled on Guatemalan Insanity Peppers or as subtle as Buffy the Vampire Slayer wondering if her whole life has been a hallucination brought on by a schizophrenic break.

Hollywood is on the bus as well. I can think of ten movies off of the top of my head that just had to have been conceived under the influence of something illegal. I bet you can, too. Go to your local video store and look around. The new releases section is jam-packed with bizarre time loops, nested realities, psychic powers, alien encounters, existential uncertainty, eschatological scenarios and messianic inflation. Heck, they pretty much have to make trippy movies at this point, or their costly special effects programs will go to waste.

Then of course there is the Internet—the most boundary-dissolving force on the planet, smearing the wonder and the weirdness around at a totally unprecedented rate.

Now you can look at this situation in two ways. On the one hand, the media is trying to co-opt the psychedelic experience to sell tickets, toys and advertising minutes. Big whoop, right? But on the other hand, the trippers and visionaries are successfully embedding their memes in packages that get opened by a wide variety of people, and that is a much more interesting phenomenon in every respect.

The Matrix is probably the most successful example of this, and it’s certainly one of the most overt. Take the red pill, kids, and find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes. It’s not cool because the psychedelic experience is directly referenced or glorified, it’s cool because it gets the point across. Millions of people walked out of the movie theater after seeing The Matrix and cast a suspicious eye on what we are pleased to call reality for the first time in their lives. Even if it was just for a moment, that was a victory.

Because that’s what we’re supposed to be doing, isn’t it? We who have nominated ourselves as our community’s designated shamans and explorers have a tradition to uphold, if not a sacred duty to perform. The Hero’s journey is not complete until he or she brings the goods back to the tribe for the benefit of all. Our job is to take the experience home with us and pump it back out into the community in the form of art or the commitment to catalyze change. Otherwise it’s just psychic masturbation. Nothing wrong with that, of course, everybody does it; but imagine how much more legitimate and justified you could feel about your practice if you were using it to liberate your fellow man as well as to amuse yourself!

It’s never been more important. We’re making some headway, yes, but things are speeding up and most people aren’t going to be as ready as we are when the world starts getting strange fast. When the future comes to test us, it’s not just going to test the shamans. Our species’ survival may well depend upon the sophistication of the population at large, and the number and type of concepts that it can handle without seizing up and shutting down. It’s up to us to stretch that limit. The tribe needs a guiding vision. It needs a million guiding visions. It needs to be warned and enlightened and shocked and inspired, as quickly and efficiently as is humanly possible. It’s a moral imperative. So go earn your next trip by sharing what you learned from the last one. If you can’t write a brilliant screenplay at least write up an experience report. Write a game or a song or a subversive children’s book. Write a program. Paint a picture. Put up a video. Organize large-scale performance art. Share your vision. Slip it in however you can. Remember, we take drugs so the straights don’t have to.

I’m not suggesting anything in particular about the personal habits of the creators of the specific entertainments that I mentioned, by the way. The Teletubbies sure are some trippy shit, though. I mean, whoa.


  1. Hey, I just found this writing of yours through a link Erowid sent to my e-mail. I don’t normally comment people, but I have to say that reading your segments reminds me of all the concepts I’ve tried to write about, publish and get across… but you say it better than me. I found that reading your entries was way more awesome than the routine and it thoroughly made my evening. Thank you. And yeah, I think the paradigm is shifting toward an understanding about what us “psychonauts” are trying to achieve here, and in the long-run might mean something different to the collective unconscious of the world at large. But oh well, I’m just subversive and optimistic like that, too.

    Comment by devin — October 31, 2008 @ 3:21 am

  2. Hey tea – Zieges from hitRECord. This resonates so much with me, even though i’ve never taken psychadelics. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching this past year and i definitely feel a shift of awareness taking place – and feel especially connected with this beautiful concept of Oneness, that just seems to make perfect sense in terms of what is right for humanity. I feel that when you recommended Cosmic Trigger to me, this was no accident, no coincidence but something integral to my continous journey of consciousness. It all adds to the equation of this apparent awakening. I seek enlightenment in life and find myself drawn to all the right things, like your articles, like hitRECord, like Anton Wilson and i come out learning bucket loads about people and perception. Keep the flow moving ever onwards.

    Comment by enochian-angel — November 16, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  3. Hello dear Teafaery!

    Re: your comments on how altered reality seems to have inspired a lot of creations on our screens, have you noticed how many advertisment spots show that too? And somehow I can even sometimes guess the type of produc that inspire these. A decade or two ago, you could see a lot of canabis inspired visual, a lot of the traditional psychedelic colours and shapes that are associated with using weed. Now, I have seen more and more Ketamin-like stuff in my favorite commercials, in articular some infinitely-folding landscapes that I have learned to link with this product…
    Thanks for your column, and thanks for often bringing a very refreshing point of view in my daily browsing!… I am going to rent some teletubbies DVDs for my week-end! :-)

    Much love from a faery to an other,


    Comment by Dragonseed — December 4, 2008 @ 12:23 am

  4. Psychic masturbation. I love it! That’s exactly what it is which is probably why many of the “straights” have a problem with it.

    Comment by Bear — January 13, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  5. Wow.

    You know what’s interesting, just before I read this I had realized for the first time that I am a healer.

    “The Hero’s journey is not complete until he or she brings the goods back to the tribe for the benefit of all. Our job is to take the experience home with us and pump it back out into the community in the form of art or the commitment to catalyze change.”

    Those sentences gave me blood lightning! I was also remembered of something one of my friends in Peru said to me. “Remember, the more you heal yourself, the more you’re able to heal others.”

    Thank you for that great piece of communication. :-)

    Comment by Robert — January 25, 2009 @ 9:10 am

  6. one of the most interesting things I’ve read in a long while. You make a clear distinction between “them” and “us”, psychic explorers vs those who stay in “ordinary” reality, and the idea of bringing things back to the tribe is a really interesting one I’d never thought of before. I guess that to a large extent it happens without even those who do it being aware of it, being aware that what they are creating and putting into society is actually something from “out there”. unless that is their intention of course, but I’m sure that just as often or more often than not, it happens simply through expression. but to do it for the tribe certainly gives more meaning and justification to masturbation.
    and its funny because when the matrix came out i loved that movie and I would of never of thought that it had anything to do with “drugs”.

    Comment by aks — January 31, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

  7. Hello. My name is Heather. I just stumbled across your page and I decided to read your column. First off I would like the address the numerous topics and your insights/ideas on them and I have to say every word you’ve written made me really think and look at things differently. It made me realize that it is coming, and becoming more and more present. Second, I have always wanted to take a stronger psychedelic, however I have had many occasions to do acid, yet I never take it. I’m always worried, or become very fearful as soon as the possibility that I might loose total control over my mind comes into my head. I just become to scared and don’t end up taking it, my boyfriend however, has a very open state of mind. He has experience wonderful, euphoric states on his many trips, I envy his mind and how he can just “let go.” Oppose to being worried, and completely freaking myself out, for instance how I get if I feel like something’s going wrong, or “I did to much of something” my boyfriend can just “let go” and come to the realization that it’s just a drug and you need to just let it be, it will take you where you’re supposed to go and if you fight it, it makes it all the more worse, I wish I could get into that mind state. I would be thinking, Oh my gosh, I have another 12 hours of this, I wish I was just straight again, I wish I never took this. (I have taken mushrooms, a very very small amount, and that was my experience) I want to experience that world, I want to enter into that place where you discover so many things that were right in front of you all along, that place where you figure out all the things that never made sense to you and suddenly, you understand your purpose, why you’re here and what you’re supposed to do. Everyone I have told this to basically has the same response, “If you’re worried about taking it, don’t do it because you will most definatly have a bad trip, if you think you’re going to, you will.” Any ideas on how I can get myself to relax and get into a more calm mind state so I am finally able to experience all of this? Sorry for such a long ramble, you just seem very enlightened from what little bit I’ve read from your page. Thanks for listening to me. Take care.
    Heather, I’ll leave you with a final thought, this is my favorite quote, I try to live by it, I also have Harmony tattooed accros my back, kinda lets you know the person I am, yet I can’t get into a relaxed state of mind when I need or want to…..hope you can be of some help to me. Peace to you brother. You have a beautiful mind, please keep sharing your thoughts & ideas.
    “When the Power of Love, Overcomes the Love of Power, Then the World will Trully know Peace.”
    Jimi Hendrix

    Comment by Heather — March 9, 2009 @ 11:27 am

  8. that was good thanks! :)

    Comment by eyorca — October 6, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment