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JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Do you think that using a mind altering substance is an acceptable way to open your mind while doing something artistic?

Asked by JeanPaulSartre (5779points) February 18th, 2010

Many people mentioned in a previous question about the artists trance that they use LSD or marijuana to help them achieve this trance like state. Do you think this is an acceptable way to achieve this? Do you think the results are as worse, as good, or better than those achieved “naturally”? Assuming legality is not an issue, is this a method you would consider using?

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35 Answers

phoebusg's avatar

No, you can achieve the same if not more – and higher quality through meditation. All substances incur a risk.

Steve_A's avatar

No, for me nope don’t need it…...

It is your choice really in the end. In the long haul of using drugs it will backfire I think.

I had one guy tell me you have to try mushrooms least once , he was a musician quite good too and he said it will open your mind like basically worth the experience.

I disagreed and still have not tried anything,do not plan to either. Possible drug addiction in my opinion is not worth it.

Like the others said if your willing to take risk than you might find it could help your “artistic trance” but everyone is different and will react differently to the drugs.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think that a mind-altering substance necessarily improves the artistic product.

Although it may make the artist think so.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s very acceptable…..think about all the great music we have because of wasted artists….?

stump's avatar

Everything you do is mind-altering, and marijuana is natural. But to answer the question, I consider it acceptable, but not advisable. Use of a substance to achieve a state of mind may be expedient, but in the long term it will make achieving that state of mind more difficult. Unless you understand what is happening as the mind transitions, you will not be able to make the transition reliably. Moderate use of the substance, under the direction of an experienced guide, may speed up training of the mind. But reliance on the drug alone is very tempting, and when the drug no longer helps, it is very frustrating to have to re-learn how to find that state of mind.

Trillian's avatar

I don’t know if the product would be better or not. I intent to go to Peru to take the Ayahuasca experience, so I’m ok with trying to see past the veil. I also know that there was a poet who did a bunch of opium and started a poem but he came down and couldn’t finish it. I cannot for the life of me remember who it was, but it seems like that would be a source of constant frustration for the rest of his life, not being able to get back to that place where the words were coming from. I’ve been in that place. Seems to me like the drug is the doorway, but I went to high school in the 70’s, so I may not be a reliable source.
I hope you let us know what you decided, and how it went.

Cruiser's avatar

The only thing that has ever really inspired my creativity is emotion. Some of my best writing and playing on my guitar has been in the wake of high emotion…super happy, really sad, pissed off. Pot or alcohol or other drugs will only serve to dull these emotions and hence that ability to “feel” that emotion that arises in my playing. Gotta “feel” that in my playing for it to break new ground!

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Trillian Oh – I’m not planning on trying it personally, but was curious about how people perceive it. I’m happy with my artistic process for the most part.

ucme's avatar

I think Salvador Dali best sums it up.Mad as a box of frogs yet a genius in his field.Whether or not the artist artificially enhances that madness is their business.The end result is what counts.Oh & no I don’t, completely unnecessary.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

To each their own.I never needed to alter my mind to get inspiration to create.

wundayatta's avatar

Acceptable? I suppose so. I mean, I’m not opposed to people altering their consciousness. I hope they don’t do it to excess—in a way that causes a lot of problems in their lives.

However, I prefer rituals that don’t involve the use of chemicals to alter your mind. I think that your mind is clearer when you alter your consciousness without chemical assistance. I suppose that sounds like an oxymoron, but I don’t think it is. I have found that while I have done some incredible things musically while high, I don’t know how I got there and I can only remember a very hazy impression of what happened.

When I make music while straight, I can get “high” anyway. Most of the musicians I play with always smoke weed before playing. I was thinking about this the other day. How they love the way I play. I wonder if they would like it as much or more if I were high. When I’m clean, I feel like I can hear what’s happening and understand it. I think if I were high I’d either be in the groove without knowing it, or I’d be unable to find it.

I have played with musicians who forget to share when they are high. It’s not fun. I wonder if I would forget to share if I were high. Anyway, as it happens, I don’t need chemical assistance. I’m already out there—just part of my personality. If I had indulged in a lot of hallucinogens, it is likely that I would have had serious mental problems a lot earlier in my life.

stump's avatar

@wundayatta What kind of rituals do you use to alter your consciousness?

wundayatta's avatar

Mostly dance. Music in and of itself does it also. I’ve used various kinds of meditations on occasion, but that is pretty rare. Dance is the biggest. And it isn’t just any dance—like club dancing or ballroom dancing. It’s a more structured approach that goes through a number of stages in order to end up in that place.

In music—there can also be a progression. It’s not as clear to me what that progression is, though. I know you start on the surface and at some point, you find yourself in that other space. It happens more rarely there for me, perhaps because it isn’t as structured, and we don’t make a conscious attempt to get there. We just hope it happens. You probably know what I mean: that place where everyone is the same person in the sense that you know what everyone else is going to do before they do it.

stump's avatar

@wundayatta My art is theatre, and when it is at it’s best, everyone involved is ‘in that place’. Figuring out how to bring everyone there is the hard part. You say that it is not clear what the progression is. We have the ritual of physical and vocal warm-ups. The rehearsal period has several phases. And each performer has their own personal rituals (and superstitions). I wonder if it is possible to codify the mental steps necessary for achieving artistic excellence in any artform.

Trillian's avatar

@wundayatta structured dance. That’s interesting. Have you ever been to a drum circle?

HGl3ee's avatar

I love to write and when I’m stoned I come up with and write some of the craziest and greatest things. I always re-read my work when I’m sober and 9/10 I make my own jaw drop ;)

wundayatta's avatar

@Trillian Yes, I’ve been to many a drum circle. They tend not to be very structured in my experience.

@stump Yes, the steps you go through are what I would put musicians through in order to get us “warmed up” and closer to that frame of mind. Certainly I know all the steps in dance. I could do it to anyone who was willing to put themselves into it. I could probably do it for some people who aren’t sure they want to do it.

And yes, you could codify the mental steps… well, I wouldn’t say “mental” steps. It’s more experiential. As you already know. That is the stuff that counts. Any mental step would have to do with getting the hell out of the way of the frame of mind the ritual stuff gets you into.

Trillian's avatar

@wundayatta fascinating. I’d like to see this done. Do you have any links?

Strauss's avatar

When I was at my writing peak, I was a regular smoker of pot and/or hash. I have since curbed my usage. I also have not written as much, but I think it is more life-style (i.e., I haven’t devoted the time) than it is drug-related. Anything one can do with mind altering drugs can also be achieved without them.

Masonxmace237's avatar

I think it’s a personal choice but I definitly think it’s acceptable as long as you are doing it responsibly. For me it helps a lot but I know others who can’t focus when doing so.

CMaz's avatar

Do not know about “acceptable” .

But fuck yea!

janbb's avatar

My moral gut is against it, but my mind says “wtf”.

The_Idler's avatar

Psychedelic trips are powerful psychological experiences, which, like any other, will inspire the imagination. They are also no free ticket to brilliance.

It’s like going to the Alps or Paris, or building your own house or climbing a mountain.
Any powerful moment can serve to inspire the creative mind. Psychedelic drugs are inherently no better or worse than any other psychological experience.

Drugs aren’t ‘cheating’. People think that taking LSD and going to Paris are different, because the psych experience wasn’t ‘real’ and Paris is ‘real’...
however, in the end, that which is relevant to your art – the experience and the inspiration itself – is all in your head, either way!

PacificToast's avatar

Goodness no! I’d like to be in a rational state of mind when I make a piece of art, so I may critique it and fix it until it is the best it can be.

mass_pike4's avatar

i have used this “method.” It certainly helps you get in the mood and concentrate your whole attention to it. I do not think it needs to be something you should rely on to do every time. If you are a good artist as it is and you enjoy what you are doing without getting “high” you do not need to get high to do it. Getting this extra “inspiration” as you put it though is sometimes fun because you are under a different influence and it is intriguing to see what you come up with under that state of mind. You may look back at your work after working under the influence and wonder where you were going with it, but that is the point. It is a sense of freedom and creativity and getting high intensifies this. Art can be anything and often times some of the best art pieces have been created by artists completely wacked out at the time

YARNLADY's avatar

From my own observations, the mind altering substances leave the user ‘believing’ his work is better, but in fact, it isn’t. The natural high from meditation or exciting the endorphin production (running for instance) is much more reliable.

CMaz's avatar

LSD = Trance like state
Marijuana = Trance like state with arm stuck in a box of cereal.

HGl3ee's avatar

@ChazMaz : WOO! Cereal!

thriftymaid's avatar

I’ll just say no.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think it’s perfectly acceptable or we wouldn’t have Alex Grey’s work.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I do. The world would be less filled with amazing works of creativity if no mind-altering substances existed. Many, many of the greats (literature, painting, music, etc.) used one substance or another.

I do my best drawing and art work stoned, it also opens a door in my head that is ordinarily blocked, frustratingly so because I have all sorts of emotions and ideas that I struggle to put into words. I find marijuana allows me to be a much better writer, more creative, more effusive, etc.

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