Getting high is actually an attempt to get rid of the problems of one’s life, for a limited time, only to return to the realities of the world, with a weakened body and mind
Everyone wants to get high, to get lost in the frenzy of the fuzzy world, away from disturbing ruminations about the day-to-day struggles of existence. It is an attempt to get beyond suffering by numbing one’s perception of it. Some want to get high because they think that by doing so, they can have an accentuated experience of their senses. What they hear, touch, see, smell, or taste leads to a thousand-fold of the experience they would have without getting high. All this happens when the person is freed from the pains and the wants of the body. It is as if the person is taken to a completely another world and from there is able to confront one’s inner feelings and repressed emotions.
There are many ways that people get high. The most common way is to consume some substance that produces an altered state of consciousness or gives a ‘kick’ to one’s body and mind like consuming alcohol, smoking cigarettes, taking drugs, and the like. However, some do not resort to such means and get the feeling of getting high just by a rush of adrenaline in their bodies. They accomplish this by
engaging in adventure sports like rafting, bungee jumping, and the like, or even by playing some computer games, silly as it may sound!
While in their ‘high’, many people can do what they would not have even thought of doing their normal selves. By getting high, many people are also able to fulfil their long-wanted desires. Many have associated getting high with the
phenomenon of creativity. It is common to hear that a puff of smoke or a sip of liquor helps in the spurt of creativity in a person. And that is why most creative spaces are clouded with smoke or dizzied with the stench of alcohol! However, there is little or no evidence to suggest that getting high leads to better creativity or imagination. This is nothing but a
psychological prop used to give oneself a feeling that
somehow that person is different and this ‘difference’ has to be cherished by indulging oneself with some substance. When there are periods of lack of imagination or an absence of creative output, people fill these periods with intense
substance abuse and ‘getting high’. It is quite similar to
people filling their silent parts of a speech with ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’. The speech would have been better without these meaningless filling in of space. Similarly, one can be quite creative without having to fill one’s silent phases with any kind of substance abuse.
Getting high is actually an attempt to get rid of the problems of one’s life, for a limited time, only to return to the realities of the world, with a weakened body and mind. All attempts at getting high are in fact, attempts to deliberately waste time. Instead of trying to get high by dependence on substances, one can get high or the sense of being high by doing many other things. For instance, one can help someone in distress, if not by anything else, by simply listening to that person. One could help someone by providing food, clothing, or shelter, or even by sharing one’s knowledge with someone in ways that would increase the quality of life of the other person. The other method of getting euphoric is to list down things one could accomplish, provided that person invested the required amount of time, energy, intellect, and also money. For instance, it would be quite possible for almost everyone to become the head of the country they belong to, if they gave the necessary time, effort, and money. Once, such a list of things is written, one can try to achieve those things one by one, in the order of the degree of difficulty. Probably the best method of getting high or getting a sense of high is by having an achievable ideal that is not too ordinary and yet not too high. By devoting oneself to such an ideal, one’s actions would be automatically determined by whether it would enable one to get close to the ideal or not. And that would ensure that the ‘high’ is continued for long!
(The columnist is a monk of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission and the editor of Prabuddha Bharata)