Indiegogo Campaign For My New Book Now Online!

To all my blog readers:

I have just started an Indiegogo crowdfunding project for my new book “What Hashish Did To Walter Benjamin”. The book will contain 20 of my essays (some of which are already featured here on this blog). If you like the project, please support me on Indiegogo,  http://igg.me/at/what-hashish-did-to-walter-benjamin

You can also help me spread the word by sharing the following text on your facebook page:

Worldwide, people are beginning to acknowledge the positive potential of cannabis. Philosopher and writer Sebastian Marincolo has written a new book “What Hashish Did To Walter Benjamin” in which he explains how a cannabis high can help to remember long gone events, to fuel your imagination, to work creatively, to come to insights, and to better empathically understand others. His book also sheds light on how cannabis has helped writers, philosophers, musicians, and artists like Walter Benjamin, Carl Sagan, or Billie Holiday in their work. Help him spread the word and support his Indiegogo campaign: http://igg.me/at/what-hashish-did-to-walter-benjamin

It is time that we make a difference and take this to the next level together! Thank you so much in advance for your support!

Yours, Sebastian Marincolo

Sebastian Marincolo

 

 

 

Marijuana and The Power of Imagination

Would you jump out of a plane with a parachute? Your imagination is crucially important for decision making.

„Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.“

Albert Einstein

 

The Underestimated Value of Imagination

When we think about our capacity for imagination, we often think of it as a kind of visual daydreaming – a handy ability utilized mainly by artists and other creative people. We tend to underestimate how crucial our use of imagination is in our everyday lives. In fact, we rely on your imagination all of the time – not only when we think creatively, but also when we make decisions. You may decide not to go skiing next week because you heard the bad weather forecast and imagine it to be very cold and nasty in the mountains. Anticipating the cold wind up there in the mountains, you can literally feel a shiver going down your spine. As this example shows you do not only visually “picture” situations in your mind when you use your imagination; you also imagine sounds, tastes, smells, feelings or moods. In his seminal book Human. The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique, neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga reminds us how powerful a role imagination plays in our lives:

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Marijuana and Creativity – A Love Story

The Irish Poet William Butler Yeats, 1865-1939

“O! For a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.”

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

In a good relationship, a loving partner can inspire you and help your creative output in many ways. She (or he) may simply inspire you day-by-day with a beautiful smile, encourage you to compose your music or help you to relax and refresh your energy. Your beloved partner could also help you to discipline yourself, to keep focussed on a writing a book, drag you to a movie she finds interesting for you to help collecting ideas for a movie project, or provide valuable feedback during the creation process of your new musical composition. There are many ways a lover can help you to be creative.

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Marijuana, Pattern Recognition, and What it Means to be ‘High’

houses

“To understand is to perceive patterns.”

Isaiah Berlin, philosopher, 1909-1997

“As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.”

Henry van Dyke, short story writer and essayist, 1852-1933

 

The Importance of Pattern Recognition

When we talk about patterns or pattern recognition, we tend to think of simple visual patterns like a striped blanket. But our pattern recognition abilities are way more sophisticated than just recognizing basic designs like that. We can visually recognize and distinguish types of trees, cars, or the different painting styles of particular artists. And we perceive not only visual patterns in our environment, but also hear patterns in sounds or music; we perceive the tactile pattern of a wooden surface, the gustatory pattern of the taste of a mango and we can intellectually “recognize” patterns such as the pattern of a certain defensive tactic used by an opponent in a chess game.

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Vipers, Muggles, and The Evolution of Jazz

“I’m the king of everything
Got to get high before I sing
Sky is high, everybody’s high
If you’re a viper…”

‘Viper’s Drag’ (1934), by Fats Waller

 

Without doubt the history of early jazz and the use of marijuana are intimately intertwined. Thousands of Hindu immigrants from India had brought the use of cannabis to the West Indies in the 1870s; where black and Mexican sailors picked up the habit and introduced marijuana use to the harbor of Storyville, the red light district of New Orleans, the city usually considered the birthplace of jazz. At the beginning of the 20th century, countless black jazz musicians performing in the bordellos of Storyville and in other locations in New Orleans smoke what they call ‘gage’, ‘tea’, ‘muggles’, ‘muta’, ‘Mary Jane’. They will later call themselves ‘vipers’ – allegedly named after the hissing sound taking a quick draw at a ‘reefer’.

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Nightmare Prohibition. Why the Prohibition Against Marijuana Has to End

The infamous mobster Al Capone profited immensely from the black market during the alcohol prohibition in the U.S.

Watanuga Lahele is radiating. His glassy eyes peep out under a large, conical straw hat, his movements slightly erratic. He has been chewing on a dark-greenish kalangi root and the drug tetralin it contains now clearly shows its euphoric and mind-altering effects. Lahele sits at a huge wooden table, as he does every in May, at the kalangi root festival in Bomaki, the capital of the Republic of West Africa. Hundreds of thousands of visitors have come here again to get collectively intoxicated at the festival. Lahele does not quite manage to get up from the table, he stumbles and falls sideways onto some other visitors. Soon, several people get in a brawl. The kalangi root is not only highly addictive, but also makes many of its consumers more aggressive. In the Republic of West Africa tetralin is completely legal, despite its mind-altering effects and various dangerous side effects.

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Marijuana Insights: Myth or Reality?

Countless users of marijuana have claimed that marijuana can act as a catalyst to obtain real insights. Are these reports just exaggerations of users justifying their smoking habit? Or is it true that a marijuana high can lead to profound insights?

In his legendary essay “Mr. X” published in Lester Grinspoon’s study “Marijuana Reconsidered (1971),” an anonymous author stated:

There is a myth about such highs: the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devastating insights achieved when high are real insights; the main problem is putting these insights in a form acceptable to the quite different self that we are when we’re down the next day.” 37

With the permission of the author, Harvard psychiatry professor Lester Grinspoon would reveal the identity only posthumously.

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High Love, Empathy, and the Mirror Neuron System

Is Marijuana really good for sex? Recent debates around this question have mostly taken place in internet portals or in psychological e-journals like “Psychology Today”, with hundreds of users telling about their experiences. Generally, commentaries fall into two groups: while one group argues that marijuana can actually at as an enhancer for sexual pleasure, many others insist that marijuana does not really help or has actually negatively affected their sex life.

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Marijuana, Introspection, and Personal Growth

Once again the powers of the herb open up the mind. Seek deep inside. Tell me what you find.“

Cypress Hill, Temples of Boom III

As we mature, we have experiences and gain knowledge about a wide variety of situations and facts. Accumulating knowledge about the world lets us grow into students, teachers, professors, mothers or fathers, skilled professionals or masters of some kind. Clearly, however, there is a special form of knowledge that shapes us the most as we grow: self-knowledge. Our self-knowledge plays a central role in who we are and how we lead our lives. You may remain more or less the same person as you learn new facts about the moon landing, the behavior of red ants or about Fibonacci numbers, but once you learn that your inability to lead a happy marriage is caused by a trauma in your childhood, this one piece of knowledge may change the course of your life forever.

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Baudelaire, Ramachandran, and Colors Containing Music

The French writer Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire and the Club des Hashashins

The „Club des Hashashins“ was founded in 1844 in Paris, only four decades after the Napoleon’s troops had retreated from their catastrophically failed occupation of Egypt, bringing hashish as their new discovery with them. Napoleon’s troops had first encountered the use of hashish through local muslim dealers, and kept consuming it during the occupation despite the harsh prohibitionist orders imposed by the French government. In a few decades, the use of hashish for recreational as well as medicinal purposes had found its way deep into the societies of France and other European countries.

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