The Holy Barbarians

Lawrence Lipton

The euphoria that the beats who use marijuana are sensing is not the wholly passive, sedative, pacifying experience that the users of commercial tranquillizers want. On the contrary, they are looking for a greater sense of aliveness, a heightened sense of awareness. Of all the euphoric, hypnotic and hallucinogenic drugs, marijuana is the mildest and also the most conductive to social usage. The joint is passed around the pad and shared, not for reasons of economy but as a social ritual. Once the group is high, the magic circle is complete. Confidences are exchanged, personal problems are discussed—with a frankness that is difficult to achieve under normal circumstances-music is listened to with rapt concentration, poetry is read aloud and its images, visual and acoustical, communicated with maximum effect. The Eros is felt in the magic circle of marijuana with far greater force, as a unifying principle in human relationships, than at any other time except, perhaps, in the mutual metaphysical orgasm. The magic circle is, in fact, a symbol of and a preparation .for the metaphysical orgasm. While marijuana does not give the user the sense of timelessness to the same degree that peyote does, or LSD or other drugs, it does so sufficiently to impart a sense of presence, a here-and-nowness that gives the user a heightened sense of awareness and immediacy.

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