This New Yorker article on psilocybin, by Pollan, gave me furiously to think. "Existential distress" is probably the technical term for what I am undergoing. I am acutely aware of my mortality and of my inability to get a purchase on my daily life. Not only do I not know how to live my life: I'm going to lose it soon, and the whole thing will have been a botch from start to finish. "The food was awful, and the portions were so small!"
It's a disagreeable thought, and therefore one that I take out of my pocket often. I frown at it, weigh it on my palm, and put it back.
A mystical experience would probably cure what ails me, both the larger angst and the inability to carry out any of my numerous schemes for getting myself to eat better food and less of it. I've probably packed on a dozen pounds over the holidays, to the point where my shirts don't fit and my balance, when I stand up from sitting on the floor, is altered. I hate that: I hate it much more because it seems emblematic of being out of control, because it injures my vanity, and because it bodes ill. That's how it starts: you have difficulty getting up off the floor, and pretty soon you don't sit on the floor any more, and shortly thereafter you couldn't get up even if you did. And so on.
The larger problem, of course, is that I believe in everything: I believe that I exist as sovereign and independent being; I believe that I'll be around after my death to regret it all (but not to do anything new); I believe that I have a free will that I can't exercise (how's that for a superstition? Roswell aliens are an excess of sober good sense, compared to that.) I believe all those manifestly false things. A good mushroom trip might do a lot to disabuse me of them.
The rain falls steadily: millions of pale meteorites glimpsed against dark firs, millions of tiny impacts on pavement and puddle. I stretch my orangutan shoulders and my wrestler's neck, take a deep breath, and manage enough distance to at least grin at how seriously I'm taking myself. I'm just one of those pale streaks. You could take each to be going to its own personal disaster and dissolution -- but why would you want to? It's a momentarily entertaining conceit, but there are more interesting stories to tell.