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LSD and endogeneous serotonin

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  • #46
    i guess that would depend on how much the illness affects consciousness and purpose....i mean a distorted consciousness is not the same as no consciousness at all, is it?

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    • #47
      Originally posted by TheAdlerian
      No I was saying that in this class the idea was promoted that art could only be created by a purposeful mind. For instance, on TV I saw an elephant create a painting. Under this concept the painting was not really art because elephants do not have that kind of intellect. Some schizophrenics make interesting art (which is weirdly similar) but the art is seen as being some by-product of their condition rather than a purposeful expression. So, I am asking if you think that a person on drugs is really making art or what.

      Although this philosophy is in the back of my mind I’m not sure that I buy it. However, if someone made up something wacky I like to think that there is a point to it. If there is no real point then it’s just wacky, but may sound or look good. So, from that angle I agree with the philosophy.
      I definitely think they are making art. I also think it's backward to say that schizophrenics can't make art though. Ironically, I just finished reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by notorious acid head Ken Kesey, which was a rather purposeful look at a lot of those ideas (now I'm reading Warlord of the Air which I only note because here we are on the Moorcock board.)
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      • #48
        I guarantee no proscribed drugs were used in the manufacture of that book! :D Actually, I had to rewrite it from scratch when my daughter Kate put an iron on the only copy of the manuscript (typed in those days) and it burned through leaving an iron-shaped mark all the way through, just like a cartoon.

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        • #49
          Wow, now that's an anecdote that money can't buy! That'd be enough to drive many to do drugs, or at least drink!
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          • #50
            I guarantee no proscribed drugs were used in the manufacture of that book! Very Happy Actually, I had to rewrite it from scratch when my daughter Kate put an iron on the only copy of the manuscript (typed in those days) and it burned through leaving an iron-shaped mark all the way through, just like a cartoon.
            Thank God for word processors these days! 8O
            Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

            Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

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            • #51
              well i guess a hot iron could screw a word processor, too.....

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              • #52
                Originally posted by mordenkainen
                i guess that would depend on how much the illness affects consciousness and purpose....i mean a distorted consciousness is not the same as no consciousness at all, is it?
                It seems to me that everyone is writing of several different (although related) issues.

                The first issue, which is (I think) Adlerian's principle point, is that artificial chemical stimulus
                will not make an uncreative person creative. I don't think most people disagree with him,
                beyond a minor quibble or two.

                The second issue, brought up by many others, is the question of to what degree various
                artists may draw inspiration or insight from their visits to the paradis artificiel. Here
                there's a lot of evidence that some substantial creative artists have used hallucinogens
                as a springboard for some of their most interesting work. In all cases that I can recall,
                they were talented artists who had done good work prior to their use of drugs. Some
                examples: Aldous Huxley, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud. The list goes on.

                The use of such chemical aids was, in many cases, done to achieve a sort of mystical
                or visionary state not easily attainable for these artists by more conventional means.
                To quote from a letter by Rimbaud to Paul Demeny:

                Originally posted by Arthur Rimbaud
                Je dis qu'il faut أ?tre voyant, se faire voyant.

                Le Poأ¨te se fait voyant par un long, immense et raisonnأ© dأ©rأ¨glement de
                tous les sens.
                It's a difficult road to travel, by all accounts. As Cyril Connolly observed rather
                ironically in The Unquiet Grave, "He would like to have written Les Fleurs du
                Mal
                or the Saison en Enfer without being Rimbaud or Baudelaire, that is
                without undergoing their mental suffering and without being diseased and poor."
                One is tempted to add, And without doing hashish and opium and other strange
                pieces of pharmacopia. :-[

                The third point asks the question of where madness, or the apparent madness resulting
                from the use of such pharmacopia, serves as a new system of perception, as opposed
                to rendering the user or sufferer's thought processes disordered to the point of
                being useless or gibberish. I think it depends as much on the person and the strength
                of his vision and ability to impose a new "system" of order on his perceptions -- no
                matter how great the level of disorder. Your kilometrage varies quite a bit on this
                score, I'm sure. To follow the line of Rimbaud's reasoning (reminiscent of Blake's
                famous quotation about the doors of perception), once that extreme state of mind
                that passes for visionary perception is reached, the artist can return to the quotidian
                world bearing the insights he gained there. The value depends on the value of the
                artist.

                Would they have produced something comparable if they'd never made such a
                journey? It seems doubtful. That doesn't mean their work would not be as good if
                they didn't cleanse the old doors of perception; it just implies it would be of a different
                sort. Maybe. The human mind is highly inventive, so if the insights were there somewhere,
                I'm not convinced that chemical means were necessary to bring them to the surface.
                This is, however, a very big "What if...?" sort of question, and is ultimately unanswerable
                after the fact. Huxley late in life certainly thought LSD provided a sort of royal road to
                being a visionary for cases where the doors of perception were unusually opaque.

                It's a difficult question, and one where it's possible to argue both sides, I feel.

                My 10 centimes.

                LSN

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                • #53
                  I think TheAdlerian and Dead-air finally agreed on these points. So do I. The one about the schizophrenics is a bit different: I don't think anyone would argue that the use of drugs can make a human being's consciousness -and artistical realizations- comparable to those of an elephant! Or that any artist ever reached such a disminished state of consciousness, at least not in their creative period. Purpose is probably the key here, as the adlerian said.
                  Do the schizosdecideto paint?

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by mordenkainen
                    I think TheAdlerian and Dead-air finally agreed on these points. So do I. The one about the schizophrenics is a bit different: I don't think anyone would argue that the use of drugs can make a human being's consciousness -and artistical realizations- comparable to those of an elephant! Or that any artist ever reached such a disminished state of consciousness, at least not in their creative period. Purpose is probably the key here, as the adlerian said.
                    Do the schizosdecideto paint?
                    I don't know, elephants are actually rather high on the animal scale or intelligence. Jackson Pollock at his drunkest might have been diminished enough to compare, but I still think his paintings were "brilliant".

                    I think the schizos do decide to paint, and even if they don't, I'd still call their paintings art. I get kind of annoyed with holier than though philosophical definitions of art. It just doesn't seem necessary to me. There was a great experimental/industrial group in Seattle in the late '80s and early '90s called the Metaphonics who did this really great song called, "I don't know what I like, but I know what art is."
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                    • #55
                      Hmm. Maybe. I've lost a lot of stuff on WPs, too -- and at least there were still SOME words visible around the iron marks... And later I discovered a whole lot of manuscript I'd discarded from that version, which had somehow got under her bed. I was able to use it for The Land Leviathan! To be fair, in general my children had an abnormal respect for paper. I used to put a lot of stuff on the floor when I was collating it or otherwise sorting it out and they learned to move lithely from one blank part of the carpet to another. I've never forgotten the look of horror on their faces when the Ballard children turned up and showed no respect whatsoever for pieces of paper left on the carpet... Ballard clearly had different methods of sorting his chapters...

                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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                      • #56
                        I once ironed a rather long (not to mention erudite :D ) essay on the autonomic nervous system after I ran home from college with it in a rucksack in a Bristol thunderstorm. It went all crispy and the ink turned from black to a rather pleasing purple, but I could still read it... :?

                        My Dad (an Engineer) used to bring home immense rolls of continuous paper (pre-blueprint sheets) for me as a child. These were great; I could
                        draw huge panoramas of Cretaceous fauna, write a continuous story in a scroll form or in a 'storyboard' comic fashion, or (the favourites) design orthographic projections of submarines and armoured fighting vehicles. I had dozens of these rolls: no idea where they went; probably lining the walls of our old house! But I can remember the fabulous excitement of unrolling a 'work in progress'. Paper is the fundamental material of childhood. And you can make a paper plane or chew it up to make pellets for yer peashooter when you've finished scribbling :D .

                        Adlerian & Dead-Air; the 'Outsider Art' thing (as it's sometimes called, unfortunately) is an interesting field, partly for the often completely novel approaches that arise. I unfortunatelt forget the artist's name, but there was a chap in a mental hospital who created garments, even shoes, out of grass and leaves - incredible detail and craftsmanship: He himself was 'psychologically mute', but his work was recently in an exhibition. I saw some pretty radical artwork from tortured perceptions when I was in The Priory being a bit mad (only a week! Gibber...) and it was powerful stuff. Unsurprising really. Many of the 'inmates' were drug burn-out cases; good fun to talk to, but not very focussed at completing their works. There's a surprise!

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                        • #57
                          I really think the intention is what counts. In the elephant's case, for example, however intelligent an animal it may be, the animal does not mean to be drawing. Still you could consider the result is art, the artist being the guy who tied a brush to the animal's trunk (or whatever he did), thus using the elephant as part of a semi-random technique.
                          Drug burn-outs and schizos probably are conscious enough to have the intention to draw, despite the huge influence their mental disability may have on the result - which i guess is the reason why all schizos seem to draw in the same style. Let's say schizoid art is limited just as the schizo's mind is. This applies just as well to humanity as a whole, doesn't it?

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                          • #58
                            Sadly, Mervyn Peake didn't produce much at the Priory. The amount of drugs that place used to keep its inmates down, it was surprising anyone could still move, let alone walk, talk or draw. My dad was also an engineer, who went into draughtsmanship, and I had a lot of that stuff to play with as a kid, too. Indeed, some years they would be my only Christmas presents from him -- a roll of linen paper, a bunch of pencils and so on. I loved them. Took me years before I realised he was pinching them from work. :)

                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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                            • #59
                              Engineer Dads have their advanages - I've still got half a machine-shop in the shed, and offcuts of steel and brass tube, micrometres, etc, that were, er...commandeered. He's retired now, but is in the process of building a fully-computerised Astronomical Observatory in his Wiltshire garden! (Although he never got round to helping me to construct the duplicates of the Sydenham dinosauria I was bugging him for since I was three. Can't think why not. Very tasteful!).

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