Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ohmmmmm, Duuuude

The other day I was meditating on the subject of, well, meditation, and the ways it changes your mental state while you're sitting (and hopefully beyond), which led me to think about the fact that there seems to be a basic human impulse to alter our consciousness now and again.

Beer is estimated to be nearly as old as the development of cereal grain cultivation (approx 10,000 B.C.E.), with the first recorded evidence of brewing found in the Epic of Gilgamesh (2,500-3,500 B.C.E.) . The history of wine is believed to date back to the Neolithic period (8,500-4,00 B.C.E.). The oldest written record of cannabis use dates from the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2727 B.C.E.).

Basically, people have been looking to get a buzz on for thousands of years and across cultures. And this impulse starts early. Watch any group of little kids, and you'll see them spinning around to make themselves dizzy or swinging on the swings with their eyes closed to put themselves in a completely different head-space.

I don't really have any insights on this phenomenon. I just think it is interesting that we all seem to have an urge to get ourselves out of our everyday realities now and then - whether through religious ecstasy, exercise-induced endorphin rush, or chemical experimentation.  Party-on!

Bonus video: The astrophysicist and public intellectual Neil deGrasse Tyson having a laugh at himself with this slow-mo video. High-larious!

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