Information December 29-30 2012.
A few thoughts concerning two articles in todays ‘Information’, the left wing daily newspaper here in Denmark.
The first ones header translates ‘The new type of drug addict is an aggressive, chaotic and desperate one’. It is written by Ida Meyer and is available here (in danish). The article lays out how drug addicts in Vesterbro in Copenhagen, which is one of the the hard drug centers of the city, lately have changed their drug habits. Instead of heroin, the preferred hard drug has now become injected cocaine.
The article describes how the behavior of the addicts changes a lot along with the preference of drug. While the heroin user gets slow and dull, the cocaine user tends to get aggressive, irascible and restless. The effect of cocaine is speedy and lasts for a short period of time. After only approximately 2 minutes the effects disappears and the user is left behind with yet another craving for the drug.
Of one the outcomes of this change in behavior is that the atmosphere of the streets and addict centers changes for the worse. The article points to an increase in controversies and hotheadedness. And on top of that, a cocaine addiction is more expensive. Not because the drug is pricier, but because the use frequency is a lot higher – for injected cocaine it goes as far as 20 times a day.
How does drug addiction and speed relate?
One way of looking at it is that drug abuse is a form of speeding up the world. Usually the point in taking fast drugs is that it intensifies the world in one way or the other. Anyone who has ever been in the presence of someone high on cocaine, speed or similar drugs knows this. Every action is faster, less relaxed and has a sense of urgency to it.
Seen through the perspective of a time span, heavy drug abuse is characterized by the high frequency of drug reload and the time in between which, due to the urge for new drugs, points to the next fix. This pattern is an exhaustive and very inflexible one. Time acts as a prison, because the future is already scheduled. This schedule is to a high extend an exact repetition of the previous pattern, and is is very hard to break due to its intensive foundation.
If this analysis holds approximately true, the basis time pattern in heavy drug abuse is based on intensive speed and inflexible repetition of the same pattern. This might point to the change in fashion in the type of drugs used. Injected cocaine is an even faster drug than heroin – its cheaper, and therefore faster, and has a higher frequency. According to this analysis, injected cocaine is a more ‘druggish’ drug than heroine, which perhaps explains its rise in popularity.
This short analysis poses a few questions.
Is there a connection between the time pattern of capitalism and drug abuse? The urge to spend money and the restlessness when money is not spend, which can be found in our neocapitalistic societies, holds a similar time pattern. How does these correspond?
The analysis also points to that each drug has its own time. Speed and cocaine are fast drugs, while marihuana and to some extend LSD might be considered slow drugs. If the fact that different individuals also holds different time (some people are slow, some fast) is taken to consideration, my personal experience is that fast people like fast drugs while slow people like slow drugs. People diagnosed with ADHD and the likes used to be prescribed fast drugs to even out their personal speed. The question in this context would be – does people self prescribe drugs to even out the difference between their own state of mind and the high speed society that they are affected by so immensely? Or is the same case in question only pointed at the inequality inside of us – the time of our own mindset and the mindset that we use in our everyday?
The next thing I want to mention is a review of what seems like a really interesting book – Rober E. Goodins ‘On Settling’ – reviewed by Rune Lykkeberg. It is available in danish here. The book addresses the topic of settling. Goodin emphasises the ability to settle in a world where readiness for change, instability and other characteristics of youth to a large extend is dominating our lifeworlds.
Dreams are to come true and compromises are distrusted in the jargon of our culture. To be content with what is around seems more like the goal, where we’re not yet at, than were we actually are. Lykkeberg points out, that to settle is a way of taking our human striving seriously and that there’s nothing conservative or reactionary about that. Rather, it takes courage to choose what to keep instead of continue to scout for something better.
This reminds me of Søren Kirkegaards proposal of three modes in a human life.
The first state is the aesthetic. The aesthete lives in the moment, but a shallow moment. He makes short term choices and whenever he gets bores, he fast forwards to a new thrill. No solids can be kept in the life of an aesthete, everything is floating and therefore the aesthete can not make long term choices or commitments.
The second state is the ethical. The ethical is able to choose his stands. He knows what he prefers due to his considerations and tries to live his life in accordance to these principles.
The third state is the religious. The religious responds to the call from god and accepts his faith even though it doesn’t correspond to human reason.
From the point of time analysis, to settle is to be where you are – to make time stand still in order to find space – to be able to inhabit. The aesthete is a fast one – the ethical puts down roots. Then, from this new condition, new roads and new types of movement will show. Precision instead of expansion, even though precision is another way of expanding – a qualitative one.
The transitions from the aesthete to the ethical, from fast to rootedness, is a basic one. It must have some importance in every life. In my opinion it is a difficult one for my generation and I think in our culture in general as well. I find this a question of importance.