38 – The Miracle of Mind-Altering Drugs

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Jimbo: “Hey Julie!”

Julie: “Oh, hi Jimbo.” 

Jimbo: “Julie, why do you even bother?”

Julie: “Huh? What do you mean?”

Jimbo: “With reality. Why do you worry so much about it?” 

Julie: “Uh, are you feeling okay?” 

Jimbo. “Seriously! You need to get with the program. Bring your mind into the 21st century. Yer livin’ in the past. One of the miracles of modern technology is the ability to change reality to whatever we want.”

Julie: “Oh, you mean things like virtual reality, realistic video games, and social media echo chambers? You certainly are pretty good at occupying your time with all that stuff. I have my own priorities. Heaven forbid you actually faced the real reality for a change. Why am I even saying this? Real reality? Shouldn’t that be the only one?”

Jimbo: “You just don’t get it. Why bother with reality when fantasy is so much better? Why feel bad for no reason? Better yet, why feel bad even when you have a reason? With the help of mind-altering drugs, we can enter a better world. Make virtual reality into the real thing!”

Julie: “Mind-altering drugs? Are you serious? Your video games and social media buddies aren’t enough? Now you’re taking drugs?”

Jimbo: “You really need to catch up to modern times, Julie.” 

Julie: “Well, I do admit that life can be stressful at times. But, drugs? Really?” 

Jimbo: “Sure, life can be tough. But it doesn’t have to be! After all, we’re not mere animals. We have superior brains. More importantly, we have brains that we can alter to whatever we want them to be! After all, reality is what we perceive it to be, right? It doesn’t really exist, except within our minds. So, if we change our minds, we can change reality! Simple!”

Julie: “So, you’re a philosopher now?” 

Jimbo: “Naw, more like a scientist! The plasticity of the human brain is amazing. That’s what makes us humans so special. We can change the way we think, the way we remember, and the way we see ourselves.”

Julie: “Wow. Did you get your neurosurgery degree online, in between video games?” 

Jimbo: “Very funny. My point’s that mind-alterin’ drugs make this so much easier to accomplish. Research into the human brain has led to the discovery of all sorts of substances that can alter the way we think. And technology’s refined the manufacturing process to make it simple to synthesize and distribute these mind-altering drugs. Progress marches on!”

Julie: “Sounds like a twisted sort of progress. I think I’ll keep my faculties intact and deal with the world as it is. I like the freedom to make my own decisions.”

Jimbo: “Freedom? Yer nothin’ but a prisoner. You got no freedom. Everbody’s tellin’ us what to do these days. Politicians, advertisers, experts, scientists. I don’t need them tellin’ me what to think. Even my friends and relatives are always carpin’ at me. ‘Jimbo, get a job. Jimbo, yer house is a mess. Jimbo, cut the grass.’ Life is too stressful. Everbody has an opinion of what I should think. But we can tell ourselves what to think! Enter our own reality! The heck with their reality. Just pop a pill! Shoot up! Snort away to a better day!”

Julie: “Maybe reality does suck at times, but that’s all we have. You’re simply avoiding it. I won’t choose that option, thank you.” 

Jimbo: “Aah, reality’s oversold. Why bother with it? It always bringin’ problems. Physical problems like obesity from eatin’ too much, asthma and cancer from smokin’ too much, a weak heart from lack of exercise, a bad liver from drinkin’ too much, and bum knees from havin’ to drag my overweight carcass up those dang stairs every night! Not to mention work. What a bummer! Too much stress. Don’t need that. Dealin’ with other people can be such a drag. They’re so annoyin’ at times. Always badgerin’. Always manipulatin’. Always tryin’ to talk me into some dumb-ass thing.”

Julie: “Aren’t those the same people who are constantly pulling your butt out of the latest disaster that you’ve stumbled into?”

Jimbo: “Look. We need to get away. We need freedom from all of this sufferin’. We need Heaven on earth! And the miracle of modern drugs is the perfect vehicle! And thanks to advanced technology, they ‘re easy and cheap to get! Which is especially great when you don’t have a job.”

Julie: “Huh? What happened to your part-time job at the grocery store?” 

Jimbo: “Got laid off. Somethin’ bout eatin’ too much of the inventory. The boss figured I was costin’ him more in food than he was payin’ me. I offered to cut down a little, but he wasn’t impressed. No worry, though. I still got my food stamps, unemployment benefits, and disability payments.”

Julie: “Disability?” 

Jimbo: “Obesity.”

Julie: “Obesity isn’t a disability!” 

Jimbo: “It is when it messes up your knees, back, and hips. I’m in a lot of pain! These opioid pills are for medication, not recreation!” 

Julie: “Great. Now you have even more time for video games.”

Jimbo: “Hmm. I detect a note of sarcasm, Ms. Perfection. You just don’t get it. This is an amazin’ time to be alive. So many opportunities to tune out. Why be a victim of reality if we don’t have to be? No point to that! Better to avoid all of it!”

Julie: “You are a victim, alright, but mostly of yourself. It’s all about emotions, Jimbo. The world may be a lot smarter today, but our emotions are a mess. Modern life is intellectually stimulating, but emotionally destructive. The key to true happiness is to push away these incessant demands on our attention. Everything is so complicated today. It requires too much thinking. And social media is there 24/7. Everybody’s constantly in your face.”

Jimbo: “My point exactly! It’s simply too much! We need a break from ourselves! Thank you, mind-altering drugs, for givin’ us the chance to get away from all this madness! Even permanently if we want! It’s great to be alive! Or not, if we choose. Just pop a few extra pills and we can check out permanently!”

Julie: “Ignoring the problem and tuning out reality solves nothing. Here’s a novel idea. What if we all decided to be nice to each other for a change? Treat others with respect and dignity. Stop trying to constantly manipulate and talk people into our own point of view. Respect privacy. Celebrate diversity. Acknowledge the right for others to have their own opinions. Then, maybe real reality wouldn’t be so bad.”

Jimbo: “Huh? Be nice to people? Are you kiddin’? The minute you try to be nice, you paint a target on your back. Everbody’s in yer face double, knowin’ how easy it is to con a rube like you.”

Julie: “Improvement can only come if we believe in our innate human capacity for change. Focus on our better nature. Otherwise, we face the temptation of continuing down the path of choosing our own reality. Losing our connection to the simple joys of honest human companionship. We can change the real reality, Jimbo. We just need to try.

Jimbo: “Uh. Yeah. Sure. Now where’d I put that dang pill bottle?”

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