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October 16, 2011

CRITICAL THINKING 101 - Welcome To Second Class...

I knew I was in trouble the next morning; when nothing bad happened.
Previously, you might recall I ended by saying I'd smoked marijuana with two good friends. I said I believed it to be the first time I'd really thought critically about a decision I had to make. It's important to understand I was very much against "drugs". And in my mind at the time marijuana was the number one worst drug out there.
So why did I do it?
Possible reasons put forth by various theories includes:
1) A need to belong; abandonment of good judgement and what's right or wrong.
2) A naive individual easy manipulated by his peers.
3) The search for truth being more important than accepting the word of others.
4) The criminal mind is just that, Criminal.
5) The desire to rebel against the system and blatant disregard for conformity and, the law.
6) Don't believe everything you're told!
I'll give you a few moments to decide what you think. You may want to go back to my previous post - "To Do or Not To Do", to get a better understanding of my question. Please do.
Without a doubt, my reason's centered on #3, and #6.
The next morning, after using marijuana - for the 2nd time, actually (the first time was 3 years earlier and I felt absolutely nothing, though it was without question marijuana), and actually experiencing "getting high/stoned, I fully expected to wake up needing heroin, or brain damaged. But I didn't. I felt fine. Better than fine, in fact. For the first time in my life I'd actually laughed my ass off, laughed so hard and good that I thought I would die (I didn't). I also got to really feel what paranoia feels like, followed by more laughter and camaraderie.
When I work up and realized I felt quite fine, I had to think about it for a few days. At the time, drinking age was 18, and I was 19. The Viet Nam War draft had ended just shy of my 18th birthday, and they had a draft lottery then, and the number picked for my DOB was 16, sweet 16, and straight out to Viet Nam, only the draft ended and then the war. The year was 1972... I was 18 and Pres. Nixon did the only good deed I'll ever remember him for, ending the war.
Promptly starting a new one, called the War on Drugs, with even more victims in the years that followed, and still do today. I my next post I will shed more of my expertise on this topic, as there is much more to it.
This topic isn't about marijuana. But without the influence of marijuana there's a good chance "critical thinking 101" would have never happened. I had never questioned anything in the past like I did from then on. That night, more than any other, defined the divide between my past and my future.
I no longer saw the world in black and white. I know longer looked at education as something I was expected to do. I no longer believed everything was as it seemed, or that those in a position of power knew what was truly right, or wrong. I began to make my own decisions, and sought knowledge and advice from people I respected when I had a question.
Ultimately I grew to understand the question was more important than the answer, that being free was a challenge, and difficult, but also worth every effort.
I was close to stopping my education prior to that night, simply because I was expected to do so, just getting a job in a factory, getting married, having children and buying that white house with the white picket fence. Staying put where I was born - in that locale, no interest in bettering myself. After-all, the only thing I heard from my parents was how I needed to succeed, get married, buy that house, etc... I was frankly overwhelmed by the expectations and sacred traditions.
I did NOT think outside the box then. I wasn't capable of doing so and would have looked at anyone who suggested it as nuts.
Sometimes I do miss the fact that I didn't simply succumb to the status quo and say NO to using marijuana. But I'm reminded that at age 16 I almost died from a overdose of alcohol, and that fact, held a wealth of information, in that, legal, didn't/doesn't mean safe to use. So why I wondered, even before I knew what I was thinking, was marijuana illegal when (I discovered later) it was "safe" to use, in the sense it being is virtually non-toxic? And why, when I woke up that morning after using marijuana, why did I feel real good, even motivated, when everything I'd been told had said I'd regret the decision the rest of my life.
When actually I didn't.


  1. I think it is healthy for folks to reflect on turning points in there life--how they became what they are today. Though I can't relate to your choice, I respect the right for people to make their own decisions.