Facing the Dragon: Exploring a conscious phenomenology of intoxication
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The aim of this thesis is therefore twofold. On the one hand it attempts to explore and develop the foundations of what I will term a “conscious phenomenology of intoxication”, and on the other hand it suggests how certain widespread contemporary trends are influential terms of serving as a meta-template within which this phenomenology is presently being expressed. By including a conscious user perspective, it is hoped that attention will be drawna voice which has been consistently muted and distorted, if included at all, in the current monopoly of politically correct drug discourse. Although the main focus here is the user’s perspective, it would be preposterous to claim that every drug user can be neatly confined into one category and given one voice. Indeed, one would have to search far and wide to discover less homogenous group of people, whose only real affiliation is a common appreciation for and experimentation with different types of substance-induced states of consciousness. Given that intoxication is ultimately a subjective experience whose effects can only be measured and quantified objectively to a limited extent, it becomes clear why a phenomenological approach so appropriate. In phenomenology the focus is on conscious human experience in everyday life, of life-worlds, that stream of every-day routines, interactions and events that serve as the source of individual experience and social relations. The experiences of time and space are significant because time structures not only everyday reality, but in many ways who we are and how we perceive ourselves and our world. Intoxication can alter these experiences fundamentally; it can create a ‘time-out’ where conventional codes are somehow less relevant do not apply at all.