Recreational Mind Altering

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright August 2017


Recreational mind altering is an activity that people of all communities engage in -- getting drunk and high at parties are just two of many examples. How it is done varies with the community's traditions and what resources are currently available. The 2050's are going to bring lots of new technologies that can be used for mind altering, so recreational styles are going to be changing dramatically.

What won't change is lots of strong opinion in each community on what are right and wrong ways to do the mind altering.


It is my guess that humans engage in so much recreational mind altering because of evolution -- our brains are developing so rapidly that conscious thinking is lots and lots of work, and turning down those highest level processes to allow older and more traditional thinking styles to express themselves is a comfortable process. This is just a "Roger guess", but it explains a lot of why and how we recreational mind alter.

Recreational mind altering dates back to prehistoric times. The forms it takes depend on the resources available and community mores about what are acceptable forms. Modern religious revivals are an example of mind altering without adding much chemistry. Lots of beer drinking at a frat party is an example of adding lots of chemistry. The point being that there are lots of ways to mind alter.

The closely related point is the community's mores: Which ways are acceptable and which ways will be socially shamed if they are revealed to the public? These vary enormously from one community to the next. Think of the difference between a Puritan community and a mining boom town community.

When technology changes what techniques are available to the community for mind altering, then lots of social heat is generated deciding how to properly use the new techniques. One high-profile example of this is when distillers perfected ways of making low cost distilled spirits in large quantities, such as gin. This new invention powered vigorous Prohibition movements in Western European and American communities in the first half of the 20th century.

The 2050's are going to bring lots of new mind altering technologies to many communities. So there is going to be lots of social heat about mind altering as well.

The 2050's

Thanks in particular to third generation wearables, there are going to be lots of new ways to get drunk, high, whatever. (Third generation wearables will control instinctive thinking and what hormones are flowing in the bloodstream. They can influence emotions.)

The wearables will allow the user to get high much more quickly, recover much more quickly, and mind alter in lots of new ways. And, thanks to driverless cars and extensive automation, the amount of risky activities a person has to engage in is going to diminish dramatically as well -- a person won't have to drive home drunk or operate dangerous equipment the morning after. Net result: a person can get high faster, sober up faster, and they don't have to do things like drive or operate risky machinery while they are high or hung-over.

All-in-all, pretty exciting stuff.


These new styles will mix with old traditions.

Many kinds of mind altering will still include rituals, just because. We will still have raucous frat parties, at which participants will be dialing up wearables and slogging down sugarless drinks. An example of an exotic ritual is doing hallucinations in a sweat lodge. This ritual can be continued, but the wearables will add consistency to getting a vision, and reduce the risks of overdoing the physiological stresses that are part of the ritual.

The rituals will be part of the dilettante activities people engage in -- these will be activities they are passionate about.

Adding Risk

How will dangerous activities like parachuting, risky sports and risky entertaining mix with mind altering? What will be the fate of, "Hold my beer..."?

Related to this is how much risk will communities allow their members to take? The lower the risk allowed the more Tender Snowflake the community becomes. The higher the risk the more boom town mentality the community becomes. Related to this is how much one community will judge, and then attempt to prescribe, what another community's members can do. This is quite traditional so it will continue.


How we recreational mind alter is going to be quite different in the 2050's. We will have a whole bunch of new technologies available and these will do the mind altering faster, better and cheaper than our current tools do.

That said, there is a lot of ritual, emotion and tradition mixed in with mind altering and that means many of the "good old days" social functions will still be used. The rituals, in particular, are likely to survive but be mixed with new technologies.

One of the rituals that won't die is being judgmental about which ways of mind altering are good and which ways are bad and dangerous. And part of that ritual that won't die is being judgmental about how neighbors and neighboring communities are doing their mind altering -- gossip and shaming will be as strong as ever.



--The End--