Acid Nausea

Author: joe

Friday, 17 August, 2007 - 03:52

Acid is known for its hallucinatory qualities; less for its anti-hallucinatory qualities. Several hours in, my friend James asked me if it made me, like him, feel hollow. We sat there in his student digs 13 years ago, and I finally understood Hawkwind. "What like hungry?" I replied. "No" - his glorious long kinks of brown mane falling around his temples - "like you're empty".

Click on the strip-light in the bathroom after stumbling there in the darkness, barely awake, and the pupils contract. The scene is under-exposed, livid, and as the eyes adjust, the instant and utter strangeness of the synthetic world fades back into familiarity. The mat is recognisable again, the friendly sink and familiar fittings slot back into order. But in that first instant a deeper relationship between you and your world is revealed, where meaning is stripped away, the brain unready to veil the harshness of reality with its knack of confabulation.

In Sartre's Nausea the table, the wall, the pebble, even the hand and the grey thing in the mirror that is your face, are the malevolent sources of queasy sickness, their anthropomorphic intent placed there by a mind striving to avoid panic.

"... for the most commonplace event to become an adventure, you must - and this is all that is necessary - start recounting it... But you have to choose: to live or recount... When you are living, nothing happens".
James shaved away the cruft of recounting and found nothing.

Sartre, Jean-Paul, 2000, Nausea, London: Penguin, p61

Categories: acid, nausea, jean-paul sartre, existentialism, confabulation,
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