28 November 2012

This Is Your Brain on Drugs

Wigged out on laughing gas, William James says he has a better understanding of Hegel's philosophy. From the endnote to his essay "On Some Hegelisms" in Mind, No. 26 (1882), pp. 187-208:
The immense emotional sense of reconciliation which characterizes the "maudlin" stage of alcoholic drunkenness -- a stage which seems silly to lookers-on, but the subjective rapture of which probably constitutes a chief part of the temptation to the vice -- is well known. The centre and periphery of things seem to come together. The ego and its objects, the meum and tuum, are one. Now this, only a thousandfold enhanced, was the effect upon me of the [nitrous oxide] gas: and its first result was to make peal through me with unutterable power the conviction that Hegelism was true after all, and that the deepest convictions of my intellect hitherto were wrong.
A related post: Best Observed in the Nude