Tobacco is one of the few legal, over the counter, mood altering drugs found the world over.
Most mood altering drugs have inherent dangers to both mind and body, which partway explains why they are either illegal or can only be used under an M.D.'s supervision
In the case of cigarettes either the government clearly thinks that the risks of addiction, damage to health and fire hazard are heavily outweighed by their therapeutic value, or that people have been smoking them for so long now, that it would be politically impossible to prohibit their use.
There is a third option and it is this: That the government recognises the need for at least one or two legal recreational drugs as a lightning conductor for a mass need for them that exists in the psychology of the population. And would much rather we smoked tobacco than took to using more dangerous drugs. Not that the government won't increasingly see fit to interfere. All tobacco products already bear the hallmarks of government regulation from tax stamps and F.T.C. tar and nicotine measurements, to the Surgeon Generals
Any review of history will show that mankind's experimentation with drugs is certainly not recent, they have been ever present over many millenia. Often they have come to be
revered as a potent or sublime gift from the gods and featured in religious practice.
Tobacco to this day holds its place in religious ceremonies from the prayers of the Native Americans to cigarette tokens reverently placed by believers at Shinto and Catholic shrines as gifts for the gods.
Inevitably what arises in the mind of the users is the question, "Can the same result be attained without using the drug?" This is the kind of questioning that has sometimes given rise to the spiritual quest.
The big question for us in this instance is, "Is it possible to recieve the benefits of smoking without smoking?" Which then brings us to the next segment which has to ask the question before proceeding, "What are the benefits, if any, of cigarette smoking?"
The Apparent Benefits
At first there seem to be clear benefits from smoking cigarettes, only later when addiction and habit have the smoker in their clutches do these benefits noticeably diminish, as the smoker becomes more and more preoccupied with smoking solely to allay cravings or satisfy the repetitious demands of habit.
However, when a smoker is struggling to get rid of cigarettes and cutting back on the number smoked then the benefits seem to reappear (albeit often amidst a miasma of painful cravings) and be once again recognizeable.
The apparent benefits normally associated with smoking cigarettes include:
- Unspecified Religious Feelings,
- Inhibition of Hunger Pangs,
How can these apparent benefits be reproduced without smoking cigarettes? Or, Not lost if in the process of getting rid of cigarettes?
What might need to be developed is something akin to "Cigaretteless Cigarette Yoga" or "Tobacco Free Tobacco Meditations" or "Nicotine(+)less Nicotine(+) Music and Dance" . If so working formulae will have to be discovered and researched.
For example: If relaxation is required then to relax with all the same beneficial symptoms as produced when smoking a cigarette. Can Nicotine(+) be created with nothing more than our minds, emotions and connections? And what about the smoke, subtle feelings and tactile pleasures that are all part of the vital ambience that go to make up the complete experience? How can these be reproduced?
For the first clues it might behoove us to remember our childhood. As children we mostly had a great power to imagine, then to act inside what we had imagined as if it were somehow real. As children we were mostly more at peace and found it much easier to create these states. Later as adults we become much more self conscious and began worry about what others thought about us and soon lost the powers we had as children. Which is one of the prime reasons why we turned to smoking cigarettes and sometimes other even more potent drugs.
Here is an approach that requires regaining some of that sense of wonder for it to work:
- Each plant is a life and just like any life is coded.
- Most natural drugs come from plants.
- Their effects were discovered in a variety of ways. For example, Alcohol was discovered by man and animals alike from the natural fermentation of rotting fruit.
- Some heal, some intoxicate, some nourish, some induce states...
- Every drug has a chemical formula and structure and molecular size.
- Most psychoactive drugs affect some part of our mind and brain systems.
- Most psychoactive drugs alter mood, perception some intensify feelings and can even cause visions or hallucinations.
- Music, color, dancing, song, rhythm, dimension have all been used in
intelligent ways for thousands of years, sometimes in conjunction with drugs, to induce altered mental and emotional states matched to different degrees of potency and a variety of religious beliefs.
- Science has shown that the human body is a natural chemical laboratory and factory and can produce its own drugs.
- Supposing a simple coded thought sequence could replicate nicotine and induce similar effects?
- Science can detect the presence of elements in the sun by absorbtion spectra.
- Each element has its own vibrational frequencies and colors.
- So an elemental compound like nicotine might have an alternate formula that could be understood by the body if written as a sequence of letters or colors or numbers or or shapes or timings or rhythms.
- If we knew the properties of those letters, numbers, colors, shapes, timings and rhythms, then we could recombine them in ourselves and produce a particular designed result.
- This proposes that nicotine for example, could be written as music or drawn as color or symbol or fromed as a dance or ceremony and a Beethoven could write a 'Nicotine Symphony' or a Rembrant could paint a picture that would cause a 'Tobacco Experience' in the viewer or a priest compose a cigarette ceremony...
- For example, part of the tobacco/nicotine code sequence might be written as:
- + Pale Blue/Five, Yellow
- + Pink/Six, Green
- + .....
- + Pale Blue/Plus, Sky Blue
- + Red/m, Dark Blue
- + Yellow/C, White
- + Mid-Green/(C Seven), Pale Green
- + Black/Z, Pink
- + .....
- A code which, if the right conditions could be established and if it could be translated into music or art, might then, by design, induce any particular tobacco/nicotine state of mind and/or feelings
- The above example was invented by the author having as yet no actual idea
as to how any of this should be represented, or even if any of it is actually real.
- It may all turn out to be no more than 'Pipe Dreams'. But, since most anything is preferable to going back to smoking cigarettes, it is important to TRY...
- All of this remains to be researched and proved or disproved.
- This research could begin with the tobacco culture of the native North Americans, by taking a deep look at the ceremonies, song, color, form etc employed in connection with the sacred pipe.
- This or course leaves one terrible catch-22. What if the tobacco companies discovered this for themselves and used it in their advertisements and package design as an aid to sell more cigarettes to their unwitting customers? Which,
in their efforts to leave no stone unturned, they might already have tried. Does not the Virginia Slims pack design look a bit like a colored bar-code?
If 'Smoking by Not Smoking' turns out to be pointless then 'imaginary or virtual smoking' might work instead. It is free and makes for another interesting and easy to do exercise. More importantly no harm will come to your body.
If not each day, then from time to time try all or part of this exercise:
- Invent an imaginary cigarette brandname.
- Conjure up an imaginary cigarette company to make them.
- Imbue them with properties that they ought to have.
- Compose a catch phrase to sell them.
- Find a marketing image
- Design a neat pack.
- Design a company logo.
- Create some advertising
- Come up with a new warning label.
- Find out from the exercise what it is that enables the tobacco companies to lure people into smoking.
Note: One way to proceed is to adopt a different theme each day: One day make it anti-tobacco and invent a satirical brand, on the next day try to be pro-tobacco and invent an irresistable brand, and on the third, try targeting a specific market with a pro or anti
brand and so on...
As well as developing a budding carreer as a copywriter and providing further insight into the process of getting rid of cigarettes; this exercise should also serve to keep the mind from focussing upon the cravings and other unwelcome side effects that appear, once one is actively engaged in getting rid of cigarettes.