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An Episode of Magic Mushroomery by Peter Bergson


Ram Damned Image Courtesy of Peter Bergson

These Romantic little elves, pixies, fairies accompanied me even to the phenomenal world – in this case my flat in west London. As I set my eyes upon the ceiling which was mocking me through its moving play of light, I noticed fairy dust everywhere which brought me back to visions of paths of magical colourful mushrooms lining elfin roads. I should note that these fungi were not the type I ate, and I do not think of types that exist in our world.

The status of one's closed-eye visions lies between that of imagining something and seeing something. It is like the latter in that these visions are adventitious, as Descartes would say; passive as William James would say – one cannot control what one sees, one's perception is completely at the mercy of 'what is out there' as in common life. It also resembles the latter as regards the complexity of phenomena. It resembles the former in that nothing is permanent or regular and ocular information will override it – though in this case that information will not translate well.

At one point my girlfriend gave me a block of Yorkie chocolate. Although English varieties, or definitions, of chocolate are sneered at by Continentals, this, then, was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten, and it remains so to this day as taste is always subjective. As the block melted in my mouth I saw a factory of elves breaking down the giant block and then shovelling the chocolate parts into rivers of pleasure that were streaming downwards somehow into me. This much resembled Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and makes one wonder about the pastimes of certain authors. I also thought to myself that chocolate is ultimately a collection of molecules, matter, whereas pleasure is not. Pleasure here is a mental translation of certain matter from a certain place (the tongue). This pleasure is translated back into matter – seratonin or endomorphin molecules, say, in certain material locations in the brain. 'Pleasure' though is neither chocolate molecules (theobromine) nor brain molecules (serotonin, etc). Pleasure is distinct, it is qualia, and though correlated to matter it is not identical thereto. This reflects the twofold understanding of the same reality: Schopenhauer's world as both will and representation. This was represented to me in the metaphor of chocolate rivers as opposed to pleasure rivers within the chocolate factory.

If that was the most gratifying thing I had ever eaten, a swig of seventeen-year-old Bowmore Islay malt whisky was the most gratifying thing I had ever drunk. As the spirit passed my palate and throat I noticed and took great pleasure in a myriad of distinct, potent tastes followed by an embracing warmth lining my throat. I am not certain as to whether taste sensitivity is increased under this spell, or whether the mind can focus on details and complexities otherwise effaced by everyday concerns.

This food and drink was administered by my girlfriend as my body did not respond well to my commands vis-à-vis movement. As I lay on the sofa, my (mind's) relation to my body was similar to that between a captain and his vessel. I was being sent information that my feet were touching the arm of the sofa, but this information was not felt, just known in concept format – as a captain may get information regarding the hull's touching of an iceberg.

My girlfriend huddled up to me at one point. Her body became a small town, somehow connected with Heidelberg, with little townsfolk going about their business having houses lining the streets relative to her arms and legs. Then a giant octopus, a Kraken, placed itself on top of her/the town and let its arms diffuse into the place, its arms then melding into street structures which made them have a sharp, hard and pointy arch as opposed to their general cephalopodic round shape.

Again I laughed at the absurdity of such things. Laughing was common but not without reasons. If an audience had seen such things in a film it would also be prone to laughter. Another absurdity that caused me to laugh was seeing rows upon rows of blue and turquoise wolves moving towards me, indeed a midst of wolves, sometimes jumping up to be seen, like dolphins jumping above sea-level. But then some entities akin to the 'ghosts' in the old computer game Pac-Man started popping up in the rows here and there crying 'boo' as I saw their large gazing eyes.

After a few earth hours I returned to relative reality exhausted after what seemed years of psychological, astronomical and even teuthological exploration. Magic mycology is practical metaphysics.

The End Or jump to page.

Liked this story? Why not read Peter Bergstrom's other great shrooming escapade An Account of the Magic Mushroom.

Peter runs his own graphic design company HobGob Graphics. If you want truly shroomtastic graphics that are out of this world visit the site now.