tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

In reference to a conversation I had last night


The Hand That Feeds

You're keeping in step
In the line
Got your chin held high and you feel just fine
Because you do
What you're told
But inside your heart it is black and it's hollow and it's cold

Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?

What if this whole crusade's
A charade
And behind it all there's a price to be paid
For the blood
On which we dine
Justified in the name of the holy and the divine

Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?

So naive
I keep holding on to what I want to believe
I can see
But I keep holding on and on and on and on


Nine Inch Nails - Ephexis remix

Okay so I'm now going to add some commentary on the song. First, I'll say I have no idea what Trent Reznor was thinking when he wrote this. I've seen enough interviews with poets/authors/lyricists where people have found metaphor and whatnot in their work, and they've been like "Uh.. okay, I wasn't thinking that to be honest, I was thinking about cheesecake."

So I'm not going to postulate about what he meant by it.

I can talk about why it resonates with me. I've been doing a lot of soul searching about my beliefs and my stance on drugs. I have several reasons for feeling the way I do about it, and the not-fully-formed or studied or researched points are these:
    Taking drugs is, for the most part, a victimless 'crime'. Someone on drugs infringing on someone else's human rights because of the drugs is a rarity compared to other causes for such infringements. Isn't the law supposed to give criteria for decisions in the case of people infringing on other people's rights so we can all live together in relative peace?

    The hypocrisy surrounding use of one recreational chemical (alcohol) vs others (add list here). I don't understand the difference that makes one socially, politically and legally OK, but not the other, especially given that the reason we are given for most drugs being illegal is alleged harm caused by them.

    I'm a kinaesthetic learner. I have no real history of institutional learning. I was told all the stuff about 'drugs are bad, don't do them' as I was growing up, just as you probably were. My experience gives lie to what I was told. I feel that the 'powers that be' have been lying to me, and I don't understand why. My parents taught me to think for myself, and knowing that what I'm told vs what I've experienced do not match up, I tend to go with my experience.

    Other kinds of so-called 'risky' behaviour are not legislated against. Mountaineering, skydiving, those religious people that handle snakes - folks might go "Gosh, weird, why would you do that?" but the personal choice about the amount of risk they are prepared to take is not removed from them in legislation.

    I have yet to hear a convincing logical argument against the use of artificial means to alter one's mindstate for recreation.

I won't go any further into this, because most of you have heard it before and it's not really anything new. But the BZP bill has crystallised this in my mind quite a lot. I don't want to just meekly go "OK, my last avenue of personal choice for social tonics has been removed, now I'm a criminal, OK, that's fine, yes, society says I'm a loser who can't control myself, yes yes, they must be right and I must accept this."

To me, this legislation represents more than just the removal of a fairly crappy alternative to other drugs. It represents something that goes against the grain of my entire worldview - that I am responsible for myself and my actions, that I know what is best for me, and that I can make my own choices regarding how I live my life - as long as my choices are not infringing on the rights of others. To me, my freedom to be me is being threatened.

And I want to do something about it. I can't sit with myself and accept this - it makes no sense.

I firmly believe that this is a fight that won't be won in parliament. The people in parliament are limited in so many ways, and I know that if the BZP bill went to referendum, a majority of New Zealanders would vote to ban it. I think most of them would vote to ban it without really thinking beyond "Drugs are bad, that one guy went into a coma, lots of teenagers like it, it's a sheep drench, drugs are bad, ban it." And then they'd go enjoy a wine with their dinner. *sigh*

And that's my point. Most people don't ever think about it, don't question why drugs are bad but alcohol is ok, don't want to risk the possibility that there are endless, less harmful and more interesting alternatives to the one socially endorsed recreational mind altering chemical. Most people don't even care. Most people think drugs do all sorts of bad things to everyone who takes them, that lives will be destroyed, addictions formed, children deserted, wild sex in the streets, all that sort of thing. I've seen Go Ask Alice. Most people believe that it starts with a toke on a joint and leads straight down the slippery slope to full on heroin addiction.

What most people don't realise is that the reason this perspective is prevalent is that there are so many people who take recreational chemicals that aren't alcohol, who DON'T turn up in the media as junkies and schizos and whores and whatever other bad things drugs are supposed to cause. I would hesitate to put a number on it, but I'd say that a statistically significant (remember 3% is statistically significant, and I'd say it's a lot more than 3%)) percentage of our population are regular users of illegal recreational chemicals. Look around you, think about the number of people close to you. How many take drugs, that you know of? Now double it. Triple it. Who knows how many people are taking drugs regularly, and you would never know.

Because they are not allowing it to affect their lives.

They have to keep it quiet - they are successful people who have a lot to lose if the social stigma attached to drugs becomes attached to them. So the very reason that society thinks drugs turn people into losers is that society will view people as losers if it becomes aware that they take drugs, which means that the non-loser people who take drugs have to hide it. And then the only people that get noticed are the rare few that lose it, but because they are the ones that get noticed, the loser label gets applied to all recreational drug users.

Nasty wee cycle we have going there.

Anyway, back to Trent and what he wasn't saying. I want to stand up. This line in an article I posted a while back really struck me, and I've been thinking about it since:

"This timidity is pretty inexcusable when you think of what people have been willing to stand up for in the name of ending hypocrisy. Think of activists in the 1970s who spoke out against laws banning gay sex because honesty and principles counted."

I want to stand up. I want to become a public advocate of realistic attitudes to drug use in society. I'm tired of buying into the 'harm minimisation' argument when the only real harms I can see associated with illegal drugs (by comparison to other harms from other behaviours) are caused by the very fact that they are illegal.

I have a lot to lose. I understand what could happen if I were to really stand up and make myself known. But I don't see how attitudes are ever going to change if people who successfully integrate recreational drug use into their lives, while still functioning as contributing members of society, remain hidden from the public view. I know I'm tilting at windmills. I know that on my own, I've Buckleys of making a difference.

But if I don't try, how can I really say that I back what I believe? How can I consider myself to be someone of integrity if I hide something that I don't even believe is wrong, for the sake of fitting in with societal expectations?

I think Trent was asking if you have the stones to stand up for what you believe in. And if you do, have you considered what the potential sacrifice may be, and are you prepared to accept that? Are you prepared to chew until it bleeds? And the last couple of lines - are you prepared to deal with the possibility that it may all be for nothing? Are you prepared to change your belief if it turns out to be hollow?

These are the things I've been thinking about, and that's why this song resonates with me at the moment.

I have no idea where to start. It's so big. But yes, I believe in this enough to risk what I have for it.

` for dragonvyxn

Yes, I know posting lyrics is wanky and cliched and 13. Bite me.
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