“Evolution is a nice, big idea. It connotes the glacial pace of an unmeditated act unfolding upon species, concepts, and ecosystems. It certainly doesn’t usually get branded as a feeling. But a couple months ago I felt this thing. Maybe a little like what a mommy feels when her fetus kicks the wall crossed with how the baby feels when it gets its pre-K diploma, and the best word I can come up with for it is evolution. Not the glacial kind, but the real-time, Matrix-flavored kind. I was too busy barreling through the wicked pipe of a 30-milligram Adderall to think about it much when it happened, though. Half an hour into my sunrise dose, I logged into Lynda.com, the extraordinarily put-together training site used by corporate operations to keep their employees up on hot software trends. As an avid Monday Night Football chyron fan, I had promised myself for years that I would learn After Effects as soon as I had the free time; the chemical wave pushed me through an especially potent laziness that has always kept me from becoming the motion graphics expert I knew I wanted to be.
There I sat, glued to my chair, watching the instructional videos on my laptop, guzzling Coke Zero, and practicing in the software on my external monitor. I optimized my posture over the course of the first few hours, ironing out repetitive stress pain as it came along, taking smoke breaks between every chapter: ‘Getting Started With After Effects,’ ‘Learning to Animate,’ ‘Precomposing and Nesting Compositions.’ As the sun dipped below the horizon, I found myself at chapter 19: ‘Rendering and Compression,’ and finally, at dusk, Chapter 21: ‘Conclusion.’ …I internalized After Effects. As the credits rolled, Neo flashed into my head. ‘I know After Effects,’ he said, opening his eyes and staring up at Morpheus through my corneas.”Trent Wolbe, “How I hacked my brain with Adderall: a cautionary tale.” The Verge. July 26, 2012
“SWIM has done it all, from the most obscure pharmaceuticals to the hardest street drugs, at every dosage, in every combination. SWIM has shot black tar heroin in Thailand, drunk ayahuasca in Peru, binged on Quaaludes in Beverly Hills. SWIM has been to hell and back, cheated death, seen God. SWIM has survived hospital stays, nights in jail, leaps from treacherous heights. But like any legend worth the designation, SWIM is an enigma, impossible to know firsthand. Other users endlessly refer to SWIM’s experiments, but novices search in vain for posts actually written by SWIM. There are none to be found. This absence results in a recurring refrain from first-time posters: ‘By the way—who the fuck is SWIM?'”
—Shuja Haider. “Ambien Diaries.” Popula. July 22, 2018.
[On reintegrating into their physical body after a transcendental, mystical experience with psychedelics:]
“I was back in the prison of all the things that hold me back, but I could see the door was locked from the inside.”
—quoted in Ferriss, Tim. Tools of Titans. New York: Houghton Mufflin Harcourt, 2017.