Oct 23, 2013

The Agony of the Ecstacy

Dear AAP -
My friends have branched out from punk rock and are now getting more and more into going to EDM shows. I think they're doing it more for the drugs than for the music, because I don't see the endlessly repeating music as all that interesting and can't imagine that they would have found it interesting either before they started taking "Molly" and now that is all they talk about - going to the shows to get molly and trip out. I'm not unfamiliar with drugs of various kinds, but I don't see how this new drug suddenly makes music that they normally wouldn't have been able to tolerate, enjoyable. In fact it is the sort of music, and people, that we used to laugh at and it couldn't me more un-punk. What's the appeal? - Old School at 20.

Dear OSa20
"Molly" isn't a new drug at all, it is just a new name / marketing angle for plain old Ecstasy, but in allegedly more pure powdered form... which is how, 20 years ago, Ecstacy was usually sold. I say "allegedly more pure" because of course any powdered drug can be cut with a similar-looking powder to increase profit margins. 

You can easily look up the science and debate over the merits and dangers of Ecstacy elsewhere on the web, you didn't ask me about that. You asked me about why your friends' tastes in music have shifted so much, and so suddenly, and why they're suddenly so rapturous about EDM. You're right about one thing, it is mostly about the drugs, that and the drug-induced feeling of "connection" that often happens when a lot of people are gathered in a confined place, listening to loud and repetitive music and fed a drug that opens the floodgates of dopamine production in their skulls. They get a euphoric feeling that "wow, we're all here and we're all connected. We're all thinking the same thing." .... which in a weird sort of way they are...but all they're thinking is "wow, we're all thinking the same thing."   ...see the circular logic at work there? Everyone feels connected because they feel connected, not because they actually ARE connected.  The vibe is that you feel like everyone would agree with you if you were to say pretty much anything - but no one really says anything to test that theory.  Individuals just smile at each other, and feel like the other person is completely empathetic with them... but the truth is that other person is looking at you, thinking you're completely on their page. 

...not the worst way for humans to interact with each other I suppose, but not a lot really gets accomplished aside from hopefully having a good time for a few hours and hopefully not dying of hyper-thermia (high body heat) or dehydration. Every drug comes with a downside - physical, emotional and/or chemical, and we have to decide for ourselves what risks we're willing to take with our bodies and our minds, and then accept whatever comes after those decisions are made.

Your friends are probably so far just experiencing and enjoying the upside of their "new" drug discovery, along with an enormous crowd of people that seems to like and accept them (because everyone is in such a drug-induced good mood) but sooner or later the down side will creep in to a greater or lesser degree. You can't mess with your brain chemistry indefinitely without some of those chickens coming home to roost. Hopefully your friends are aware of that. 

As for you, it doesn't sound like you were contemplating joining them any time soon. Keep making your own decisions on what you like to listen to and (more importantly) what you will and won't put into your own body. You can express your concerns to your friends, but be willing to accept the fact that they're probably not going to listen very closely to what you have to say. In the meantime, you can make some new friends in the moshpit.