“The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson,
In the modern world, we can be awfully quick to consign ourselves to following the opinions of, as Heraclitus termed them, the 'popular singers'. Rather than engaging our own brains to deduce and analyse situations, we will defer our thinking to whatever or whoever offers the narrative of least resistance. Although this is an observation made by countless thinkers over the centuries, from the Ancient Greeks all the way up to the modern day, it is worth reminding ourselves that we should all strive to assert our intellectual independence.
This realisation was most recently, and poignantly, brought to my attention after reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. After I finished the transcendentalist classic, I was inspired to become more proactive in my own critical thinking when considering widely held beliefs and ideas. Whether it be economy, spirituality, philosophy, etc. or even music, it is always worth challenging the conceptions we currently hold on a position (no matter how personal or undeniably true they may seem to ourselves).
It is in this vein that I endeavour to start a new section on Do You Even Psychedelic? pertaining to literature. I think it is reasonable, in a blog born from interest in psychedelia, to have articles which concern the conscious-expanding ideas of books (a powerful novel can prove more efficacious than a plethora of drugs). Hopefully, the ideas presented and reviewed will be everything from challenging to revelatory, and help us all journey further down the road of internal philosophical discovery.
I intend to start this new section by reviewing the book which prompted it, Walden, and I will most probably break the analysis of the novel into six or seven thematic 'chapters'. These chapters will concern different strains of thought which I found within Walden to be particularly compelling and provocative, such as 'self-reliance' and Thoreau's 'theory of consumption'. When I finish that series of articles, I may move onto another thematic analysis of a text or several one-off reviews (similar to my album and single reviews).
I hope I have successfully conveyed to you the excitement I feel for this new series, which intends to bring us all closer to new ideas, encouraging progression towards a lifestyle of a more greatly expanded conscious, or in other words, a psychedelic one.
Written by Daniel Sharman.