Saturday, September 09, 2006

Erowid Nitrous Vault : The Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide, by William James

Alexander Bard of BwO fame/glory (and formerly of Army of Lovers) also runs a list called philosophy that while often dormant, is sometimes great. This gem found by Rasmus Fleischer provides an intriguing text, excerpted below, by William James on alcohol, nitrous oxide and Hegel. James writes: "Now this, only a thousandfold enhanced, was the effect upon me of the gas: and its first result was to make peal through me with unutterable power the conviction that Hegelism was true after all..."
It really is worth looking up the whole thing, but one wild para tickled my funny bone...

Erowid Nitrous Vault : The Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide, by William James:

"What's mistake but a kind of take?
What's nausea but a kind of -usea?
Sober, drunk, -unk, astonishment.
Everything can become the subject of
criticism -- how criticise without something to criticise?
Agreement --
Emotion -- motion!!!
By God, how that hurts! By God, how
it doesn't hurt! Reconciliation of two extremes.
By George, nothing but
That sounds like nonsense, but it's pure onsense!
Thought much
deeper than speech...!
Medical school; divinity school, school! SCHOOL! Oh my God, oh God; oh God!

The most coherent and articulate sentence which came was this:

There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference. "

- James, William. "Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide." Mind. 1882; Vol 7.

This reverie in itself is great; the defence of Hegel an added bonus, I guess, if indeed you need to defend Hegel while gassing up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"terminating either in a laugh at the ultimate nothingness, or in a mood of vertiginous amazement at a meaningless infinity" - James.