A fragment from Aldoux Huxley‘s ’The Doors of Perception’ is the starting-point for a reflection on intoxication. Intoxication might be perceived as one of the universal longings of mankind. The Romantic tradition of Baudelaire talks of “artificial paradises”, but outside the Western society intoxication has a much more ambivalent function than escapism alone. Intoxication as dissociation or synesthesia? Numbness or concentration? Is it possible that, contrary to what is generally accepted in the West, ecstasy is a natural state, transcending the waking consciousness, determined by all kinds of social safety constructions? What does normality or ratio actually mean? Might intoxication be a tool for knowledge? Part of the BRT (Belgian radio and television broadcast network) television series ’Container’. Panel discussion with Lieven De Cauter, Bart Verschaffel, Peter Aerts and Paul De Vylder.
Original broadcast date: 21/09/1989