I always knew the late scientist, writer, scientific popularizer and de facto Astronomer Laureate of the USA Carl Sagan was a cosmic guy, but I didn't know he was a semi-closeted marihuana advocate. That's another bar that the Hayden Planetarium's affable frontman Neil DeGrasse Tyson, betrayer of Pluto, will have to clear if he wants to follow in Sagan's footsteps.
By the way, since Pluto got demoted the number 9 doesn't have any astronomical significance anymore. Should baseball eliminate the shortstop position? It always seemed kinda redundant…
What was I saying? Oh yeah. Carl Sagan: major stoner, with meg-munchies. And a fairly interesting commentator on the effects of pot on creativity. (There's not a whole lot of competition for that title.) Here is his pseudonymous contribution to the 1968 anthology Marihuana Reconsidered:
There is a myth about such highs: the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devastating insights achieved when high are real insights; the main problem is putting these insights in a form acceptable to the quite different self that we are when we're down the next day. Some of the hardest work I've ever done has been to put such insights down on tape or in writing. The problem is that ten even more interesting ideas or images have to be lost in the effort of recording one. It is easy to understand why someone might think it's a waste of effort going to all that trouble to set the thought down, a kind of intrusion of the Protestant Ethic. But since I live almost all my life down I've made the effort—successfully, I think. Incidentally, I find that reasonably good insights can be remembered the next day, but only if some effort has been made to set them down another way.
I'm not convinced chemical assistance does much for creativity. But there's little controversy around the idea that life trauma, family tragedy, illness, wartime experiences and other mind-blowers provide insights into a range of creative work. It's not a big leap to say the pot "trips" Sagan describes—which, unlike most legal and illegal drug usages, combine altered consciousness with a relatively low level of impairment—can do the same. Fire one up for me, Carl, in whatever afterlife scientific non-believers go to.