For participants who imagined the amelioration of their predicament as the removal of an obstacle to their volition, the technical means is medication. In the relation between desired being and the objectivist means, the concern of this chapter, there was a close affinity. Establishing or restoring viable selfhood did not require any introspection or qualitative elaboration of self, any incorporating of past history, any questioning of social circumstances. Steps that would have once been considered crucial can now, apparently, be bypassed. That such a course is even plausible signals a background reorientation to self, inner experience, and lifeworld. What we have now, following on social, economic, and technological changes, is a far more fluid social order (what Zygmunt Bauman refers to as “liquid modernity”) that fosters a view of ourselves as “light” and psychologically transparent. It prizes a highly reflexive, other-directed, and present-oriented self-awareness. And it promotes an accommodating view of the social world as a (relatively) open space for self-designing. In this world of choice and autonomous selfhood, limitations seem irrational, arising from some alien place. The objectivist means “after psychology” address that alien presence, interpreting drug effects as a way to establish or restore favored being.
Keywords: liquid modernity, lightness of being, Zygmunt Bauman, reflexivity, introspection, inner experience, drug effects, other directed