The History and Evolution of the word “Ganja“
Roots – from Ancient India to Jamaica
The word “ganja” has an interesting and complex history. It originates from the ancient Sanskrit language, where it is derived from the term “gāñjā”, meaning hemp, which is a plant belonging to the Cannabis family. Cannabis was considered a sacred herb in India for millennia, as it was believed to bestow supernatural powers and cleanse the spirit of impurities.
The plant made its way from India to Jamaica in the 19th century, transported by Indian indentured servants working under British colonial rule. It was here in Jamaica that the term “ganja” took root and spread, eventually becoming a globally recognized synonym for marijuana.
From Spirituality to Stigma
Despite its spiritual origins, the word ganja carries a heavy social and cultural baggage. For a long time, it was associated with criminality, counter-culture, and anti-establishment sentiments. This was particularly true during the period of the 1960s and 70s, when usage of the substance was heavily policed and stigmatized, leading to widespread misconceptions about its effects and potential uses.
Shift in Perception
In more recent years, however, attitudes toward ganja and cannabis in general have shifted. As medical and scientific communities have begun to uncover the potential benefits of cannabis, particularly in areas of mental health and chronic pain management, the word ganja has become less of a taboo and more of a beacon for a burgeoning industry centered around health and wellness. This shift represents a return to the word’s original roots as a spiritual, medicinal substance, challenging old stereotypes and paving the way for a new understanding.
Aligning Ganja’s Evolution with Get To No University’s Revolution
The Philosophy of Questioning Assumptions
The lessons learned from the evolution of the word “ganja” reflect the fundamental tenets of Get To No University, a framework I created growing up with undiagnosed neurodivergence.
After I turned 50, I became dedicated to challenging my own preconceived notions and stereotypes. The principle of constantly questioning our assumptions is deeply ingrained in the philosophy of Get to No University, as this facilitates a dynamic learning environment that embraces change and cultivates understanding.
Personal Journey: Unraveling Misconceptions
My personal journey with cannabis mirrors this process. The assumptions I held about cannabis, largely shaped by the societal stigma around it, were fundamentally challenged when I experienced its benefits firsthand. My subsequent research into its history and usage only deepened my understanding, prompting me to critically examine the sources of my original misconceptions.
Awakening Curiosity, Exploring New Perspectives
The experience with cannabis served as a stepping stone, leading me to question other areas of my life where preconceived notions might be holding me back. It awakened in me a curiosity to explore beyond what I was told, to delve deeper into topics and question their fundamental premises.
The Metaphor of the Photographer’s Camera Bag
Understanding Our Core Selves and Variable Lenses
In many ways, life is like a camera, and we are like photographers. The camera body, which represents our core selves, remains constant, while the lenses through which we view the world can be changed to suit different perspectives. Just like photographers switching lenses to capture a scene from different angles, we should also strive to understand different perspectives by changing our lenses – or in other words, challenging our beliefs and assumptions.
Switching Lenses for Different Perspectives
The journey of unlearning and relearning through cannabis made me realize that not all lenses offer the same view, and that’s perfectly fine. It has encouraged me to see the world from different angles, to appreciate diversity and to continually question my beliefs.
Cannabis as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
Sharing the Journey: Normalizing Conversations
And so, I decided to share my journey, including my experiences with cannabis, in hopes of inspiring others to also question their preconceived notions and explore new perspectives.
Growing, Creating and Experiencing Cannabis
Whether it’s through growing my own cannabis plants, creating edibles, or simply talking about my experiences, my goal is to normalize conversations about cannabis and its potential benefits as part of a healthy lifestyle.
But Grown Up Ganja is about more than just cannabis. It’s about asking WHY?
- Why do we think the way we do?
- How do we recognize our internal biases?
- What are we holding on to that no longer serves us?
- Who gave us the lenses that we use to view the world?
Self-Reflection and Understanding My Mind
Embracing the Spectrum of Cognitive Difference
This journey has also led me to better understand my own mind. I’ve learned that it’s not disorderly but simply different, and this spectrum of difference is something that was not recognized or understood during my childhood. Being tested for a high IQ during junior high, I realized that being gifted does not mean being exceptional at everything. That realization allowed me to view the world through the lens that we are each unique and our differences are what makes the world interesting.
Identifying Your Neurosparkle
I coined a term in collaboration with ChatGPT, a language model developed by OpenAI: “neurosparkle”. This concept encapsulates the beautiful uniqueness of our neural patterns, much like the distinct glimmer of individual stars in the night sky. Each of us possesses a unique neural signature – a neurosparkle – that defines our strengths, weaknesses, perspectives, and ways of thinking.
Embracing the Spectrum of Cognitive Difference
It recognizes that our brains, much like our fingerprints, are unique to us. No two are exactly alike, and this diversity is the root of our individuality. Understanding and embracing our own neurosparkle can lead to greater self-awareness and acceptance, which, in turn, allows us to better appreciate the unique neurosparkle of others. It’s a celebration of our individual cognitive identities, and a reminder that everyone has a unique perspective and a unique way of engaging with the world.
The Enlightenment of Unique Strengths
Indeed, each of us has unique strengths, and recognizing this fact was an enlightening experience. The realization that not everyone inherently knows this truth was another jolt to my perception of the world, showing me again that my assumptions and lens through which I view the world are not universally shared.
The Journey Ahead
Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead
So far, my journey with cannabis has taught me much more than I could have anticipated. It opened my mind to a broader perspective on many aspects of life and triggered a chain reaction of self-discovery, questioning, and growth. It made me realize that we each carry a camera bag through life, the lenses in which represent our views, perceptions, and beliefs. Understanding that not everyone uses the same lens to view the world has been a powerful reminder of the diversity of human experiences and perspectives. The importance of constantly switching lenses to see different perspectives, question assumptions, and gain a more complete understanding cannot be overstated.
Embracing New Perspectives, One Lens at a Time
So here I am, exploring the spectrum of human cognition, embracing cannabis as a part of my holistic health regimen, and continually learning and unlearning. All while sharing my journey to inspire others to perhaps inspect their own camera bag, change out a few lenses, and see what new perspectives they might discover. Because the world is vast, and there is always more to see, understand, and question. We just need to be willing to adjust our lens.