Art and Design
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
For the first edition of Funga, I have picked a movie (originally a great book!) that we all know well but that should be kept at the forefront of our minds – Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.
It is very easy to read psychedelic and drug imagery into the story (i.e., the hookah-smoking caterpillar sitting on a giant mushroom). There are many other parallels between Alice’s trip to Wonderland and a psychedelic “trip,” causing many critics and readers to search for evidence that Carroll put it there on purpose.
Though it is unlikely that Carroll meant to include drug references in his children’s book, a psychedelic interpretation can still be helpful. Alice’s adventures seem very real to her, and though Wonderland is often frightening or frustrating, she does have some valuable experiences that shape her identity. After all, it is not until Alice’s experience with the mushroom that she learns to control her height and thus regains her lost identity.
As Parker writes, “Distortions from normal perception that drugs induce actually sometimes lead to a truer, realer understanding of reality, not away from it.” (view full article here)
It was not until I tried psychedelics that I understood the saying, “time is a social construct.” On a recent psychedelic journey, I felt, like never before, the distortion of time. It blew me away because what seemed to me like a whole day of activity and conversation happened within three hours. After that, I could almost not believe that Carroll was not referring to a psychedelic experience in this book. Time is a central motive in this story and is based on Einstein’s theory of gravitation. Going deep into this explains why Alice experiences a world when she enters Wonderland, yet when she returns to “reality,” it seems no time has passed.
“Yes, that’s it!” said the Hatter with a sigh, “it’s always tea time.”
It is so unbelievably important for children to be taught this story and even more vital for adults to have it very present. We have been given the gift of entering and acknowledging the Wonderland around us. This can be achieved with the help of psychedelics or without. The book and movie remind us to view the world through a child’s eye, that is not yet blind to the incredible magic that surrounds us every day, most especially in nature. It awakens in us the desire to always stay curious! I urge you to revisit this timeless classic.
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl
From Walt Disney to Salvador Dalí, the influence of Lewis Carroll’s iconic children’s book runs deep through popular culture.
Salvador Dali x Alice in Wonderland:
The incredible artistic mind of Salvador Dalí knew no limits, as evidenced by everything from Dalí’s illustrated cookbook to his logo design for Chupa Chups. But there is no better pairing for the avant-garde master of Surrealism than the fantasy land created by Lewis Carroll in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Luckily for us, a visionary editor at Random House saw the connection and commissioned Dalí to illustrate a limited edition of the classic in 1969.
Dalí created twelve heliogravures for the occasion—one illustration for each chapter—as well as a four-color etching as the frontispiece. Only 2,700 of the edition were printed, and the artist signed each original etching. Of course, with copies becoming increasingly rare, the prices have skyrocketed, but luckily Dalí lovers can rejoice in knowing that Princeton University Press recently reissued an affordable copy.
Those with a keen eye will immediately pick out some of Dalí’s signature imagery woven into the illustrations. The girl jumping rope in the frontispiece comes from his Landscape with Girl Skipping Rope and the iconic melting clock from The Persistence of Memory finds a nice home at the center of the Mad Hatter’s tea party.