Seattle's Former Top Cop Says End Drug War | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Seattle's Former Top Cop Says End Drug War

In an op ed this weekend in the Seattle Times (and, it seems, the LA Times, since he's bylined as "Special to the Los Angeles Times"), Norm Stamper, former chief of police in Seattle, says he's not for decriminalization of illicit drugs; he's for legalization. Of all of them.

It's not a stretch to conclude that our Draconian approach to drug use is the most injurious domestic policy since slavery. Want to cut back on prison overcrowding and save a bundle on the construction of new facilities? Open the doors, let the nonviolent drug offenders go. The huge increases in federal and state prison populations during the 1980s and '90s (from 139 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 482 per 100,000 in 2003) were mainly for drug convictions. In 1980, 580,900 Americans were arrested on drug charges. By 2003, that figure had ballooned to 1,678,200. We're making more arrests for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape and aggravated assault combined. Feel safer?

I don't what the exact steps are or how far you go with legalization/criminalization, but I do believe that, one day, we (or others) will look back on this time the same way that we now look back on Prohibition.

Previous Comments

ID
103692
Comment

Some interesting stats in case anyone wants to roll with this discussion... Mississippi has the third highest per capita rate of incarceration at 669 inmates per 100,000 people (Louisiana and Texas are higher), which translates into about 18,000 state inmates in Mississippi prisons. It's nearly 21,000 when you included federal prisoners in correctional facilities in Miss. Since 1995, there's been an average of a 5% increase in Mississippi's prison population every year. And we've got a glut of prison beds on our hands -- we're only at 74% of capacity. In the country, over 60% of inmates are Black or Hispanic, and, nationally, 21% of all prisioners are in prison *directly* for drug crimes (possession, trafficking, etc.). Interestingly, 25% of all Black inmates are there for drug crimes, while 30% of all women are in prison for drug crimes. But here's the whopper...since 1995, the U.S. prison population has increased by 34% -- from about 1 mil, to about 1.5 million inmates. Forty-nine percent (49%) of the growth in national prison population from 1995-2005 has been in drug crimes. That's far and away the biggest driver of the increase in prision population; the second largest driver is immigration violations, at 19%. Third is weapons violations at 13%. And remember...those are not violent crimes committed by people on meth or property crimes committed by crackheads -- that's just the (theoretically non-violent) drug crimes themselves. So...what do you think...is legalization a solution?

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-05T11:39:30-06:00
ID
103693
Comment

I don't understand why they are not, I don't want to pick and choose which ones are acceptable, but i do not think they should all be legalized. It would be more taxes because you could sell it, and the government could get involved and water it down like some things. If marijuana cigarettes had to have filters etc. someone has to make them. You could still have dui laws...more roadblocks? er............... It would be tough to regulate, the new millionaries would be marijuana farmers and coca growers. colombia would go out of business. To tie in alis last piece, instead of putting the drug offenders in jail, just plant them with a chip, give em probation end on end until they get clean, become useless, or die. Having been the victim of the petty crimes a crackhead will do, even in your own family, small crimes would rise because they still have to have money to buy the stuff, and not many crackheads are employable, in this case crackhead=user who needs help. All the counseling in the world wouldn't helo because if they do not want help they aren't going to listen anyways. If it is legal they are just going to be able to get it easier, most of the negative side effects still come into play. And by the way if anyone has seen my movado at any local pawn shops with the serial number scratched out let me know.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2005-12-05T11:56:31-06:00
ID
103694
Comment

I'm pro-legalization in theory, but anti-drug use. It sounds paternalistic to say this, but I've known too many people in Narcotics Anonymous who told me how they got on their worst drug of choice, and how hard it was to get off it. The more I hear from these folks, the more convinced I become that most people can't quit drugs on their own, and many probably can't quit even with help. The high price of drugs ensured by the drug war encourages violence, not to mention profitability for the dealers, but it also reduces supply. I mean, look at crack--which is not the only drug problem, but was certainly the worst urban drug problem in the 80s. I've met people who were addicted to crack cocaine. The draw is that it costs maybe 1/4 as much as the powdered stuff, and gives you faster, more powerful highs. You can get crack for ten bucks. What effect would legalization have on this? Well, imagine being able to get high on crack for the price of a cigarette. Then look at how many people smoke. Not a pretty picture. And let's not kid ourselves: More people would use drugs if they were legal because it feels so damned good, and it only takes one nasty divorce, one experience with grief, to want to try this stuff once just to shut it all down. And then more likely than not you're hooked. And my God, how much we would hate that industry once it were legal--I mean, I get annoyed at Phillip Morris, but in a world of legalized drugs cigarette manufacturers would be benign. I get mad at Wal-Mart, but when it comes to exploitation, they've got nothing on drug dealers. I used to say "target the suppliers and dealers, and leave the users alone." But users are the only category of drug offenders who aren't expendable; suppliers and dealers can both be replaced instantly due to the profit margins involved, and the risk of arrest is seen as part of the cost of doing business. When Newt Gingrich said (paraphrasing) "Either enforce the death penalty against drug dealers or legalize everything," he was expressing a nonsense policy but a very real and very fair frustration with the target-the-dealers approach. It doesn't work. People who deal drugs need the money too badly. Quite often they're addicts themselves. So you have to target users; that's the only way to reduce demand and create a stronger deterrent against first-time users. But I think users should be targeted for treatment, not imprisonment. Sad fact is that for all this talk of a "war on drugs," those absolutely essential 28-day rehab programs are beyond the price bracket of most drug users, and financial assistance is not readily available. The war on drugs, when it focuses on imprisoning users, is basically just a war on people who can't afford to quit. Like most of the criminal justice policies enforced in our nation's history, it amounts to the rich pissing on the poor, the white pissing on the black. I say "drugs" and I'm thinking cocaine, heroin, crystal meth. What about marijuana? That's a different story. Might not hurt as much to legalize that, even though it would probably increase use. (Would I try marijuana if it were legal? Probably.) And marijuana is not exactly a victimless drug; it's not as bad as alcohol, but it's still central to many instances of child neglect, unemployment, bankruptcy, and it would be central to more if more people used it. Folks say alcohol is the most widely abused drug, and that's true, but it's also legal and available at every grocery store, supports an entire liquor store and bar industry, etc. If marijuana had that kind of distribution, I'm sure it would be abused just as often, though the effects would no doubt be different (maybe better, maybe worse; who really knows?). And if harder stuff had that kind of distribution? That's a nightmare scenario, folks. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-05T12:38:38-06:00
ID
103695
Comment

I'm pro-legalization in theory, but anti-drug use. That sums it up for me, too. Drugs (legal and illegal) ruin lives. The drug war is killling people and countries. No time for more, but this is a great discussion to have. Glad to see it happening.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-12-05T12:49:51-06:00
ID
103696
Comment

My take on this subject is a little strange in that I'm prolegalization of natural drugs (i.e. marijuana, peyote, etc) I'm opposed to synthetic drugs for the same reason I'm opposed to synthetic food. It just kills you. I know that makes no sense and I know the legalization of all drugs will never happen simply because of the large economic ties our country has to prevention of use (DEA, ATF, "Just Say No" campaigns). There is actually a good book called "Breaking Open The Head" by David Pinchbeck about the demonization of natural hallucinogens in American culture. Interesting to read just for the cultural standpoint of "accepted" vs "nonaccepted" drugs.

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-05T14:43:47-06:00
ID
103697
Comment

there is the argument that some make if it is natural then it should be ok, because" god created it". Ali, peyote, your hardcore. But mushrooms, peyote marijuana, and some of my south american buddies have told me that they walk around with a coca leave in their mouth, its their version of chewing tobacco. Only to get a mild buzz, not as hard as cocaine, i imagine. Some make it a hobby to go out and find this stuff in the wilderness and write books about it. Most of the time the people doing it are just hanging out but i could see how it could become a problem. If they want to talk to pink elephants thats their prerogative. Just don't drive, but the lack of will power to not go through a bag of doritos and 2 frozen pizzas is too much, driving would be impossible to deter.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2005-12-05T15:46:50-06:00
ID
103698
Comment

I'm totally against drugs and alcohol. I grew up around lots of alcoholics. I had 5 or 6 cousins to get drunk and freeze to death outside in the cold. I can't count the cousins I've found who had run their cars into ditches and/or were sleeping in the woods. I've seen my brothers wake up at the wrong house, and my father fail to negotiate the curve coming into our yard too many times. And I have been run into by a drunk driver. We ran completely off the road but the drunk driver who was following the lights hit us head on anyway. I often tell my friends I'm glad I never met any successful alcoholics. Those unsuccessful alcoholic relatives sealed my fate as to alcohol, drugs anc cigarettes while I was still a young boy. I'm likewise against drugs. It's too hard to get off them. It's a much better idea to learn to handle your problems and have fun in your natural state. I would never let anyone or anything gain control over me. I would even quit women if they were as addictive and harmful as drugs. Luckily, even women, arguably my greatest temptation, couldn't succeed at getting me to try drugs. My brother and I stole a beer from my daddy case of beer when I was 10 or 11. I expected it to taste like a soda or soft drink. I immediately spit it out. So did my brother but a year later he was getting drunk. Not me. I tried a cigarette but couldn't figure out how to blow it out thru my nose so I gave up. Call me chicken, boring, no fun, whatever you choose, but I will be sober and clean.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-05T17:11:16-06:00
ID
103699
Comment

From a less personal standpoint, perhaps marijuana should be legalized. No one should go to jail for using this (unless they try to do it in my presence and I have to smell the smoke). Legalizing other forms of drugs would no doubt help the crime and jail overcrowding problem, and possibly help some addicts get their lives back together. I generally vote according to what's best for the majority of us so I would consider voting to legalize some drugs.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-05T18:00:40-06:00
ID
103700
Comment

Ray (and others): At lot of people call marijuana a "gateway drug," although the research I've seen suggests that marijuana and alcohol are on a par regarding the overall damage they do to an individual. (And maybe I'm not being fair -- marijuana may be much less dangerous.) It's my opinion, however, that the "gateway" that is opened up to today's marijuana user is the *illegality* of it -- people who use marijuana are, by definition, criminals and they're introduced to a harsher criminal element in order to get the dope. People who buy alcohol, in contrast, are introduced to friendly people who run package stores. (And, for the record, I tried pot once in high school and it didn't seem to "do anything" for me, so I never bothered to try again. Of course, that's probably, in part, because it's illegal! On the other hand, I can put away plenty of beer and decent red wine. ;-) Legalizing other forms of drugs would no doubt help the crime and jail overcrowding problem, and possibly help some addicts get their lives back together. I generally vote according to what's best for the majority of us so I would consider voting to legalize some drugs. Obviously, there isn't an easy answer. Keeping it illegal might keep some people from doing it (see *me* and *marijuana*) but at the same time, it's clear that the War on Drugs (see: Prohibition) has created a huge black market where the profits are so great that the risks people are willing to take to participate -- and the criminal organizations that support them -- are great as well. I also think that the stigma attached to illegal drugs means there's less time and money spent researching them, which could lead to better treatments or better drugs that help with treatment for addicts. I heard an NPR story the other day about how oxycontin is a "gateway" drug for some, because atheletes and others who form a habit for it and then can't get it as a prescription anymore, sometimes can't afford it. (If I remember right, the street value is $80 a pill, according to the report.) So, they turn to...heroine. It's cheaper and gives a similar high, apparently. That was part of a story that detailed how Feds had busted a major heroin ring in the Northeast...and how they thought it would do very little to affect heroin distribution in that area.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-05T18:44:58-06:00
ID
103701
Comment

No, I am not for legalization. First, I don’t think it would end the “black market” drug trade. Then there is the issue of the addicts, of which legalizing drugs would have little effect given they would still be addicted regardless. As for those that believe marijuana should be legalized, I think most are unaware that we are not dealing with the same stuff people used in the 60s, 70s or even the 80’s. Marijuana now is much more potent, and I would venture to say that it accounts for more harm than we know.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-12-05T20:51:35-06:00
ID
103702
Comment

First, I don’t think it would end the “black market” drug trade. Why not?

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-05T20:54:50-06:00
ID
103703
Comment

Well, I will say that I don't know enough about the whole process to really speak intelligently about it. (The process being what would actually have to occur if drugs were made legal...laws governing their use, etc) I will definitely say that I'm for NOT giving "users" jail time. Its a stupid charge and I don't think its something from which the jail is naturally equipped to "rehabilitate" you. Rehab is better...for those that are having such bad problems they are actually doing OTHER things that are against the law. If someone just gets caught with a small amount...I think that's a stupid bed to fill at the jail. I think the drug issue is such a hard one because drugs and their effects are so varied. I'm sorry K, I'm not there with you on the marijuana thing. There's a big difference between the chances of a guy that's high on weed and a guy that's high on crack knocking over a liquor store. Number one being to the guy on weed to whom its just too much damn trouble.

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-05T21:04:23-06:00
ID
103704
Comment

Wait, I just accidentally wrote a post that says "I'm smoking a big dooby and listening to Panic while naked and playing bongos in my living room". I'm not. Its too cold.

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-05T21:08:48-06:00
ID
103705
Comment

I'm pretty much in favor of legalizing marijuana, though I don't smoke it. It's really not any more dangerous than alcohol (well, it might cause cancer, but then again so does tobacco). Do what the Dutch (as I understand) do. Let people smoke pot in designated establishments for that purpose. But I agree that we should keep synthetic drugs illegal. As for hard drugs, I fully agree that we should simply "sentence" addicts to rehab.

Author
Philip
Date
2005-12-05T21:41:36-06:00
ID
103706
Comment

Wow. Juicy. An excellent topic (a nod to Todd). My thoughts on the subject come from a very different terrain -- the utilization of psychoactive entheogens (I don't use the term "drugs" except for addictive substances) within an indigenous-tribal-ritual context, for the expressed purpose of gaining insight, expanding consciousness, and/or working through issues of a psychological or spiritual nature. (note: entheogen is a term being used more recently in lieu of hallucinogens; hallucinogen typically means "the driver of hallucinations"; Schizophrenics and Alzheimer patients have hallucinations; so to clarify a term that would more aptly express the use of mind-expanding substances scholars have been using "entheogen," in essence, translates as "the catalyst that reveals the divine within"). In an indigenous setting other terms are used, such as "plant-spirit medicines," "plant allies," etc. I wholeheartedly recommend the writings of Terence McKenna on the subject, as well as the book by Pinchbeck that Ali cited. I would add on the pile Cleansing the Doors of Perception, by world-renowned religious scholar Huston Smith.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-05T22:05:12-06:00
ID
103707
Comment

What we have here in this culture is a schism around altering consciousness, and specifically within that a failed transmission around what I think of as an 'ethics of use.' If you don't have an ethics of use, substances which alter consciousness can swiftly flow into a lack of ethics, and therefore an abuse. The other level to this is that a great many substances amplify what is already within the consciousness of the user. Along a spectrum of consciousness, then, depending upon the substance.... many "drug experiences" or "entheogenic experiences" are determined by two things: 1) the set and 2) the setting. The Set, as it is called, is one's mind-state: one's intention for use, one's basic resolve, what one is "holding" so to speak at the time of use (i.e., "I'm going to get stoned out of my gourd" vs. "I'm going to connect with nature or work through an issue." etc.) The Setting, just like its sounds, is the environment...literally the place, the energy, the quality of the location in which something is used. As stated, most, if not all, mind-altering substances amplify all of these aspects -- mind, set, and setting. The problem I have with legalization of all "drugs" across the board is because I view the average "user" as profoundly ill-trained in how to work with their own mind, much less to know how to manuever the terrain of set and setting in such a way that leads to an experience that is actually about growth, awareness, or the betterment of their life. Usually, substances are used as a form of self-medication, as a way of checking out, numbing out, and desensitizing oneself to a kind of low-level internal pain in one's life. Utilization of substances for the purpose of such checking out or as a doorway for avoidance is what I would classify as "drug use," but it seems important to at least point out that there is a whole other dimension of working with mind-altering substances (non-addictive ones) which promote authentic liberation, awareness, and even healing in the life of the person. So, all of that to say that widespread legalization of drugs is probably something that will never happen, and probably wouldn't be something I could get behind. In the same breath I say all of that, however, it also seems important to point out that we don't actually have anything against altering consciousness in this society. Much to the contrary. It is sanctioned and the powers that be actually count on it. A zoned out populace who are "comfortably numb," to use the Pink Floyd phrase, is a populace that can be controlled and kept in line and who won't truly throw the gauntlet down toward trying to make change in the culture. If our society were actually against altering consciousness then alcohol, nicotine, and even the likes of TV and sugar would be outlawed. All of them alter consciousness. But, as Smith, Pinchbeck, McKenna, and so many entheogenic scholars have pointed out, why is it that two of the most addictive substances known to man --alcohol and nicotine-- form part of the actual tax base for states and for this country, while other substances with no physically addictive components, such as psilocybin (the mushroom), are considered Scheduled and Controlled Substances. McKenna's theory is simple. Those substances which expand consciousness enable a person to 'see through' the fallacy of certain human systems. Boy, what everyone saw that the Emperor wasn't wearing any clothes? Frank

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-05T22:05:26-06:00
ID
103708
Comment

An interesting link some of you might find of use: MAPS: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies It is a private organization studying the effects of marijuana, DMT, psilocybin, etc. for both psychological and medical research. Their research is limited to a certain degree because of government stricture, but they are allowed to employ a variety of substances in their research, such as LSD, DMT (the core component of the jungle vine Ayahuasca), etc. And, to close, as I said...I'm making comments from a very different ground than someone who wants to legalize cocaine, crack, heroin, etc. I'm against that. Largely I fall into the camp with Ali, who speaks of it from the ground of "natural" or "organics", but EVEN THEN I have a pretty high 'ethics use' standard regarding using such substances. Frank

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-05T22:18:10-06:00
ID
103709
Comment

OK, so it seems like perhaps one answer could be to legalize certain relatively harmless drugs (both possession and distribution/sales), particularly if that meant that fewer users of those drugs are exposed to my theoretical "gateway to criminality." Perhaps we'd then keep fighting a "war on drugs," but against a smaller pool of producers and dealers? And over harsher/more addictive substances? Anyone like that idea? ...Also, just to settle my curiousity, what constitutes a "natural" vs. man-made drug -- cocaine is plant-based, for instance, and crack is cocaine...right? What makes those synthetic, if they are? In other words, is there really a hard and fast line between drugs that are less damaging and more damaging to humans because they're naturally occurring?

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-06T00:34:51-06:00
ID
103710
Comment

Todd, for the record, I *would* make a distinction between cocaine and crack, which have both been refined and concentrated (thus concentrating their addictive tendencies), from their source -- the coca leaf. The Qero Indians of Peru (the last of the Inka) suck on and chew on the coca leaf, placing a very small amount of lye on the leaf when they do. The lye breaks down the leaf and releases a small dose of alkaloids which mix with the enzymes in the mouth. This interaction produces a mild euphoria and a very heightened state of consciousness (not all that different than a good Japanese sake'). My philosophy is: if you yank it straight from the earth, it's natural. If it's been meddled with, refined in a lab, etc., then it is synthetic. F

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T09:23:32-06:00
ID
103711
Comment

Todd, for the record, I *would* make a distinction between cocaine and crack, which have both been refined and concentrated (thus concentrating their addictive tendencies), from their source -- the coca leaf. The Qero Indians of Peru (the last of the Inka) suck on and chew on the coca leaf, placing a very small amount of lye on the leaf when they do. The lye breaks down the leaf and releases a small dose of alkaloids which mix with the enzymes in the mouth. This interaction produces a mild euphoria and a very heightened state of consciousness (not all that different than a good Japanese sake'). My philosophy is: if you yank it straight from the earth, it's natural. If it's been meddled with, refined in a lab, etc., then it is synthetic. F

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T09:23:33-06:00
ID
103712
Comment

natural in the way that they grow in nature on their own, i don't think any of the listed plants are hybrids, and crack and cocaine have to be made from the plant and crack is cut down even more from the cocaine, with rat poison baking soda and othe goodies. Interestingly enough the bumpkins were sort of talking about this on the radio, 96.3, just happened to hear it. They were talking about hargon and how he should pay but also how the jails were overcrowded. And that maybe, just maybe the people who haven't really done much shouldnt be there. I think a more conentrated war on drugs would be better than the shotgun, pardon the pun, approach that law enforcement is taking now. Denver is relaxing possesion, the dutch are making it so the people can actually grow weed than smuggle it across the border. And it's not like everyone is doing it, it is a minority, the rest are just wearing wood shoes and riding bikes.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2005-12-06T09:56:29-06:00
ID
103713
Comment

I'd say that marijuana is an altogether different animal than opium, mushrooms, peyote, cocaine or other nature derived drug. Sure, a over the counter psychedelic would make New Year's Eve fireworks pretty. And drugs with such a strong psychological impact may provide a very finite method of treatment in some conditions. It will never be tolerated or acceptable for legal mass consumption. It would be classed like Dilaudid at best, it wouldn't be legal like liquor and sold in stores. Making a drug "legal for leisure" has to be addressed on a case by case basis. And in the words of Micheal Moore, when he was attorney general...."Based on how much money Mississippi spends on going after, and housing convicts for marijuana posession it would be in our best interests to never arrest anyone for possession or casual use." Or worded something like that.

Author
herman
Date
2005-12-06T10:14:05-06:00
ID
103714
Comment

The one other thing I would add that provides even more of a distinction has to do with the comment about making a drug "legal for leisure." In indigenous societies, substances like the mushroom (used in ceremonies in Ireland, Sweden, among the Siberians of Outer Mongolia, and the Mazatec Indians of Mexico), and peyote (by members of the Native American Church--who have the legal right of use protected by U.S. law, by the way) are not viewed as "drugs for leisure" but instead are viewed as sacraments, much like Christians view the wine and bread. Relating to the substance in question from such a reverential place automatically alters the way in which the substance is used and what the ensuing experience is. If a person is viewing a substance as simply another way of "getting one's rocks off" then already I think that speaks a lot about the mindset and probably the intent of the user. To my knowledge no culture or society has ever viewed or used the vast majority of controlled substances in such a way. To me, that is a significant dividing line and I think it is interesting to note that down such a dividing line, on one side you will find addictive substances and on the other side you will find substances that not only do not promote, foster, or engender addiction but actually mitigate it, such as the Brazilian shaman-psychotherapist Eduardo Luna who has had a 100% success rate of getting addicts off of cocaine, heroin, and morphine precisely by guiding them through an ayahuasca experience and making them face their addiction as the dragon that it is.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T11:03:00-06:00
ID
103715
Comment

OK, so we're (for the purposes of this discussion) considering legalization of marijuana and perhaps a few others. How do you counter the argument that they're "gateway drugs" that lead users to try harder substances. Does anyone buy my theory about them being "gateway drugs" because, in acquiring them, they introduce you to more criminal elements than you would otherwise encounter?

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-06T11:36:47-06:00
ID
103716
Comment

after trying weed i tried mushrooms, hows that for a gateway. Neither were part of a addiction or accustomed lifestyle. But my friends did the same and then came extasy. It is funny now, but some people really really like it. And as fun as singing with space ghost was i don't think i would want to be wasted all day. I never stole for the money to buy drugs, but when you don't have any bills and a monthly parental bank deposit its a little different.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2005-12-06T11:53:25-06:00
ID
103717
Comment

If one's aim is to alter one's state of mind, for whatever the reason, that is the aim. Whether someone is daring enough or coerced into trying a new inebriation does depend on it's availability. The demand for any drug is aways high. The lines that people decide to cross are sometimes divided sharply (ie. no needles). Some people will not do things because it is illegal. Other's may because they don't think it harm anyone but themselves (if that). It's human nature to be curious about experiencing reality from a different persceptive, or try what other's seem to enjoy. People experience an alteration of the senses in all kinds of ways in their life that lead them to be curious about inducing an alteration of the senses. The more altered state experiences one has it is likely the more comfortable he will be at experiencing more altered states. One could say that merry-go-rounds are gateway experiences to alcohol. One could say that if grass were legal that more people try it...more so if they use alcohol. So alcohol is a sort of gateway drug to grass. If you've smoked or snorted something in the past, it is indeed a stronger possiblity that you might smoke or snort something new. You might say you'll do a modest dose once to try it. If drug education is thought of as inacurate or wrong then it wont work. If one is taught that weed is as dangerous as heroin, and one tries weed and discovers they dont think its dangerous, then our drug education isn't working. If people are taught how the line between a good dose and dangerous overdose level is very close in certain drugs, and based on one's weight and body chemistry and purity or lack thereof, then that is how one decides they'll smoke a J, but not meth. It is indeed less likely that a heavy alcohol user will use cocaine before weed. All drugs that are available will have a market. The more drugs that are available the more people will try and do them. Would legalizing weed decrease the availability of other drugs ? Perhaps on drugs that are imported from outside the country. Would more meth labs pop up if weed were legal? Possibly. But meth labs are considered at epidemic proportion now. Making weed legal for recreational use for ages 21+, same restrictions as alcohol, would increase the quality of weed grown. If a regulated quality of weed is legal, then people would still want some unregulated kind bud. Does it change the availability ? Not neccesarrily. If an Indica/Sativa G13 is bred for $50 cigarette packs at Ole Miss, could you be arrested for smoking backdoor illegal AFGHANI at $40 pack ? Whatever is legal, will not change the demand for something. There is always a high demand for everything. Regulation, availability, education and control is the key for legalizing. A good step before the government growing it for people would be not throwing people in jail and seizing property for posession. Illegal drugs keeps the government in business. How much money comes in from seizures has alot to do with whether or not new squad cars get budgeted.

Author
herman
Date
2005-12-06T12:52:17-06:00
ID
103718
Comment

I think it's impossible to determine statistically whether marijuana is a gateway or not (for criminal behavior or drugs in general). Guess it depends on if you're getting it from Bubba's, sweet, middle-aged momma or from John Doe on the corner of BadStreet Road, USA while filled with paranoia and anxiety. The rush of paranoia and axiety are enough to make the act of purchasing addictive and add to the rush associated with the chemical. Personally, I think that cigarettes have a bigger "gateway" effect than any other chemical on and off the market. Especially now that cigarettes are not "cool" to most people. It's active rebellion or "hip" (and has been for decades) to smoke. Still, I don't think it's all a slippery slope. I've met/known people back in the rave hayday that used a specific chemical ONLY on social occassions and never tried variants or alternatives... Some didn't even drink alcohol or smoke. They were picky about what they ingested, where it came from and how it affected them. On the other hand, I've met/known people in the rave hayday and beyond that do not care what they're ingesting and are solely seeking escape. Personally, I don't see the difference in synthetic and organic drugs. Some synthetics are more "controlled" since they are manufactured. For instance, when you eat a mushroom, you have no clue what the dose is. One mushroom worked last time and was mild... Two might do the trick. But, organics don't work on that level. A mushroom's makeup is not static nor prescribed. LSD, on the other hand, is a calculated and powerful chemical but is methodically created in a time-consuming process that exceeds most drugs on the market. There is only one functioning variant of LSD (LSD-25) and it is potent by default. The blotter paper and vials (with droppers) were/are used to estimate a "proper dose". By default, synthetics have the ability to be "dosed" (read: measured) while organics are unpredictable unless you refine and process them into measurable quantities and test potency. No two musrhooms are alike. So, I just chased my tail in public again. ;-) I say legalize them all. Provide "safe spaces" for the use of hard chemicals (natural or synthetic). Further, use the money we're using in the "war on drugs" to fund a "war on addiction" that goes beyond drugs and deals with the web of addiction as the problem. Yes, that includes reality TV, consumerism, food, etc.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-06T13:02:08-06:00
ID
103719
Comment

I think an addict is an addict is an addict and anything is a gateway for an addict...whether that's sniffing glue, X, over-the-counter pain pills, or drinking gallons of mouthwash (as some really bad-off alcoholics will do who are prevented access to booze). People who are hellbent for a fix of something will turn to anything, even Ketamine (a drug used for horses). I don't buy the theory that substances like marijuana or mushrooms are inherently gateways. They are neutral. Marijuana doesn't become a gateway to addiction unless it falls into the hands of an addict, just like alcohol. I will buy the theory about gateways re: those people who are looking for gateways of escape, but I think if one substance is made illegal that simply means it is more controlled and if a person is hellbent on numbing out or screwing their life up they're going to do that with WHATEVER they can get their hands on. The natural, consciousness expanding substances I've mentioned (and some people *would* include marijuana in that mix) also do not necessarily require association with criminal elements. Mother Earth is the "dealer," so to speak. As far as the legalization of marijuana issue -- and I'm glad Superstar brought in Denver's relaxing of possession laws, which is also becoming true in Canada, Ireland, Holland, etc. -- I think marijuana should be treated EXACTLY like alcohol and cigarettes in its interface with the social construct. If a person is of age they should have access and, just like alcohol, if they demonstrate that they are irresponsible with that possession and use, then they pay the price. There should be D.W.I/D.U.I.'s associated with marijuana use, just as there is with alcohol. If there is marijuana-related crime it should be processed according to the same standards one finds with crimes that involve alcohol. Again, I don't hold the same argument for cocaine, crack, and all of the harder substances because they've been meddled with, concentrated in their effects, and have a much more heightened trend toward addiction, not to mention the negative health effects. The template of this discussion could just as easily be applied to firearms. Is it the firearm or the warped mind of the user? Should all firearms be banned? Some would say yes. Others would say no. Should they be controlled. They are, and rightly so. Everyone of age has access. Anyone who demonstrates that they are not a trustworthy firearms owner has that Constitutional right revoked. Should mind-altering substances be controlled. They are, and in MOST cases, I agree with the level of control. But, again, I think in certain cases the substance itself, its known effects, etc. places it into a category that warrants legalization. And, again, like alcohol and firearms if a person demonstrates either an addictive tendency or they show they are an unresponsible user then they forfeit their right for possession. Using this line of thought I think marijuana should be legalized, or we need to ban all cigarettes and alcohol as well. We could, of course, branch out and discuss other addictions, i.e., unsafe sex practices or lifestyles, shopping, or gambling. Again, all of these things in and of themselves are neutral. It's how the individual relates to them that is the important question.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T13:16:25-06:00
ID
103720
Comment

And, for the record, my "take" or stance about marijuana is simply from the perspective that current DEA laws are hypocritical and, I believe, are largely held in place by the tobacco and alcohol industry who don't want to see a competitor in the market. I, myself, am a non-smoker of everything so I really don't care personally, and as far as mind-altering substances vs. no mind-altering substances I've largely fallen on the side that most of the insights I've gained through psychotropic means can be ascertained just as much via meditation.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T13:32:31-06:00
ID
103721
Comment

"I've largely fallen on the side that most of the insights I've gained through psychotropic means can be ascertained just as much via meditation." - chronos Add to that sweat lodges, tribal-type gatherings especially involving rhythmic percussion, fasting, vigorous exercise, sensory deprivation, etc. While these are healthier alternatives to psychotropic drugs and drugs in general, people can/do get addicted to them and the actions/activity can become toxic if done in excess and for the wrong reasons (primarily escapism)... Much like any addiction.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-06T13:46:41-06:00
ID
103722
Comment

Knol Aust said: <<

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T13:46:59-06:00
ID
103723
Comment

Knol. Totally agreed re: sweat lodge and the drumming. Most people aren't interested in traveling down those roads because it actually requires a bit of work on the part of the person. Drugs are OFTEN the lazy path.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T13:49:20-06:00
ID
103724
Comment

Oh, and add to that holotropic breathwork done to the potent soundscapes of Steve Roach Steve Roach & the Timeroom and Robert Rich Robert Rich. I mean, really, some of that music cranked up on headphones and who the hell needs drugs!!

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T13:53:16-06:00
ID
103725
Comment

Todds – ” OK, so it seems like perhaps one answer could be to legalize certain relatively harmless drugs (both possession and distribution/sales), particularly if that meant that fewer users of those drugs are exposed to my theoretical "gateway to criminality." Perhaps we'd then keep fighting a "war on drugs," but against a smaller pool of producers and dealers? And over harsher/more addictive substances? Anyone like that” I don’t think ending the illegal drug trade is possible because the black market would continue to produce drugs that are more addictive and more readily accessible than what an entity regulated by the government would produce. As I type this, I cannot think of any drugs that I would support being legalized. Since the abatement of prohibition is often used in arguing for the legalization of drugs that are viewed as not being any more harmful than alcohol, I think we forget the devastation of alcoholism. Do we really need to compound the problems that alcohol has presented by legalizing other ‘harmless” drugs? Ali – ” I'm sorry K, I'm not there with you on the marijuana thing. There's a big difference between the chances of a guy that's high on weed and a guy that's high on crack knocking over a liquor store.” I will agree that the chances of a guy committing a robbery to support his weed habit aren’t as great as a guy with a crack habit. But not all marijuana users are individuals that simply laugh uncontrollable and get the munchies, as I said before some of the marijuana being produced today is much more potent and addictive.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-12-06T14:03:51-06:00
ID
103726
Comment

I want whatever hermans got.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2005-12-06T14:11:38-06:00
ID
103727
Comment

What evidence is available that suggests an addictive form of marijuana. I have heard that regardless of its variety or strain or species it is not physiologically addictive. For certain individuals it might be psychologically addictive. I'll buy that. But, so are Twinkies.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T14:40:03-06:00
ID
103728
Comment

Herman Snell said: >>Illegal drugs keeps the government in business. How much money comes in from seizures has alot to do with whether or not new squad cars get budgeted. --I never really considered this angle, but it's one I'm familiar with. Kind of like there is a lot more money to be made in cancer and AIDS research than in the cure. But, it's a sad thought to consider government being driven in that way.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T14:44:41-06:00
ID
103729
Comment

Re marijuana addiction: See, i.a., the work of N.S. Miller and M.S. Gold in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 1989. Addiction is not a quantitatively measurable phenomenon, but there is overwhelming clinical evidence to support the notion that marijuana is addictive, which is consistent with the profound effects it has on the brain's reward systems. This is not to say that marijuana is particularly dangerous. I think it's probably much less dangerous than alcohol, on the whole. But it is certainly not very well understood by scientists, who are not entirely sure how to explain its effects, and I think that's what (somewhat justifiably) scares people. Both "hallucinogenic" and "entheogenic" represent judgments about the epistemological validity of drugs traditionally referred to as hallucinogens. Most clinical psychiatrists and psychologists still use the term "hallucinogenic" because the drugs, whatever their spiritual value, clearly do cause hallucinations--one's roommate's face is not literally turning purple and melting, the walls have not literally transformed into an intricate network of giant worm-ropes, etc., even if the overall experience is found to be spiritually enlightening (as it no doubt is by many, particularly those living in certain indigenous cultures). There's also a potential issue in that if we say that the drugs themselves are entheogenic, then we have reduced mysticism to something that can be reproduced on demand based on a material substance that alters brain chemistry. Zaehner, in his book Mysticism: Sacred and Profane, goes into the dangers of this approach a little bit, even discussing cases of mysticism gone bad (Charles Manson, et. al.). My suspicion is that drug-induced experiences within a broader context (as in the case of many indigenous cultures) may potentially be entheogenic but that the drugs themselves cannot, at least not in a legitimate way; that would reduce mystical experience to a commodity that can be obtained. Re natural vs. unnatural drugs: It's worth bearing in mind that arsenic, being a fundamental element, is among the most natural substances in existence. Virtually all poisons widely available prior to the 1930s were organically grown. Digitalis, or foxglove, can easily cure or kill. The main advantage of natural over manufactured drugs, I think, is that they at least haven't been artificially modified to increase their effects on human beings; they're products of the great diceroll of natural selection, however lethal, benign, or beneficial they might be. So statistically, if I had to choose a drug specifically designed to screw up my brain chemistry, I'd probably choose natural over artificial--but I'd rather not have either! In terms of public policy, I lean towards regulated legalization of marijuana and a switch from a punitive model to a treatment model for drug users. The latter costs much more, which is why the government has not undertaken it, but if our leaders are serious enough about the so-called war on drugs to ruin millions of lives, they should be serious enough to take a fraction of that money they just spent on recent tax cuts and use it to actually address the drug problem in this country. I want to tell our president: Winning the war on drugs means curing addicts and preventing people from becoming addicts. Everything else is peripheral and should be geared towards meeting those goals, not creating a "drug culture" underclass which can then be exploited as an enemy for political gain. This policy didn't originate with Bush--it goes all the way back to the Harrison Act of 1914--but he's the guy in charge now, and he has a bully pulpit by which he could, if he really cared, persuade Congress to make sensible decisions on this issue for a change. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-06T15:36:26-06:00
ID
103730
Comment

"a drug specifically designed" --> "a drug specifically marketed." Natural drugs are, obviously, not designed. Well, unless you ask William Dembski... Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-06T15:38:12-06:00
ID
103731
Comment

Much in agreement with you TH, so much so that I think something in what you said enables me to clarify even more that what defines entheogenic for me is often whether or not a particular substance (peyote, mushroom, etc.) is used within a primally-intended ritual context. There is a reason that plant-teachers are ALWAYS utilized in such a specific container. From the nature of the space and atmosphere itself, to the integrity and ethics of the space-holders, the ego is prevented from employing the experience for its benefit. This is where the likes of Charles Manson went too far down the rabbit hole, or perhaps climbed up his own hole, for all we know. The ego can employ anything to reify and deify itself, and entheogens/hallucinogens are no different. The difference is that in these traditional entheogenic circumstances there is a map of experience that has been charted for 10,000+ years; a map that has an end result. A by-product is that the ego is often stripped down rather than puffed up. One leaves such an experience humbled, not filled with high-minded notions of oneself, and nearly always profoundly in touch with a sense of unifying wholeness. But, as I've said ad naseum, I wouldn't personally define that as a "drug."

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T15:56:02-06:00
ID
103732
Comment

Interesting, too, that "just-plain-waking-reality" can be experienced or related to along either one of these dimensions as well -- as a numbing out agent, a kind of "drug," or as a catalyst of awakening to one's true self. I think a lot is determined by approach and the intent that is held, but that's a tangent from the legal discussion Todd proposed I suppose.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-06T16:00:08-06:00
ID
103733
Comment

Ketamine is mainly used to anesthesize cats, fyi.

Author
herman
Date
2005-12-06T17:41:23-06:00
ID
103734
Comment

Your totally right on about approach and the intent. The Buddhists certainly don't make practice where micrograms lead to the path toward anything virtuious. Once a door is unlocked one has but to walk through, and keys come custom, in all shapes and size.

Author
herman
Date
2005-12-06T17:57:45-06:00
ID
103735
Comment

I'll stick with the premise that all drugs are bad. I hope I can convince my grandchildren to be just as anti-drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as I am. For years I had no empathy or sympathy for drug addicts or users. My thinking was that anybody stupid enough to use drugs deserve whatever hell and abuse that befall them. John Lucas, former NBA basketball player, changed my mindset about that. However, you still can't convince me that a truly brillant person will use and abuse drugs. And you can't convince me that drugs heighten your creative processes. Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and the likes still would have been able to write and play those songs had they concentrated and relaxed naturally. All probably would have lived much longer and had more amazing careers had they not abused their bodies and minds with gargage or trash such as drugs. Ali, in case you accidentally videotaped that accidental post you wrote, would you accidentally send us a copy so we can get to accidentally know you better? Smile. Besides, I haven't heard of the group Panic.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-06T19:07:02-06:00
ID
103736
Comment

Ray, one thing I haven't mentioned yet is that I think we're of exactly one mind on the question of drug use. I had one glass of wine at a party lately. Legs turned to jelly halfway through it. I have no alcohol tolerance and a family history of alcoholism, so the most I'll ever have is an occasional glass of wine, with food, drinking it really slowly. I've never had anything stronger; never wanted it. Never smoked. And, of course, never touched anything illicit. In fact, if I think someone might be in the process of telling me they smoke something, I quickly change the subject because I don't really want to know. All of this stuff scares me. I have trouble going to sleep because I don't want to let go of my consciousness; the idea of doing it on purpose leaves me cold. I'll have to give it all up soon enough. I'm in no hurry to get the process going now. But all of this is contextual. South American tribesmen with coca leaves melting in their mouths, or sipping communally from a bowl of saliva-moistened kava kava--that's fine. So, chronos, I think I actually agree with a lot of what you're trying to say despite my general objection to all of this stuff. I do have doubts about the epistemological value of mystical experiences in general; entheogenic is a theological term (hence the "theo"), and I just don't believe God communicates to people in that way. I do think that people who take drugs sometimes achieve insight from the experience--an old friend of mine talked about the effect "breaking the ego bubble" had on him back in the seventies--but my predilection has always been to say that we're here for each other, and that we should be very, very conscious of the price we pay for our insights. Besides, if drugs really did what some folks say they do, then they would be, at best, spiritual steroids--shortcuts to enlightenment that may come with untold costs. This is why most orthodox Buddhists, especially in Zen, straightedge from any and all intoxicants, including alcohol. None of this is meant to detract from indigenous spiritual traditions that may involve use of psychoactive substances, of course. I have no way of evaluating other people's mystical experiences. I can only speak for my own cultures, my own values, and my own fears. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-06T19:20:42-06:00
ID
103737
Comment

K said: As I type this, I cannot think of any drugs that I would support being legalized. Since the abatement of prohibition is often used in arguing for the legalization of drugs that are viewed as not being any more harmful than alcohol, I think we forget the devastation of alcoholism. Do we really need to compound the problems that alcohol has presented by legalizing other ‘harmless” drugs? I think your argument here presupposes that there was, necessarily, a proprotionate lower amount of alcoholism during Prohibition. According to this pretty darned fascinating report by the Cato Institute, shows that, by the time Prohibition was repealed in 1933, alcohol consumption would likely have surpassed pre-Prohibition levels even though alcohol was illegal, expensive and crappy (recall that the mixed drink was invented during Prohibition because the alcohol itself was lousy :-) An examination of death rates does reveal a dramatic drop in deaths due to alcoholism and cirrhosis, but the drop occurred during World War I, before enforcement of Prohibition.[28] The death rate from alcoholism bottomed out just before the enforcement of Prohibition and then returned to pre-World War I levels.[29] That was probably the result of increased consumption during Prohibition and the consumption of more potent and poisonous alcoholic beverages. The death rate from alcoholism and cirrhosis also declined rather dramatically in Denmark, Ireland, and Great Britain during World War I, but rates in those countries continued to fall during the 1920s (in the absence of prohibition) when rates in the United States were either rising or stable.[30]

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-06T19:21:43-06:00
ID
103738
Comment

Meanwhile, I'm not one to often take a Cato Institute argument hook, line and sinker, but check out some of this: The most notable of those consequences has been labeled the "Iron Law of Prohibition" by Richard Cowan.[9] That law states that the more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes. When drugs or alcoholic beverages are prohibited, they will become more potent, will have greater variability in potency, will be adulterated with unknown or dangerous substances, and will not be produced and consumed under normal market constraints. [10] The Iron Law undermines the prohibitionist case and reduces or outweighs the benefits ascribed to a decrease in consumption. This actually argues that Prohibition of illicit substances leads to the purchase of more potent substances, partly because that's what the supply side (huh, huh...I said "supply side") gravitates to and partly because it's easier to deliver more potent substances in a prohibitive legal environment. Those of you who know something about drugs might have a sense of an apt comparison, but I assume it might follow that it takes about a van-full of marijuana to equal the value of some decidedly more potent drug that fits in your back pocket. If you could buy your maryjane at the local Five and Dimebag, though, it's possible that there'd be less of an economic incentive for someone to stand on the corner offering you crack. The entire report is fascinating from an economic point of view. The conclusion reads: Repeal of Prohibition dramatically reduced crime, including organized crime, and corruption. Jobs were created, and new voluntary efforts, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, which was begun in 1934, succeeded in helping alcoholics. Those lessons can be applied to the current crisis in drug prohibition and the problems of drug abuse. Second, the lessons of Prohibition should be used to curb the urge to prohibit. Neoprohibition of alcohol and prohibition of tobacco would result in more crime, corruption, and dangerous products and increased government control over the average citizen's life. Finally, Prohibition provides a general lesson that society can no more be successfully engineered in the United States than in the Soviet Union. Well...Cato had to get the commies in there somewhere, right? ;-)

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-06T19:22:18-06:00
ID
103739
Comment

Yep, if you can get good grass at the 5 & Dimebag, there are plenty of folks that will be happy as a clam. But as long as illegal substances are available they will be in consumed. Many people drink to feel something pleasant, to break the routine. We all need to help each other live more richly, deeper and get all giddy on Thoureau, Carpe Diem and meaningfully, more fully. That exilarating feeling of new love and a little amplification of the goodness in this life. We all want more grand inspiration, more of everything, all at once, forever. Some of us get a cheap whore, when the real thing doesn't come. When things are groovy we have our natural highs. As one matures through a positive, healthy life we learn to appreciate everything. That the full on intensity of living we once knew becomes more subtle. I can't blame anyone for wanting a bump off the grind for a bit. If we are lucky, we learn to love life every freaking moment.

Author
herman
Date
2005-12-06T22:13:52-06:00
ID
103740
Comment

whore = wh0re

Author
herman
Date
2005-12-06T22:15:26-06:00
ID
103741
Comment

I'm a little slow tonight, Herman, but if you're saying is that if we loved each other a little more nobody would really need to drink or do drugs, then I'm with you on that one. That's why I think punishing addicts for the sake of punishing addicts is cruelty. Similar, in motives, to pulling the wings off flies. It serves no purpose. We need a rehabilitation model. But if you're saying that drinking and drugs make people happy more often that they make people sad, I'd disagree with that. Addiction is so horribly life-denying, so blind, so cruel. It is the root of most violence. Many people find meaning in partaking in alcohol in moderation, and I would never try to take that away from anybody, but the truth is that alcohol also destroys lives. Completely, utterly. There's a reason there are so incredibly many AA chapters--and that's the minority of addicts who found the strength, after hitting rock bottom, to escape. Most end up dead, or in prison, or stuck in an unhealthy cycle they'll never escape from until they're dead or in prison. Alcohol can be pleasant, but it does so much more harm than good in the grand scheme of things. If I could snap my fingers and somehow make all alcoholic beverages vanish forever from the face of the earth, doing no other harm than that, I'd do it. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-07T03:32:47-06:00
ID
103742
Comment

Yes, I am saying that I believe compassion and connecting with people richly is a more noble aim. That if one is able to fill the gaps in one's soul with sustenance he finds he doesn't seek any greater lengths to fill them.

Author
herman
Date
2005-12-07T09:30:09-06:00
ID
103743
Comment

A few things. The main point I've ever been trying to make here is that I don't believe it is fair to equate street substances that people are using and trying to procure for a "fix," a "good time," or to "get high" (which are often addictive in nature) with the indigenous traditions who use "plant spirit teachers" within their ancient traditions of healing and shamanic training...organic substances which are wholly unrelated to "street drugs" and by their very nature eliminate addiction. Some statements in this thread lead me to think that some people equate such indigenous traditions as just some cultural form of "just getting high" and this couldn't be farther from the truth. TH said: >>>I just don't believe God communicates to people in that way.... --I acknowledge that you haven't had experiences as such, or are suspicious of those who suggest they have such experiences, but this statement would be a bit like me saying, "I just don't believe God communicates to people through clouds, or trees, or dreams, or prayer"...Of anyone on here, Tom, I would think you would/could hold open a pretty wide arc for where the divine might enter... --I know a 90 year old Peyote Road Man from Arizona. He's Navajo (Dine). He does not view Peyote as "a God" and does not believe he has to take Peyote to communicate with God. Peyote, in his way of experiencing the world, is perceived as a friend, a helper-spirit, who aids him in serving the people, in teaching them to lead a better life. He consults the Peyote from time to time, which always takes place within a very sacred context, along with other sacraments (fire, cedar, water), and aided by a rattle and a water drum. He, too, would not say God communicates to him through Peyote, but he would say he receives very helpful guidance and direction on how to address certain situations in his community. He has a very high success rate in getting people off of drugs and alcohol and helping them to mend their families. --I know another shaman around my age who is a member of the Shuar tribe, the last unconquered people of the Amazon. He consults the ayahuasca, the Natem, on how to heal people. In his own words it is the spirit of the jaguar, anaconda, hummingbird, and the spirit of the jungle who communicate with him on how to heal a person. People, even from Europe and North America, go to him, some of them arriving absolutely riddled with cancer. His claim is that the Natem allows him to "see" the roots of disease on the cellular and molecular level, as well as the emotional and psychological underpinnings of some diseases. He has a very high success rate in healing people with the assistance of the ayahuasca, even with advanced stage cancers. He would have to because among his people an ineffective shaman loses his job quickly. --The point of these anecdotes is to demonstrate that these gentleman are not smoking crack and jacking off, and they would not refer to and do not relate to the substances employed as "drugs" but as "medicines" and/or "sacraments."

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-07T10:08:02-06:00
ID
103744
Comment

>>Besides, if drugs really did what some folks say they do, then they would be, at best, spiritual steroids--shortcuts to enlightenment that may come with untold costs. This is why most orthodox Buddhists, especially in Zen, straightedge from any and all intoxicants, including alcohol. --The primary reason Buddhists do not advocate drug use is that drugs carry a person away from "reality-as-it-is." The anecdotes offered above were shared to try to articulate a different way of viewing this in these other cultures...plant-spirit medicines as revealers of a hyper-awareness of reality-as-it-is. When my Shuar friend is shown the root causes of a disease he is also told by___________what to do about it, what herbs are needed to heal it, etc. This is not a case of "checking out" but, if there ever was one, a case of "checking in," and what he experiences is not a hallucination, but non-obvious information being made available by forces that, frankly, the Western world doesn't have the capacity to understand. See the difference? Enlightenment really has nothing to do with. As far as fears, Tom. I openly acknowledge that, both regarding drugs, as well as with entheogens/psychoactives. Pretty much across the board with the various DRUGS people have been mentioning (cocaine, LSD, etc.) I have that same fear and it is what has kept me from "going there." Never felt the need to either, but even when I was in a more experimental phase in my life I wouldn't have come within ten feet of a lot of that precisely because of such fears. Some fears are just commonsense. On the other hand, with indigenous, earth-born psychoactives that I have worked with I can fully attest to their ability (when worked with properly, in the proper setting) to be helpful guides in pushing through and beyond life-crippling fears I once had. Just my $.02.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-07T10:08:17-06:00
ID
103745
Comment

here's a reason there are so incredibly many AA chapters--and that's the minority of addicts who found the strength, after hitting rock bottom, to escape. Tom, actually, this is an interesting thing to have said here, as it allows me to bring it back to that Cato discussion...AA formed after Prohibition, as did a number of other groups, which suggested that, with alcohol, we moved from a prohibitive model to a treatment model. In fact, if you think back over the past 25-30 years, you'll realize that the country has continued a discussion on the idea that alcoholism is a "disease" and something that must be treated, and not necessarily a character flaw or a problem with willpower, etc. So, there's a history of us moving from a Prohibition model to a treatment model, both in reality and in people's mindsets. It takes a while -- from the end of alcohol prohibition to today, when many people think of alcoholism as a disease deserving treatment, but others still look down on people as "drunks," etc. -- but perhaps 75 years from now we'd have a better understanding of drug addiction and drug treatment options, etc.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-07T11:25:00-06:00
ID
103746
Comment

chronos writes: The main point I've ever been trying to make here is that I don't believe it is fair to equate street substances that people are using and trying to procure for a "fix," a "good time," or to "get high" (which are often addictive in nature) with the indigenous traditions who use "plant spirit teachers" within their ancient traditions of healing and shamanic training...organic substances which are wholly unrelated to "street drugs" and by their very nature eliminate addiction. Agreed 100%. Shamanic drug use in the proper indigenous context is a completely different animal from pleasure-seeking commercial drug use. If I suggested otherwise, let's blame it on my unclear wording, because I always attempted to leave an exception for such uses. I even disagree with the Supreme Court's majority ruling in Employment Division v. Smith. I also want to make it clear that I'm not prejudging the mystical experiences of folks who use psychoactive substances ritually and in good faith within the context of a spiritual tradition. I would never say that God can't intervene in that way. My issue was with the word "entheogenic," which seems to suggest that God reliably, perhaps even mechanically, intervenes in that way. Todd, re Prohibition: Agreed. No question that it did more harm than good when it comes to alcoholism, and there's the not-inconsequential issue of organized crime as well. But alcohol is so readily available, was so widely imbibed and so easy to produce, that I think similar laws against, e.g., cocaine and crystal meth might actually have the intended effect. The issue with Prohibition was not the weakness of the government, but rather the strength of alcohol, not only from an addiction point of view, but also (perhaps primarily) from a cultural point of view. Banning alcohol in America would have been like banning marijuana at Woodstock. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-07T11:33:53-06:00
ID
103747
Comment

"There's a reason there are so incredibly many AA chapters--and that's the minority of addicts who found the strength, after hitting rock bottom, to escape." - Tom Tom, I hope you're not saying alcohol is the core reason most are in AA? Obviously, alcohol is the reason their in AA but is harldy the core reason. Every addict I've known (whether it's food, drug, alcohol, religion, etc) has used addiction as a method of escapism (from psychic/psychological problems). The addiction is a secondary problem rather than the primary. The myriad of reasons people seek escape or numbing are countless but I'd hardly wish to snap my fingers and remove alcohol or drugs or food or religion or _______ because that still does not solve the problems and fears people face that tend to lead them to a bottle of Jose at lunch. Most people that have one addiction actually have an addictive personality and will move on to another unhealthy addiction if the core problem is not recognized and resolved. Removing one potentially addictive substance or a trigger for addictive behavior does not solve the problem. You have to address why people are seeking escape and why people are numbing their reality (reality = a web of past and present experiences). It's all about moderation. Period. The addictive personality will always lead to social, psychic, mental and/or physical harm if it partakes in an addiction (whether healthy or harmful)... The problem we face is not the chemicals, catalysts, or activities used for recreation, escape, numbing out, socializing, seeking enlightenment, etc (those have existed for eons as discussed in the entheogenic topic). We are facing a crisis of debauchery and gluttony (especially in Wester culture), addictive personalities, escapism, and a world where people are not taught or learn how to handle their own psyches, problems, and realities (past and present). We have become a society of escapism and excuses through Zoloft, Marlboro, strip malls, deep fried everything, the Joneses, and television. The problem is not alcohol or drugs. The problems are individual and personal; the addiction to escapism is often the primary toxin. Ever notice a large number of those rehabing alcoholics have a pack-a-day habit and can't put the coffee down and always want to talk about what's bothering them even if you're dosing off? They often replace one dangerous addiction with available or "acceptable" addictions that still cause physical, mental and psychic harm to the user and those around them. ****FWIW: Alcohol in moderation has been proven healthy (moderation = 1-3 average beverages [especially wine] a day)... So, please don't snap your fingers just yet!

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-07T11:41:41-06:00
ID
103748
Comment

On the note of Zen and drugs. Nearly all first-generation Zen practitioners in America and Western culture "dropped out" and were led to the (non-)practice of Zen. As LSD guru and Zen Buddhist Alan Watts said, "Once you get the message, you hang up the phone." He was speaking of transcendental drug use (if I remember correctly). Regardless of how they found the Path, many still use(d) mind-altering chemicals (organic and synthetic) and mostly advocated their use in a strict, disciplined manner. Ordained Zen priest Peter Matthiessen said: "...Those psychedelic years seem far away; I neither miss them nor regret them. Drugs can clear away the past, enhance the present; toward the inner garden, they can point the way... Lacking the temper of ascetic discipline, the drug vision remains a sort of dream that cannot be brought over into daily life." Another interesting quote... "Drugs can be seen as flight simulators for the bardo (the Buddhist word for the intermediate state between death and rebirth)" -- Erik Davis, Buddhist and author of Techgnosis. The reasons chronos mentions are accurate for those practitioners that do not advocate enhancing/altering reality for enlightenment. There's a lot to be said about the disciplined use of psychoactive chemicals. It is theorized and there is anecdotal evidence of amazing psychic, psychological, and life-altering transformations made within one "trip" when induced and controlled by a skilled guru, shaman, psychotherapist, etc. Back in the day... I've seen and read of people facing their own addictions and battling them within 2-6hrs (chronos used the dragon anecdote)... Completely changed. I've seen/read of people battling their "issues" and leaving transformed and less weighted by them. Also, I've read where some claim diseases were cleansed as a result of a psychic experience on a psychoactive "trip" guided by a skilled practitioner. In theory and if in the right hands, pyschoactive chemicals are far more potent than hypnotherapy or a daily, controlled dosage of pharmaceuticals since the user can literally become unhinged from the reality he/she has created in their own head (not the shared reality we all experience) and guided into a subtle and slightly different reality that is far healthier. Imagine skipping all those therapy sessions for one quick "trip" to the psychotherapist or shaman. I still think all drugs should be legal and controlled like alcohol and cigarettes. The comments and quotes posted by Todd about prohibition summarize many valid reasons for the legalization.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-07T11:43:29-06:00
ID
103749
Comment

But alcohol is so readily available, was so widely imbibed and so easy to produce, that I think similar laws against, e.g., cocaine and crystal meth might actually have the intended effect. The issue with Prohibition was not the weakness of the government, but rather the strength of alcohol, not only from an addiction point of view, but also (perhaps primarily) from a cultural point of view. Banning alcohol in America would have been like banning marijuana at Woodstock. According to the Cato study quoted, alcohol consumption dropped immediately after Prohibition and then trended upward until it was about to surpass pre-Prohibition levels when Prohibition was lifted. Through that time, less potent forms were more expensive, while the more potent forms were used with greater frequency, in part because the illegality of the substance favored more potent (and thus more easily hidden and more densely profitable) alcohols. And I don't know that there's evidence that prohibited alcohol was more or less readily available during Prohibition than drugs are during our current prohibition...recall that extraordinary organized crime machines were required to make that alcohol available. So, the question is, why would today's prohibited drugs be any different? After all, alcohol was not always the cultural lubricant that it is today -- after all, Prohibition passed as a Constitutional Amendment. :-) There were certainly some folks against it. I guess the logic problem here is, even if we assume that there's a smaller proportion of illicit drug users in this country now than there were illicit alcohol users during Prohibition, why does it necessarily follow that the drug laws are keeping a significantly *higher proportion* of people from using drugs than the Prohibition laws kept from using alcohol?

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-07T12:03:08-06:00
ID
103750
Comment

Knol writes: Tom, I hope you're not saying alcohol is the core reason most are in AA? That's exactly what I'm saying. There may be more fundamental causes that lead people to alcohol in many cases, but I've also seen ostensibly happy, functional people get their lives shot to hell because they just like to drink and the habit sneaks up on them. Whatever the root causes may be, the vehicle is alcohol. Please don't misunderstand the finger-snapping thing: I'm not saying I would support a ban on alcohol. That's draconian, unenforceable, etc. I'm saying that if I could somehow metaphysically alter the state of the world so that alcohol was not available to anybody, I think it'd be a better place. It'd be sad for the many people who do enjoy drinking in moderation (and certainly moderate drinking can be good for a person's heart, among other things), but I think it would save so incredibly many lives that the cost:benefit analysis would bear it out. I feel similarly about guns. Re the effectiveness of illegal drugs as therapy: Not saying it can't work, especially within the context of indigenous cultures, but personally, I'd recognize a good regime of therapy and/or controlled, manufactured psychiatric drugs. I especially wouldn't recommend alcohol--an addictive, judgment-impairing depressant--as a therapeutic mood-altering drug, which is how many people use it. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-07T15:06:34-06:00
ID
103751
Comment

recognize --> recommend

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-07T15:07:18-06:00
ID
103752
Comment

Where I grew up in Winston County, corn whisky was the only mind-altering substance poor folks had access to. It was everywhere. My relatives and the poor whites nearby made and sold corn whiskey for a living, if you can beleive that since the county was dry and alcohol was prohibited. The old men had a habit of taking children with them as they made a transports to Philadelphia, Noxapater, Kosciusko and so on. My dad and uncles got stopped once, and the police couldn't find the whiskey. My little brother, just as the police were about to leave, said "the whiskey is under the hood." They all got arrested and had to pay fines. Even funnier than the above, my uncle P. B. would get drunk every two or three days, come to my grandmother's house afterward, then pray to God about how bad corn whiskey was. I remember his bi or tri-weekly prayer being something like this, "Lord, I know this stuff is bad; I don't know why I keep dranking it, but I swear if you just get me over this drunk, I'll never drank another drop again. Lord, please, you know me, I'm P. B., please, please, help me get over this drunk." This sad outcry used to crack us children up with laughter. Uncle Pete never conquered corn whiskey but did eventually learn to drank less of it. Alcoholism is not as bad in my old country neighborhood now as when I was a child. Crack cocaine has now taken over and seems more plentiful than alcohol used to be. Initially, I couldn't believe that crack had reached every nook and cranny, even in the deep, deep country. But it has. I can't see how prohibition made any difference.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-07T15:47:38-06:00
ID
103753
Comment

Funny story Ray. Even this non-believer has said a similar prayer. ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-07T16:00:34-06:00
ID
103754
Comment

Even this non-believer has said a similar prayer Yeah, but mine usually includes something about making the room stop spinning.... I'm with Knol on the idea that people cause these problems...not the substances. People need to take responsibility for themselves and their lives. Its hard to beat, but it can be done. Addicts are addicts. There will always be something that can get them into trouble. Are we going to outlaw shopping? Or gambling? Or EVERYTHING that people do to take themselves out of their own head for a few minutes? It seems to be the drugs have come to symbolize the disease...the disease being something called "the human condition" Or maybe I'm just philosophical today....;) I absolutely loving this discussion...just reading it.

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-07T16:27:41-06:00
ID
103755
Comment

I have a question... How come the idea to legalize marijuana or other drugs is primarily seen as a "liberal" idea when, technically, true conservatives believe in less government control. I've never actually heard that reasoning before. And, I can't come up with one...other than morally...and that's shite when it comes to law.

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-07T16:32:02-06:00
ID
103756
Comment

Beacuse a liberal will say marijuana should be legalized. A conservative won't say it and will say the opposite; but the conservative will use and consume far more marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol than any liberal. I'm convinced most conservatives are phonies, frauds, hypocrites. This has been my experience far and wide, and is by and large, the reason I have little or no respect for most conservatives.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-07T16:50:10-06:00
ID
103757
Comment

Interesting that hypocrisy comes up -- as it should in an intellectually honest conversation about the drug war (or abortion, or even the death penalty). I hate hypocrisy. I find nothing more weasely, for instance, than "upstanding" white citizens who push the drug war and go hide on the weekends and smoke pot with their buddies. Or people who are against abortion because it's "murder" and then don't give a damn about the kids once they're born. (I respect anti-abortion folks who also believe in taking care of the poor, for what it's worth.) Or—and I thought about this on the death penalty thread but didn't post yet—the hypocrisy of those who are so pro-death penalty ("fry the bastards!") including years after a juvenile committed a murder, but then can't lift an eyebrow about old civil rights murders. And, yes, real "conservatives" are against the drug war. And should favor abortion rights and be against any laws designed to govern what two consenting adults decide to do with each other. Real "conservatives" want their government out of the way. But all these parlor conservatives want the government out of their way, but telling people they don't agree with what to do. Now I'm not a real conservative, because I believe that government must play a role in a civilized, free society. However, I'm more conservative in the pure sense than a lot of the posers, that's for sure.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-12-07T17:07:28-06:00
ID
103758
Comment

Isn't that a little harsh for this discussion? You seem very angry. I don't think ali wanted a criticism and it isn't entirely neccesary for personal opinions. Based on others' political views or stances. I have never understood why people want government to control something that cannot be controlled (dems or reps). open the flood gates let all the importers and dealers rush to compete, there would be less competition after awhile and then there would be 420 importers and half baked papers etc etc. There would be a deficit of jobs from all the unemployed who started hustlin. Legal marijuana is the fix all for america. What does Merle haggard think about that? We know what willie (nelson) thinks. Ali I agree true conservatives do want less government control, I am not sure what the justification is on why they should try to control it, it seems socialist, i'm not saying the C word again, when compared to true conservatives. However they are unwavering on the issue, up until recently because of the "values" that are inherent in fighting weed. The other drugs are not even considered, and probably for good reason. But people are making steps to alleviate the troubles the country has brough upon itself in trying to fight something that it craves.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2005-12-07T17:08:10-06:00
ID
103759
Comment

FYI, Superstar and I doubled-posted. I don't believe he's talking to me, at least this time. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-12-07T17:09:40-06:00
ID
103760
Comment

correct that was directed at ray I read it when i realized you had beaten me to it, just for clarification

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2005-12-07T17:12:26-06:00
ID
103761
Comment

I should add that, although his words are a bit harsh, they are very often true, at least in neo-conservatives and the loud Republicans who are pushing moral buttons in order to get votes while they're saying their toking for the weekends. I truly, truly cannot imagine pretending to be someone I'm not in order to win votes. What a gross way to spend one's life.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-12-07T17:14:25-06:00
ID
103762
Comment

How come the idea to legalize marijuana or other drugs is primarily seen as a "liberal" idea when, technically, true conservatives believe in less government control. I've never actually heard that reasoning before. And, I can't come up with one...other than morally...and that's shite when it comes to law. Well, some "true conservatives," at least according to one definition, are liberatarians, and most of them are for drug legalization, if only because they tend to dig the same kind of free market (or at least somewhat-regulated market) argument that I've been presenting in this thread. And, for the record, a lot of liberatarians are pro-choice and are at least against overcrowding our jails and/or stomping on people's individual rights. Most of them would be against my belief that we need to provide universal healthcare in this country to keep us competitive in the global economy, so hey, it's not like I'm batting a thousand. :-) I think the "conservatives" that Ali is talking about tend to be more moralistic traditionalists -- and, frankly, a lot of liberals who feel that it's "the right thing" to keep drugs away from individuals. There's also a *lot* of money to be made in prohibition for everyone from defense contractors to chemical companies to big pharma to the other "sins" like alcohol and tobacco. Indeed, it's exactly this sort of dilemma that makes the left <---> right spectrum so maddening. Where does a pro-legalization, pro-individual rights, anti-daddy-state conservative fit on that spectrum? Right of George Bush? Left of Bill Clinton?!

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-07T17:26:03-06:00
ID
103763
Comment

Ali writes: How come the idea to legalize marijuana or other drugs is primarily seen as a "liberal" idea when, technically, true conservatives believe in less government control. I basically second Ray on this one, with an extra rant, free of charge... Sad truth is that conservatives as the term exists today do not necessarily believe in less government control. They believe in less fiscal control (low taxes, laissez-faire corporate regulations, etc.), and the true old-school Goldwaterian conservatives are still pretty libertarian, but the conservative movement as it is right now is all about using Congress to morally condemn any behavior that does not fall within the acceptable public parameters of a conventional white upper-class Protestant lifestyle--women's liberation, racial integration, abortion, gay and lesbian relationships, and, of course, marijuana. Social conservatives tend to believe that all of this is okay to do as long as it's done in private, with society's Wagging Finger of Shame looming overhead. That's why if abortion is ever (God forbid) banned, you're not going to see much actual prosecution of backalley abortions, and why the sodomy law, even though it was on the books for decades, was almost never enforced except as a secondary charge in sexual assault cases. And that's also why so many anti-feminist conservative families feature man-children hugging the ankles of matriarchal dominatrices, why the greatest homophobes are also some of the greatest hush-hush lays (or so I've been told), and why nobody loves his doobie like an anti-drug crusader. Re the other stuff: I'll freely admit to a bias on the alcohol question, but I don't buy the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" theory. Not when it's applied to guns, not when it's applied to drugs. All street drugs are either deliberately manufactured or carefully selected on the basis of their addictiveness and their capacity to screw around with people's brain chemistry. Now, gambling does present some of the same problems, so the question then becomes: Do I oppose gambling? Not across the board, but I'm not overwhelmingly fond of casinos, and once I had time to think about it, I agreed that putting one in west Jackson would be a really bad idea. And I think that having so many liquor stores in west Jackson is also probably a really bad idea, for much the same reason. Truth is that we're interdependent, not autonomous; personal responsibility is very close to being an oxymoron because everyone's behavior is determined, in large part, by the environment others present; and so while I believe in treating people like adults up to a point, I think that the idea of pure adulthood, where someone is completely competent to make his or her own decisions without the influence of others, is probably a myth. We all need a little help, a little guidance, maybe occasionally a month of rehab. And we shouldn't completely trust ourselves, much less each other, not to get addicted to something and screw up our lives with it. Verily, verily I say unto you: I am a potential crack addict. I've never touched the stuff, but I know I'm not immune. I'm clean and sober because I have too many people watching out for me to get away with being anything else, but make no mistake: Put me alone with no social support network, in a dark alley, and a guy walks up and offers me something that will feel unspeakably great, that will make all the pain go away...I'd probably take it. And call me crazy, but I think under sufficiently desperate circumstances, anybody would. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-07T17:27:07-06:00
ID
103764
Comment

I just ate twenty pieces of cheap chocolate Christmas candy and, damnit, if some of the foil on one piece didn't just get caught in a "chocolate fold" and then I bit into it...causing that nice little jolt in your head that is kinda what I think it's like to see Brad Pitt in person. Thanks for explaining that. I am the Queen of somewhat "strange and stupid" questions.

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-07T18:05:25-06:00
ID
103765
Comment

I certainly didn't mean to offend Ali. I'm a big fan of her. Otherwise, I wouldn't read her articles and make comments to her. I've been thinking for a while that I should do some reading on what a real conservative is. I've known, worked with, and interacted with many people who labeled themselves as conservatives. I'm yet to see or know any of them whose actions truly tract what they preach or vote on issues such as drugs, abortion, and many other hot issues. And I'm looking zealously and carefully for the truth, too. I'm not angry. I'm kind of straighforward, however. A flaw in the eyes of some.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-07T18:05:46-06:00
ID
103766
Comment

Um, I actually wasn't offended at all by what you said Ray. ;) At least, I wasn't supposed to take all that personally, was I? Because I didn't. I thought you had a good, while strong :), point

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-07T18:08:01-06:00
ID
103767
Comment

Ray, I think that comment would only offend hypocritical conservatives, and they know who they are. If they'll admit it. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-12-07T18:28:16-06:00
ID
103768
Comment

Here's your psychedelic reading guide for those interested. http://www.tripzine.com/pit/

Author
herman
Date
2005-12-07T23:39:07-06:00
ID
103769
Comment

Another few links that may be of interest to *some*: Erowid

Lycaeum

Stanislav Grof at Erowid --created something called Holotropic Breathwork, which facilitates the same kinds of profound experiences as many psychotropics but through intensive breathwork and soundscapes rather than through ingesting substances.

Huston Smith, author of both Cleansing the Doors of Perception, The Soul of Christianity, and many others. One of the world's most talented scholars on mysticism and religious experience.

And regardless of where you stand on any of these topics, if you really want to read a powerful, informative, gripping, and entertaining book on this whole subject, check out Daniel Pinchbeck's work Breaking Open the Head. Originally an atheist, he writes a great book about mysticism and consciousness and our society.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-08T10:46:00-06:00
ID
103770
Comment

Oh, okay. One more. This guy's work is truly something. A very interesting read indeed. DMT is the active compound within ayahuasca (found in nature) which, as I shared earlier, "links up" with the pre-existing compound of the same material that is in our own brain (naturally). He calls it the "spirit molecule"... Rick Strassman is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-08T10:53:19-06:00
ID
103771
Comment

chronos, I don't mean to diss your experiences at all. They may have been epistemologically valid; how on earth would I know? But what this essentially boils down to is an issue of sacramental theology. Some people say that the Eucharist is an intrinsically sacred event: the Body and Blood are blessed, the Words of Institution are holy, the priest stands in a sacred place as an intermediary for the divine, and partaking in this transubstantiated or consubstantiated food is tantamount, whenever it is done in good faith, to receiving the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. I never bought that for a second. I have no doubt hat some people experience this kind of effect, but I don't believe the event itself is sacred. In other words, I do not believe that the sacred can be invoked. Religious experience, in most cases where I am able to recognize it as genuine, reminds me more of that line from the Leonard Cohen song "Anthem": "Every heart, every heart, to love will come -- but like a refugee." The bottom line is that I don't believe that human beings can go around invoking Ultimate Reality at will. That purports to place human beings in control of the divine, which is always a dangerous belief because it leads to things like arrogance, suicide cults, and random declarations of war against Middle Eastern nations. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-08T16:29:25-06:00
ID
103772
Comment

Channel 12 News at noon time reported on some study which says mairjuana helps with muscle injuries or problems. The Smoking Gun is reporting a story where New Yorkers were getting their premium marijuana delivered to their doorsteps before the mean folks at DEA busted up a six year old pot ring that called itself the Cartoon Network. The Cartoon Network had thousands of metropolitan customer buying Canadian-grown hydroponic chronic packaged in clear containers. My guess is that these customers weren't any poor, common liberal buying dope, but I could be wrong. Many of my law school acquaintances claimed marijuana enhanced them intellectually and sexually. I never beleved any of them because all I saw of them were average grades and none could keep a woman. Maybe this stuff is good for you. Perhaps when I'm retired and ain't got nothing to live for, I'll finally try it. Smile.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-08T17:24:50-06:00
ID
103773
Comment

this has been one of the best discussions i've seen on here i agree with legalizing marijuana myself. (i'm still debating on other drugs, but can really see no reason NOT to make mushrooms legal.) does anyone know if there's been any studies done to study the effects legalizing marijuana has had on other societies around the world that have done so? i mean, as far as i know, the countries that HAVE legalized it haven't fallen into a cesspool of addicts and lawlessness

Author
William Patrick Butler
Date
2005-12-08T18:41:29-06:00
ID
103774
Comment

Those who feel it, know it.--Bob Marley TH said:>chronos, I don't mean to diss your experiences at all. They may have been epistemologically valid; how on earth would I know? But what this essentially boils down to is an issue of sacramental theology. --Tom. I don't feel dissed. --In essence, I am an open-minded skeptic (I gotta see it, or more importantly feel it, to believe it, but I'm also willing to get out from behind the desk, stretch beyond my comfort zone, and put myself into situations where I *might* see it, so to speak). That is what I've always appreciated about the Buddhadharma...in its loosest interpretation, because it never asks people to accept or believe anything on blind faith, but instead to TEST it, against the litmus test of one's own experience to see whether or not it adheres to or comes to the same conclusions and insights as a lineage or tradition. But, to use a metaphor from the Shambhala tradition, to experience fearlessness we have to push beyond the membrane of whatever warm and fuzzy cocoon we may have built around ourselves. Psychotropics is only ONE of the ways I've sought to do that in my own life, but developmentally I feel I have moved beyond that particular path and find "it" whatever "it" is, mostly in other ways now. But, from the ground of those earlier experiences I can say there was value. --I also don't feel dissed because I know you have made a decision not to engage in any sort of exploration in this domain and I respect that a great deal. But, knowing that you've made that decision, I also know that where that leaves the discussion, ultimately, is me not being able to convey what I've experienced or seen (or what I've come to believe to be true about this domain---which would probably be rather Jungian in tone and I know you have reservations about that perspective too); and, in turn, it leaves you in a position of only being able to make an assessment or comment from the outside-looking-in based on a certain set of filters and biases. --I don't mean that as an insult, just stating a fact, much like it would be if I were going to attempt to try to make an assessment of childbirth, or the sense experiences of someone who had swam with whales. I can try to imagine what it *might* be like, but ultimately I just simply CAN'T know what childbirth is like, and unless I'm willing to don the gear, learn how to scuba dive, and likewise be willing to move beyond my fear of sharks!!! ;)...then I will never know what it is like, really, to explore the reality of the blue depths, nor have encounters with its inhabitants.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-08T20:55:39-06:00
ID
103775
Comment

>>>Some people say that the Eucharist is an intrinsically sacred event: the Body and Blood are blessed, the Words of Institution are holy, the priest stands in a sacred place as an intermediary for the divine, and partaking in this transubstantiated or consubstantiated food is tantamount, whenever it is done in good faith, to receiving the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. I never bought that for a second. --Well, I'm with you there, but I think a lot of Christians would be right there with you, who are not Literalists, but who would relate to the situation liturgically and symbolically, in a vein of psychic reference points along the contemplative way. I can't really speak to it, since I'm not a Christian, but let's just say...I know a LOT of Christians who are not Literalists. --In terms of psychotropics and "the sacramental" and, perhaps, even about Intelligent Design and Creationism vs. Evolution...I think I might fall into my very own camp here. Where I fall is that I do acknowledge an "intelligent design" but an intelligent design that has evolved and is evolving (read: a pattern in nature and in the flow of energy on the planet and in our own bodies and consciousness, expressed from the microscopic to the galactic, which is ever-changing, self-correcting, in process)...but I'm just not a very strong proponent in an "intelligent designer," so to speak. So, my experiences in the realm of psychotropics haven't been so much related to a sacramental theology (as tribal shamans do), but my experiences have been more along the lines of a dynamic, visceral, holistic, and full-bodied (even cellular) recognition of the "intelligent design" itself....meaning the patterns, the energy, and the energy of the "Great Pattern," as I think of it. Not once in this thread have I mentioned God, because Tao or Dharmakaya would be the closest terms I could insert for my own perceptions, but the Great Pattern could work just as easily. >>In other words, I do not believe that the sacred can be invoked. --I think before I could comment on that I had have to know what you mean by "sacred"...what you find sacred...what you feel is sacred. >>>The bottom line is that I don't believe that human beings can go around invoking Ultimate Reality at will. That purports to place human beings in control of the divine, which is always a dangerous belief because it leads to things like arrogance, suicide cults, and random declarations of war against Middle Eastern nations. --All of the latter instances you mention here denote a presence of ego, in the Buddhist sense. The most that I can say is that I do believe the sacred can be invoked (though we may mean different things by this term), but that in order for such a transpersonal experience to be brought about (facilitated) through human invocation it requires what the Lakota refer to as a "hollow bone"....a person without ego, agenda, who is a clear conduit for_____________. If they aren't that, then they aren't. If they are, then what do we call that? I agree with you that the strategizing nature of the ego has to be removed from the process, but that is the path isn't it? Learning to get out of our own way, to enter into relationship with something greater than oneself. --As Malidoma Some, a West African Dagara shaman once said: "We perform the ritual the way that we do because it was taught to us by those elders who are particularly free of themselves. Through their tempered and practiced presence we learn for ourselves how to become such a human being that can be in partnership with those powers that are not bound up in the dramas of the human world."

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-08T20:55:54-06:00
ID
103776
Comment

p.s. I agree with you. I don't believe any human beings are in control of the divine. There are some, however, and some cultures in particular, who have managed to learn how to be in very good partnership with it.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-08T21:02:44-06:00
ID
103777
Comment

Pat, agreed on marijuana; I think we do need to go on and legalize that stuff, despite the hazards, simply because (a) It's not a hard drug (I don't think people are going around holding up convenience stores to get their marijuana fix all that often), (b) We don't really have much evidence about its negative effects, and (c) Half the country seems to be smoking it anyway, so the ban is clearly unenforceable. chronos, I keep thinking we end up clashing in areas where we're really quite similar just because your vocabulary is Jungian and mine is secular humanist. Hmm. I think part of the problem may be that I'm skeptical about the existence of a pure "hollow bone." I don't know if I believe in total enlightenment, in practice. This is one of the reasons why I would make a terrible Buddhist. So I don't much believe in divine conduits. I am what Chogyam Trungpa would probably call a spiritual materialist in that I think the main value of religion is its ability to increase our capacity for love, for understanding, for peace, for hope, but I'm not sure there's a process other than that. I'm not even completely convinced on the existence of an afterlife. So it would be very hard for me to say that something is invoked in practice when I'm not even sure that it can be invoked in theory. Re the Eucharist: Worth mentioning that I receive quite often myself, and generally describe myself as a liberal Christian or, if I'm feeling really catty, a neo-Christian (though I don't object if folks argue with the label; I will admit to being both very secular and very syncretic). So I, too, see an awful lot of value in the Eucharist as a conduit for sacred experiences--just not as a conduit for pure divinity or divine power. Religion, to me, is ultimately about humanity, not about God. It is, to paraphrase Whitehead, what a person does with her solitariness. It is religio--the act of binding together. Or to borrow an idea from the man who has become my dissertation topic, Rabbi Max Kadushin, religion is the means of achieving a proper mindset of reverent worship and maintaining a proper standard of reverent worship within the context of normal mysticism, or the subtle experiences of the profound that are without doctrinal meaning but are central to the normal valuational life. [continued]

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-09T00:10:07-06:00
ID
103778
Comment

I see immense value in mystical experience for this reason, and in fact will hopefully have an announcement soon on a book I will be writing myself in the general area of religion/spirituality. But do I buy into visions and locutions and all that? I'm not saying I disbelieve in it, but I don't really believe in it, either. I just don't see why God, if a personal God is at the center of all this, would act in this way. It seems to me that a loving God would be more likely to appear to people in normal moments of great joy or pain than to someone who has specifically learned techniques by which to contact God, and practiced them over a period of years. I have, in other words, a spirituality of the common. I do not believe that my years of study, my attempts to learn Hebrew, Sanskrit, and Japanese, my Ph.D. work, the books I've written or will write, or even my personal experiences with mysticism and spirituality will bring me any closer to God. What might? Comforting a grieving friend. Feeding the hungry. Making a cat purr, a baby smile. Those experiences reduce my religion scholarship to so much sophistry, so much pretense, so much navel-gazing, so much masturbation, because they are the stuff of life--and the only worth I really see in myself, the only real meaning I think my existence has, is in what I am for others. I look to Gandhi, to King, to Heschel, and that's what I try--and generally fail--to model my religious life after. Does this mean that the Buddha, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, Rumi, Sri Shankaracharya, all the great poets and mystics--does this mean that I'm saying they did not have valid experiences of the divine? Of course not. I could never make that determination. There are a thousand roads up this mountain. And certainly there are people--your history shows that you're one of them--who integrate these practices in astonishing and complementary ways. But to make a long story short, I think that in a 21st-century American context, it is almost never a good idea for someone to take psychedelic substances in search of the divine because it damages their capacity to be present for others. Does this mean that it's a bad idea always and everywhere? Heavens, no, and I apologize if I said anything that indicated as much. That would be the worst kind of religious provincialism. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-09T00:10:19-06:00
ID
103779
Comment

"maintaining a proper standard of reverent worship" --> "living an ethical life." Ick. That sentence ate its own tail and then vomited.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-09T00:12:42-06:00
ID
103780
Comment

On the flip side, just because I don't use any psychedelics doesn't mean that I don't appreciate psychedelia. I connect in a very basic way with absurdism and magical realism--and delightful little web cartoons like this one (enable audio): http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/ptikobj/ http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/magical+trevor/ http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/magical+trevor+2/ http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/magical+trevor+3/ An old friend of mine, who had experimented with drugs an awful lot in the seventies, once told me that I was the most psychedelic non-drug user he'd ever met. Took it as a huge compliment. I do believe in making the mind flexible, breaking down conventional thought patterns. I just don't try to use drugs to get there. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-09T04:38:27-06:00
ID
103781
Comment

"The bottom line is that I don't believe that human beings can go around invoking Ultimate Reality at will. That purports to place human beings in control of the divine, which is always a dangerous belief because it leads to things like arrogance, suicide cults, and random declarations of war against Middle Eastern nations." - Tom Tom, I'm not a guru nor an active user of pyschedelics but can say it's not for you to believe if you don't wish to. Think of it this way.... You get your spiritual fix through your own belief patterns. Just as people can find spiritual growth through tools such as church, reading, writing, communication, and experience, another can find growth using tools such as peyote, mushrooms, LSD, etc. To enrich beliefs, people use tools to develop relationships with their spiritual reality. It may be church where priests, preachers, etc commonly invoke god(s). It may be prayer, a way in which people feel they speak directly with god(s). It may be through meditation where some feel they become one with Nothingness or shed their own realities. It may be an eight hour session of sweating and chanting in a dark room to tribal drums infused with incense. The tools invoke a feeling of oneness with the essence the user seeks. "Religion is the opiate of the masses." Marx said it all. To say that drugs are less than or unequivocal than, say, a Bible or church in the power to invoke a higher power is a statement of faith rather than fact. A statement based on your own faith and not the faith of the Buddhist that respectfully trips on controlled psychedelics or a pagan that spins wildly on mushrooms at a gathering. Even the Dervishes have their own psychedlic (though completely physical and natural) method of invoking what they feel is a higher power. Ever whirled in controlled circles for 30mns+? Reality shifts from under your feet, nausea kicks in, the brain reels, and you begin to detach from your self-induced reality. I will say from my own experiences in the distant past when first experiencing Buddhism, being on my own, and exposure to drugs, the liberation of seeing natural fractals and patterns in nature and detaching from one's self-induced reality is deeply, mind-boggling, rich with insight, and liberating to the point of ecstasy. Am I suggesting people run out and "drop out", buy a sheet of LSD, "pop some caps" or light some opium? Hardly. I saw too many people "lose their minds" because they used chemicals to party rather than grow. I am saying it can be a vehicle or tool used for unimagineable growth and for exposing weakness. But being the devil's advocate that I am, I am saying it is impossible for one to say the methods of invoking a different spiritual reality, entity, or higher plane are cut-and-dry since it's all a statement of faith. Legalize the drugs and teach and honor responsibility in adults. If it happens, a powerful system of education on the dangers of each chemical BEYOND incarceration is necessary and required. Restriction and prohibition are far more dangerous. Ask the "abstinence-only" victims that were never taught about condoms and STD transmission how they feel about restriction and prohibition of information and acts since they are far more likely to have an STD than a well-taught and educated person on the topic of sex.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-09T08:03:43-06:00
ID
103782
Comment

Tom said:>>I keep thinking we end up clashing in areas where we're really quite similar just because your vocabulary is Jungian and mine is secular humanist. --We were clashing? :) Geez. I just thought we were having a good Dublin slam dance! ;) I think we probably agree on a great deal more than we disagree, but it also helps me to know now that you are a secular humanist. That explains a lot to me. --I find the Jungian template helpful in some cases, but like all models it has its limitations. But, I find the perspective of the archetypal and collective unconscious to be a helpful filter to slide over a peer through, most especially when entertaining mysticism on a global scale. Tom said:>>Hmm. I think part of the problem may be that I'm skeptical about the existence of a pure "hollow bone." --Ah, ha. Now that's an interesting statement. Are there perfect humans walking around that don't have ANY issues? Might be a few, but I don't know any (especially the one that makes faces at me in the mirror each morning), and, frankly, I doubt there are very many. On the other hand, are there very accomplished spiritual practitioners/facilitators who are exemplary "hollow bones." Yes. I can attest to that, from personal experience. African. Japanese. Tibetan. Shinto. Buddhist. Christian. Shamans. Irish backcountry wizard-clowns. Tom said:>>I am what Chogyam Trungpa would probably call a spiritual materialist in that I think the main value of religion is its ability to increase our capacity for love, for understanding, for peace, for hope, but I'm not sure there's a process other than that. --Actually, I think I know what you mean, or what you're trying to say here, but what Rinpoche actually meant by a spiritual materialist was someone who adopted spirituality or religion as a means of further entrenching the ego or puffing up one's self-importance; someone who glommed onto a spiritual tradition, took on its paraphrenalia, but never penetrated to the depth of its practice (which tends to unstitch all such notions). He called the spiritual materialist a "spiritual window shopper," who might get lost in all the spiritual trappings, etc., but who often missed the whole point of the path. -- Ken Wilber aligned with this view when he said, "The ego is psychologically savvy. It can even take on spiritual practices designed to dismantle the ego and utilize them to propogate itself." This, in the end, is why Trungpa's book is actually entitled Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. Caution: Be careful if you read that book. It's a serious ass-kicking. --He would also agree with you, as do I, that the point...like the REAL point....of the variuos paths is love, peace, understanding (what the Shambhala teachings refer to as enlightened society), but I think he'd probably see the presence of the word "hope" in your list as a red flag that the ego (views of an isolated sense of self) had some fixed idea of what reality should be and was, therefore, hoping for it... --TH, you might find his book Shambhala of interest, precisely because it is a secular vision, one might even say humanist. Yeah. In fact, I'd be real interested in your experience of reading that one closely.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T10:49:17-06:00
ID
103783
Comment

Knol. Some real nuggets in your post. I appreciate your perspective, as it sounds hard-earned, sculpted...

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T10:52:09-06:00
ID
103784
Comment

To shift the topic slightly, given Todd's questions regarding legalization, what are people's thoughts about those instances in the U.S. when Federal and State drug policies regarding possession and use are relaxed, such as Madison's Harvest Fest and, of course, Burning Man? Could these microcosmic experiments in human community and marijuana possession/use be potential control-groups for assessing what possession/use might look like in other demographics? Even though I don't smoke marijuana, I just find it personally fascinating, and mildly satisfying, to hear a friend's account from Madison where he lit up and stood there smoking a whole joint, all the while having a discussion with one of the street cops about the whole subject. Even the cop felt like legalization was probably a good idea in the case of marijuana because he said he didn't feel like it could be equated with the other hard drugs, which he felt DID or DO lead to crime, like crack. Of course, nothing compares to the clothing optional, out in the open, societal law-trascendent reality of Burning Man, but...it seems like there is very little crime associated with these examples, whereas the largely alcohol-driven Mardi Gras is known for its fair share of crime. Thoughts?

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T11:32:48-06:00
ID
103785
Comment

The Clarion Ledger is reporting today that a lawyer, a public defender, from Marion County was arrested after leaving a drug house and being found in possession of marijuana. Drugs as a relacement for or as an enlightenment to spirituality has always confounded me. I remember Maurice, a very bright science student, asking me while plastered out of his mind on weed, LSD, or whatever, if I had ever seen God. I immediately asked him if he had ever seen God while sober and clean and he said no, so I told him to get the f___ out of my face then. I have also met others who, for whatever reason, can't accept Christianity as a valid source of spirituality. A large prtion of those people used and abused drugs and alcohol. Very few, if any, seemed to have any joy and peace while sober and clean. I question whether they had any joy and peace while high and drunk as well? The study of and belief in Christianity poses lots of questions that no one seems to be able to universally answer to everyone's satisfaction. I have questions too, but I rather digest faith than any drugs or alcohol. Perhaps some of these very good and bright writers can share with us some good and wonderful things drug users or addicts have accomplished that no clean and sober people have?

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T11:57:24-06:00
ID
103786
Comment

Actually, I also read an article stating that a "closer watch" had been adopted in recent years by law enforcement who go to Burning Man because the number of people who move into the tent city is up to 25,000, so I'm not sure how "out in the open" possession is, technically...

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T11:59:48-06:00
ID
103787
Comment

Ray...that thing on your shoulder, that's called a chip. And the tone of your post doesn't sound like dialogue. It sounds like baiting. Re-state your question and I might answer it.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T12:02:43-06:00
ID
103788
Comment

Put another way, remove your anger and your bias, and there is a real question beneath your other question. State that question and I'm inclined to dialogue, but til then you've already closed your mind to hearing anything.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T12:16:16-06:00
ID
103789
Comment

Chronos I don't have a chip. Maybe I do have a chip on my shoulder about unnecessary drugs. I can't see how drugs are really any good except for medicinal reasons. It seems they're used to escape reality rather than deal with it. I even said I would vote to leagalize some of them despite my hatred for them. This doesn't sound like a chip to me. I have heard your argument many times. Why my simple question doesn't merit an answer. I do often bait but I'm not baiting now.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T12:20:55-06:00
ID
103790
Comment

Ray, addicts or users that have made wonderful accomplishments or additions to/for society: - Sigmund Freud (pyschology) used cocaine - William Burroughs (revolutionary and artist) used EVERYTHING - Lewis Carroll (author) suspected to have used opium and mushrooms - Salvadore Dali (artist) used hash - Charles Dickens (author) used opium - Ben Franklin (no explanation needed) used opium and marijuana - Al Gore and Newt Ginrich used marijuana - Ulysses Grant used alcohol and cocaine - Aldous Huxley (author) used mescaline - Thomas Jefferson used marijuana - Steve Jobs (revolutionized animation and computer GUIs via Pixar and Apple) used marijuana and LSD - John Keats (poet) used opium - Pope Leo XIII used cocaine - Picasso used opium - Cole Porter used cocaine and Elvis used pills - George Washington farmed marijuana and is suspected of using it. - Allen Watts (one of the most respected Zen philosophers in the West and the world) used LSD, marijuana, mescaline, psilocybin, dimethyl-tryptamine (DMT), and alcohol. I'm sure you could Google for days and find "greats" that used chemicals natural and synthesized. Those are the ones I know off the top of my head. I left out the HUGE list of beat poets that helped push the revolution of human rights and peaceful protest during the 50s and 60s -- many of whom joined hands with Blacks, women, and other minorities in their struggle for equality. I left out the HUGE list of doctors and psychologists that toyed with chemicals in the name of science, pleasure, and cure. There is a shockingly large list of "users" and "addicts" that are part of our world's collective history and have influenced everything from religion to philosophy to science to psychology to arts and society. Of course, many of these users used them when they weren't illegal or for that matter classified. Of course, this does not mean there aren't plenty of sober, clean, straight edge people that enhance those either. It also does not mean one has to use or abuse drugs to be great. If there's one thing I've learned, it is that you can not judge a person by their vices as long as they harm no other but themselves... It may simply be their path in this life. You can disagree with them, you can attempt to educate and enlighten but it is futile to assume they are hopeless, helpless, and/or without value because of the chemicals or habits in which they partake or based on your own set of values. Oh, not that these are necessarily "greats" in many people's eyes, I did forget Rush Limbaugh, George Bush Jr., Bill Clinton, and god knows how many others running our country, media, and world these days!

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-09T12:28:46-06:00
ID
103791
Comment

I might add Chronos that although I consider myself a Christian I'm not going to hate or mistreat another person because of their beliefs, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, or other stupid reasons. I get accused of missing the mark often on Christianity for not literally accepting everything that is written in the bible. I know all knowledge is not in that book. I also know that man wrote the Bible even if supposedly divinely inspired.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T12:30:41-06:00
ID
103792
Comment

But what is your real question? Are you asking whether someone who employed mind-altering substances ever came up with something good? And, do you not see what I mean by your tone and bias? You equate, again, someone who employs a substance ("drug user") with addict. Point in case, visit the link above about Stanislav Grof. The man is a genius who not only employed LSD himself in consciousness research, but established a method of LSD therapy that has been used with great success with schizophrenics. As a by-product of his consciousness research he developed theories in pre-and peri-natal psychology which have led into some truly cutting edge therapies that successfully address the psychological and somatic impact of birth trauma. He is but one individual who, from employing a mind-expanding substance under a certain set of conditions, was given deep insight into the human mind and, as a direct result, has created a number of non-drug induced methods of psychotherapy that have had verifiable success rates. And, I still think you were baiting.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T12:32:37-06:00
ID
103793
Comment

"I can't see how drugs are really any good except for medicinal reasons. It seems they're used to escape reality rather than deal with it." - Ray Ray, I don't see why religion is good... It starts wars, feeds bigotry and diviseness between "differences", it fuels duality (us v them), it attempts to overwrite science, and so many other personal reasons. But, you don't see me trying to illegalize personal use of it or organized cartels spreading it on the streets (a.k.a. churches and witnessing). You also won't catch me bashing an individaul for their specific, individual beliefs unless those beliefs damage other unassociated individuals/groups and cause harm. Oh, did I mention that religion, churches, and god(s) from my perspective are nothing but escapism that damages and riddles many with guilt, fear, dogmatic obsessiveness, hallucinations, and more? Interestingly, we have similar perspectives but involving different topics. You feel the same way about drugs that I feel about religion. But, I'm also willing to recognize that "good" has come from religion just as "good" has come from drugs. I'm also willing to recognize that religion and spirituality are not the same. Drugs and addiction are two different terms as well. Addiction applies to everything including food, religion, shopping for lip gloss (Ali?), pink boots (Donna?), technology, etc. So, it sounds to me as though your grudge applies more to addiction (which damages the psyche, mind, and body) than drugs alone. If you truly oppose drugs, you reject them all including BC powder, cancer treatments (though more of a poison than a drug), Prozac, Xanax, Zoloft, Valium... If we assume the logic that "recreational drugs" are bad because they damage and alter the psyche/mind/body, we must include all that damage the psyche/mind/body whether recreational, spiritual, or medicinal. Of course that's a rigid application of logic and I prefer fuzzy grey shades so I don't hold it to be completely solid. We'll probably never agree on this topic which makes explaining how mental, physical, and/or psychic "good" can come from a certain chemical all the more cumbersome and futile. Your initial approach of I don't understand and don't want to try it is far more personal and reasonable than claiming no good can be influenced by a drug user or drugs themselves. Goodness, you'd think I was an drug activist or something. I can see Melton knocking on my door now. Is hemp rope considered an illegal substance? ;-) Gotta run... My plane for Columbia's leaving. ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-09T12:53:02-06:00
ID
103794
Comment

Very good reply Knol. Yes, I know lots of respected people have used and abused drugs. I actually have a healthy respect for the ones who are honest about it. I also know we have lost many great and wonderful people to drug addiction such as Billie Holiday and Charlies Parker. Not to mention countless other well known and not known people. Again, I hope my grandchildren can find joy, completeness, fullfillment, satisfaction, and happiness absent drugs. Their parents met as a result of drugs. Chronos, I was biased against drugs long before this point. There were a boy named Paul in my class at Tougaloo who outperformed me in every class. He was always studying and smoking dope. I never passed his room and didn't smell marijuana. He had me wondering big time whether that marijuana was enhancing him in some way. I finally gave up trying to outperform him. To my great surprise, he didn't pursue any advance degree. I'd love to see how he eventually turned out. The last I heard he was selling cars in Houston, Texas.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T12:57:50-06:00
ID
103795
Comment

Well now Knol and chronos. I don't know where to start in responding to the last few posts. Let me start by saying my mind isn't as closed as you think it is. Even if no illegal drugs are in it. I did take some thereflu yesterday. Stanislav could have done all of that work without using drugs himself. Knol, I have also seen religion used for all the bad reasons you named above. But I don't use it for that and never will. Personally, I wouldn't push either on anybody. But I would willingly discuss either with anybody who desires it. This may throw you for a loop but I work with people who are proud atheists. We have to go to war together to save our troubled clients. I might add that I haven't had a client yet who wasn't using or abusing drugs or alcohol. This is besides the pont, however, and bait for another discussion. I watch my atheistic friends as our battle nears, and most often see nothing but fear and disbelief in their quest to overcome the opposition. I use Psalms 23 to push me forward despite the odds and obstacles. I know drug use and addiction arent the same, but they often end up being the same. I also know religion and spirituality aren't the same. Thanks for the lesson anyway. There are some fools who are against all drugs. I'm not one of them. Knol and Chronos, I bet we could make a one page list of the people who use illegal drugs for public good.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T13:45:49-06:00
ID
103796
Comment

Knol. You're the shit. Have a good "trip." ;)

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T14:00:15-06:00
ID
103797
Comment

Illegal drugs in the US, Canada, Europe (including the Netherlands), S. Africa, Ireland, Japan, where? See, that's the funny thing, illegal shifts as the culture itself shifts whether continental or psychological/sociological. Will illegal also include things like Ephedra? Will it also include unscheduled/unclassified plants like nutmeg and salvia? Do we count drug users who used drugs when they were unclassified but are now illegal? Who determines what illegal is since plants like salvia can have mind-wrenching effects and can be bought through the internet and even in some plant stores? Can we also create a list of DRUG USERS and ABUSERS that have done good in general? Those drugs might include marijuana, caffeine, nicotine, preservatives, cocaine, etc. If we're going to start that list, we should also define "good" which is completely subjective... I suspect we'd have three completely different lists and would argue the "good" found on each other's list with some agreement and a lot of disagreement. Personally, "good" is good whether the person uses a specific chemical or plant. People also do damage to their mind/body/pscyhe with or without drugs and alcohol. Hell, prolonged sun exposure as well as breathing oxygen is destructive in and of itself. Should we illegalize those too? Sorry, it's Friday and the absurdism is kicking in!

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-09T14:02:44-06:00
ID
103798
Comment

Oh, while we're creating lists, can we create one of all the non-drug using individuals that have done bad? Just curious. I suspect that one will be much longer than one page. ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-09T14:07:16-06:00
ID
103799
Comment

Ray. No offense. I just find your posts confusing sometimes. I don't quite know what your point really is when all is said and done, nor what the real meat and juice of your question is. Clearly you are against addiction. So am I. And, for the record, the holotropic breathwork I've mentioned before is precisely an innovation that Grof developed for expanded-mind experiences without the use of ingesting substances, so he would agree that people can have access to non-ordinary states of consciousness and spiritual experiences without the use of drugs. So do I. But I also know quite well that individuals can experience spiritual insight with substances and that is not equivalent to "escaping reality."

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T14:11:09-06:00
ID
103800
Comment

Knol, I have the same problems digesting your 1:05 post that I have when trying to digest and understand Miles Davis "Bithes Brew" album. I'm sober and clean. Glad Chronos is so impressed by you. You're obviously a good writer and smart person. This is the best discussion or advocacy I've ever been involved in on drugs. Good Luck. You too Chronos. I bet I would have been more comprehending and relaxed had I been high. Smile.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T14:25:34-06:00
ID
103801
Comment

And, I'll conclude that thought with saying that first and foremost what I think is most important, whether we are talking about the presence of or lack of mind-expanding substances (which I don't equate with addictive substances), is whether a person has a humble, non-ego driven mind/heart/consciousness/soul/spirit (or use your own word) that is ENGAGED in a particular quality of inquiry about life. Clearly, that can be done with or without a substance, without or without a religion, with or without it being an overt spiritual path...and that kind of inquiry is ultimately what I value in a person, regardless of how they choose to pursue it.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T14:29:21-06:00
ID
103802
Comment

that's "with or without religion"....Freudian slip, perhaps?

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T14:32:07-06:00
ID
103803
Comment

I largely agree with both of you on most things except for the good of illegal drugs and non-medicinal drugs. I'm out. Got to take some more theraflu. I'm a theraflu junky right now.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T14:36:04-06:00
ID
103804
Comment

Re-post of earlier question: To shift the topic slightly, given Todd's questions regarding legalization, what are people's thoughts about those instances in the U.S. when Federal and State drug policies regarding possession and use are relaxed, such as Madison's Harvest Fest.....etc. Could these microcosmic experiments in human community and marijuana possession/use be potential control-groups (studies) for assessing what possession/use might look like in other demographics or on a grander scale? Perhaps this isn't a compelling question, but it seems like with the legalization issue comes the potential question/concern of those anti-legalization of what society might look like with legalization...

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T14:38:23-06:00
ID
103805
Comment

I'd rather Canada or Amsterdam be used as a "control group" since it's much easier on Joe Blow to comprehend. Burning Man is in the middle of nowhere, has its own set of laws within the construct of US Law. Further, the use is still covert and treated as illegal by the organizers of Black Rock City.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-09T14:50:16-06:00
ID
103806
Comment

I was hunting for American examples---a stretch, I know-- because it seems like there are unique political circumstances that have influenced Amsterdam that I'm not sure how they would or would not corelate to the U.S., But, Canada is great example.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T14:55:52-06:00
ID
103807
Comment

Well, Ray, now that you mention it...most over the counter flu medications contain mood altering substances....some of which are used to produce meth.....how are you rationalizing that? ;) Since you are a self-professed "junkie." Could it be that Theraflu just has a better marketing department than meth?

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-09T15:16:42-06:00
ID
103808
Comment

Well, there's always Robo'ing... You know when chemical babies or adults chug down a bottle or two of Robotussin to get high and drunk. Imagine what that does to judgement, the kidneys, and the heart rate? Lawd! Don't even mention the bleary-eyed, drooling zombies on illegal-to-use-as-a-drug products like Scotch-Gard, unleaded gas, whipping cream and glue and the rotting holes in people's heads, mouths, noses, and lungs as a result. Want to talk about a crisis involving chemicals? There are loads of kids dying and inflicting brain damage huffing all sorts of household products sold in any store. See, it doesn't even have to be illegal to get abused. All this talk and I need a dirty, shaken, glass of legal gin.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-09T15:26:01-06:00
ID
103809
Comment

Ohmigod, I'd never heard of "Robo'ing". Learn something new everyday... I had some legal tequila last night...and all I'm saying is that they should DEFINITELY put some sort of restrictions on that stuff....;)

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-09T15:33:56-06:00
ID
103810
Comment

Ali, I noticed a week ago I couldn't even buy theraflu over the counter. Meth addicts, makers, users, abusers have made it hard to get. So far, no one has said I act differently after taking theraflu. I do feel better, however. Once my cold is over I'm finished with it. As I said in earlier post, I'm not one of those fools against all drugs, especially as medicine. Ali it's difficult to tell when I'm serious or joking. I thought about the arguments of Knol and Chronos during lunch. Then I considered the immortal words of Richard Pryor, "Ain't nothing wrong with drugs. Drugs aint't addictive. I have been doing drugs for 30 years and have spent over a million dollars on them, but I ain't hooked. I can quit anytime I feel like it. I just ain't felt like it yet." Even that migthy fire thrashing his skinny behind wasn't enough to make him leave drugs alone. Now that you have chimed in Ali, I see my error. I know you wouldn't tell me anything wrong. Chronos and Knol, can y'all send me some, or tell me where I can get some good stuff from? The good town of Ridgeland ain't got any. Ali I'm sick. That's how I'm rationalizing it. Do you think crystal meth would help the cold, too? Smile.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T15:40:21-06:00
ID
103811
Comment

I don't use drugs. Sorry. I can't help, Ray. I hope you feel better.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T15:55:23-06:00
ID
103812
Comment

"The Ridgeland ain't got any" wasn't a stab at Jackson. It was a comment on the Ridgeland Police cleaning up the areas where drugs were boldly sold. Having lived and worked in Ridgeland for years, I knew where those drugs spots were.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T16:06:48-06:00
ID
103813
Comment

Can't help you either... I'm a big boy now and prefer margarita to mary jane. I can show you how to mix a mean martini though. But, didn't Melton say he knows where the criminal element is? That'd be a good start! ;-) Ridgeland, drug free or not happening??? They're the ones that can afford it and the lawyers to get them off. Maybe you should get a visitation pass to the schools... And, by the way, more than likely it's not the "weirdo" that's selling.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-09T16:11:33-06:00
ID
103814
Comment

Wow. What a discussion. chronos, I think I get what you're saying, but I suppose where I would disagree is that if someone came up to me and said that they were interested in taking or continuing to take a psychoactive substance as a means of achieving enlightenment or a closer relationship with God, I would strongly discourage them from doing so, or from continuing to do so. Is that spiritually arrogant? Maybe, in a way. But I've seen a hell of a lot of negative effects from these drugs, and have yet to meet anybody who has shown any signs of being enlightened from them. I've seen plenty of folks who think they got enlightened from them, who can recount all of this dramatic visionary stuff that they believe they've learned (most of it self-aggrandizing and not especially profound), but the fact that we know for a fact that these substances do invoke hallucinogenic experiences, and that I have had no personal experiences confirming any redeeming entheogenic properties, gives me a bad feeling about them. There's also the problem that visions and locutions tend to inspire people to feel very certain about their beliefs, and I think the religious insecurity we all tend to have is probably very useful in that it keeps us from blowing ourselves up in expectation of Paradise or (worse) letting other people die on the assumption that they'll be in a better place when they do. Religious certainty, in contrast, is useful in my experience only in one scenario: Where one is facing death anxiety and needs to overcome it. I think this is actually what most fundamentallists base their religious beliefs on--building this huge monument to certainty in order to protect the sanctum inside, the house of cards that is their protection from death anxiety. This is a noble goal, because it isn't just our own death that scares us. But the truth is that death is horrible, it is unjust, it is universal, and whatever lies beyond it, we need--in order to live in a just world--to acknowledge that nobody, no matter how remote or different they are, deserves to die. The specter of mass starvation, malaria, HIV-AIDS, et. al. in Africa is grim testimony that our culture does not fully believe this, that we have achieved too much comfort from death anxiety, that we have not fully faced up to what death is. As far as the rest of the thread goes, I'm basically in sympathy with Ray. I suppose we all think of different experiences when we think of drugs, and for me and I suspect for Ray as well, it's addicts, recovering and otherwise, whose lives have been or are being destroyed, at not only a great personal cost, but at a great cost to others as well. I may have misunderstood Rinpoche's definition of spiritual materialism, and if I did, I apologize. Maybe I should take a second look at what he has to say. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-09T16:32:22-06:00
ID
103815
Comment

Right, Knol. It's the young and stupid fools who are selling it on the streets. When I represented non-capital drug selling clients, I would ask them why they're selling drugs. Most often they said "to get big money, man." I would then ask them to name me one drug dealer they know who is rich and is not worried about the police or somebody trying to rob or kill them. They can never name anyone. Even worse, most often they're so broke they can't pay a lawyer or bond themselves out of jail. I hope schools aren't a good place to buy drugs. I don't like the word weirdos, but if I did and saw some, I would treat them the same as I do everyone else - with love, kindness and respect. Then I would tell them to stay away from drugs just as I do other kids. I have represented only a few drug dealers or users with big money. And I have refused to accept any money from them that I didn't charge or earn. If you think I dislike users, you wouldn't want to know what I think about sellers and manufacturers of illegal drugs.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T16:35:40-06:00
ID
103816
Comment

Ray, you make an excellent point on the common "dealer"... Most are in it for the "big money" and will never taste it since they're the first and easiest of the targets right above the casual and chronic user. Interesting, Tom. Still, it seems that you quickly slide the slippery slope when discussing drug use. Do all drug users kill, rob, rape, murder, sell their homes, pimp their children, etc? Hardly. At least not in my experience during the rave scene, the goth scene, and the skate-punk crowds. I suspect if that were true [drugs devastate most/all users], America would be a far bigger mess due to all the closet pill-heads and pot-smokers. It's like saying all people that drink are prone to missing work, drinking at work, blackouts, carrying booze on their person, beating their SOs, bar fighting, etc. I've seen food devastate far more people (especially in the South) on my path than cocaine, crack, marijuana, crystal meth, alcohol, and LSD combined. I've watched as relatives eat themselves into size 42+ pants all the while eating more processed foods... I've watched teachers and mentors go back for thirds or fourths at a buffet. I've seen strangers eat what would equate to THREE value meals (large-sized of course) with an apple pie on the side and a cup of ranch for it all. Of course, I may have this perspective because we're the FATTEST nation and a nation hell-bent on consuming everything deep-friend and/or sweetened with Splenda or fructose. We can slide the slippery slope but if we're going to talk about what should and should not be legal due to its effects on society, we should be looking at what's killing us now like smoking (it's my guilty pleasure-- hate me!), preservatives, recycled air, smog, fructose, television, no exercise, long commutes, and so much more... The whole "we can't do it because it will cause a downward spiral of decadence, death and destruction" stings of the 2004 election for some reason and leaves a bad taste. Look at the Netherlands and Canada... Do their infrastructures and societies seem to be failing? I'd actually say the tend to be prospering and are beacons of hope not only for safe places but also human rights and understanding. Did I ever mention that those that drink moderately (defined in the study as 2-3 glasses of ANY booze) are also 30-40% less likely to be obese. Cheers! I'm off for a dirty, shaken... Who needs exercise with study results like that? ;-) Anyone doing Karaoke?

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-09T16:56:08-06:00
ID
103817
Comment

I'm on that karaoke like fur on a weasel, Knol.

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-09T17:08:52-06:00
ID
103818
Comment

Knol, you have finally offended me. I wear a size 42 pants some of the time. I could wear smaller pants but I don't want to tempt the women. Women like big, healthy and sexy men. As I aged and started to lose my hair, size, good looks, and youth; I paniced and started running and walking. Weight wouldn't stop coming. I asked a cousin of mines what could I do, and the damn fool said get on crack. Needless to say, I passed on that. Upon further contemplation of my situation, I figured out that a man doesn't need to look good to appeal to women. He only needs money. I haven't lost any weight yet but I now work harder and more often. Now, whenever I open my wallet, I can feel the admiration of women. My apology for this off the subject email.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T17:22:44-06:00
ID
103819
Comment

Knol, You're attributing statements to me that I never made, and motives to me that were never present. As I said before, I support legalization of marijuana and a rehabilitation model for users of other hard drugs. I don't see how anyone who has logged time working with the homeless, or with addicts, can come away with the impression that hard drugs are less harmful than food, if that's what you're saying. When I talk to folks who support drug legalization, what I generally hear is an honest acknowledgment that drug addiction is a profound, life-destroying problem followed by an argument that the war on drugs is not working. The glowing assessment of drug use that I'm hearing in this thread, where it's less harmless than food, brings about stunning new creative insights, might help you reach a new spiritual plateau, etc. etc. etc., leaves me wishing that I had asked some of you folks to write my vita for me. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-09T17:32:26-06:00
ID
103820
Comment

Actually. I am drinking at work as we speak AND I'm having a religious experience. ;) Tom said:>>interested in taking or continuing to take a psychoactive substance as a means of achieving enlightenment or a closer relationship with God --Personally, I have not once advocated the use of mind-altering substances FOR achieving enlightenment or a closer relationship with God. I don't discount it as a possibility merely because I know some people (including one famous person in Europe) who were actually radical atheists before a psychotropic experience, and who are now devout believers in "something," but I also wouldn't necessarily advocate psychotropics FOR this or that. The moment someone couched it in those terms I would advise them away from any work with psychotropics until other work had happened because it would speak to me of a certain kind of desperation, grasping at spiritual straws, or an agenda-driven strategy (a kind of acquisitional spiritual seeking). I would suggest that other work take place, via other methods, before they explore the domain of psychotropics, but I'm just saying that from my own experiences with one of the most powerful psychotropics on the planet. --It certainly isn't a domain of human experience to take lightly or to trifle with. As you can see, I am conditional in my stance, in that I feel strongly about the conditions under which things happen (see my posts about Set and Setting). Which is why I go back to one of my earliest statements that I feel like people need to learn to work with their own minds FIRST before going psychic-bunjee jumping. Again, just my opinion. Others "psychonauts" may not share that view. Tom said:>>But I've seen a hell of a lot of negative effects from these drugs --Here is where I would have to get really specific about the discussion because I feel like the anti-drug/anti-mind expanding substance thinkers here are grouping together ALL substances into one group. I'm not. The substances I'm referring to, both in theory and from personal experience, are not street drugs. And, in fact, given the nature of them I'd be suprised if you'd met anyone who had even worked with them....possibly the mushroom, but not most of the ones I'm referring to. So, what particular substances are you referring to? The ones I'm referring to do not have negative effects and...in actuality...ego and grandiosity are human attributes that these other catalysts I'm referring to eat for lunch. One does not emerge from a full-blown ayahuasca journey with a bunch of machismo, bravado, or ego bullshit.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T17:36:56-06:00
ID
103821
Comment

Tom said:>>but the fact that we know for a fact that these substances do invoke hallucinogenic experiences, and that I have had no personal experiences confirming any redeeming entheogenic properties, gives me a bad feeling about them. --Not all psychotropics produce hallucinations. Some actually act as inhibitors to certain brain chemicals we have in place during waking reality. So, in effect, what occurs is that these features become relaxed and when they are we--as journeyer, psychonaut--simply enter into a dialogue with other aspects of our own mind that are always active, always activated, and running in the background. --See, one way of looking at it is that we are all hallucinating ALL of the time. Tis true. So, another way of thinking about this is that the psychotropics I'm referring to (psycho=mind, but which originally meant "soul", tropic=from trepin the movement of something toward wholeness and integration), usher us into a process of "dreaming while awake." Yes. The same can be experienced via meditation, or shamanic drumming, or trance-dance, etc. I'm simply making a case that certain psychotropics have proven themselves as a safe in road for healing and psychological integration WHEN certain conditions are met. --It seems like not having any personal experiences confirming (proving or disproving) any redeeming properties of something would give you a neutral feeling rather than a negative one. I don't have any personal experiences confirming (proving or disproving) any redeeming properties of Christianity, but my feelings are neutral, and I've bothered to listen to the experiences of some people I love and respect, and others whom I don't know but whose investment in life seems similar to my own, and so while I don't find anything redeeming in that tradition for myself I at least hold out that there must be, or might be. --But, as the old saying goes....what we don't know we don't understand and what we don't know or understand we fear.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T17:37:18-06:00
ID
103822
Comment

I'm with you all the way Tom. Knol is evading and diverting. He could very easily be a good congressman, lawyer, or presidental press secretary.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T17:38:17-06:00
ID
103823
Comment

Karaoke, no doubt. And I'm grumpy after three parties last night, so I should be particularly venomous in my hosting duties tonight. You won't want to miss it. Grrrrr. Otherwise, I'm not monitoring this thread too closely as it's on Todd's blog. So I'll trust that all my peeps here are being respectful of each other. Let me know directly if it needs any kind of finger-pointing along the way. ;-) Ciao.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-12-09T17:45:26-06:00
ID
103824
Comment

Wow. We're peeps. ;) Hi, Grumpy. We're all behaving ourselves. Just dreaming while awake.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T17:47:56-06:00
ID
103825
Comment

We're fine here. Tom and I are giving Knol and Chronos a good whipping. The score ain't even close. Ali is secretly on our side, too. We're still setting them up for the big knockout later on.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T17:52:40-06:00
ID
103826
Comment

Ray-this emergence of a very active sense of humor is just tickling me pink. ;)

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-12-09T17:53:39-06:00
ID
103827
Comment

I mainly got from Knol's post that the damage done to oneself via a substance is quite similar to the damage done to oneself with food, which can be just as addictive to one person as crack is. Food ain't my thing. But, I know what he's referring to, and maybe I'm missing the avoidance/evading part of his post (I didn't see it specifically cited), but I mainly got that he was trying to link the ADDICTIVE FUNCTION as something that pervades ALL substances. I think whether we're talking marijuana, Famous Grouse, Taco Bell, or serial monogomy, the addictive strand is tied in with the person. Taco Bell is neutral. Famous Grouse is neutral. Even marijuana is neutral. The power is in the hand of the user, but if they are predisposed to lack of responsibility or obsession or whatever, then it's going to claim them. I don't buy that a twinkie is more dangerous than a pipe filled with crack, but an obsessive-addictive person can just as easily kill themselves with an unhealthy diet of fried foods as they can with a bottle of Jaegermeister.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T17:54:28-06:00
ID
103828
Comment

Hmm. I didn't realize we were keeping score. See, I'm not sure what the teams are, 'cause I think Knol politely side-stepped some things I said earlier that he didn't necessarily agree with. And, you should know by now that Ali doesn't join teams. She'll poke you with her butterknife even if you're on her team! ;) Watch out, Ray.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T17:59:00-06:00
ID
103829
Comment

Ray, you confuse me... I can never tell if your serious or not. For instance, you could be a size 42 and be serious about everything you said and I'd have no clue. Regardless, I do know quite a few women (and men) that don't care how large the waist is but how big the wallet in the purse or pocket. But, that still falls into my whole issue with consumerism from food to electronics to everything else material. And Tom, my apologies for jumping the gun based solely on this comment: [quote]"I suppose we all think of different experiences when we think of drugs, and for me and I suspect for Ray as well, it's addicts, recovering and otherwise, whose lives have been or are being destroyed, at not only a great personal cost, but at a great cost to others as well. "[/quote]

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-09T18:01:10-06:00
ID
103830
Comment

Chronos, you're beginning to make too much sense to me. So, i'm going to accuse you of diverting and evading, too. I'm headed home for weekend. Tom can handle y'all.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-09T18:03:14-06:00
ID
103831
Comment

You're bailing, Ray? Does that mean I've converted you and you're going into the woods to eat some leaves and roots?

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T18:06:01-06:00
ID
103832
Comment

I'd keep arguing, but there's this giant pink thing on the other side of the room that keeps spitting giant eagles at me, so I'll give it a rest. chronos, I did misunderstand your point re: street drugs, and I did use the general term "drugs" when I probably should have specified which drugs I was talking about. I don't think that banning shrooms, peyote, kava kava, etc. is a good thing, and if I were philosopher-king, I'd probably include them with marijuana in the category of drugs that aren't banned. (Kava kava actually is already legal in some contexts, and in fact can be purchased as a herbal supplement.) It's just that use of these drugs seems to be so rare, compared to use of other drugs, that I sometimes forget and leave them out of the equation. When I say "drugs" I'm generally thinking of cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, et. al., and maybe alcohol as well. But I'm not hell bent on universal hard-nosed prohibition as the answer, as evidenced by the fact that I still put away a glass of wine from time to time. My biggest concern re: drug use is easy, subsidized availability of treatment. Those 28-day rehab programs are way beyond the price range of most of the folks who really need them. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-09T19:03:12-06:00
ID
103833
Comment

And Knol, thanks, but no apologies needed because I think I goofed up a lot more than you did here. A second look at this thread tells me that I've spent too much time writing posts and not enough time reading them... Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-09T19:18:50-06:00
ID
103834
Comment

Tom, for the record...I am WHOLEHEARTEDLY, UNSWAYINGLY, against cocaine, crystal meth, crack, heroin, and just that whole vein of narcotics. I too have seen lives utterly destroyed by cocaine and I kinda think we oughta round up any makers of these hard drugs, snip off their balls, and....oops....hold on a second....[deep breath]....okay....in essence, I'm against them, don't see any value to them, no redeemable quality to them, no therapeutic value to them, only addictive, life-enslaving qualities to them, and on that page, please sign my name...Cuppa Kava Kava anyone?

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-09T23:24:08-06:00
ID
103835
Comment

Hi everybody, I'm drugs. Ray Carter asked me to tell you this. I told some of you 30 years ago about me but I need to do it again. Anyway: I came to this country without a passport. Every since then I been hunted and sought. My little white grains are nothing but waste. Soft and deadly and bitter to taste. I'm a world of power and you know it's true. Use me once and you'll know it too. I can make a mere schoolboy forget his books. I can make a world-famous beauty queen neglect her looks. I can make a good man forsake his wife. Send a greedy man to prison for the rest of his life. I can make a man forsake his country and flag. Make a school girl sell her body for a five-dollar bag. Some think my adventures'a joy and a thrill. But I'll put a gun in your hand and make you kill. I take my addicts and make them steal, borrow and beg. Then they search for a vein in their arm or their leg. So, be you Italian, Jewish, Black, Mexican or whatever. I can make the most virile of men forget their sex. So now, no, my man, you must do your best to keep up your habit until your arrest. So squirm-- with disconfort--wiggle and cough. Six days of madness, hah. You might throw me off. Curse me in name! Defy me in speech! But you'd pick me up again if I were in your reach. Behold you're hooked. Your foot is in the stirrup. And make haste. Mount the steed. And ride him well. For drugs will ride you to hell until you're dead.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-10T16:01:06-06:00
ID
103836
Comment

Ray...Step away from the TheraFlu. Back away from the neon-lime-green package...and put away from that NyQuil too. You're starting to hear voices. You're starting to scare us....The Consortium

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-10T18:43:23-06:00
ID
103837
Comment

That was a joke, Ray. ;) I just spent an hour reading through this entire thread again. Whatever it was, it was interesting, and I think points to some compelling aspects that are 'in operation' in society as a whole, both spiritually and in terms of worldview. I also wonder if some of what we're talking about here, too, is fear (a need to remain in control---which is a total illusion) vs. surrender (any spiritual experience or work, psychotropic or not, that stretches us past the individual ego where we DO lose control and experience ourselves being held by something that is OTHER than us)? I thought of some other psychonauts too, who have had experiences with psychotropics but whose heads were in the right place and whose works are all about a wholesome, healthy, and healing leaning: Alex Grey His journey as artist has been influenced by working with psychotropics, leading him to greater and greater, deeper and deeper, insights into the interconnectivity of all life. Is this the only way to come by similar insights? No. But, it is a way. Some of his artistic works reflect this, as do the works of A. Andrew Gonzalez who I believe at different points has worked with psychotropics (translation: moving the soul toward integration). Another one is: Robert Venosa As far as musicians, Steve Roach and Robert Rich

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-11T17:29:18-06:00
ID
103838
Comment

By the way...explore some of the links on Alex Grey's site, meaning his gallery...and explore some of the soundscapes on Steve Roach's site. Steve's music, in particular, has the capacity to create very psychotropic atmospheres without the use of substances of any kind. He has, in a sense, encoded the wholeness-driven, reflective-energy of psychotropics into the music itself....As he says, "The music IS the medicine."

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-11T17:35:45-06:00
ID
103839
Comment

I know it was a joke Chronos. Comedy is my favorite mode of entertainment other than the male female thang - friendship, courtship, etc... By the way, we lost Richard Pryor this weekend, who was once a poster child for the evils of drugs. I loved Richard and was afraid of and for him at the same time. He was a comedic genius who like Robert Johnson apparently traded or loaned his soul to the devil in order to be funny. He hurts lots of people along the way including himself, but he thrilled millions with his satire, bravery to face the race issues, and his social commentary on other issues. Drugs caused him to attempt suicide once, according to him. He said himself that God gave him that talent - not drugs or himself. I hoped he would acknowledge the almighy one day before he died. He finally said 5 or 6 years ago that he believed in God. After all who make the flowers grow, the sun come up and go down, the babies cry, and the birds sing, et al -- somebody greater than you or me. It took MS to finally slow Richard down long enough to hear someone or something other than drugs, himself, or the call of destruction. According to one of Richard's wives (1 of 6) he could be amazingly wonderful and horribly crazy within a matter of hours or minutes. His best friend drugs, not Richard, were usually in control of things. Guess who Richard's comedic hero was? It was Lenny Bruce another drug addict who had a troubled life that probably could have been avoided. Read about Lenny Bruce's ending some day. Needless to say, I'm surprised there is still any doubt about the evils of drugs. Evidently some people would travel the dark alley way even if millions told them beforehand that there were thugs with baseball bats, guns and swords killing people down that way. If you believe fate demands this then proceed on. But don't cry to me when reality finally mirrors the advice already given.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-12T09:55:48-06:00
ID
103840
Comment

Ray, Could you do me a favor and post your comments about Richard Pryor here also? Thanks!

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-12-12T10:42:47-06:00
ID
103841
Comment

Ok LW. I think he had Parkinson disease as opposed to MS. Y'all are used to my errors. Hopefully, the little wisdom imparted shines through despite my deficiencies.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-12T10:55:01-06:00
ID
103842
Comment

You're correct. He had MS.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-12-12T11:15:25-06:00
ID
103843
Comment

Could each of you (or anyone interested), very simply, define for me the word "drug" in your own vernacular... Point being, one of the things I have seen repeatedly in this thread is that some of us are working off of different definitions for things..."drug"..."drugs"..."spiritual materialism"...perhaps even..."sacred"...not to mention things like "God"...and I believe finding a common vocabulary is necessary to be on the same page about a topic. I wonder if adopting some sort of qualifiers would be helpful at all? In other words, "street drugs"..."addictive drugs"...or something else, because, frankly, some of the people posting have confused me about your position. On the one hand someone mentions being against drugs, and then will say they are open to the topic of legalization of *certain* ones. So, are those *certain* ones not drugs, or are they? And, what should psychotropics used by indigenous people in a ceremonial setting, which are not dangerous and are not addictive, be called to set them apart from "street drugs"?

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-12T11:46:35-06:00
ID
103844
Comment

I'm purposefully and knowingly linking all illegal drugs together. I'm personally against all illegal drugs, but if convinced legalization would help or benefit society in some measurable way I could consider voting to legalize some of them. For clarity, I'll admit some illegal drugs could possibly be of meritorious benefit to society. This is why we have an FDA to approve them. The FDA is not perfect but it's better than nothing at all. Chronos, you have made yourself brillantly clear. I do understand your position. I'm still trying to scare and reason with the ones who use and abuse common illegal drugs. I have probably failed but I gave it a shot. Millions of people are guilty of abusing crack, cocaine, heroin, estasy(sp), reefer and other common drugs. A large percentage of these are lawyers, aritsts of all kinds, creative people of all spheres, doctors, writers, nurses, police officers, teachers, counselors, young adults, children, public officials, etc. Most of these people think they're beyond the scourge and detection of drugs. Who are the drug dealers best clients? Not the poor and downtrotten people although they're clients, too. I'm out of here on this issue. We have destroyed Todd's blog. My apology to all. To all I've offended, please forgive me.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-12T12:22:44-06:00
ID
103845
Comment

Ray... I don't think we've destroyed Todd's blog, but Todd--if you feel that way--do speak up. My perception is that he asked some excellent questions about legalization and what people felt on the issue. Naturally, this multidimensional issue is going to produce widely divergent perspectives, precisely because there are a spectrum of views in society and, obviously, a wide spectrum of experiences represented herein. Drugs and Consciousness-Catalysts--of any kind--influence the mind. Consciousness via mind/body influences behavior. There is behavior that weaves a positive reality and behavior that unstitches things. And, all of that, is woven in with the discussion of pro-legalization vs. anti-legalization. I for one, have valued hearing the stances, beliefs, and views shared by yourself, Tom, Knol, Ali, and Todd himself. I think any good dialogue about anything that is worth the time can sometimes feel messy, precisely because it dredges up all manner of emotion that tends to be kept neatly housed in the unconscious...politely wrapped in a cellophane package that reads: do not open. I'm not sure we have necessarily arrived at any conclusions that will affect the bottom-line, as it were, but I suspect the point of Todd's initial questions were to take something of a pulse, and I think he got it.

Author
whateveryouwant
Date
2005-12-12T13:22:09-06:00
ID
103846
Comment

I don't think we've destroyed Todd's blog, but Todd--if you feel that way--do speak up. Not at all. I've had a great time on this thread, and I welcome everyone's input. Personally, I'm swayed by the economic arguments that favor legalization -- perhaps even moreso by some of the arguments I read and linked to in the course of this discussion. Legalization is a radical solution, but there is some history to it -- Prohibition -- and I wonder if we wouldn't emerge with less crime, less need to draconian policing measures...in other words, I view it pretty strictly as a civil libertarian. So, apparently, does the former chief of police in Seattle! At the same time, there's no question that a lot of these illicit drugs are killers or, at best, that they encourage people to squander their lives. Making them legal might make them more accessible to people prone to addiction. It's certainly a tough one, but I think the only way to get to an answer is to keep hearing different points of view.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-12-13T13:48:32-06:00
ID
103847
Comment

In the war on drugs, I and others who live in pain and are undermedicated, are collateral damage. It's not fair. I understand the concerns about people misusing the drugs but isn't that their problem or on another note isn't that their right? The problem is and has never been the misuse of drugs the problem is that people are so desperate to escape the reality they live in they will do anything to aid their escape. Drugs are not the answer to that, but they wont know that until they have at least had the right to experience it. While the debate goes on of what will or could happen the war on drugs rages on and I envy those who have the ability to wonder what would happen if the laws were lightened up without having to suffer through it as I do. I just wish they would consider those who use the drugs out of necessity and weigh the decisions with us in mind instead of making decisions based on those who would use it recklessly. Dang, we just want a break, to live without pain what is so wrong with that?

Author
echo3
Date
2006-01-05T17:03:25-06:00

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