“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
The obvious effects of the drug war are well known and understood by anyone paying attention: massive incarceration of non-violent citizens, black markets and criminal cartels that serve them, extensive violations of human rights, bloated and ineffective criminal justice systems, easy access for underage users, and virtually no improvement in rates of use and addiction. Those are plenty of reasons to end the disastrous drug war. But there is a deeper danger the drug war has imposed on us.
One of the underlying tenets of the drug war is that altered states of consciousness – particularly those accessed by powerful psychedelics and entheogens like DMT, LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin – are bad. Starting with reefer madness, our culture learned a particular sort of terror of altered states.
Although drunkenness has (bizarrely) earned a hallowed place in Western society, these other mental universes are perceived to be the source of insanity, laziness, violence, lack of motivation, being out of touch with “reality”, and psychosis. With these substances scheduled by the FDA, they are effectively prevented from being researched or better understood.
Human cultures going back to ancient times have used plant medicines to achieve altered states of consciousness. These states are not dangerous; they are essential to human growth. They can help us understand who we are, why we are here, and what’s truly important. They can offer us perspective and vision.
Cutting ourselves off from this has resulted in a culture pathologically obsessed with a left-brain, analytical viewpoint and approach to living. Science and technology have given us marvels, but without the balance of wisdom and emotional health, we get what we have now: rigid scientific dogma more like a religion than a system of inquiry, a slow march toward transhumanism (the integration of man and machine), and a hierarchical society hell bent on total control.
What is the moral objection to altered states of consciousness, and how did it become so entrenched in our society? There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to “non-medical” use of mind-altering substances, a sort of moral outrage at people who desire to alter their consciousness and disdain for those who do (with anything other than alcohol).
With marijuana, we call it “recreational” use, but the term makes it seem frivolous and silly. Recreation is only one reason out of many to seek altered experiences, and what is wrong with recreation anyway? We don’t drink cocktails for medical reasons.
I would propose that this is an engineered philosophy, crafted by those in power to ensure that human evolution and growth freezes in this left-brain paradigm and that we remain trapped in our mental cages. Why is it a criminal act to ingest substances that are natural, harmless if taken responsibly, and by all accounts often have miraculous healing properties?
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