The War On SOME Drugs

Posted on Saturday, March 17 at 10:49 by Diogenes
Whoever perpetrated the marijuana hoodwink on parliamentarians, succeeded also, by extension, hoodwinked all who accepted, without question, the pronouncement of those who perpetrated the “hoodwink” Justice Southin makes a valid observation with her pronouncement of the hoodwinking of parliamentarians and the making of much work, paid work, for lawyers, judges and peace officers and her observation deserve our considerations also. What were and are the motives for perpetuating this ‘Marijuana Hoodwink’ on legislators? Why was and is it done? Why the subterfuge? Whose ox is being gored? Whose agendas threatened? Was the “hoodwink” used to create an altered state of conciseness also, a lower state of consciousness? For it must be considered consciousness can be dampened as well as heightened, must it not? Away back in 1972, 31 years ago Dr. Andrew Weil wrote “The Natural Mind, a new way of looking at drugs and the higher consciousness”. Here we are, thirty some odd years later and the subjects is still debated from the same positions, and while doing so hundreds of lives have been ruined. Ruined not so much by the substances ingested as by system of laws based on emotionally charged argumentations and biases served up with a healthy dollop of junk science. It is well noted in North American culture and perhaps world culture as well that people use mind-altering substances and behaviors as a means of escape. I must strongly emphasis the word escape here. It really does not matter whether the means used is staring at mindless televised fluff, guzzling beer, sexing, or “comfort food” binges. The desire to shift ones conscious is pervasive. Rarely considered are the possible *beneficial aspects* of perception change by the deliberate use of psycho-active substances deliberately used as a means to mind expansion. There are also, and mostly ignored, myriad amounts of evidence in support of the benefits of perceptual changes occurring with the use of mind-altering substances and practices. Perception depends on ones perspective. Here are two dramatic examples of diametrically opposed and polarized positions cited in Weil’s book-The Natural Mind “When I was conducting human experiments with marihuana in Boston in 1968, a Federal Narcotics Bureau agent told me that no matter how my experiments came out, he would remain convinced that “marihuana makes people aggressive and violent.” My research had nothing to do with that possibility, but I asked him what his evidence was for his belief. He had one piece of evidence dating back from the early 1950s, when he had been seized by a curiosity to watch people smoke the drug. (His official duties were exclusively concerned with large-scale underworld heroin traffic and he had never come into contact with actual users of marihuana.) Accordingly, he had disguised himself as a beatnik and made his way to a Greenwich Village tea party. When he revealed himself as a Narcotic Bureau agent, “everyone there became aggressive and violent.” Most people laugh when I tell this story because the logical fallacy is obvious. But when I tried to point it out to this well-meaning man in Boston, he said, “That’s what I saw with my own eyes.” “In February 1970 I attended a conference in California at which a young, radical sociologist presented data on drug use in American communes. He stated his belief that “marihuana often facilitates the development of communal life.” Asked to give evidence on this point, he explained that the question of who was going to wash the dishes was representative of problems encountered in making communes work. He said he had visited communes where the problem had been solved “by having everyone getting stoned on marihuana and make a game of dish washing,” and he added that “marihuana is known to aid in the performance of repetitive tasks.” When I objected to this last statement, he replied, “Well, that’s what I saw it with my own eyes.” To continue with Weil’s observations – “When you ask a question in research and the data comes back in this unhelpful way… you have asked the wrong questions.” Or made to wrong assumptions. And so it is with the desire to alter ones consciousness.***** A large part of the problem, as I see it, is the use of such missives as absolutes as in the expression ‘get high’. ‘Get high’ says nothing and has little positive charge to the listener whose perception is fixed on an assumed net loss off faculties. This ‘fixed-in-belief’ attitude becomes unshakeable or in other words “Right.” People who smoke pot become “drug users” and that label takes on a life of its own including all the intended negative aspects and suspicions of those who would make decisions on behalf of those who use non-pharmaceutical drugs. The “hoodwink” is now firmly fixed in consciousness. Perhaps when the stoners vocabulary advances “ OH WOW” and “Far Out Man!” and he is able to describe the subtle nuance in his perceptual shifts, then those of the choose to limit perceptions might become open their minds to a views other than the ones they now hold. Whether Madame Justice knows it, or not, she has exposed a very important point also addressed by Andrew Weil- “The relative merits of straight versus stoned thinking is by far the most important of all of the garbled issues of the drug controversy, and it is the most anxiety-provoking. The anxiety arises entirely from ego-based consciousness because it concerns the deeply felt issue of self-esteem. When people who use drugs claim to have reached a higher consciousness or greater awareness, they automatically produce negative thoughts of lower levels of consciousness and lesser awareness in people who do not use drugs. Thus, these groups become polarized and begin to fight with each other symbolically, ritually, or even physically. When people are fighting they often fail to notice important things, such as the evidence that higher levels of consciousness exist and are available to all of us.” In Roger Bacon's terms, the Middle Ages held argument to be the primary path to knowledge: argument from authority. Experience, the other mode of knowledge to which Bacon refers, was slowly beginning to make its way into Western life. We can get a feeling for the medieval mode of knowledge from the anecdote about the stable boy who heard the scholars arguing about how many teeth a horse had. The scholars consulted Aristotle concerning this weighty issue, while the stable boy went to the barn and counted the actual number of teeth a horse had. After reporting his findings to the learned gentlemen, the stable boy was, of course, summarily dismissed, because experience had nothing to do with knowledge. Knowledge was found in authority and system. Is knowledge the hoodwinkery to be found was found in the aforementioned “authority and system”? Some and perhaps most of Humankind have developed intellect to the point that it believes the mind can know ultimate reality. But others are convinced that the mind has become the dupe of its own ideas and assumptions. To be sure, there are subtleties which a mind-absorbed or ego-obsessed consciousness is simply incapable of registering. I use the following quote by the American philosopher William James to underline my point regarding the states of consciousness. Quite possibly there is a parallel line of reasoning similar to the one in linguistic thought that states- “It is not WHAT is said, but rather HOW it is said that directs the result.” For states of consciousness, might we not chose to consider it is not “what is used”, but rather “HOW it is used” rather than attacking with a morality borne of fear of steeped in ignorance. Pay attention to the words of William James the American philosopher “….One conclusion was forced upon my mind at that time, and my impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken. It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens; there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness, definite types of mentality which probably somewhere have their field of application and adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded. How to regard them is the question--for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness. Yet they may determine attitudes though they cannot furnish formulas, and open a region though they fail to give a map. At any rate, they forbid a premature closing of our accounts with reality. Looking back on my own experiences, they all converge toward a kind of insight to which I cannot help ascribing some metaphysical significance.” At this time I present a radical and provocative departure from the status quo thinking of today- Perhaps all this anti-drug hoopla has its purpose in holding society in a LOWER state of consciousness and hence hoodwinked, so it, society, and their thoughts are easier to mold. I underline my pondering with the following words from Dr. Norman Livergood, a man concerned with promoting what he calls Enlightened Thinking. “Actually, it would be more accurate to say that the conspiracy to reduce consciousness to intellectual awareness of the physical world has been in evidence for at least five thousand years. Over the centuries the spiritual powers that Perennialist savants possess have been filtered out of most people, so that we now assume that our narrow, tightly-bound consciousness is normal and natural. "Ordinary consciousness" is "normal" only in the strict sense of "statistically most frequent," not inherently "good" or "natural" as the term is sometimes misconstrued to mean. When contrasted with supernormal consciousness experienced by some people, our current rigid, intellect-based awareness is highly abnormal and unnatural.” “Human beings possess a whole range of dormant, "hidden powers" of which they are usually unaware. Experience of these latent powers occurs accidentally or to those who learn the necessary procedures. These powers include inspiration, clairaudience, clairvoyance, psychometry, precognition, and telepathy. In his book, Beyond the Occult, Colin Wilson conjectures that we have gradually lost these powers ". . . because we no longer need them." On the contrary, we have needed and continue to need such powers--for the completion of our potential and for participating in human evolution. Our psychic powers have become forgotten and atrophied from neglect because the vast conspiracy of the ideology of Mammon (material wealth as the highest value) has conditioned untold generations to believe that mind-bound consciousness of the physical world is all there is. Non-ordinary states were said to be "psychotic"--evil, abnormal and debilitating. Persons who even spoke of spiritual or psychic powers were classed as weird, insane, and perverse. We have very little understanding of "consciousness," since it is by definition a nonmaterial quality or state of being aware. Scientists study only the physical correlates of consciousness, such as brain waves, not consciousness itself. From their early experiments with LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline at Harvard, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert discovered the importance of set and setting: o "Set is a person's expectations of what a drug will do to him, considered in the context of his whole life." o "Setting is the environment, both physical and social, in which a drug is taken." 2 The Natural Mind page 29 Andrew Weil-(disk 4) Without the concepts of "set" and "setting”, we're unable to explain why drugs vary so unpredictably in their physiological and psychological effects on various users. "...the combined effects of set and setting can easily overshadow the pharmacological effects of a drug as stated in a pharmacology text. One can arrange set and setting so that a dose of an amphetamine will produce sedation or a dose of barbiturate stimulation.” 3 The Natural Mind Page 29, Andrew weil Thus it's absurd to speak of "the effect of marijuana," "the effect of meditation," and so on. The "effect" depends on what users expect and on the expectations of the social setting in which they take the psychedelic drug or carry out specific procedures. But federal and state governments have continued to oppose any use of psychedelic drugs, claiming that they're all bad under all circumstances. Our nation's leaders continue to push the mind-and body-destroying "official" drugs of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, among many others created by a pharmaceutical industry which buys politicians in large economy quantities. Mind-Altering Substances With the proper set and setting, psychedelic drugs can produce an altered sense of reality. Such experiences of altered consciousness usually last from one hour to several days. Though alcohol is often used in a negative "setting" such as at a bar or a party, where the expectation is aggressive behavior, with the proper set and setting alcohol can promote a heightened state of awareness. One of the great mysteries of human life, as Michael Pollan explains, is that "there are plants in the garden that manufacture molecules with the power to change the subjective experience of reality we call consciousness." 6 "In ancient times, people all over the world grew or gathered sacred plants (and fungi) with the power to inspire visions or conduct them on journeys to other worlds; some of these people, who are sometimes called shamans, returned with the kind of spiritual knowledge that underwrites whole religions." At the beginning of most of the world's religions we find some kind of psychoactive plant or fungus: the peyote cactus, the Amanita muscaria and psilocybin mushrooms, the ergot fungus, the fermented grape, ayahuasca, and cannabis. Ancient people experimented with these psychotropic (mind-altering) substances to achieve a heightened state consciousness. Some of the most important Greek thinkers--Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Aeschylus, Euripides, and others--participated in the Mysteries of Eleusis. The Mysteries consisted of initiation rituals in which the participants ingested a powerful mind-altering potion--probably an alkaloid produced by a fungus (ergot) that closely resembles LSD in its chemical makeup and effects. The ecstatic ritual was so powerful that those who participated kept their vow never to reveal its nature. Under the influence of psychotropic substances, humankind has invented or evolved new ideas and paradigms--new ways of viewing the world. The human mind, we have now discovered, has a built-in receptivity to a particular plant: marijuana. The evolution of this discovery is fascinating. In the 1960s an Israeli neuroscientist named Raphael Mechoulam identified the chemical compound responsible for the mind-altering effects of marijuana. He named it delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, a module with a structure unlike any found in nature before or since. Then in 1988 Allyn Howlett, a researcher at the St. Louis University Medical School, discovered a specific receptor for THC in the human brain--a kind of nerve cell that THC binds to as if it were a molecular key fitting into a lock. When this binding takes place, the nerve cell is activated. The brain has a number of neuronal networks involving compounds such as dopamine, serotonin, and the endorphins, among others. Howlett discovered a new cannabinoid receptor network in the human brain which triggers mind-altering effects when THC is present. Thirty years after his discovery of THC, Raphael Mechoulam--working with collaborator, William Devane--found that the brain produces its own THC-like substance which he named anandimide, from the Sanskrit word for "inner bliss." We have to wonder why a plant such as marijuana evolved in exactly the way it has so that it produces an altered state of consciousness in humans. Among many other reasons is surely that this has resulted in humans having an intense and abiding interest in it, to make sure that it evolves in the direction of enhanced power to alter human mind states. The U.S. government's hysterical, criminal warfare against marijuana involves taking away civil liberties through property confiscation, incarceration resulting from suspicion only, and using military personnel in contravention of the posse commitatus act. Along with its struggle to keep marijuana an illegal drug--so the power elite can reap huge profits from its sale on the black market--there may also be a subliminal realization of the strange and powerful connection the human brain has to THC. As the number of people using marijuana continues to grow, the old, violence-prone ways of thinking may be challenged and replaced by more positive ways of viewing the world. The important factor in all of these approaches is whether or not the techniques or substances assist us in achieving a positive altered state of consciousness which provides an insight into deeper spiritual dimensions within us. (c) by Aint Sayin/Diogenes

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