February 9, 2020
Self-Censorship in the Age of the Drug Warby Ballard Quass
The more I learn about western society's wilful ignorance of naturally occurring psychoactive medicines, the harder it is for me to find good books to read. Almost all self-help books studiously avoid any reference to the power of psychoactive plants to facilitate the miraculous psychological changes that the authors advocate. Almost all scientific books pretend to be giving us the last word on consciousness and meaning, while yet ignoring the profound insights on these subjects that psychoactive plants can provide. Almost all books on depression speculate on what can be done with modern anti-depressants and/or talk therapy, as if psychoactive plants did not exist, as if the drastically limited pharmacy available to us under the drug war was a natural condition with which all suggested treatment protocols must conform in order to be scientific. In other words, all of these books take the drug war prohibitions as a natural given of life, and thence proceed to speculate and deduce at will, with the author never realizing that he or she is engaging in self-censorship in order to curry favour with the puritan sensibilities of the drug war.
I don't know what's worse, however, authors who ignore speaking about psychoactive substances or those who speak about them -- because the latter authors almost ALWAYS adopt invalid drug-war premises when they attempt to analyze the so-called "drug problem" in America.
Take the book by David and Nic Sheff called "High." They say that you can't judge a book by its cover, but this is clearly the exception that proves the rule.
One can just look at the cover to see that the authors subscribe to all the usual drug-war assumptions. The cover features a frenetic and jagged color-scheme obviously intended to be the abstract depiction of an abnormal state of mind associated with the phenomenon of "getting high."
Thus the authors accept the drug-war presupposition that psychoactive substance use (when not prescribed by a board-certified physician, keen to get one addicted to big pharma meds) can only be for hedonistic purposes -- which is simply false. One person's high is often another person's self-enlightenment, is another person's making peace with the world, is another person's healthy break from reality -- in the same way that moderate alcohol is said to constitute healthy relaxation.
Are the tribal members of the Native American Church getting "high" when they consume peyote for religious purposes? Are alcohol addicts getting "high" when they take ibogaine to kick that habit? Was Sigmund Freud getting "high" when he used cocaine to get his work done in the wee hours of the night? Was Benjamin Franklin getting high when he resorted -- frequently -- to the use of opium?
Of course not.
So the depiction of the word "High" on such a book cover is pejorative and meant to imply all the narrow views of the drug warrior -- designed to separate Americans from Mother Nature's medicines under the drug-war lie that such substances can only be used for the nonsensical and dangerous practice of "getting high."
This is time-saving, however. I simply need not read the Sheff's books, because their very book cover shows that they're philosophically in the thrall of all the usual drug war propaganda and presuppositions. And given the dictum that "confused thinking in, confused thinking out"... the judicious reader will move on.
How many so-called authoritative books on depression completely ignore the fact that drug law outlaws all the most promising cures? How many books on relaxation ignore the fact that the motivated mind-set that you need for exercising is just one mushroom away? How many books on consciousness completely ignore the testimony that psychoactive plants have to give on this topic? Welcome to self-censorship in the age of the drug war.