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Essay date: December 6, 2019

What if Arthur Schopenhauer Had Used DMT?

by Ballard Quass

Psychotropic plants as a cure for modern pessimism


how the psychedelic experience can change both philosophers and their philosophy

In the "Wisdom of Life," Arthur Schopenhauer sums up an unspoken assumption of Western philosophy when he writes:


"Every man is pent up within the limits of his own consciousness and cannot get directly beyond those limits any more than he can get beyond his own skin."


Indeed, Schopenhauer's famous pessimism is derived from the daily observance of this supposed "fact of life."

But what if it's not a fact? What if we discovered that human psychology was quite therapeutically pliable after all? Wouldn't such a finding require a revision, not only of Schopenhauer's pessimistic philosophy but of Western philosophy in general, insofar as it presupposes stark limitations on the ability of individual human beings to change their own psychology for the better? Wouldn't it require the doomsayers of today to admit that there may be hope for humanity after all, if we only open our eyes (and our research laboratories) to the astonishing psychological healing potential of psychedelic plants?

These are not just hypothetical questions, for a scientific study of psychoactive plants is now proving to Western researchers what partakers of these substances have known for millennia, namely that plants like ibogaine, ayahuasca, and psilocybin can be used strategically to foster new understandings in the human mind, to help one rise above a parochial and neurosis-making upbringing, as well as problematic genetics, and to thrive in the world, in spite of the negative cards that they may have been dealt both by nurture and by nature.

But Western philosophy has entirely missed the implications of these developments. Why? Because most philosophers (like most European-Americans) are stealth puritans who are suspicious of psychoactive plants, unfavorably associating them with witches in Medieval times and with hippies in the present, a jaundiced view of Mother Nature that no doubt traces its origins to the Garden of Eden and that fiasco with the apple (or was it a pomegranate?).


Moreover, the Western penchant for materialism has encouraged drug researchers to dismiss psychedelic mental states out of hand as mere madness, refusing to consider the time-honored evidence of their psychologically therapeutic value, while they dogmatically search instead for reductively formulated nostrums whose chemical effects on the body may (at least in theory) be quantified. It's as though today's scientific credo with respect to psychological cures was:


Better a theoretically justifiable materialist solution with dubious results than a non-quantifiable solution that actually works.


How would a change in such attitudes benefit philosophy?

To make this clear, we can ask the following question:


"What would Schopenhauer's philosophy have been like had he experienced the mind-expanding effects of naturally occurring DMT?"



I think the answer is obvious: he would have rewritten his largely normative credos in a far more prescriptive fashion, insisting that humanity had no justifiable reason to abjure psychological plant medicines and that, to the contrary, there is every reason to think that such use can be philosophically therapeutic, and even ontologically revealing.

Why? Because this hypothetical Schopenhauer of ours would have discovered that psychedelics are custom-made to provide the user with a kind of intuitive proof of the tenets of what Aldous Huxley identified as "the perennial philosophy," that unifying view of life that has long been recognized and advocated by the non-materialists of the world.

I may be giving Schopenhauer too much credit here, but his use of DMT may have even spurred him to propose the following instructive syllogism:

Proposition 1: The unexamined life is not worth living.

Proposition 2: Psychedelics provide us with an unrivaled means to examine life.

Conclusion: Psychedelic plants are an indispensable part of every philosopher's tool chest.


Such a syllogism, developed in the 19th century, could have prevented America's march toward drug-war fascism, by reminding us that plants are our friends and that problems with their misuse are precisely that - problems with their misuse and not with the substances themselves. Meanwhile, if other philosophers were to take Schopenhauer's lead, the materialist west could begin a long-awaited merger with eastern thought and a unifying understanding of reality could finally be assayed.

As for what would be left behind by such a philosophical rebooting, good riddance, for it would be nothing but desperate materialist arguments about Matrix conspiracies, brains in a vat, and the supposed illusory nature of consciousness (and even reality) itself -- all of which mad speculation is elegantly refuted by the intuitive lessons provided by the psychedelic experience, at least when said experience is undertaken with due reverence (even if such reverence is only adopted heuristically by a materialist skeptic) and a willingness to learn.

Pessimism got the final word in Schopenhauer's actual philosophy, but that is only because, like most western thinkers then and now, he was reckoning without a consideration of what psychoactive plants might have to say on the matter. Of course, in his day, he had an excuse. He was no doubt unaware of the philosophically empowering potential of Mother Nature.

But today's materialists have no such excuse. Therefore, when they try to tell us that life is even bleaker than Schopenhauer implied, they should follow all such pronouncements with an asterisk, to inform the reader that the philosopher in question has not yet evaluated his dour outlook in the light of any ontological intuitions provided by psychedelic plants.


Perhaps someday there will even be a sort of reverse drug test at the Philosophy Department's front door, so that no one can enter who has not had at least one experience with psychedelic medicine. At very least, today's materialist philosopher should come clean about their willful renunciation of nature's pharmacy. If they want to tell us that reality itself does not exist, that's fine - as long as they admit to having unscientifically discounted a priori the contrary evidence provided by the reverent and strategic use of Mother Nature's plants.



May 5, 2022 The above author, bless him, (this Ballard Quass chappie) is writing under the perhaps somewhat naive assumption that his audience is conversant with the potential of psychoactive medicines to help human beings survive and thrive in the world, both individually and collectively. In response to this concern, I adduce the following remedial reading list, so to speak, to bring the challenged reader up to speed on this topic, starting with a heart-warming essay about the rave scene in Britain, in which MDMA (aka Ecstasy) brought unprecedented peace, love and understanding to the dance floor -- until Drug Warriors looked that gift horse straight in the mouth by cracking down on Ecstasy, after which -- surprise, surprise -- dance floor violence went through the flippin' roof! Another "victory" for the truly bone-headed war on psychoactive medicine.

How the Drug War Killed Leah Betters and ended the peaceful rave scene in Britain.



Oh, and do notice, please, that nitrous oxide is discussed by William James in a book about religious experiences -- not a book about the danger of narcotics but a book about religious experiences! This is why the Drug War is a war on religion -- indeed, it's a war on the religious impulse itself. Brian has said as much in several essays. See, for instance, Why the Drug War is Worse than a Religion.

Oh, and how about using psychedelic medicine to HUGELY increase music appreciation? Check out The Educational Use of Psychoactive Plants.




Let us know what you think. Send your comments to me, Brian Quass, at quass@quass.com. Thanks! Please be sure to mention the title of the essay to which you are responding.




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Welcome to The Drug War Philosopher: Philosophical essays against America's bloody war on plant medicine, aka the drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-science, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some. Calling for fear not fact, education not demonization.

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1: How Ecstasy could end mass shootings
2: The Drug War as a Litmus Test for Philosophical Wisdom
3: Addicted to Addiction
4: Why the Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War
5: Open Letter to Francis Fukuyama
6: Ten Reasons why the Drug War is Nonsense
7: Forbes Magazine's Laughable Article about Nitrous Oxide
8: How the Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987
9: Time to ACT UP about the racist drug war
10: John Locke on Drugs
Click here for more essays against America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-nature, imperialistic, a violation of the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America, and the establishment of drug-hating Christian Science as a state religion.





2021 Deaths Caused by the Drug War*

  1. Chicago:797
  2. New York City: 485
  3. Los Angeles: 397
  4. Memphis: 346
  5. New Orleans: 218




*"Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist." -- Heather Ann Thompson, The Atlantic, 2014.



The news media just doesn't get it -- or doesn't want to get it. Most stories about the deaths of blacks in inner cities never mention the drug war, as if the fact that prohibition led to armed gangs had nothing to do with the skyrocketing gun deaths that they're reporting on today. For a case in point, check out the article by Micaela A Watts in CommercialAppeal with the headline: "Following 346 homicides in Memphis in 2021, officials consider what's driving the violence."

Yes, that's a real poser, Micaela. The city fathers must really be scratching their heads!

The author notes three major theories for the violence, all of which have nothing to do with the drug war: "Lack of conflict resolution skills," a lack of "fair wages," and (get this) poor mental health.

Looks like the city officials failed to ask themselves why city residents were armed to the teeth in the first place. Hello? That was due to the drugs warriors' substance prohibition which incentivized the poor and poorly educated young people to get into the fantastically profitable business of selling drugs!!!

Yes, drug warrior, YOU are responsible for these deaths. You! It's a natural result of your ban on medical godsends, some of which have inspired entire religions and have the potential for treating (if not curing) such diverse conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, and depression.





When They Ask You For a Piss

A Drug War Poem





When they ask you for some pee
Tell them no 'cause you are free
Free to use what nature grows
Both shrooms and plants

Should they ask you for a piss
Tell them no and let them kiss
Kiss your ass because they're full
Of grade-A shit

Being born on plant earth
Shrooms and plants are yours by birth
Show them what your freedom's worth
Refuse to pee




Boom-Chickadee

The Drug War Poem




Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick churri
Your drug war is crazy, as crazy can be
It banishes godsends that grow at our feet
Till bad vibes and loneliness slowly accrete
Till bad vibes and loneliness slowly accrete

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick churrod
The coca plant, as per the Incas, is God
It sharpens your prose till your fame is widespread
As Jules Verne would tell you if he were not dead
As Jules Verne would tell you if he were not dead

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick-ka-ripe
I'd like to smoke opium straight from a pipe
To travel to lands seen by Lovecraft and Poe
Though racist drug warriors always say no
Though racist drug warriors always say no

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick-ker-breech
The mushrooms around us have something to teach
They grow in my garden, I'm fain to partake
Though Chimney-Pot Bennet says Put on the Brake
Though Chimney-Pot Bennet says Put on the Brake

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick-hurray
My anger subsides with some MDMA
If only Vlad Putin would follow my lead
There'd be much less bloodshed and cynical greed
There'd be much less bloodshed and cynical greed

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick-ker-ray
I'll use what I want so get out of my way
I'd rather do opium coca and such
Than Big Pharma pills that addict me too much
Than Big Pharma pills that addict me too much

Boom-chickadee-boom-chickadee
Chick-chick-ka-runk
Forgive me for saying your drug war is junk
It's dumbness incarnate to demonize plants
I turn a deaf ear to your 'just say no' chants
I turn a deaf ear to your 'just say no' chants






Check out the latest Drug War News!
Today's story:
It's the Prohbition, Stupid!

Lights, Camera, Drug War

Quotes From TV and movies



Panther

1995
"Against hard drugs in the community."

"Hard" drugs? As defined by whom? The DEA? That agency which ranks psychoactive substances by the degree to which they threaten the WASP establishment?
More TV and movie Quotes at Lights, Camera, Drug War.

DRUG WAR BLOG

by The Drug War Philosopher



6-23-22
Turnip blood as a drug on the market!



If you think it's hard to get blood from a turnip, try finding a positive reference to demonized "drugs" in American TV shows and movies. Search the Script.com database for the word "drugs" and you'll get over 4,000 hits, with nary a one testifying to the life-affirming power of godsend plant medicine. Drugs like coca and psychedelics have inspired entire religions, but you'll see the word "drugs" used only in connection with lowlifes and scumbags, extortionists and murderers. In short, American script writers have been bribed by the DARE organization and the local State Police with far too many "just say no" teddy bears to think rationally on this topic.

That's why I hope that "decriminalization" states like Oregon will gradually teach these brainwashed screenwriters that the sky, at least, will not come crashing down the moment that Mother Nature's bounty is legal again, just as it was before Chinese-hating racists outlawed the poppy plant in 1914, thereby elevating common law above the natural law upon which America had been founded. My concern is that without full legalization, however, the otherwise responsible "users" in those states will be forced to choose their psychoactive medicines from the limited and often tainted formulary provided by criminal gangs, gangs whose incentive lies in money-making, not in assuring safe product. Because you know that if problems arise for this reason, the drug warriors will instantly blame them on decriminalization rather than on the way that the drug warrior limits choice and empowers economically minded cartels.



MORE Anti-Drug War Blog

Thoughts? Contact Brian Quass at quass@quass.com.

DRUG WAR BIBLIOGRAPHY

Andrew, Christopher. The Secret World: A History of Intelligence. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.
All warfare is based on deception, said Sun Tzu. Yes, but what is all deception based on? A mistrust of one's fellows. And how do you combat that, Chris? With empathogens like MDMA and psilocybin.
Aurelius, Marcus. Meditations. London: East India Publishing Company, 2021.
Pious drug warriors have usually thought of Marcus Aurelius as the perfect replacement for bad evil drugs -- but Marcus had his cake and ate it too. He philosophized under the influence of opium (but don't tell the kids!)
Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland: The Original 1865 Edition With Complete Illustrations By Sir John Tenniel. New York: Amazon, 2021.
Alice's shroom-powered adventures are a standing reproach to glum-faced drug warriors, who closely resemble the Queen of Hearts, shouting: "Off with their heads, for using godsend medicines of which I disapprove!"
De Quincey, Thomas. Confessions of an English Opium Eater. New York: Dover, 1995.
During De Quincey's informed opium use, he "partook" only weekly in order to better enjoy the opera, making his weekday life happier as well, however, thanks to anticipation of use, a benefit of which materialist science takes no account.
Ellsberg, Daniel. The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner . New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.
A stark reminder that the world is living under a nuclear sword of Damocles. And why? Because it demonizes all the godsend medicines (like MDMA and shrooms) that could bring humanity together in universal harmony.
Fadiman, James. The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys . New York: Park Street Press, 2011.
First-hand accounts of psychological breakthroughs achieved with the guided use of entheogens, suggesting that one-time givens like "character" and "human nature" are far more susceptible to improvement than we thought.
Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind: Why We Fought the Civil War. New York: Da Capo Press, 2014.
The late historian Fleming cites the popular mob-led public "diseases" of Witch-Hunting, Liquor Prohibition, and Communism -- yet says nothing about the Drug War, which was the great disease in the public mind of his own time!!!
Fukuyama, Francis. Liberalism and Its Discontents. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022.
Great bipartisan insights, BUT... Francis reckons without the drug war, so, like a good drug warrior, he blames all the ills caused by prohibition on the politically created boogieman called "drugs."
Gottleib, Anthony. The Dream of Enlightenment: the Rise of Modern Philosophy. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016.
The author seems unaware of the increasingly clear ability of empathogens like MDMA and shrooms to improve the very human nature which grumps like Hobbes portray as being so irrevocably fixed.
Holland, Julie. Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics. New York: HarperWave, 2020.
Julie claims that Nixon criminalized psychedelics for health reasons. What? That's not the Nixon I know. He said himself that Leary was enemy #1. He was removing "users" from the voting rolls, not protecting them.
Huxley, Aldous. The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell. New York: Penguin Books, 1970.
Huxley's speculations about perception jibe with modern science, which finds that human beings see what is presumably useful to them, not necessarily what is "really there" in the sensory-rich physical world.
Leary, Timothy. The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead . New York: University Books, 1964.
Americans have been primed by the drug-war zeitgeist to consider everything Leary writes as nonsense. But he was the first one to announce loudly and clearly that what's really nonsensical is to outlaw plant medicine.
Lovecraft, HP. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. New York: Del Rey Books, 1970.
Lovecraft's work is full of opiate imagery that drug warriors want to render impossible for artists to feel: "I would often drift in opiate peace through the valley and the shadowy groves..." (Ex-Oblivione)
Mate, Gabriel. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009.
Gabriel moralizes "addiction." Addiction, however, is a political term. One can use psychoactive Big Pharma meds every day and be a good patient -- use heroin every day, however, and you're just escaping "inner pain." What?
Maupassant, Guy de. Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques - Guy de Maupassant: Les classiques du fantastique . Paris: , 2019.
In "La Horla," Maupassant anticipates Huxley by speculating that our perceptual habits blind us to a world of wonders. Many of today's demonized drugs, it appears, can at least partially open our eyes to that world.
McKenna, Terence. Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution . New York: Bantam, 1992.
This was the book that reminded me of what I already vaguely knew: that it is tyrannical insanity for a government to outlaw plants. McKenna's philosophical speculations on why we criminalize inspired me to create abolishthedea.com.
Miller, Richard Louis. Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca Kindle . New York: Park Street Press, 2017.
Informative interviews with movers-and-shakers in the field, including Rick Doblin, Stanislav Grof, James Fadiman, David Nichols and Robert Whitaker. Packed with eye-opening one-liners about godsend meds.
Noe, Alvin. Out of our Heads. New York: HiII&Wang,, 2010.
Noe reveals how patients with "locked-in" syndrome have reported being supremely aware of their surroundings during their supposedly brain-dead coma, a fact that puts in question our materialist assumptions about consciousness.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Essential Poe. New York: Warbler Classics, 2020.
Because drug warriors never mention the good side of "drugs," we must turn to Poe to learn, for instance, that morphine can bring a surreal appreciation of Mother Nature (see "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains").
Pollan, Michael. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence . New York: Penguin Books, 2018.
Pollan has yet to realize that the very term "drugs" is just a modern pejorative epithet for "plant medicine of which botanically clueless politicians disapprove. "
Reynolds, David S.. Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville . New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Exhaustively researched account of the 19th-century zeitgeist, and yet the word "drugs" (as defined, or rather derided, by today's drug warrior) is never even used. Last century's boogieman was liquor, it seems, not "drugs."
Richards, William. Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences Hardcover. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.
The psychedelic experience was once characterized as pharmacologically induced madness. Richards shows how the properly guided experience can lead to sanity instead -- and a way of life that is not self-destructive.
Rosenfeld, Harvey. Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish-American War of 1898 . Connecticut: Praeger, 2000.
The war took place 16 years before anti-Chinese Drug Warriors criminalized the poppy plant, and yet opium is only mentioned with regard to a group of unimaginative volunteers who smoked some and "couldn't see the point."
Russell, Kirk. Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered. New York: Arlington House, 1967.
Burke was a conservative in a sense, but he would not recognize America's Republican party of today. He would surely have seen that prohibition causes all the problems we ascribe to "drugs," and then some.
Schlosser, Erich. Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. New York: Penguin, 2014.
In 1980, the Air Force nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated half the country. When Reagan took office the next year, what was his priority? Outlawing plant medicine that could make our species less warlike.
Sewell, Kenneth. Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. . New York: Pocket Star, 2006.
On March 7, 1968, a rogue Soviet submarine nearly blew up Pearl Harbor with a thermonuclear bomb. Instead of launching a war on nukes, then-President Nixon launched a war on medicines that could inspire peace, love and understanding.
Shirer, William. The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler. New York: RosettaBooks, 2011.
Paraphrase from book: "No one who has not lived for years in a DRUG WAR SOCIETY can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime's calculated and incessant propaganda."
Slater, Lauren. Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds. Back Bay Books: Boston, 2019.
Despite griping about the weight she's put on from taking her daily 'meds,' Slater gives Big Pharma a big fat mulligan for consigning 1 in 4 American women like herself to a lifetime of chemical dependency on SSRI antidepressants.
Straussman, Rick. DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences . New York: Park Street Press, 2001.
Rick doubts DMT's therapeutic usefulness, but common sense psychology suggests that any break from full-on introspection would be a treat, notwithstanding materialists who aren't even sure that laughing gas could help the depressed!!!
Szasz, Thomas. Ceremonial Chemistry: the ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers. New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1974.
Filled with inconvenient truths that critics ignore rather than refute, including how politicized science tells us a la God: "Eat of the fruit and you shall die," ignoring the fact that education tells us how to eat of that fruit safely.
Szasz, Thomas. Our Right to Drugs: The case for a free market. New York: Praeger, 1992.
Chock-a-block with all-too-rare common sense: "Doctors, lawyers and politicians started the War on Drugs and continue to wage it, and they are its real beneficiaries -- the drug war's ostensible beneficiaries... are its victims."
Tyler, George R.. Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System. Michigan: Pegasus Books, 2016.
Doesn't mention drugs, but illustrates how drug reform can be stymied by just 3% of the public: namely, those holding stock in Big Pharma, etc., especially when these elites can bribe politicians to retain the status quo.
Whitaker, Robert. Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America . New York: Crown, 2010.
Prohibition has facilitated the creation of a psychiatric pill mill upon which 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life. Moreover, these pills cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.
Zuboff , Shoshana. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. New York: Public Affairs, 2019.
Surveillance capitalists and drug warriors share the same goal: to keep human beings predictable: one by rendering us more robot-like and the other by denying us the mind-improving blessings of psychoactive medicine


Welcome to THE DRUG WAR PHILOSOPHER: essays against America's bloody war on plant medicine, aka the drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-science, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some. Calling for fact not fear, education not demonization.

What You Can Do: Bloody disgusting fact: The Drug War brought almost 800 deaths to Chicago in 2021 by incentivizing the hugely profitable sale of psychoactive medicine in poor communities. And now Trump and his fellow fascist drug warriors want to use that violence as an excuse to KILL drug dealers via execution! Any community leaders supporting the drug war are complicit in this genocide. For as Heather Ann Thompson wrote in The Atlantic in 2014: "Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist."


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