This book is said to uncover the absurd implications of materialism. Unfortunately, Kastrup misses the most absurd implications of all: 1) We live in an age when we prefer to shock the brains of the depressed rather than to let them use godsend medicine that would cheer them up. 2) We live in an age when we will let the depressed kill themselves with drugs but we will not let them cheer themselves up with drugs. 3) We live in an age when 1 in 4 American women are dependent upon Big Pharma's "scientific" drugs for life. These downsides are all due to the myopic reductionism of the modern materialist, who ignores the obvious in favor of the microscopic. Such scientists want objective proof that drugs work and are deaf to glowing user reports about drugs (not to mention the historical accounts which credit some of these drugs with inspiring entire religions!). Dr. Robert Glatter was typical of such materialist blindness when he asked in Forbes magazine in June 2021: "Can laughing gas help people with treatment resistant depression?" Answer: He's not sure!
What?! Of course laughing gas could help. But reductive materialism makes Glatter indifferent to all the laughter he hears from users, nor does he consider the fact that mere anticipation of occasional use would improve attitude. Presumably such evidence just comes from consciousness, which to the materialist is "just" an epiphenomenon, after all.
Such downsides appear whenever the Drug War ideology of substance demonization meets the materialist's disdain for conscious states of mind. Unfortunately, critics of materialism are either unaware of these connections or afraid to point them out. In fact, when I tried to make these points on Kastrup's discussion page, I was told to beat it. The moderator told me that I should find a "drugs" forum to discuss such things. That's how we normalize the Drug War and ghettoize its opponents. And so Kastrup takes the credo of materialism to court while refusing to use the most damning evidence against it: namely, the reductio ad absurdum that results from our society's current anti-patient drug policy. Not only does he thereby weaken his own thesis, but his silence about drugs helps to further normalize the Drug War by implying that the outlawing of mind-aiding medicines has no negative implications. He thereby joins the vast majority of other scientific and philosophical writers of our age who reckon without the Drug War, thereby implying that the unprecedented Christian Science prohibitions of our time can be taken as a baseline from which to deduce the truths about science and philosophy.
Weaponizing science is a bigger problem. Even as we speak, Laura Sanders of Sciam is promoting Shock Therapy 2.0 for the depressed, this in a world wherein reductive scientists aren't even sure that laughing gas will help the depressed. https://abolishthedea.com/forbes_magazines_laughable_article_about_nitrous_oxide.php
It's because of such reductive pseudoscience that America will allow us to shock the brains of the depressed but won't allow us to let them use the plant medicines that grow at their feet.
David Chalmers says almost everything in the world can be reductively explained. Maybe so. But science's mistake is to think that everything can therefore be reductively UNDERSTOOD. That kind of thinking blinds researchers to the positive effects of laughing gas and MDMA, etc.
"Can I use poppies, coca, laughing gas, MDMA?" "NO," says Jonathan Stea, "We must be SCIENTIFIC! We must fry your brain and give you a lobotomy and make you a patient for life with the psychiatric pill mill! That's true SCIENCE!"
In "The Book of the Damned," Charles Fort writes about the data that science has damned, by which he means "excluded." The fact that drugs can inspire and elate is one such fact, although when Fort wrote his anti-materialist broadside, drug prohibition was in its infancy.
In other words, materialist scientists are drug war collaborators. They are more than happy to have their fight against idealism rigged by drug law, which outlaws precisely those substances whose use serves to cast their materialism into question.
Drug warriors have harnessed the perfect storm. Prohibition caters to the interests of law enforcement, psychotherapy, Big Pharma, demagogues, puritans, and materialist scientists, who believe that consciousness is no big "whoop" and that spiritual states are just flukes.
5% of proceeds from the sale of the above product will go toward getting Brian a decent haircut for once. Honestly. 9% will go toward shoes. 50% will go toward miscellaneous. 9% of the remainder will go toward relaxation, which could encompass anything from a spin around town to an outdoor barbecue at Brian's brother's house in Stanardsville (both gas and the ice-cream cake that Brian usually supplies).
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.
A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.
The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.
It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)
If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.
PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company