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How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

November 28, 2022

ome cures are so obvious that Americans are totally blind to them.

There is an obvious treatment for my depression, for instance, which no doctor will ever think to recommend for me: namely, the intermittent use of mood-elevating substances that will give me a break from gloom and let me see the world's opportunities laid out clearly before me,. And, no, I'm not just talking about the use of opium and coca, though they deserve a place on the long list of substances that could be employed in the multi-drug therapy about which I am writing here.. Alexander Shulgin synthesized over 200 mood-elevating substances, which he used without frying his brain, and which improved his life and gave him positive thoughts.

This is your Brain on Godsend Plant Medicine

Stop the Drug War from demonizing godsend plant medicines. Psychoactive plant medicines are godsends, not devil spawn.

But doctors disdain such treatments. Why? Because the results of such ministrations cannot be clearly traced to specific chemical or biological processes or origins and thus are not "real" treatments. They thus do not pass muster for materialists, for whom it's never enough that a substance work: it must work in a reductive fashion or else it is a "crutch." This is an ironic label since today's supposedly scientifically created anti-depressants are the very epitome of crutches. Why? Because they tranquilize one rather than help one see the possibilities in life and how one might adapt to them.

The poster child for this materialist blindness is Dr. Robert Glatter, who wrote a 2021 article for Forbes magazine with the title: "Can Laughing Gas Help People with Treatment-resistant Depression?"


The fact that Robert has to ask this question shows how completely materialists have lost track of common sense and thereby forced me to spend my whole life without medical godsends.

Laughing helps. Everyone knows that. Even the Reader's Digest tells us that it is "the best medicine." But, since we have to spell it out for materialists, let me state the obvious: namely, that the ability to laugh and, crucially, to look forward to laughing, would be a great psychological boost for depressives like myself. That's psychological common sense, Robert, or at least it used to be, until psychologists came down with a bad case of physics envy.

Of course, the Drug War is a co-conspirator in this plot to keep me from happiness, not just because it bans almost all therapeutic psychoactive substances but because it has spread the lie that potentially addictive substances can only be used on an addictive basis, which, of course, is a self-fulfilling prophecy given the fact that said Drug Warriors believe in scaring would-be users instead of educating them.

It will be argued that such treatments are not cures. But do we really want a cure for sadness? Surely, that's a mad ambition, to excise sadness itself from the repertoire of human emotions. (Do we really want to be like the Prozac-using journalist who found that he could not cry at his parents' funeral? ) We need to be able to tolerate and learn from the down sides of life, not to remove them altogether by living lives on tranquilizing antidepressants. We need to see our problems creatively, not merely sleep through the downsides that they cause for us. Besides, whose definition of "cure" are we accepting as valid? Am I cured of my depression when I'm tranquilized to the point that I no longer complain, or am I cured when I start living large and striking out in bold new directions in life?

We need substances that spread a welcoming vista before us and interest us in life and in the sheer possibilities that it offers. That's what I got out of my first psychedelic trip as a teenager: a vision of the seemingly infinite possibilities to which my daily gloom had completely blinded me without my even knowing it.

This is why ending the Drug War should be about so much more than harm reduction: it should be about benefit maximization as well, maximizing the benefits that we get from hitherto demonized drugs -- benefits that we have been dogmatically denying ourselves for over a century now thanks not just to the Drug War but to the materialist blindness of modern academics as well.

Related tweet: January 13, 2023

The use of laughing gas changed William James' ideas about the very nature of reality. To outlaw such substances is to outlaw human advancement.

Author's Follow-up: February 22, 2023

I ask myself in re-reading this post, why is the point it makes so difficult for Americans to believe? Why does it strike one as heresy just to be reading this? The answer is clear: because Americans have been taught from childhood to fear substances, not to understand them. The western attitude toward psychoactive medicine, thanks to Drug War propaganda, is: "be afraid, be very afraid!!!" And what has this attitude of willful ignorance plus fear accomplished: it has created the very dystopia that it warns against! And so America stands in thrall to a self-fulfilling prophecy about the supposed evil of the politically created boogieman called drugs. This is why the Drug War is not wrong here and there, but rather it represents a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world: a superstitious and anti-scientific way of looking at the world: one that tells us falsely that there are substances in the world called "drugs" that have no positive uses, for anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances, and at any doses, at any time, ever.

Such caveman thinking bars us from benefiting from drugs, to the point that we effectively outlaw the search for cures for autism and Alzheimer's. Why? Because we outlaw and otherwise discourage research on drugs that have been known to grow new neurons in the brain. Likewise, we outlaw peace, love and understanding as we outlaw substances like MDMA and psilocybin that have been shown to bring human beings together in unprecedented harmony with their fellow human beings.

Part of the problem is the media. When there is a car crash, they never tell us that it was due to a problem called "killer cars." But whenever someone misuses a psychoactive substance, the media always traces the problem back to "killer drugs." This then reinforces the anti-scientific lie that the substances in question have no positive uses whatsoever, that they are, in effect, devil spawn. The media is, thus, the handmaiden of the Drug War, as we can see today when the "presenters" at Channel 5 in the UK egg on their talking heads to criminalize laughing gas in the name of the precious children of the UK -- thereby throwing millions of the depressed and anxious under the bus and outlawing the sort of research that inspired the philosophical outlook of William James.

Author's Follow-up: April 14, 2023

I think that this explains (apart from sheer cowardice) why there is so little pushback against the Drug War from academia. Scientists realize at some level that prohibition privileges the materialist understanding of the world by outlawing all the substances whose use could help us see the world as holistic and pervaded by consciousness.

Author's Follow-up: February 10, 2024

picture of clock metaphorically suggesting a follow-up

Of course not everybody can be a Tom Paine -- or a Carl Hart, for that matter. I am lucky myself that I didn't catch on to the full scope of the calamity that is the Drug War until I become more or less ineligible for the various forms of payback to which a Christian Science heretic is subjected in today's world. Still, had I figured it out earlier, it would have ticked me so thoroughly that I dare say even then I would have acted selflessly -- turning down, for starters, any job that required me to urinate for an underpaid chemistry major so he or she can kick me out of the U.S. workforce for using substances that have been humanity's birthright for thousands of years, until racist Drug Warriors came between myself and the plants and fungi that grow at my feet.

Next essay: Alexander Shulgin: American Hero
Previous essay: Psychedelics and Depression

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If psychoactive drugs had never been criminalized, science would never have had any reason or excuse for creating SSRIs that muck about unpredictably with brain chemistry. Chewing the coca leaf daily would be one of many readily available "miracle treatments" for depression.
That's why we damage the brains of the depressed with shock therapy rather than let them use coca or opium. That's why many regions allow folks to kill themselves but not to take drugs that would make them want to live. The Drug War is a perversion of social priorities.
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.
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.
There are endless drugs that could help with depression. Any drug that inspires and elates is an antidepressant, partly by the effect itself and partly by the mood-elevation caused by anticipation of use (facts which are far too obvious for drug warriors to understand).
But materialist puritans do not want to create any drug that elates. So they go on a fool's errand to find reductionist cures for "depression itself," as if the vast array of human sadness could (or should) be treated with a one-size-fits-all readjustment of brain chemicals.
The search for SSRIs has always been based on a flawed materialist premise that human consciousness is nothing but a mix of brain chemicals and so depression can be treated medically like any other physical condition.
I'd like to become a guinea pig for researchers to test the ability of psychoactive drugs to make aging as psychologically healthy as possible. If such drugs cannot completely ward off decrepitude, they can surely make it more palatable. The catch? Researchers have to be free.
The drug war ideology of substance demonization actually outlaws such investigations. Why don't at least the saner half of the prohibitionists understand that this makes no sense in a purportedly free and scientific country?
Caveat: the experimentation must be done holistically, and not with the presupposition that brain waves and molecular analysis is more important than my perceptions -- for my perceptions are what really matter viz. psychological health.
I don't want purblind researchers telling me when I am happy or optimistic. Materialist researchers need not apply, especially those so immersed in minutia that they cannot even figure out if laughing gas could help the depressed!
To understand why the western world is blind to the benefits of "drugs," read "The Concept of Nature" by Whitehead. He unveils the scientific schizophrenia of the west, according to which the "real" world is invisible to us while our perceptions are mere "secondary" qualities.
This is why we would rather have a depressed person commit suicide than to use "drugs" -- because drugs, after all, are not dealing with the "real" problem. The patient may SAY that drugs make them feel good, but we need microscopes to find out if they REALLY feel good.
This is why the foes of suicide are doing absolutely nothing to get laughing gas into the hands of those who could benefit from it. Laughing is subjective after all. In the western tradition, we need a "REAL" cure to depression.
Both physical and psychological addiction can be successfully fought when we relegalize the pharmacopoeia and start to fight drugs with drugs. But prohibitionists do not want to end addiction, they want to scare us with it.
Materialist scientists cannot triumph over addiction because their reductive focus blinds them to the obvious: namely, that drugs which cheer us up ACTUALLY DO cheer us up. Hence they keep looking for REAL cures while folks kill themselves for want of laughing gas and MDMA.
It's "convenient" for scientists that their "REAL" cures happen to be the ones that racist politicians will allow. Scientists thus normalize prohibition by pretending that outlawed substances have no therapeutic value. It's materialism collaborating with the drug war.
In the Atomic Age Declassified, they tell us that we needed hundreds of thermonuclear tests so that scientists could understand the effects. That's science gone mad. Just like today's scientists who need more tests before they can say that laughing gas will help the depressed. Science today is all about ignoring the obvious. And THAT's why scientists are drug war collaborators, because they're not about to sign off on the use of substances until they've studied them "up the wazoo." Using grants from an agency whose very name indicates their anti-drug bias: namely, the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The American Philosophy Association should make itself useful and release a statement saying that the drug war is based on fallacious reasoning, namely, the idea that substances can be bad in themselves, without regard for why, when, where and/or how they are used.
For those who want to understand what's going on with the drug war from a philosophical point of view, I strongly recommend chapter six of "Eugenics and Other Evils" by GK Chesterton.
If any master's candidates are looking for a thesis topic, consider the following: "The Drug War versus Religion: how the policy of substance prohibition outlaws the attainment of spiritual states described by William James in 'The Varieties of Religious Experience.'"

Live and learn. I'm told that science is completely unbiased today. I guess I'll have to go back and reassess my beliefs in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
In his book "Salvia Divinorum: The Sage of the Seers," Ross Heaven explains how "salvinorin A" is the strongest hallucinogen in the world and could treat Alzheimer's, AIDS, and various addictions. But America would prefer to demonize and outlaw the drug.
I think there needs to be a law -- or at least an understanding -- that it's always wrong to demonize drugs in the abstract. That's anti-scientific. It begs so many questions and leaves suffering pain patients (and others) high and dry. No substance is bad in and of itself.
When we say so, we knowingly blind ourselves to all sorts of potential benefits to humankind. Morphine can provide a vivid appreciation of mother nature in properly disposed minds. That should be seen as a benefit. Instead, dogma tells us that we must hate morphine for any use.
I might as well say that no one can ever be taught to ride a horse safely. I would argue as follows: "Look at Christopher Reeves. He was a responsible and knowledgeable equestrian. But he couldn't handle horses. The fact is, NO ONE can handle horses!"
That's another problem with "following the science." Science downplays personal testimony as subjective. But psychoactive experiences are all ABOUT subjectivity. With such drugs, users are not widgets susceptible to the one-size-fits-all pills of reductionism.
Imagine the Vedic people shortly after they have discovered soma. Everyone's ecstatic -- except for one oddball. "I'm not sure about these experiences," says he. "I think we need to start dissecting the brains of our departed adherents to see what's REALLY going on in there."
He'd probably then say: "In fact, we'd better outlaw this substance for now until we understand its biochemical mechanisms of action. We should follow the science, after all."
This is the mentality for today's materialist researcher when it comes to "laughing gas." He does not care that it merely cheers folks up. He wants to see what is REALLY going on with the substance, using electrodes and brain scans.
I'd tell him knock yourself out, except that his expensive and purblind research is used by prohibitionists to say: See? There's no scientific proof that laughing gas helps the depressed.
This, by the way, is why we can't just "follow the science." The "acceptable risk" for psychoactive drugs can only be decided by the user, based on what they prioritize in life. Science just assumes that all users should want to live forever, self-fulfilled or not.

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front cover of Drug War Comic Book

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You have been reading an article entitled, How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed published on November 28, 2022 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, 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, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)