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I come not to praise coca

but to bury the idiotic ideology of prohibition

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

January 31, 2024

t this point in my "coca diary," I should probably make a clarification. Despite my upbeat and optimistic "take" on the therapeutic qualities of coca wine, my main point here is NOT that coca itself is a godsend, but rather that it represents merely one of hundreds of godsends that, in the words of Charles Fort, our society has "damned" - that is to say, completely ignored - for ideological reasons1. Other such godsends include laughing gas, MDMA, marijuana, opium, psilocybin, LSD, and the hundreds of phenethylamines synthesized by Alexander Shulgin. Then there is the seemingly endless list of plants and fungi (as, for instance, those documented in "The Plants of the Gods"2) that have a wide range of potential benefits for humankind but which we have "damned" as well as worthless, based on the preposterous anti-scientific lie that they are "drugs" in the bad sense of that word and so can have no valid uses for anybody, anywhere, ever. Even this list of potential godsends expands exponentially when you consider the complementary use of these substances in various combinations and compounds.

So anyone who considers me to be an evangelist for coca wine is missing the point. Coca wine does appear to be a godsend for myself and from what I've read, it was a godsend as well for many 19th-century luminaries, such as HG Wells and Charles Gounod and Pope Leo XIII3. But the world is full of substances that could work miracles for the depressed, and this is the point I am trying to make - one which when fully understood will reveal prohibition as the progress-hating ideology of the ignorant.

What is depression after all? Based on a lifetime of experience, I would define it as follows: "Depression is the inability to get things done thanks to a seemingly innate feeling that there's no point in trying."

While the depressed are often able to set goals, and even get a good start on them... a gloomy outlook eventually kicks in and says, in feelings rather than words:" "What's the point? Why am I even bothering?" And so the depressed person is often right on the VERGE of accomplishing a great goal, but like an engine that runs out of steam at the top of a hill, there is always an inevitable back-sliding, and always at a point frustratingly close to the goal in view. This is why substances like coca wine are godsends: not because they "do all the heavy lifting," as the moralist and the materialist might complain. No. Far from it. These mood enhancers merely "egg on" the depressed in the positive direction that they were already going before a kind of primordial gloom kicked in and told them to "hang it up." Substances like coca shush that negative voice and replace it with a positive one, and this is why they are godsends: not because they create happiness but rather because they make it possible. And how? By silencing the counselor of despair that lives inside the depressed personality.

This is not to say that coca can only benefit the pathological. The sober mind is never at the top of its game when it comes to mental focus and staying power; it therefore makes perfect sense that every 19th-century writer worth his quill was drinking coca wine, especially since the uninquisitive west was not exactly scouring the planet in the 1800s for alternative psychoactive substances with similar mind-enhancing qualities.

But to paraphrase Marc Anthony, "I come not to praise coca but to bury the idiotic ideology of prohibition," thanks to which we have to forego the endless godsends that have been mentioned and/or hinted at above. And why do we have to do without these enormous potential benefits? Because of the anti-scientific and clearly religious belief of prohibitionists that psychoactive substances can have no valid uses for anybody, anywhere, ever.


1 Fort, Charles, The Book of the Damned, (up)
2 Schultes, Plants of the Gods:Origins of Hallucinogenic Use, 1979 (up)
3 Mortimer MD, W. Golden, Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas, Ronin Publishing, Berkeley, California, 2017 (up)

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