ver since I began psychiatric therapy 45 years ago, I was told - both in words and in deeds - that psychiatry was going to help me find "real" cures, as opposed to the mere "crutches" and "copouts" that evil "drugs" could afford me. This sounded plausible enough at the time since my elders - both in words and in deeds - had been telling me from grade school that "drugs" were "dope" and "junk" and that they "were not the answer" to anything.
It took me a lifetime to realize that I had been sold a bill of goods.
Psychiatry has no cures for me, nor should it. I do not need a cure for sadness. No one does. Sadness is part of the human condition and should not be eradicated from life.
The search for cures has always been bad science, based as it is on the search for chemical causes of incredibly complex psychosocial behavior with roots in all sorts of beliefs, upbringing, genetics, and societal assumptions. But the search for cures is even worse philosophy: a philosophy that tells us that it's wrong to use drugs that "merely" cheer one up. This is not some ineluctable truth toward which all rational minds necessarily converge; it's rather a Christian Science prejudice about what constitutes what philosophers would call "the good life."
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason why depression lives on today in America as a so-called crisis: not because people are more depressed than ever but because we have outlawed all the ways in which folks in freer times could have found to "take the edge off" of modern life. Why? Because of some unacknowledged puritanical assumption that it is wrong merely to cheer oneself up, except perhaps by numbing one's brain with alcohol. Other than that, the sufferer is directed to the evergrowing self-help section in the library, which becomes enormous in the age of a Drug War when all the obvious help has been outlawed.
If the coca leaf were legal in America, there would be no depression "crisis." The long-lived Peruvian Indians chewed it daily for millennia and had no existential angst of which historians are aware.
In fact, any drug or therapy that "takes the edge off" is NECESSARILY useful in fighting depression, since relaxation - and, crucially, the anticipation of that relaxation - is known (even by materialists these days) to contribute to overall health and happiness. Let's repeat that: Any drug or therapy that "takes the edge off" is NECESSARILY useful in fighting depression. It doesn't matter how much hot air politicians have expended in damning the drugs in question to hell.
But modern materialist psychology is blind to this once obvious truth. In fact, the naivete of modern psychologists is breathtaking in the age of the Drug War.
Consider the following sample case and how they would respond to it.
John is an actor with a young family and bills to pay. He's doing great and winning accolades, but he is torn by self-doubt and finds himself purposefully sabotaging his work. This may be a puzzling concept for psychologists, that John would act in ways to sabotage his own career, but it's common sense to the hoi polloi: we know it as "choking." It's that last minute urge to frustrate oneself in the attempt to make a strike when bowling, that last minute doubt on the part of the punt kicker in which, at some level, he's telling himself that he's not the kind of person that makes the perfect punt. As Poe tells us in the Imp of the Perverse, the moment one has such a thought, they are lost. The moment one thinks consciously about what should be a subconscious act, the game is up: the masochistic death cycle has begun. In Poe's case, that might mean that the story narrator intentionally rats on himself to law enforcement; in the athlete's case, it means that the punt kicker intentionally kicks the ball ever so slightly to the right or the left of the usual target.
What is psychiatry's answer to this commonplace psychological phenomenon that we call choking,? Do they provide medications like coca that will help the afflicted individual rise above those impulses, drown them out with positive momentum, and thereby achieve vocational victories in life that will, over time, result in a virtuous circle of achievement, culminating in self-belief?
Oh, no. That protocol is far too obvious. The psychiatrist did not go to school for 8+ years to advocate common sense treatments. He or she will advocate counseling and the right Big Pharma med to "REALLY" cure the "REAL" problems that the bowler or the punter has. Nine will get you ten that the psychiatrist will prescribe meds, which in some superstitious way are thought to "REALLY" cure problems - but he may also suggest a lifetime of counseling for the sufferer, so that, by the time the "patient" is on his deathbed, he may have at least some inkling as to why he is sabotaging himself (which the psych has failed to realize is a universal impulse of humankind, and not some oddball pathology to be treated like some rare board-certified illness).
Of course, this all comes a little late in the day for John, our actor, who has long since had to mortgage his family home, get out of the acting business and settle for a substandard salary as an assistant manager at a chain restaurant. The good thing is, his insurance pays for 80% of his weekly visits to the psychiatrists - those same psychiatrists who have been (ahem) "helping" John for the last 40 years.
Had Robin Williams encountered such treatment in his teens, he would not have been Robin Williams. He may have been a good unhappy consumer, taking SSRIs every morning, but he would not have been Robin Williams, especially as those pills are increasingly known to DECREASE what made Robin Robin: namely spontaneity.
Of course, prohibition and the Drug War work together to make safe use of outlawed substances as difficult and threat-laden as possible, not to mention socially frowned upon. This is why many stars first achieve success using drugs, profiting from that virtuous circle mentioned above, and then badmouth those same drugs in later life to print a trendy book according to the familiar narrative: Great star uses drugs in his youth, only to find out that he could have been just as good - nay, even better - had he been stone-cold sober."
Talk about ingratitude.
But then we're taught to be ashamed of all drug use in America, even if it's safe and rational.
Well, as someone who is just finally coming out of the fog of Drug Warrior assumptions at the end of his life, I call foul. I personally say "Long live crutches! Let's hear it for junk and dope! Let's hear it for treating the symptoms! Let's hear it for establishing virtuous circles! Let's stop curing things that do not need curing, and let's start giving the common sense help that we have denied for ages based on our unspoken puritanical and scientistic assumptions."
Did the Vedic People have a substance disorder because they wanted to drink enough soma to see religious realities?
No more than Jimi Hendrix had a substance disorder because he wanted to play his guitar with "total abandon." Drug warriors made sure he could not do that safely and then blamed his downfall on "drugs."
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